Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy

Volume 15, Issue 1, Fall 2010

Benjamin J. Grazzini
Pages 81-106

Understanding the Big Cycles of Change in Aristotle’s Meteorology I.14

This essay is a reading of Aristotle’s account in Meteorology I.14 of changes in local environmental conditions and its significance for Aristotle’s understanding of nature and change more generally. That account shows how local environments are complex bodies, and so change through habituation: the sedimentation of patterns of activity through repeated activity/change. In turn, this shows how the regularity of what is by nature is a matter of the relative stability of habits in the face of unceasing generation and destruction. Strikingly, Aristotle then turns to the consequences of that account for human beings’ ability to comprehend changes in the environmental conditions of their activities.