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Nathanael Stein
Florida State University
  1. Causation and Explanation in Aristotle.Nathanael Stein - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (10):699-707.
    Aristotle thinks that we understand something when we know its causes. According to Aristotle but contrary to most recent approaches, causation and explanation cannot be understood separately. Aristotle complicates matters by claiming that there are four causes, which have come to be known as the formal, material, final, and efficient causes. To understand Aristotelian causation and its relationship to explanation, then, we must come to a precise understanding of the four causes, and how they are supposed to be explanatory. Aristotle’s (...)
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  2. Causal Necessity in Aristotle.Nathanael Stein - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (5):855-879.
    Like many realists about causation and causal powers, Aristotle uses the language of necessity when discussing causation, and he appears to think that by invoking necessity, he is clarifying the manner in which causes bring about or determine their effects. In so doing, he would appear to run afoul of Humean criticisms of the notion of a necessary connection between cause and effect. The claim that causes necessitate their effects may be understood—or attacked—in several ways, however, and so whether the (...)
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  3. Aristotle's Causal Pluralism.Nathanael Stein - 2011 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 93 (2):121-147.
    Central to Aristotle's metaphysics and epistemology is the claim that ‘aitia’ – ‘cause’ – is “said in many ways”, i.e., multivocal. Though the importance of the four causes in Aristotle's system cannot be overstated, the nature of his pluralism about aitiai has not been addressed. It is not at all obvious how these modes of causation are related to one another, or why they all deserve a common term. Nor is it clear, in particular, whether the causes are related to (...)
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  4.  77
    Definition and the Epistemology of Natural Kinds in Aristotle.Nathanael Stein - 2018 - Metaphysics 1 (1):33–51.
    We have reason to think that a fundamental goal of natural science, on Aristotle’s view, is to discover the essence-specifying definitions of natural kinds—with biological species as perhaps the most obvious case. However, we have in the end precious little evidence regarding what an Aristotelian definition of the form of a natural kind would look like, and so Aristotle’s view remains especially obscure precisely where it seems to be most applicable. I argue that if we can get a better understanding (...)
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  5. Explanation and Hypothetical Necessity in Aristotle.Nathanael Stein - 2016 - Ancient Philosophy 36 (2):353-382.
  6.  62
    Aristotle on Parts of Time and Being in Time.Nathanael Stein - 2016 - Review of Metaphysics 69 (3):495-518.
    Aristotle opens his discussion of time in Physics 4.10-14 with a puzzle, an argument which purports to show that time does not exist, since its only parts – the past and future – do not exist. He does not discuss the puzzle again, and so we are left with the question of how he would or could solve it. A full solution would involve not only a justification of realism about time, but also an account of why the puzzle arises, (...)
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    Immanent and Transeunt Potentiality.Nathanael Stein - 2014 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (1):33-60.
    The alleged but unclear distinction between so-called “immanent” and so-called “transeunt” causation is structurally similar to an Aristotelian distinction between two kinds of potentiality (dunamis). It is argued that Aristotle’s distinction is in turn grounded in one between a metaphysically basic notion, rooted in his property theory, and a metaphysically posterior notion proper to the understanding of change in the science of nature. By examining Aristotle’s distinction, we can give a satisfying account of immanent and transeunt causation more generally. Furthermore, (...)
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    Imagination, Expectation, and “Thoughts Entangled in Metaphors”.Nathanael Stein - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9411-9431.
    George Eliot strikingly describes one of her characters as making a mistake because he has gotten his thoughts “entangled in metaphors,” saying that we all do the same. I argue that Eliot is here giving us more than an illuminating description, but drawing our attention to a distinctive kind of mistake—a form of irrationality, in fact—of which metaphor can be an ineliminable part of the correct explanation. Her fictional case helps illuminate both a neglected function of the imagination, and a (...)
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  9. Causes and Categories.Nathanael Stein - 2016 - Noûs 50 (3):465-489.
    Philosophers discussing causation take on, as one of their responsibilities, the task of specifying an ontology of causation. Both standard and non-standard accounts of that ontology make two assumptions: that the ontological category of causal relata admits a unique specification, and that cause and effect are of the same ontological type. These assumptions are rarely made explicit, but there is in fact little reason to think them true. It is argued here that, if the question has any interest, there are (...)
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  10.  17
    The Supposed Material Cause in Posterior Analytics 2.11.Nathanael Stein - 2020 - Phronesis 66 (1):27-51.
    Aristotle presents four causes in Posterior Analytics 2.11, but where we expect matter we find instead the confusing formula, ‘what things being the case, necessarily this is the case’, and an equally confusing example. Some commentators infer that Aristotle is not referring to matter, others that he is but in a non-standard way. I argue that APo. 94a20-34 presents not matter, but determination by general features or facts, including facts about something’s genus. The closest connection to matter is Aristotle’s view (...)
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  11.  52
    The Puzzle of False Judgement in the Theaetetus.Nathanael Stein - 2016 - Phronesis: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy 61 (3):260–283.
    A puzzle about false judgement is raised in the Theaetetus (187d-200c), but not successfully answered there. On the proposed account, the confusion that explicitly vitiates Theaetetus’ final attempt to define knowledge is already at work implicitly in this puzzle. Theaetetus shares popular assumptions about knowledge (epistēmē), but also accepts that there are cognitive constraints on judgement (doxa): the puzzle arises because he fails to distinguish the one cognitive condition from the other.
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    Burger Aristotle's Dialogue with Socrates. On the Nicomachean Ethics. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2009. Pp. Viii + 309. £24/$35. 9780226080505 . £15.50/$22.50. 9780226080529. [REVIEW]Nathanael Stein - 2010 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 130:279-280.