Barbara Sattler (Ruhr-University Bochum): The Beginning and End of Motion in Aristotle

In his Physics, Aristotle seems to work with two different accounts of the beginning and end of a locomotion: On the one hand, a particular locomotion is understood as a movement from A to B so that A counts as the starting point, and B as the end point. On the other hand, a particular locomotion is what occurs after something ceases to rest and before it rests again. These two accounts could obviously come apart – as is the case when in approaching my end point of my journey from Athens to Corinth I decided not to stop once I have arrived in Corinth, but carry on in the direction of Sparta. Here “being in Corinth” seems to be part of what makes it the kinêsis from Athens to Corinth, and Aristotle often specifies a motion by its end point, while ‘being at rest at Corinth’ is, so to speak, definitionally posterior. However, Aristotle’s definition of motion in Physics III seem to speak in favour of a motion being essentially determined by not being at rest, as this is the point at which the potentiality in question will be fully actualized. In this paper I will investigate which of the two accounts enjoys priority in Aristotle and why; I will also inquire how this discussion features into the infamous problem of how to conceive of the transition from motion to rest in Aristotelian terms.


This lecture was given on Fri, 2 July 2021, 09:10 (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).