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Why Does The Earth Move To The Center? An Examination Of Some Explanatory Strategies In Aristotle's Cosmology

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates the structure of Aristotle's account, with particular reference to the problem stated in the title: what is the proper account of how earth moves by nature to the center? It shows how Aristotle's notion of natural place can best be understood in light of some of his ideas about how the Totality is to be defined. In Aristotle's scheme, end-oriented change (or e-change) has a terminus. Aristotle's framework for understanding the natural motion of earth is best understood within this schema for e-change. The indirect logical route to the existence of place finds immediate resonance in the De caelo. The Materialist Schema suggests that only the one clod of earth at the exact center of the Totality manages to realize its form. The Aristotelian Schema adds the power of place to Machamer's Organic Unity Schema; it adumbrates - far from transparently - how place is invoked.

Keywords: Aristotelian Schema; Aristotle's cosmology; center of the Totality; De caelo; end-oriented change (e-change); Machamer's Organic Unity Schema; Materialist Schema; movement of earth



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