My PhD Comprehensive Exam Experiment

These are draft summaries of the books I am reading for my comprehensive exams. They are overly succinct, and will be improved for public reading after the exam.

  • Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics Book X

    So far in the book, Aristotle has established that there is one end that we all share and are directed towards by our very being: happiness. Happiness is that for the sake of which all else is done: ie perfect and self sufficient. To determine what that is, much of his argumentation rested on The Physics, […]




  • Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics Book III

    Chapter 1 – Since only voluntary actions receive praise or blame, how do they differ from involuntary actions? Compulsion – any case where the course of action lies in a thing outside agent and he contributes nothing. Various examples of mixed voluntary/involuntary: Tyrant holding parents hostage to get you to do something evil Ship is sinking […]




  • Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics Book II

    In this book, Aristotle sets out to define virtue. Complete definitions consist of a genus (matter), specific difference (form), agent, and end. He establishes the genus as hexis (disposition) by first considering the various principles in the soul, the specific difference as “rendering its subject good,” final cause as “by performing his function well,” and […]




  • Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics Book I

    Chapter 1 – What are Goods? There are many ends or goods because each work, art, inquiry has an end its directed to and these ends are all for a telos/good.  Every action that a human being does is for the sake of some good they have in mind, and so it is correct to say […]




  • Aristotle’s De Anima Book II

    Chapter 1 – The Definition of Soul – Cause to Effect In this first chapter, Aristotle claims matter and form correspond to body and soul, because a living thing is a natural body that exhibits the characteristics of sense and nutrition. Like all natural bodies, there is not only one way we can say they “are,” […]




  • Aristotle’s De Anima Book I

    Chapter 1 – The Plan of Study of the Soul Sentence: Since activities and powers of soul (form) appear to always involve the body (matter), and since the natural philosopher studies form in matter (properties), the natural philosopher should study the soul insofar as it pertains to the body (properties moving back to their cause). […]




  • Aristotle’s Physics Book VI – Motion and Its Parts

      This post is “still” incomplete. Motion can be divided into species (Book V). But it can also be divided into quantitative parts. It belongs to science of nature to discuss quantitative parts because every mobile being is body. Chapter 1 – Movement, Time, and Space are a Continuum No continuum is composed of indivisibles. Every […]




  • Aristotle’s Physics Book V – Motion and Its Kinds

    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. Accidental – musical thing walks, a thing becoming  white changes to a being of thought, […]




  • Aristotle’s Physics Book IV – Measure of Mobile Beings (Place) and Measure of Motion (Time)

    Place The definition of place as the innermost surface of a motionless body leads to four different distinctions: Common place – nearest container that is at rest relative to the body in question Proper place – is equal to the body in place, but its immobility can be purely formal, as part of the whole […]




  • Aristotle’s Physics Book III

    Change is the genus of motion/movement. Since movement is found in all of the categories, and since what is in all of the categories must transcend them, then movement transcends the categories and is prior. That leaves only potency and act to define it. A body in full act cannot move and neither is one in […]