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Aristotle

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Chapter Summary

Aristotle observes first that any change must involve a pair of contrary characters or attributes, of which one is present before the change and the other after. At the beginning of Physics, Aristotle defines nature by distinguishing natural things from the products of human art. From this understanding of what Aristotle means by 'form' and 'matter', it follows that, within the changeable thing, matter and form are not equal partners. Aristotle's arguments against the supposedly Platonic 'ideas' are best understood not as a repudiation of the fundamentals of Plato's metaphysics of being-as-form, but rather as a rejection of the 'two-world' Platonism which was never Plato's. Aristotle's understanding of changeable things in terms of potentiality and actuality leads to the primacy of pure intelligible idea as the cause of all lesser actualities.

Keywords: Aristotle's metaphysics; Plato's metaphysics; Platonic ideas; platonism

10.1163/9789004265769_005
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