Study Questions for Aristotle Selections

eds. Irwin and Fine
(Hackett Publishing Company, 1995)

Physics (pp. 83ff.)

Study questions by Dr. Jan Garrett

Last revised on December 29, 2006

Physics Book II (pp. 95ff.)

Chapter 1

1. What sorts of thing are "natural"? (II.1, 192b10-11)

2. What sorts of thing are product of a craft (art, craft = technê)? (b16-19, b28-33)

3. What definition of [a] nature (phusis) is given at b20-23?

4. What do some people think nature to be? (193a10-11, a28-30)

5. For what else is the term "nature" used? (193a31-32)

6. Of the two preceding senses of "nature" which is more [i.e., to a higher degree] nature?
    Explain why in terms of potentiality and actuality. (193b7-8)

7. What sort of thing is not a nature but natural? (193b5-7)

8. State the "process" sense of nature.

    How does it relate to the central sense? (193b13-14)

Chapter 2

9. How does the mathematician differ from the student of nature? (II.2, 193b31-194a12)

10. Does the science of nature study form or matter or both? (194a12-26)

11. Does it study the end of a thing? (194a26-32)

    What does Aristotle mean by "end"?

12. In what sense is the end nature?

    (Is this yet another sense of "nature"?)

13. What does he mean by "matter is relative"? (194b8-10)

14. List the four causes of coming to be, passing away and natural change in general. (II.3, 194b23-195a3) Find examples (195a15-26; II.7, 198a16-20)





15. (a) "The statue's cause is a sculptor"; (b) "the statue's cause is Polyclitus." Which states the proper (moving or efficient) cause?

    Which states the (moving or efficient) c. in a coincidental way? (195a33-35)

16. "The house's cause is the builder"; "the house's cause is the builder who's building." Which states the actualizing cause? (195b3-6)

17. What is the prior (most precise) cause of a producer's producing what is produced? (195b24-25)

Chapter 5

18. Relate what results from luck (tychê) (i) to what always or usually comes about in the same way;

    (ii) to actions that result from thought (intention) or nature? (II.5, 196b10-23)

19. What is Aristotle's definition of luck? (197a5-7; see also 197a33-35)

    How does his example (196b33-197a5) illustrate it?

20. Why does he say that luck is not the unqualified cause of anything? (197a13-15)

21. Can we provide an account (explanation) of what is due to luck, as such? (a18-21)

22. Roughly, how does what results from chance differ from what results from luck? (II.6, 197a36-b22)

Chapter 7

23. Which causes should the student of nature seek? (II.7, 198a21-24; see also II 9, 200a32-35)

24. Which three causes often amount to one (i.e., in natural objects)? (a25-28)

25. Which source of motion is itself without motion? (a36-b4)

Chapter 8

26. What problem does Aristotle pose for himself at II.8, 198b16-34?

27. Put in your own words his response at 198b33-199a8?

28. In what sense does he think that nature does things for an end? (199a9-19)

    Does this mean that nature deliberates? (199a21-22; see also 199b27-28)

    What evidence does he cite for his view that nature does things for an end?

29. Does nature goof? (199a36-b5) Explain.

30. When, now, is a thing natural? (199b16-19)

Chapter 9

32. What is conditional necessity and why is it important in natural explanation? (II.9, 199b35ff.)

Book III, 1-3

"Motion" is the translation for kinesis; "change" is the translation for metabolê.

1. Where does what initiates motion produce motion? (200b31-32)

2. What four types of change does Aristotle recognize? (200b34-5)

Does he hold that there's single account of change superior to all these (as a genus to four species)? (b35)

3. How does Aristotle define motion? (201a10-11, 28-29) Note how Aristotle tries to avoid two positions: (1) describing change as mere potentiality and (2) describing it as complete actuality. (See 201b27-202a1.)

4. Consider teaching and learning. Where do they occur? Are they one thing, or two, or both? Explain. (202b5-15)