[1.3.13] Aristotle on Motion

Aristotle (384-322 BC) writes about motion in the books 5-8 of its Physics. In his analysis he uses the concepts of Potentiality, Actuality, and Causes (see in [1.3.4]), and introduces the idea of Nature (of a thing, object), based on which he sets apart natural from forced motion.
“A major presupposition on Aristotle’s part is that this division is exhaustive: there are no changes to which the nature of the entity would be indifferent or neutral. The major consideration behind such a presupposition is that natures regulate the behaviour of the entities to which they belong in a comprehensive manner, and not merely partially. Any influence the entity is exposed to interacts with its nature in a substantive manner. The entity does not possess potentialities for change which would not be directly related to the tendencies emerging from its nature.”

The following OntoUML diagram shows the main classes in this model:

Aristotle on motion
ClassDescriptionRelations
ObjectObjects are essential particulars (see [3.1]), like statues and houses, horses, and humans. can move Object
Mover (ActiveObject)Mover (Active Object) includes (Active) Potentiality which initiates motion, change in a Passive Object through its Passive Potentiality.is role of Object
UnmovedMover The unmoved movers are methaphysiscal, non-material entities, which are not part of the physical world.
“Aristotle postulates that the processes of the universe depend on an eternal motion (or on several eternal motions), the eternal revolution of the heavenly spheres, which in turn is dependent on one or several unmoved movers”
is Mover (ActiveObject); can move the Object
Moved
(PassiveObject)
Moved (Passive Object) is set in motion, changed by the Active Object.is role of Object
NatureNature [of an Object], according to Aristotle, is an inner principle of change and being at rest… This means that when an entity moves or is at rest according to its nature reference to its nature may serve as an explanation of the event…
Natures, then, in a way do double duty: once a nature is operative, neither a further active, nor a further passive capacity needs to be invoked.”
is mandatory part of the Object
Cause“Natures,.. can feature in any… four causal functions. However, when the matter of an entity functions as its nature—i.e., when its natural motion and rest are explained in terms of the matter it is made of—this matter must possess some causally relevant features, bestowed upon it by its own formal aspect.” relates to Nature XOR ActiveObject
MatterMatter provides the Potentiality for the Object.is contained by the Object
Potentiality“change always requires the existence of a potentiality which can be actualised… Aristotle’s formulation strongly suggests that the potentiality actualised in the process of change is not a separate and independent potentiality for motion… Accordingly, potentialities of change are admitted into the ontology. They, nevertheless, do not need to feature as potentialities in their own right, but as the incomplete variants of the fundamental potentiality for an end result…
The definition of motion as the actuality of a potentiality of the entity undergoing motion in so far as it is potential requires that in each case the passive potentiality for the change is present in the changing object.”
relates between Matter and Object
ActivePotentiality active powers or potentialities (dunameis),,, are external principles of change and being at rest (Metaphysics 9.8, 1049b5–10), operative on the corresponding internal passive capacities or potentialities (dunameis again, Metaphysics 9.1, 1046a11–13)… is Potentiality; initiates motion in PassivePotentiality; is mandatory part of the Mover (ActiveObject)
PassivePotentiality“the passive potentiality, is in the object undergoing change”is Potentiality; is mandatory part of the Moved (PassiveObject)
Motion(Change) Motion is “the actuality of a potentiality of the entity undergoing motion.”
“Aristotle speaks about four kinds of motion and change only—those in substance, in quality, in quantity and in place…”
relates and characterizes Object
NaturalMotion“when the matter of an entity functions as its nature—i.e., when its natural motion and rest are explained in terms of the matter it is made of—this matter must possess some causally relevant features, bestowed upon it by its own formal aspect…
The presence of the potentiality can, nevertheless, be in accordance with the nature of the object—in which case the change is natural (phusei)”
is Motion; relates to Nature
ForcedMotion“When a change, or a state of rest, is not natural [is Forced Motion], both the active and the passive potentiality need to be specified…
The presence of the potentiality… can happen in the face of a contrary disposition on the part of the nature of the entity—in which case the change is forced (biâi) or contrary to nature (para phusin).”
is Motion; relates to ActivePotentiality and PassivePotentiality
InSubstance is a characterization of the Motion (Change)relates to Motion
InQuantity is a characterization of the Motion (Change) relates to Motion
InQuality is a characterization of the Motion (Change) relates to Motion
InPlaceis a characterization of the Motion (Change) relates to Motion

Sources

First published: 26/09/2019

2 thoughts on “[1.3.13] Aristotle on Motion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.