Article ID: CBB835571117

An early stage in the evolution of Aristotle's physics (2020)


Aristotle's Physics V and VI deal with the same concepts: motion, change and continuity. The two books, however, employ altogether different approaches to the study of these concepts, thus presenting different orders of conceptualization. Abraham Edel (1982, 42) claims that Aristotle is a systematic philosopher “not in the sense of [i] one who pursues a deductive system … but in the sense of [ii] one who has a well-constructed and fairly clearly analyzed conceptual network that he uses with considerable power in field after field of human inquiry.” Truly, [ii] is more typical of Aristotle, but in the Physics both approaches are present. Books VI and V (respectively) are good examples. It is commonly taken for granted that Physics V prepares for VI, because of the order in which they appear in the corpus, and because V includes the definitions of the main concepts that are used in VI. A closer look at the texts, however, reveals that the definitions of V are not used in VI. I argue that the definitions of V were not only unknown when VI was written, but are actually incompatible with the spirit of Physics VI and with the main thesis underlying it. Physics VI is close in method, conceptual basis and in its radical formal approach to the Posterior Analytics, and a part of it (the early stratum) looks like a mathematical exercise. The mathematical-logical approach was abandoned, and gave way to the more mature Aristotelian style, which is already dominant in Physics V.

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Authors & Contributors
Peramatzis, Michail
Anders, John
Bolton, Robert
Bowin, John
De Groot, Jean
Dudley, John
Apeiron: Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
Ancient Philosophy
Chinese Journal for the History of Science and Technology
Science and Education
Cambridge University Press
Cornell University Press
State University of New York Press
Boston College
Motion (physical)
Philosophy of science
Natural philosophy
Explanation; hypotheses; theories
Newton, Isaac
Time Periods
17th century

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