DPhil Seminar (Tuesday - Week 8, HT22)

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Aristotle seems to have thought of actions as some kind of particular (kath hekaston). But what does this mean? Did he think of particular actions as Davidson thought of particular events: as "concrete individuals"? But what makes something an individual thing (a tode ti) in Aristotle? This talk explores some issues connected to this question and attempts to outline two ways of going about answering it. On one reading (favorable to Davidsonians), we should think of Aristotle's particular actions as "concrete individuals" because actions have essences in terms of which they are defined and which make them into what they are. On another, particular actions are not individuals (even if they are particulars) because they are not essence-possessors. Rather, actions are descriptions of substances engaged in some kind of activity. This leaves us two very different ways of approaching Aristotle's philosophy of action.

This meeting will be hybrid. Please contact matthew.hewson@philosophy.ox.ac.uk for a link.