Universität Wien FIND

180222 PS Aristotle: Physics V, VI, and VIII (2020W)

Motion and Continuity

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 45 participants
Language: German


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Update, 2nd November: From 5th November onwards theaching will be online only.

Thursday 08.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Thursday 15.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Thursday 22.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Thursday 29.10. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Thursday 05.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Thursday 12.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Thursday 19.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Thursday 26.11. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Thursday 03.12. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Thursday 10.12. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Thursday 17.12. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Thursday 07.01. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Thursday 14.01. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Thursday 21.01. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock
Thursday 28.01. 16:45 - 18:15 Hörsaal 3B NIG 3.Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

The original title of the text, which came down to us as Aristotle’s Physics books V, VI, and VIII, was On Motion (Peri Kinêseôs). Indeed, these passages include Aristotle’s most elaborate and systematic discussion on motion and continuity what exerted an enormous influence on the history of science and natural philosophy until Latte Middle Ages. But, a more detailed analysis of the text clearly shows that there are interesting inconsistencies and interpretative difficulties in crucial passages. There are many open questions in modern exegesis. How does Aristotle explain that all changes are continuous, i.e. happen part-by-part and not instantaneously? When do two motions constitute a single whole motion, and what is a criterion that one motion is identical with itself and not composed of many smaller portions of motion? Aristotle’s project, from book V to VIII, is highly ambitious: As he makes clear in Physics VIII.10, he wants to show that there is one primary, eternal and unmoved source of movement.
By the end of this course, students should have a good understanding of the Aristotelian doctrine of motion and some of the main problems dealt with in his thought. One aim is to acquire interpretative skills to analyse a philosophical problem, to reconstruct the line of argument and to respond to it with the help of the Aristotelian text.
In course of the seminar, we will read and discuss closely selected passages together. The participants are expected to carefully prepare the passages of the text, read secondary literature, participate regularly, and to be willing to participate in the discussions. In addition, one presentation in class and two essays are to be prepared (max. 5000 words in total).

Assessment and permitted materials

Der Kurs wird auf Grundlage der Beteiligung an den Diskussionen, einem Referat und zwei Essays beurteilt.
Die positive Absolvierung der Lehrveranstaltung Vorlesung mit Lektüre zur Griechischen Terminologie ist nicht Voraussetzung, wird aber empfohlen.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

- Class presentation
- Active participation
- Submission of two essays, one during the seminar and one after its conclusion

The Knowledge of Greek is an advantage, but not a prerequisite.

Examination topics

Reading list

Primary Literature
Reeve, C. D. C. (2018). Aristotle: Physics, translated With Introduction and Notes, Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett.
Ross, W. D. (1936). Aristotle’s Physics. A Revised Text with Introduction and Commentary, ed. & transl. by W. D. Ross, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Wagner, H. (1967). Aristoteles Physikvorlesung. Berlin: Akademieverlag.
Zekl, H. G. (1988). Aristoteles: Physik. Vorlesung über die Natur (Philosophische Bibliothek, 381), übersetzt, mit einer Einleitung und Anmerkungen, Halbbd. 2: Bücher V-VIII, Hamburg: Meiner.

Secondary Literature
Bostock, D. (1991). Aristotle on Continuity in Physics VI. In: Aristotle’s Physics: A Collection of Essays, edited by L. Judson, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 179212
Hasper, P. S. (2003). The Metaphysics of Continuity. Zeno, Democritus and Aristotle, Dissertation, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
Leunissen, M. (Ed.). (2015). Aristotle’s Physics: A Critical Guide (Cambridge Critical Guides). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Odzuck, S. (2014) The Priority of Locomotion in Aristotle’s Physics (Hypomnemata. Untersuchungen zur Antike und zu ihrem Nachleben, 196), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck& Ruprecht.
Solmsen, F. (1960). Aristotle’s System of the Physical World. A Comparison With His Predecessors, Ithaca NY [u .a.]: Cornell Univ. Press.
Waterlow, S. (1982). Nature, Change, and Agency in Aristotle’s Physics. A Philosophical Study, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
White, M. J. (1992). The Continuous and the Discrete, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Wieland, W. (1962). Die aristotelische Physik: Untersuchungen über die Grundlegung der Naturwissenschaft und die sprachlichen Bedingungen der Prinzipienforschung bei Aristoteles, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck& Ruprecht.

A detailed list of selected scholarly literature will be available at the beginning of the course.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 02.11.2020 21:09