Review of Metaphysics 42 (2):395-396 (1988)

Deborah Modrak
University of Rochester
Intended as an introduction to Aristotle's philosophy, this book succeeds in presenting and defending a unified conception of Aristotle's philosophy while at the same time making the discussion accessible to the student approaching the Aristotelian corpus for the first time. Taking Aristotle's mention of a distinctively human desire to understand as the starting point, Lear tackles the analysis of this desire from two perspectives--that of the object of understanding and that of the subject. The first perspective leads to the study of Aristotle's physics and metaphysics, the latter to the study of his psychology and ethics. The discussion of each area centers on three or four topics; for instance, the topics for physics are change, infinity of space and time, and motion. From Zeno's arrow to incontinence, Lear manages to cover many of the questions that have exercised recent commentators on Aristotle's philosophy. Ultimately, both perspectives are seen to be different ways of looking at a single reality, namely, the actualization of essences in the mind reflecting on them. The final chapter with a mighty crescendo brings nature, man, and God together. As Lear explains, "'human mind contemplating form,' 'substantial form,' 'primary substance,' and 'God thinking himself' may be various ways of describing the same thing--form at the highest level of actuality". In the end, nature achieves its highest form in making itself intelligible and the human mind, its highest form in apprehending essences.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph1988422107
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