ARISTOTLE AND THE PRINCIPLE OF PLENITUDE. THE CASE OF DE CAELO
In 'De Caelo' A. 12. 281a28-b25 Aristotle presents an argument to support the claim that 'everything that always is, is absolutely indestructible'. Scholars are in agreement at least about one thing: this argument is notoriously difficult to understand. This paper attempts to do a number of things. First, it critically evaluates Lindsay Judson's interpretation of 'De Caelo' 281a28-b25, and then it proceeds to offer an alternative reconstruction of this passage. Second, it shows that Aristotle's argument in this stretch of text is problematic indeed, but that the problem with it is not the one identified by Judson. On the basis of this reading of 'De Caelo' 281a28-b25, the paper goes on to make the following points: (a) the argument from 'De Caelo' A. 12, in conjunction with material from elsewhere in the 'corpus', may be used to show that Aristotle is committed to some version of the 'Principle of Plenitude' (= No possibility remains un-actualized through an infinity of time) which is applicable to perishable entities - i.e. the entities in the sublunary realm; (b) given that this is the case, which Aristotle's drive to neutralize determinism, in the guise of fatalism ('On Interpretation 9') and causal determinism ('Metaphysics E. 3'), suffers a serious setback; (c) Aristotle could have easily resolved this problem, he had become aware of it, by correcting the mistake committed in the argument of 'De Caelo' A. 12 (281a28-b25).
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