To Be Handled with Care: Alexander on Nature as a Passive Power

Jorge Mittelmann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The image of the physician who heals himself –which is supposed to shed light on the way φύσις works upon physical bodies– does double duty in Aristotle’s works. When it enters the scene for the first time, it does so as a model of coincidental causation, that may lure us into thinking that nature acts in very much the same way. But when the image reappears a few chapters later, Aristotle seems eager to highlight the affinities linking the workings of nature to those of the doctor who operates upon himself (Physics 199b31–32). These two instances of the example need not be mutually inconsistent, however. The paper discusses Alexander' troubled reception of this twofold Aristotelian comparison.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSoul and Mind in Greek Thought. Psychological Issues in Plato and Aristotle
EditorsMarcelo D. Boeri, Yahei Kanayama, Jorge Mittelmann
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-78547-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-78546-2
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameStudies in the History of Philosophy of Mind
ISSN (Print)1573-5834
ISSN (Electronic)2542-9922

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature.


  • soul
  • unmoved mover
  • nature
  • craft analogy


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