Aristotle's Physics by W.D. Ross (comm.)

By W.D. Ross (comm.)

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4 185& 27-9. • ib. 16- 19. ARISTOTLE'S NATURAL PHILOSOPHY 2f goras holds that an infinite variety of bodies is thus sifted out; Empedocles holds that all that emerges is of four kinds and no more. Aristotle criticizes at some length Anaxagoras' vi~wJ and expresses his preference for th at of Empedocles. 1 What emerges from this discussion is that al1 former thinkers have recognized contraries as first principles. 2 Aristotle next attempts' to confirm by argument what he has found to be the uni ve rsal belief.

It will be seen that bad luck does not fit easily into th is account. Unlucky events certainly do not suggest or simulate purposive action on the part of the person concerned. We can bring in bad luck only as a kind of appendix to Aristotle's account of luck; unlucky sequences are those that sugges t and simulate purposive action by a hostile agent, as lucky events suggest and simulate purposive action by the person himsel! who experiences the lucky event. Having enumerated the four causes, and shown that chance is not a separate cause but the operation of an efficient cause,' which produces by the aid of a concomitant an end-like though not aimed-at result, Aristotle proceeds ~ to discuss th e use which physics should make of the four causes_ Incidentally he notes that the four causes are normally reducible to two.

There are, then, also cases in which such conditions are followed by results other than their normal results. As a first approximation, he identifies chance sequences with such cases. I But this is only an approximation to the truth. He proceeds to a further division of even ts into those that happen (lIfKa T OV and those th at do not. It is impossible to make sense of his doctrine of chance if we ta ke EY£Ka 'TOU to have here its natural meaning of 'for a purpose '. Things th at happen (II(Ko.

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Aristotle's Physics by W.D. Ross (comm.)
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