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Substance Form And Psyche An Aristotelian Metaphysics Pdf

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Aristotle regarded psychology as a part of natural philosophy, and he wrote much about the philosophy of mind. This material appears in his ethical writings, in a systematic treatise on the nature of the soul De anima , and in a number of minor monographs on topics such as sense-perception, memory, sleep, and dreams.

Aristotle’s Metaphysics

They were to be studied after the treatises dealing with nature ta phusika. Translations are taken from Reeve But this does not mean the branch of philosophy that should be studied first. Rather, it concerns issues that are in some sense the most fundamental or at the highest level of generality.

Rather, his description involves three things: 1 a study, 2 a subject matter being , and 3 a manner in which the subject matter is studied qua being. A study of x qua y , then, is a study of x that concerns itself solely with the y aspect of x. Rather it is a study of being, or better, of beings—of things that can be said to be—that studies them in a particular way: as beings, in so far as they are beings.

Of course, first philosophy is not the only field of inquiry to study beings. Natural science and mathematics also study beings, but in different ways, under different aspects. The natural scientist studies them as things that are subject to the laws of nature, as things that move and undergo change. That is, the natural scientist studies things qua movable i. The mathematician studies things qua countable and measurable.

The metaphysician, on the other hand, studies them in a more general and abstract way—qua beings. So first philosophy studies the causes and principles of beings qua beings. We will explain this connection in Section 3 below. Whereas natural science studies objects that are material and subject to change, and mathematics studies objects that although not subject to change are nevertheless not separate from i.

We discuss this identification in Section 14 below. Characteristic of these perplexities, he says, is that they tie our thinking up in knots. They include the following, among others: Are sensible substances the only ones that exist, or are there others besides them? Is it kinds or individuals that are the elements and principles of things?

And if it is kinds, which ones: the most generic or the most specific? Is there a cause apart from matter? Is there anything apart from material compounds? Are the principles limited, either in number or in kind? Are the principles of perishable things themselves perishable? Are the principles universal or particular, and do they exist potentially or actually? Are mathematical objects numbers, lines, figures, points substances?

If they are, are they separate from or do they always belong to sensible things? But it is not always clear precisely how he resolves them, and it is possible that Aristotle did not think that the Metaphysics contains definitive solutions to all of these perplexities.

According to this account, beings can be divided into ten distinct categories. Although Aristotle never says so, it is tempting to suppose that these categories are mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive of the things there are. They include substance, quality, quantity, and relation, among others.

Of these categories of beings, it is the first, substance ousia , to which Aristotle gives a privileged position. Substances are unique in being independent things; the items in the other categories all depend somehow on substances. That is, qualities are the qualities of substances; quantities are the amounts and sizes that substances come in; relations are the way substances stand to one another. Each member of a non-substance category thus stands in this inherence relation as it is frequently called to some substance or other—color is always found in bodies, knowledge in the soul.

Neither whiteness nor a piece of grammatical knowledge, for example, is capable of existing on its own. Each requires for its existence that there be some substance in which it inheres. In addition to this fundamental inherence relation across categories, Aristotle also points out another fundamental relation that obtains between items within a single category.

So the genus e. The same holds in non-substance categories. There has been considerable scholarly dispute about these particulars in nonsubstance categories. For more detail, see the supplementary document:.

Each category thus has the structure of an upside-down tree. The individuals in the category of substance play a special role in this scheme. Indeed, Aristotle offers an argument 2 a 35—2 b 7 to establish the primary substances as the fundamental entities in this ontology. For these secondary substances are just the ways in which the primary substances are fundamentally classified within the category of substance. As for the members of non-substance categories, they too depend for their existence on primary substances.

A universal in a non-substance category, e. Similarly, particulars in non-substance categories although there is not general agreement among scholars about what such particulars might be cannot exist on their own.

The Categories leads us to expect that the study of being in general being qua being will crucially involve the study of substance, and when we turn to the Metaphysics we are not disappointed. As we noted above, metaphysics or, first philosophy is the science which studies being qua being. In this respect it is unlike the specialized or departmental sciences, which study only part of being only some of the things that exist or study beings only in a specialized way e.

Consider an analogy. There are dining tables, and there are tide tables. A dining table is a table in the sense of a smooth flat slab fixed on legs; a tide table is a table in the sense of a systematic arrangement of data in rows and columns.

Hence it would be foolish to expect that there is a single science of tables, in general, that would include among its objects both dining tables and tide tables. Not all of these are healthy in the same sense. Exercise is healthy in the sense of being productive of health; a clear complexion is healthy in the sense of being symptomatic of health; a person is healthy in the sense of having good health. Other things are considered healthy only in so far as they are appropriately related to things that are healthy in this primary sense.

The beings in the primary sense are substances; the beings in other senses are the qualities, quantities, etc. An animal, e. But a horse is a being in the primary sense—it is a substance—whereas the color white a quality is a being only because it qualifies some substance. An account of the being of anything that is, therefore, will ultimately have to make some reference to substance.

Hence, the science of being qua being will involve an account of the central case of beings—substances. This, Aristotle says, is the most certain of all principles, and it is not just a hypothesis.

It cannot, however, be proved, since it is employed, implicitly, in all proofs, no matter what the subject matter. It is a first principle, and hence is not derived from anything more basic. What, then, can the science of first philosophy say about the PNC? Those who would claim to deny the PNC cannot, if they have any beliefs at all, believe that it is false. For one who has a belief must, if he is to express this belief to himself or to others, say something—he must make an assertion.

He must, as Aristotle says, signify something. But the very act of signifying something is possible only if the PNC is accepted. Without accepting the PNC, one would have no reason to think that his words have any signification at all—they could not mean one thing rather than another. So anyone who makes any assertion has already committed himself to the PNC. One might have thought that this question had already been answered in the Categories.

This would seem to provide us with both examples of, and criteria for being, primary substances. He does not seem to doubt that the clearest examples of substances are perceptible ones, but leaves open the question whether there are others as well. But even if we know that something is a substance, we must still say what makes it a substance—what the cause is of its being a substance. This is the question to which Aristotle next turns. To answer it is to identify, as Aristotle puts it, the substance of that thing.

Presumably, this means that if x is a substance, then the substance of x might be either i the essence of x , or ii some universal predicated of x , or iii a genus that x belongs to, or iv a subject of which x is predicated.

This characterization of a subject is reminiscent of the language of the Categories , which tells us that a primary substance is not predicated of anything else, whereas other things are predicated of it. Candidate iv thus seems to reiterate the Categories criterion for being a substance.

But there are two reasons to be wary of drawing this conclusion. First, whereas the subject criterion of the Categories told us that substances were the ultimate subjects of predication, the subject criterion envisaged here is supposed to tell us what the substance of something is.

So what it would tell us is that if x is a substance, then the substance of x —that which makes x a substance—is a subject that x is predicated of. Second, as his next comment makes clear, Aristotle has in mind something other than this Categories idea.

For the subject that he here envisages, he says, is either matter or form or the compound of matter and form. To appreciate the issues Aristotle is raising here, we must briefly compare his treatment of the notion of a subject in the Physics with that in the Categories.

In the Categories , Aristotle was concerned with subjects of predication: what are the things we talk about, and ascribe properties to? In the Physics , his concern is with subjects of change: what is it that bears at different times contrary predicates and persists through a process of change?

But there is an obvious connection between these conceptions of a subject, since a subject of change must have one predicate belonging to it at one time that does not belong to it at another time. Subjects of change, that is, are also subjects of predication.

The converse is not true: numbers are subjects of predication—six is even, seven is prime—but not of change. In the Categories , individual substances a man, a horse were treated as fundamental subjects of predication. They were also understood, indirectly, as subjects of change. These are changes in which substances move, or alter, or grow.

What the Categories did not explore, however, are changes in which substances are generated or destroyed.

Substance, Form, and Psyche: An Aristotelean Metaphysics

In philosophy , potentiality and actuality [1] are a pair of closely connected principles which Aristotle used to analyze motion , causality , ethics , and physiology in his Physics , Metaphysics , Nicomachean Ethics and De Anima , which is about the human psyche. The concept of potentiality, in this context, generally refers to any "possibility" that a thing can be said to have. Aristotle did not consider all possibilities the same, and emphasized the importance of those that become real of their own accord when conditions are right and nothing stops them. These concepts, in modified forms, remained very important into the Middle Ages , influencing the development of medieval theology in several ways. Going further into modern times, while the understanding of nature , and according to some interpretations deity , implied by the dichotomy lost importance, the terminology has found new uses, developing indirectly from the old. This is most obvious in words like "energy" and "dynamic" - words first used in modern physics by the German scientist and philosopher, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.


Monty Furth's book Substance, Form and Psyche is mischievously subtitled "an Aristotelean Metaphysics". Note that it is not described as a commentary on.


Substance, Form, And Psyche

A prolific writer, lecturer, and polymath, Aristotle radically transformed most of the topics he investigated. In his lifetime, he wrote dialogues and as many as treatises, of which only 31 survive. These works are in the form of lecture notes and draft manuscripts never intended for general readership.

Potentiality and actuality

Substance, Form, and Psyche: An Aristotelean Metaphysics

I contemplate the priority of the form as substance, its particular character, and the different ways in which something can be a subject, this, in order to conclude why in Z, 3, form is the best candidate to be not only substance, but to be subject in a primary sense. The purpose of the text is to address the discussion as to why form, rather than matter or the composite, best fits the ontological criteria of being subject and the philosophical consequences of this position. As a corollary, I will make some comments on the dual ontology that Aristotle follows from Categories or Metaphysics.

This article offers a reconstruction of an argument against infinite regress formulated by Aristotle in Posterior Analytics I I argue against the traditional interpretation of the chapter, according to which singular terms and summa genera, in virtue of having restrict logical roles, provide limits for predicative chains, preventing them from proceeding ad infinitum. More importantly, it fails to explain how his proof is connected to a defence of the existence of ultimate explanations, a connection that must be the case if I is advancing a foundationalist way-out to a sceptical challenge raised in I 3. Aristotle does not present a systematic account of a broader concept of knowledge, nor is he interested in convincing sceptical readers of the possibility of knowledge in general. Now, suppose that the categorical premises from which a given truth is explained require a causal explanation as well. If so, our scientific understanding of the conclusion would remain inaccurate or incomplete unless the demonstration takes the form of a complex argument in which the premises are themselves properly explained.


Cambridge Core - Classical Philosophy - Substance, Form, and Psyche. An Aristotelean Metaphysics. Search within full text. Substance, Form, and Psyche.


Get access. Buy the print book Check if you have access via personal or institutional login There are three main parts to the book: Part I, a treatment of the concepts of substance and nonsubstance in Aristotle's Categories; Part III, which discusses some important features of Substance, Form, and Psyc has been added to your Cart Add to Cart. See All Buying Options Available at a lower price from other sellers that may not offer free Prime shipping. This book is a re-thinking of Aristotle's metaphysical theory of material substances. Substance, Form, and Psyche book.

They were to be studied after the treatises dealing with nature ta phusika. Translations are taken from Reeve But this does not mean the branch of philosophy that should be studied first.

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