In this paper I address some aspects of Aristotle's discussion against materialism from the perspective of the problem of chance. I take as a starting point the inaugural sentence of phys. B 4, where Aristotle refers to the endoxon that there are things which are (ει̃ναι), and things which become or are generated (γίγνε σθαι) by chance. In the first place, I show that Aristotle would have ascribed to the materialists (especially to Empedocles) the opinion that things like animals and plants can be (and not only become) by chance. I shall argue that, in fact, this thesis implies that it is not only the compound that is generated, but also the form or ει̃δ ος of the living being. To this extent, I propose that there are strong reasons for Aristotle to reject that living beings may be by chance, and to circumscribe chance to that which becomes or is generated. In other words: chance can occur within processes of generation but has nothing to do with the causes and principles of those processes. Thus, this repositioning of chance within the sole field of what becomes is closely connected to the causal priority of the ει̃δος in the processes of natural generation.
|Translated title of the contribution||To become by chance or be generated by chance? A reconstruction of some aspects of Aristotle's discussion|
|Number of pages||34|
|State||Published - 2011|