Necessity, Cause and Blame: Perspectives on Aristotle's Theory

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $18.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 30%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $18.00   
  • New (7) from $19.80   
  • Used (1) from $18.00   


A discussion of Aristotle's thought on determinism and culpability, Necessity, Cause, and Blame also reveals Richard Sorabji's own philosophical commitments. He makes the original argument here that Aristotle separates the notions of necessity and cause, rejecting both the idea that all events are necessarily determined as well as the idea that a non-necessitated event must also be non-caused. In support of this argument, Sorabji engages in a wide-ranging discussion of explanation, time, free will, essence, and purpose in nature. He also provides historical perspective, arguing that these problems remain intimately bound up with modern controversies.

'Original and important ... The book relates Aristotle's discussions to both the contemporary debates on determinism and causation and the ancient ones. It is especially detailed on Stoic arguments about necessity ... and on the social and legal background to Aristotle's thought.' Choice

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226768243
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2006
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 334
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sir Richard Sorabji is Honorary Fellow, Wolfson College, Oxford, and Emeritus Professor, King's College, London, UK. He is the world's leading scholar on the commentators on Aristotle and founder and co-editor of the Ancient Commentators on Aristotle series, published by Bloomsbury. He is also the author of the three sourcebooks on the ancient commentators: The Philosophy of the Comentators, 200-600 AD, vols 1-3.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Part I: Necessity and Cause
1. Do Coincidences have Causes?
2. Is Cause related to Necessitation or to Explanation?
3. Necessitation and Law in Ancient Accounts of Cause and Explanation
4. Stoic Embarrassment over Necessity
Part II: Necessity and Time
5. Tomorrow's Sea Battle: an argument from past truth
6. Other Arguments from the Necessity of the Past
7. Other Arguments from Foreknowledge
8. Deterministic and Indeterministic Accounts of Possibility
Part III: Necessity and Purpose in Nature
9. Necessity in Nature
10. Purpose in Nature
11. Ancient and Modern Theories of Natural Selection: their relation to purpose
Part IV: Necessity and the Essences of Kinds
12. Analytic or de re?
13. Why Necessary rather than Contingent?
(Appendix: Kinds of Necessity)
Part V: Necessity and Blame
14. Cause and Necessity in Human Action
15. The Relation of Determinism to Involuntariness: Aristotle's alleged nescience
16. Involuntariness and Equity: Aristotle's alleged parsimony
17. Voluntariness, Temptation, Negligence: a succession of attempts at analysis
18. Aristotle's Contribution to Legal Theory
(Appendix: Tragic Error)

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)