Rita Salis

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The attribution to Aristotle of the concept of place as bi-dimensional is firstly based on the identification of place with a surface, supposedly carried out by Aristotle in Physics IV. The identity of place with surface would indeed imply that place were missing the third dimension of depth, for the notion of surface was historically related to the notion of plane. Hence, since natural beings are, by definition, moving beings, and they have a three-dimensional extension, the doctrine of the bi-dimensionality of place would imply the impossibility to explain movement. Depth of place also seems to be neglected in another passage, in which Aristotle rejects the third definition of place as an extension between the extremities of the contained body. Scholars who admit the bi-dimensionality of Aristotelian place emphasize the contrast between the Aristotelian theory of place expounded in Physics and the theory contained in Categories, where the three-dimensionality of place is explicitly admitted. The aim of this paper is to try to convey additional arguments in favour of the three-dimensionality of Aristotelian place, based on the criterion of a more literal reading of the Aristotelian text.


Aristotle, Physics, Place, Extension, Surface, Three-dimensionality.

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