Chapter

What Things Have Natures?

Sarah Waterlow

in Nature, Change, and Agency in Aristotle's Physics

Published in print April 1982 | ISBN: 9780198246534
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680984 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198246534.003.0002
What Things Have Natures?

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Ordinary experience seems to afford plenty of examples of objects endowed with Aristotelian natures. This point was mentioned in Chapter 1, with the proviso that the apparent examples can be accepted as genuine only if the general notions of ‘nature’ and ‘natural change’ are themselves coherent and viable. From now on this proviso will be taken for granted. But we still face a question that strikes at the foundations of Aristotle's natural philosophy as deeply as any previous doubts concerning the abstract soundness of its central notion. We have to consider the extension of the concept of nature as an inner principle of change and stasis. Even if we assume this concept to be instantiated, which if incoherent it could not be, we are not automatically entitled to the further assumption that whatever seems an instantiation is one in fact.

Keywords: Aristotle; natural philosophy; nature

Chapter.  18234 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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