Definition and essence in Metaphysics vii 4

Ancient Philosophy 34 (1):75-100 (2014)
Lucas Angioni
University of Campinas
This paper discusses Aristotle’s notions of essence and definition as they are developed in Metaphysics Z-4, a chapter in which Aristotle seems to hesitate or even to contradict himself about criteria for determining what an essence is. This paper offers a full discussion of Aristotle’s argument and try to show that there is no inconsistency nor hesitation in Aristotle’s approach. Aristotle begins with a more general account of essence and definitions, which is based on merely logical-epistemic requirements, but at 1030a2-17 he introduces a stricter account, which rests on additional criteria concerned with explanatory power of essences and definitions. The two accounts are far from being incompatible with each other. The hierarchy of essences and definitions which Aristotle presents at 1030a17-32 shows that both accounts can be squared with each other. Aristotle’s strategy can be satisfactorily understood from his broader concerns at Metaphysics Z as a whole.
Keywords Definition  Explanation  Essence  Substance  Metaphysics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/ancientphil20143416
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Aristotle on Meaning and Essence.David Charles - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Substance and Predication in Aristotle.A. Lewis Frank - 1991 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Paul of Venice on the Definition of Accidents.Luca Gili - 2016 - Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica 4:879-890.
Aristotle's Metaphysics.S. Marc Cohen - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Αριστοτέλης και Χριστιανική Φιλοσοφία.Michael Mantzanas - 2017 - In Apostolos V. Nikolaidis (ed.), Proceedings of the International Conference "Aristotle and Christianity". Athens, Greece: School of Theology of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. pp. 219-232.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Individual and Essence in Aristotle's Metaphysics.S. Marc Cohen - 1978 - Paideia (Special Aristotle Edition):75-85.
Substance and Essence in Aristotle. [REVIEW]S. Marc Cohen - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101:838-40.
Aristotle Metaphysics. Aristotle - 1994 - Oxford University Press.
Metaphysics Books Z and H. Aristotle - 1994 - Clarendon Press.
Metaphysics as the First Philosophy.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2013 - In Edward Feser (ed.), Aristotle on Method and Metaphysics. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 49-67.
Essence, Necessity, and Explanation.Kathrin Koslicki - 2012 - In Tuomas E. Tahko (ed.), Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics. Cambridge University Press. pp. 187--206.
Aquinas' Transcendences to Aristotle in the Doctrine of Essence.Dezhi Duan - 2007 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 2 (4):572-582.
Pale, Smooth, and Musical You.H. M. Zellner - 2002 - Journal of Philosophical Research 27:527-535.
Substance and Predication in Aristotle.A. Lewis Frank - 1991 - Cambridge University Press.
Essence and Modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8:1-16.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
618 ( #3,526 of 2,268,339 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
52 ( #6,930 of 2,268,339 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature