Phil. 3383/History of Ancient Philosophy

Fall 2006/Dr. Cynthia Freeland


Unit 3 Aristotle Paper Topics



1.                  Metaphysics


Provide an overview of Aristotle’s metaphysics. Be sure to discuss the roles of essence, definition, form, matter, unity, and substance. Identify what you see as the two most important problems for his metaphysical views. Explain why these are problems and speculate about whether or how he could have solved them.


2.                  Soul

Provide an overview of Aristotle’s account of soul. What are the most significant advances he makes over earlier theories of the soul, including Plato’s?  Identify two problems for his account of the soul, and explain why they are problems. Can he resolve them, or not?


3.                  Change


Like all the other philosophers who came after Parmenides, Aristotle was faced with the problem of accounting for the phenomenon of change without being committed to an unacceptable notion of non-being. How did he explain change? What are some of the key components of his analysis? How does his theory of change differ from the sorts of explanations given by Plato and/or the pluralists and atomists?  (Be sure to discuss both biological and non-biological examples of change.)


Papers are due Tuesday, November 14. Late papers will be marked down. Be sure to use textual evidence and appropriately chosen quotations within your paper to back up your expositions and analyses.