Teleological Dialectic

Monte Ransome Johnson

in Aristotle on Teleology

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780199285303
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603143 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies Series

 Teleological Dialectic

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Aristotle articulates his natural teleology in the context of a dialectical engagement with his predecessors, identifying each of them with a salient causal factor: Empedocles (luck or chance), Democritus (necessity or spontaneity), Anaxagoras (intelligence or mind), and Plato (art and form). Aristotle tries to co-opt each of these factors into his naturalistic teleology by an a fortiori argument: to the extent that luck, necessity, intelligence, or art is a cause, nature must even more so be considered a cause. For luck is an incidental cause of that which nature is an intrinsic cause, necessity is a conjoint cause of that which nature is a leading cause, and art imitates nature.

Keywords: dialectic; luck; necessity; spontaneity; intelligence; form; Empedocles; Democritus; Anaxagoras

Chapter.  20687 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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