Aristotle and Metaphysics

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Aristotle (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher and a student of Plato, considered first scientist in Western world. He was a philosopher of common sense. He tried to define essences and his aim is to explicate the world as well as cosmos surrounding us. According to Introduction of Metaphysics, Aristotle's world-view is teleological that there is kind of purpose in cosmos: " What is important is that the world seems to have a purpose, a meaning and even a design. It is an ordered structure, a cosmos, and it may even manifest the invention of a Creator." (p. xvii)

The Metaphysics is Aristotle's significant philosophical work, that contains the theory of being. The word "metaphysics" is defined due to the fact that this work was positioned right after "physics". On the other hand, it is accepted because the purpose of metaphysics, which is to reach beyond nature (physis), and to discover the ultimate essence and the reason for being. Moreover, one of the central themes of Aristotle's philosophy and metaphysics is theory of Potentiality and Actuality, which is considered in regard to being and change in Book Theta.

First of all, Aristotle defines substance (ousia) as ultimate and an underlying reality, or as the fundemental element of all existing things. Substance is the reality of individual things, and what is not substance is properties, also accident (not neccessary). The substance of each individual thing, the particular nature of that thing, is that which does not belong to other individual things, whereas the universal principle or element of an individual thing is that which belongs to many individual things.

Furthermore, according to Aristotle substance (ousia) exists in a form of category or hierarchy. In the Categories, he claims that there are ten kinds of things, and most important of which are primary substance and secondary substance.

1.Primary substances are concrete, existing (absolutely) individual things that are prior to all the categories because an ousia can exist by itself.

2.Secondary substances are the essential properties and universals which cannot exist in its own right.

In addition, Aristotle's metaphysics is known as hylemorphism that everything is a combination of matter (the particular subject which underlies) and form (the matter acquires when a primary substance comes into bring).

For Aristotle, substances are particular things, while universal principles are common to many things. The universal principles and causes of substances explains what responsible for being. There are four kinds of causes of things: Material cause, final cause, formal cause and efficient cause. 1.Material cause is the matter and subject of a thing.

2.Efficient cause is the source of motion or change in a thing, which starts the process. 3.Formal cause is the substance or essence (form) of a thing. 4.Final cause (telos) is the purpose for which a thing has being.

For example, a bronze statue. Its material cause is the bronze itself. Its efficient cause is the sculptor, forces the bronze into shape. The formal cause is the shape, form and idea of the completed statue. The final cause is beauty, the idea of the statue as it prompts the sculptor to act on the bronze.

Causes may be potential or actual, necessary or accidental. Things may be classified as prior to other things, in terms of their potentiality and actuality.

The theory of potentiality and actuality is one of the most crucial aspects of Aristotle's philosophy, in general, describes the change in the process and the existence (being) of a substance. According to Aristotle, a change must occur in something for its potentiality to become an actuality. Moreover, to understand the importance of potentiality and actuality to the concept of change, Aristotle's terminology should be considered. Firstly, dunamis is the Greek word for the...
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