Responding to the Platonists: Physics I 9

Sarah Jean Broadie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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This chapter examines Aristotle’s rejection of a Platonist theory positing two principles: Form and the Great and Small. He complains that, under the latter, privation is not distinguished from the subject of coming to be. This chapter discusses the background for this dyadic theory in the Philebus and the Timaeus. It suggests that Aristotle’s opposition only makes sense if Platonists were proposing to extend it to cover comings to be such as biological reproduction. It also discusses whether, dialectically, Aristotle wins against Platonism within Physics I 9, and in the wider context of his biology. The chapter notes that when the explanandum is eternal motion, the triad of principles is useless, because there is no distinct principle of privation. So, Aristotle himself is chained to a Platonist-style dyadism. The chapter concludes by drawing a connection between this theory and Aristotle’s first mover as both final and efficient cause of eternal motion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAristotle's Physics alpha
Subtitle of host publicationSymposium Aristotelicum
EditorsKaterina Ierodiakonou, Paul Kalligas, Vassilis Karasmanis
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191868948
ISBN (Print)9780198830993
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2019
EventProceedings of the XIVth Symposium Aristotelicum - European Cultural Centre of Delphi, Delphi, Greece
Duration: 26 Jul 20142 Aug 2014

Publication series

NameSymposia Aristotelia


ConferenceProceedings of the XIVth Symposium Aristotelicum
Internet address


  • Platonist dyadism
  • The Great and Small
  • Privation
  • Subject of coming to be
  • Final cause
  • Exemplary cause
  • Efficient cause


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