Aristotle was born at Stageira, a sea-port town of some little importance in the district of Chalcidice, in the first year of the 99th Olympiad. (B. C. 384.) His father, Nicomachus, an Asclepiad, was physician in ordinary to Amyntas II., king of Macedonia, and the author of several treatises on subjects connected with natural science. (Suidas, s.v. Ἀριστοτέλης
.) His mother, Phaestis (or Phaestias), was descended from a Chalcidian family (Dionys. de Demosth. et Arist.
5); and we find mention of his brother Arimnestus, and his sister Arimneste. (D. L. 5.15
; Suid. l.c.
) His father, who was a man of scientific culture, soon introduced his son at the court of the king of Macedonia in Pella, where at an early age he became acquainted with the son of Amyntas II., afterwards the celebrated Philip of Macedonia, who was only three years younger than Aristotle himself.
The studies and occupation of his father account for the early inclination manifested by Aristotle for the investigation of nature, an inclination which is perceived throughout his whole life. 1
He lost his father before he had attained his seventeenth year (his mother appears to have died earlier), and he was entrusted to the guardianship of one Proxenus of Atarneus in Mysia, who, however, without doubt, was settled in Stageira.
This friend of his father provided conscientiously for the education of the young orphan, and secured for himself a lasting remembrance in the heart of his grateful pupil.
Afterwards, when his foster-parents died, leaving a son, Nicanor, Aristotle adopted him, and gave him his only daughter, Pythias, in marriage. (Ammon. p. 44, ed. Buhle.)
After the completion of his seventeenth year, his ardent yearning after knowledge led him to Athens, the mother-city of Hellenic culture. (B. C. 367.) Various calumnious reports respecting Aristotle's youthful days, which the hatred and envy of the schools invented, and gossiping anecdote-mongers spread abroad (Athen. 8.354
; Ael. VH 5.9
; Euseb. Praep. Evangel.
15.2; comp. Appuleius, Apol.
pp. 510, 511, ed. Oudendorp) to the effect that he squandered his hereditary property in a course of dissipation, and was compelled to seek a subsistence first as a soldier, then as a drug-seller (φαρμακοπώλης
), have been already amply refuted by the ancients themselves. (Comp. Aristocles, apud Euseb. l.c.
) When Aristotle arrived at Athens, Plato had just set out upon his Sicilian journey, from which he did not return for three years.
This intervening time was employed by Aristotle in preparing himself to be a worthy disciple of the great teacher. His hereditary fortune, which, according to all appearance, was considerable, not merely relieved him from anxiety about the means of subsistence, but enabled him also to support the expense which the purchase of books at that time rendered necessary.
He studied the works of the earlier as well as of the contemporary philosophers with indefatigable zeal, and at the same time sought for information and instruction in intercourse with such followers of Socrates and Plato as were living at Athens, among whom we may mention Heracleides Ponticus.
So aspiring a mind could not long remain concealed from the observation of Plato, who soon distinguished him above all his other disciples.
He named him, on account of his restless industry and his untiring investigations after truth and knowledge, the intellect of his school
(νοῦς τῆς διατριβῆς
, Philopon. de Aeternit. Mundi adv. Proclum,
6.27, ed. Venet. 1535, fol.); his house, the house of the "reader" (ἀναγνώστης
, Ammon. l.c.;
Caelius Rhodigin. 17.17), who needed a curb, whereas Xenocrates needed the spur. (D. L. 4.6
.) And while he recommended the latter "to sacrifice to the Graces," he appears rather to have warned Aristotle against the " too much." Aristotle lived at Athens for twenty years, till B. C. 347. (Apoll. apud Diog. Laeert.
5.9.) During the whole of this period the good understanding which subsisted between teacher and scholar continued. with some trifling exceptions, undisturbed. For the stories of the disrespect and ingratitude of the latter towards the former are nothing but calumnies invented by his enemies, of whom, according to the expression of Themistius (Orat.
iv.), Aristotle had raised a whole host. (Ael. VH 3.19
; Euseb. Praep. Ev. 15.2
; D. L. 2.109
; Ammon. Vit. Arist.
p. 45.) Nevertheless, we can easily believe, that between two men who were engaged in the same pursuits, and were at the same time in some respects of opposite characters, collisions might now and then occur, and that the youthful Aristotle, possessed as he was of a vigorous and aspiring mind, and having possibly a presentiment that he was called to be the founder of a new epoch in thought and knowledge, may have appeared to many to have sometimes entered the lists against his grey-headed teacher with too much impetuosity.
But with all that, the position in which they stood to each other was, and continued to be, worthy of both.
This is not only proved by the character of each, which we know from other sources, but is also confirmed by the truly amiable manner and affectionate reverence with which Aristotle conducts his controversies with his teacher.
In particular, we may notice a passage in the Nicomachean Ethics (1.6), with which others (as Ethic. Nic.
2.3.3) may be compared.
According to a notice by Olympiodorus (in his commentary on Plato's Gorgias), Aristotle even wrote a biographical λόγος ἐγκωμιαστικός
on his teacher. (See Cousin, Journ. d. Savans,
Dec. 1832, p. 744.)
During the last ten years of his first residence at Athens, Aristotle himself had already assembled around him a circle of scholars, among whom we may notice his friend Hermias, the dynast of the cities of Atarneus and Assos in Mysia. (Strabo xiii. p.614
The subjects of his lectures were not so much of a philosophical 2
as of a rhetorical and perhaps also of a political kind. (Quint. Inst. 11.2.25
At least it is proved that Aristotle entered the lists of controversy against Isocrates, at that time the most distinguished teacher of rhetoric. Indeed, he appears to have opposed most decidedly all the earlier and contemporary theories of rhetoric. (Arist. Rhet.
1.1, 2.) His opposition to Isocrates, however, led to most important consequences, as it accounts for the bitter hatred which was afterwards manifested towards Aristotle and his school by all the followers of Isocrates.
It was the conflict of profound philosophical investigation with the superficiality of stylistic and rhetorical accomplishment; of systematic observation with shallow empiricism and prosaic insipidity; of which Isocrates might be looked upon as the principal representative, since he not only despised poetry, but held physics and mathematics to be illiberal studies, cared not to know anything about philosophy, and looked upon the accomplished man of the world and the clever rhetorician as the true philosophers. On this occasion Aristotle published his first rhetorical
That during this time he continued to maintain his connexion with the Macedonian court, is intimated by his going on an embassy to Philip of Macedonia on some business of the Athenians. (D. L. 5.2
.) Moreover, we have still the letter in which his royal friend announces to him the birth of his son Alexander. (B. C. 356; Gel. 9.3
; Dion Chrysost. Orat.
After the death of Plato, which occurred during the above-mentioned embassy of Aristotle (B. C. 347), the latter left Athens, though we do not exactly know for what reason. Perhaps he was offended by Plato's having appointed Speusippus as his successor in the Academy. (D. L. 5.2
At the same time, it is more probable that, after the notions of the ancient philosophers, he esteemed travels in foreign parts as a necessary completion of his education.
Since the death of Plato, there had been no longer any ties to detain him at Athens. Besides, the political horizon there had assumed a very different aspect.
The undertakings of Philip against Olynthus and most of the Greek cities of Chalcidice filled the Athenians with hatred and anxiety.
The native city of Aristotle met with the fate of many others, and was destroyed by Philip at the very time that Aristotle received an invitation from his former pupil, Hermias, who from being the confidential friend of a Bithynian dynast, Eubulus (comp. Pollux, 9.6; Arist. Polit.
2.4. §§ 9, 10), had, as already stated, raised himself to be the ruler of the cities of Atarneus and Assos. On his journey thither he was accompanied by his friend Xenocrates, the disciple of Plato. Hermias, like his predecessor Eubulus, had taken part in the attempts made at that time by the Greeks in Asia to free themselves from the Persian dominion. Perhaps, therefore, the journey of Aristotle had even a political object, as it appears not unlikely that Hermias wished to avail himself not merely of his counsel, but of his good offices with Philip, in order to further his plans.
A few years, however, after the arrival of Aristotle, Hermias, through the treachery of Mentor, a Grecian general in the Persian service, fell into the hands of the Persians, and, like his predecessor, lost his life. Aristotle himself escaped to Mytilene, whither his wife, Pythias, the adoptive daughter of the assassinated prince, accompanied him.
A poem on his unfortunate friend, which is still preserved, testifies the warm affection which he had felt for him.
He afterwards caused a statue to be erected to his memory at Delphi. (D. L. 5.6
He transferred to his adoptive daughter, Pythias, the almost enthusiastic attachment which he had entertained for his friend; and long after her death he directed in his will that her ashes should be placed beside his own. (Diog. 5.16.) 3
Two years after his flight from Atarneus (B. C. 342) we find the philosopher accepting an invitation from Philip of Macedonia, who summoned him to his court to undertake the instruction and education of his son Alexander, then thirteen years of age. (Plut. Alex. 5
; Quint. Inst. 1.1
.) Here Aristotle was treated with the most marked respect. His native city, Stageira, was rebuilt at his request, 4
and Philip caused a gymnasium (called Nymphaeum) to be built there in a pleasant grove expressly for Aristotle and his pupils.
In the time of Plutarch, the shady walks (περίπατοι
) and stone seats of Aristotle were still shewn to the traveller. (Plut. l.c.
5.) Here, in quiet retirement from the intrigues of the court at Pella, the future conqueror of the world ripened into manhood. Plutarch informs us that several other noble youths enjoyed the instruction of Aristotle with him. (Apophth. Reg.
vol. v. p. 683, ed. Reiske.) Among this number we may mention Cassander, the son of Antipater (Plut. Alex. 74
), Marsyas of Pella (brother of Antigonus, afterwards king), who subsequently wrote a work on the education of Alexander
; Callisthenes, a relation of Aristotle, and afterwards the historian of Alexander
, and Theophrastus of Eresus (in Lesbos). Nearchus, Ptolemy, and Harpalus also, the three most intimate friends of Alexander's
youth, were probably his fellow pupils. (Plut. Alex. 10
attached himself with such ardent affection to the philosopher, that the youth, whom no one yet had been able to manage, soon valued his instructor above his own father. Aristotle spent seven years in Macedonia ; but Alexander
enjoyed his instruction without interruption for only four.
But with such a pupil even this short period was sufficient for a teacher like Aristotle to fulfil the highest purposes of education, to aid the development of his pupil's faculties in every direction, to awaken susceptibility and lively inclination for every art and science, and to create in him that sense of the noble and great, which distinguishes Alexander
from all those conquerors who have only swept like a hurricane through the world.
According to the usual mode of Grecian education, a knowledge of the poets, eloquence, and philosophy, were the principal subiects into which Aristotle initiated his royal pupil. Thus we are even informed that he prepared a new recension of the Iliad
for him (ἡ ἐκ τοῦ νάρθηκος
, Wolf, Proleg.
p. clxxxi.), that he instructed him in ethics and politics (Plut. Alex. 7
), and disclosed to him the abstrusities of his own speculations, of the publication of which by his writings Alexander
afterwards complained. (Gel. 20.5
love of the science of medicine and every branch of physics, as well as the lively interest which he took in literature and philosophy generally (Plut. Alex. 8
), were awakened and fostered by this instruction. Nor can the views communicated by Aristotle to his pupil on politics have failed to exercise the most important influence on his subsequent plans; although the aim of Alexander
, to unite all the nations under his sway into one kingdom, without due regard to their individual peculiarities (Plut. de Virt. Alex.
1.6, vol. ix. pp. 38, 42, ed. Hutten), was not (as Joh. v. Müller maintains) founded on the advice of Aristotle, but, on the contrary, was opposed to the views of the philosopher, as Plutarch (l.c.
p. 88) expressly remarks, and as a closer consideration of the politics of Aristotle is of itself sufficient to prove. (Comp. Polit.
3.9, 7.6, 1.1.) On the other hand, this connexion had likewise important consequences as regards Aristotle himself. Living in what was then the centre and source of political activity, his survey of the relations of life and of states, as well as his knowledge of men, was extended.
The position in which he stood to Alexander
occasioned and favoured several studies and literary works.
In his extended researches into natural science, and particularly in his zoological investigations, he received not only from Philip, but in still larger measure from Alexander
, the most liberal support, a support which stands unrivalled in the history of civilisation. (Aelian, Ael. VH 5.19
; Athen. 9.398
e.; Plin. Nat. 8.17
In the year B. C. 340, Alexander
, then scarcely seventeen years of age, was appointed regent by his father, who was about to make an expedition against Byzantium. From that time Aristotle's instruction of the young prince was chiefly restricted to advice and suggestion, which may very possibly have been carried on by means of epistolary correspondence.
In the year B. C. 335, soon after Alexander
ascended the throne, Aristotle quitted Macedonia for ever, and returned to Athens 5
, after an absence of twelve years, whither, as it appears, he had already been invited. Here he found his friend Xenocrates president of the Academy.
He himself had the Lyceum, a gymnasium in the neighbourhood of the temple of Apollo Lykeios, assigned to him by the state.
He soon assembled round him a large number of distinguished scholars out of all the Hellenic cities of Europe and Asia, to whom, in the shady walks (περίπατοι
) which surrounded the Lyceum, while walking up and down, he delivered lectures on philosophy. From one or other of these circumstances the name Peripatetic is derived, which was afterwards given to his school.
It appears, however, most correct to derive the name (with Jonsius, Dissert. de Hist. Perip.
1.1, pp. 419-425, ed. Elswich) from the place where Aristotle taught, which was called at Athens par excellence, ὁ περίπατος
, as is proved also by the wills of Theophrastus and Lycon. His lectures, which, according to an old account preserved by Gellius (20.5
), he delivered in the morning (ἑωθινὸς περίπατος
) to a narrower circle of chosen and confidential (esoteric) hearers, and which were called acroamatic or acroaiic,
embraced subjects connected with the more abstruse philosophy (theology), physics, and dialectics.
Those which he delivered in the afternoon (δειλινὸς περίπατος
) and intended for a more promiscuous circle (which accordingly he called esoteric
), extended to rhetoric, sophistics., and politics. Such a separation of his more intimate disciples and more profound lectures, from the main body of his other hearers and the popular discourses intended for then, is also found among other Greek philosophers. (Plat. Theaet.
p. 152c., Phaedon,
As regards the external form of delivery, he appears to have taught not so much in the way of conversation, as in regular lectures. Some notices have been preserved to us of certain external regulations of his school, e. g.,
that, after the example of Xenocrates, he created an archon every ten days among his scholars, and laid down certain laws of good breeding for their social meetings (νόμοι συμποτικοί
, D. L. 2.130
; Athen. 5.186
a. e.). Neither of the two schools of philosophy which flourished at the same time in Athens approached, in extent and celebrity, that of Aristotle, from which proceeded a large number of distinguished philosophers, historians, statesmen, and orators. We mention here, beside Callisthenes of Olynthus, who has been already spoken of, only the names of Theophrastus, and his countryman Phanias, of Eresus, the former of whom succeeded Aristotle in the Lyceum as president of the school; Aristoxenus the Tarentine, surnamed μουσικός
; the brothers Eudemus and Pasicrates of Rhodes; Eudemus of Cyprus; Clearchus of Soli ; Theodectes of Phaselis; the historians Dicaearchus and Satyrus; the celebrated statesman, orator, and writer, Demetrius Phalereus; the philosopher Ariston of Cos; Philon; Neleus of Scepsis, and many others, of whom an account was given by the Alexandrine grammarian Nicander in his lost work, Περὶ τῶν Ἀριστοτέλους μαθητῶν
During the thirteen years which Aristotle spent at Athens in active exertions amongst such a circle of disciples, he was at the same time occupied with the composition of the greater part of his works.
In these labours, as has already been observed, he was assisted by the truly kingly liberality of his former pupil, who not only presented him with 800 talents, an immense sum even for our times, but also, through his vicegerents in the conquered provinces, caused large collections of natural curiosities to be made for him, to which posterity is indebted for one of his most excellent works, the " History of Animals." (Plin. Nat. 8.17
Meanwhile various causes contributed to throw a cloud over the latter years of the philosopher's life.
In the first place, he felt deeply the death of his wife Pythias, who left behind her a daughter of the same name : he lived subsequently with a friend of his wife's, the slave Herpyllis, who bore him a son, Nicomachus, and of whose faithfulness and attachment he makes a grateful and substantial acknowledgement in his will. (D. L. 5.1
But a source of still greater grief was an interruption of the friendly relation in which he had hitherto stood to his royal pupil.
The occasion of this originated in the opposition raised by the philosopher Callisthenes against the changes in the conduct and policy of Alexander
. Aristotle, who had in vain advised Callisthenes not to lose sight of prudence in his behaviour towards the king, disapproved of his conduct altogether, and foresaw its unhappy issue. [CALLISTHENES.
] Still Alexander
refrained from any expression of hostility towards his former instructor (a story of this kind in D. L. 5.10
, has been corrected by Stahr, Aristotelia,
p. 133); and although, as Plutarch expressly informs us, their former cordial connexion no longer subsisted undisturbed, yet, as is proved by a remarkable expression (Topicor.
3.1, 7, ed. Buhle; comp. Albert Heydemann's German translation and explanation of the categories of Aristotle, p. 32, Berlin, 1835), Aristotle never lost his trust in his royal friend.
The story, that Aristotle, irritated by the above-mentioned occurrence, took part in poisoning the king, is altogether unfounded. Alexander
, according to all historical testimony, died a natural death, and no writer mentions the name of Aristotle in connexion with the rumour of the poisoning except Pliny. (H. N.
30.53.) Nay, even the passage of Pliny has been wrongly understood by the biographers of Aristotle (by Stahr as well, i. p. 139); for, far from regarding Aristotle as guilty of such a crime, the Roman naturalist, who everywhere shews that he cherished the deepest respect for Aristotle, says, on the contrary, just the reverse,--that the rumour had been " mnagna cum infamia Aristotelis excogitatum.
The movements which commenced in Grecce against Macedonia after Alexander's
death, B. C. 323, endangered also the peace and security of Aristotle, who was regarded as a friend of Macedonia. To bring a political accusation against him was not easy, for Aristotle was so spotless in this respect, that not even his name
is mentioned by Demosthenes, or any other contemporary orator, as implicated in those relations.
He was accordingly accused of impiety (ἀσεβείας
) by the hierophant Eurymedon, whose accusation was supported by an Athenian of some note, named Demophilus. Such accusations, as the rabulist Euthyphron in Plato remarks, seldom missed their object with the multitude. (Plato, Euthyph.
p. 3, B., Εὐδιάβολα τά τοιαῦτα πρὸς πολλούς
The charge was grounded on his having addressed a hymn to his friend Hermias as to a god, and paid him divine honours in other respects. (D. L. 5.5
; Ilgen, Disquisit. de Scol. Poesi,
p. 69 ; and the Ἀπολογία ἀσεβείας
attributed to Aristotle, but the authenticity of which was doubted even by the ancients, in Ath. 15.16
, p. 696.) Certain dogmas of the philosopher were also used for the same object. (Origen. c. Cels.
i. p. 51, ed. Hoeschel.) Aristotle, however, knew his danger sufficiently well to withdraw from Athens before his trial.
He escaped in the beginning of B. C. 322 to Chalcis in Euboea, where he had relations on his mother's side, and where the Macedonian influence, which was there predominant, afforded him protection and security.
In his will also mention is made of some property which he had in Chalcis. (D. L. 5.14
.) Certain accounts (Strabo x. p.448
; D. L. 10.1
) even render it exceedingly probable that Aristotle had left Athens and removed to Chalcis before the death of Alexander
A fragment of a letter written by the philosopher to his friend Antipater has been preserved to us, in which he states his reasons for the above-mentioned change of residence, and at the same time, with reference to the unjust execution of Socrates, adds, that he wished to deprive the Athenians of the opportunity of sinning a second time against philosophy. (Comp. Eustath. ad Hom. Od.
7.120. p. 1573, 12. ed. Rom. 275, 20, Bas.; Aelian, Ael. VH 3.36
.) From Chalcis he may have sent forth a defence against the accusation of his enemies.
At least antiquity possessed a defence of that kind under his name, the authenticity of which, however, was already doubted by Athenaeus. (Comp. Phavorin. apud Diog. Laert. l.c.,
who calls it a λόγος δικανικός
.) However, on his refusing to answer the summons of the Areiopagus, he was deprived of all the rights and honours which had been previously bestowed upon him (Aelian, Ael. VH 14.1
), and condemned to death in his absence. Meantime the philosopher continued his studies and lectures in Chalcis for some time longer without molestation.
He died in the beginning of August, in the year B. C. 322, a short time before Demosthenes (who died in October of the same year), in the 63rd year of his age, from the effects, not of poison, but of a chronic disorder of the stomach. (Censorin. de Die Nat.
14, extr.; Apollod. apud Diog. Laert.
5.10; Dionys. l.c.
The accounts of his having committed suicide belong to the region of fables and tales. One story (found in several of the Christian fathers) was, that he threw himself into the Euripus, from vexation at being unable to discover the causes of the currents in it. On the other hand, we have the account, that his mortal remains were transported to his native city Stageira, and that his memory was honoured there, like that of a hero, by yearly festivals of remembrance. (Vet. Intp. ap. Buhle, vol. i. p. 56; Ammon. p. 47.)
Before his death, in compliance with the wish of his school, he had intimated in a symbolical manner that of his two most distinguished scholars, Menedemus of Rhodes and Theophrastus of Eresus (in Lesbos), he intended the latter to be his successor in the Lyceum. (Gellius, 13.5
He also bequeathed to Theophrastus his well-stored library and the originals of his own writings. From his will (in D. L. 5.21
; Hermipp. apud Athen.
xiii. p. 589c.), which attests the flourishing state of his worldly circumstances not less than his judicious and sympathetic care for his family and servants, we gather, that his adoptive son Nicanor, his daughter Pythias, the offspring of his first marriage, as well as Herpyllis and the son he had by her, survived him.
He named his friend Antipater as the executor of his will.
If we cast a glance at the character of Aristotle, we see a man of the highest intellectual powers, gifted with a piercing understanding, a comprehensive and deep mind, practical and extensive views of the various relations of actual life, and the noblest moral sentiments. Such he appears in his life as well as in his writings. Such other information as we possess respecting his character accords most completely with this view, if we estimate at their real value the manifest ill-will and exaggerations of the literary anecdotes which have come down to us. At Athens the fact of his being a foreigner was of itself a sufficient reason for his taking no part in politics. For the rest, he at any rate did not belong to the party of democratical patriots, of whom Demosthenes may be regarded as the representative, but probably coincided rather with the conciliatory politics of Phocion.
A declared opponent of absolutism
2.7.6), he everywhere insists on conformity to the law, for the law is " the only safe, rational standard to be guided by, while the will of the individual man cannot be depended on."
He wished to form the beau ideal of a ruler in Alexander
3.8, extr.), and it is quite in accordance with the oriental mode of viewing things, when the Arabian philosophers, as Avicenna and Abu-l-faraj, sometimes call Aristotle, Alexander's
vizier. (Comp. Schmoelder's Documenta Philosoph. Arab.
The whole demeanour of Aristotle was marked by a certain briskness and vivacity. His powers of eloquence were considerable, and of a kind adapted to produce conviction in his hearers, a gilt which Antipater praises highly in a letter written after Aristotle's death. (Plut. Cat. Maj.
p. 354, Coriol.
He exhibited remarkable attention to external appearance, and bestowed much care on his dress and person. (Timotheus, apud Diog. L.
5.1; Aelian, Ael. VH 3.19
He is described as having been of weak health, which, considering the astonishing extent of his studies, shews all the more the energy of his mind. (Censor. de Die nat.
He was short and of slender make, with small eyes and a lisp in his pronunciation, using L
, Diog. 50.5.1), and with a sort of sarcastic expression in his countenance (μωκία
, Aelian, 3.19), all which characteristics are introduced in a maliciously caricatured description of him in an ancient epigram. (Anth. 552, vol. iii. p. 176, ed. Jacobs.)
The plastic works of antiquity, which pass as portraits of Aristotle, are treated of by Visconti. (Iconographie Grecque,
i. p. 230.)
II. Aristotle's Writings.
Before we proceed to enumerate, classify, and characterise the works of the philosopher, it is necessary to take a review of the history of their transmission to our times.
A short account of this kind has at the same time the advantage of indicating the progress of the development and influence of the Aristotelian philosophy itself.
According to ancient accounts, even the large number of the works of Aristotle which are still preserved, comprises only the smallest part of the writings he is said to have composed.
According to the Greek commentator David (ad Categ. Prooem.
p. 24, 1. 40, Brand.), Andronicus the Rhodian stated their number at 1000 συγγραμματα
. The Anonym. Menagii (p. 61, ed. Buhle in Arist. Opp.
vol. 1) sets down their number at 400 βιβλία
. Diogenes Laertius (5.27) gives 44 myriads as the number of lines. If we reckon about 10,000 lines to a quire, this gives us 44 quires, while the writings extant amount to about the fourth part of this. (Hegel, Vorlesungen über die Gesch. der Philosophie,
vol. ii. pp. 307, 308.) Still these statements are very indefinite. Nor do we get on much better with the three ancient catalogues of his writings which are still extant, those namely of Diogenes Laertius, the Anonym. Menag., and the Arabian writers in Casiri (Bibl. Arab. Hisp.
vol. i. p. 306), which may be found entire in the first volume of Buhle's edition of Aristotle. They all three give a mere enumeration, without the least trace of arrangement, and without any critical remarks. They differ not only from each other, but from the quotations of other writers and from the titles of the extant works to such a degree, that all idea of reconciling them must be given up.
The difficulty of doing so is further increased by the fact, that one and the same work is frequently quoted under different titles (Brandis, de perditis. Arist. libr de Ideis et de Bono,
p. 7; Ravaisson, Métaphysique d' Aristote,
vol. i. p. 48, Paris, 1837), and that sections and books appear as independent writings under distinct titles. From Aristotle's own quotations of his works criticism can here derive but little assistance, as the references for the most part are quite general, or have merely been supplied by later writers. (Ritter, Gesch. der Phil.
vol. iii. p. 21, not. 1.)
The most complete enumeration of the writings of Aristotle from those catalogues, as well of the extant as of the lost works, is to be found in Fabricius. (Bibl. Gr.
iii. pp. 207-284, and pp. 388-407.)
The lost works alone have been enumerated by Buhle (Commentatio de deperd. Arist. libr. in Comment. Societ. Götting.
vol. xv. p. 57, &c.)
But the labours of both these scholars no longer satisfy the demands of modern critical science. To make use of, and form a judgment upon those ancient catalogues, is still further attended with uncertainty from the circumstance, that much that was spurious was introduced among the writings of Aristotle at an early period in antiquity.
The causes of this are correctly assigned by Ammonius. (Ad Arist. Categ.
fol. 3, a.)
In the first place, several of the writings of the immediate disciples of Aristotle, which treated of like subjects under like names, as those of Theophrastus, Eudemus Rhodius, Phanias, and others, got accidentally inserted amongst the works of the Stagirite. Then we must add mistakes arising διὰ τὴν ὁμωνυμιαν
, as in the ancient philosophical, rhetorical, and historicopolitical literature there were several writers of the same name. Lastly, the endeavours of the Ptolemies and Attali to enrich their libraries as much as possible with works of Aristotle, set in motion a number of people, whose love of gain rendered them not over scrupulously honest. (Comp. David, ad Categ.
p. 28a., 15, who assigns additional causes of falsification; Ammon. l.c.
; Simplicius, fol. 4, 6; Galen, Comment. 2 in libr. de Nat. hum.
pp. 16, 17; Brandis, Rhein. Mus.
p. 260, 1827.)
It is very possible that the Greek lists, in particular that in Diogenes Laertius, are nothing else than catalogues of these libraries. (Trendelenburg, ad Arist. de Anima,
As regards the division of Aristotle's writings, the ancient Greek commentators, as Ammonius (ad Categ.
p. 6b. Ald.) and Simplicius (ad Cat.
pp. 1, 6, ed. Bas.) distinguish--1. Ὑπομνηματικά
, i. e.
collections of notices and materials, drawn up for his own use. 2. Συνταγματικά
, elaborate works.
Those which were composed in a strictly scientific manner, and contained the doctrinal lectures (ἀκροάσεις
) of the philosopher, they called ἀκροαματικά
, has ἀκροατικά
, which form, however, Schaefer, ad Plut.
vol. v. p. 245, rejects), or else ἐσωτερικά, ἐποπτικά
Those, on the other hand, in which the method and style were of a more popular kind, and which were calculated for a circle of readers beyond the limits of the school, were termed ἐξωτερικά
The latter were composed chiefly in the form of dialogues, particularly such as treated upon points of practical philosophy. Of these dialogues, which were still extant in Cicero's time, nothing has been preserved. (The whole of the authorities relating to this subject, amongst whom Strab. xiii. pp. 608, 609; Cic. de Fin.
5.5, ad Att.
4.16; Gell. l.c. ; Plut. Alex. 5
, Adxers. Colot.
p. 1115b. are the most important, are given at full length in Stahr's Aristotelia,
vol. ii. p. 244, &c.; to which must be added Sopater atque Syrian. ad Hermog.
p. 120, in Leonhard Spengel, Συναγωγὴ τεχνῶν
, s. de Artium Scriptt.
&c. p. 167.)
The object which Aristotle had in view in the composition of his exoteric writings appears to have been somewhat of the following kind.
He wished by means of them to come to an understanding
with the public. The Platonic philosophy was so widely diffused through all classes, that it was at that time almost a duty for every educated man to be a follower of Plato. Aristotle therefore was obliged to bleak ground for his newer philosophy by enlightening the public generally on certain practical points.
In this way originated writings like the " Eudemus," a refutation, as it appears, of Plato's Phaedon; his book περὶ Νόμων
, a critical extract from Plato's " Laws ;" farther, writings such as that περὶ δικαιοσύνης
These were the λόγοι ἐν κοινῷ ἐκδεδομένοι
, and Stobaeus quotes from them quite correctly in his Florilegium, ἐκ τῶν Ἀριστοτέλους ΚΟΙΝΩ῀Ν διατριβῶν
. (Comp. Philop. ad Arist. de Anima,
1.138, 100.2.) In Aristotle himself (and this has not always been duly considered) there occurs no express declaration of this distinction.
The designations esoteric, acroamatic,
writings, would alike be looked for in vain in all the genuine works of the philosopher.
It is only in his answer to the complaint of Alexander
, that by publishing his lectures he had made the secrets of philosophy the common property of all, that he says, that " the acroatic (acroamatic, or esoteric
) books had been published and yet not published, for they were intelligible only to one who had been initiated into philosophy."
The expression exoteric,
on the other hand, we find in Aristotle himself, and that in nine passages. (Eth. Nic.
1.13, 6.4, Eth. Eudem.
2.1, 2.8, 5.4, Polit.
3.4, 7.1, Phys.
These very passages prove incontestably, that Aristotle himself had not in view a division
of this kind in the sense in which it was subsequently understood.
In one instance he applies the name exoteric
to writings which, in accordance with the above-mentioned division, must necessarily be set down as esoteric ;
and secondly, in several of those passages the term is merely employed to denote disquisitions which are foreign to the matter in hand. Nay, the expression is used to denote the writings of other authors.
The whole subject concerns us more as a point of literary history than as having any scientific interest. " One sees at once for onle's self," says Hegel (Gesch. der Philos.
ii. p. 310, comp. 220, 238), " what works are philosophic and speculative, and what are more of a mere empirical nature. The esoteric is the speculative, which, even though written and printed, yet remaitts concealed from those who do not take sufficient interest in the matter to apply themselves vigorously.
It is no secret, and yet is hidden."
But the same author is wrong in maintaining, that among the ancients there existed no difference at all between the writings of the philosophers which they published, and the lectures which they delivered to a select circle of hearers.
The contrary is established by positive testimony. Thus Aristotle was the first to publish what with Plato were, strictly speaking, lectures (ἄγραφα δόγμαρα
, Brandis, de perd. Ar. libr. de Ideis,
p. 25; Trendelenb. Platonis de Ideis doctrina ex Platone illustrata,
p. 2, &c., Berlin, 1827). Hegel himself took good care not to allow all the conclusions to which his system conducted to appear in print, and Kant also found it unadvisable for a philosopher " to give utterance in his works to all that he thought, although he would certainly say nothing that he did not
The genuine Aristotelian writings which are extant would have to be reckoned amongst the acroamatic
books. The Problems alone belong to the class designated by the ancients hypomnematic
writings. Of the dialogues
only small fragments are extant. All that we know of them places them, as well as those of Theophrastus, far below the dramatic as well as lively and characteristic dialogues of Piato.
The introductions, according to a notice in Cicero (Cic. Att. 4.16
), had no internal connexion with the remainder of the treatises.
Fate of Aristotle's writings.
If we bear in mind the above division, adopted by the Greek commentators, it is obvious that the socalled hypomnematic
writings were not published by Aristotle himself, but made their appearance only at a later time with the whole body of his literary remains. On the other hand, there can be no doubt that the exoteric writings, particularly the dialogues, were published by the philosopher himself.
But respecting the acroamatic writings, that is, respecting the principal works of Aristotle, an opinion became prevalent, through misunderstanding an ancient tradition, which maintained its ground for centuries in the history of literature, and which, though at variance with all reason and history, has been refuted and corrected only within the last ten years by the investigations of German scholars.
According to a story which we find in Strabo (xiii. p.608
)--the main authority in this matter--(for the accounts given by Athenaeus, Plutarch, and Suidas, present only unimportant variations), Aristotle bequeathed his library and original manuscripts to his successor, Theophrastus.
After the death of the latter, these literary treasures together with Theophrastus' own library came into the hands of his relation and disciple, Neleus of Scepsis. This Neleus sold both collections at a high price to Ptolemy II., king of Egypt, for the Alexandrine library; but he retained for himself, as an heirloom, the original MSS. of these two philosophers' works.
The descendants of Neleus, who were subjects of the king of Pergamus, knew of no other way of securing them from the search of the Attali, who wished to rival the Ptolemies in forming a large library, than concealing them in a cellar (κατὰ γῆς ἐν διώρυγι τινί
, where for a couple of centuries they were exposed to the ravages of damp and worms.
It was not till the beginning of the century before the birth of Christ that a wealthy book-collector, the Athenian Apellicon of Teos, traced out these valuable relics, bought them from the ignorant heirs, and prepared from them a new edition of Aristotle's works, causing the manuscripts to be copied, and filling up the gaps and making emendations, but without sufficient knowledge of what he was about.
After the capture of Athens, Sulla in B. C. 84 confiscated Apellicon's collection of books, and had them conveyed to Rome. [APELLICON.]
Through this ancient and in itself not incredible story, an error has arisen, which has been handed down from the time of Strabo to the present day. People thought (as did Strabo himself) that they must necessarily conclude from this account, that neither Aristotle nor Theophrastus had published their writings, with the exception of some exoteric works, which had no important bearing on their system; and that it was not till 200 years later that they were brought to light by the above-mentioned Apellicon and published to the philosophical world.
That, however, was by no means the case. Aristotle indeed did not prepare a complete edition, as we call it, of his writings. Nay, it is certain that death overtook him before he could finish some of them. revise others. and put the finishing touch to several. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that Aristotle destined all his works for publication, and himself, with the assistance of his disciples, particularly Theophrastus, published those which he completed in his lifetime.
This is indisputably certain with regard to the exoteric writings. Of the rest, those which had not been published by Aristotle himself, were made known by Theophrastus in a more enlarged and complete form; as may be proved, for instance, of the physical and historico-political writings. Other scholars of the Stagirite, as for example, the Rhodian Eudemus, Phanias, Pasicrates, and others, illustrated and completed in works of their own, which frequently bore the same title, certain works of their teacher embracing a distinct branch of learning ; while others, less independently, published lectures of their master which they had reduced to writing.
The exertions of these scholars were, indeed, chiefly directed to the logical writings of the philosopher; but, considering the well-known multiplicity of studies which characterised the school of the Peripatetics, we may assume, that the remaining writings of their great master did not pass unnoticed.
But the writings of Aristotle were read and studied, in the first two centuries after his death, beyond the limits of the school itself.
The first Ptolemies, who were friends and personal patrons of Aristotle, Theophrastus, Straton, and Demetrius Phalereus, spared no expense in order to incorporate in the library which they had founded at Alexandria the works of the founder of the Peripatetic school, in as complete a form as possible. For this and, they caused numerous copies of one and the same work to be purchased ; thus, for example, there were forty MSS. of the Analytics at Alexandria. (Ammon. ad Cat.
fol. 3, a.) And although much that was spurious found its way in, yet the acuteness and learning of the great Alexandrine critics and grammarians are a sufficient security for us that writings of that kind were subsequently discovered and separated.
It cannot be determined, indeed, how far the studies of these men were directed to the strictly logical and metaphysical works; but that they studied the historical, political, and rhetorical writings of Aristotle, the fragments of their own writings bear ample testimony. Moreover, as is well known, Aristotle and Theophrastus were both admitted into the famous " Canon," the tradition of which is at any rate very ancient, and which included besides only the philosophers, Plato, Xenophon, and Aeschines.
There can therefore be little doubt, that it is quite false that the philosophical writings of Aristotle, for the first two centuries after his death, remained rotting in the cellar at Scepsis; and that it was only certain copies which met with this fate : this view of the case accords also with the direct testimony of the ancients. (Gel. 20.5
; Plut. Alex. 7
; Simplicius, Prooem. ad Ar. Phys.
extr., Ar. Poet.
5, extr.; Brandis, Abhandl. der Berlin. Akad.
xvii. p. 268.) And in this way is it to be explained why neither Cicero, who had the most obvious inducements for doing so, nor any one of the numerous Greek commentators, mentions a syllable of this tradition about the fate and long concealment of all the more important works of Aristotle.
In saying this, however, we by no means intend to deny--1.
That the story in Strabo has some truth in it, only that the conclusions which he and others drew from it must. be regarded as erroneous : or 2.
That the fate which befel the literary remains of Aristotle and Theophrastus was prejudicial to individual writings, e.g.
to the Metaphysics (see Glaser, die Arist. Metaph.
p. 8, &c.) : or 3.
That through the discovery of Apellicon several writings, as e.g.
the Problems, and other hypomnematic works, as the Poetics, which we now possess, may have come to light for the first time.
Meantime, after the first two successors of Aristotle, the Peripatetic school gradually declined.
The heads of the school, who followed Theophrastus and Straton, viz. Lycon, Ariston of Ceos, Critolaus, &c., were of less importance, and seem to have occupied themselves more in carrying out some separate dogmas, and commenting on the works of Aristotle. Attention was especially directed to a popular, rhetorical system of Ethics.
The school deedened in splendour and influence; the more abstruse writings of Aristotle were neglected, because their form was not sufficiently pleasing, and the easy superficiality of the school was deterred by the difficulty of unfolding them. Thus the expression of the master himself respecting his writings might have been repeated, " that they had been published and yet not published." Extracts and anthologies arose, and satisfied the superficial wants of the school, while the works of Aristotle himself were thrust into the back-ground.
In Rome, before the time of Cicero, we find only slender traces of an acquaintance with the writings and philosophical system of Aristotle. They only came there with the library of Apellicon, which Sulla had carried off from Greece. IIere Tyrannion, a learned freedman, and still more the philosopher and literary antiquary, Andronicus of Rhodes, gained great credit by the pains they bestowed on them. Indeed, the labours of Andronicus form an epoch in the history of the Aristotelian writings. [ANDRONICUS, p. 176b
With Andronicus of Rhodes the age of commentators begins, who no longer, like the first Peripatetics, treated of separate branches of philosophy in works of their own, following the principles of their master, but united in regular commentaries explanations of the meaning with critical observations on the text of individual passages.
The popular and often prolix style of these commentaries probably arises from their having been originally lectures. Here must be mentioned. in the first century after Christ, BOETHUS, a scholar of Andronicus ; NICOLAUS DAMASCENUS; ALEXANDER AEGAEUS, Nero's instructor : in the second century, ASPASIUS (Eth. Nic.
ii. and iv.); ADRASTUS, the author of a work περὶ τῆς τάξεως τῶν Ἀριστοτέλους βιβλίων
; GALENUS; ALEAXANDER. of Aphrodisias in Caria. [See p. 112.] In the third and fourth centuries, the new-Platonists engaged zealously in the task of explaining Aristotle : among these we must mention PORRPHYRIUS, the author of the inproduction to the Categories, and his pupil, IAMBLICHUS ; DEXIPPUS; and THEMISTIUS. In the fifth century, PROCLUS; AMMONIUS; DAMASCIUS ; DAVID the Armenian.
In the sixth celltury, ASCLEPIUS, bishop of Tralles; OLYMPIODORUS, a pupil of Ammonius. SIMPLICIUS was one of the teachers of philosophy who, in the reign of Justinian, emigrated to the emperor Cosroes of Persia. (Jourdain, Recherches critiques sur l'age et l'originedes Traductions latines D'Arist.,
Paris, 1819.) His commentaries are of incalculable value for the history of the loaian, Pythagorean, and Eleatic philosophy. Indeed, in every point of view, they are, together with those of JOHANNES PHILOPONUS, the most distinguished of all the works of Greek commentators which have been preserved to us. Almost contemporaneously with them the Roman consular BOETHIUS, the last support of philosophical literature in Italy (A. D. 524), translated some of the writings of Aristotle.
The series of the more profound commentators ends with these writers; and after a long interval, the works of Aristotle became a subject of study and explanation among the Arabians and in the West, while among the Greeks scarcely any one else is to be mentioned than JOH. DAMASCENUS and PHOTIUS in the eighth and ninth centuries ; MICHAEL PSELLUS, MICHAEL EPHESIUS in the eleventh century; GEO. PACHYMERES and EUSTRATIUS in the twelfth; LEO MAGENTENUS in the fourteenth; and GEORIGUS GEMISTUS PLETHO and GEORGIUS of Trapezus in the fifteenth.
These borrow all that they have of any value from the older commentators. (Comp. Labbeus, Graecor. Aristotelis. Commentator. Conspectus,
The older editions of these commentators were published in the most complete form at Göttingen, in 30 vols.
The best edition is by Chr. Aug. Brandis, Scholia in Arist. collect,
&c., Berl. 1836, 4to., in two volumes, of which as yet only the first has appeared.
2. History of the writings of Aristotle in the East and among the schoolmen of the West in the middle ages.
While the study of the writings and philosophy of Aristotle was promoted in the West by Boethius, 7
the emperor Justinian abolished the philosophical schools at Athens and in all the cities of his empire, where they had hitherto enjoyed the protection and support of the state.
At that time also the two Peripatetics, Damascius and Simplicius, left Athens and emigrated to Persia, where they met with a kind reception at the court of Cosroes Nushirwan, and by means of translations diffused the knowledge of Greek literature. Soon afterwards the Arabians appeared as a conquering people, under the Ommaiades; and though at first they had no taste for art and science, they were soon led to appreciate them under the Abbassides, who ascended the throne of the khalifs in the middle of the eighth century.
The khalifs Al-Mansur, Harun-al-Raschid, Mamun, Motasem (753-842), favoured the Graeco-Christian sect of the Nestorians, who were intimately acquainted with the Aristotelian philosophy; invited Greek scholars to the court at Bagdad, and caused the philosophical works of Greek literature, as well as the medical and astronomical ones, to be rendered into Arabic, chiefly from Greek originals, by translators appointed expressly for the task.
Through the last of the Ommaiades, Abd-alrah-man, who escaped to Spain on the downfall of his house in the East, this taste for Greek literature and philosophy was introduced into the West also. Schools and academies, like those at Bagdad, arose in the Spanish cities subject to the Arabs, which continued in constant connexion with the East. Abd-alrahman III. (about A. D. 912) and Hakem established and supported schools and founded libraries; and Cordova became for Europe what Bagdad was for Asia. In Bagdad the celebrated physician and philosopher, Avicenna (1036), and in the West Averrhoes (1198), and his disciple, Moses Maimonides, did most to promote the study of the Aristotelian philosophy by means of translations, or rather free paraphrases, of the philosopher's writings. Through the Spanish Christians and Jews, the knowledge of Aristotle was propagated to the other nations of the West, and translations of the writings of Avicenna, who was looked upon as the representative of Aristotelism, spread over France, Italy, England, and Germany. The logical
writings of Aristotle were known to the schoolmen in western Christendom before the twelfth century, through the translations of Boethius ; but it was not till after the crusades (about 1270), that they possessed translations of all
the writings of Aristotle, which were made either from Arabic copies from Spain, or from Greek originals which they had brought with them from Constantinople and other Greek cities.
The first western writer who translated any of the works of Aristotle into Latin, was Hermannus Alemannus, at Toledo in Spain, who translated the Ethics. Other translators, whose works are in part still preserved, were Robert, bishop of Lincoln (1253), John of Basingstoke (1252), Wilhelm of Moerbecke (1281), Gerard of Cremona (1187), Michael Scotus (1217), and Albertus Magnus.
In the years 1260-1270 Thomas Aquinas, the most celebrated commentator on Aristotle in the middle ages, prepared, through the instrumentality of the monk Wilhelm of Moerbecke, a new
Latin translation of the writings of Aristotle after Greek originals. 8
He wrote commentaries on almost all the works of the Stagirite ; and, together with his teacher, the celebrated Albertus Magnus, rendered the same services to the Aristotelian philosophy in the West which Avicenna and Averrhoes had done for the East and the Arabians in Spain. For the West, Paris was the seat of science and of the Aristotelian philosophy in particular. Next to it stood Oxford and Cologne. Almost all the celebrated schoolmen of the middle ages owed their education to one or other of these cities.
3. History of the writings of Aristotle since the revival of classical studies.
After Thomas Aquinas, distinguished schoolmen, it is true, occupied themselves with the writings of Aristotle; but the old barbaric translation was read almost exclusively.
With the revival of classical studies in Italy, at the end of the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth century, the writings of Aristotle and the mode of treating them experienced a revolution.
The struggle between liberal studies and the rigidity and empty quibbling of the scholastic Aristotelism, ended in the victory of the former. Among the first and most distinguished promoters of the study of Aristotle was the excellent Greek scholar, Joh. Argyropylus of Byzantium (A. D. 1486), from whom Lorenzo de Medici took lessons.
With him should be mentioned Theodor. Gaza (1478), Francisc. Philelphus (1480), Georgius of Trapezus, Gennadius, Leonard. Aretinus (Bruni of Arezzo).
The exertions of the last-named scholar were warmly seconded by the learned and accomplished pope Nicolaus V. (1447-1455), who was himself attached to the Aristotelian philosophy. Their scholars, Angelus Politianus, Hermolaus Barbarus, Donatus Acciajolus, Bessarion, Augustinus Niphus, Jacob Faber Stapulensis, Laurentius Valla, Joh. Reuchlin, and others, in like manner contributed a good deal, by means of translations and commentaries, towards stripping the writings of Aristotle of the barbarous garb of scholasticism.
The spread of Aristotle's writings by means of printing, first in the Aldine edition of five volumes by Ald. Pius Manutius, in Venice, 1495-1498, was mainly instrumental in bringing this about. In Germany, Rudolph Agricola, as well as Reuchlin and Melanchthon, taught publicly the Aristotelian philosophy. In Spain, Genesius Sepulveda, by means of new translations of Aristotle and his Greek commentators made immediately from Greek originals, labored with distinguished success against the scholastic barbarism and the Aristotelism of Averrhoes.
He was supported by the Jesuits at Coimbra, whose college composed commentaries on almost all the writings of the philosopher.
In like manner, in France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, Jacob Faber, Ludwig Vives, Erasmus of Rotterdam, and Konrad Gesner, took an active part in promoting the study of the Aristotelian philosophy; and in spite of the counterefforts of Franciscus Patritius and Petrus Ramus, who employed all the weapons of ingenuity against the writings, philosophy, and personal character of Aristotle, the study of his philosophy continued predominant in almost all the schools of Europe. Among the learned scholars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, we find the most distinguished busied with Aristotle. Their lectures, however, which gave rise to numerous commentaries and editions of Aristotle, are confined principally to his rhetorical, ethical, political, and aesthetical works.
The works on logic and natural history were seldom regarded, the metaphysical treatises remained wholly unnoticed. In Italy we must here mention Petrus Victorius (1585), and his imitator M. Antonius Maioragius (Conti, 1555), Franc. Robortelli (1567), J. C. Scaliger (1558), Julius Pacius a Beriga (1635), Baptist. Camotius, Vincent Madius, and Barthol. Lombardus. Riccoboni, Accoramboni, Montecatinus, &c.: among the French, Muretus, Is. Casaubon, Ph. J. Maussac, Dionys. Lambinus (1572) : among the Dutch, Swiss, and Germans, Obert. Giphanius (van Giffen, 1604), the physician Theod. Zwinger (a friend of and fellow-labourer with Lambinus, and a scholar of Konrad Gesner, Camerarius of Bamberg (1574), Wilh. Hilden of Berlin (1587), Joh. Sturm (1589), Fred. Sylburg (1596), &c.
Within a period of eighty years in the sixteenth century, bosides innumerable editions of single writings of Aristotle, there appeared, beginning with the Basle edition, which Erasmus of Rotterdam superintended, no fewer than seven Greek editions of the entire works of the philosopher, some of which were repeatedly reprinted.
There was also published a large number of Latin translations. From facts of this kind we may come to some conclusion as to the interest felt by the learned public in that age in the writings of the philosopher. In England we see no signs of such studies; and it is only in Casaubon (in the preface to his edition of the works of Aristotle) that we meet with the notice, that at the beginning of the sixteenth century, under the guidance of the learned physician, Thomas Linacre (1524), and with the co-operation of his friends Latomer and Grocinius, a society was formed there " ad illustrandam Aristotelis philosophiam et vertendos denuo ejus libros."
But the undertaking does not appear to have been carried into execution.
With Casaubon, who intended to promote the study of Aristotle in various ways (as e. g.
by a collection of the fragments of the πολιτεῖαι
, see Casaub. ad Diog. Laert.
5.27), the series of philologists ends, who paid attention to the writings of Aristotle; and from the beginning of the seventeenth to the end of the eighteenth century the history of Aristotelian literature is a perfect blank. For among the large number of eminent scholars which the Dutch school has to boast of, with the exception of Daniel Heinsius, whose desultory labours bestowed on the Poetics and Ethics hardly deserve mentioning, not one can be named who made Aristotle the subject of his labours; and a complaint made by Valckenaer, respecting the neglect of the philosopher among the ancients, applied at the same time to the philologists of his own age. (Valck. ad Schol. Eurip. Phoen.
p. 695.) Nor has England, with the exception of some editions of the Poetics by Burgess and Tyiwhitt, Goulston and Winstanley, any monument of such studies worthy of notice. In Germany lectures on the Aristotelian philosophy were still delivered at the universities; but with the exception of Rachelius, Piccart, Schrader, and Conring, who are of little importance, scarcely any one can be mentioned but the learned Joh. Jonsenius (or Jonsius, 1624-1659) of Holstein, and Melchior Zeidler of Königsberg, of whom the first rendered some valuable service to the history of Aristotelian literature (Historia Peripatetica,
attached to the edition of Launoi's work de varia Aristotelis fortuna,
&c., Wittemberg, 1720, ed. Elswich.), while the other was actively employed on the criticism and exegesis of the philosopher's writings.
In Germany, Lessing was the first, who, in his Dramaturgie,
again directed attention to Aristotle, particularly to his Poetics, Rhetoric, and Ethics. Of the philologists, Reiz, and the school of F. A. Wolf, e. g.
Spalding, Fiilleborn, Delbriick, and Vater, again applied themselves to the writings of Aristotle.
But the greatest service was rendered by J. G. Schneider of Saxony (1782-1822) by his edition of the Politics and the History of Animals. Several attempts at translations in German were made, and J. G. Buhle, at the instigation of Heyne and Wolf, even applied himself to an edition of the entire works of Aristotle (1791-1800), which was never completed.
At the commencement of the nineteenth century, their ranks were joined by Gottfried Hermann and Goethe. Meantime a new era for the philosophical and philological study of the Stagirite began with Hegel, the founder of the prevailing philosophy of this century, who properly, so to say, was the first to disclose to the world the deep import of the Greek philosopher, and strenuously advocated the study of his works as the noblest problem connected with classical philology.
At the same time the Berlin academy, through Bekker and Brandis, undertook an entirely new recension of the text; and the French Institute, by means of prize essays, happily designed and admirably executed, promoted the understanding of the several works of Aristotle. and the means of forming a judgment respecting them.
The works of Ravaisson, Michelet, and Barthélémy-St. Hilaire are valuable in this respect. Several French translations also made their appearance. In England, in like manner, where the Ethics and Rhetoric of Aristotle still maintained their place in the course of classical instruction, some works of merit connected with the study of Aristotle have appeared of late, among which Taylor's translation may be particularly mentioned.
The most important editions of the entire works of Aristotle are :
Aldina, editio princeps, by Aldus Pius Manutius, Venice, 1495-98, 5 vols. fol.
(called also Aldina major
). For the criticism of the text, this is still the most important of all the old editions.
Basileensis III. Basil. 1550, fol. 2 vols., with several variations from, and some essential improvements upon, the editio princeps.
It has been especially prized for the criticism of the Politics. The Basileensis
I. and II., which appeared at Basel in 1531 and 1539, are nothing but bad reprints of the editio princeps.
Camotiana, or Aldina minor, edited by Joh. Bapt. Camotius, Venice, 1551-53, 6 vols. 8vo.
Sylburgiana, Francof. 11 vols. 4to. 1584-87
This edition of Sylburg's surpassed all the previous ones, and even the critic of the present day cannot dispense with it.
Casauboniana, Lugd. Batav. 1590, by Isaac Casaubon, 2 vols. fol. reprinted in 1597, 1605, 1646
This is the first Greek and Latin edition of the entire works of Aristotle, but prepared hastily, and now worthless.
The same may be said of the Du Valliana,
Du Valliana, Paris, 1619 and 1629, 2 vols. fol.; 1639, 4 vols. fol. by Guil. Du Val.
Much more important is the 7. Bipontina
The Bipontina (not completed), edited by Joh. Gottl. Buhle 1791-1800, 5 vols. 8vo.
It contains only the Organon and the rhetorical and poetical writings.
The continuation was prevented by the conflagration of Moscow, in which Buhle lost the materials which he had collected.
The first volume, which contains, amongst other things, a most copious enumeration of all the earlier editions, translations, and commentaries, is of great literary value.
The critical remarks contain chiefly the variations of older editions. Little is done in it for criticism itself and exegesis.
Bekkeriana. Berolini, 1831-1840, ex recensione Immanuelis Bekker, edid. Acad. Reg. Boruss., 2 vols. text, 1 vol. Latin translations by various authors
, which are not always good and well chosen, and not always in accordance with the text of the new recension. Besides these, there are to be 2 vols. of scholia edited by Brandis, of which only the first volume has yet appeared.
This is the first edition founded on a diligent though not always complete comparison of ancient MSS.
It forms the commencement of a new era for the criticism of the text of Aristotle. Unfortunately, there is still no notice given of the MSS. made use of, and the course in consequence pursued by the editor, which occasions great difficulty in making a critical use of this edition. Bekker's edition has been reprinted at Oxford, in 11 vols. 8vo., with the Indices of Sylburg.
Besides these, there is a stereotype edition published by Tauchnitz, Lips. 1832, 16mo. in 16 vols.
, and another edition of the text, by Weise, in one volume, Lips. 1843
III. Enumeration and Review of the Writings of Aristotle.
We possess no safe materials for a chronological arrangement of the several writings, such as was [p. 327]
attempted by Samuel Petitus. (Miscell.
The citations in the separate writings are of no use for this purpose, as they are often additions made by a later hand ; and, not unfrequently, two writings refer reciprocally to each other. (Ritter, Gesch. der Philosophie
, iii. p. 29, not. 1, p. 35, not. 2.) Moreover, such an arrangement is of small importance for the works of a philosopher like Aristotle.
A systematic arrangement was first given to the writings of Aristotle by Andronicus of Rhodes.
He placed together in pragmatics (πραγματεῖαι
) the works which treated of the same subjects, the logical, physical, &c. (Porphyr. Vit. Plotin.
24 ; Casiri, Biblioth. Arabico-Escorialens.
p. 308.) His arrangement, in which the logical pragmaty came first, agreed, as it appears, in many other respects with the present arrangement in the editions. (Ravaisson, Essai sur la Métaphys.
i. pp. 22-27.)
He seems to have been followed by Adrastus, as is in part testified by the express evidence of Greek interpreters.
The arrangement of Andronicus appears to have been preserved in the division peculiar to the Latins (κατὰ Λατίνους
), i. e.
to the Latin translators and expositors from the fourth to the sixth century, which is spoken of in one or two notices in the MSS. of Aristotle collated by Bekker. (Arist. Opp.
ed. Bekker, Rhet. 1.8, p. 1363b. ii. init. p. 1377b., iii. init. p. 1403b.)
The divisions of the Greek commentators may be found in Stahr (Aristot.
ii. p. 254), with which David ad Categ.
p. 24 ; Philop. ad Categ.
p. 36, ed. Berolin. may be compared. They separate the writings of Aristotle into three principal divisions. 1. Theoretic. 2. Practical. 3. Logical or organical, which again have their subdivisions.
The arrangement in the oldest printed edition of the entire works rests probably upon a tradition, which in its essential features may reach back as far as Andronicus.
In the Aldina
the Organon (the logical writings) comes first; then follow the works on physical science, including the Problems ; then the mathematical and metaphysical writings ; at the end the writings which belong to practical philosophy, to which in the following editions the Rhetoric and Poetics are added.
This arrangement has continued to be the prevailing one down to the present day.
In the following survey we adhere to the arrangement adopted by Zell, who divides the works into,
- A. Doctrinal
- B. Historical
- C. Miscellaneous
- D. Letters
- E. Poems and Speeches.
Every systematic division of course has reference principally to the first class.
The principle to be kept in view in the division of these works must be determined from what Aristotle says himself.
According to him, every kind of knowledge has for its object either, 1, Merely the ascertainment of truth, or 2, Besides this, an operative activity.
The latter has for its result either the production of a work (ποιεῖν
), or the result is the act itself, and its process (πράττειν
). Accordingly every kind of knowledge is either I. Productive, poetic (ἐπιστήμη ποιητική
) ; or II. Practical (ἐπισημη πρακτική
) ; or III. Theoretical (ἐπιστήμη θεωρετική
Theoretical knowledge has three main divisions (φιλοσοφίαι
), namely : 1. Physical science (ἐπιστήμη φυσική
) ; 2. Mathematics (ἐπιστήμη μαθηματική
The doctrine of absolute existence (in Aristotle ἡ πρώτη φιλοσοφία
, or ἐπιστήμη θεολογική
, or simply σοφία
Practical science, or practical philosophy (ἡ φιλοσοφία περὶ τὰ ἀνθρώπινα, ἡ πολιτική
, in the general sense of the word, Eth. Nic. 1.2, Magna Moral, 1.1, Rhet.
1.2), teaches a man to know the highest purpose of human life, and the proper mode of striving to attain it with respect to dispositions and actions.
It is 1. with reference to the individual man, ethics
) ; 2.
With reference to the family and domestic concerns, Oeconomics
) ; 3.
With reference to the state, Politics
), in the more restricted sense of the word ; Eth. Nic. 10.9). Lastly, in so far as science is a scientific mode of regarding knowledge and cognition itself, and its forms and conditions, and the application of them, it is--,IV. ἐπιστήμη σκοποῦσα περὶ ἀποδείξεως καὶ ἐπιστήμης
K. i. p. 213, Brandis), which must precede the πρώτη φιλοσοφία
. 3, p. 66, lin. 24.)
This is Dialectics
, or, according to our use of terms, Logic
. Sometimes Aristotle recognises only the two main divisions of practical and theoretical philosophy. (Metaph. 2.1, p. 36, Brand.)
A. Doctrinal Works.
1. Dialectics and Logic.
The extant logical writings are comprehended as a whole under the title Organon
(i. e. instrument of science). They are occupied with the investigation of the method by which man arrives at knowledge. Aristotle develops the rules and laws of thinking and cognition from the nature of the cognoscent faculty in man.
An insight into the nature and formation of conclusions and of proof by means of conclusions, is the common aim and centre of all the separate six works composing the Organon. Of these, some (Topica
and Elench. Sophist.
) have the practical tendency of teaching us how, in disputing, to make ourselves masters of the probable
, and, in attacking and defending, to guard ourselves against false conclusions (Dialectics, Eristics).
In the others, on the other hand, which are more theoretical (analytica
), and which contain the doctrine of conclusions (Syllogistics) and of proof (Apodeictics), the object is certain, strictly demonstrable knowledge.
Literature of the Organon.
, ed. Pacius a Beriga, Morgiis, 1584, Francof. 1597, 4to. ; Elementa logices Aristot.
ed. Trendelenburg, Berol. 1836, 8vo. 2nd. ed. 1842 ; Explanations thereon in Gennan, Berlin, 1842, 8vo.—Weinholtz, De finibus et pretio logices Arist.
Rostochii, 1824.—Brandis, Ueber die Reihenfolge der Bücher des Organon
, &c., in the Abhandl. d. Bert. Akad., 1835, p. 249, &c. — Biese, die Philosophie des Aristot
i. pp. 45-318.—J. Barthélémy St. Hilaire, De la Logique d'Aristote
, Memoire couronnée par I'Institut, Paris, 1838, 2 vols. 8vo.
The usual succession of the logical writings in the editions is as follows :
In this work Aristotle treats of the (ten) highest and most comprehensive generic ideas, under which all the attributes of things may be subordinated as species.
These are essence or substance (ἡ οὐσία
), quantity (πόσον
), quality (ποῖον
), relation (πρός τι
), place (ποῦ
), time (πότε
), situation (κεῖσθαι
), possession or having (ἔχειν
), action (ποιεῖν
), suffering (πάσχειν
). [p. 328]
The origin of thes categories, according to Trendelenburg's investigation, is of a linguistic-grammatical nature. (Trend, de Arist. Categ.
Berol. 1833, 8vo.)
This is concerning the expression of thoughts by means of speech. By ἑρμηνείας
Aristotle understands the import of all the component parts of judgments and conclusions.
As the Categories are of a grammatical origin, so also this small treatise, which was probably not quite completed, was, as it were, the first attempt at a philosophical system of grammar. (See Classen, de Grammaticae Graecae Primordiis
, Bonnae, 1829, p. 52; K. E. Geppert, Darstellung der Grammatischen Kategorien
Berlin, 1836, p. 11.)
After these propaedeutical treatises, in which definitions (ὅροι
) and propositions (προτάσεις
) are treated of, there follow, as the first part of Logic, properly so called, the two books Ἀναλυτικά πρότερα
), the theory of conclusions.
The title is derived from the resolution of the conclusion into its fundamental component parts (ἀναλύειν
The word πρότερα
, appended to the title, is from a later hand.
The two books, Ἀναλυτικὰ ὕστερα
), treat, the first of demonstrable (apodeictic) knowledge, the second of the application of conclusions to proof.
The eight books Τοπικῶν
embrace Dialectics, i. e. the logic of the probable according to Aristotle.
It is the method of arriving at farther conclusions on every problem according to probable propositions and general points of view. From these last, (τόποι
, sedes et fontes argumentorum, loci
, Cic. Top. 100.2, Orat. 100.14,) the work takes its name.
We must regard as an appendix to the Topica
the treatise, περὶ σοφιστικῶν ἐλέγκων
, concerning the fallacies which only apparently prove something to us. Published separately by Winckelmann, Leipzig, 1833, as an appendix to his edition of Plato's Euthydemus.
2. Theoretical Philosophy.
Its three parts are Physics, Mathematics, and Metaphysics.
- In Physics, theoretical philosophy considers material substances, which have the source of motion in themselves (τὰ ὄντα ᾗ κινουμένα).
- In mathematics the subject is the attributes of quantity and extension (τό πόσον καὶ τὸ συνεχές), which are external to motion indeed, but not separate from things (χωριστά), though they are still independent, καθ᾽ αὑτὰ μένοντα).
- Metaphysics (in Arist. πρώτη φιλοσοφία, σοφία θεολογία, θεολογικὴ ἐπιστήμη, or φιλοσοφία, simply) have to do with existence in itself and as such (τὸ ὄν ᾗ ὄν, Met. Γ. 1, Ε. 1), which in like manner is external to motion ; but at the same time exists by itself separably from individual things (τὸ χωριστὸν ὄν καὶ τὸ ἀκίνητον). Their subject therefore is the universal, the ultimate causes of things, the best, the first (τὸ καθόλον, τὰ αἰτία, τὸ ἄριστον, τὰ πρῶτα, περὶ ἀρχὰς ἐπιστήμη), absolute existence, and the one.
To the last branch belong Aristotle's Metaphysics
, in 14 books (τῶν μετὰ τὰ φυσικά
, A-N), which probably originated after \ Aristotle's death in the collection of originally in dependent treatises.
The title also is of late in origin.
It occurs first in Plutarch (Plut. Alex. 100.7
), and must probably be traced back to Andronicus of Rhodes. Out of this pragmaty there have been lost the writings περὶ φιλοσοφίας
, in three books, containing the first sketch of metaphysics, and a description of the Pythagorean and Platonic philosophy ; and περὶ ἰδέας
, in at least four books, a polemic representation of the Platonic doctrine of ideas. (See Brandis, Diatribe de perd. Arist. libr.
Literature of the Metaphysics.
The edition by Brandis, Berlin, 1823, of which hitherto only the first vol., containing the text, has appeared. Scholia Graeca in Arist. Met.
, ed. Brandis, Berol. 1837, 8vo. 4.1 ; Biese, die Philosophic des Arist.
i, pp. 310-661; Michelet, Examen critique de la Metaph. d' Arist.
, Paris, 1836 ; Ravaisson, Sur la Metaph. d'' Arist.
, Paris, 1838 ; Glaser, die Metaph. des Arist. nach Composition, Inhalt, und Methode
, Berlin, 1841; Vater, Vindiciae theologiae Aristotelis
, Lips, 1795 ; Brandis, Diatribe de perd. Arist. libr. de Ideis et de Bono, sive de Philosophia
, Bonnae, 1823, and Rheinisches Museum, 2.2, p. 208, &c,, 4, p. 558, &c.; Trendelenburg, Platonis de Ideis et Numeris Doctrina ex Aristotele illustrata.
Lips. 1826 ; Starke, de Arist. de Intelligentia, sive de Mente Sententia
, Neo-Ruppini, 1833, 4to. ; Bonitz, Observationes criticae in Aristotelis libros metaphysicos
, Berol. 1842.
Mathematics, the second science in the sphere of Theoretical Philosophy, is treated of in the following writings of Aristotle :—
i. e. concerning indivisible lines, intended as a proof of the doctrine of the infinite divisibility of magnitudes.
This work was attributed by several ancient critics to Theophrastus.
Editions: Ed. princeps by Stephanus, 1557
, critically and exegetically edited by Van Capelle, Amstelod. 1812. The Roman writer Vitruvius made diligent use of this treatise.
We now come to the third main division of Theoretical Philosophy, viz. Physics or Natural science (πραγματεία
s. μέθοδος φυσική
, ἐπιστήμη περὶ φύσεως
, ἱστορία περὶ φύσεως
, Phys. 1.1 ; de Caelo, 3.1.)
According to the way in which it is treated of by Aristotle, it exhibits the following division and arrangement : The science of Physics considers as well the universal causes and relations of entire nature, as the individual natural bodies.
The latter are either simple and therefore eternal and imperishable, as the heaven, the heavenly bodies, and the fundamental powers of the elements (warm, cold, moist, dry) ; or they are compound, earthly, and perishable.
The compound physical substances are, 1. such as are formed immediately by the above-mentioned fundamental forces, as the elements:—fire, air, water, earth ; 2. collections of homogeneous matter (ὁμοιομερῆ
), which are compounded of the elements, e.g. stones, blood, bones, flesh; 3. heterogeneous component parts (ἀνομοιουμερῆ
), as e. g. head, hand, &c., which are compounded of different homogeneous constituent parts, as of bones, blood, flesh, &c.; 4. organized objects compounded of such heterogeneous constituent parts : animals, plants.
The course of observation and investigation proceeds from the whole and universal to the particular and individual ; but in the case of each individual portion of the representation, from the cognoscent observation of the external appearance to the investigation of the causes. (Phys. 1.1, iii,1 ; de Partib. Animal, 1.5 ; Hist. Anim. 1.6.4, Schmei- der.)
In the latter the most important thing is the investigation of the purpose
(τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα
, causa finalis
), by means of which one arrives at the idea of the thing (λόγος
, or τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι
.) Aristotle reproaches the older investigators with having neglected to penetrate into the purpose and idea (τέλος
) of the individual sides and parts of nature, and with having always sought merely for the material cause of things. (De Generatione,
In this investigation of the purpose, the leading idea is always to shew, that the natural object, which forms the subject of investigation, corresponds most completely in the way in which it exists to the idea intended to be realized, and accordingly best fulfils its purpose. (De Partib. Anim.
1.8; De Incessu Anim.
According to this mode of considering the writings of this pragmaty, they will be arranged in the following manner:--
The eight books of the Physics
, called also by others περὶ ἀρχῶν
; the last three books are likewise entitled περὶ κινήσεως
by Simplicius, Prooem. ad Phys.
vi. pp. 404-5, ed. Berol.)
In these Aristotle develops the general principles of natural science. (Cosmology.)
The investigation of the principles of the universe is naturally succeeded by the consideration of the principal parts of it, the heaven, the heavenly bodies, and the elements.
There follows accordingly,
Concerning the Heaven (περὶ οὐρανοῦ), in four books
The work Concerning the Heaven
), in four books, which is entitled περὶ κόσμου
by Alexander of Aphrodisias. (Fabric. Bibl. Gr.
iii. p.230, Harl.)
According to an astronomical notice in 1.12, the work was composed after the year B. C. 357. See Keppler, Astron. opt.
p. 357; Bailly, Histoire de l'Astronomie,
The two books on Production and Destruction
, develop the general laws of production and destruction, which are indicated more definitely in the process of formation which goes on in inorganic nature, or in meteorological phaenomena.
The consideration of this forms the contents of the
This work, which is distinguished by the clearness and ease of its style, was composed after B. C. 341, and before the time when an acquaintance with India was obtained by Alexander's
expedition. (St. Croix, Examen critique des Hist. d'Alex.
p. 703; Ideler, Meteorologia vet. Graecor. et Rom.,
It contains the groundwork of a physical geography.
Editions: It has been edited by Ideler, Lips. 1834, 2 vols., with a profuse commentary.
This work is commonly followed in the editions by the treatise On the Universe
This is a letter to Alexander
, which treats the subject of the last two works in a popular tone and a rhetorical style altogether foreign to Aristotle.
The whole is probably a translation of a work with the same title by Appuleius, as Stahr (Arist. bei den Römern,
p. 165, &c.) has endeavoured to prove. Osann ascribes it to the Stoic Chrysippus (Beiträge zur Griech. u. Röm. Litt. Gesch.,
Darmstadt, 1835, vol. i. pp. 141-283.)
The latest editor of Appuleius (Hildebrand, Prolegg. ad Appul.
vol. i. p. xli., &c.), on the contrary, looks upon the Latin work as the translation.
To the same division of this pragmaty belongs the small fragment on the local names of several winds
(ἀνέμων Θέσεις καὶ προσηγορίαι
, out of the larger work περὶ σημείων χειμώνων
, Diog. 50.5.26; printed in Arist. Opp.,
ed. Du Val. vol. ii. p. 848), and a fragment extant only in a Latin form, De Nili Incremento.
The close of the fourth book of the Meteorologies conducts us to the consideration of earthly natural bodies composed of homogeneous parts (ὁμοιομερῆ
). Separate treatises on the inorganic bodies of the same class, e. g. περὶ μετάλλων
(Olympiod. ad Arist. Meteorol.
1.5, vol. i. p. 133, Ideler), and περὶ τῆς λίθον
(Diog. 50.5.26), have perished. Among the works on organic natural bodies, Aristotle himself (Meteor.
1.1) places first those on the animal kingdom, to the scientific consideration of which he devoted, according to Pliny (Plin. Nat. 8.17
), fifty, according to Antigonus Carystius (100.66), seventy treatises. Respecting the scientific arrangement of the extant works of this pragmaty see Trendelenburg, ad Arist. de Anima Prooem.
p. 114, &c.
The work which we must place first is
The History of Animals (περὶ ζώων ἱστορία), in nine books.
The History of Animals
(περὶ ζώων ἱστορία
, called by Aristotle himself αἱ περὶ τὰ ζῶα ἱστορίαι
and ζωικὴ ἱστορία
, De Partibus,
3.14.5) in nine books.
In this work Aristotle treats, chiefly in the way of description, of all the peculiarities of this division of the natural kingdom, according to genera, classes, and species; making it his chief endeavour to give all the characteristics of each animal according to its external and internal vital functions; according to the manner of its copulation, its mode of life, and its character.
This enormous work, partly the fruit of the kingly liberality of Alexander
, has not reached us quite complete. On the other hand, respecting a tenth book appended in the MSS., which treats of the conditions of the productive power, scholars are not agreed. Scaliger wants to introduce it between the 7th and 8th books; Camus regards it as the treatise spoken of by Diogenes Laertius: ὑπὲρ τοῦ μὴ γεννᾶν
; Schneider doubts its authenticity.
According to a notice in several MSS. (p. 633, ed. Berolin.), it originates in the Latin recension of the writings of Aristotle. Respecting the plan, contents, history, and editions of the work, Schneider treats at length in the Epimetra
in the first vol. of his edition.
The best edition is by Schneider, in four vols. 8vo., Lips. 1811.
This work, the observations in which are the triumph of ancient sagacity, and have been confirmed by the results of the most recent investigations (Cuvier), is followed by
on the Parts of Animals (）
The four books on the Parts of Animals
, in which Aristotle, after describing the phaenomena in each species develops the causes of these phaenomena by means of the idea to be formed of the purpose which is manifested in the formation of the animal.
According to Titze (de Arist. Opp. Serie,
pp. 55-58), the first book of this work forms the introduction to the entire preceding work on animals.
This work, too, as regards its form, belongs to the most complete and attractive of the works of Aristotle.
There is a separate work in five books On the Generation of Animals
Editions: Titze edited this work under the title Λόγος περὶ φύσεως μάλιστα μεθοδικός, Prag. 1819, and Leipzig, 1823, 8vo., with a German translation and remarks.
On the Generation of Animals (）
This treats of the generation of animals and the organs of generation.
The fifth book however does not belong to this work, but is a treatise on the changes which the several parts of the body suffer.
The close of this work (100.19. p. 713, ed. Bekk.), after the external phaenomena of the animal kingdom and of animal organization have been treated of, leads us to the consideration of the internal cause of these, the soul.
The consideration of this is taken up by Aristotle in the Three books on the Soul
Three books on the Soul ().
After he has criticised the views of earlier investigators, he himself defines the soul to be "the internal formative principle of a body which may be perceived by the senses, and is capable of life" (εἶδος σώματος φυσικοῦ δυνάμει ζωὴν ἔχοντος
). Such an internal formative principle is an ἐντελέχεια
; (re-specting this expression, see Biese, Phil. des Arist.
pp. 355, 452, 479, &c.); the soul is therefore the entelecheia of a body capable of life, or organized: it is its essence (οὐσία
), its λόγος
This work has been edited by Trendelenburg, Jenae, 1833, 8vo.-- one of the most excellent editions of any separate portion of Aristotle's writings in point of criticism and explanation.
With this work the following treatises are connected, in which individual subjects are carried out:
On the Motion of Animals ().
This is a series of essays, which, according to their plan, form an entire work (de Sensu
, 100.1) on sense and the sensible
These treatises come next in the following succession:
With these treatises closes the circle of the Aristotelian doctrine of animals and animal life.
The treatise de Sensu
, according to Trendelenburg's conjecture, has come down to us in an incomplete form, and the extant fragment περὶ ἀκουστῶν 11
probably belongs to it.
The same is probably the case with the treatise
p. 67) regards this, however, as a fragment of the lost work on Plants.
The fragment περὶ πνεύματος
), of doubtful authenticity, and, according to recent investigations, the production of a Stoic, is connected, as regards its subject, with the treatise περὶ ἀναπνοῆς
The treatise on Physiognomics (φυσιογνωμικά
) printed in Franz, Scriptores Physiognomici veteres,
in like manner, is connected with the scientific consideration of animal life.
Other works on plants
The organization of plants had been treated of by Aristotle in a separate work (περὶ φυτῶν
Two books Περὶ φυτῶν
), according to a remark in the preface, are a translation from a Latin translation, which again was founded on an Arabic version of the original.
In spite of all the doubts which have been raised against their authenticity, there are many expressions found in them which bear an undoubtedly Aristotelian stamp. (Compare Henschel, de Arist. Botan. Philos.
Lost anatomical works
works of Aristotle have been lost.
He was the first person who in any especial manner advocated anatomical investigations, and shewed the necessity of them for the study of the natural sciences.
He frequently refers to investigations of his own on the subject. (Hist. Anim.
1.17, extr., 3.2, 6.10.) Diog. Laert. (5.25) mentions eight books ἀνατομῶν
, and one book ἐκλογὴ ἀνατομῶν
, by Aristotle.
According to Aristotle's own intimations (de Gen. An.
2.7, de Part. An.
4.5), these writings were illustrated by drawings.
The treatise Εὔδημος ἢ περὶ ψυχῆς
, a dialogue called after Eudemus of Cyprus, the friend of the philosopher, has also been lost.
In this work, of which a considerable fragment has been preserved by Plutarch (de Consol. ad Apollon.
p. 115b.), Aristotle refuted the proposition, that the soul is no independent essence, but only the harmony of the body. Whether the treatise quoted by Diog. Laert., Δέσεις περὶ ψυχῆς
, belongs to this class of works, is doubtful. Respecting the lost medical
works, see Buhle, l.c.
3. Practical Philosophy, or Politics.
All that falls within the sphere of practical philosophy is comprehended in three principal works : the Ethics,
and the Oeconomics.
In them Aristotle treats of the sciences which have reference to the operation of the reason manifesting itself in particular spheres. Their subject, therefore, is action, morality
with reference to the individual, to the family, and to the state. Next to these we place the sciences which have for their object the exercise of the creative faculty (ποιεῖν
), i. e.
Nicomachean Ethics (), in 10 books.
The principal work on ethics is the Nikomachian Ethics
. Aristotle here begins with the highest and most universal end of life, for the individual as well as for the community in the state.
This is happiness (εὐδαιμονία
); and its conditions are, on the one hand, perfect virtue exhibiting itself in the actor, and on the other hand, corresponding bodily advantages and favourable external circumstances. Virtue is the readiness to act constantly and consciously according to the laws of the rational nature of man (ὀρθὸς λόγος
The nature of virtue shews itself in its appearing as the medium between two extremes.
In accordance with this, the several virtues are enumerated and characterized.
The authenticity of the work, which an ancient tradition ascribes to Nicomachus, the son of Aristotle, is indubitable, though there is some dispute as to the proper arrangement of the several books.
The title Νικομάχεια μικρά
, under which David (Proleg. ad Categ.
p. 25a. 40, Schol. ed. Berolin.) quotes the work, has not yet been explained.
Editions: The best editions are by Zell, Heidelberg, 1820, 2 vols. 8vo.; Corais, Paris, 1822, 8vo.
; Cardwell, Oxon. 1828, 2 vols.
; Michelet, Berlin, 1828, 2 vols
Eudemian Ethics (, in seven books.
Beside the Nicomachean Ethics, we find amongst the works of Aristotle the Eudemian Ethics
, of which only books i. ii. iii. and vii. are independent, while the remaining books iv. v. and vi. agree word for word with books v. vi. and vii. of the Nicomachean Ethics.
This ethical work is perhaps a recension of Aristotle's lectures, edited by Eudemus.
The Magna Moralia
(in David, l.c. Ἠθ. μέγ. Νικομάχεια
) in two books, which Pansch (de Arist. magnis moral. subditicio libro,
1841), has lately endeavoured to shew not to be a work of Aristotle, but an abstract, and one too not made by a very skilful hand; whist another critic, Glaser (die Metaph. des Arist.
pp. 53, 54), looks upon it as the authentic first sketch of the larger work.
The treatise Περὶ ἀρετῶν καὶ κακιῶν
, a collection of definitions, is of very doubtful origin, though probably belonging to the later age of extracts.
Politics (), in eight books
conduct us to the Politics.
(See Eth. Nic.
The connexion between the two works is so close, that in the Ethics by the word ὕστερον
reference is made by Aristotle to the Politics, and in the latter by πρότερον
to the Ethics. The Aristotelian Politics
; in Diogenes Laertius, 5.24, πολιτικὴ ἀκρόασις
) in eight books, have for their object to shew how happiness is to be attained for the human community in the state;
for the object of the state is not merely the external preservation of life, but " happy life, as it is attained by means of virtue " (ἀρετή
, perfect development of the whole man). Hence also ethics
form the first and most general foundation of political life, because the state cannot attain its highest object, if morality does not prevail among its citizens.
The house, the family, is the element of the state. Accordingly Aristotle begins with the doctrine of domestic economy, then proceeds to a description of the different forms of government, after which he gives an historico-critical delineation of the most important Hellenic constitutions, 13
and then investigates which of the constitutions is the best (the ideal of a state).
The doctrine concerning education, as the most important condition of this best state, forms the conclusion. Doubts have been raised by scholars respecting the arrangement of the several books ; and lately St. Hilaire, in the introduction to his edition (p. 1xxvi.), has urged the adoption of a transposition, in accordance with which the following would be the original order of the books: i. ii. iii. vii. viii. iv. vi. v. On the other hand, Biese (Phil. des Arist.
ii. p. 400) has acutely defended the old order.
Editions: The best editions of the Politics are by Schneider, Francof. ad Viadr. 1809, 2 vols.
; Corais, Paris 1821; Göttling, Jenae, 1824
; Stahr, with a German translation, Lips. 1837
; Barthélémy St. Hilaire, with a French translation
, and a very good introduction, Paris, 1837
Oeconomics (οἰκονομικά), in two books
Of the work extant under Aristotle's name, the Oeconomics
), in two books, only the first book is genuine; the second is spurious. (Niebuhr, Kleine Schr.
i. p. 412.)
The first book is ascribed to Theophrastus in a fragment of Philodemus. (Herculanens.
vol. iii. pp. vii. xxvii.)
Editions: The best editions are by Schneider, Lips. 1815
; and Göttling, Jenae, 1830
Among the lost writings of this pragmaty we have to mention,
B. Historical Works.
Of the large number of writings, partly politico-historical, partly connected with the history of literature, and partly antiquarian, belonging to this class, only scanty fragments and solitary notices have been preserved.
The extant treatise, de Xenophane, Zenone, et Gorgia
, which is important for an acquaintance with the Eleatic philosophy, is only a fragment of a more comprehensive work on the history of philosophy. (Spalding, Comment. in prim. part. libelli de Xen. Zen. et Gorg.
The lost writings belonging to this pragmaty are
A description and history of the constitutions, manners, and usages of 158 (Diog. Laert. 5.27; according to others, 250 or more) states, the historical foundation of the Politics.
The numerous fragments of this invaluable work have not yet been collected with sufficient care. The collection by Neumann (Heidelb. 1827) is quite unsatisfactory
Other Historical Works
Works important for poetical literature and chronology
For poetical literature and chronology the following treatises were important:
Πυθιονικῶν ὰναγραφή Νῖκαι Διονυσιακαί
, D. L. 5.26
A work the first part of which is preserved in Timaeus Locrus (de Anima Mundi
), just as the second part, on Archytas, is in the fragments preserved in Stobaeus under the name ot Archytas. (O.F. Gruppe, Ueber die Fragmente des Archytas,
a critico-chronological specification of the repertory of the Athenian stage. (D. L. 5.26
Comp. Welcker über die Cyklischen Dichter,
See Nitzsch, de Arist. adv. Wofianos,
a work of doubtful authenticity.
Works on poetics and the creative faculty
We now turn to those writings of Aristotle which, as belonging to the ἐπιστήμη ποιητική
, have for their subject the exercise of the creative faculty, or Art. To these belong the Poetics
Aristotle penetrated deeper than any of the ancients, either before or after him, into the essence of Hellenic art, and with the most comprehensive mind traversed the region in which the intellectual life of the Hellenes unfolded itself, and brought it under the dominion of science.
He is the father of the aesthetics of poetry,
as he is the completer of Greek rhetoric as a science.
The treatise itself is undoubtedly genuine; but the explanation of its present form is still a problem of criticism. Some (as Gottf. Hermann and Bernhardy) look upon it as the first sketch of an uncompleted work; others, as an extract from a larger work; others again, as the notes, taken by some hearer, of lectures delivered by Aristotle. Thus much, however, is clear, that the treatise, as we have it at present, is an independent whole, and, with the exception of a few interpolations, the work of one author. Farther, that the lost work περὶ ποιητῶν
, a history of the literature of poetry, must not be confounded with the Poetics,
to which it stands in the same relation as the Polities
do to the Politics.
As regards the contents of the Poetics, Aristotle, like Plato, starts from the principle of the imitation, or imitative representation (μίμησις
), either of a real object existing in the external world, or of one produced by the internal power of imagination.
It is in accordance with this view that the different species of art generally, and of poetry in particular, assume their definite forms.
The activity of art is distinguished from practical
activity in this respect: that in the case of the former the exercise of the creative faculty, the production of a work,
is the main thing; and that the internal condition, the disposition, of the person who exercises this creative faculty, is a matter of indifference.
The greatest part of the treatise (cc. 6-22) contains a theory of tragedy; nothing else is treated of, with the exception of the epos; comedy is merely alluded to.
The best editions of the work are by Gottf. Hermann, Lips. 1802, with philological and philosophical (Kantian) explanations
; Gräfenhan, Lips. 1821, an ill-arranged compilation
; Bekker, Berol. 1832, 8vo.
; and Ritter, Colon. 1839, 8vo.
Ritter considers two-thirds of the Poetics to consist of the interpolations of a later and extremely silly editor; but his opinion has been almost universally rejected in Germany.
As explanatory writings, besides Lessing's Hamburgische Dramaturgie,
we need mention only Müller, Gesch. der Theorie der Kunst bei den Alten,
pt. ii. pp. 1-181, and the German translation by Knebel, Stuttgart, 1840.
Rhetoric (τέχνη ῥητορική), in three books.
Aristotle, in accordance with his method, as we have already observed in the case of the Physics, Politics, and Poetics, before proceeding to lay down a theory
of rhetoric, prepared a safe foundation by means of extensive studies.
These studies gave rise to a separate historical work (entitled τεχνῶν συναγωγή
), in which he collected all the earlier theories of the rhetoricians from Tisias and Corax onwards. From the latter work the Aristotelian rhetoric developed itself, a work of which, as regards its leading features, the first sketch was drawn at an early period;--it has been already mentioned that the first lectures and written works of Aristotle treated of rhetoric ;--it was then carefully enlarged from time to time, and enriched with remarks drawn from the observation of human life and knowledge through many years.
The period of its composition is treated of by Max. Schmidt, De tempore quo ab Arist. libri de Arte Rhetor. conscripti et editi siut,
Rhetoric, as a science, according to Aristotle, stands side by side (ἀντίστροφον
) with Dialectics.
That which alone makes a scientific treatment of rhetoric possible is the argumentation which awakens conviction (αἱ γὰρ πίστεις ἔντεχνόν ἐστι μόνον
He therefore directs his chief attention to the theory of oratorical argumentation; and the more, inasmuch as earlier rhetoricians, as he says, had treated this most important subject in an exceedingly superficial manner.
The second main division of the work treats of the production of that favourable disposition in the hearer, in consequence of which the orator appears to him to be worthy of credit. Yet it is not sufficient merely to know what must be said,--one must also say this in a proper manner, if the speech is to produce the intended effect. Therefore in the third part he treats of oratorical expression and arrangement.
The best edition with a commentary is the one published at Oxford, 1820, 8vo.
; but a good critical and explanatory edition is still a desideratum.
Among the writings of Aristotle we also find a work on Rhetoric addressed to Alexander
(Ῥητορική πρὸς Ἀλέξανδρον
); but it is spurious, and should probably be ascribed to Anaximenes of Lampsacus. Others consider its author to have been Theodectes or Corax.
C. Miscellaneous Works.
Among the writings which Aristotle left behind him, there was undoubtedly a large number of Collectanea,
which had grown up under the hand of the philosopher in the course of his extended studies. To these writings, which were not originally destined for publication, belong
The Problems (), in 36 sections.
These are questions on individual points in all the departments of knowledge, a treasure of the deepest and most acute remarks, which has been far from being properly used and sifted.
A good edition is a desideratum.
Compare Chabanon, Trois Mémoires sur les Problè\mes d'Arist.
in the Mém. de l'Acad. des Inscript.
vol. xlvi. p. 285, &c., p. 326, &c.
These are short notices and accounts of various phaenomena, chiefly connected with natural history, of very unequal value, and in part manifestly not of Aristotelian origin.
The best edition is by Westermann, in his Rerum Mirabil. script. Graeci, Bruns. 1839.
All those which are extant are spurious : the genuine and copious collection of Aristotle's letters, which antiquity possessed, is lost.
Those which were arranged by Andronicus of Rhodes filled 20 books. (Pseudo-Demetrius, de Elocut.
A later collection by Artemon, a learned Christian of the third century, consisted of 8 books. (See David, Categ.
p. 24a. 1. 27, ed. Berol.) David (p. 22a. 21, Berol.) praises the clear, simple, noble style of Aristotle's letters, a description which is quite at variance with the character of those that are extant. Respecting Aristotle's will,
which Diog. Laert. (5.11-16) has preserved, we have spoken before. [p. 321a.]
E. Poems and Speeches.
There are preserved--
1. The Scolion addressed to Hermias, which we have already mentioned. (In Ilgen, Scolia,
Jenae, 1798, p. 137; Gräfenhan, Aristot. poeta,
Mulhusae, 1831, 4to.; Bergk, Poetae Lyrici Graeci.
2. Two epigrams, the one on a statue erected to his friend Hermias, and one on an altar dedicated to Plato.
The speeches of Aristotle which are lost, were Ἀπολογία εὐσεβείας πρὸς Εὐρυμέδοντα
, of which we have already spoken; an Ἐγκώμιον πλούτον
, and an Ἐγκώμιον λόγον
Writings attributed to Aristotle
Among the writings which were foisted upon Aristotle in the middle ages, there were the treatises (in Latin):
3. Mysticae Aegyptiorum philosophiae libr.
xiv., a compilation from Plotinus. (Classical Journal,
vol. xv. p. 279.)
4. De Pomo
(translated from the Hebrew by Manfred, son of the emperor Frederick II.), a treatise on the immortality of the soul.
5. Secreta secretorum
(doctrines on prudence and the art of government), and others.
IV. Leading Features of Aristotle's Philosophy.
All that the Hellenes had as yet attained in the whole compass of science and art, was embraced by the gigantic mind of Aristotle, which, so to say, traversed in thought all that the Hellenic world had up to that time struggled and lived through, and transmitted to posterity in his writings and philosophy the result, as reflected in his mind, of this earlier age. Aristotle stands at the turning point of Hellenic life, when, after the original forms of political existence and art were completed, after the close of the age of production, the period of reflection stept in, and endeavoured by the exercise of thought to possess itself of the immense mass of materials that had been gained. And we cannot but admire the Divine Providence, which summoned to this task a mind like Aristotle's, at the very time when the contemplation of the past was still fresh and lively, and tradition still recent; and which called forth all his powers by placing him in the midst of the new impetus which the Hellenic mind had received through the Macedonian conquest of the world. Thus did the genius of the age find in Aristotle its first and wonderful instrument. We have already, in enumerating his works, had occasion to admire the universality of the philosopher, for whom a mythical legend of the foundation of a city was not less attractive than speculations on first causes and highest ends, or observations on animal life and poetry. " Quot saeculis," exclaims Quintilian (Or. Inst.
12.11.22) in astonishment, " Aristoteles didicit, ut non solumn quae ad philosophos et oratores pertinerent scientia complecteretur, sed animalium satorumque naturas omnes perquireret." " Aristotle," says Hegel (Gesch. der Philosophie,
ii. p. 298), " penetrated into the whole mass and into every department of the universe of things, and subjected to the comprehension its scattered wealth; and the greater number of the philosophical sciences owe to him their separation and commencement. While in this manner science separates itself into a series of definitions, the Aristotelian philosophy at the same time contains the most profound speculative ideas.
He is more comprehensive and speculative than any one else. And although his system does not appear developed in its several parts, but the parts stand side by side, they yet form a totality of essentially speculative philosophy."
In giving a sketch or " sum " of Aristotle's philosophy, we must be satisfied with a mere outline, to which an accurate study of Aristotle's works alone can give completeness. 16
The true and correct apprehension of the nature of Aristotle's philosophy is due to the revolution which philosophy itself has undergone in Germany through the influence of Hegel.
The universal conception which had been formed of Aristotle's philosophy up to the time of Hegel, was, that Aristotle had made what is called experience the principle of knowledge and cognition. Accordingly the Aristotelian philosophy, as realism in the most ordinary sense of the word, was placed in direct opposition to the Platonic idealism.
This complete misapprehension of the Aristotelian philosophy proceeded from various causes. Firstly and chiefly, from want of acquaintance with the writings of Aristotle. Little more than twenty years ago Aristotle was still very little read. We have seen how even the philological study of his writings was neglected for centuries; and the philosophical study of them fared no better.
The properly speculative writings, the logical and metaphysical works, were scarcely read by any one. Nay, even on certain aesthetical propositions (e. g.
on the three unities of the drama) false traditions prevailed, which were utterly unsubstantiated by the Poetics. And yet the Poetics was one of the most read and most easily accessible of his writings. To this were added other causes. Very many derived their acquaintance with Aristotelian philosophy from Cicero, in whose works Aristotle appears only as a moral philosopher and natural historian. Others confounded the so-called scholastic Aristotelism with the genuine Aristotelian philosophy, which, however, in the schoolmen appears as mere empty formalism. Others, lastly, overlooked in the consideration of the method in which Aristotle philosophized the essential character of the philosophy itself.
This last circumstance in particular introduced that false conception, according to which common empeiria, experience, was looked upon as the principle of Aristotelian philosophy. We must therefore first endeavour to make clear Aristotle's method.
The peculiar method
of Aristotle stands in close connexion with the universal direction which he gave to his intellectual exertions, striving to penetrate into the whole compass of knowledge.
In this endeavour he certainly sets out from experience, in order first to arrive at the consciousness of that which really exists,
and so to grasp in thought the multiplicity and breadth of the sensible and spiritual world. Thus he always first lays hold of his subject externally, separates that in it which is merely accidental, renders prominent the contradictions which result, seeks to solve them and to refer them to a higher idea, and so at last arrives at the cognition of the ideal intrinsic nature, which manifests itself in every separate object of reality.
In this manner he consecutively develops the objects as well of the natural as of the spiritual world, proceeding genetically
from the lower to the higher, from the more known to the less known, and translates the world of experience into the Idea. Accordingly he usually first points out how, when an object is produced, it first presents itself to our cognition generally, and then how this general object branches out into separate species, and first really manifests itself in these.
In this way he also develops the origin of science itself genetically; he seizes upon the individual steps of consciousness, from the impression on the senses to the highest exercise of reason, and exhibits the internal wealth of intellectual life.
He sets out, therefore, from the individual, the concrete individual existence of the apparent world; and this is the empirical
side of his philosophy.
The beginning of his philosophical investigations is external.
But the end in view manifests itself in the course of them. For, while in this way he begins with the external, he steadily endeavours to bring into prominent and distinct relief the intrinsic nature of each separate thing according to the internal formative principles which are inherent in it, and essentially belong to it.
Next to this starting-point, an essential part of his method is the exhibition and removal of the difficulties which come in the way in the course of the investigation
. Comp. Metaph.
3.1, p. 40, 20). "For," says Aristotle, "those who investigate without removing the difficulties are like persons who do not know whither they ought to go, and at the same time never perceive whether they have found what they were seeking or not. For the end in view is not clear to such a person, but is clear to one who has previously acquired a consciousness of the difficulties. Lastly, that person must necessarily be in a better condition for judging, who has, as it were, heard all the opposing doctrines as though they were antagonist parties pleading before a tribunal." Hence he everywhere has regard to his predecessors, and endeavours carefully to develop the foundation and relative truth of their doctrines. (Metaph.
1. 3, Top.
In this manner Aristotle proceeds with an impartiality which reminds one of the epic repose in Homer, and which may easily give him a tinge of scepticism and indefiniteness, where the solution does not immediately follow the aporia, but occurs in the progress of the development.
Intimately connected with his endeavour to set out with that which is empirically known, is his practice of everywhere making conceptions of the ordinary understanding of men, manners, and customs, proverbs, religious conceptions (comp. Metaph.
12.8, 14.8, de Caelo,
2.1, de Generat. Anim.
1.2), and above all, language,
the points on which to hang his speculative investigations. The Ethics in particular give abundant proofs of the last. Thus, advancing from the lower to the higher, from the more imperfect to the more perfect, he constantly brings into notice the entelecheia (ἐντελέχεια
), or that to which everything, according to its peculiarity, is capable of attaining; whereupon, again he also points out in this entelecheia
the higher principle through which the entelecheia itself becomes a potentiality (δύναμις
In this manner he exhibits the different steps of development in natural existence in their internal relation to each other, and so at last arrives at the highest unity, consisting in the purpose and cause, which, in its creative, organizing activity, makes of the manifold and different forms of the universe one internally connected whole.
With all this, however, we must bear in mind, that this method did not lead Aristotle to a perfect and compact system.
The philosophy of Aristotle is not such.
In every single science he always, so to say, starts afresh from the commencement.
The individual parts of his philosophy, therefore, subsist independently side by side, and are not combined by the vigorous self-development of the idea into one whole, the several members of which are mutually connected and dependent.
This, the demonstration of the unity of idea in the entire universe of natural and spiritual life, was a problem which was reserved for after ages.
The composition of Aristotle's writings stands in close connexion with the method of his philosophizing. Here the object of investigation is always first laid down and distinctly defined, in order to obviate any misunderstanding. Thereupon he gives an historical review of the way in which the subject has been hitherto treated by earlier philosophers (Phys.
1.2, &c., de Anima,
1.3, &c., Eth. Nic.
1.3, Magn. Mor.
ii.); and indeed it may be remarked generally, that Aristotle is the father of the history of philosophy.
The investigation itself then begins with the exhibition of the difficulties, doubts, and contradictions which present themselves (ἀπορίαι, ἀπορήματα
These are sifted, and discussed and explained on all sides (διαπορεῖν
), and the solution and reconciliation of them (λύσις, εὐπορεῖν
, in opposition to ἀπορεῖν
) is given in the course of the investigation. (Metaph.
i. init. p. 40, Brandis, Phys.
4.4, p. 211, 1. 7, ed. Berol.)
In this enumeration of the various views and apories, Aristotle is not infrequently explicit to a degree which wearies the reader, as it is continued without any internal necessity.
V. Relation of the Aristotelian Philosophy to the Platonic.
In the Platonic philosophy the opposition between the real and the ideal had completely developed itself. For while the opposition and contradiction in the ideal--in the world of thought--was conquered by Plato's dialectics, the external and sensible world was looked upon as a world of appearance, in which the ideas cannot attain to true and proper reality. Between these two, the world of ideas and the visible world of appearances, there exists, according to Plato, only a passing relation of participation (μέθεξις
) and imitation, in so far namely as the ideas, as the prototypes, can only to a certain extent rule the formless and resisting matter, and fashion it into a visible existence. Plato accordingly made the external world the region of the incomplete and bad, of the contradictory and false, and recognized absolute truth only in the eternal immutable ideas. Now this opposition, which set fixed limits to cognition, was surmounted by Aristotle.
He laid down the proposition, that the idea, which cannot of itself fashion itself into reality, is powerless, and has only a potential existence, and that it becomes a living reality only by realizing itself in a creative
manner by means of its own energy. (Metaph.
12.6, p. 246. 8., Brandis.)
The transition of the ideal into the real, however, Aristotle explains by means of the pure idea of negation (στέρησις
That is to say, ideality and reality are not opposed to each other, as existence and non-existence, according to Plato's view; but the material itself contains in itself the opposition, the negation, through which it comes to have a kind of feeling of want, and strives after the ideal form, as the ugly strives after the beautiful.
The giving it a definite form does away not with the matter, but with the negation which is inherent in the matter, and by that means the material is fashioned so as to assume a definite existence. Thus matter is that which is eternal, fundamental, whilst the single object, fashioned so as to assume an individual existence is produced, and perishes.
The material in which the negation is inherent, is the potentiality (δύναμις
), out of which the formative principle, as an entelecheia, fashions itself into existence.
This, as the full reality (ἐνέργεια
), is the higher step in opposition to the mere potentiality.
According to these definitions, the Aristotelian philosophy progresses genetically from the lower to the higher, from the δύναμις
to the ἐντελέχεια
of that, of which the potential, according to its peculiarity, is capable. Thus by means of the εἴδη 17
the universe becomes a whole consisting of mutually connected members, in which these εἴδη
attain to full existence.
In inorganic nature the purpose is still identical with the necessity of the matter; but in organic nature it comes into existence as the soul of the enlivened object (ψυχή
The energy (ἐνέργεια
) of the soul is, as an entelecheia, thought,
both νοῦς παθητικός
, since, as the temporary activity of the mind, it is necessarily dependent on the co-operation of the senses, and νοῦς ποιητικός
, i. e.
cognoscent, self-acting reason, in so far as, in the pure element of thought freed from what is sensuous, it elevates the finite world into cognoscible truth. From this exalted point of view Aristotle regarded and subjected to inquiry the entire empire of reality and life, as it had developed itself up to his time in science, arts, and politics.
VI. Aristotelian Logic.
Aristotle is the creator of the science of logic.
The two deepest thinkers of Germany, Kant and Hegel, acknowledge that from the time of Aristotle to their own age logic had made no progress. Aristotle has described the pure forms and operations of abstract reason, of finite thought,
with the accuracy of an investigator of nature, and his logic is, as it were, a natural history of this " finite thought."
Aristotle obtains the categories, the fundamental conceptions of thought, from language, in which these universal forms of thought appear as parts of speech.
These categories (κατηγορίαι
, also κατηγορήματα, τὰ κατηγορούμενα
) give all the possible definitions for the different modes in which everything that exists may be viewed; they are the most universal expressions for the relations which constantly recur in things; fundamental definitions, which cannot be comprehended under any higher generic conception, and are, therefore, called γένη
. Yet they are not themselves generic conceptions, which give what is essential in an object, but the most universal modes of expressing it.
An independent existence belongs to οὐσία
alone of all the categories; the rest denote only the different modes of what is inherent.
The categories themselves, therefore, are not an ultimatum, by means of which the true cognition of an object can be attained.
The most important proposition in Aristotle's doctrine of substances 18
is, that " the universal attains to reality only in the individual" (μὴ οὐσῶν οὖν τῶν πρώτων οὐσιῶν ἀδύνατον τῶν ἄλλων τι εἶναι
) Aristotle first treats of quantity,
which with that which is relative attaches to the material
of the substance, then passes to what is qualitative, which has reference especially to the determination of the form of the object. (In the Metaphysics on the other hand (5.15), where the categories are defined more in accordance with our conceptions of them, the investigation on the qualitative precedes that on the relative.)
The six remaining categories are treated of only in short outlines.
The object of the categories is, to render possible the cognition of the enormous multiplicity of phaenomena; since by means of them those modes of viewing things which constantly recur in the nexion with existence are fixed, and thus the necessity for advancing step by step ad infinitum is removed.
But in Aristotle's view they are not the ultimatum for cognition. They rather denote only the different modes in which anything is inherent in the substance, and are truly and properly determined only by means of that which is substantial.
This again is determined by the εἶδος
, which is what is essential in the material, and owes its existence to the purpose of the thing.
This purpose, and nothing short of this, is an ultimatum for cognition.
The highest opposition in which the purpose realises itself is that of δύναμις
. (Arist. de Anima,
The categories are single
words (τὰ ἄνεν σνμπλοκῆς λεγόμενα
As such, they are in themselves neither true nor false. They become both only in the union of ideas by means of mutual reference in a proposition
(τὰ κατὰ συμπλοκὴν λεγόμενα
). A proposition
is the expression (ἑρμήνεια
) of reflecting thought, which separates and combines (διαίρεσις, συμπλοκή
This operation of thought manifests itself first of all in judgment.
In this way Aristotle succeeds in advancing from the categories to the doctrine of the expression of thought (ἑρμήνεια
). Here he treats first of all of the component elements of the proposition, then of simple propositions, together with the mode of their opposition with reference to the true and the false; lastly, of compound propositions (αἱ συμπλεκόμεναι ἀποφανσεις
), or modal forms of judgment (αἱ ἀποφάνσεις μετὰ τρόπου
), out of which the category of modality was afterwards formed.
In the second part of the treatise peri\ e(rmhnei(as the different modes of opposition of both kinds of propositions are discussed.
The essence of judgment,
which presents itself in a visible form in the proposition, consists in this, that the idea, which in itself is neither true nor false, separates itself into the momenta peculiar to it, the universal, the particular, the individual, and that the relation between these momenta is either established by means of affirmation, or abolished by means of negation.
Judgment, however, stands in essential relation to conclusio.
In judgment, Universal and Particular are referred to each other; these two momenta of our conceptions separate themselves, with reference to the conclusion, into two premises (προτάσεις
), of which the one asserts the universal, the other the particular. (Anal. pr.
1.25; τὸ μὲν ὡς ὕλον, τὸ δὲ ὡς μέρος
The conclusion itself, however, is that expression, in which, from certain premises, something else beyond the premises is necessarily deduced.
But the conclusion is still considered apart from its particular contents; it is treated quite as a form, and the remark is at the same time made, that for that very reason it as yet supplies us with no knowledge
But because this abstract universal possesses greater facilities for subjective cognition, Aristotle makes the doctrine of the syllogism precede that of proof,
for according to him, proof
is a particular kind of conclusion. (Anal. pr.
1.4.) Accordingly, together with the mode of its formation, he treats of the figures of the syllogism, and the different forms of conclusion in them. (cc. 1-27.) Then he gives directions for finding with ease the syllogistic figures for each problem that is proposed (εὐπορεῖν
), and lastly shews how to refer given conclusions to their principles, and to arrange them according to premises. Thereupon, in the second book of the Analytics, he treats of the complete conclusion according to its peculiar determining principles (Anal.
2.1-15), points out errors and deficiencies in concluding (cc. 16-21), and teaches how to refer to the syllogistic figures incomplete arguments, which have for their object subjective conviction only. (cc. 22-27.)
We do not arrive at that conclusion which is the foundation of knowledge
till we arrive at proof, i. e.
a conclusion conveying a distinct meaning (σνλλογισμὸς ἐπιστημονικός, ἀπόδειξις
), which proceeds from the essential definitions of the matter in question. Proof, in order to lead to objective truth, necessarily presupposes principles.
Without an acquaintance with principles, we cannot attain to knowledge by metals of proof. Aristotle, therefore, treats first of the nature of principles. They are the Universal, which serves as a medium through which alone we can attain to knowledge; they have their certainty in themselves, and are not susceptible of any additional separate proof.
In this point of view Aristotle compares them with the immediate certainty of sensuous perceptions.
The reason (νοῦς
) and the exertion of the reason (νόησις
), which is itself the Universal, develops these principles (ἀρχάς
) out of itself.
In proof we may distinguish three things : 1.
That which is proved (Anal. post.
1.7), i. e.
that which is to pertain to some definite object (γένει τινί
) considered in itself. 2.
The principles from which this is deduced. 3.
The object, the attributes of which are to be exhibited.
According to their subject-matter, proofs come into closer relation to the particular sciences. Here the important point is, to know what science is more accurate, and may be presupposed as the groundwork of another (προτέρα ἐστί
The knowledge to which proof conducts by means of principles (ἐπιστήμη
) has for its object necessary existence; conception (δόξα
), on the other hand, has for its object that which may be otherwise constituted. After Aristotle, in the first book of the second Analytics, has shewn how by means of proof we may receive a knowledge that
something is, and why
it is so, he considers that which we cannot get at by means of proof, but which is necessary for the complete development of our ideas, viz. the definition of that which is substantial, by means of which we have stated what an object is.
This is effected by definition
The definition states what the essence of a thing is, and is therefore always universal and affirmative.
It cannot be proved by any conclusion, nor even be demonstrated by means of induction. (Anal. post.
2.7.) We find out the essence of a thing only when we know the essential attributes of the thing, and its existence itself. Aristotle analyses the different kinds of definition (Anal. post.
2.10), then treats of the individual causes (for the definition declares the why
of a thing with reference to its essence), and lastly lays down the method of finding a correct definition. (Anal. post. ii.
The object of definition is, to comprehend the whole according to its essential differences, and to refer these again to the genus, in order by these means to bring under contemplation the whole as a unity consisting of mutually connected and dependent members. One aid in definition is subdivision
The definition must be clear and distinct.
This distinctness is attained by endeavouring first to define the particular, in order to become acquainted with the import of it in every species.
The use of definition is especially important in proposing problems. (Anal. post.
Aristotle, however, does not, either in his Metaphysics, or in the particular sciences, proceed according to the abstract forms of conclusion, as he develops them in the Organon; but the definition (ὁρισμός
) forms the central point in the further prosecution of his philosophical investigations.
He forms his conception of the idea
of a thing (τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι
) in the identity of its existence
and so continually points out the universal in the particular.
The first philosophy
(for such is the name Aristotle gives to what we call Metaphysics) is the science of the first principles and causes of things. (Met.
It is theoretic science, and the most excellent, but at the same time the most difficult of all sciences, because its object, the universal, is removed as far as possible from the perceptions of the senses. (Met.
It is, however, at the same time the most accurate science, because its subject-matter is most knowable; and the most free, because it is sought solely for the sake of knowledge.
There are four first causes or principles of things: a.
The substance and the idea (ἡ οὐσια καὶ τὸ τί ἦ εἶναι
The subject and the matter (ἡ ὕλη καὶ τὸ ὑποκείμενον
The principle of motion (ὅθεν ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κινήσεως
The purpose and the good (τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα καὶ τὸ ἀγαθόν
The earlier philosophers (this Aristotle shews in the first book of the Metaphysics) recognized indeed all these classes singly, but neither distinctly nor in connexion.
With full consciousness he declares, after having developed the history of metaphysics from the Ionian philosophers to Plato in bold and masterly outlines, that this science of the first philosophy had up to his time resembled a lisping child (ψελλιζομένῃ
1.10, p. 993, Bekk.).
The consciousness of the opposition between truth existing in and for itself, and the cognition of it, must necessarily be presupposed in all philosophizing.
This consciousness, which has come out in all its distinctness only in the philosophy of the most recent times, Aristotle also possesses.
But he has it in the form of doubts (ἀπορίαι
), which rise against science itself and its definitions.
These doubts and questions, then, Aristotle considers on all sides, and therefrom arrives at the following result:--
There is a science which considers existence as such, and the definitions pertaining to it as such. 2.
It is not the same with any one of the particular sciences, for all these consider only a part of what exists and its attributes. 3. The principles
and highest causes
of things must have a nature appropriate only to them.
Existence is indeed defined in various ways, and denotes at one time the What
and the idea, at another time the condition or constitution, magnitude, &c., of a thing; of all the definitions, however, the What,
which denotes the substance, is the first. (Met.
7.1. p. 1028, Bekk.) All other definitions only state attributes or qualities of this first definition, and are not in their nature independent, or capable of being separated from the substance. On the other hand, the idea of substance (οὐσία
) lies at the foundation of our ideas of everything, and we do not arrive at the cognition of anything when we know how great, or where, &c., it is, but when we know what
The question, therefore, is, What is the substance ? (τίς ή οὐσία
;) which has ever been the object of philosophical investigation. (Met.
7.1. p. 1028.) Aristotle distinguishes three kinds of substances: 1. Substance perceptible by the senses (Met.
12.1, 2, 7.7), which is finite and perishable, like single sensible objects.
The momenta of this sensible substance are, -- a.
the matter, that which is fundamental, constant; b.
particular things, the negative in relation to each other; c.
the motive principle, the pure form or εἶδος
The second higher kind of substance is that which may be perceived by the senses, but is imperishable, such as the heavenly bodies. Here the active principle (ἐνέργεια
, actus) steps in, which, in so far as it contains that which is to be produced, is understanding (νοῦς
That which it contains is the purpose, which is realized by means of the ἐνέργεια
The two extremes are here potentiality and agency (matter and thought), the passive universal and the active universal.
These two are not subject to change.
That which is changed is the particular thing, and passes from one into the other by means of something else by which it is moved.
The purpose, in so far as it is the motive principle, is called the cause
), but, in so far as it is the purpose, it is the reason, αἰτία
The active principle gives reality to that which it contains in itself: this remains the same: it is still, however, matter,
which is different from the active principle, though both are combined.
That which combines them is the form,
the union of both.
The relation of the newly coined idea of ἐντελέχεια
, or the purpose realized by the formative principle, to the idea of ἐνέργεια
, is this : ἐντελέχεια
signifies in the different grades of existence the completion which is in conformity with each single existing thing ; and ἐνέργεια
denotes the actuality which is in conformity with this completion. (Metaph.
9.3, p. 179. 8, Brand.) Thus the soul is essentially ἐντελέχεια
The third kind of substance is that in which δύναμις
, and ἐντελέχεια
are united; the absolute substance;
the eternal, umnoved; but which is at the same time motive, is pure activity (actus purus, Met.
12.6, 9.8, 12.7), is God himself.
This substance is without matter, and so also is not a magnitude.
The chief momentum in the Aristotelian philosophy is, that thought and the subject of thought are one; that what is objective and thought (the ἐνέργεια
) are one and the same. God himself is eternal thought, and his thought is operation, life, action,--it is the thought of thought. 20
Objects exist in their truth only in so far as they are the subjects of thought, are thoughts.
That is their essence (οὐσία
In nature, indeed, the idea exists not as a thought, but as a body; it han, however, a soul, and this is its idea.
In saying this, Aristotle stands upon the highest point of speculation : God, as a living God, is the universe.
In the course of the investigation, Aristotle, with careful regard to, and examination of, the views of earlier philosophers, points out that neither abstractly universal, nor particular, sensuously perceptible essences can be looked upon as principles of existence. Neither the universal apart from the particular, nor the particular by itself, can be a principle of the natural and spiritual world; but the absolute principle is God,--the highest reason, the object of whose thought is himself. Thus the dominion of the Anaxagorean νοῦς
was declared in a profounder manner by Aristotle.
In the divine thought, existence is at the same time implied. Thought is the sum and substance of the universe, and realizes itself in the eternal immutable formative principles which, as the essences indwelling (immanent) in the material, fashion themselves so as to assume an individual existence.
In man, the thought of the divine reason completes itself so as to become the self-conscious activity of thinking reason.
By it he recognizes in the objective world his own nature again, and so attains to the cognition of truth.
With these slight intimations, we must here leave the subject.
VIII. The Particular Sciences.
Respecting the Essence of the Particular Sciences, and the division of them into Theoretical and Practical Sciences.
--The science of the particular can exist only when the essence
of the particular, the νοητόν
, i. e.
the conceivable, the reasonable, is perceived. (Met.
It presupposes the principles of the intellectual and real, and has reference to that which is demonstrable from them.
The individual sciences deduce from principles the truth of the particular by means of proof,
which is the foundation of knowledge. Their limit consists in this: that the individual science sets out from something presupposed, which is recognized, and deduces the rest from this by means of conclusion (syllogism).
That operation of the mind which refers the particular to the universal, is the reflecting understanding (διάνοια
), which is opposed as well to sensuous perception as to the higher operation of the reason.
With it the difference between existence and thought, between truth and falsehood, becomes a matter of consciousness.
Every single science has reference to a definite object (γένος
, Anal. post.
11.7), and seeks certain principles and causes of it.
The particular object therefore determines the science, and every science deduces the proof out of the principles peculiar to it, i. e.
out of the essential definitions of the particular object. Three things are presupposed for every particular science : a.
That its object, and the essential definitions of that object (i.e.
the principles peculiar to it), exist. b.
The common principles (axioms), and c.
The signification of the essential attributes of the object.
According to their common principles, all sciences are mutually connected. Such common principles are, for example, the law of contradiction.
The accuracy (ἀκρίβεια
) of the single sciences depends on the nature of their objects.
The less this is an object of sense, the more accurate is the science of it. (Met.
13.3; Anal. post.
1.27 ; Met.
4.1, 1.2.) Therefore metaphysics is the most accurate, but also the most difficult science.
A knowledge of the kind of scientific treatment which the subject in hand requires must be acquired by intellectual cultivation. To wish to apply in all cases the method and schematism of a philosophy, which in constructing its theories begins from the fundamental idea (ἀκριβῶς
), is pedantic (ἀνελεύθερον
1.1, p. 29, Brand). Natural science, for example, does not admit of the application of a mere abstract definition of the idea, for it has to take into consideration as well the manifold, as also the accidental.
The same may be said of the province of practical science, where, in ethics and politics, universal, thorough definitions are not always possible, but the true can often be exhibited only in outline (ἐν τύπὡ
, Eth. Nic.
1.1, 2.2, 9.2). For the practical has also to do with the individual, and therefore accidental. For that reason, experience and what is matter of fact, have a high value as the proper basis of cognition. For the individual existence (τόδε τι
) with its formative principle, is the really substantial; and the sensuously perceptible essences and those which are universal are almost the same natures (Met.
13.9, p. 1086, 2 Bekk.) It is only in the individual that the universal attains reality.
The particular sciences have for their object the cognition of the world of appearances in its essential characteristics. For this purpose the co-operation of the senses is necessary. Therefore here the proposition, interest in intellectu quod non fuerit in sensu
, holds good. (De Anim.
In the νοῦς παθητικός
the sensible, finite world is a necessary production of cognition.
It attains to the cognition of nothing without sensuous perception.
But it is only the νοῦς ποιητικος
which attains to the cognition of the complete truth of the sensible world, and here vice versâ
the proposition holds good: nihil est in sensu, quod non fuerit in intellectu.
Reason is either theoretical
reason (de Anim.
The object of the first is the cognition of truth (of the universal, the unchangeable); the object of the other is the realisation, by means of action, of the truth, the cognition of which has been attained. (Metaph.
2.1.) Practical reason, therefore, is directed to the particular and individual, which is determined and regulated by the universal. (Eth. Nic.
The scientific treatment of the moral (ethics
) has, therefore, to investigate not so much what virtue is (οὐ γὰρ ἵν᾽ εἰδῶμεν τί ἐστιν ἡ ἀρετὴ σκεπτομεθα
, Eth. Nic.
2.2), as rather how we may become virtuous (ἀλλ᾽ ἵν᾽ ἀγαθοὶ γενώμεθα
). Without this last object it would be of no use.
The difference between action and the exercise of the creative power (πράττειν
) in the province of practical reason, is the foundation of the difference between morality
What is common to both is, that the commencing point of the activity lies here in the subject (Met.
11.7), and that the object of the activity has reference to that which admits of different modes of existence. (Eth. Nic.
The difference, thererefore, between the two is this: that in action (πράττειν
) the purpose lies in the activity itself (in the πρακτον
), whereby the will of the actor manifests itself, while in the exercise of the creative power (ποιεῖν
) it lies in the work produced. (Metaph.
6.1 ; Magn. Mor.
The theoretical sciences have to do with that which exists in accordance with the idea, and can be deduced from it. Their object is either, a.
the universal, as it is the object of cognition to the abstracting understanding, which, however, is still restricted to one side of the material, to the quantitative (Met.
13.2),--accordingly τὰ ἀκίνητα ἀλλ᾽ οὐ χωριστά
; or, b.
the universal, as by means of the formative principles, which give it some definitive shape, it attains to existence in the essences of natural things (τὰ ἀχώριστα ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἀκίνητα
or lastly, their object is the universal, as it exhibits itself as necessary existence (τὸ ἀΐδιον καὶ ἀκίνητον καὶ χωριστόν
). Out of these the theoretic sciences of mathematics, physics, and theology develop themselves, as well as the practical sciences, which have for their object action, morality in the individual and in the state (ethics, oeconomics, politics), or the exercise of the creative faculty, and art (poetics, rhetoric).
THE THEORETICAL SCIENCES.
1. Natural Sciences.
The science of Physics
, ἡ περί φύσεως ἐπιστήμη
) considers that existence which is susceptible of motion. Its object is not the idea in its spiritual existence (τὸ τί ἦν εῖναι
), but the idea in its real existence in the material (τὸ τί ἐστι
). Natural existence has the origin of motion in itself originally. Motion is change from what exists to what exists. Nature, therefore, is no lifeless substratum, but an organization possessed of life, a process of becoming and being produced, in which the moving power, consisting in the formative principle, is that which gives it its shape.
In natural existence matter
), deprivation (στέρησις
), and the formative principle, are in inseparable union. Matter is the foundation of the manifold, for everything, according to the formative principle, which in itself is perfect, strives to advance from it to that which is more perfect, till it attains to actuality.
The internal formative principle, on the other hand, is the basis of what is unchangeable in that which is manifold. For the formative principle is in itself eternal and imperishable, and is perishable only in so far as it engenders itself in the material. Natural science considers the formative principles which in motion and change continually reengender themselves.
The formative principle and the purpose are the same, only conceived of in a different relation :--the formative principle in relation to that which actually exists; purpose, in relation to the why ?
The identity of the two is the operative cause.
The relation of purpose is the highest cause, in which all physical causes concentrate themselves. (Phys.
2.7-9.) Wherever there is purpose there is activity (πράττεται
2.8) in relation to this purpose, and according to the activity of each thing, so is its natural constitution. Nature now has a purpose, but it is independent of all reflection and consideration. (Phys. l.c.
) It creates according to an unconscious impulse, and its activity is a daemonical,
but not a divine activity (ἡ γὰρ φύσις δαιμονία ἀλλ᾽ οὐ Δεῖα
, de Div. per Somn.
100.2). Sometimes it does not attain its object, because in its formative process it cannot overpower the material; and then, through this partial frustration of the purpose, abortions are produced. (Phys. l.c., de Gener. Anim.
4.4.) Nature therefore has the foundation of its development and existence in itself,--is its own purpose; it is an organic whole, in which everything is in a state of vigorous reciprocal action, and exhibits a series of gradations from the less perfect to the more perfect.
The fashioning active principle is the εῖδος
, and this when perfected is ἐντελέχεια
, in contrast with which the material, as the merely potential, is the lower principle.
The connecting link between the two is motion, the process of becoming ; accordingly motion is a condition in all nature, and he who has not arrived at the cognition of motion does not understand nature. (Phys.
3.1.) Motion is the means by which everything strives to advance from potentiality (matter) to that actuality, of which, according to its nature, it is capable, i. e.
to the form appropriate to it, which is its purpose. The εἶδος
is thus what is true in the visible object, but not apart from the process of becoming; but it is the basis of this process of becoming itself, inasmuch as it is the active, fashioning principle.
The true principle of natural science, therefore, lies in the dynamico-genetical method, which looks upon nature as something continually becoming, as it strives to advance from potentiality to actuality. Motion itself is eternal and unproduced; it is the life (οἷον ζωή τις οὖσα
) in all natural things. (Phys.
8.1.) Through this striving of all natural existences after the imperishable, everything is in some sort filled with soul. (De Gener. Anim.
The elementary bodies, considered in themselves, have motion in themselves, reciprocally produce each other, and so imitate the imperishable (as e. g.
earth and fire, Met.
9.8). Things possessed of life produce in the process of generation an object of like kind with themselves (de Anim.
2.4. 2), and so participate in eternity as far as they can, since in their individual existence, as one
according to number (ἕν ἀριθμῷ
), they are not eternal.
A constant dynamical connexion exhibits itself in the process of development of natural life, it aims at more and more perfect formations, and makes the lower and less perfect forms a preliminary condition of the higher, so that the higher sphere comprehends also the lower. (De Caelo,
4.3.) Thus in the gradations of the elements between earth and heaven, the several elements are separated by no definite limit, but pass insensibly from one to the other (Phys.
4.5; De Caelo,
4.1, 4), and also in organisms possessed of life the same gradation, from the lower to the more and more perfect forms, shews itself. (De Anima,
2.2, 3.) Natural science then must follow this process of development,
for it is only in this way that it attains to a lively apprehension of nature.
To develop how Aristotle, according to these leading outlines, treats the particular natural sciences, how he first develops the gradations of the elements, the motion of the heavenly bodies, and the unmoved moving principle, and then points out the process of formation in inorganic and organic nature, and lastly arrives at man,
as the end and centre of the entire creation, of which he is the most complete organization (Polit.
1.8; Hist. Anim.
4.10; De Partib. Anim.
4.10), would lead us farther than our present limits allow. We can only again direct attention to the excellent delineation, a perfect model of its kind, in the work of Biese above referred to, vol. ii. pp. 59-216.
2. Mathematics and the Mathematical Sciences.
Mathematics and Physics have the same objects in common, but not in the same manner; for mathematics abstract from the concrete attributes of sensible things, and consider, only the quantitative.
This is the only side of that which is material on which the understanding (διάνοια
) dwells, where it considers the universal in the way in which it is presented by the abstractive power of the understanding.
This mode of procedure, however, does not admit of being applied in all cases (Phys.
2.2); and mathematics, from their very nature, cannot rise above the material and reach real existence
The investigations of this science are restricted to one part of material existence (περί τι μέρος τῆς οἰκείαρ ὕλης ποιεῖται τὴν Δεωρίαν
The relation between the three theoretical sciences, therefore, is this: the science of physics
busies itself indeed with the internal formative principle, with that which has an absolute existence, but only in so far as this has passed into the material, and is accordingly not immoveable. (Met.
The science of mathematics,
on the other hand, occupies itself indeed with that which is immoveable and at rest, as its definitions are fixed and unalterable; but not with that which is absolutely immoveable, but immoveable in so far as it is connected with matter.
The science of metaphysics,
lastly, occupies itself with that which exists really and absolutely, with that which is eternal and immoveable.
Mathematics, therefore, stand half-way between physics and metaphysics. (Met.
1.6, p. 20, 23, 1.9, p. 33, 23, 11.1. p. 212, 22.) Mathematical existence exists only δυναμει
(according to potentiality) in the abstractive operation of the understanding, and is therefore no independent existence, nothing substantial. We arrive at the cognition of its peculiar definitions not from the idea, but only by means of separation (e. g.
auxiliary lines in figures for proof). On that account, neither motion nor the idea of purpose occurs in mathematics. (Met.
In this science, that which is simple, as an abstractum, forms the starting-point, and its necessity depends on our advancing from the simple to the composite, or from the basis to that which is based upon it. (Phys.
2.9.) Respecting the axioms from which the mathematical sciences proceed, mathematics can therefore say nothing (Met.
4.3), because these belong to every existing thing as such. 21
Respecting the view taken by Aristotle of the mathematical sciences, see Biese, ii. pp. 225-234.
THE PRACTICAL SCIENCES.
Mathematics, restricted as the science is to the quantitative, can exhibit the good and the beautiful only as they manifest themselves in that immutability which consists in the fixed order and harmony of the quantitative.
But the way in which these two, the good and the beautiful, acquire existence in the department of the mind, is considered and pointed out by the practical sciences, Ethics, Politics (with Oeconomics as an appendix), and Poetics (Aesthetics, Philosophy of Art).
1. General Definitions. 22
--The highest and last purpose of all action, according to Aristotle, is happiness
. Eth. Nic.
1.2-7, 10.6-8, and elsewhere).
This he defines to be the energy (ἐνέργεια
) of life existing for its own sake (perfect life), according to virtue existing by and for itself (perfect virtue).
As the highest good, it must be pursued for its own sake; as the highest human
good, its essence must be derived from the peculiar destination of man. Accordingly, happiness is the activity of the soul in accordance with virtue during a separate independent period of existence. (Eth. Nic.
The two principal component parts of this definition are virtue, and external good circumstances as means of virtue. Virtues are of two kinds, either intellectual virtues (διανοητικαί
), or moral virtues (ἠθικαί
), according to the distinction between the reasoning faculty, and that in the soul which obeys the reason.
According to this distinction, the origin of the virtues, which Aristotle points out in the second book of the Ethics, is also different.
The intellectual virtues may be learnt and taught, the ethical virtues are acquired by practice.
In the case of these, therefore, we must have regard to the practice of them in particular cases; therefore, only quite general directions admit of being given respecting them. Youth must be accustomed and trained "to rejoice and be sorry in the proper way," for grief and joy are the criteria of virtue, inasmuch as it is the proper medium between excess and deficiency. (Eth. Nic.
2.2.) To be able to refrain from sensual desires with pleasure is to be temperate.
The intemperate man experiences pain at such abstinence, when he is compelled to practise it.
By the practice of virtue the man becomes good himself; and virtue is therefore a habit, and that too accompanied by fore-choice (ἕχις προαιρητική
), which keeps the medium in our subjective inclinations and impulses (Eth. Nic.
2.6), and keeps the medium in that way in which the rational man (ὁ φρόνιμος
This medium assumes different forms according to the several impulses, under the influence of which the actor has reference either solely to himself, or to others also.
The medium is opposed to the extremes ; they contradict each other, and the proper measure or degree depends on the particular inclinations of the individual.
2. Special part.
-- Virtue is based upon free, self-conscious action. Aristotle, therefore, before developing the several virtues specially, defines the idea of responsibility (3.1-7), and then and not before gives the development of the ethical (3.8, v. extr.) and logical
As now, in the definition of happiness, virtues and the means of virtue formed the chief parts, so the second section of the special part of ethics is devoted to the internal and external circumstances of life, which become the means of virtue through the good manifesting itself in them as the purpose. Continuance in a course of virtue is connected chiefly with firmness of character,
which exhibits itself as well in abstinence (ἐγκράτεια
) which resists pleasure, as in endurance (καρτερία
, a Platonic idea : see Plat. Laches
), which remains unshaken, even by the attacks of pain. (Eth. Nic.
This firmness therefore manifests itself especially in the manner in which a man demeans himself towards pleasure and pain.
This leads to the investigation of the essential nature of pleasure and pain.
7.12, &c.) Farther, in the social life of men, friendship, which is itself a virtue (8.1), and indeed the crown of all virtues, is a principal means for a steady continuance in virtue. Aristotle, therefore, in the 8th and 9th books, treats of friendship with the most careful explicitness.
He shews that it forms the foundation for all kinds of unions, and contributes to the realization of the good in the smaller and larger circles of social life. Lastly, the unrestricted exercise of each species of activity directed towards the good is accompanied by the feeling of an undisturbed energy, and this harmony, in which the external and the internal are in accordance, produces a pleasure,
which exercises a powerful influence in urging the man on to virtuous activity, besides being the constant attendant of the latter.
In this point of view Aristotle, in the 10th book (Eth. Nic.
10.1-6), treats of pleasure as a powerful means of virtue.
After the principal elements of the definition of virtue have been thus gone through, the happiness of the theoretical life of reason, i. e.
of the life devoted to philosophical contemplation, is brought prominently into view; which, as a divine kind of life, is accorded to but few men. (Eth. Nic.
In contrast with this stands the happiness of active, practical life, which has its firm basis in the ethical virtues, and in external good circumstances the means of carrying out and accomplishing the higher ends of life. This, however, can only take place
IN THE STATE; and so Ethics of themselves conduct us to the doctrine of the state, to politics.
The ethics of Aristotle preserved the most complete development of the doctrine of virtue, regarded from the point of view chosen by the ancients.
The problem which he here proposed to himself was no other than this: to exhibit the good in the process of becoming,
in that way in which it is a thing attainable by man, and individualizes itself most immediately in the bents or inclinations of men (the existence of which as such in their natural condition, according to the view taken by the ancients, cannot be denied). Then, secondly, by means of practical wisdom, to determine the proper medium for these manifold bents, and so to lay down the rule for action. Farther, to shew that the obligation to live
according to this rule, is founded in the essential nature of the higher rationality, and that in this those sentiments which are firm and immoveable form the immutable basis of action.
The ethics of Aristotle contain the fundamental elements (στοιχεῖα
4.11, ed. Stahr) of politics, of which the former science is itself a particular part (πολιτική τις
, Eth. Nic.
1.1, Magn. Mor.
1.1.) Both have the same end--happiness, only that it is far more noble and more divine to conduct whole peoples and states to this end. (Polit.
3.12.) Practical wisdom and politics are one and the same species of habit (Eth. Nic.
6.8); all they differ in is this: that the object of the one is to promote the happiness of an individual, the object of the other to promote that of a community.
In the latter point of view, practical wisdom is: a.
The management of the family--oeconomics. b.
In the management of the state.--α
. Leyislative power
), which regulates the general relations (ἀρχιτεκτονική
. Administrative power
) in the government of the state, where action, or the special application of the laws under particular circumstances, is concerned.
The administrative power realizes itself first in that part of the state which deliberates on the public concerns (βουλευτικη
), and which possesses the power of applying the laws to public relations; secondly, in the judicial power (δικαστικη
), with the application of the laws to private concerns.
As the highest good is something absolutely perfect, i. e.
a thing of such a nature that it is striven after purely for its own sake, happiness, as it is a good of this kind, cannot be imperfect, but the quality of self-sufficiency (αὺταοκεια
) must pertain to it.
This, however, is to be obtained not in isolated or family life, but only in the state, which is the union of all other circles of social life. Man therefore, as a being created by nature for the state and for life in the state (ζῶυν πολιτικόν
1.2, 3.6, and elsewhere), strives after it.
The state, moreover, as a totality consisting of organically connected members, is by nature prior to the individual and the family; it is the absolute prius.
As the hand of a corpse is no more a hand, so the annihilation of the state is at the same time the annihilation of the individual; for only a wild beast or a god can live out of the bounds of the state, or without it. (Polit.
It is only through the state that αὐτάρκεια
, self-sufficiency, not merely for the preservation of bare life, but also for happy life, is rendered possible. Happiness, however, is only the consequence of an activity of the soul consisting in complete virtue (ἀρετη
); consequently, in the state, and in nothing short of it, does virtue itself attain complete reality. And the object of the political art is the most honourable, in as far as the statesman directs all his care to the training of such citizens as are morally good and actively promote everything honourable and noble. (Eth.
1.10, 13, init.)
The science of politics therefore is the necessary completion of ethics, and it is only in reference to the state that the latter can attain its full development.
The two sciences, therefore, in Aristotle's view, stand in such close connexion, that in the Politics by πρότερον
he refers to the Ethics, and in the latter by ὕστερον
to the Politics.
According to the method of genetic development (κατὰ τὴν ὑφηγημένην μέθοδον
1.1), Aristotle begins in the politics with the consideration of the first and most simple human association, the family (οἰκία
). A marriage
of free men and women is known only by the Hellenes, not by the barbarians, among whom not free men and women, but male and female slaves unite themselves together.
The distinction between Hellenes and barbarians, free men and slaves, in Aristotle's view is still a primary distinction, because the natural determining circumstance of birth (as Hellen or barbarian) is still an essential element in the idea of freedom.
Christianity first laid down the principle, that freedom is founded on the spiritual entity of man, without regard to the natural determining circumstance of birth.
Out of the component parts of the family (slaves and free persons, master and slaves, man and wife, father and children) arise three relations: the despotic
), and parental
), with which is associated besides the οὶκονομική
. These Aristotle treats of in the first book of the Politics.
The arrangement of the whole domestic system resembles monarchy (Polit.
1.7), but at the same time the family is the image of political life generally, for in it he the germs of friendship, constitution, and all that is just. (Eth. Eudem.
7.10, p. 1242. 6, Bekk.)
After this, in the second book, he considers the purpose
of the state, as the unity of a whole consisting of mutually dependent and connected members, with reference as well to imaginary (Plato), as to actually existing constitutions.
He calls attention to their points of superiority and inferiority, and so indicates the essential conditions, which are necessary for the foundation and realisation of the idea of a state. Thereupon in the third book he develops the idea of the state according to its separation into different forms of government; in the fourth book he considers the several constitutions according to their differences in kind, because these exercise an influence on legislation. For legislation is dependent on the constitution,
not vice versâ.
That is to say, constitution
is the arrangement of the powers in the state, according to which the sovereignty (τὸ κύριον
) is determined.
The constitution is thus the soul
of the state. (Polit.
The laws, on the other hand, are the determining principles, according to which the governing body governs, and holds in check those who transgress them. Aristotle distinguishes aristocracy, kingdom, and republic
(πολιτεία ἡ τψ̂ κοινψ̂ προσαγορευομένη ὀνοματι
), and sets by the side of these the three perversions (παρεκβάσεις
) of them: oligarchy, tyranny, democracy.
These constitutions arise out of the three principles, 1, of equality, founded on the preponderance of number; 2, of inequality, which is founded either, a.
on the preponderance of external strength
(tyranny, oligarchy), or b.
on the preponderance of internal or spiritual strength (monarchy, aristocracy). Aristotle then, in the 5th book, considers the disturbing and preserving causes in the different constitutions, always having regard to reality and experience (Polit.
3.17, 4.1); and, for the determination of that form of government which is best adapted for the greatest number of states, gets this result, that in it democratical and oligarchical principles must be intermixed and united. (Polit.
4.12.) From such a mixture of the elements of constitutions result new forms of mixed constitutions (συνδυασμοί
), which Aristotle characterizes more closely according to the three essential functions of political power. (Polit.
4.14, vi.) Having thus prepared the way, the philosopher proceeds to the real problem, to shew how a state can be so perfectly constituted, as to answer to the requisitions of human nature.
He shews that the question, What is the best constitution ? is connected with the question, What is the most desirable mode of life ? (Polit.
7.1) he develops the external
conditions for the realisation of the best constitution (Polit.
7.4, &c.), which are dependent on fortune,--and then passes to the internal
conditions of such a constitution, which are independent of fortune. (Polit.
7.13, &c.) For these latter he finds the central point in the education of youth, which he therefore considers as a public concern of the state. (Polit.
8.1.) Its object is the harmonious culture of all the physical and mental powers, which lays the foundation for that harmony of perfect virtue both in the man and in the citizen, in which the purely human develops itself in all its fulness and power.
By the individual citizens of the state (Polit.
7.13) being trained to a virtuous, moral life, virtue and morality become predominant in all the spheres of political life, and accordingly by means of politics
that is completely realised, for which ethics
form the ground-work, viz. human happiness depending on a life in accordance with virtue. Thus on the one hand the science of politics is again reflected to the point from which it started--ethics, while on the other hand, inasmuch as art and oratory are included in the circle of the means by which the citizen is to be trained, it points beyond what is immediately connected with itself to the departments of
3. Rhetoric and Aesthetics.
--Here we need say but little; partly because the works of Aristotle, which relate to this subject, are more generally known and read than the properly philosophical writings, and partly because the subject itself is of considerably less difficulty. We therefore make only some general observations.
Rhetoric stands side by side (ἀντίστροφος
) with dialectics, for both have to do with subjects, with which, as pertaining to no particular science, every one may make himself acquainted, and respecting which every one deems himself capable of forming a judgment. Every one considers himself, and is to a certain extent, an orator and dialectician. Rhetoric raises this routine to an artistic knowledge, by means of theory,
which arrives at the perception of the causes why, and the means by which, the orator, who has not been theoretically trained, attains his object. (Rhet.
The kernel of such a theory is the argumentation by which conviction is produced. Enthymemes are the foundation (σῶμα τῆς πίστεως
) of argumentation. Aristotle, as he himself says, first directed his attention to the fundamental principles of these. The object
of Rhetoric is conviction, but its business (ἔργον
) consists in discovering that which awakens belief with respect to the subject in hand. (Rhet.
1.1, οὐ τὸ πεῖσαι ἔργον αὐτῆς, ἀλλὰ τὸ ἰδεῖν τὰ ὑπάρχοντα πιθανὰ περὶ ἑκάστον
. Comp. Quint. Inst. 2.15
; Max. Schmidt. de tempore quo ab Arist. libri de arte rhet. editi,
p. 8, &c.)
The means of proof (πίστεις
) therefore are what we are mainly concerned with.
These are partly external (witnesses, &c.), partly artistical, to be created by the orator; to these belong the personal qualities (ἦθος
) of the orator himself, and the disposition of the hearers, and the mode itself in which the arguments are exhibited. From the means of proof we discover what is requisite in the orator: he must understand how to form conclusions, must possess an insight into the moral nature and virtues of man, as well as an acquaintance with the passions. (Rhet.
2.22.) Accordingly rhetoric grows as it were out of the roots of dialectics and ethics. (1.4.) For argumentation, example and enthymeme are in rhetoric, what induction and conclusion are in dialectics.
As regards their subject matter, most enthymemes are taken from the special departments of the sciences.
In the laying down of the general and particular points of view the excellence of the genuine empiricism of Aristotle, which is united with the most acute sagacity, amply displays itself, and, particularly in the treatment of the πάθη
, unfolds a rich treasure of psychological experience, which lays bare the most secret recesses of the human heart.
The several species of oratory develop themselves out of the different dispositions which may exist in the hearer of a speech.
The hearer, namely, is either a Δεωρός
, i. e.
listens only for the sake of artistic enjoyment, or he is one who forms a judgment respecting what is to come, or what is past.
In accordance with these different characters in which the hearer appears, there result three species of oratory: . the deliberative
), the forensic
), the epileictic
). Aristotle then determines what are the essential elements of these species, and further the occasion and purposes of them.
The difference of purpose again involves attention to the appropriate arguments, according as these are common to all, or particular.
The power of convincing, however, depends not merely on oratorical conclusions, but also on the credibility of the orator, and the disposition of the hearers. Therefore it is necessary to shew how the favourable disposition requisite on every occasion is to be produced in the mind of the hearer.
But a person must know not only what
to say, but also how
to say it. Therefore rhetoric has, by way of conclusion, to treat of oratorical expression and arrangement.
--" Thou, O man, alone possessest art!"
This dictum of Schiller's is already expressed by Aristotle. (Met.
In art the production of a work is the main matter and the main purpose, whilst the purpose of oratory, which is throughout practical, is extraneous to speech itself.
The relation of art
is, on the side of the artist, a very slight one; for, with dispositions and sentiments, which in actions form the most important point, we have nothing to do in the practice of art, where the main thing is the production (ποιεῖν
) of a work. On the other hand, however, every art, and every work of art, exerts a moral influence, purifies and purges the stronger emotions of the soul, strengthens and elevates the mind.
Art, like nature, produces by fashioning organically, but, with consciousness (Phys.
2.8), and its creative efforts, as well as the contemplation of these efforts, and of the work of art produced, belong to those higher exertions of the mind (τὰ περιττά
) which have their purpose in themselves. Aristotle, indeed, in accordance with the light in which the matter was generally viewed by the ancients, reckons art amongst the higher purposes of the state and of religion (Polit.
viii.); but with him it has also already the signification of an independent creation of the mind, which ennobles reality, and which again draws within its sphere religion and morality likewise.
All the several arts find a common bond of union in this, that they are all imitations (μιμήσεις
), i. e.
all arts, epic poetry, tragedy, comedy, lyric poetry, music, orchestic (the art of dancing), painting, and statuary, strive after truth, the real essence of things, which they represent.
That which distinguishes the arts from each other lies partly in the diversity of the means
by which they represent, partly in the object of representation, partly in the mode
According to this diversity arise the distinct differences in the arts, the species of art, and the different styles of art. How, according to Aristotle's view, the beautiful developed and manifested itself in the separate arts, can be pointed out only with reference to poetry, because this is the only art that Aristotle (in his work περὶ ποιητικῆς
) has treated of. Poetry is the product of inspiration (Rhet.
3.7), and its means of representation is language, metrical as well as unmetrical. (Poet.
1.) Improvisations form the historical starting-point for all poetry, which from its very commencement divides itself into two principal directions, that which follows the more homely, and that which follows the more exalted.
This depended on the peculiar character of the poet.
A delicate perception of what is correct and appropriate, an acute faculty of observation, and a mind easily excitable and capable of inspiration (διὸ εὐφυοῦς ή ποιητικὴ ἐστιν ἢ μανικοῦ
2.15 extr.) make the poet, who at the same time cannot dispense with discretion.
The external form of the representation, the metre, is not decisive as to whether anything is poetry or not.
The history of Herodotus reduced to metre would still remain a history.
A subject becomes poetical only through a lively, vivid mode of representation. and the principal point is the composition and arrangement of the matter, the σύνθεσις
) τῶν πραγματων
7), in other words, the invention or idea, which has assumed a lively form in the poet; and this is the starting-point, and as it were the soul of poetry (ἀρχὴ καὶ οἷον ψυχὴ ὁ μῦθος τῆς τραγψδίας
). Poetry is more comprehensive and philosophical than history; for whilst history is restricted to individual actual facts, the poet takes higher ground, and represents in the particular that which, considered in itself, can happen at any time; that which is universally applicable and necessary.
The universal in poetry, however, is not an abstract, indefinite something, but manifests itself in the characteristic individuality of person by means of language and action in accordance with internal probability and necessity. (Poet.
9.) Whilst therefore in poetry everything individual, as importing something universal, is thoroughly signiticant, history, on the other hand, relates in chronological succession what the individual has really done, and what has happened to him.
The historian is restricted as to the order, arrangement, and succession of the facts which he describes; the poet has these unrestrictedly under his dominion.
With these individual features of Aristotle's Poetics we must here content ourselves, as a complete examination of his theory of the epos and of the drama might easily lead us beyond the limits to which we are restricted.
The main sources for the life of Aristotle are lost to us.
The number of works on biography and literary history extant in antiquity, from which information might have been obtained respecting Aristotle, must have been immense, since out of Diogenes Laertius alone the names of nearly 40 such writers may be collected, whose works, with the exception of single quotations, have disappeared.
With respect to Aristotle in particular, we have to regret the loss of the works of Hermippus of Smyrna, Timotheus of Athens, Demetrius of Magnesia (ὁ Μάγνης
), Pseudo-Aristippus, Apollodorus of Athens, Eumelus, Phavorinus, &c., as well as those of Aristoxenus of Tarentum, Apellicon of Teos, Sotion, Aristocles of Messene, Damascius, Andronicus of Rhodes, and Ptolemaeus Philadel phus.
The scanty and confused sources still extant are the following :--1. Diogenes Lairtius, 5.1-35 ; 2. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Epistola ad Ammaeum de Demosthene et Aristotele;
3. Pseudo-Ammonius, 24 vita Aristotelis,
by a later compiler, according to others by Philoponus, edited by J. Nunnesius, together with an old Latin translation of the same, with some additions (Vetus translatio); 4.
The short Greek biography, by an anonymous writer, published by Menage (Anonymus Menagii in Diog Laert. 5.35, vol. ii. p. 201, ed. Meibom.), with which the article in Suidas coincides; 5. Hesychius Milesius.
These ancient biographies will be found all together in the first vol. of Buhle's edition of Aristotle. Among the more modern biographies, we need mention only the works of Guarinus of Verona (A. D. 1460, Vita Aristotelis,
appended to his translation of Plutarch's biographies); Patritius (Discussions Peripateticae,
Basil. 1581), a passionate opponent of Aristotle and his philosophy; Nunnesius (in his commentary on Ammonius, Vita Aristotelis
, Lugd. 1621); Andreas Schott (Vitae comparatae Aristotelis et Demosthenis,
Augustae Vindelic. 1603, 4to); Buhle, in the first part of his edition of Aristotle, and in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopädie,
v. p. 273, &c.; Blakesley's Life of Aristotle;
and the work entitled Aristotelia
by the writer of this article. 25