Aristotle's Theology

Stephen Menn

in The Oxford Handbook of Aristotle

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195187489
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Aristotle's Theology

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When Aristotle speaks of theologikê, he means not the study of a single God, but the study of gods and divine things in general. He never uses the phrase “the unmoved mover” to pick out just one being (or even to pick out the many movers of the heavenly spheres), and that phrase would not express the essence of the beings it applies to. To see what sort of religious interest there might be in such a being, and how the words “god” and “divine” enter into Aristotle's philosophy, it is best to start with what he says about gods and divine things in moral and political contexts. Guided by his criticisms of Plato on the soul's self-motion, Aristotle sets out, in Physics VIII, to give a revised version of Plato's cosmotheological argument in Laws X. This article focuses on Aristotle's theology and his views about gods, the soul, the cosmos, heavens and heavenly bodies, and the first principle or first cause.

Keywords: Aristotle; theology; gods; soul; unmoved mover; self-motion; Plato; cosmos; heavenly bodies; first principle

Article.  26195 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Classical Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion

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