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]
Plotinus is an ancient Greek philosopher who lived from 205-270 BC. He belongs to the philosophical school of Neoplatonism, which expanded upon the metaphysical concepts of Plato. In the Sixth Ennead, Plotinus discourses on the nature of Being, and the nature of the One in particular. The One is Plato’s Form of the Good. It is that from which all existence is derived. Plotinus writes that defining the One is impossible. We must intuit its existence. In order to accomplish this union with the One, we must lead an ascetic life, in which we take little heed of the body and we focus our attention on metaphysical truths. Plotinus’ thoughts have had a significant role in the formation of Christian thought, which has dominated the West for several millennia. Continue reading PLOTINUS: Sixth Ennead
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]
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]
The unexamined life is not worth living.