Aristotle’s measurement dilemma

Barbara Michaela Sattler

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This paper has two main goals: first, it reconstructs Aristotle’s account of measurement in his Metaphysics and shows how it connects to modern notions of measurement. Second, it demonstrates that Aristotle’s notion of measurement only works for simple measures, but leads him into a dilemma once it comes to measuring complex phenomena, like motion, where two or more different aspects, such as time and space, have to be taken into account. This is shown with the help of Aristotle’s reaction to one of the problems Zeno’s dichotomy paradox raises: Aristotle implicitly employs a complex measure of motion when solving this problem, while he explicitly characterizes the measure of motion as a simple measure in his Physics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-302
JournalOxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2017


  • Measure
  • Motion
  • Time
  • Unit
  • One
  • Aristotle
  • Zeno
  • Dichotomy
  • Paradox


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