Physics V–VI vs. VIII: : Unity of Change and Disunity in the Physics

In Mariska Leunissen (ed.), Aristotle's Physics: a critical guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 206–224 (2015)
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Aristotle offers several arguments in Physics viii.8 for his thesis that, when something moves back and forth, it does not undergo a single motion. These arguments occur against the background of a sophisticated theory, expounded in Physics v—vi, of the basic structure of motions and of other continuous entities such as times and magnitudes. The arguments in Physics viii.8 stand in a complex relation to that theory. On the one hand, Aristotle evidently relies on the theory in a number of crucial steps. Yet in other steps he seems to contradict or misapply the theory. This situation offers the occasion to examine Aristotle’s views about some fundamentals in the metaphysics of motion, while also raising questions about the unity of the text which has come down to us as the Physics.

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Jacob Rosen
University of Pittsburgh


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