On Time, Aristotle, and Relativity
As I have noted many times over the years, I believe Aristotle’s metaphysics to be every bit as antiquated and outmoded as are his physics. I have expressed wonderment at the fact that everyone seems to have rejected his notions that the Earth is the center of the universe, that heavy things fall faster than light things, that the sky is composed of aetherial spheres, and a great many other things; and yet there are philosophers who ardently and doggedly remain attached to the ideas of hylomorphism, finitism, and– particularly– act and potency.
This latest notion has been a topic of discussion on Boxing Pythagoras very nearly since the start. One of my earliest articles was on William Lane Craig’s Theory of Time which is not explicitly Aristotelian but which is nonetheless predicated upon similar notions to act and potency. This has factored into my discussions on a range of other topics, including the Kalam Cosmological Argument, which explores the implications of the temporal finitude of the universe; the Grim Reaper Paradox, which purports to give good logical reasons to doubt the existence of actual infinities; Free Will and Determinism, regarding how to reconcile the notion of free-will with wholly extant Time; Infinity and Eternity, wherein I discuss how even a universe which does not extend infinitely into the past can be eternal; and most germane to our discussion today, Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways, in which the eminent 13th-Century philosopher attempted to demonstrate the necessity of God’s existence explicitly through the Aristotelian notion of act and potency.