Aristotle's Theory of Bodies

ISBN : 9780198779728

Christian Pfeiffer
256 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jul 2018
Oxford Aristotle Studies Series
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Christian Pfeiffer explores an important, but neglected topic in Aristotle's theoretical philosophy: the theory of bodies. For Aristotle, physical science deals with perceptible substances, such as humans, dogs, or the four elements. Substances are bodies, that is to say, they are extended, their parts are continuous with each other and they have boundaries, which demarcate them from their surroundings. The book is the first comprehensive and rigorous account of the features substances have in virtue of being bodies. It is not only of scholarly interest because our concept of a material object is intimately tied to its spatial or topological properties. That being said, the book is unique in explicitly arguing for the need of such an account within Aristotle's natural philosophy. Many claims Aristotle makes about the infinite, motion, or place presuppose a general theory of body.


1 Introduction
Part I: Putting the Theory of Bodies in its Place
2 A Remark on the Notion of Body
3 Body in the Context of Physical Science
4 Mathematics and Physical Science
Part II: The Theory of Bodies
5 Body in Categories 6
6 A Topological Conception of Bodies
7 Contact and Continuity
8 Conclusions
Part III: Appendices
A Metaphysics V.13
B A List of the Propositions

About the author: 

Christian Pfeiffer studied Philosophy and Ancient Greek at the Humboldt University Berlin, the Free University Berlin, and the University of Edinburgh. He received his Magister Artium in 2008. For his Ph.D he studied, as a doctoral fellow of TOPOI, at the Humboldt-University of Berlin and, as a visiting student, in Princeton. His research interests are in ancient philosophy, in particular Aristotle. He is also interested in contemporary metaphysics and philosophy of language.

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