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Aristotle's Physics Essay

1538 words - 6 pages

Aristotle (384-322BCE), a student of Plato, had numerous students and he actively took part in teaching them as well as learning and studying along with them. Aristotle was indeed a unique person. His writings and teachings covered an extremely wide range of topics. The reason Aristotle took on so many topics was his hungry pursuit of the knowledge of reality and understanding all aspects of, not only human existence, but worldly existence as well. The following will prove why it is necessary to understand form and matter in order to understand reality by looking at Aristotle's Physics. Careful attention will be given to Book I Chapter Seven and Book II Chapters One through Three. The conclusion will be gained that without first understanding form and matter, one can never truly know reality or understand the reasons things are the way they are. The discussion of form and matter is found in Book I Chapter Seven of Physics. This chapter begins by identifying three ways of describing a change. The three ways of describing change are "a man comes to be musical, that the not-musical thing becomes musical, and that the not-musical man comes to be a musical man" (189b34-190a2).Each of these three ways of describing change can be used to make a different point. The first example shows that there is something, the non-musical man, that goes through a change. The change is that the man becomes musical. The second example implies that there was a lack of a certain state, which was changed to possess that state. This change is shown by something that is not musical actually producing music. This is of course, caused by the man, but the man is not being examined in the second example. Only what was not musical and then becomes musical is examined. The third example combines the first two points by saying that the man who is not musical becomes a musical man. The single change can actually be viewed as three separate changes.Aristotle refers to the state that things are in as their form. This holds true in the case of the man becoming musical. In this example, the form is a state of knowledge. This knowledge is not just knowing facts about music, but the skills needed in order to understand and produce music. These skills are found in one's soul and the ability to use these skills is a physical change. Therefor in the example of a man becoming musical, changes took place both in the soul of the man as well as physically.When something that is not musical becomes musical there are also changes happening. If an object, such as a guitar is sitting on a table without anyone or anything acting upon it, then it is not musical. However this guitar becomes musical as soon as someone who has the knowledge and skills to produce music on a guitar begins to do so. The guitar really can not be musical without the help of this person, just as the person can not produce music without the guitar. In the example of the man who is not musical...

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