Advertisement

Aristotle’s Account of Place in Physics 4: Some Puzzles and Some Reactions

  • Keimpe AlgraEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Studies in History and Philosophy of Science book series (AUST, volume 48)

Abstract

This contribution focuses on Aristotle’s account of place (not: space) as it is developed in Physics 4, 1–5, a difficult text which has proved to be both influential and a source of problems and discussions in the ancient and medieval Aristotelian tradition. The article starts out by briefly positioning this account within the Corpus Aristotelicum, within the later ancient and medieval Aristotelian tradition, and within the tradition of theories of place and space in general. It goes on to examine the argument of Phys. 4, 1–5, showing that proper attention to Aristotle’s dialectical procedure is crucial for a correct understanding and evaluation of the various claims that we find scattered throughout his text. It then zooms in on the most important questions, problems and loose ends with which Aristotle’s theory confronted his commentators (ancient, medieval and modern): the puzzling arguments for the rejection of the rival conception of place as an independent three-dimensional extension (and of the void); the supposed role of Aristotelian places in the explanation of motion; the supposed role of Aristotelian natural places in the explanation of natural motion; the problem of the required immobility of Aristotelian places; and the problem of the emplacement of the heavens.

References

  1. Algra, Keimpe. 1992. Place in Context: On Theophrastus fr. 21 and 22 Wimmer. In Theophrastus: His Psychological, Doxographical and Scientific Writings, ed. William Fortenbaugh and Dimitri D. Gutas, 141–165. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  2. ———. 1995. Concepts of Space in Greek Thought. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 2012. Introduction. In Philoponus On Aristotle Physics 4. 1-5, ed. Keimpe Algra and Johannes van Ophuijsen, 1–12. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 2014. Aristotle’s Conception of Place and Its Reception in the Hellenistic Period. In Space in Hellenistic Philosophy, ed. Graziano Ranocchia, Christoph Helmig, and Christoph Horn, 11–52. Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 2015. Place (M 10, 1–36). In Sextus Empiricus and Ancient Physics, ed. Keimpe Algra and Katerina Ierodiakonou, 184–216. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Algra, Keimpe, and Johannes van Ophuijsen. 2012. Philoponus On Aristotle Physics 4, 15. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bergson, Henri. 1889. Quid Aristoteles de loco senserit. Paris: Alcan.Google Scholar
  8. Burnyeat, Myles. 1984. The Sceptic in His Place and Time. In Philosophy in History: Essays on the Historiography of Philosophy, ed. Richard Rorty, Jerome Schneewind, and Quentin Skinner, 225–254. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Desclos, Marie-Laurence, and William Fortenbaugh. 2011. Strato of Lampsacus: Text, Translation and Discussion. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  10. Furley, David, and Christian Wildberg. 1991. Philoponus, Corollaries on Place and Void – With Simplicius, Against Philoponus on the Eternity of the World. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  11. Gottschalk, Hans. 1998. Theophrastus and the Peripatos. In Theophrastus: Reappraising the Sources, ed. Johannes van Ophuijsen and Marlein van Raalte, 281–299. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. ———. 2002. Eudemus and the Peripatos. In Eudemus of Rhodes, ed. Istvan Bodnár and William Fortenbaugh, 25–37. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  13. Grant, Edward. 1979. The Condemnation of 1277: God’s Absolute Power and Physical Thought in the Late Middle Ages. Viator 10: 211–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. ———. 1981a. Much Ado About Nothing: Theories of Space and Vacuum from the Middle Ages to the Scientific Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. ———. 1981b. The Medieval Doctrine of Place: Some Fundamental Problems and Solutions. In Studi sul XIV secolo in memoria di Anneliese Maier, ed. Alfonso Maierù and Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, 57–79. Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura.Google Scholar
  16. Hussey, Edward. 1983. Aristotle: Physics Books III and IV. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  17. Irigaray, Luce. 1998. Place, Interval: A Reading of Aristotle, Physics IV. In Feminist readings of Aristotle, ed. Cynthia A. Freeland, 41–58. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Lettink, Paul. 1994. Aristotle’s Physics and its Reception in the Arabic World: With an Edition of the Unpublished Parts of Ibn Bajja’s Commentary on the Physics. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  19. Morison, Ben. 2002. On Location: Aristotle’s Concept of Place. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. ———. 2010. Did Theophrastus Reject Aristotle’s Account of Place? Phronesis 55 (1): 68–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Owen, Gwyll. 1961. Tithenai ta phainomena. In Logic, Science and Dialectic, Collected Papers in Greek Philosophy, ed. Martha Nussbaum, 239–251. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  22. Rashed, Marwan. 2011. Alexandre d’Aphrodise: Commentaire perdue à la Physique d’Aristote (livres IV-VIII). Les scholies byzantines: Édition, traduction et commentaire. Berlin: De Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sambursky, Shmuel. 1982. The Concept of Place in Late Neoplatonism. Jerusalem: The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.Google Scholar
  24. Sharples, Robert. 1998. Theophrastus as Philosopher and Aristotelian. In Theophrastus: Reappraising the Sources, ed. Johannes van Ophuijsen and Marlein van Raalte, 267–281. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  25. ———. 2002. Eudemus’ Physics: Change, Place and Time. In Eudemus of Rhodes, ed. Istvan Bodnár and William Fortenbaugh, 107–126. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  26. ———. 2011. Strato of Lampsacus: The Sources, Texts and Translations. In Strato of Lampsacus: Text, Translation and Discussion, ed. Marie-Laurence Desclos and William Fortenbaugh, 5–231. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  27. Sorabji, Richard. 1988. Matter, Space and Motion. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  28. ———. 1990. The Ancient Commentators on Aristotle. In Aristotle Transformed, ed. Richard Sorabji, 1–30. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  29. ———. 2004. The Philosophy of the Commentators 200-600 AD: A Sourcebook, vol. 2, Physics. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  30. Todd, Robert. 2003. Themistius, On Aristotle’s Physics 4. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  31. Urmson, James O. 1992. Simplicius, On Aristotle’s Physics 4, 1–5 and 10–14. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  32. Urmson, James O., and Lucas Siorvanes. 1992. Simplicius, Corollaries on Place and Time. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  33. Waterfield, Robin, and David Bostock. 1996. Aristotle’s Physics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations