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Products for grant FEL-268013-20

Causation and Explanation in Aristotle
Nathanael Stein, Florida State University

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The Supposed Material Cause in Posterior Analytics II 11 (Article)
Title: The Supposed Material Cause in Posterior Analytics II 11
Author: Nathanael Stein
Abstract: Aristotle presents four causes in Posterior Analytics 2.11, but where we expect matter we find instead the confusing formula, ‘what things being the case, necessarily this is the case’, and an equally confusing example. Some commentators infer that Aristotle is not referring to matter, others that he is but in a non-standard way. I argue that APo. 94a20- 34 presents not matter, but determination by general features or facts, including facts about something’s genus. The closest connection to matter is Aristotle’s view that the relation between genus and species is analogous to that between matter and a hylo- morphic compound.
Year: 2021
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Access Model: subscription only
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Phronesis
Publisher: Phronesis/Brill

Imagination, Expectation, and "Thoughts Entangled in Metaphors" (Article)
Title: Imagination, Expectation, and "Thoughts Entangled in Metaphors"
Author: Nathanael Stein
Abstract: George Eliot strikingly describes one of her characters as making a mistake because he has gotten his thoughts “entangled in metaphors,” saying that we all do the same. I argue that Eliot is here giving us more than an illuminating description, but drawing our attention to a distinctive kind of mistake—a form of irrationality, in fact—of which metaphor can be an ineliminable part of the correct explanation. Her fictional case helps illuminate both a neglected function of the imagination, and a pervasive way in which metaphor can affect it. The function is the creation and maintenance of what I call imaginative expectations, which are relatively stable imaginative representations of future events or experiences, analogous to latent memories. These imaginative expectations have a distinctive causal profile and distinct ways of interacting with other mental activities. I argue that their formation is subject to at least two norms—a “source” norm and an “experience” norm—and show how metaphorical framing can give rise to violations of either.
Year: 2021
Primary URL:
Access Model: subscription only
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Synthese
Publisher: Springer

Causality and Causal Explanation in Aristotle (Book)
Title: Causality and Causal Explanation in Aristotle
Author: Nathanael Stein
Abstract: Aristotle's writings about causality and its relation to natural science are at the heart of his philosophical project, and at the origin of a 2,000-year history of inquiry into these topics. Yet for all the work done on various aspects of his thought, there has been no full-length philosophical study of his theory of causality, and some basic questions about it remain under-examined. For example, it is unclear, from what he and his commentators have said, (a) how Aristotle answers the main philosophical questions about causality to which he thinks his predecessors' answers are flawed, and (b) how his answers bear on the main questions we confront in thinking about causality in general, such that those answers could be usefully critiqued, developed, and compared with others. Nathanael Stein's book addresses these two questions. It is not a survey of Aristotle's claims, but rather focuses on a set of key conceptual, metaphysical, and epistemological questions that are important both for understanding Aristotle's responses to his predecessors and for understanding causality in general. The book thus provides the kind of philosophical engagement with Aristotle that has proven so fruitful in other domains, such as ethics and metaphysics. It also aims to contribute to a more accurate understanding of the differences between ancient and modern approaches to the natural world. This book is meant for anyone interested in philosophical theories of causation and explanation and their history, as well as those who have read Aristotle's thoughts on the topic of causality and come away wondering what it all really adds up to, and how we might engage with it.
Year: 2023
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Publisher: Oxford University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780197660867
Copy sent to NEH?: No