By David Bolotin
Keeping that Aristotle's writings in regards to the flora and fauna include a rhetorical floor in addition to a philosophic middle, David Bolotin argues during this booklet that Aristotle by no means heavily meant a lot of his doctrines which were demolished via sleek technology. for that reason, he provides a few "case stories" to teach that Aristotle intentionally misrepresented his perspectives approximately nature--a inspiration that used to be regularly shared via commentators on his paintings in overdue antiquity and the center a long time. Bolotin demonstrates that Aristotle's actual perspectives haven't been refuted by means of sleek technological know-how and nonetheless deserve our such a lot critical awareness.
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Additional info for An approach to Aristotle's physics: with particular attention to the role of his manner of writing
To be sure, he has invited us to assume that he thought so, first by arguing that the passive principle is only one and then by claiming, in the course of the development of his own account, that the substrate, insofar as it is not opposite to the new form, persists throughout the process of coming to be. 20 And yet he has also made it clear that we sometimes speak of a single principle in reference to a number of principles that are one in kind; and though he does later characterize the substrate as one in number, he is referring there, at least primarily, to the particular substrate of an artifact or to a particular being as the substrate of its various attributes.
According to the earlier view, we recall, the forms are independent beings that produce embodiments of themselves by somehow becoming present in (a portion of) the substrate, and that eventually cause the perishing of these embodiments by becoming absent from it, while themselves remaining eternally unaffected. On this new view, by contrast, a natural form is the principal aspect of a being that becomes and perishes, and it is this being that has the power to produce others of its kind, as for instance through the production of seeds like the one from which it came itself.
Now in the light of this usage, we are prepared to remark that Aristotle's discussion of Anaxagoras contains an unusual density of references to what "they," that is, he and his followers, say. It is true that he first mentions Anaxagoras in the singular as the author of a doctrine according to which the permanent substrate consists of infinitely many kinds (including all the uniform bodily parts such as flesh and bone, together with the contraries). But when he goes on to speak explicitly of what Anaxagoras thought (oihqhnai, 187a27), as distinct from what he authored (poiein, 187a24), he uses an ambiguous expression that could mean that he merely "seemed" (eoikede , 187a2628) to have thought this.
An approach to Aristotle's physics: with particular attention to the role of his manner of writing by David Bolotin