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EVENT AND POIESIS: THE ARISTOTELIAN THEORY OF NATURAL EVENTS


In this article, I will examine the Aristotelian theory of the individuation of natural events, rst in general, then in relation to the Aristotelian denition of movement that one can nd in Physics (III, 1). This analysis will enable me, I think, to show that in the individuation of natural events Aristotle neither refers to our usual ways of talking about an event, not refers to the idea of a continuous causal chain in which the event would occur. He rather starts with the nature of the event itself. The analogy of the ontological structure of the event leads to the individuation of a complex of movements, such as productions and events, which share common features. They are opposed to states of motionlessness, and to superior kinds of activity, praxeis strictly speaking, such as the virtuous action of a man, or divine thinking. I. The Aristotelian Theory of Natural Events In the Physics,Aristotle rst intends to argue the possibility of becoming, against its denial claimed by Parmenides and his school. Second, Aristotle says that we can deal with the following question: Once the existence of becoming and then the existence of the process of transformation (metabole) in the empirical world have been admitted, how can we account for them? This second kind of investigation, as Aristotle says at the beginning of the Physics, is more appropriate to an investigation of nature, whereas the investigation on the possibility of becoming and its nature would, strictly speaking, be more in accordance with another kind of knowledge that is superior to physics.1 Aristotle adds that it is impossible to make an investigation of nature without dealing with that question, since the eleatic philosophy, which denied the reality of becoming, made physics impossible as a science of becoming.This is the reason why Aristotle devotes one part of Physics, book I, to examining
CARLO NATALI, Professor, Department of Philosophy and Theory of Science, Universit CaFoscari Venezia. Specialties: Greek philosophy, Aristotle, ethics. E-mail: natali@ unive.it Journal of Chinese Philosophy 36:4 (December 2009) 503515 2009 Journal of Chinese Philosophy

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the opinions of Parmenides, Melissos, and Anaxagoras, and why the content of the Aristotelian treatise Physics Lessons (Physike akroasis) does not belong only to physics as the science of becoming. On the contrary, physics leads directly to ontology and aims at establishing its own conditions of possibility, that is, at founding itself.2 It must be clear that the distinction between ontology and physics that I am suggesting does not refer to the distinction between philosophy and scientic knowledge in the modern sense. It is rather a distinction between two metaphysical investigations, conducted at different levels, as proved by the fact in other works Aristotle gives to ontology the name of rst philosophy, and to physics the name, of second philosophy.3 The discussion of the best way of accounting for becoming, the part of his investigation that I will deal with in this article, belongs to second philosophy. I will start my discussion of Aristotles text after his refutation of those who deny the existence of movement, where his investigation of physical processes starts with the examination of what is admitted to be a single process of becoming: A not-knowing music man who becomes a musician.4 This odd example cannot remain unnoticed. Aristotle provides us with an example of a complex event, much more complex than those of classical physics such as falling apples, billiard balls moving on the green pool, swinging pendulum, strange combinations of waves, and corpuscles. Rather, Aristotle has chosen a highly articulated event, the learning of a techn by a human being, where there is no natural event strictly speaking.5 This approach is in accordance with Aristotles tendency to nd the most fundamental distinctions, on which theories must be based, in complex phenomena and not in simple cases, like those often examined in contemporary philosophy. In simple cases, the relevant distinctions tend to be imperceptible because the examples do not leave enough room for a clear separation of the constitutive elements. According to Aristotle, to nd the fundamental elements in the theoretical description of natural events, one must start not with simple but with complex events that can be divided into constitutive and fundamental elements. Aristotle gives a theoretical account of this approach at the beginning of Physics:
Now what is to us plain and obvious at rst is the elements and principles of which will become known to us later by analysis are composed things. Thus we must advance from universals to particulars; for it is a whole that is best known to sense-perception, and the universal is a kind of whole, comprehending many things within it, like parts. Much the same thing happens in the relation of the name to the formula. A name, e.g. round, means vaguely a sort of whole: its denition analyzes this into its parts. Similarly a child begins by calling all men father, and all women mother, but later on distinguishes each of them.6

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Here, Aristotle gives a clear account of his approach: It consists in starting with complex entities of which we have a clear general idea and then in analyzing their constitutive parts. It does not consist in starting with very simple events that would be similar to atoms and thus not easily decomposed by analysis. This principle is applied to becoming:
The natural procedure is rst to say what is common to all cases and only after to consider the particulars. We say that one thing comes to be from another thing, and one sort of thing from another sort of thing, both in the case of simple and of complex things. I mean the following. We can say (1) man becomes musical, (2) or what is not-musical becomes musical, or (3), the not-musical man becomes a musical man. Now what becomes in (1) and (2)man and not musicalI call simple, and what each becomesmusicalsimple also. But when (3) we say the not-musical man becomes a musical man, both what becomes and what it becomes are complex.7

In this passage, Aristotle clearly considers the examination of a complex entity as an appropriate starting point for his investigation. He refuses to start his investigation with a basic transformation, a basic event, such as: not-A(x) becomes A(x). He intends to analyze this transformation through a more articulated logical structure, that is not-A,H(x) becomes A,H(x), a formula in which the elements that remain unchanged (H) are represented, as well as those that change, appear, or are destroyed (not-A, A). Let us follow his analysis. At the beginning of his discussion on becoming, Aristotle exposes what he considers to be the most important point:
Our rst presupposition must be that in nature nothing acts on, or is acted on by, any other thing at random, nor may anything come from anything else, unless we mean that it does so by accident. For how could white come from musical, unless musical happened to be an attribute of the not-white or of the black? No, white comes from not-white and not from any not-white, but from black or some intermediate color. Similarly, musical comes to be from notmusical, but not from any thing other than musical, but from unmusical or any intermediate state there may be.8

This theory does not proceed from an empirical observation, but is the consequence of a logical and ontological consideration of becoming. The main idea is that all physical transformations cannot be randomly referred to an antecedent: For every kind of being there is a xed sphere of possible movements that cannot be broken. What is red can become blue, a square form can become round, but nothing can pass from red to square. Of course it does not mean that something becoming round cannot also be red, that is, while it is becoming round it can simultaneously undergo a change of color.9 But this process of

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coloration is simultaneous to becoming round, it is not the same process. In this respect, Aristotles position is opposed to Platos. Plato had not made a clear distinction between the two meanings of the single term not-A. Plato, like Aristotle, describes change as a passage from the state not-A to the state A, but he does not distinguish (1) the state not-A in the sense of not having a qualication that the subject could have without contradiction, from being not-A in the sense of not having a qualication that a being could never have without contradiction. On the contrary, for Aristotle, the relevant meaning of the expression non-A is the following: A being (x) is not an A but could become an A. If we take Aristotles example, blind can be said in two different ways if it is applied to a man or a mole, which is an animal deprived of vision by nature,10 so that the process of recovering visionthat could be expressed with the formula: not-A,H(x) becomes A,H(x)is possible in the case of a man, but not in the case of a mole. Like other fundamental words in Aristotelian philosophy, the concept of becoming or movement in the general sense of the word (kinesis) is not univocal, but its meanings are as many as the kinds of the physical processes in the world. A concrete event is never only a becoming, in the general or abstract sense of the word, but every peculiar event of transformation (metabol) is a certain kind of becoming: It can be a local movement, a change of color, form, dimension, and so on. In an ontology divided from the start into categories, becoming itself is divided from the start into categories:
Again, there is no such thing as motion over and above the things. It is always with respect to substance or to quantity or to quality or to place that what changes changes. But it is impossible, as we assert, to nd anything common to these which is neither this nor quantum nor quale nor any of the other predicates. Hence neither will motion and change have reference to something over and above the things mentioned, for there is nothing over and above them.11

In contrast to Hume and to contemporary philosophy inuenced by the Humean tradition, Aristotle considers becoming not only as a succession of pure events and phenomena that are connected by causal links, but rather as the succession of changes in an enduring subject. Such a subject has two characteristics: It works as a principle of selection of possible events, and it assumes the function of the moving cause. I will reexamine this point later, but let us underline that from Aristotles perspective, the two following statements: (1) there is no generation in which any being comes from any being and (2) there is no movement outside things are bound by a logical link,

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and cannot be asserted separately.12 There is no subject of change that belongs to several different categories: x, the subject of becoming, is a unitary being from the categorial standpoint; it can be an individual Socratesor a qualitythe whitebut cannot be at the same time Socrates-and-the-white. This is different from the fact that Socrates can be white. This principle has two consequences. On the epistemological level, each form of becoming is the object of a specic science that deals with the determination of its cause and nature.13 The scale of the possible movements of a being that becoming can achieve, determined by the two contrary terms (not-A,H and A,H), denes a specic epistemic eld circumscribing a possible realm for a unied science. Although no event is becoming in the absolute or abstract, there is the possibility of general theoretical consideration, called dialectic by some people,14 about the notion of becoming and the features of becoming that are common to all processes of natural transformation. The rst part of the Physics consists in this consideration of the features common to every kind of concrete becoming. On the physical level, the implications of this principle are much more important: The existence of a xed scale of possible movements of a being implies that the event is neither totally nor exclusively determined by the conditions that provoked it causally (in the Humean sense of the word). If such were the case, the being would not have any feature of its own, and it would not have a nature of its own that could dene the events that might affect it. On the contrary, it could be affected by any kind of causation, and could transform itself into any thing, as in the Newtonian mechanics. From Newtons perspective, like that of Stoic physics,15 the regularity of the transformations that occur in nature is entirely imputable to conditions that are external to the object and regulate its movement: Where the conditions are the same, the results are the same. From Aristotles perspective, the regularity of transformationsthat enables something white to become black or green, but unable to become something deprived of color by nature, such as the voice16comes from the nature of the changing thing.17 Thus, the nature of the being which is subjected to or determines an event of transformation has a strong inuence, and it rst works as a principle of selection of the possible events that can affect a being. This is the reason why the principle of identication of the events to which a being can be exposed depends on the nature of the being affected by the transformation. In this theory, every single event is individuable, as the actualization of the ability of a specic being (the substratum of the movement) to obtain a specic quality at a specic

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moment. This is the famous theory of movement as a passage from potency to act. Aristotle states this position: Two principles are not enough to account for the movement, a principle (not-A) indicating the initial state of the process, and a principle (A) indicating the nal state of the process. A third principle is required for achieving the passage from not-A to A, and it must last during the change. This is the formula aforementioned: not-A,H(x) becomes A,H(x). An event like learning to play music cannot be analyzed as ignorance of music is replaced by knowledge of music, but as a certain individual (Socrates), who does not know music, but who is a man and not a stone (then he is able to become a musician), does it. This implies that all descriptions of a process are not equivalent: Socrates learns to play and the white (of hair) moves one of its extremities on the keyboard are not the same. Only the rst statement can give a precise idea of the process in act, regarding all the essential qualities and capacities that qualify the beings that are not accidentally implied in the process of this becoming. Only the rst description tells us that what is moving one of its extremity is a man; that his movements are intentional, follow a standard and are not randomly achieved, are not constrained by outside forces, and are the actualization of a specic ability of becoming being, one typical tendency of which is actualizing. For to exercise to produce melodic sounds by music is a typical quality only of human beings. It is also possible that this event (Socrates learning to play) does not take place within a causal chain: It might be the cause of nothing and derive from nothing other than itself. Contrary to Stoic and contemporary theories of events, this does not prevent Aristotle from holding that the event can be identied. It can be identied as an actualization of a particular capacity of a specic being because understanding what kind of thing playing is depends on understanding what kind of thing a human being is and doe not depend on establishing the causes on which playing relies and its implications.18 However, understanding what kind of thing a human being is requires grasping the essence of a human being, a notion that seems unacceptable to modern minds, inuenced by Quine. Let us have a closer examination of this point. According to Aristotle, to establish what kind of thing a process is one has to determine the nature and the characteristic dispositions of the being subjected to specic determinations, and this determination, to avoid circularity, must be independent of the whole set of transformations that can affect the agent.The determination of the capacity of a specic being or natural species does not coincide with the set of activities that individuals of that species can achieve or have, at least

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once, achieved. According to Aristotles conception of the circularity of time, which acknowledges the eternity of the world and the cyclical return of the same events,19 one can imagine that any being of a given species can undergo all the possible events at least once. It would therefore be impossible to distinguish between two species only by referring to the events that they endure, because in each case the complete set of the events that have occurred is potentially unlimited, and an extensional description of the capacity of a species to be subjected to an event would have poor informative value for identifying that species. On the contrary, the determination of the capacity of transformation or potency of a being (x) depends on the determination of the nature of the being itself, that is on the answer to the Aristotelian question what kind of being belongs to a being (x), (toi x einai). One then has to determine the sense of its being. According to Aristotle, to determine the sense of being that belongs to a being x, that is, to dene its essence, does not derive from a mysterious and extra-empirical intuition; rather, it is a rational process directly linked to the necessity that words must signify something. Any word in ordinary language, such as dog, can mean either (1) one thing or (2) many things but in a nite number, for instance a barking animal or a constellation. If a term signies an innite number of meanings, it does not signify anything. But according to Aristotle, case (2) easily amounts to case (1) in a standardized language, where a perfect bi-univocal correspondence between a name and it signied would be reached through appropriate operations of purication and elimination on unclear cases.20 But for Aristotle, the signied of a term in a standardized language is strictly bound to the determination of the essence of the being denoted by this term. On the basis of the determination of the kind of being that belongs to x, it is possible to undertake the individuation of the set of events that can affect x. In this respect, the determination of the potency of a specic being is a principle of selection of the events that can affect this being, as well of the distinction between natural and constrained events. By this new distinction, Aristotle means that anything that happens to a being does not express its capacity or its constitutive potency, but that some events are, as it were, unnatural. These events are those where external circumstances determine not-natural accidents: Monkeys do not y, but they can be moved by airplane. II. The Aristotelian Definition of Movement At this stage, we can deal with Aristotles famous denition of movement or becoming (kinesis) in the Physics, book III.

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The actuality of what is potentially, in so far as it is potentially, is changenamely, of what is alterable qua alterable, alteration: of what can be increased and its opposite what can be decreased (there is no common name), increase and decrease: of what can come to be and can pass away, coming to be and passing away: of what can be carried along, locomotion.21

We must understand that a being that can in potency endure a transformation from state A to state B is in movement when achieving this transformation. Let us say again that there is no general movement but only the peculiar movement of x from A to B.22 A physical transformation, like the process of the production of an object, can be described in Aristotelian terms as the passage endured by a substratum (a heap of wood) from an initial state A (pieces of wood in disorder) to a state B (a chair). We can then understand becoming in two ways: On the one hand, as the appearance of state B, the coming into being of the chair, and in this sense, the change exists only when B is present, at the end of becoming; on the other hand, as the process leading to B, and in this sense, the change is the whole set of factors leading to B, while B is the terminal point of the process.23 The aforementioned denition of movement refers to the latter. The interpretation of this denition has made some progress in the recent years. The Aristotelian denition considers the movement as an actualization of the capacity of a being. According to the traditional interpretation, this actuality would be a passage, a becoming, so that the denition would be circular, since it includes the deniendum in the denition itself.24 As such, it has been the target of repeated criticism. But the traditional interpretation has been questioned by several contemporary scholars who claim that, for Aristotle, the actuality in which becoming consists is not a passage but a peculiar mode of being, purely transitive.25 This interpretation seems preferable. According to Aristotle, the event, the becoming of a peculiar being, is a being sui generis, that is, a transient state.This transient state does not correspond to a moment of passivity of the being in question: On the contrary it is the beingin-act of a potency which is typical of the natural event. Several commentators, among the most recent ones, have claimed that Aristotle in this passage intentionally used the word entelecheia, which means to be in a certain state, rather than the word energeia, which means the achievement of a process. Other commentators have claimed that despite the slight etymological difference between energeia and entelecheia, in Aristotles use of these words, the distinction of their meanings is not so rigid, and the two words are closely linked, and then can be used to mean le fait dtre en oeuvre.26 However, what matters is that Aristotle does not give a denition of movement

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through the concept of becoming or passage, implying circular reasoning, but underlines the view that movement is a peculiar mode of being. This question has been best claried by Sarah Waterlow: Aristotle calls it (the event) aptly an entelecheia, a word which says that becoming, when it takes place, does so not because it itself is becoming, but because it successfully manages to be.27 An event, for instance a local movement from A to B, while it is being achieved, is a form of becoming, and it is itself; and it does not change and does not become, for instance, passing from a local movement to a change of color. Every peculiar becoming has a quasiessence that belongs to it or, as Aristotle says, it is an imperfect act28 or an imperfect actuality.29 This prevents us from understanding the event as open to an unlimited description, as it is in contemporary theories of events. But this implies again the possibility of individuating every single event, even apart from a given causal chain, because an event emerges according to the kind of event it is, but does not become a different event: Nothing becomes passing from a state A (to be in Venice) to a state Z (to be red), because a local movement cannot transform itself in an alteration of color. The alteration of color can at the most be a consequence. There is in the Aristotelian theory a principle of individuation of events that refers to their own nature or to their meaning. An event can be identied by its nature, and the capacity it develops. Heidegger and commentators inuenced by him have underlined the fact that Aristotle, in his Metaphysics, gives to the notion of act the dynamic meaning of activity, actualization (energeia). They have understood the essential being of Aristotle as a way of happening, as an event.30 But the reverse is true: In interpreting becoming as actuality, Aristotle sees the event as having a kind of essence. This can be obviously understood in different ways according to different philosophical traditions. In a certain tradition, this theory can be imputed to Aristotle as essentialism; in another philosophical context, it can be an interesting alternative to the criterion of identity of events according to their localization in a given causal chain. Such a criterion was been proposed recently by Donald Davidson, but according to David Charles, it is not perfect: it is not committed to any view of essential properties of events, and hence does not give an account of identity across possible worlds.31 According to Charles, the Aristotelian criterion can avoid this danger. From an Aristotelian perspective, change can be truly understood only if one keeps in mind that every event: (1) expresses the potency of the changing event: A being transforms into something in so far as it is this something in potency; (2) has a self-terminating character:32 It is its nature to reach the nal state, the telos, at which it stops; (3) is a peculiar actuality that is different from

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the being of its nal state, the telos, which is the act in the full meaning of the term; and (4) is not an auto-generating process, but always implies the presence of a motive cause.33

III. Actions, Productions, and Events In Aristotle, we cannot nd a discussion on the criteria required to make a strict distinction between natural events and human actions. This is probably because for Aristotle such a distinction is so clear and certain that there is no need to discuss it. He states that the distinction between what derives from human actions and what derives from natural events is obvious in itself and does not need to be justied.34 It is clear that some things have in themselves the principle of change and permanence (animals and plants), and some other things result from human activity (beds and coats); the latter do not have any internal impulse (horme) to change, and do not change by themselves. This distinction between natural beings and articial beings is considered to be a primitive concept.Aristotle says it would be ridiculous for some things to intend to prove that there is an independent principle of change and permanence, called nature.35 It would also be ridiculous for Aristotle to intend to prove that there is in us a principle which enables us to introduce new things into the world: If we did not have this principle, deliberation would be unjustied. The distinction between the two elds is clear, and to prove what is obvious by what is not is the mark of a man who is unable to distinguish what is self-evident from what is not.36 On the contrary, Aristotle establishes a strict distinction between two kinds of human activity: action and production. In one of the most notable passages of the Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle claims:
The class of things that admit of variation includes both things made and actions done. But making is different from acting, a distinction we may accept from our discourses directed to the general public. Hence the rational quality concerned with doing is different from the rational quality concerned with making; nor is one of them a part of the other, for doing is not a form of making, nor making a form of doing.37

The distinction between wisdom and production lies in a difference of ends. In the case of production, the end either consists in an external individual being, like a house, or consists in a peculiar state of an external individual being, natural or articial, such as health or being painted yellow. But the end of production consists not only in the process that must lead to the achievement, such as recovery, but also in the achievement being reached. If the achievement is not reached,

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the one who acts does not know his skill. It is like the joke about the incapable physicians who says, The operation was a success, but the patient died. In productions, the end consists in achieving an external being and not only in achieving the movement that leads to the production of an external being, without considering if the being has emerged or not. Conversely, for praxis, the end coincides with the actualization of the capacity of the subject, and there is no work other than the actualization, or act. This actualization achieves itself in the acting being (e.g., seeing, contemplating, living, being happy), so that the end is present during the acutalization of the capacity. This distinction, which can be found in several passages of Aristotle, is expressed in the Eudemian Ethics:
[F]or some things have a work that is something different from their coming into act, for instance the work of architecture is a house, not the act of building, that of medicine health, not the process of healing or curing, whereas with other things their work is the process of their coming into act, for instance the work of sight is the act of seeing, that of mathematical science the contemplation of mathematical truths.38

In referring to this passage, Thomas Aquinas calls the distinction actio manens in agente and actio transiens in objectum.39 In my view, according to the distinction made by Aristotle, production (poiesis), resulting from skill, has a structure similar to the structure of a natural event, whereas action strictly speaking, political or ethical praxis, has different ontological characteristics. In Aristotles view, what a man does is not always an action, but a lot of his movements happen in a way similar to physical events. In this sense, the distinction between action and event is relevant for Aristotelian philosophy. In the eld of what humans do, the word action (strictly speaking) holding good only for a limited range of activities. Even if Aristotle does not give a clear distinction between actions and events, similar to the modern distinction, and proposes rather a theory of physical events, which can also apply to many of the events we call human actions, his account of natural becoming is not the archaic result of an ingenuous essentialism. The Aristotelian doctrine of events provides a way to individuate natural events. It goes beyond the language we use concerning events, and does not involve locating events in a specic causal chain. But this criterion, in so far as it refers to the kind of being that belongs to a specic being, does not work totally apart from the semantics of the words used in language. According to Aristotle, a connection exists between the meaning of the word man and the kind of being that belongs to a man. Determining the nature of the subject and the nature of the event plays a central part in this theory. Aristotle is

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perfectly aware that this makes his theory very different from any other ontological or physical account of becoming.
UNIVERSIT CAFOSCARI VENEZIA Venice, Italy

Endnotes
I would like to thank Dr. Etienne Helmer (Paris) who kindly translated my paper into English from the original French version and also Dr. Nicholas Bunnin and Professor Chung-ying Cheng for the invaluable editorial help in preparing this volume. An earlier version of this paper was published in French as venment et poiesis. La thorie aristotlicienne des venements naturels, in Raisons Pratiques 2: Lvnement en perspective, publi sous la direction de J.-L. Petit (Paris: ditions de lEHESS, 1991), pp. 177201. 1. Aristotle, Physics, in The Complete Works of Aristotle. The Revised Oxford Translation, 6th ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), 185a1417. 2. Enrico Berti, Studi aristotelici (LAquila: Japadre, 1975), 7. 3. Ibid, 4759. 4. Aristotle, Physics, 1089b, ff. 5. Rmi Brague, Aristote et la question du monde. Essai sur le contexte cosmologique et anthropologique de lontologie (Paris: P.U.F., 1988), 5. 6. Aristotle, Physics, 184a 21b 3 (trans. Hardie-Gaye with modications). On this passage, cf. Paul Tannery, Sur un point de la mthode dAristote, Archiv fr Geschichte der Philosophie 6 (1893): 46971; and David Konstan, A note on Aristotles Physics 1,1, Archiv fr Geschichte der Philosophie 57 (1975): 24145. 7. Ibid., 189b 31190a 5. 8. Ibid., 188a 31b 8. 9. William Charlton, trans. and notes, Aristotles Physics Books III (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970), 66. 10. Aristotle, Metaphysic, trans. Willam David Ross (Adelaide: eBooks@adelaide, 2007), 1022b, 2231. 11. Aristotle, Physics, 200b 32201 a 3. 12. Edward Hussey, trans. and notes, Aristotles Physics Books III and 1V (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), 57. 13. Lambros Couloubaritsis, Lavnement de la science physique. Essai sur la Physique dAristote (Bruxelles: Ousia, 1980), 144. 14. Berti, Studi aristotelici, 1112. 15. Samuel Sambursky, Physics of the Stoics (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1959), 4957. 16. Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1069b 1420. 17. Sarah Waterlow, Nature, Change, and Agency in Aristotles Physics: A Philosophical Study (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 58. 18. David Charles, Aristotles Philosophy of Action (London: Duckworth, 1984), 3044. 19. Carlo Natali, La teoria aristotelica delle catastro metodi di razionalizzazione di un mito, Rivista di Filologia e dIstruzione Classica 105 (1977): 4034. 20. Carlo Natali,Note ad Aristotele Metaph. IV 36, Veriche 7, nos. 34 (1978): 47386, 481. 21. Aristotle, Physics, 201 a 1015. 22. Charles, Aristotles Philosophy of Action, 20; Waterlow, Nature, Change, and Agency, 112. 23. Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1048b 1821; cf. Waterlow, Nature, Change, and Agency, 9596. 24. Cf. among others Willam David Ross, Aristotles Physics, a Revised Text with Introduction and Commentary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1936), 537: it is the passage from potentiality to actuality that is the kinesis (his italics), 359; Friedrich Solmsen, Aristotles System of the Physical World (New York: Ithaca, 1960), 66; Wolfgang Wieland,

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25.

26. 27. 28. 29. 30.

31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39.

Die aristotelische Physik (Gttingen: Vandenhoech & Ruprecht, 1970), 249; Pierre Aubenque, Le problme de ltre chez Aristote. Essai sur la problmatique aristotlicienne (Paris: P.U.F., 1962), 454, criticizes this interpretation and proposes the idea of acte imparfait (cf. Aristotle, Physics, 201b 3132), yet understood as lacte mme . . . de ntre jamais tout fait en acte, which is quite close to the concept of the innite. Cf. Louis Aryeh Kosman, Aristotles Denition of Motion, Phronesis 14 (1969): 4062, 4145; Couloubaritsis, Lavnement de la science physique, 266 ff.; Waterlow, Nature, Change, and Agency, 113; Brague, Aristote et la question du monde, 11; Enrico Berti, Les mthodes dargumentation et de dmonstration dans la Physique (Apories, phnomnes, principes) in AA.VV., Il concetto di Atto nella Metasica di Aristotele, ed. Sanchez Sorondo (Roma: Herder, 1990), 4361, 5051. Brague, Aristote et la question du monde, 500. Waterlow, Nature, Change, and Agency, 113. Aristotle, Physics, 201b 3031. Ibid., 257b 89. Franco Volpi, Heidegger e Aristotele (Padova: Daphne, 1984), 18290. Brague, Aristote et la question du monde, 497509, has suggested a more subtle interpretation: In the Aristotelian denition of movement there was a possibility, that Aristotle did not use, to pass from a given model of ontology to a more appropriate one: The possibility to go beyond the paradigm of the visual grasp, so typical of the Greek thought, and to open a way toward being through the logos. Aristotle would then have suggested a possible surpassing of himself and his own metaphysical time. Charles, Aristotles Philosophy of Action, 32. Kosman, Aristotles Denition of Motion, 6061; Waterlow, Nature, Change, and Agency, 106. Couloubaritsis, Lavnement de la science physique, 28193, insists very much on this point. Aristotle, Physics, II 1, 192b 8 ff. Ibid., 193a 3. Ibid., 193a 36. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, trans. Willam David Ross (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), 1140a 16. Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, in Aristotle in 23 Volumes, vol. 20, trans. Harris Rakham (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, and London: William Heinemann, 1981), 1219a 1318. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Thologiae, Ia 18.3 ad 1.