Unity in Aristotle's "Metaphysics"

Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada) (1980)

Edward Halper
University of Georgia
Since unity is always explained through something else, it is not primary; it is not the highest cause. Further, secondary unities are not understood through a primary "one"; rather, all ones are understood through being, actuality, etc. Hence, unlike being, unity is not a . In order that "one" function as it does in the Metaphysics it cannot be a . In the second part of the fourth chapter, I discuss Aristotle's definition of "one", and I argue that "one" is analogically defined. ;The final three chapters consist of a philosophical experiment. By emphasizing Aristotle's remarks about "one" and by tracing other issues to them, I construe Books , Z-H and I as treatments of unit and one-many problems. ;This analysis shows the subordinate status of "one" rather than its primacy. In each section a similar picture emerges. Aristotle's initial problematic involves unity, but the issue is ultimately resolved with the introduction of a peculiarly Aristotelian doctrine that does not involve unity. For example, the problem of how can be one is explained by identifying form as actuality. The motivation for this doctrine is precisely that it solves the problem. This analysis shows that Aristotle is using problems involving unity in order to argue for his own doctrines, and that unity is subsidiary to actuality, being, and because it is always explained through them. ;This thesis explains the role of unity in Aristotle's Metaphysics. In particular, it addresses the question of why metaphysics is not a treatment of "one". According to Aristotle, metaphysics is the science of highest causes, and the Platonists and some Presocratics regard "one" as the highest cause. Aristotle includes "one" among the subjects treated by metaphysics, but why does he instead regard being and as the proper subject matter of this science? ;The first chapter sets the stage for the analysis. It shows the importance of unity in Aristotle's criticism of his predecessors and in his , and the importance it should have had for his commentators. In addition, this chapter considers the various ways that things are said to be one
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,593
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Aristotle on Substance and Unity.Hye-Kyung Kim - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 10:79-91.
One and Many in Aristotle's Metaphysics : Books Alpha-Delta. [REVIEW]Anthony K. Jensen - 2010 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 48 (2):pp. 237-238.
Metaphysics H 6 and the Problem of Unity.Hye-Kyung Kim - 2008 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (1):25-42.
Aristotle Metaphysics. Aristotle - 1979 - Oxford University Press.
The Priority of Actuality in Aristotle.Charlotte Witt - 1994 - In T. Scaltsas, David Charles & Mary Louise Gill (eds.), Unity, Identity, and Explanation in Aristotle's Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 215--28.
Aspekte der Substanz bei Aristoteles.Gianluigi Segalerba - 2008 - In Gianluigi Segalerba, Antonella Lang-Balestra & Holger Gutschmidt (eds.), Substantia - Sic et Non. Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Ontos. pp. 35-84.


Added to PP index

Total views

Recent downloads (6 months)

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes