The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Newsletter

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I believe Aristotle could endorse God’s statement to Adam as reflecting his own theory of generation and destruction. Complex bodies, such as living organisms, are generated out of earth, and to earth they will ultimately return. In this paper I will argue that Aristotle defends a cyclical model of generation and destruction which starts and ends with some simple stuff. I will call the model the ''construction model." The construction model underlies many of Aristotle’s claims about substantial generation and destruction, but he presents the main theory in Metaphysics H.5, a text that is curiously neglected in recent discussions of his theory of matter and generation.


Mary Louise Gill presented “Dust to dust: Aristotle’s account of generation and destruction” at the meeting of the Society with the American Philological Association December 1987, in New York City. A related, but significantly different, article, “Aristotle on Matters of Life and Death" was published in the Proceedings of BACAP 4: 187-205 (1989.

For information about the author, see Wikipedia “Mary Louise Gill”