First philosophy and the kinds of substance

Journal of the History of Philosophy 36 (1):1-28 (1998)
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First Philosophy and the Kinds of Substance JOSEPH G. DEFILIPPO ON A CERTAIN INTERPRETATION Aristotle's Metaphysics contains two incompati- ble conceptions of metaphysics or, as he calls it, first philosophy. At two points in the treatise he identifies first philosophy with theology . Along with this identification comes a certain view about the nature and number of theoretical sciences. We are told in E. 1 that there are three: natural philosophy, mathematics, and theology. Natural philosophy deals with nonseparate,' mutable substance, whereas the objects of mathematics are nonseparate but immutable. It is left to theology to study substance that is both separate and immutable . Hence it is prior to the other two theoretical sciences and more worthy of honor. But for Aristotle first philosophy is not merely a compartmentalized science concerned with a single genus or kind of substance; he means it to be a universal science of "being qua being." Indeed, it is the status of first philosophy as the primary theoretical science that is supposed to provide for its universal scope. As he says in E. 1, it is universal "in this way, because it is first" 0o26a3o-31). Large and well- known difficulties loom in the way of this tantalizing idea. First, it is not clear how theology's position of primacy is the cause of its universal scope; if anything, divine substance seems to be a special item within a more..



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First Philosophy in Metaphysics Λ‎.Lindsay Judson - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 54.

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