Aristotle's Ontology of Change

Chicago, IL, USA: Northwestern University Press (2020)
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Abstract

This book investigates what change is, according to Aristotle, and how it affects his conception of being. Mark Sentesy argues that change leads Aristotle to develop first-order metaphysical concepts such as matter, potency, actuality, sources of being, and the teleology of emerging things. He shows that Aristotle’s distinctive ontological claim—that being is inescapably diverse in kind—is anchored in his argument for the existence of change. Aristotle may be the only thinker to have given a noncircular definition of change. When he gave this definition, arguing that change is real was a losing proposition. To show that it exists, he had to rework the way philosophers understood reality. His groundbreaking analysis of change has long been interpreted through a Platonist lens, however, in which being is conceived as unchanging. Offering a comprehensive reexamination of the relationship between change and being in Aristotle, Sentesy makes an important contribution to scholarship on Aristotle, ancient philosophy, the history and philosophy of science, and metaphysics.

Author's Profile

Mark Sentesy
Pennsylvania State University

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