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Aristotle and Beyond: Essays on Metaphysics and Ethics by Sarah Broadie

By Sarah Broadie

Written over a interval of thirty-five years, those essays, first released in 2007, discover the themes of causation, time, destiny, determinism, traditional teleology, assorted conceptions of the human soul, the belief of the top strong and the human value of rest. whereas lots of the essays take as their starting-point a few subject matter in old Greek philosophy, they're intended no longer as exegesis yet as targeted and self sufficient contributions to dwell philosophizing. Written with readability, precision with out technicality, and philosophical mind's eye, they're going to have interaction a variety of readers, together with students and scholars of old Greek philosophy and others engaged on extra modern analytical issues.

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Sample text

We are not in a hurry to think so, because we can easily hypothesise ‘ordinary’ explanations for what happened. Perhaps the machine is stocked only with Coke, so you get that whichever button you press. Alternatively, although the machine contains a variety of sodas, the man has an unconscious tropism towards Coke: whichever button he means to press, his hand ends up on the Coke button, whether he means it or not. We could think of explanations for this, neurological or psychological; so no need to invoke fate.

But this suggests that what we are now discussing, and what, in terms of extension alone, is all that there is to discuss, is a temporally directionless relation. For to say that a relation has a direction, is to exclude the possibility that in any given case, as well as having one particular direction, it also has an opposite direction. But a temporally directionless relation would not be causation as we ordinarily think of it. If it were, no problem about the reversing of its normal direction could arise, firstly because it has no direction, and secondly because having none, it can as well be taken to have either as the other, and even both at once.

Suppose, then, we postulate a time gap between cause and effect, but one that is of regular length, in any given type of case. This too has disturbing implications. e. one in terms of the time needed for something in the interval to happen which is causally relevant to the coming about of the effect. For such an explanation presupposes that there are causal conditions continuing right up to the moment of the effect. So must we then say that the interval just is the length it is? To let this go as a brute fact might be tolerable if we were dealing with isolated cases; but the supposition we are considering is that the interval is a regular length in all cases of a given kind.

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