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Aristotle's ManSpeculations upon Aristotelian Anthropology$
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Stephen R.L. Clark

Print publication date: 1975

Print ISBN-13: 9780198245162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198245162.001.0001

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Wholes and Ends

Wholes and Ends

(p.48) II.3. Wholes and Ends
Aristotle's Man

Stephen R.L. Clark

Oxford University Press

The world is best understood in terms of a complex of wholes that are more than the aggregates of their parts and are to be picked out in terms of their ends. Aristotle's talk of Nature, of Being, and of Prime Matter can be explained by reference to the universal Whole, which men can mirror. Teleological analysis is a condition of our seeing the world of common sense at all, and the Whole makes sense in terms of the Aristotelian saint's awareness of it. This chapter argues that certain of Aristotle's remarks about ousia, being, can be explicated with the help of the concept of a teleologically identified whole. Locke's claim that ‘the boundaries of species are as men, and not as nature, makes them’ is in fact true only on a prescientific level. The paradeigmatic ousiai are wholes; the paradeigmatic wholes are living entities; living entities exist dynamically in such a way that they are wholes at any point in their existence but that their growth and nature is completed over a period of time.

Keywords:   wholes, Aristotle, teleological analysis, ousia, Aristotelian saint, Nature, Being, Prime Matter

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