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Episteme

Abstract

Aristotle’s disparate accounts of natural change appearing in Physics II and VIII are not incompatible if we realize they answer separate questions about distinct developmental systems. He works in two paradigms. In this paper, the author reviews and evaluates numerous opinions/arguments from commentators about how best to understand what Aristotle means by his potentially contradictory theories of self-change and energia, as well as how to critically assess the consistency and success of Aristotle’s body of work on the subject. The author argues that Daniel W. Graham offers a more accurate assessment of the way Aristotle’s later views on motion (energia, the unmoved mover) interact with his earlier more developed theory of self-change. The earlier theory, conceptualized well in De Caelo and Organon, tries to be simple and intuitive. Its incarnation in Physics II reads as awkward but not exactly logically inconsistent with the hylomorphic agenda elsewhere in the Physics.

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