Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation proposes an interpretation of Aristotle’s theory of time as a whole from a study of Physics IV. 10-14. It addresses interpretive issues and objections pertaining to Aristotle’s view about the nature of time, its existence, as well as its unity and universality. In response to these problems, the interpretation of some ancient and medieval commentators – Themistius, Simplicius, Philoponus, Albert the Great and in particular, Thomas Aquinas – is by and large defended against recent interpretations. It is argued that by defining time as “the number of movement with respect to the “before” and “after” (Phys. IV. 11, 219b1-2), Aristotle means that time is the number of quantitative parts of motion counted by successive instants, and that he defines time in this way because it is perceived by numbering motion which respect to succession. It is also argued that on Aristotle’s account, there is one time because it is the quantity of a first motion in nature, and that time is universal because by this motion, it measures the existence of mobile beings located anywhere. Furthermore, it is argued that according to Aristotle, time exists objectively as it depends upon motion for its existence, although it depends upon the mind to exist perfectly, as an actualized quantity. On the whole, this thesis shows forth that the main interest and significance of Aristotle’s conception of time is to exhibit the relation of time with, on the one hand, natural beings, motion, nature and matter, and, on the other hand, its relation with the mind.
Summary for Lay Audience
My dissertation is a comprehensive study of Aristotle’s conception of time, which this philosopher expounds in Physics IV. 10-14. Three fundamental questions arise concerning time: What is it? Why is it universal and one? Does it exist, and if so, how? The dissertation discusses how Aristotle answers these questions, addressing interpretive problems and objections related to his theory. On the whole, my thesis shows forth that the main interest and significance of Aristotle’s conception of time is to exhibit the relation of time with, on the one hand, natural beings, motion, nature and matter, and, on the other hand, its relation with the mind.
Boudreault, Pierre-Luc, "Aristotle's Account of Time: A Moderate Realism" (2020). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7514.