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The Notion Of Causality In Aristotle And The Medieval Philosophy Of Nature: A Developmental Approach

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Chapter Summary

The development of the notion of causality serves as an example for structural learning. The advantage of this example results from the outstanding relevance of the notion of causality both in the history of ideas and in everyday cognition. This chapter presents a brief sketch of developmental psychology's theory of causal cognition. Aristotle's physics, most influential in the history of western thinking, shows clear resemblances to the universal developmental pathway of causal cognition. This is demonstrated by a discussion of his concept of potentiality and actuality in the range of dynamics. To show continuity and discontinuity in the western philosophical thought about causality, the chapter also discusses some aspects of medieval sciences, namely in the works of Johannes Buridan and Nicole Oresme.

Keywords: Aristotle's physics; causality; Johannes Buridan; medieval philosophy; medieval sciences; Nicole Oresme; structural learning



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