.. een two accompanying vice. Aristotle’s editors gave the name Metaphysics to his works on first philosophy, because they went beyond or followed after his physical investigations. Aristotle begins by sketching the history of philosophy. For Aristotle, philosophy arose historically after basic necessities were secured.
It grew out of a feeling of curiosity and wonder, to which religious myth gave only provisional satisfaction. For Aristotle, the subject of metaphysics deals with the first principles of scientific knowledge and the ultimate conditions of all existence. More specifically, it deals with existence in its most fundamental state and the essential attributes of existence. This can be contrasted with mathematics, which deals with existence in terms of lines or angles, and not existence as it is in itself. In its universal character, metaphysics superficially resembles dialectics and sophistry. However, it differs from tentative dialects and from sophistry, which is pretence of knowledge without the reality. The axioms of science fall under the consideration of the metaphysician insofar as they are properties of all existence. Aristotle argues that there are a handful of universal truths.
Against the followers of Heraclitus and Protagoras, Aristotle defends both the laws of contradiction, and that of excluded middle. He does this by showing that their denial is suicidal. Carried out to its logical consequences, the denial of these laws would lead to the sameness of all facts and all assertions. It would also result in indifference and conduct. As the science of being as being, the leading question of Aristotle’s metaphysics is, what is meant by the real or true substance? Plato tried to solve the same question by positing a universal and invariable element of knowledge and existence the forms as the only real permanent besides the changing phenomena of the senses. Aristotle attacks Plato’s theory of the forms on three different grounds. First, Aristotle argues, forms are powerless to explain changes of things and a thing’s ultimate extinction.
Forms are not causes of movement and alteration in the physical objects of sensation. Second, forms are equally incompetent to explain how we arrive at knowledge of particular things. For, to have knowledge of a particular object, it must be knowledge of the substance, which is in those things. However, the forms place knowledge outside of particular things. Further, to suppose that we know particular things better by adding on their general conceptions of their forms, is about as absurd as to imagine that we can count numbers better by multiplying them.
Finally, if forms were needed to explain our knowledge of particular objects, then forms must be used to explain our knowledge of objects of art; however, Platonists do not recognize such forms. The third ground of attack is that the forms simply cannot explain the existence of particular objects. Plato contends that forms do not exist in the particular objects, which partake in the forms. However, that substance of a particular thing cannot be separated from the thing itself. Further, aside from the jargon of participation, Plato does not explain the relation between forms and particular things.
In reality, it is merely metaphorical to describe the forms as patterns of things; for, what is a genus to one object is a species to a higher class, the same idea will have to be both a form and a particular thing at the same time. Finally, on Plato’s account of the forms, we must imagine an intermediate link between the form and the particular object, and so on ad infinitum: there must always be a third man between the individual man and the form of man. For Aristotle, the form is not something outside the object, but rather in the varied phenomena of sense. Real substance is not the abstract form, but rather the concrete individual thing. In Metaphysics, it frequently inclines towards realism. We are also struck by the apparent contradiction that claims science deals with universal concepts, and substance is declared to be an individual.
In any case, substance is a merging of matter into form. Aristotle uses the term matter in four overlapping senses. First, it is the underlying structure of changes, particularly changes of growth and of decay. Secondly, it is the potential, which has implicitly the capacity to develop into reality. Thirdly, it is without specific qualities and so is indeterminate and contingent. Fourthly, it is identical with form when it takes on a form in its actualized and final phase. The development of potentiality to actuality is one of the most important aspects of Aristotle’s philosophy.
It was intended to solve the difficulties, which earlier thinkers had raised with reference to the beginnings of existence and the relations of the one and many. The actual vs. potential state of things is explained in terms of the causes, which act, on things. There are four causes: 1. Material cause, or the elements out of which an object is created; 2.
Efficient cause, or the means by which it is created; 3. Formal cause, or the expression of what it is; 4. Final cause, or the end for which it is. Take, for example a gold statue. Its material cause is the gold itself.
Its efficient cause is the sculptor, insofar has he or she forces the gold into shape. The formal cause is the idea of the completed statue. The final cause is the idea of the statue as it prompts the sculptor to act on the gold. The final cause tends to be the same as the formal cause, and both of these can be subsumed by the efficient cause. Of the four, it is the formal and final which is the most important, and which most truly gives the explanation of an object.
The final end or purpose of a thing is realized in the full perfection of the object itself, not in our conception of it. Final cause is thus internal to the nature of the object itself, and not something we subjectively impose on it. Aristotle had many ideas that brought good and bad results. We appreciate his life, writing, and teachings and strive to become such a great thinker as he was. He was not concerned with how others viewed him as a person. Aristotle has influenced many philosophers way of thinking today. Also he did not let other ideas stop him from achieving his thirst for his code of ethics.