Category Archives: Aristotle

ARISTOTLE: Metaphysics [Book XII]

In Book XII of his Metaphysics, Aristotle presents his case for the unmoved mover. This argument has been hijacked by later religions to argue for the existence of their gods, but Aristotle’s argument does not deny or affirm the existence of gods who care about human affairs. Aristotle’s unmoved mover is entirely indifferent to everything but its own existence and activity, which is the contemplation of its own contemplation. Continue reading ARISTOTLE: Metaphysics [Book XII]

ARISTOTLE: On the Soul [Book II, Ch. 1-3; Book III]

Aristotle claims that the soul is the form and essence of all living things. The soul is composed of many parts. All living things – plants and animals – possess a soul with a generative part, which is responsible for the nutrition and reproduction of living beings. Only animals possess a soul with a sensitive part, which enable the animal to feel pleasure and pain. Some animals possess other senses such as sight, smell, and taste. Finally, only man possess a soul with the ability to think. Continue reading ARISTOTLE: On the Soul [Book II, Ch. 1-3; Book III]

ARISTOTLE: Categories

In the Categories, Aristotle develops a classification system to assign each object known to man under one of ten categories. “Of things said without any combination, each signifies either substance or quantity or qualification or a relative or where or when or being-in-a-position or having or doing or being-affected. To give a rough idea, examples of substance are man, horse; of quantity: four-foot, fivefoot; of qualification: white, grammatical; of a relative: double, half, larger; of where: in the Lyceum, in the market-place; of when: yesterday, last-year; of being-in-a-position: is-lying, is-sitting; of having: has-shoes-on, has-armour-on; of doing: cutting, burning; of being-affected: being-cut, being-burned.” Continue reading ARISTOTLE: Categories

ARISTOTLE: Metaphysics [Book I, Ch. 1-2; Book IV; Book VI, Ch. 1; Book XI, Ch. 1-4]

In this reading selection from Metaphysics, Aristotle discusses the study of “being qua being” or being as being. To elucidate this concept, consider a natural scientist and a mathematician. Both of these men study an aspect of being – the natural scientist studies being qua movable (i.e. beings as things that are subject to change) and the mathematician studies being qua measurable (i.e. beings as subject to measure). Similarly, the philosopher studies an aspect of being – i.e. being. This aspect can also be termed ‘substance.’ Aristotle believes that substance is eternal, immutable, immaterial, and fundamental. Therefore, the study of being qua being will be concerned with the first principles and causes of all things. Continue reading ARISTOTLE: Metaphysics [Book I, Ch. 1-2; Book IV; Book VI, Ch. 1; Book XI, Ch. 1-4]

ARISTOTLE: Physics [Book IV, Ch. 1-5, 10-14]

In this selection from Physics, Aristotle discusses the nature of place and time. He defines place as an immobile container. Everything exists within a place. That which is in no place is nothing. Place, therefore, is the first thing of all creation; for bodies need place to exist, yet place does not require bodies to exist. The presentation of the various arguments against the existence of place and Aristotle’s refutations were tedious. This is the type of caviling that causes many people to conclude that philosophy is a trivial study concerned only with the most irrelevant considerations. Continue reading ARISTOTLE: Physics [Book IV, Ch. 1-5, 10-14]