The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Newsletter

Document Type


Publication Date



What is the relationship between the arguments that Aristotle and Simplicius attribute to Zeno of Elea, and the account of motion that Aristotle presents in the Physics? Do the considerations that Aristotle raises in Physics Z.9 overcome the arguments about motion that he attributes to Zeno? Do they show the Zenonian arguments to be inapplicable or ill formed? Or do considerations that Zeno raises in the discussions attributed to him instead undermine Aristotle's account of motion? Do they undermine the possibility of physics as epistëmë? And why does Aristotle not treat Zeno's arguments about magnitude and plurality in his account of motion? After all, motion involves distances and multiple positions and times.

What is at stake here is phusikë as epistëmë: If it can be shown that his conception of motion is incoherent or self-contradictory, then there is for Aristotle small prospect of a science of physics, an account of phusis through its archai. If it can be shown that problems of the sort Zeno raised with respect to plurality and magnitude will surface in the account of motion that Aristotle proposes, then we shall need to ask whether or to what extent this undermines the possibility of an epistëmë of phusis.


Rose Cherubin presented “Do Zeno’s Arguments Challenge Aristotle’s Account of Motion?” to the Society at its meeting with the Pacific Division in Seattle in 2002.

For information about the author see: