How Things Happen for the Sake of Something: The Dialectical Strategy of Aristotle, Physics 2.8

In: Phronesis
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  • 1 Department of Philosophy, Villanova University, 800 E. Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, USA

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Abstract

I offer a fresh interpretation of the dialectical strategy of Physics 2.8’s arguments that things in nature happen for the sake of something. Whereas many recent interpreters have concluded that these arguments inevitably beg the question against Aristotle’s opponents, I argue that they constitute a careful attempt to build common ground with an opponent who rejects Aristotle’s basic worldview. This common ground, first articulated in the famous Winter Rain Argument, takes the form of an intriguing pattern of reasoning: that natural proceedings that happen in a given manner always or for the most part do not do so by chance.

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