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Review of Benjamin Morison, On Location: Aristotle’s Concept of Space [Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2002]

Varzi, Achille C.

Aristotle’s account of place is one of the most puzzling chapters in Aristotle’s Physics. Almost no one has taken it seriously, let alone endorsed it, but almost everybody has felt the need to refute it when providing a different theory. In On Location—the first book in English entirely devoted to this topic—Benjamin Morison sets out to change the map by offering both a comprehensive exposition of Aristotle’s conception and, equally importantly, a rehabilitation of that conception as a piece of philosophy of enduring interest and value. The exposition is clear, the scholarship meticulous. The philosophical rehabilitation is incisive and well-argued, often dwelling on intricate issues that occupy a prominent position in recent metaphysical debates (such as the nature of material
constitution or the possibility of spatial co-location). So the outcome is an enticing piece of work that will be of interest not only to Aristotelian scholars, but to anybody interested in the metaphysical question of what it is for something to be somewhere

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Philosophy
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December 3, 2014