Aristotle on Accidental Causation


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project focuses on a neglected concept in Aristotle’s theory of causation: the notion of accidental causation. Accidental causes have never been given an extended analysis in the way that other parts of Aristotle’s theory of causation have. However, there are compelling features of Aristotle’s theory of causation that have long lain hidden, features that are only brought to light through a consideration of accidental causation. These features provide a lens through which Aristotle’s theory becomes neither as distant nor as easily debunked as contemporary philosophers argue. Moreover, because Aristotle mentions accidental causes in connection with a variety of topics, a better understanding of accidental causes sheds light on many deeply contested aspects of his philosophy.