A Story of Unrequited Love

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Aristotle’s Poetics defends the value of tragic poetry, presumably to counter Plato’s critique in the Republic. Can this defense resonate with something larger and rather surprising, that Aristotle’s overall philosophy displays a tragic character? I define the tragic as pertaining to indigenous and inescapable limits on life, knowledge, control, achievement, and agency. I explore how such limits figure in Aristotle’s physics, metaphysics, and biological works. Accordingly I want to disturb the common account of Aristotle’s thought as a neat system of ontological order and metaphysical closure—not to exclude such elements but to place them within a world-view that includes certain limits at the edges of being.
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Archival date: 2015-10-24
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