Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Aristotle and the Metaphysics

By Vasilis Politis | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION

What would we have to do in order to look for an overall assessment of Aristotle's Metaphysics?

First, we would have to assess the basic question of metaphysics as Aristotle conceives it: the question, 'What is being?', i.e. 'What is it for something, anything, to be a being?' We recall that he thinks that when we raise this question, we raise it of beings with which we are already directly familiar, pre-philosophically and from our ordinary experience. For beings are directly apparent to us and present to us, they are all around us and make up the world which we inhabit. So we would have to ask whether Aristotle does enough to motivate this basic question of metaphysics.

Second, we would have to assess Aristotle's method of searching in metaphysics, the method that is based in puzzlement and particular puzzles-aporia and aporiai-prompted by our thinking about being in general.

Third, we would have to assess Aristotle's central claim that we can address the question, 'What is being?', only by addressing the question, 'What is primary being?' (prōtē ousia, often simply ousia). We recall that a primary being is something that is a being simply in virtue of itself and not in virtue of its relation to other things; and it is what explains what it is for anything to be a being. So we would have to ask whether, if we want to search for what being is, we must do so by searching for a privileged kind of being that explains what it is for anything to be a being.

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