Aristotle’s resolution of the aporia about coming-to-be in physical, 8

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In Physical, 8 Aristotle endeavors to show that a long-term Eleatic puzzle about coming-to-be can be resolved by appealing to his own ontological principles of change (substratum, privation, and form). In this paper, I posit that the key to Aristotle’s resolution lies in the introduction of aspectual distinctions within numerical unities. These distinctions within the terminus a quo and the terminus ad quem of coming-to-be made it possible for Aristotle to maintain, while answering the puzzle, that there is no coming-to-be ex nihilo and, at the same time, that the product of coming-to-be is something that did not exist before; i.e. that there is coming-to-be. Finally, I suggest that this resolution could be seen as an interesting case of the application of conceptual tools developed in the Sophistici Elenchi, and I analyze the advantages of this resoluton over the Platonic resolution of a similar sort of Eleatic problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-272
Number of pages26
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Accidental unity
  • Aristotle
  • Coming-to-be
  • Natural philosophy
  • Ontology


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