Aristotle about Change

According to Aristotle change is a kind of motion, and there are four different types of change: Change in what a thing is, place, quality and quantity. He says things cannot just appear out of nowhere change must come from forms. Those forms can develop into matter. An example of what Aristotle thinks would curate change is a piece of copper becoming a penny. The copper, which was once at one point had a no shape or purpose, now is created into matter. Aristotle says that every physical object is composed of matter and form. He says that form is what connects matter and what makes matter recognizable. According to Garrett Thomson, writer of Aristotle’s Psychology, Matter is the stuff out of which it is composed of (Thomson).

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Universal forms can only be found in individual things. Forms are mental abstractions from physical experience not innate knowledge, which Plato would argue. Aristotle’s main point is that everything comes from something, nothing just appears into existence. Two concepts Aristotle uses to explain change is potentiality and actuality. Actuality has two senses, actuality as an activity and actuality as a disposition. An example of actuality as an activity would be a coach using his knowledge on football to teach their athletes about the sport. Actuality as a disposition would be the coach sleeping, although they’re asleep they still possess the knowledge. Potentiality is the power to be in the state of actuality. An example would be an athlete having the ability to become a coach. How Aristotle explains the nature of God is by categorizing him into the final cause of forms.

Aristotle says that God is the unmoved mover of all things. God is the external force that causes change in the universe. Aristotles argument on God is plausible, to an extent. It makes sense to have a primary mover, that would explain how form and matter come about. But, he fails to explain how the universe came to existence. If everything is made out of something then, there must be a valid way the universe was formed.Aristotle characterizes the body and soul as matter and form. Although in previous arguments he states that matter and form are separable, but for the body and soul they are inseparable. He classifies being a human being as a union of body and soul. Soul is recognized as a power not a part. Each soul is only attached to one body, no reincarnation as Plato would argue. The soul is not a substance, but it actualizes matter.

The soul actualizes the body and is the first actuality of the body. There is no special privileges or inner experiences that the soul inhibits. Saying that, the soul is not a substance but a capacity. Some of the capacities include: locomotion, sensitive psyche, and nutritive psyche. According to W.T Jones author of The Classical Mind, nutritive psyche is, to maintain the ratio of various organs of the body(Jones) . This means that nutrition helps with physical and mental growth.

These arguments are persuasive, because they go against what Plato has previously stated. Aristotle arguments explain how the soul is not immortal, if there was a part of the soul that was immortal it would be the intelligence. He also goes into detail on how there is no reincarnation of the soul, this argument also backs up his point about the soul being immortal.The highest good of human being is not wealth, honor, and pleasure. Satisfying bodily pleasure is not peculiar for human beings. All of these goods, are deficient as the highest good in some way. Material and wealth is always acquired in the purpose of attaining something else. Honor is not a characteristic of one’s self it is how others perceive them. The highest good must be consistent with that faculty of being a human-being. What separates human-beings from other living being is our capacity of reason. Aristotle says that a life lived only fit for bodily pleasures is not fit for human beings but for animals.

The good life for a human being must include contemplation and learning. Aristotle says that intellectual virtue and character virtue equals eudaimonia. Eudaimonia means a prosperous, virtuous and self-actualized life.Proper functioning means that everything has a function is good if it does what its supposed to be. Nature has built in us the desire to be virtuous. Golden mean is the midpoint between excess and deficiency. Example is having too much courage and not enough courage. Someone who isn’t courageous enough will sit in the back and watch an old lady be mugged.

A person who is overly courageous will put the victims life and their life in risk by intervening. Someone who shows the correct amount of courage will weigh in on the pros and cons of intervening in the situation. They would see that the mugger is stronger and more dangerous than them and will contact authorities. Aristotle’s view of virtue differs from Plato’s in many different ways. The main difference is that Plato thought that knowledge is virtue. Aristotle believed that habit was the way to live a virtuous life.

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Aristotle About Change. (2020, Jan 13). Retrieved May 16, 2022 , from

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