Aristotle's Metaphysics: Books M and N

Aristotle's Metaphysics: Books M and N

Aristotle's Metaphysics: Books M and N

Aristotle's Metaphysics: Books M and N


M and N, the last two books of the Metaphysics, are Aristotle's only sustained venture into the philosophy of mathematics. This volume includes the complete text of M and N along with 170 pages of commentary that provide a clear introduction for students. Focusing on the books' continuing philosophical interest, Annas presents an invaluable guide to this unjustly neglected part of Aristotle's thought.


I am very grateful to Professor J.L. Ackrill, the editor of this series, who read drafts of the book with great care and made many valuable suggestions. in particular he saved the translation from numerous infelicities and barbarisms. I owe him many thanks for our discussions, which not only resulted in a greatly improved book, but were most enjoyable and illuminating about various aspects of Aristotle's philosophy.

My interest in M-N arose out of my Harvard doctoral thesis on Aristotle's criticism of Plato's theory of number. I owe a great debt to my supervisor, Professor G.E.L. Owen, whose sharp and sensitive approach to Aristotle encouraged and greatly improved my own work.

I would also like to thank Jonathan Barnes, who read the type- script through and from whose suggestions I have greatly benefited. James Dybikowski made many helpful criticisms of one draft. Michael Morgan did his best to make me see Plato's side of the argument, especially over non-combinable units; he will probably feel that I am still too impressed by Aristotle's arguments. I also owe thanks for helpful comments and discussions to Richard Sorabji and Malcolm Schofield.

I am grateful to the President and Fellows of Harvard University for appointing me James C. Loeb Fellow in Classical Philosophy for the fall semester of 1972-3, and to my College for giving me special leave of absence to take up the appointment. During this time the book began to take shape, and I would like to thank Professor Owen for many stimulating discussions during that period.

Finally I would like to thank Graeme Segal for his patience and understanding, without which this book would never have been finished.

St. Hugh's College, Oxford julia annas January 1975 . . .

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