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“The Peripatetic Method: Walking with Woodbridge, Thinking with Aristotle.” In The Bloomsbury Companion to Aristotle, edited by Claudia Baracchi, (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014).

Published in The Bloomsbury Companion to Aristotle (Bloomsbury Companions), this essay, entitled “The Peripatetic Method: Walking with Woodbridge, Thinking with Aristotle,” attempts to articulate the manner in which Aristotle’s thinking unfolds.

You can read the The Peripatetic Method on the Bloomsbury site, where they have made it openly accessible.

Drawing on the poetry of Wallace Stevens and the remarkable series of lectures Frederick J. E. Woodbridge gave at Union College in 1930 entitled, simply, “The Philosophy of Aristotle,” but published under the title Aristotle’s Vision of Nature, this paper identifies the path of Aristotle’s thinking, its method, as a “peripatetic legomenology.” It is a legomenology because it attends carefully to the manner in which things are said (ta legomena), and peripatetic because it follows the things said as a way into the nature of things.

Woodbridge emphasizes this deep correlation between language and nature in his lectures on Aristotle when he writes:

But [Aristotle] will not let the naturalness of language be natural in admission only. He makes it natural in nature. It becomes one of nature’s supreme products, the product in which all other products find articulated linkage. For things to go into language is a going, just as much of a going on their part, and just as natural, as their going into air or water, up or down, or from seed to flower. 1

Taking orientation from this passage, the essay attempts to flesh out the meaning of Aristotle’s naturalism, which is in no way a reductive materialism, in order to demonstrate the extent to which perceiving, imagining and thinking are as natural for Aristotle as walking.

The Peripatetic Method: Walking with Woodbridge, Thinking with Aristotle is available for download on my Humanities Commons home page.

  1. Woodbridge, Frederick James Eugene. (1965), Aristotle’s Vision of Nature. New York: Columbia University Press, 1965.


  • dirk says:

    “Digital List Price: $154.99 What’s this?
    Print List Price: $190.00
    Kindle Price: $88.49
    You Save: $101.51 (53%) ”
    even with such savings a bit out of my price-range but I’d love to read your essay

  • chuk says:

    looking forward to studying your essay at any cost and even if it means starving. what you are doing in highlighting naturalistic thinkers in the modern world is deeply appreciated, i am being someone who is trying to learn how “metaphysics of creation” (to borrow a phrase from Professor C. H. Kahn) impacted the european intellectual experience that has its roots in the naturalism of the greeks.

    btw, Professor Long, there was an interesting paper associated with the eastern division meeting in december titled, Persons and Protagonists: Aristotle’s Poetics and Personal Identity, that i read online, and which appears to be from a perspective that is free from metaphysics of creation to my limited understanding. should you find it worthy of your attention, it is hoped that you would do a dialog with its author, Stephanie Semler.

    • Christopher Long says:

      Chuk, thanks for your comment here. I promise, you will not need to starve to read the essay. I am working on getting a copy to post, but I want it to be as close to the published version as possible. More soon … but meanwhile, I will look into Stephanie Semler’s essay. Thanks for calling my attention to it.

  • chuk says:

    Professor Long, the emphasis on imagination in your contribution to the disseminations reminded me of this remark in Randall’s Aristotle: “But it is a fact ‘Aristotelianism’ comes after ‘Platonism’ and supplements it. The free imaginative speculation of the mind develops first, the chastened discipline of that imagination by facts, by verification, by controlled investigation, is achieved only later. this order is so profoundly true, both psychologically and historically, in the maturing of the thinking of the individual mind, and in the working out of an intellectual tradition, that it is easy to be convinced it must have been true of Aristotle himself.” still the appeal of the imagination in the modern life with its zeal for problematic epistemologies cannot be easily gainsaid.

    the explanatory hypothesis you advance about Woodbridge’s understanding of sensing and knowing is something for which every student of Woodbridge ought to be grateful. i was accustomed to thinking of it as an attempt on Woodbridge’s part to bring out Aristotelianism in Aristotle, and to free A’s notion of intuitions or direct intellectual visions of intelligible structures, of the universals in particulars, of rational connections between facts from any modern notions of subjectivism and supernaturalism.

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