Stephen R.L. Clark

in Aristotle's Man

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

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This chapter attempts to show how Aristotle resolves the tension between the two major views of death: as an intrusion and as a completion. It also hopes to counter the difficulty inherent in any ethical theory that bases itself on the desire for survival, namely that ethical values may sometimes require the demise. Plato's arguments for immortality lead to Aristotle's belief only in the immortality of nous. One can endure death because one turns to the world and seeks its perfection by living according to the unaging best in them, energetically rather than kinetically. The argument from self-movement, that the soul keeps itself going, and is therefore causa sui and immortal, collapsed when Aristotle decided that literal self-movement was impossible, in that it implied the simultaneous actuality and potentiality of the same entity in the same respect.

Keywords: death; Aristotle; Plato; immortality; nous; intrusion; completion

Chapter.  4536 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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