Aristotle's Theory of Bodies

Aristotle's Theory of Bodies

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Description

Christian Pfeiffer explores an important, but neglected topic in Aristotle's theoretical philosophy: the theory of bodies. A body is a three-dimensionally extended and continuous magnitude bounded by surfaces. This notion is distinct from the notion of a perceptible or physical substance. Substances have 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.
Pfeiffer argues that body, thus understood, has a pivotal role in Aristotle's natural philosophy. A theory of body is a presupposed in, e.g., Aristotle's account of the infinite, place, or action and passion, because their being bodies explains why things have a location or how they can act upon each other.
The notion of body can be ranked among the central concepts for natural science which are discussed in Physics III-IV.

The book is the first comprehensive and rigorous account of the features substances have in virtue of being bodies. It provides an analysis of the concept of three-dimensional magnitude and related notions like boundary, extension, contact, continuity, often comparing it to modern conceptions of it. Both the structural features and the ontological status of body is discussed. This makes it significant for scholars working on contemporary metaphysics and mereology because the concept of a
material object is intimately tied to its spatial or topological properties.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 163 x 241 x 20mm | 514g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198779720
  • 9780198779728
  • 1,790,554

Table of contents

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
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Review Text

Anyone interested in Aristotle's natural philosophy and metaphysics should read this book. Scott O'Connor, Journal of the History of Philosophy
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Review quote

Anyone interested in Aristotle's natural philosophy and metaphysics should read this book. * Scott O'Connor, Journal of the History of Philosophy * While this study firmly belongs to the history of philosophy, Pfeiffer makes a compelling case for treating Aristotle as an ancient forerunner to the modern metaphysical study of mereotopology. Pfeiffer deftly shows how Aristotle can engage with moderns on issues ... This book is, therefore, of interest not only to historians of philosophy but also to modern metaphysicians ... Pfeiffer accomplishes the major goal of his project * Sean M. Costello, Bryn Mawr Classical Review *
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About Christian Pfeiffer

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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