Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Aristotle and the Metaphysics

Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Aristotle and the Metaphysics

Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Aristotle and the Metaphysics

Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Aristotle and the Metaphysics

Synopsis

Aristotles' 'Metaphysics' is one of the most important texts in Ancient Philosophy. This GuideBook looks at the Metaphysics thematically and takes the student through the main arguments found in the text. The book introduces and assesses Aristotle's life and the background to the Metaphysics , the ideas and text of the Metaphysics and Aristotle's philosophical legacy.

Excerpt

The work that we have here under the title 'the Metaphysics' (ta meta ta phusika) is a series of fourteen books, all or most of which were written by Aristotle (384-322 BC). They belong to his latest period of work. Therefore the Metaphysics belongs to what Aristotle wrote after founding (in 335 BC) his own school of philosophy in Athens: the Lyceum or Peripatos. This means that, even if we take into account that the Metaphysics must have been written over an extended period of time, Aristotle must have produced the work some years after leaving the Academy, Plato's school in Athens; for he became a pupil of Plato (427-347 BC) at the age of seventeen, and he remained in Plato's school, first as a pupil and later as a relatively independent researcher, for some twenty years. But he left the Academy after Plato died.

However, Aristotle did not write the Metaphysics as a single work, and even the individual books (or sets of books) in it may not be finished works. Only after his death, and probably between 200 and 100 BC, were these fourteen books arranged and published in the order in which we now have them. The title itself, 'the Metaphysics', is not Aristotle's, but was probably devised by Andronicus of Rhodes when he put together the edition of the collected works of Aristotle (first century BC).

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