The present PhD dissertation aims to examine the relation between modality and change in Aristotle’s metaphysics. -/- On the one hand, Aristotle supports his modal realism (i.e., worldly objects have modal properties - potentialities and essences - that ground the ascriptions of possibility and necessity) by arguing that the rejection of modal realism makes change inexplicable, or, worse, banishes it from the realm of reality. On the other hand, the Stagirite analyses processes by means of modal notions (‘change is the (...) actuality of what is virtual insofar as it is virtual’). In other words: to grasp what change is, one has to resort to the modal idiom of potentialities, while the fact that there is change is indicative of the fact that nature is full of modal properties. -/- Aristotle’s modal and kinetic realism finds a negative in the figure of the Megaric Diodorus Kronus. The polemical situation of Greek philosophy has indeed the dialectical advantage of not opposing the Aristotelian position to a sui generis straw man. Both in its reduction of modal judgements to temporal quantifications and in its dissolution of the reality of the state-of-being-in-motion in favour of a cinematographic view of processes, the philosophical figure of reductionist antirealism embodied by Diodorus constitutes an alternative that takes the opposite view of Aristotle’s realism. -/- The present study is structured as a discussion between these two positions. In the face of Diodorus’ antirealist challenges, Aristotle articulates modal and kinetic considerations: the answers he gives to Diodorus’ puzzles thus provide valuable insight into his metaphysics. Moreover, the examination of Aristotle’s and Diodorus’ metaphysics, because of their insight and originality, will not fail to interest the philosopher concerned with the metaphysical foundations of modern physics, insofar as the entanglement between modalities and processes is nowadays at the core of mechanics (phase spaces, path integrals, etc.). (shrink)
Discussions of Aristotle’s Metaphysics Z tend to treat it either as an independent treatise on substance and essence or as preliminary to the main conclusions of the Metaphysics. I argue instead that Z is central to Aristotle’s project of first philosophy in the Metaphysics: the first philosopher seeks the first causes of being qua being, especially substances, and in Z, Aristotle establishes that essences or forms are the first causes of being of perceptible substances. I also argue that the centrality (...) of Z to first philosophy is compatible with its status as theology. (shrink)
This paper offers an interpretation of Aristotle’s concepts of dynamis and energeia (commonly translated as potentiality and actuality), and of the thematic progression of Metaphysics IX. I first raise the question of where motion fits in Aristotle’s categories and argue that the locus of motion in the system of categories are the categories of doing and suffering, in which case dynamis and energeia in respect of motion can also be understood as the dynamis and energeia of doing and suffering. Next, (...) I argue that the analogy that Aristotle draws in IX.6 is an analogy between the dynamis and energeia of doing and suffering and the dynamis and energeia of substance. Finally, I try to show that it is this analogy between the kinetic and non-kinetic variants of dynamis and energeia—and not the distinction between end-inclusive and end-exclusive activities—that provides the key to understanding the structure of Metaphysics IX. (shrink)
In this second of a 2-part survey of Aristotle’s epistemology, I present an overview of Aristotle’s views on technē (craft or excellent productive reason) and phronēsis (practical wisdom or excellent practical reason). For Aristotle, attaining the truth in practical matters involves actually doing the right action. While technē and phronēsis are rational excellences, for Aristotle they are not as excellent or true as epistēmē or nous because the kinds of truth that they grasp are imperfect and because they are excellent (...) states for humans, not simply speaking. I then discuss why Aristotle takes sophia (wisdom), understanding and scientific knowledge of the best things, to be its own excellence. While this is the best cognitive state for human beings, I argue that Aristotle thinks divine cognitive activity is different in kind and more perfect than any human activity. (shrink)
Aristotle analyses a large range of objects as composites of matter and form. But how exactly should we understand the relation between the matter and form of a composite? Some commentators have argued that forms themselves are somehow material, that is, forms are impure. Others have denied that claim and argued for the purity of forms. In this paper, I develop a new purist interpretation of Metaphysics Z.10-11, a text central to the debate, which I call 'hierarchical purism'. I argue (...) that hierarchical purism can overcome the difficulties faced by previous versions of purism as well as by impurism. Roughly, on hierarchical purism, each composite can be considered and defined in two different ways: From the perspective of metaphysics, composites are considered only insofar as they have forms and defined purely formally. From the perspective of physics, composites are considered insofar as they have forms and matter and defined with reference to both. Moreover, while the metaphysical definition is a definition in the strict sense of 'definition', the physical definition is a definition in a loose sense. Analogous points hold for intelligible composites and geometry. Finally, neither sort of definitional practice implies that, for Aristotle, forms are impure. (shrink)
Although Hegel does not pass up the opportunity to express his deep admiration for specific aspects of the Aristotelian notion of God, he is not interested in giving a concrete account of its systematic significance for hisPhilosophy of Mindas a whole. In this article, I seek to take an overarching perspective on both the Aristotelian God and the Hegelian mind. By contrast to the common practice of focusing on Hegel's interpretation of Aristotle in hisLectures on the History of Philosophy, I (...) first examine the Aristotelian text itself and then focus on Hegel'sEncyclopaedia Philosophy of Mind, in order to explore the coincidence between the two conceptions from a systematic point of view. With regard to Aristotle, I argue that ‘God’ represents the conceptual vanishing point of his philosophy at which all philosophical sciences appear to converge. With regard to Hegel, I show that it is precisely such conceptual convergence of all philosophical sciences that constitutes both the starting and ending points of thePhilosophy of Mind. The result is a novel meta-scientific and non-theistic conception of ‘God’ that provides the means not only to re-evaluate the systematic relation between Hegel and Aristotle but also to reconsider the character, content and aim of speculative philosophy in general. (shrink)
There are several passages in the Metaphysics where Aristotle explains ontological priority in terms of ontological dependence, but there are others where he seems to adopt a teleological conception of ontological priority. It is sometimes maintained that the latter priority too must be construed in terms of the former, or that the priorities in question are not both endorsed (or simultaneously endorsed) by Aristotle. The goal of this paper is to show otherwise; I argue that what is at issue are (...) two distinct priorities that Aristotle simultaneously endorses. (shrink)
This essay is the first part of an analysis on the form and matter in the works of Aristotle. Within the whole analysis, I shall examine passages taken from different works of Aristotle that are relevant to the investigation on form and matter. In this essay, I shall focus exclusively on the chapter Metaphysics Zeta 3. The concepts of substance, matter, ontological subject, form, composite substance, this something and separated, which are consistently used by Aristotle within the development of the (...) mentioned chapter, will be part of my survey of the contents of the chapter. The central argument of Metaphysics Zeta 3, which maintains the equivalence between substance and the feature represented by ontological subject, and which leads, through this first equivalence and through the equivalence between matter and ontological subject, to the result that matter is (the only) substance, will be investigated step by step so that all presuppositions, entailments, and consequences of the argument itself can be clearly shown. The problems which are caused by the mentioned equivalence of substance and ontological subject will be pointed out during my look at the chapter’s contents. In particular, Aristotle cannot accept that, in spite of the ontological subject being a correct feature of substance qua substance, substance is therewith reduced to matter. Being the ontological subject does not represent the only ontological feature of substance qua substance; the ontological features too of substance qua substance that are represented by being a this something and being separated belong to the concept of substance: they can never be forgotten within a right interpretation of substance. The identification of substance only with matter can never be accepted. Only the ontological values of substance represented by the form and by the composite substance possess the ontological features “being a this something” and “being separated”. Therefore, the ontological values of substance as form and as a composite substance must always be reckoned with in a correctly interpreted ontology. Neither of these values can be forgotten within an accurate inquiry of ontology. Hence, regardless of whether matter is substance and is correctly interpreted as substance, the values of substance as form and as composite substance must belong, in Aristotle’s view, to any right ontological system whatsoever. The plurality of values for substance, which I personally advocate, finds confirmation thanks to chapter Metaphysics Zeta 3: Matter, form, and composite substance all represent values for substance, despite the differences which they have as regards their own ontological features. (shrink)
In these pages the author intends to examine the idea, quite widespread among Aristotle’s recent scholars, that the method of metaphysics were mainly dialectical. This problem is investigated in Aquinas, who decidedly denies that metaphysics uses dialectics because it just provides probability. Metaphysics, unlike dialectics, is not only based on the being of reason but also on the natural being. Therefore, it does not simply constitute a rational game about quiddities, but it studies things in their real actuality and must (...) therefore be supported by evidence. Although Aquinas agrees with Aristotle in affirming that not every science enjoys the same certainty, this fact is due to different reasons. First, all things do not possess the same stability and constancy. Secondly, there is not always a perfect match between the studied matter and the human faculty to ascertain. This match between the object and the subject is the most decisive factor for the certainty of sciences. (shrink)
Aristotle’s philosophy and Husserl’s phenomenology both give immediate access to effective reality. A full ontology presupposes the facticity or givenness of the world. They both state the necessity of factual existence inasmuch as the presence of a being (Aristotle) or of the self-givenness of the Ego and of the world (Husserl) establishes itself in experience as apodictically evident. Both share the view that worldly beings are characterized by their contingency, though they differ as to its necessity. This chapter will argue (...) that facticity paired with the accidental allows for the irruption of an event as Ereignis. It will thus examine the relationship between the absolute and the conditional necessity of a fact, as well as the contingent features involved therein at both authors, insofar as facticity is concerned. (shrink)
Based on the notion of proem as exposed in Aristotle’s Rhetoric, we examine in detail Metaph. A1. Our goal is to understand the argument contained in this chapter, as we also endeavour to show how the Stagirite introduces with uttermost caution the theme of wisdom [σοφία], that which is the incarnation of the preeminent science in the first book of the Metaphysics. The attention we devote to the proem of this work is explained by the importance we attribute, unlike much (...) of contemporary scholars, to σοφία, that is, the science of first causes and principles, which we consider to be, ultimately, the pivotal formulation of the supreme science in the Metaphysics. (shrink)
In his Metaphysics Γ.4, Aristotle defends the principle of non-contradiction (PNC). The PNC says that all contradictions are false. So if some contradictions are true, then PNC is false. Even if PNC’s contrary is false, PNC’s contradictory might still be true. But it’s been noted in the literature for over a century that Aristotle seems to be exclusively interested in attacking PNC’s contrary (‘All contradictions are true’) rather than PNC’s contradictory (‘Some contradictions are true’). So his defense of PNC seems (...) to fail. This would be a surprising error from the inventor of formal logic. It is especially puzzling because we have plenty of evidence showing that Aristotle is keenly aware of the distinction between contraries and contradictories, and because Aristotle distinguishes between PNC’s contradictory and PNC’s contrary in Γ.4. I defend Aristotle against these charges: (1) I explain that one important reason for Aristotle’s focus on PNC’s contrary is that he took it to be deeply connected to views held by thinkers such as Anaxagoras, Cratylus, Democritus, Empedocles, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Protagoras, and Xenophanes; (2) Aristotle’s defense of PNC must be a particular kind of indirect defense rather than a direct demonstration; (3) I argue that if Aristotle’s defense of PNC is read as centering around his argument for what counts as a thing that is determinate, Aristotle demonstrates the reliance of coherent communication on non-contradiction. Read this way, he gives a fairly compelling case to reject not just PNC’s contrary but also PNC’s contradictory. (shrink)
This essay contains an attempt to trace the evolution of the concept of wisdom as found in the thought of Aristotle and Aquinas in terms of how the philosophical concept of wisdom as an intellectual virtue is understood and used to express the theological concept of wisdom as a gift of the Holy Spirit. The main aim is to understand how Aquinas derived the concept of wisdom from Aristotle's metaphysics and developed it in his mysticism. This research is based on (...) a close study of Book Six of Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, the corresponding sections of Aquinas' Sententia libri Ethicorum and question forty-five of the second part of the second part of Aquinas' Summa Theologiae. The insights gained from the study are then used to decipher the theoretical meaning of Augustine's famous saying: "love and do what thou wilt" and to expound on the practical value of wisdom for religious leaders. (shrink)
An Archaeology of Disbelief traces the classical origin of secular philosophy in ancient Greece based on a close examination of its few relevant texts still available today. More than a dozen pre-Socratic philosophers are examined as well Aristotle and such later figures as Strato, Carneades, Lucretius, and Cicero.
It is commonly assumed that Aristotle thinks that his claim that being exhibits a category-based pros hen structure, which he introduces to obviate the problem of categorial heterogeneity, is sufficient to defend the possibility of a science of being qua being. We, on the contrary, argue that Aristotle thinks that the pros hen structure is necessary only, but not sufficient, for this task. The central thesis of our paper is that Aristotle, in what follows 1003b19, raises a second problem for (...) the possibility of the science of being qua being; and that he does not think that the resolution of the first, the category-based problem, is either necessary or sufficient for resolving this problem. This is the problem: how can a plurality of apparently primary kinds and their opposites (they include to hen, to on, to auto, to homoion, to heteron and to anhomoion) be the subject-matter of the science of being qua being? It has been argued that these kinds are per se attributes of ousia and that, therefore, this problem is not different from the first problem. This, we argue, is mistaken; for nowhere in Gamma 2 does Aristotle claim that unity is a per se attribute of ousia. Rather, he says that identity, similarity, etc. are per se attributes of being qua being and unity qua unity. Aristotle’s resolution of the second problem, we argue, is that most of these kinds are reducible to a single compound principle: being-and-unity. Being and unity, moreover, are themselves related to each other as primary ousia and consequent ousia; but, we argue, Aristotle leaves it open, in Gamma 2, which of the two is primary, and which is consequent ousia. (shrink)
This paper advances an account of truth that has as its starting point Aristotle’s comments about truth at Metaphysics 1011b1. It argues that there are two key ideas in the Aristotelian account: that truth belongs to ‘sayings that’; and that truth involves both what is said and what is. Beginning with the second of these apparent truisms, the paper argues for the crucial role of the distinction between ‘what is said’ and ‘what is’ in the understanding of truth, on the (...) grounds that it is essential to the distinction between truth and falsity and, indeed, to the very possibility of any critical assessment of statements. However, this distinction cannot be used to ground any account of truth in terms that refer to anything other than truth—there is thus no relation that underlies truth even though truth may be construed (in a certain limited sense) relationally. Returning to the first point, it is argued that while truth should indeed be understood as belonging to statements, it should not be construed as attaching to ‘propositions’, but to uttered sentences. The account of truth advanced is minimalist, and yet not deflationist; objectivist, and yet not independent of actual linguistic practice. (shrink)
From its Presocratic beginnings, Western philosophy concerned itself with a quest for unity both in terms of the systematization of knowledge and as a metaphysical search for a unity of being—two trends that can be regarded as converging and culminating in Hegel’s system of absolute idealism. Since Hegel, however, the philosophical quest for unity has become increasingly problematic. Jussi Backman returns to that question in this book, examining the place of the unity of being in the work of Heidegger. Backman (...) sketches a consistent picture of Heidegger as a thinker of unity who throughout his career in different ways attempted to come to terms with both Parmenides’s and Aristotle’s fundamental questions concerning the singularity or multiplicity of being—attempting to do so, however, in a “postmetaphysical” manner rooted in rather than above and beyond particular, situated beings. Through his analysis, Backman offers a new way of understanding the basic continuity of Heidegger’s philosophical project and the interconnectedness of such key Heideggerian concepts as ecstatic temporality, the ontological difference, the turn (Kehre), the event (Ereignis), the fourfold (Geviert), and the analysis of modern technology. (shrink)
This essay expounds Avicenna’s doctrine of the analogy of being and examine the function it plays in his Metaphysics of the Healing (að–Ðifâ’, al–Ilâhiyyât). In the first part addresses the question: What is Avicenna’s doctrine of the analogy of being? The essay begins by situating Avicenna’s doctrine of the analogy of being within the epistemological framework of his account of metaphysics as an Aristotelian science. It then explicates Avicenna’s own presentation of analogy within his account of names of univocity, analogy, (...) resemblance, and equivocity, and elucidates his division of absolute and relational analogies. The second part probes the question: Is Avicenna’s doctrine of the analogy of being consistent with his account of the subject of metaphysics as being qua being? This part shows why Avicenna rejects that being is univocal and presents two ways for interpreting consistently his doctrine of the analogical character of being qua being. (shrink)
This monograph (TCC) analyzes the concept of prote philosophia in Aristotle's Metaphysics in order to infer what the real subject of study of the science that Aristotle intends to ground in this work. To do so, we will try to explain some Aristotelian conceptions of metaphysics as first philosophy analyzing the first causes and the first principles. Aristotle, in book IV, proposes a science that considers the study of being qua being and the properties that belong to it as such, (...) i.e., not particularly, but universally. Nevertheless, since "being" is not an univocal concept, it is necessary to describe the concept of substance (ousia), in books VII–IX and XII, as an inseparable part of being or, in other words, the substance being one being and also the cause of the existence of other beings. Afterwards, we describe the transition from the study of being to the study of substance with the purpose of safeguarding the possibility of a metaphysical science. Undoubtedly, the tasks concerning the investigation of first philosophy as a science are crucial for the study of being qua being insofar as their results explain the structure of reality itself. (shrink)
The article is the revised version of an inaugural lecture given at the University of Lucerne on 8 November 2001. In part (I), I give an interpretation of the first sentence of the Aristotelian Metaphysics: ‘All men desire by nature to know’. In part (II), I show how, for Aristotle, this desire to know constitutes a continuum from knowledge given by sense perception to knowledge of the first principles. In part (III), I compare this Aristotelian conception to Plato’s more ‘existentialist’ (...) approach which implies the turning of a ‘whole soul’ rather than a continuum. Preferring the latter concep- tion, I conclude with some hints of what I plan to do in the next years and give a short overview of the history of universities in Europe and Switzerland, ending with the University of Lucerne. (shrink)
The German philosopher Johannes Clauberg (1622–1665) was the first academic teacher who attempted to put the philosophy of René Descartes (1596–1650) at the basis of all disciplines of the traditional curriculum of studies, that is, to establish a Cartesian Scholasticism. To this aim, he developed a first philosophy, i.e. a metaphysics including rational-theological arguments, which was based on Descartes’s Meditationes de prima philosophia (1641). By it, Clauberg attempted to provide philosophy with a foundation, namely with a demonstration of the reliability (...) of clear and distinct knowledge. Moreover, he elaborated a comprehensive logical theory showing how Descartes’s rules of the method could be completed by a Scholastic-inspired theory of definition, division and syllogism. Nevertheless, Clauberg maintained in the corpus of philosophical disciplines a metaphysics dealing with the meanings of ‘being’. Accordingly, he developed a twofold metaphysics: on the one hand, a discipline concerned with the principles of thought and rational theology, being this a philosophia prima in the order of sciences. On the other hand, a metaphysics dealing with the most abstract notions of being, viz. an ontosophia, to be studied at the end of the philosophical curriculum. Building on the account of Clauberg’s work provided by Massimiliano Savini, in this paper I explore the relations between Clauberg’s philosophia prima and ontosophia: after clarifying the overall plan of his philosophy, and presenting some examples of metaphysical arguments belonging to the philosophia prima, I argue that Clauberg’s ontosophia, despite being conceived as the most abstract of the philosophical sciences, plays a foundational role with regards to metaphysics as philosophia prima by unveiling its conceptual assumptions. (shrink)
The Eleventh Aporia results from the breakup of the entire Greek philosophy previous to Aristotle in two manners of conceiving and proposing the first principles (archai), specially the One (to hen): (i) the manner by which Physiologoi conceived the One as a principle, namely, assuming an underlying nature, different from the One in itself, not adequately characterized by the simple fact of being one and which is denoted by the concept of One, and (ii) the manner inaugurated by the Pythagoreans (...) and later endorsed by Plato, marked by the abandonment of the appeal to an underlying nature and by conceiving the One in itself (auto to hen) as a principle, depriving it of any connection with some reality not strictly characterized by being one. Aristotle faces this aporia in Metaphysics Iota 2 and, according to the interpretation I propose: (a) refuses the Pythagorean-Platonic manner of conceiving and proposing principles, (b) endorses the course of action of the Physiologoi, and, in doing so, (c) steps back and retakes the “project” of the Physiologoi at the point where it was interrupted, namely, during the search for a principle of motion. From this scenario, I will try to show that the final outcome of the Eleventh Aporia can be the introduction of the Prime Mover as the properly Aristotelian (and cosmological) candidate to the title of One between the principles. (shrink)
Understanding “what something is” has long occupied philosophers, and no Western thinker has had more influence on the nature of being than Aristotle. Focusing on a reinterpretation of the concept of energeia as “activity,” Aryeh Kosman reexamines Aristotle’s ontology and some of our most basic assumptions about the great philosopher’s thought.
Aristotle talks about 'the first philosophy' throughout the Metaphysics – and it is metaphysics that Aristotle considers to be the first philosophy – but he never makes it entirely clear what first philosophy consists of. What he does make clear is that the first philosophy is not to be understood as a collection of topics that should be studied in advance of any other topics. In fact, Aristotle seems to have thought that the topics of Metaphysics are to be studied (...) after those in Physics. In what sense could metaphysics be the first philosophy in the context of contemporary metaphysics? This is the question examined in this essay. Contemporary topics such as fundamentality, grounding, and ontological dependence are considered as possible ways to understand the idea of first philosophy, but I will argue that the best way to understand it is in terms of essence. (shrink)
If the prime mover must be considered as efficient cause and not only as a final cause, then one must ask: why does God move the heavens? We hold the position that the anthropocentrism which Aristotle maintains is able to sufficiently justify the thesis that God moves the spheres so that human beings may exist. This provides an additional motive for accepting providence, which is manifestly ordered specifically towards man.
This paper looks at the causal activity of the unmoved mover of Aristotle. The author affirms both the efficient causality of God and his teleological role. He thinks that the principal character, by describing God, is ‘thinking on thinking’. That means his most important factor to act cannot only ‘be aimed’ but must also ‘be thought’. There are many new texts to defend such as an efficient causal interpretation and also various philosophical arguments to support final causality.
Aristotle, in his Metaphysics, not only tries to establish a relationship that is direct, coherent, inter-operational and "precise" between this science, its name as a science, and its object of study, but also begins an indignation that tries to set a science — materially adequate and formally correct — to study τὸ ὂν ᾗ ὂν. In order to complete this task, Aristotle does an in-focus strategy that consists on the diffusion of τὸ ὄν in its categories, that allows Aristotle the (...) possibility of formulate a science ἐπιστήμη to study τὸ ὂν ᾗ ὂν at the same time that supports the diffusion of τὸ ὄν in the "different categories or supreme genres" of τὸ ὄν. Due to this argumentation, Aristotle distinguishes the ἐπιστήμη σοφία of any other type of knowledge: the former is fundamentally an enquiry "about the first causes (πρῶτα αἴτια) and the principles (ἀρχὰς)". With this conception in mind, Aristotle was able to characterize several related forms of the ἐπιστήμη σοφία which, as a whole, eventually allow him to establish a science of the principles and causes "maximally universal and referred to…everything real", and in consequence, to "that that is, as long as something is". In this work, I will try to reconstruct such arguments, and offer some observations and conjectures referred to these notions that plausibly incline the scale in favor of an ontological reading of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, in order to contribute to clarify the confusion that exists between the aim of the discipline with the justification to establish the existence of its own object. (shrink)
The Role of Negation in the Description of the World According to Aristote’s Metaphysics. The notions of ‘being’ and ‘non-being’ have entered philosophical language, forming the basis of ontology and meontology, as the counterparts of the Greek expressions to on and to me on (nominalised forms, affirmative and negative, of the participle of the verb einai). Originally, however, these expressions did not have any objectifying meaning, but played the role of meta-language names, representing the copula einai in all its forms, (...) most generally in its affirmative and negative forms. The copula itself, which in later philosophy took on the existential meaning, had functioned only as a semantically empty connective of predicates. Over time the participle on has been used as a universal name of all predicates. The above-mentioned expressions became central in Greek philosophical terminology thanks to the debates, initiated by Parmenides, on the role of negation in the description of the world. Parmenides himself proposed a complete excision of negative sentences as describing by elimination, and created a positive-monistic system which abandoned multiplicity, divisibility, and variability. Later philosophers defended negation, fighting back against the paradoxes formulated by the Eleatics and later by the Sophists. Plato observed that without negation it is impossible to describe the multiplicity of things. He also distinguished a relative negation which does not eliminate anything but makes it possible to confront some things with others. According to the atomists, the divisibility of physical things forces us to accept that they consist of a positive element in the form of an impenetrable body, and of another element lacking any characteristics, i.e. the void. Finally, Aristotle, when analysing the process of change, justified the consistency of the statement that something comes out of “not being” and “being”, under the assumption that the former is understood as being actual, and the latter as being potential. In all these conceptions there is nothing non-existent, there are only proposals of how to identify the aspects of reality whose explanation justifies the use of negation. The affirmative and negative forms of the above expressions have also provoked reflection on the problem of truth and falsity. It has been observed that they are used in everyday language not only to state an agreement or disagreement with the actual facts of the matter, but also to affirm or deny something. (shrink)
Theophrastus' treatise "Metaphysics" contains a compact and critical reconstruction of unsolved systematic problems of classical Greek philosophy. It is primarily about fundamental problems of ontology and natural philosophy, such as the question of the interdependence of principles and perceptible phenomena or the plausibility of teleology as a methodical principle of the explanation of nature. The aim of the critical Greek-German edition (with introduction and commentary) is to make visible the systematic significance of Theophrastus' critique of metaphysics.
This paper will argue that the order and the unity of St. Thomas Aquinas’s five ways can be elucidated through a consideration of St. Thomas’s appropriation of an Avicennian insight that he used to order and unify the wisdom of the Aristotelian and Abrahamic philosophical traditions towards the existence of God. I will begin with a central aporia from Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Aristotle says that the science of first philosophy has three different theoretical vectors: ontology, aitiology, and theology. But how can (...) all three be united into a single Aristotelian science? In his Metaphysics of the Healing, Avicenna resolved the impasse by taking the ontological vector as the subject of metaphysics. He then integrated the question of the four first causes into the penultimate stage of his demonstration for the existence of God, thereby placing aitiological and theological questions among the ultimate concerns of a unified Aristotelian metaphysics. In the five ways, St. Thomas integrated Avicenna’s Aristotelian search for the first four causes into the last four of his five ways, by showing that each of the four aitiological orders terminate in an ultimate first cause that we call God. Finally, by appending the proof from the Physics to the beginning of the five ways, St. Thomas was able to show that the ultimate aim of both natural philosophy and metaphysics is the divine first principle, which is the beginning and subject of sacra doctrina. (shrink)