Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Philosophy, Science and the Sciences

Maribel Ramírez López

Maribel Ramírez LópezThe purpose of my research is to understand Aristotle’s criticism of final causes in Plato’s Timaeus. One of the most memorable features of the Timaeus is its explicit teleological program: Plato aims to offer a theory of the universe that explains why everything came to be in the first place, why it is good that eternal motion and generation exist, and why it is possible conclude that the universe is good and ordered.  Despite the teleological purposes of the dialogue, Aristotle’s overall view is that Plato failed in developing a theory of motion and generation that makes proper use of final causes, even if he had all the intentions to do so.

The first part of the dissertation focuses on Aristotle’s criticism of the world soul in De Caelo II-1 and De Anima 3-4. I discuss Aristotle’s arguments in De Caelo II-I against the idea that soul imparts motion by being mixed and interwoven with the upper heaven. As for the arguments in De Anima 1-3-, I focus on the critique against world soul as a physical magnitude.  Both texts reveal that, in Aristotle’s view, the theory of world soul is no different from the explanations of the physicists and the poets who posited causes that move by necessity. World soul does not play the role of a cause that explains why it is best for the heavens to rotate in circles for the eternity, but rather, it is a cause that imparts motion by necessity and violence. 

In the second part of my research I explore Plato’s use of final causes in the discussion of simple bodies and animal functions. I discuss De Caelo II,3, a text in direct rivalry with the Timaeus in giving a final-cause explanation of why the world contains earth, water, air and fire.  De Caelo I, 3-4 are relevant for Aristotle’s account of heaviness and lightness, for they reveal important connections to Aristotle’s criticisms of the Timaeus account on breathing, nutrition and other biological functions. It is also my intention to explore to what extent Aristotle’s critical reception of the Timaeus influenced and determined his own teleological cosmology in the De Caelo and in other relevant texts such as Physics VIII and Metaphysics Λ. 

 

Research interests 
Ancient Philosophy (Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Natural Philosophy, Plato, Presocratic Philosophy)

 

CV

2019– PhD candidate; RTG Philosophy, Science and the Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Department of Philosophy
2016–2019 M.A. in Philosophy (with honors); Graduate Philosophy Program, National
Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
  Thesis: The theory of unmoved movers as principles of eternal motion in Aristotle’s Metaphysics Λ
2010–2016 B.A. in Philosophy (with honors); National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
  Aristotle’s theory of principles in Metaphysics A

 

Research experience

10/2019–03/2020 Graduate Research Trainee at the Department of Philosophy at McGill University in Montréal (Québec), Canada; Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Stephen Menn; sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
08/2018–01/2019 Research assistant (M.A. level) at the Institute of Philosophical Research, UNAM; PAPIIT IN 400517 Project: Platonism and stoicism in the ancient theory of the rationality of the cosmos; Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ricardo Salles
08/2017–01-2018 Graduate Research Trainee at the Department of Philosophy at McGill University in Montréal (Québec), Canada; Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Stephen Menn; sponsored by the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT)
01/2015–06/2015 Research Assistant (B.A. level) at the Institute of Philosophical Research, UNAM; CONACyT 221268 Project: Rational Cosmos. Stoic theories about the rationality of the cosmos and its origins in Plato; Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ricardo Salles
08/2015–05/2019 Member of the Fellow Students Program at the Institute of Philosophical Research, UNAM; Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ricardo Salles

 

Awards

  • (2019- present) – German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Fellowship; Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS); PhD Program: “Ancient Philosophy and History of Ancient Science“
  • (2016- 2018) – National Award (MA level); National Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT)
  • (08/2017- 01/2018) – Award for International Movility, National Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT)