Aristotle, potential and actual, conflicts
Turner, Andrew J
Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand
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In The Metaphysics Book Theta, Chapter four, Aristotle claims that to state that “some X is possible but X will never be” is a mistake. In effect, he collapses the possible into the actual. This view conflicts with the existence of dispositions which I argue exist, as they are indispensable to science. In Theta Chapter three, Aristotle sets out a test of possibility whereby we assume that some entity exists and then see if an impossibility ensues. I apply this test to Aristotle’s theory and show that it entails the impossibility of dispositions. Given the clear existence of dispositions, Aristotle’s conflation of the possible with the actual fails his own test of possibility and must be wrong.
Greek studies, Aristotle, Philosophy
Turner, A., 2015. Aristotle, potential and actual, conflicts. In: M. Tsianikas, G. Couvalis and M. Palaktsoglou (eds.) "Reading, interpreting, experiencing: an inter-cultural journey into Greek letters". Modern Greek Studies Association of New Zealand, 62-72.