Aristotle’s Model of Animal Motion

in Phronesis
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In this paper we argue that Aristotle operates with a particular theoretical model in his explanation of animal locomotion, what we call the ‘centralized incoming and outgoing motions’ (CIOM) model. We show how the model accommodates more complex cases of animal motion and how it allows Aristotle to preserve the intuition that animals are self-movers, without jeopardizing his arguments for the eternity of motion and the necessary existence of one eternal unmoved mover in Physics VIII. The CIOM model helps to elucidate Aristotle’s two central yet problematic claims, namely that the soul is the efficient cause of animal motion and that it is the internal supporting-point necessary for animal motion. Moreover, the CIOM model helps us to explain the difference between voluntary, involuntary and non-voluntary motions, and to square Aristotle’s cardiocentrism with his hylomorphism, but also, more generally, it provides an interesting way of thinking about the place of intentionality in the causal structure of the world.

Aristotle’s Model of Animal Motion

in Phronesis



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Gill and Lennox 1994p. xv.


So Berryman 200293-7.


In this we differ from Furley (1978) who thinks that there must be a qualitative difference between the account of the motions of simpler animals on the one hand and humans on the other. This is justly criticized by Freeland (1994 38-9).


Nuyens 194855247; Mansion 1948 pp. ix-x; Ross 1957 65-7; Louis 1973 pp. xvii-xviii.


Furley 1978175.


Nussbaum 1978221-69endorsed by Furley 1978 179 n. 13.


A point made also by Waterlow 1982216.



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