David Sedley

in Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780520253643
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934368 | DOI:

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Aristotle was Plato's student for two decades before founding his own school. Aristotle is the ultimate teleological thinker of antiquity, and his teleology takes us to the very heart of his physics, his biology, his metaphysics, and his ethics. Aristotle cures the twin issues of creation and administration in strict parallel to each other. The world, along with its resident species, is not the product of an intelligent act of creation, for the simple reason that it had no beginning at all but has always existed as a thesis he defends by appeal to the essential of the heaven's circular motion. Aristotle is more Platonist than Plato. He too (Nicomachean ethics X 7–8) holds that the kind of happiness that can come from leading a virtuous civic life, although of great value, is instant, best likened to the godlike happiness of pure detached contemplation. Aristotle improves Plato to the extent that he seeks to make his own theology consistent with the same ranking of different brands of happiness.

Keywords: Aristotle; teleological thinker; ethics; physics; Platonist

Chapter.  17292 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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