35 - Aristotle on Change The Physics The Physics is a study...

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Aristotle on Change The Physics The Physics is a study of nature ( ta phusika ), as opposed to the Metaphysics ( ta meta ta phusika —lit., “the stuff that comes after the stuff on nature”) which studies beings in general, not just natural objects. What is the difference? “ Natural things are some or all of them subject to change ” ( Physics I.2, 185a12- 13). So the study of nature is basically a study of change and the things that are subject to change. Puzzles about Change We know this was a topic that puzzled Aristotle’s predecessors. Plato said that real things (Forms) don’t change, and restricted change to the realm of appearances—the physical world. Parmenides went farther still, denying the existence of change altogether. Change is often described (both by Aristotle and his predecessors) as coming-to-be ( genesis ), and Aristotle gives an example of an argument against coming-to-be that sounds typically Parmenidean (191a28-29): What is cannot come to be (since it already is), while nothing can come to be from what is not
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This note was uploaded on 01/31/2011 for the course PHYSICS 110 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '09 term at UC Davis.

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35 - Aristotle on Change The Physics The Physics is a study...

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