The Analysis of Change

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:
The Analysis of Change

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Having examined the concept of nature as a principle of change, this chapter now turns to change itself. Aristotle’s use of ‘μεταβολή‎’ expresses his determination to let nothing that could be called change from one state to another fall outside the net of the definition he is about to propose; whereas ‘κίνησις‎’ is symptomatic of a restriction controlling his entire approach to the concept of change. He says that changes are to be exhaustively classified in terms of the categories: the categories and categories alone determine all the respects in which change is possible. What better evidence of Aristotle’s aim that his definition should be fully comprehensive? But there are more ways than one of dividing the class of changes: there can be division, for instance, in terms of cause as well as in terms of respect. Some changes are from the natures of substances, some from conscious purpose, some from neither. And just a proper concern for comprehensiveness leads him to take account of each categorically determinate type of change, so it should deter him from concentrating exclusively on changes caused in one of several possible ways. But it is argued that this is precisely what does not happen in Physics III. Here, Aristotle has come to consider change in general because of his interest in nature, since change is that of which nature is the inner principle.

Keywords: Aristotle; change; nature; Physics

Chapter.  27035 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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