SOPhiA 2013

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

A New Account of Aristotelian Endurantism
(Metaphysics & Ontology, English)

Does Aristotelian endurantism lead to a deterministic account of change processes?

(A) I show that in his Metaphysics Aristotle endorsed the so-called 'principle of plenitude', and that he nevertheless understood contingency propositions of the form

(*) 'A is contingently B'

as true propositions, even if there is no instant in time in which B actually holds of A.

By making this claim I challenge the recent reading of Beere 2009. I suggest that there is a distinction between Aristotle's ''metaphysical'' treatment of the concepts of potentiality and of actuality, and its ''logical'' counterpart. From a metaphysical viewpoint, a proposition like (*) is true iff there at least one instant in time in which B holds of A.

However, if we make abstraction from this account, and we consider possibility in itself, we can conceive of it otherwise: there are indeed events which happen by chance, and which can never be the case, altough they are said to be possible (cf. on this Prior Analytics A, 13,32 b10ff.). In other words, our ''logical account'' of possibility makes room to unrealized possibilities; change should be understood accordingly.

(B) Brower (2010) has proposed a version of Aristotelian endurantism, which aims at avoiding the difficulties encountered by the theory of temporal intrinsics in order to expound change. However, Brower suggests that the underlying nature of change is matter, but he does not take into account the fact that matter has always a certain quantity, and quantity may change as well. As a consqeuence, his theory seems in need for revision.

On the basis of the above historical reconstruction, I shall state that change must bu understood as the passage from potentiality to actuality. These notions correspond to the notions of matter and properties of matter, in our metaphysical analysis of reality. Matter, however, should not be understood as the mere substratum, of which we only know that it has a certain quantity. On the contrary, it is a relational notion, and may be replaced with ''underlying nature'' of change.

I propose a new version of Aristotelian endurantism, which aims at avoiding some of the difficulties of Brower's proposal.

Beere 2009 = J. Beere, Doing and Being, Oxford: OUP, 2009
Brower 2010 = J. E. Brower, Aristotelian Endurantism: A New Solution to the Problem of Temporary Intrinsics, Mind (2010) 119 (476): 883-905

Chair: Florian Fischer
Time: 12:15-12:45, September 13th, 2013 (Friday)
Location: HS 101

Luca Gili 
(University of Leuven (K.U. Leuven), Belgium)

Luca Gili (1987) received his BA and his MA in Philosophy from the University of Pisa (Italy), and his BA in Arts and humanities from the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa, Italy). He is a PhD student at the Institute of Philosophy of the K.U.Leuven and a fellow of the Flemish Research Fund. He has published several papers in the field of ancient logic in journals like the Classical Quarterly, Mnemosyne, Documenti e studi, the Rheinisches Museum fuer Philologie.

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