John Pemberton (LSE & Oxford): Aristotle’s persisting and changing

Although Aristotle does not explicitly address persistence, his account of persisting may be derived from a careful consideration of his account of change. On my interpretation, he supposes that motions are mereological unities of their potential temporal parts – I dub such mereological unities ‘lasting’. Aristotle’s persisting things, too, are lasting, I argue. Lasting things are unlike enduring things in that they have temporal parts; and unlike perduring things in that their temporal parts are not actual, but rather are potential. Lasting, that is Aristotle’s persisting, is thus a distinctive alternative to enduring and perduring. I show how Aristotle uses lasting to resolve paradoxes associated with changing: Zeno’s arrow paradox and the no-successor problem.


This lecture was given on Fri, 2 July 2021, 10:50 (UK time) as part of the workshop Change and Changemakers in Ancient Philosophy. The workshop is a collaborative initiative of the Change and Changemakers Network (Siegen) together with the Mereology of Potentiality Project (Oxford).