Aristotle’s Physics Book V – Motion and Its Kinds

By Jon|January 7, 2017|Aristotle, Authors, My PhD Comprehensive Exam Experiment, Physics of Aristotle, Titles of Works|

Chapter 1 – Types of Change, and only subject to subject change is motion technically.

what causes the motion, that which is in motion, that in which motion takes place (time), that from which, and that to which it proceeds.

  1. Accidental – musical thing walks, a thing becoming  white changes to a being of thought,
  2. Something belonging to it- an intermediate is a contrary with reference to its extremes…an intermediate may be a starting point of a change since it serves as a contrary. (virtual). 224b30.
  3. Essential change.

Every change is from something to something. This can be in four ways:

  • subject to subject
  • subject to nonsubject, (technically not a motion, since it is that which is that becomes what is not in an instant)
    • unqualified perishing (being to nonbeing)
    • particular perishing  (to the opposite negation)
  • nonsubject to subject (technically not a motion,since it is that which is not that becomes what is in an instant)
    • unqualified generation (being to nonbeing) nonexisting to existing.
    • particulargeneration (to the opposite negation) nonwhite to white
  • nonsubject to nonsubject. This is not change.

Since then every motion is a kind of change, and since of the three categories in which we stated motion occurs the generation and corruption are not technically motions but contradictions, then only change from subject to subject is motion. 

It is the goal toward which that gives a change its name…ie perishing gives its name to certain process of change.


Chapter 2 – Alteration, Diminution and Growth, and Localmotion.

There can’ t be motion in substance because there is no contrary of things that are. There can’t be motion in relation,  because it may happen that when one correlative changes, it is no longer applicable. There can  be motion in agent or patient since there can’t be motion of motion, or becoming of becoming.

Motion can’t be a subject (go from hot to cold, nor can it change in sense of going to another mode of  being (ill to well), because the change must be from form to form, not mode to mode. 

Since everything that is moved is moved in one of three ways (accidentally, partially, or essentially), then change can change only accidentally (man restored to health runs or learns). Therefore there can only be motion with respect to quality (alteration), quantity (dimin and growth) and place (localmotion).

Alteration can be more or less of contraries.


Chapter 3 – Defining Related Terms

Together is when they are in one place strictly and apart when they are in different places.

In contact things are when their extremities are together.

If changes happen continuously in a natural manner before that which it reaches last is “between“/intermediate. Implies presence of three things

A thing is in succession when it is after the beginning in position or in form or in some other respected in which it is definitely so regarded and when further there is nothing of the same kind as itself between it. Is continuous

Continuous is when touching limits are contained within each other – and whatever way that holds them together is one, so too willl the whole  be one. Contiguous is when they are touching.


Chapter 4 – Senses of “One”

Motion is one generically, according to the different categories to which it may be assigned. (localmotion vs. alteration). Thing in which…

Motion is one specifically, according to taking place in a species incapable of subdivision: e.g. color has specific differences. Someone may say a circular  motion is not differentiatable, but this is just a case of constantly different motion. Thing in which…

Motion is one in an unqualified sense when it is one essentially or numerically. It is the thing moved that makes the motion one in subject.

When a thing is one in all these senses: thing in which (generically/specifically),  thing moved (one in subject), consecutive (time).

Explore the question of numerical unity…having to do with time. Health in the morning same as in the evening?

If action stops then numerical unity is broken (only that which is numerically one can give rise to an activity that is numerically one – it doesn’t just happen by accident – 228a15), and if the atom starts acting a different way, then it is a different atom. However if the health can be one and the same, then it is possible for the same thing to come to be and case meany times.

Any motion that is one must be continuous, since there is not continuity between two contraries chosen at random (what about ongoing actions?).

A motion is said to be one genericaly specifically or essentially when it is complete. Sometimes even incomplete motions are called one.

The last sense a motion is said to be one is when it is regular. Thus regularity of number, alteration or locomotion (229b20) may give the perception that something is one.

Irregular motion can be called one but to a lesser degree (an admixture of the contrary) if it is continuous. Since every motion that is one can be both regular and irregular, motions that are consecutive but not specifically the same cannot be one and continuous, because a motion composed of alteration and lociation cannot be regular. (if it is regular, its parts ought to fit together.).


Chapter 5 – What motions are contrary to each other?

They must be from contraries, to be motions. Motions from health and to disease are one and the same motion, but their essence is not the same.

But doesn’t it seem that motions from contraries are also motions to contraries.

We have ones that are generally recognized as contrary. Whenever something becomes gray, it may take black implied as its starting point.

Therefore two motions are contrary to each other when one is a motion from a contrary to the opposite contrary and the other is motion from the latter to the former.


Chapter 6 – What about rest?

The difficulty: If not-being is not a particular something, what is contrary to the absence of change in a things being, and is this absence rest? If it is, then either it is not true that every state of rest is contrary to a motion, or else coming to be and ceasing are to be motion. Therefore, rest is not the absence of change, and its contrary is 1) nothing or absence of change in the things not-being, or the ceasing to be of the thing,

Someone else might ask: since white and black, small and big can never be natural, why is it that localmotion is natural and the others are not? Won’t generation always be natural and corruption never be? No…this is the difference between nature and violence.. Violent motions are ones where the person dies prematuraly, or gets a weird color etc. Things move to certain places naturally, like fire upwards. Violence pushes it down. The velocity at which that which is carried violently/unnaturally is always to decrease (evil corrupts).

Is remaining in a place contrary to motion from that place? Part of it is at the origin and part of it is at the goal/other contrary – that seems problematic. Aristotle answers that it is in a state of rest in a qualified sense,  because a motion finds its true contrary rather in another motion than in a state of rest, since whenever a thing is moving, part of it is at reset and part in motion toward the goal. 


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