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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: December 2020

Chapter 4 - The Sublunary Domain (Chapters 2–3, 392a31–393a8)

Summary

The last part of Chapter 2 and the first part of Chapter 3 of De mundo (392a31–393a8) describe the cosmic layers further below the sphere of the moon, leading down to the very centre of the universe. This section provides a brief overview of the sublunary layers of the four elements (fire, air, water and earth), some of which will be discussed in more detail later in the text. The two main theses that constitute the reasoning behind this section are (i) continuity throughout the entire cosmos and (ii) the great variety of phenomena and processes within the sublunary domain. The layers are organised from the most active one at the top down to the most passive one at the centre of the universe. The continuity among the layers is demonstrated on each and every level. There is, however, no suggestion that each lower, less active substance gains all its characteristics from the more active substance above. For our author’s purpose it is sufficient to demonstrate that there is some relation, some communication among the layers which can later be used by the divine dunamis permeating the entire cosmos. The final part of the present section concerns the claim that the continents are large islands surrounded by an ocean.

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