Abstract

abstract:

Aristotle ends Metaphysics books M–N with an account of how one can get the impression that Platonic Form-numbers can be causes. Though these passages are all admittedly polemic against the Platonic understanding, there is an undercurrent wherein Aristotle seems to want to explain in his own terms the evidence the Platonist might perceive as supporting his view, and give any possible credit where credit is due. Indeed, underlying this explanation of how the Platonist may have formed his impression, we discover Aristotle’s own understanding of what we today might call the mathematical structure of nature. Mathematicals are, to Aristotle, abstractions of order, symmetry, and definiteness, which are in turn aspects of the formal cause of goodness and beauty. This is a lens through which an Aristotelian could view modern mathematical physics as an important aspect of natural philosophy, and which is foundational for an Aristotelian philosophy of mathematics.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9383
Print ISSN
0891-625X
Pages
pp. 644-663
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-20
Open Access
No
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