Wholes and Ends

Stephen R.L. Clark

in Aristotle's Man

Published in print May 1975 | ISBN: 9780198245162
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680847 | DOI:
Wholes and Ends

Show Summary Details


The world is best understood in terms of a complex of wholes that are more than the aggregates of their parts and are to be picked out in terms of their ends. Aristotle's talk of Nature, of Being, and of Prime Matter can be explained by reference to the universal Whole, which men can mirror. Teleological analysis is a condition of our seeing the world of common sense at all, and the Whole makes sense in terms of the Aristotelian saint's awareness of it. This chapter argues that certain of Aristotle's remarks about ousia, being, can be explicated with the help of the concept of a teleologically identified whole. Locke's claim that ‘the boundaries of species are as men, and not as nature, makes them’ is in fact true only on a prescientific level. The paradeigmatic ousiai are wholes; the paradeigmatic wholes are living entities; living entities exist dynamically in such a way that they are wholes at any point in their existence but that their growth and nature is completed over a period of time.

Keywords: wholes; Aristotle; teleological analysis; ousia; Aristotelian saint; Nature; Being; Prime Matter

Chapter.  9352 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.