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Aristotle's Physics AlphaSymposium Aristotelicum$
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Katerina Ierodiakonou, Paul Kalligas, and Vassilis Karasmanis

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198830993

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198830993.001.0001

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Looking for a Starting Point—The Eleatic Paradox Put to Good Use

Looking for a Starting Point—The Eleatic Paradox Put to Good Use

Physics I 2

Chapter:
(p.53) 2 Looking for a Starting Point—The Eleatic Paradox Put to Good Use
Source:
Aristotle's Physics Alpha
Author(s):

Michel Crubellier

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198830993.003.0003

This chapter starts the discussion about principles that runs throughout book I, as well as the discussion about Melissus and Parmenides that continues in chapter 3. It raises the paradoxical question of how to arrive at the principles of natural philosophy and how to establish that these are indeed the sought-after principles. In order to do so, Aristotle inquires into Eleatism, the position that denies the very existence of nature: this means that the best way to the principles might be discovered by taking on those who utterly reject them. That explains the equally paradoxical move of discussing the theses of people with whom it would seem impossible to discuss since they do not agree on the basics. Yet that can be done through the specific dialectical tactics of lusis. Certain ancient attempts at squaring the circle, mentioned in the course of the argument, are dealt with in Appendix I.

Keywords:   Aristotle’s Physics, principles, Melissus, monism, natural philosophy, Parmenides, squaring of the circle

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