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Open to the Public | Seating is limited| Lunch Provided

Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Utah

“For living things, to be is to live”—so Aristotle insists in his writings on the cause of life.  And to live, as Aristotle knows all too well from his own biological investigations, is to undergo a series of changes—the claim, then, is that for living things, to be is precisely to change in a certain way. Today, however, the pre-Aristotelian opposition between being and change is still at work.  Individuals, groups, and even nations are often reluctant to change their ideas, principles, and policies for fear that so doing will undermine their identity.  Metaphysicians are beset with puzzles about how things could come into or go out of being.  And even within Aristotelian scholarship, a focus on being has obscured the foundational role that becoming has in Aristotle’s thought.  I will argue that properly understanding Aristotle’s analysis of the being of living things requires properly understanding their becoming—both are activities.  On Aristotle’s framework for understanding life, being becomes dynamic rather than static, and change is no longer tied to the interruption of identity.  This framework, I will suggest, is one that we should return to today both in philosophy and in our broader ways of thinking.

Work-in-Progress Talks give Tanner Humanities Center fellows and University of Utah faculty an opportunity to present the latest work on their current research and receive feedback in a casual setting from students, faculty, staff, and community.


Last Updated: 2/14/17