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Bowe G.

ACTA CLASSICA, vol.60, pp.50-72, 2017 (Journal Indexed in AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 60
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.15731/aclass.060.03
  • Title of Journal : ACTA CLASSICA
  • Page Numbers: pp.50-72


In Metaphysics A, Aristotle makes a curious reference to 'automatic marionettes' as things that inspire metaphysical curiosity. In this article I argue that the reference is an allusion to the difference between his understanding of metaphysical mimesis and that of Plato's. Aristotle's reference to 'self-moving' thaumata, when read contrastively with Plato's static thaumata in the cave allegory, implies that whereas Plato's mimesis is static, Aristotle's is kinetic. Aristotle's claim that puppets are an impetus to metaphysical inquiry becomes less strange when one sees that Plato had suggested something similar. Some of Plato's writings and those of his contemporaries offer evidence that the thaumata in Plato's cave are static, supporting the idea that Aristotle's kinetic thaumata stand in meaningful contrastive allusion to them. I conclude by offering a brief sketch of Aristotle's theory of kinetic mimesis, in which all things manifest principles of circularity, including, significantly, the automatic marionettes that Aristotle mentions in Metaphysics A.