Writer’s choice

Instructions: In essay format, answer the following prompt in no more than 3 pages, by having a clearly-marked paragraph corresponding to each of the following numbered requests.  The lettered sub-parts should appear in the numbered paragraph to which they belong.  Use 12-point font, standard margins, and double-spacing.  The point of this exercise is to practice producing a short, clear, accurate, and in places, well-defended answer to the prompt.  The assignment does not require an intro paragraph or a summary conclusion.  Just jump right into answering the prompt and then stop when you have answered everything.  Do not use outside sources.  You are welcome to quote from any work of any of the authors we’ve read, but you need not do this so long as you explain things clearly and I know where you’re getting your information.  If you choose to quote, please don’t throw block quotes at me without any explanation of them.  They don’t explain themselves, you know! Cite any quotes simply by putting the fragment or page number at the end of the quote—e.g. “I hold you back from this path, that ‘it is not!’”[Parm. fr. B6], or [Physics 193b7], etc.  You need not create a bibliography or title page.  You need not even use up space giving your paper a title!

Student Outcome: each student will produce a written paper on change, nature, and chance in the Aristotelian tradition.

Skills: reading and writing

Prompt: Answer the following questions and their sub-questions. All of the relevant information for completing this assignment can be found in the videos and and texts in this class.  Do not use outside sources or you will be penalized.

In good English prose, 1a] state the definition of the Aristotelian science of physics.  b] Explain why, according to Aristotle, the physicist does not need to refute Parmenides’s theory of the One-Being that does not change.   2a] Aristotle says that only two principles of mobile being–namely, certain contraries–are not enough, and that we must posit a third principle which is not contrary to anything.  Name this non-contrary principle and explain why Aristotle says that we must say that there is such a principle. b] List the three principles of mobile beings according to Aristotle, and then give an example of an accidental change, making sure to explain the before and after of this change in terms of the principles of mobile beings that you listed above.  3a] Accurately state Aristotle’s definition of nature, and then b] explain why Aristotle says that substantial form is nature.  4a]  Accurately state Aristotle’s definition of chance.  b] Give an example of a chance event, and make sure that it is different from anything given in the readings or assigned videos.  Your example should make it clear that you understand the precise definition of chance given by Aristotle.


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