Title: Aristotle’s elements and a problem for change
Speaker: Mary Krizan (University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, Philosophy)
Date: Thursday, February 11, 2021
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Abstract: Aristotle’s theory of material elements, as described in On Generation and Corruption II.1-4, points toward a serious issue for his theory of matter and change: in support of his ontology of things, they must be able to change into one another, but such changes are not readily explicable by the mechanisms of substantial change set out in Physics I.7-9. In this talk, I set out the origins of the apparent inconsistency and show that three common attempts to avoid it are not successful. In turn, I introduce an alternative solution, arguing that in the case of simple bodies, the notions of subject and constituent come apart.
About the speaker: Mary Krizan is currently an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. She works in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, and is especially interested in issues at the intersection of metaphysics and natural philosophy in Aristotle. Her published work has appeared in venues including Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Journal of the History of Philosophy, and Ancient Philosophy.