Aristotle and the Eleatic One

Aristotle and the Eleatic One

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In this book Timothy Clarke examines Aristotle's response to Eleatic monism, the theory of Parmenides of Elea and his followers that reality is 'one'. Clarke argues that Aristotle interprets the Eleatics as thoroughgoing monists, for whom the pluralistic, changing world of the senses is a mere illusion. Understood in this way, the Eleatic theory constitutes a radical challenge to the possibility of natural philosophy. Aristotle discusses the Eleatics in several
works, including De Caelo, De Generatione et Corruptione, and the Metaphysics. But his most extensive treatment of their monism comes at the beginning of the Physics, where he criticizes them for overlooking the fact that 'being is said in many ways' - in other words, that there are many ways of being.
Through a careful analysis of this and other criticisms, Clarke explains how Aristotle's engagement with the Eleatics prepares the ground for his own theory of the principles of nature. Aristotle is commonly thought to be an unreliable interpreter of his Presocratic predecessors; in contrast, this book argues that his critique can shed valuable light on the motivation of the Eleatic theory and its influence on the later philosophical tradition.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 142 x 223 x 19mm | 416g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198719701
  • 9780198719700
  • 1,793,367

Table of contents

1: Eleaticism and the Philosophy of Nature
2: The Refutation of Eleatic Monism
3: Problems of One and Many
4: Criticisms of Melissus' Argument
5: Parmenides' Argument for Monism
6: Resisting Parmenides' Argument
7: On Giving in to the Eleatics
8: Did Aristotle Change His Mind about Parmenides?
Appendix: Text and Translation of Physics 1.2DS3
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Review quote

Persuasively argued but open-ended, Clarke's study is sure to be a critical touchstone for years to come. * J.G. Moore, Lander University, CHOICE *
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About Timothy Clarke

Timothy Clarke is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.
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