This article was last modified on June 14, 2012.


A Guide to Aristotle’s “Metaphysics”

First and foremost, I recommend that when reading Aristotle or any classic Greek philosopher, you must find a translation that is clear and enjoyable. One translator to avoid is John H. McMahon.

Book One

988a: Plato only employed two causes, the formal and material, believing that form would dictate how things would be

Book Two

994a: Aristotle denies the possibility of infinity, thus creating the need for a “first principle”

Book Four

1006b: if two words signify the same thing, the words are the same. If they signify different things, they are different. Specifically, Aristotle says that “tunic” and “cloak” are one, as they signify the same thing. But is Aristotle right? This puts the existence of things into the hands of semantics. For, if we can show there is a difference between a cloak and a tunic, we have created two entities where there was once one.

1007a: “trireme” = ancient Greek or Roman war galley with three banks of oars

1009b: “apothegm” = concise saying or maxim; an aphorism

1012a: “sesquialterate entities”

Book Five

1013a: “diapason” = the entire compass, range, or scope of something

1018b: “nete” and “paranete” in an instrument

1021a: “sesquialiter”, “subsesquialiter”

“superpartient” = being or relating to a ratio where the larger value exceeds the smaller by more than one unit, as in 3 to 5.

1024a: “bald persons are not mutilated”, studies of wholes and parts

Book Seven

1028b: Who was Speusippus? Speusippus (408 – 339 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher and Plato’s nephew by his sister Potone. Although the successor to Plato in the Academy, he frequently diverged from Plato’s teachings. He rejected Plato’s Theory of Forms, and whereas Plato had identified the Good with the ultimate principle, Speusippus maintained that the Good was merely secondary. He also argued that it is impossible to have satisfactory knowledge of any thing without knowing all the differences by which it is separated from everything else.

1030a: “ablation” = surgical removal of body tissue

1032b: “salubrious” = health-giving or healthy

1033b: A statue is not a stone, but “of” stone. Whereas a stone in the shape of a man, formed naturally, is a stone but not of stone.

Book Eight

1042b: “rysmos”, “diathege”

1043b: Who was Antisthenes? Antisthenes (445 BCE – 365 BCE) was a Greek philosopher and a pupil of Socrates. He adopted and developed the ethical side of Socrates’ teachings, advocating an ascetic life lived in accordance with virtue. Later writers regarded him as the founder of Cynic philosophy.

Book Nine

1050a: “Mercury of Passo”

Book Ten

1057b: “syncretive colors”

Also try another article under Philosophical
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

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