The Dennes Room

Philosophy 187

Spring 2011

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
187 Special Topics in the History of Philosophy: Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Science Gelber M 2-5 332 Giannini

Pre-requisites: At least 8 units of philosophy, preferably including Philosophy 25a.

In the first two books of the Physics, his introductory work on natural science, Aristotle articulates and argues for some of his most well known philosophical doctrines. They serve as an excellent introduction to central issues in Aristotle’s philosophy. In these short two books he addresses such issues as:

What is required in order to explain changes?

What makes it the case that something is natural?

What is a cause?

Do some things occur by chance?

Are natural phenomena, such as the growth of a tree, solely due to properties of its material constituents? Or are there additional causal factors?

In this course, we will use Physics I and II as a guide, drawing on works from throughout the Aristotelian corpus. In addition to understanding what Aristotle’s positions are, we will also ask ourselves whether, and to what extent, the concepts and distinctions that Aristotle employs are still tenable. If they are, in what sorts of contexts can they be applied? If not, what does this tell us about our own philosophical outlook and presuppositions?

The format of this course will be a seminar, and enrollment is limited to 20 participants

(For this semester, this course may satisfy the 160-178 requirement for the major.)

Previously taught: FL10, SU10D, FL09, SP08, SP07.