From : Hegel’s (1770–1831) Lectures on the History of Philosophy-1822
University of Berlin
Here we leave Plato, and we do so with regret. But seeing that we pass to his disciple, Aristotle, we fear that it behoves us to enter even more into detail, since he was one of the richest and deepest of all the scientific geniuses that have as yet appeared – a man whose like no later age has ever yet produced. Because we still possess so large a number of his works, the extent of the material at hand is proportionately greater; unfortunately, however, I cannot give to Aristotle the amount of attention that he deserves. For we shall have to confine ourselves to a general view of his philosophy, and simply remark on one particular phase of it, viz. in how far Aristotle in his philosophy carried out what in the Platonic principle had been begun, both in reference to the profundity of the ideas there contained, and to their expansion; no one is more comprehensive and speculative than be, although his methods are not systematic.
As regards the general character of Aristotle’s writings, he may be said to have extended his attention to the whole circle of human conceptions, to have penetrated all regions of the actual universal, and to have brought under the subjection of the Notion both their riches and their diversitude.
For most of the philosophic sciences have to render thanks to him both for their characterization and first commencement. But although in this way Science throughout falls into a succession of intellectual determinations of determinate Notions, the Aristotelian philosophy still contains the profoundest speculative Notions. Aristotle proceeds in reference to the whole in the same way as in the individual case. But a general view of his philosophy does not give us the impression of its being in construction a self-systematized whole, of which the order and connection pertain likewise to the Notion; for the parts are empirically selected and placed together in such a way that each part is independently recognized as a determinate conception, without being taken into the connecting movement of the science. We need not try to demonstrate necessity from the standpoint of the philosophy of that time. But although Aristotle’s system does not appear to be developed in its parts from the Notion, and its parts are merely ranged side by side, they still form a totality of truly speculative philosophy.
One reason for treating of Aristotle in detail rests in the fact that no philosopher has had so much wrong done him by the thoughtless traditions which have been received respecting his philosophy, and which are still the order of the day, although for centuries he was the instructor of all philosophers. For to him views are ascribed diametrically opposite to his philosophy. And while Plato is much read, the treasures contained in Aristotle have for centuries, and until quite modern times, been as good as unknown, and the falsest prejudices reign respecting him. Almost no one knows his speculative and logical works; in modern times more justice has been done to his writings regarding nature, but not to his philosophic views. For instance, there is a quite generally held opinion that the Aristotelian and Platonic philosophies are directly opposed, the one being idealistic and the other realistic, and that, indeed, in the most trivial sense. For Plato is said to have made the ideal his principle, so that the inward idea creates from itself; according to Aristotle, on the contrary, we are told that the soul is made a tabula rasa, receiving all its determinations quite passively from the outer world; and his philosophy is thus mere empiricism – Locke’s philosophy at its worst. But we shall see how little this really is the case. In fact Aristotle excels Plato in speculative depth, for he was acquainted with the deepest kind of speculation – idealism – and in this upholds the most extreme empirical development. Quite false views respecting Aristotle even now exist in France. An example of how tradition blindly echoes opinions respecting him, without having observed from his works whether they are justified or not, is the fact that in the old Æsthetics the three unities of the drama – action, time and place – were held to be règles d’Aristote, la saine doctrine. But Aristotle speaks (Poet. c. 8 et 5) only of the unity of treatment, or very occasionally of the unity of time; of the third unity, that of place, he says nothing.
As regards Aristotle’s life, he was born at Stagira, a Thracian town on the Strymonian Gulf, but a Greek colony. Thus, though a Thracian, he was by birth a Greek. This Greek colony fell, however, like the rest of the country, under the rule of Philip of Macedon. The year of Aristotle’s birth in the first year of the 99th Olympiad (384 B.C.), and if Plato was born in the third year of the 87th Olympiad (430 B.C.), Aristotle must have been forty-six years younger than he. His father Nicomachas was physician to the Macedonian king, Amyntas, the father of Philip. After the death of his parents, whom he lost early, he was brought up by a certain Proxenus, to whom he was ever grateful; and during all his life he held the memory of this friend in such high esteem, that he honoured it by erecting statues to him. He also requited Proxenus for the education given him, by later on bringing up his son Nicanor, adopting him as his own son and making him his heir. In the seventeenth year of his age Aristotle came to Athens, and remained there twenty years in company with Plato. He thus had the best possible opportunity of becoming thoroughly acquainted with Plato’s philosophy, and there. fore, if we are told that he did not understand it (Vol. I p. 167), this is shown, by the evident facts of the case, to be an arbitrary and quite unfounded assumption. As regards the relation of Plato to Aristotle, and particularly as regards the fact that Plato did not select Aristotle as his successor in the Academy, but chose Speusippus, a near relative, instead, a number of idle and contradictory anecdotes have come to us from Diogenes (V. 2). If the continuation of the Platonic school was designed to express the hope that the philosophy of Plato, as comprehended by himself, was to be there satisfactorily maintained, Plato could certainly not designate Aristotle as his successor, and Speusippus was the right man to be selected. However, Plato had nevertheless Aristotle as his successor, for Aristotle understood Philosophy in Plato’s sense, though his philosophy was deeper and more worked out, and thus he carried it further. Displeasure at being thus passed over is said to have been the cause of Aristotle’s leaving Athens after Plato’s death, and living for three years with Hermias, the Tyrant of Atarneus in Mysia, who had been a disciple of Plato along with Aristotle, and who had then struck up a close friendship with the latter. Hermias, an independent prince, was, together with other absolute Greek princes and some Republics, brought under the subjection of a Persian satrap in Asia Minor. Hermias was even sent as prisoner to Artaxerxes in Persia, and he at once caused him to be crucified. In order to avoid a similar fate, Aristotle fled with his wife Pythias, the daughter of Hermias, to Mitylene, and lived there for some time. He, however, erected a statue to Hermias in Delphi, with an inscription which has been preserved. From it we know that it was by cunning and treachery that he came under the power of the Persians. Aristotle also honoured his name in a beautiful hymn on Virtue, which has likewise come down to us.
From Mitylene he was (01. 109, 2; 343 B.C.) summoned by Philip of Macedon to undertake the education of Alexander, who was then fifteen years old. Philip had already invited him to do this in the well-known letter that he addressed to him just after Alexander’s birth: “Know that a son is born to me, but I thank the gods less that they have given him to me, than that they have caused him to be born in your time. For I hope that your care and your wisdom will make him worthy of me and of his future kingdom.” It certainly would appear to be a brilliant historic destiny to be the instructor of an Alexander, and Aristotle at this court enjoyed the favour and esteem of Philip and of Olympias in the highest degree. What became of Aristotle’s pupil is known to all, and the greatness of Alexander’s mind and deeds, as also his enduring friendship, are the best witnesses of the success, as also of the spirit of this up-bringing, if Aristotle required such testimony. Alexander’s education utterly refuted the common talk about the practical uselessness of speculative philosophy. Aristotle had in Alexander another and worthier pupil than Plato found in Dionysius. Plato’s great interest was his Republic, the ideal of a state; he enters into relation with a person through whom it might be carried out; the individual was thus to him a medium only, and in so far indifferent to him. With Aristotle, on the other hand, this purpose was not present, he merely had the simple individual before him; and his end was to bring up and to develop the individuality as such. Aristotle is known to be a profound, thorough, and abstract metaphysician, and it is evident that he meant seriously with Alexander. That Aristotle did not follow with Alexander the ordinary superficial method of educating princes, might be confidently expected from the earnestness of one who well knew what was truth and true culture. It is also evident from the circumstance that Alexander, while in the midst of his conquests in the heart of Asia, when he heard that Aristotle had made known his acroamatic doctrines in speculative (metaphysical) writings, wrote him a reproachful letter, in which he said that he should not have made known to the common people what the two had worked out together. To this Aristotle replied that, though published, they were really just as much unpublished as before.
This is not the place to estimate Alexander as an historic personage. What can be ascribed in Alexander’s education to Aristotle’s philosophic instruction is the fact that what was natural to him, the inherent greatness of his mental disposition, acquired inward freedom also, and became elevated into the perfect, self-conscious independence which we see in his aims and deeds. Alexander attained to that perfect certainty of himself which. the infinite boldness of thought alone gives, and to an independence of particular and limited projects, as also to their elevation into the entirely universal end of bringing about in the world a social life and intercourse of a mutual kind, through the foundation of states which were free from contingent individuality. Alexander thus carried out the plan which his father had already conceived, which was, at the head of the Greeks, to avenge Europe upon Asia, and to subject Asia to Greece; so that as it was in the beginning of Greek history that the Greeks were united, and that only for the Trojan war, this union likewise brought the Greek world proper to an end. Alexander thereby also avenged the faithlessness and cruelty perpetrated by the Persians on Aristotle’s friend Hermias. But Alexander further disseminated Greek culture over Asia, in order to elevate into a Greek world this wild medley of utter barbarism, bent solely on destruction, and torn by internal dissensions, these lands entirely sunk in indolence, negation, and spiritual degeneracy. And if it be said that he was merely a conqueror who was unable to establish an enduring kingdom, because his kingdom at his death once more fell to pieces, we must acknowledge that, from a superficial view of the case, this is true, as his family did not retain their rule; Greek rule was, however, maintained. Thus Alexander did not found an extensive kingdom for his family, but he founded a kingdom of the Greek nation over Asia; for Greek culture and science have since his time taken root there. The Greek kingdoms of Asia Minor, and particularly of Egypt, were for centuries the home of science; and their influence may have extended as far as to India and to China. We certainly do not know definitely whether the Indians may not have obtained what is best in their sciences in this way, but it is probable that at least the more exact portion of Indian astronomy came to them from Greece. For it was from the Syrian kingdom, stretching into Asia Minor as far as to a Greek kingdom in Bactria, that there was doubtless conveyed to the interior of India and China, by means of Greek colonies migrating thither, the meagre scientific knowledge which has lingered there like a tradition, though it has never flourished. For the Chinese, for example, are not skilful enough to make a calendar of their own, or to think for themselves. Yet they exhibited ancient instruments unsuited to any work done by them, and the immediate conjecture was that these had come from Bactria. The high idea that men had of the sciences of the Indians and of the Chinese hence is false.
According to Ritter (Erdkunde, Vol. II. p. 839, of the first edition), Alexander did not set out merely with a view of conquering, but with the idea that he was the Lord. I do not think that Aristotle placed this notion, which was connected with another Oriental conception, in the mind of Alexander. The other idea is that in the East the name of Alexander still flourishes as Ispander, and as Dul-k-arnein, i.e. the man with two horns, just as Jupiter Ammon is an ancient Eastern hero. The question would now be whether the Macedonian kings did not, through their descent from the ancient race of Indian heroes, claim to rule this land; by this the progress of Dionysius from Thrace to India could likewise be explained; whether the “knowledge of this was not the real and fundamental religious idea inspiring the young hero’s soul when, before his journey to Asia, he found on the lower Ister (Danube) Indian priestly states where the immortality of the soul was taught, and when, certainly not without the counsel of Aristotle, who, through Plato and Pythagoras, was initiated into Indian wisdom, he began the march into the East, and first of all visited the Oracle of Ammonium (now Siwah), and then destroyed the Persian kingdom and burnt Persepolis, the old enemy of Indian religion, in order to take revenge upon it for all the violence exercised through Darius on the Buddhists and their co-religionists.” This is au ingenious theory, formed from a thorough investigation of the connection which exists between Oriental and European ideas from the higher point of view in history. But, in the first place, this conjecture is contrary to the historical basis on which I take my stand.
Alexander’s expedition has quite another historic, military, and political character than this, and had not much to do with his going to India; it was, on the face of it, an ordinary conquest. In the second place, Aristotle’s metaphysic and philosophy is far from recognizing any such foolish and extravagant imaginations. The elevation of Alexander in the Oriental mind into an acknowledged hero and god, which followed later., is, in the third place, not matter for surprise; the Dalai-Lama is still thus honoured, and God and man are never so very far asunder. Greece likewise worked its way to the idea of a God becoming man, and that not as a remote and foreign image, but as a present God in a godless world: Demetrius Phalereus and others were thus Boon after honoured and worshipped in Athens as God. Was the infinite not also now transplanted into self-consciousness.?
Fourthly, the Buddhists did not interest Alexander, and in his Indian expedition they do not appear; the destruction of Persepolis is, however, sufficiently justified as a measure of Greek vengeance for the destruction by Xerxes of the temples in Greece, especially in Athens.
While Alexander accomplished this great work – for he was the greatest individual at the head of Greece, he ever kept science and art in mind. Just as in modern times we have once more met with warriors who thought of science and of art in their campaigns, we also find that Alexander made an arrangement whereby whatever was discovered in the way of animals and plants in Asia should be sent to Aristotle, or else drawings and descriptions of the same. This consideration on Alexander’s part afforded to Aristotle a most favourable opportunity of collecting treasures for his study of nature. Pliny (Histor. natur. VIII., 17 ed. Bip.) relates that Alexander directed about a thousand men, who lived by hunting, fishing and fowling, the overseers of the zoological gardens, aviaries, and tanks of the Persian kingdom, to supply Aristotle with what was remarkable from every place. In this way Alexander’s campaign in Asia had the further effect of enabling Aristotle to found the science of natural history, and to be the author, according to Pliny, of a natural history in fifty parts.
After Alexander commenced his journey to Asia, Aristotle returned to Athens, and made his appearance as a public teacher in the Lyceum, a pleasure-ground which Pericles had made for the exercising of recruits; it consisted of a temple dedicated to Apollo (Lukeioς), and shady walks (peripatoi), which were enlivened by trees, fountains and colonnades. It was from these walks that his school received the name of Peripatetics, and not from any walking about on the part of Aristotle – because, it is said, he delivered his discourses usually while walking. He lived and taught in Athens for thirteen years. But after the death of Alexander there broke out a tempest which had, as it appeared, been long held back through fear of Alexander; Aristotle was accused of impiety. The facts are differently stated: amongst other things it is said that his hymn to Hermias and the inscription on the statue dedicated to him were laid to his charge. When he saw the storm gathering, he escaped to Chalcis in Euboea, the present Negropont, in order, as he himself said, that the Athenians should not have an opportunity of once more sinning against Philosophy. There he died, in the next year, in the sixty-third year of his age, Ol. 114, 3 (322 B.C.).
We derive Aristotle’s philosophy from his writings; but when we consider their history and nature, so far as externals are concerned, the difficulty of deriving a knowledge of his philosophy from them seems much increased. I cannot certainly enter into details regarding these last. Diogenes Laertius (V. 21-27) mentions a very large number of them, but by their titles we do not always quite know which of those now in our possession are indicated, since the titles are entirely different. Diogenes gives the number of lines as four hundred and forty-five thousand, two hundred and seventy, and, if we count about ten thousand lines in a printer’s alphabet, this gives us forty-four alphabets. What we now have might perhaps amount to about ten alphabets, so that we have only about the fourth part left to us. The history of the Aristotelian manuscripts has been stated to be such that it would really seem impossible, or almost hopeless, that any one of his writings should have been preserved to us in its original condition, and not corrupted. Doubts regarding their genuine character could not in such circumstances fail to exist; and we can only wonder at seeing them come down to us even in the condition in which they are. For, as we have said, Aristotle made them known but little during his lifetime, and he left his writings to Theophrastus, his successor, with the rest of his immense library. This, indeed, is the first considerable library, collected as it was by means of personal wealth along with Alexander’s assistance, and hence it also reveals to us Aristotle’s learning. Later on, it came partially, or in some cases in duplicate, to Alexandria, and formed the basis of the Ptolemaic library, which, on the taking of Alexandria by Julius Caesar, became a prey to fire. But of the manuscripts of Aristotle himself it is said that Theophrastus left them by will to a certain Neleus, from whom they came into the hands of ignorant men, who either kept them without care or estimation of their value, or else the heirs of Neleus, in order to save them from the Kings of Pergamus, who were very anxious to collect a library, hid them in a cellar, where they lay forgotten for a hundred and thirty years, and thus got into bad condition. Finally, the descendants of Theophrastus found them again after long search, and sold them to Apellicon of Teos, who restored what had been destroyed by worms and mould, but who did not possess the learning or the capacity so to do. Hence others went over them, filled up the blanks as they thought best, replaced what was damaged, and thus they were sufficiently altered. But still it was not enough. Just after Apellicon’s death, the Roman Sulla conquered Athens, and amongst the spoil carried off to Rome were the works of Aristotle. The Romans, who had just begun to become acquainted with Greek science and art, but who did not yet appreciate Greek philosophy, did not know how to profit from this spoil. A Greek, named Tyrannion, later on obtained permission to make use of and publish the manuscripts of Aristotle, and he prepared an edition of them, which, however., also bears the reproach of being inaccurate, for here they had the fate of being given by the dealers into the hands of ignorant copyists, who introduced a number of additional corruptions.
This is the way in which the Aristotelian philosophy has come to us. Aristotle certainly made known much to his contemporaries, that is to say, the writings in the Alexandrian library, but even those works do not seem to have been widely known. In fact, many of them are most corrupt, imperfect, and, as, for example, the Poetics, incomplete. Several of them, such as the Metaphysical treatises, seem to be patched up from different writings, so that the higher criticism can give rein to all its ingenuity, and, according to one clever critic, the matter may with much show of probability be decided in one particular way, while another ingenious person has a different explanation to oppose to this.’ So much remains certain, that the writings of Aristotle are corrupt, and often both in their details and in the main, not consistent; and we often find whole paragraphs almost verbally repeated. Since the evil is so old, no real cure can certainly be looked for; however, the matter is not so bad as would appear from this description. There are many and important works which may be considered to be entire and uninjured, and though there are others corrupt here and there, or not well arranged, yet, as far as the essentials are concerned, no such great harm has been done as might appear. What we possess therefore places us in a sufficiently good position to form a definite idea of the Aristotelian philosophy, both as a whole, and in many of its details.
But there is still an historic distinction to be noted. For there is an old tradition that Aristotle’s teaching was of a twofold nature, and that his writings were of two different kinds, viz. esoteric or acroamatic and exoteric – a distinction which was also made by the Pythagoreans (Vol. 1. p. 202). The esoteric teaching was given within the Lyceum in the morning, the exoteric in the evening; the latter related to practice in the art of rhetoric and in disputation, as also to civic business, but the other to the inward and more profound philosophy, to the contemplation of nature and to dialectic proper. This circumstance is of no importance; we see by ourselves which of his works are really speculative and philosophic, and which are rather empirical in character: but they are not to be regarded as antagonistic in their content, and as if Aristotle intended some for the people and others for his more intimate disciples.
a. We have first to remark that the name Aristotelian philosophy is most ambiguous, because what is called Aristotelian philosophy has at different times taken very different forms. It first of all signifies Aristotelian philosophy proper. As regards the other forms of the Aristotelian philosophy, however, it had, in the second place, at the time of Cicero, and specially under the name of Peripatetic philosophy, more of the form of a popular philosophy, in which attention was principally directed to natural history and to morals (Vol. I. p. 479). This period does not appear to have taken any interest in working out and bringing to consciousness the deep and properly speaking speculative side of Aristotelian philosophy, and indeed with Cicero there is no notion of it present. A third form of this philosophy is the highly speculative form of the Alexandrine philosophy, which is also called the Neo-Pythagorean or Neo-Platonic philosophy, but which may just as well be called Neo-Aristotelian – the form as it is regarded and worked up by the Alexandrines, as being identical with the Platonic. An important signification of the expression, in the fourth place, is that which it had in the middle ages where, through insufficient knowledge, the scholastic philosophy was designated Aristotelian. The Scholastics occupied themselves much with it, but the form that the philosophy of Aristotle took with them cannot be held by us to be the true form. All their achievements, and the whole extent of the metaphysics of the understanding and formal logic which we discover in them, do not belong to Aristotle at all. Scholasticism is derived only from traditions of the Aristotelian doctrines. And it was not until the writings of Aristotle became better known in the West, that a fifth Aristotelian philosophy was formed, which was in part opposed to the Scholastic. It arose on the decline of scholasticism and with the revival of the sciences. For it was only after the Reformation that men went back to the fountainhead, to Aristotle himself. The sixth signification which Aristotelian philosophy bears, is found in false modern ideas and conceptions, such those that we find in Tennemann, who is gifted with too little philosophic understanding to be able to grasp the Aristotelian philosophy (Vol. 1. p. 113). Indeed, the general opinion of Aristotelian philosophy now held is that it made what is called experience the principle of knowledge.
b. However false this point of view on the one hand is, the occasion for it may be found in the Aristotelian manner. Some particular passages to which in this reference great importance has been given, and which have been almost the only passages understood, are made use of to prove this idea. Hence we have now to speak of the character of the Aristotelian manner. Since in Aristotle, as we already said (p. 118), we need not seek a system of philosophy the particular parts of which have been deduced, but since he seems to take an external point of departure and to advance empirically, his manner is often that of ordinary ratiocination. But because in so doing Aristotle has a quality, altogether his own, of being throughout intensely speculative in his manner, it is further signified that in the first place he has comprehended the phenomenal as a thinking observer. He has the world of appearance before himself complete and in entirety, and sets nothing aside, however common it may appear. All sides of knowledge have entered into his mind, all have interest for him, and he has thoroughly dealt with all. In the empirical details of a phenomenon abstraction may easily be lost sight of, and its application may be difficult: our progress may be one-sided, and we may not be able to reach the root of the matter at all. But Aristotle, because he looks at all sides of the universe, takes up all those units as a speculative philosopher, and so works upon them that the profoundest speculative Notion proceeds therefrom. We saw, moreover, thought first proceeding from the sensuous, and, in Sophistry, still exercising itself immediately in the phenomenal. In perception, in ordinary conception, the categories appear: the absolute essence, the speculative view of these elements, is always expressed in expressing perceptions. This pure essence in perception Aristotle takes up. When, in the second place, he begins conversely with the universal or the simple, and passes to its determination, this looks as if he were enumerating the number of significations in which it appears; and, after dealing with them all., he again passes all their forms in review, even the quite ordinary and sensuous. He thus speaks of the many significations that we find, for example, in the words ousia, arch, aitia, amou, &c. It is in some measure wearisome to follow him in this mere enumeration, which proceeds without any necessity being present, and in which the significations, of which a list is given, manifest themselves as comprehended only in their essence, or in that which is common to all, and not in their determinations; and thus the comprehension is only external. But, on the one hand, this mode presents a complete series of the moments, and on the other, it arouses personal investigation for the discovery of necessity. In the third place, Aristotle takes up the different thoughts which earlier philosophers have had, contradicts them – often empirically – justifies them, reasoning in all sorts of ways, and then attains to the truly speculative point of view. And finally, in the fourth place, Aristotle passes on thoughtfully to consider the object itself of which he treats, e.g. the soul, feeling, recollection, thought, motion, time, place, warmth, cold, &c. Because he takes all the moments that are contained within the conception to be, so to speak, united, he does not omit determinations; he does not hold now to one determination and then to another, but takes them as all in one; while reflection of the understanding, which has identity as the rule by which it goes, can only preserve harmony with this by always, while in one determination, forgetting and withholding the other. But Aristotle has the patience to go through all conceptions and questions, and from the investigation of the individual determinations, we have the fixed, and once more restored determination of every object. Aristotle thus forms the Notion, and is in the highest degree really philosophic, while he appears to be only empiric. For Aristotle’s empiricism is a totality because he always leads it back again immediately to speculation; he may thus be said to be a perfect empiricist, yet at the same time a thinking one. If, for example, we take away from space all its empirical determinations, the result will be in the highest degree speculative, for the empirical, comprehended in its synthesis, is the speculative Notion.
In this gathering up of determinations into one Notion, Aristotle is great and masterly, as he also is in regard to the simplicity of his method of progression, and in the giving of his decisions in few words. This is a method of treating of Philosophy which has great efficacy, and which in our time has likewise been applied, e.g. by the French. It deserves to come into larger use, for it is a good thing to lead the determinations of the ordinary conception from an object to thought, and then to unite them in a unity, in the Notion. But undoubtedly this method in one respect appears to be empirical, and that, indeed, in the acceptation of objects as we know them in our consciousness; for if no necessity is present, this still more appears merely to pertain to manner externally regarded. And yet it cannot be denied that with Aristotle the object was not to bring everything to a unity, or to reduce determinations to a unity of opposites, but, on the contrary, to retain each in its determination and thus to follow it up. That may, on the one hand, be a superficial method, e.g. when everything is brought to an empty determinateness, such as those of irritability and sensibility, sthenic and asthenic, but, on the other, it is likewise necessary to grasp reality in simple determinateness, though without making the latter in this superficial way the starting point. Aristotle, on the other hand, simply forsakes determination in another sphere where it no longer has this form; but he shows what it is like here, or what change has taken place within it, and thus it comes to pass that he often treats one determination after the other without showing their connection. However, in his genuine speculation Aristotle is as profound as Plato, and at the same time more developed and explicit, for with him the opposites receive a higher determination. Certainly we miss in him the beauty of Plato’s form, the melodious speech, or, as we might almost call it, chatting – the conversational. tone adopted, which is as lively as it is cultured and human. But where in Plato we find, as we do in his Timaeus, the speculative Idea definitely expressed in the thesis form, we see in it a lack both of comprehension and purity; the pure element escapes it, while Aristotle’s form of expression is marked both by purity and intelligibility. We learn to know the object in its determination and its determinate Notion; but Aristotle presses further into the speculative nature of the object, though in such a way that the latter remains in its concrete determination, and Aristotle seldom leads it back to abstract thought-determinations. The study of Aristotle is hence inexhaustible, but to give an account of him is difficult, because his teaching must be reduced to universal principles. Thus in order to set forth Aristotelian philosophy, the particular content of each thing would have to be specified. But if we would be serious with Philosophy, nothing would be more desirable than to lecture upon Aristotle, for he is of all the ancients the most deserving of study.
c. What ought to come next is the determination of the Aristotelian Idea, and here we have to say, in quite a general way, that Aristotle commences with Philosophy generally, and says, in the first place, regarding the value of Philosophy (in the second chapter of the first book of the Metaphysics), that the object of Philosophy is what is most knowable, viz. the first and original causes, that is, the rational. For through these and from these all else is known, but principles do not become known through the facts which form their ground-work (upokeimena). In this we already have the opposite to the ordinary point of view. Aristotle’ has further declared the chief subject of investigation, or the most essential knowledge (episthmh arcikwtath) to be the knowledge of end; but this is the good in each thing and, generally speaking, the best in the whole of nature. This also holds good with Plato and Socrates; yet the end is the true, the concrete, as against the abstract Platonic Idea. Aristotle then says of the value of Philosophy, “Men have begun to philosophize through wonder,” for in it the knowledge of something higher is at least anticipated. “Thus since man, to escape from ignorance, began to philosophize, it is clear that for the sake of knowledge he followed after knowledge, and not for any utility which it might possess for him. This is also made evident by the whole course of its external history. For it was after men had done with all their absolute requirements, and with what concerns their comfort, that they first began to seek this philosophic knowledge. We hence seek it not for the sake of any outside utility that it may have. And thus as we say that a free man is he who exists on his own account and not for another, Philosophy is the only science that is free, because it alone exists for itself – it is knowledge on account of knowledge. Therefore in justice it will not be held to be a human possession,” in the sense that, as we said above, (p. 11) it is not in the possession of a man. “For in many ways the nature of man is dependent, so that, according to Simonides, God alone possesses the prerogative (geraς), and yet it is unworthy on man’s part not to seek after the science that is in conformity with his own condition (thn kaq auton episthmhn). But if the poets were right, and envy characterized divinity, all who would aim higher must be unfortunate;” Nemesis punishes whatever raises itself above the common-place, and makes everything again equal. “But the divine cannot be jealous,” i.e. cannot refuse to impart that which it is, as if this knowledge should not come to man (supra, pp. 72, 73) “and – according to the proverb – the poets utter many falsehoods. Nor ought we to consider that any science is more entitled to honour than the one we now investigate, for that which is most divine, is also most worthy of honour.” That is to say, what has and imparts what is best is honoured: the gods are thus to be honoured because they have this knowledge. “God is held to be the cause and principle of everything, and therefore God has this science alone, or for the most part.” But for this reason it is not unworthy of man to endeavour to seek the highest good which is in conformity with him, this knowledge pertaining to God. “All other sciences are, however, more requisite than Philosophy, but none more excellent.”
It is difficult to give a more detailed account of the Aristotelian philosophy, the universal Idea with the more important elements, for Aristotle is much more difficult to comprehend than Plato. In the latter there are myths, and we can pass over the dialectic and yet say that we have read Plato; but with Aristotle we enter at once upon what is speculative. Aristotle always seems to have philosophized only respecting the individual and particular, and not to have risen from it to the thought of the absolute and universal, to the thought of God; he always goes from the individual to the individual, His task concerns what is, and is just as clearly divided off as a professor has his work divided into a half year’s course; and though in this course he examines the whole of the world of conception, he yet appears only to have recognized the truth in the particular, or only a succession of particular truths. This has nothing dazzling about it, for he does not appear to have risen to the Idea (as Plato speaks of the nobility of Idea), nor to have led back to it the individual. But if Aristotle on the one hand did not logically abstract the universal Idea, (for then his so-called logic, which is something very different, would have had as its principle the recognition of one Notion in all) on the other hand there appears in Aristotle the one Absolute, the idea of God, as itself a particular, in its place beside the others, although it is all Truth. It is as if we said, “there are plants, animals, men, and also God, the most excellent of all.”
From the whole list of conceptions which Aristotle enumerates, we shall now select some for further examination, and I will first speak of his metaphysics and its determinations. Then I will deal with the particular sciences which have been treated by Aristotle, beginning by giving the fundamental conception of nature as it is constituted with Aristotle; in the third place I will say something of mind, of the soul and its conditions, and finally the logical books of Aristotle will follow.
1- The Metaphysics.
Aristotle’s speculative Idea is chiefly to be gathered from his Metaphysics, especially from the last chapters of the twelfth book (A) which deal with the divine Thought. But this treatise has the peculiar drawback noticed above (p. 128) of being a compilation, several treatises having been combined into one. Aristotle and the ancients did not know this work by the name of the Metaphysics; it was by them called prwth filosofia, The main portion of this treatise has a certain appearance of unity given to it by the connection of the argument, but it cannot be said that the style is orderly and lucid. This pure philosophy Aristotle very clearly distinguishes (Metaph. IV. 1) from the other sciences as “the science of that which is, in so far as it is, and of what ‘belongs to it implicitly and explicitly.” The main object which Aristotle has in view (Metaph. VII. 1) is the definition of what this substance (ousia) really is. In this ontology or, as we call it, logic, he investigates and minutely distinguishes four principles (Metaph. I. 3): first, determination or quality as such, the wherefore of anything, essence or form; secondly, the matter; thirdly, the principle of motion; and fourthly, the principle of final cause, or of the good. In the later part of the Metaphysics Aristotle returns repeatedly to the determination of the Ideas, but here also a want of connection of thought appears, even though all is subsequently united into an entirely speculative Notion.
To proceed, there are two leading forms, which Aristotle characterizes as that of potentiality (dunamiς) and that of actuality (energea); the latter is still more closely characterized as entelechy (enteleceia) or free activity, which has the end (to teloς) in itself, and is the realization of this end. These are determinations which occur repeatedly in Aristotle, especially in the ninth book of the Metaphysics, and which we must be familiar with, if we would understand him. The expression dunamiς is with Aristotle the beginning, the implicit, the objective; also the abstract universal in general, the Idea, the matter, which can take oil all forms, without being itself the form-giving principle. But with an empty abstraction such as the thing-in-itself Aristotle has nothing to do. It is first in energy or, more concretely, in subjectivity, that he finds the actual form, the self-relating negativity. When, on the other hand, we speak of Being, activity is not yet posited: Being is only implicit, only potentiality, without infinite form. To Aristotle the main fact about Substance is that it is not matter merely (Metaph. VII. 3); although in ordinary life this is what is generally taken to be the substantial. All that is contains matter, it is true, all change demands a substratum (upokeimenon) to be affected by it; but because matter itself is only potentiality, and not actuality – which belongs to form – matter cannot truly exist without the activity of form (Metaph. VIII. 1, 2). With Aristotle dunamiς does not therefore mean force (for force is really an imperfect aspect of form), but rather capacity which is not even undetermined possibility; energeia is, on the other hand, pare, spontaneous activity. These definitions were of importance throughout all the middle ages. Thus, according to Aristotle, the essentially absolute substance has potentiality and actuality, form and matter, not separated from one another; for the true objective has most certainly also activity in itself, just as the true subjective has also potentiality.
From this definition we now see clearly the sort of opposition in which the Idea of Aristotle stands to that of Plato, for although the Idea of Plato is in itself essentially concrete and determined, Aristotle goes further. In so far, namely, as the Idea is determined in itself, the relation of the moments in it can be more closely specified, and this relation of the moments to each other is to be conceived of as nothing other than activity. It is easy for us to have a consciousness of what is deficient in the universal, that is, of that which is implicit only. The universal, in that it is the universal, has as yet no reality, for because implicitude is inert, the activity of realization is not yet posited therein. Reason, laws, etc., are in this way abstract, but the rational, as realizing itself, we recognize to be necessary, and therefore we take such universal laws but little into account. Now the standpoint of Plato is in the universal; what he does is to express Being rather as the objective, the Good, the end, the universal. To this, however, the principle of living subjectivity, as the moment of reality, seems to be lacking, or it appears at least to be put in the background. This negative principle seems indeed not to be directly expressed in Plato, but it is essentially contained in his definition of the Absolute as the unity of opposites; for this unity is essentially a negative unity of those opposites, which abrogates their being-another, their opposition, and leads them back into itself. But with Aristotle this negativity, this active efficacy, is expressly characterized as energy; in that it breaks up itself – this independence – abrogating unity, and positing separation; for, as Aristotle says (Metaph. VII. 13), “actuality separates.” The Platonic Idea, on the other hand, is rather that abrogation of opposites, where one of the opposites is itself unity. While, therefore, with Plato the main consideration is the affirmative principle, the Idea as only abstractly identical with itself, in Aristotle there is added and made conspicuous the moment of negativity, not as change, nor yet as nullity, but as difference or determination. The principle of individualization, not in the sense of a casual and merely particular subjectivity, but in that of pure subjectivity, is peculiar to Aristotle. Aristotle thus also makes the Good, as the universal end, the substantial foundation, and maintains this position against Heraclitus and the Eleatics. The Becoming of Heraclitus is a true and real determination, but change yet lacks the determination of identity with itself, the constancy of the universal. The stream is ever changing, yet it is nevertheless ever the same, and is really a universal existence. From this it is at once evident that Aristotle (Metaph. IV. 3-6) is controverting the opinions of Heraclitus and others when he says that Being and non-being are not the same (Vol. I. p. 282), and in connection with this lays down the celebrated maxim of contradiction, that a man is not at the same time a ship. This shows at once that Aristotle does not understand by this pure Being and non-being, this abstraction which is really only the transition of the one into the other; but by that which is, he understands Substance, the Idea, Reason, viewed likewise as an impelling end. As he maintains the universal against the principle of mere change, he puts forward activity in opposition to the numbers of the Pythagoreans, and to the Platonic Ideas. However frequently and fully Aristotle controverts both of these, all his objections turn on the remark already quoted (Vol. 1. p. 213) that activity is not to be found in these principles, and that to say that real things participate in Ideas is empty talk, and a poetic metaphor. He says also that Ideas, as abstract universal determinations, are only as far as numbers go equal to things? but are not on that account to be pointed out as their causes. Moreover, he maintains that there are contradictions involved in taking independent species, since in Socrates, for instance, there are several ideas included: man, biped, animal (Metaph. 1. 7 and 9). Activity with Aristotle is undoubtedly also change, but change that is within the universal, and that remains self-identical; consequently a determination which is self-determination, and therefore the self-realizing universal end: in mere .alteration, on the contrary, there is not yet involved the preservation of identity in change. This is the chief point which Aristotle deals with.
Aristotle distinguishes various moments in substance, in so far as the moments of activity and potentiality do not appear as one, but still in separation. The closer determination of this relation of energy to potentiality, of form to matter, and the movement of this opposition, gives the different modes of substance. Here Aristotle enumerates the substances; and to him they appear as a series of different kinds of substance, which he merely takes into consideration one by one, without bringing them together into a system. The three following are the chief among these:
a. The sensuous perceptible substance is that in which the matter is still distinguished from the efficient form. Hence this substance is finite; for the separation and externality of form and matter are precisely what constitute the nature of the finite. Sensuous substance, says Aristotle (Metaph. XII. 2), involves change, but in such a way that it passes over into the opposite; the opposites disappear in one another, and the third beyond these opposites, that which endures, the permanent in this change, is matter. Now the leading categories of change which Aristotle names are the four differences, in regard to the What (kata to ti), or in regard to quality (poion), or in regard to quantity (poson), or in regard to place where (pou). The first change is the origination and decay of simple determinate Being (kata tode); the second change is that of the further qualities (kata to paqoς); the third, increase and diminution; the fourth, motion. Matter is the dead substance on which take place the changes which matter passes through. “The change itself is from potential into actual existence; possible whiteness transforms itself into actual whiteness. Thus things do not arise casually out of nothing, but all arises out of what exists, though it exists only in potentiality, not in actuality.” The possible is thus really a general implicit existence, which brings about these determinations, without producing one out of the other. Matter is thus simple potentiality, which, however, is placed in opposition to itself, so that a thing in its actuality only becomes that which its matter was also in potentiality. There are thus three moments posited: matter, as the general substratum of change, neutral in respect of what is different (ex ou); the opposed determinations of form, which are negative to each other as that which is to be abrogated and that which is to be posited (ti and eis ti); the first mover (uf ou), pure activity (Metaph. VII. 7; IX. 8; XII. 3). But activity is the unity of form and matter; how these two are in the other, Aristotle does not, however, further explain. Thus in sensuous substance there appears the diversity of the moments, though not as yet their return into themselves; but activity is the negative which ideally contains in itself the opposite, therefore that also which is about to be.
b. A higher kind of substance, according to Aristotle (Metaph. IX. 2; VII. 7; XII. 3), is that into which activity enters, which already contains that which is about to be. This is understanding, absolutely determined, whose content is the aim which it realizes through its activity, not merely changing as does the sensuous form. For the soul is essentially actuality, a general determination which posits itself; not only formal activity, whose content comes from somewhere else. But while the active posits its content in reality, this content yet remains the same; there is an activity present which is different from matter, although substance and activity are allied. Thus here we still have a matter which understanding demands as its hypothesis. The two extremes are matter as potentiality, and thought as efficiency: the former is the passive universal, and the latter the active universal; in sensuous substance the active is, on the contrary, still quite different from matter. In these two moments themselves change does not take place, for they are the implicit universal in opposed forms.
c. The highest point is, however, that in which potentiality, activity and actuality are united; the absolute substance which Aristotle (Metaph. XII. 6, 7; IX. 8), defines in general as being the absolute (aidion), the unmoved, which yet at the same time moves, and whose essence is pure activity, without having matter. For matter as such is passive and affected by change, consequently it is not simply one with the pure activity of this substance. Here as elsewhere we certainly see an instance of merely denying a predicate, without saying what its truth is; but matter is nothing else than that moment of unmoved Being. If in later times it has seemed something new to define absolute Being as pure activity, we see that this arises from ignorance as to the Aristotelian conception. But the Schoolmen rightly looked upon this as the definition of God, since they define God as actus purus; and higher idealism than this there is none. We may also express this as follows: God is the Substance which in its potentiality has reality also unseparated from it; therein potentiality is not distinguished from form, since it produces from itself the determinations of its content. In this Aristotle breaks away from Plato, and for this reason controverts number, the Idea, and the universal, because if this, as inert, is not defined as identical with activity, there is no movement. Plato’s inert Ideas and numbers thus bring nothing into reality; but far different is the case with the Absolute of Aristotle, which in its quiescence is at the same time absolute activity.
Aristotle further says on this subject (Metaph. XII. 6) “It may be that what has potentiality is not real; it is of no avail therefore to make substances eternal, as the idealists do, if they do not contain a principle which can effect change. And even this is insufficient, if it is not active., because in that case there is no change. Yea, even if it were active, but its substance only a potentiality, there would be in it no eternal movement, for it is possible that what is according to potentiality may not exist. We must therefore have a principle whose substance must be apprehended as activity.” Thus in mind energy is substance itself. “But here a doubt seems to spring up. For all that is active seems to be possible, but. all that is possible does not seem to energize, so that potentiality seems to be antecedent,” for it is the universal. “But if this were the case, no one of the entities would be in existence, for it is possible that a thing may possess a capacity of existence, though it has never yet existed. But energy is higher than potentiality. We must thus not assert, as theologians would have us do, that in the eternal ages there was first chaos or night” (matter), “I nor must we say with natural philosophers that everything existed simultaneously. For how could the First be changed, if nothing in reality were cause ? For matter does not move itself, it is the Master who moves it. Leucippus and Plato accordingly say that motion has always existed, but they give no reason for the assertion.” Pure activity is, according to Aristotle (Metaph. IX. 8), before potentiality, not in relation to time, but to essence. That is to say, time is a subordinate moment, far removed from the universal; for the absolute first Being is, as Aristotle says at the end of the sixth chapter of the twelfth book, “that which in like activity remains always identical with itself.” In the former assumption of a chaos and so on, an activity is posited which has to do with something else, not with itself, and has therefore a pre-supposition; but chaos is only bare possibility.
That which moves in itself, and therefore, as Aristotle continues (Metaph. XII. 7), “that which has circular motion;” is to be posited as the true Being, “and this is evident not merely from thinking reason, but also from the fact itself.” From the definition of absolute Being as imparting motion, as bringing about realization, there follows that it exists in objectivity in visible nature. As the self-identical which is visible, this absolute Being is “the eternal heavens.” The two modes of representing the Absolute are thus thinking reason and the eternal heavens. The heavens are moved, but they also cause movement. Since the spherical is thus both mover and moved, there is a centre-point which causes movement but remains unmoved, and which is itself at the same time eternal and a substance and energy. This great definition given by Aristotle of absolute Being as the circle of reason which returns into itself, is of the same tenor as modern definitions; the unmoved which causes movement is the Idea which remains self-identical, which, while it moves, remains in relation to itself. He explains this as follows: “Its motion is determined in the following manner. That moves which is desired and thought, whereas itself it is unmoved, and the original of both is the same.” That is the end whose content is the desire and thought; such an end is the Beautiful or the Good. “For the thing that is desired is that which appears beautiful” (or pleases): “whose first” (or end), “on which the will is set, is what is beautiful. But it is rather the case that we desire it because it appears beautiful, than that it appears beautiful because we desire it.” For if that were so, it would be simply posited by activity, but it is posited independently, as objective Being, through which our desire is first awakened. “But thought is the true principle in this, for thought is moved only by the object of thought. But the intelligible” (we scarcely believe our eyes) “is essentially the other co-element (sustoicia)” namely, that which is posited as objective, as absolutely existent thought, “and the substance of this other element is the first; but the first substance is simple pure activity. Such are the Beautiful and the Good, and the first is ever the absolutely best or the best possible. But the Notion shows that the final cause belongs to the unmoved. What is moved may also subsist in a different manner. Motion (fora) is the first change; the first motion, again, is circular motion, but this is due to the above cause.” Therefore, according to Aristotle, the Notion, principium cognoscendi, is also that which causes movement, principium essendi; he expresses it as God, and shows the relation of God to the individual consciousness. “The First Cause is necessary. But the term necessary has three meanings: first what is accomplished by violence, because it goes contrary to one’s inclination (para thn ormhn); secondly, that without which the Good does not subsist; thirdly, that which can exist in no other way than it does, but involves absolute existence. On such a principle of the unmoved the heavens depend and the whole of nature” – the visible that is eternal, and the visible that changes. This system is ever-enduring. “But to as,” as individuals, “there is granted, for a short time only, a sojourn therein of surpassing excellence. For the system continues ever the same, but for us that is impossible. Now this activity is in its very self enjoyment, and therefore vigilance, exercise of the senses, thinking in general, are most productive of enjoyment; and for the same reason hopes and memories bring pleasure. But thinking, in its pure essence, is a thinking of that which is absolutely the most excellent;” the thought is for itself absolute end. The difference and contradiction in activity and the abrogation of the same, Aristotle expresses thus: “But thought thinks itself by participation (metalhjin) in that which is thought, but thought becomes thought by contact and apprehension, so that thought and the object of thought are the same.” Thought, as being the unmoved which causes motion, has an object, which, however, becomes transformed into activity, because its content is itself something thought, i.e. a product of thought, and thus altogether identical with the activity of thinking. The object of thought is first produced in the activity of thinking, which in this way separates the thought as an object. Hence, in thinking, that which is moved and that which moves are the same; and as the substance of what is thought is thought, what is thought is the absolute cause which, itself unmoved, is identical with the thought which is moved by it; the separation and the relation are one and the same. The chief moment in Aristotle’s philosophy is accordingly this, that the energy of thinking and the object of thought are the same; “for thought is that which is receptive of objects of perception and the existent. When in possession of these it is in a condition of activity (energei de ecwn); and thus all this” operation by which it thinks itself, “is more divine than the divine possession which thinking reason supposes itself to have,” – the content of thought. It is not the object of thought that is the more excellent, but the very energy of thinking; the activity of apprehension brings that to pass which appears as something that is being apprehended. “Speculation (h qewria) is thus the most pleasing and the best. If then God has eternally subsisted in such surpassing excellence as for a limited time pertains to us” (in whom this eternal Thought, which is God Himself, occurs only as a particular condition), “He is worthy of admiration; if He possesses it in a more eminent degree, His nature is still more admirable. But this is His mode of subsistence. Life is also inherent in Him, for the activity of thought is life. But He constitutes this efficient power; essential energy belongs to God as His most excellent and eternal life. We therefore say that with God there is life perfect and everlasting.” From this substance Aristotle moreover excludes magnitude.
We in our way of speaking designate the Absolute, the True, as the unity of subjectivity and objectivity, which is therefore neither the one nor the other, and yet just as much the one as the other; and Aristotle busied himself with these same speculations, the deepest forms of speculation even of the present day, and he has expressed them with the greatest definiteness. With Aristotle it is thus no dry identity of the abstract understanding that is indicated, for he distinguishes subjective and objective precisely and decisively. Not dead identity such as this, but energy, is for him what is most to be reverenced, God. Unity is thus a poor, unphilosophic expression, and true Philosophy is not the system of identity; its principle is a unity which is activity, movement, repulsion, and thus, in being different, is at the same time identical with itself. If Aristotle had made the jejune identity of understanding, or experience, his principle, he would never have risen to a speculative Idea like this, wherein individuality and activity are placed higher than universal potentiality. Thought, as the object of thought, is nothing else than the absolute Idea regarded as in itself, the Father,; yet this First and unmoved, as distinguished from activity, is, as absolute, simply activity, and is first through this activity set forth as true. In what he teaches respecting the soul we shall find Aristotle recurring to this speculative thought; but to Aristotle it is again an object, like other objects, a kind of condition which he separates from the other conditions of the soul which he understands empirically, such as sleep, or weariness. He does not say that it alone is truth, that all is summed up in Thought, but he says it is the first, the strongest, the most honourable. We, on the other hand, say that Thought, as that which relates to itself, has existence, or is the truth; that Thought comprehends the whole of Truth, even though we ordinarily represent to ourselves sensation and so on, besides thought, as having reality. Thus, although Aristotle does not express himself in modern philosophic language, he has yet throughout the same fundamental theory; he speaks not of a special kind of reason, but of the universal Reason. The speculative philosophy of Aristotle simply means the direction of thought on all kinds of objects, thus transforming these into thoughts; hence, in being thoughts, they exist in truth. The meaning of this is not, however, that natural objects have thus themselves the power of thinking, but as they are subjectively thought by me, my thought is thus also the Notion of the thing, which therefore constitutes its absolute substance. Bat in Nature the Notion does not exist explicitly as thought in this freedom, but has flesh and blood, and is oppressed by externalities; yet this flesh and blood has a soul, and this is its Notion. The ordinary definition of truth, according to which it is “the harmony of the conception with the object,” is certainly not borne out by the conception; for when I represent to myself a house, a beam, and so on, I am by no means this content, but something entirely different, and therefore very far from being in harmony with the object of my conception. It is only in thought that there is present a true harmony between objective and subjective; that constitutes me. Aristotle therefore finds himself at the highest standpoint; nothing deeper can we desire to know, although he has always the appearance of making ordinary conceptions his starting-point.
Aristotle (Metaph. XII. 9) now solves many other doubtful questions, for instance, whether thought is compound, and whether science is the object of science itself. “Some farther doubts arise as to thought (nouς), which seems to be of all things the most divine; but it’ is only with difficulty that we can conceive under what conditions (pws d ecwn) it is a thing of this sort. When it thinks of nothing, but is in a state like that of a sleeper, what constitutes its superiority ? And when it thinks, but something else is dominant all the time (allo kurion), that which is its substance is not thought (nohsiς), but a potentiality;” it would not be in eternal activity. “In this way it would not be the highest substance; for it is” (active) “thought (to noein) that gives it its high rank. If now, further, thought or thinking is its substance, what does it think ? Itself or another ? And if another., is it always the same, or something different ? Does it also not make a difference, whether it thinks of what is beautiful or what is casual ? In the first place, if thought is not thinking, but only the power to think, continuous thinking would be laborious for it,” for every power wears itself out. “In the next place, something else would be more excellent than thought, namely that which is thought (noou menon); and thinking and thought (to noein kai h nohsiς) will be present to the mind in understanding what is most inferior. As this is to be avoided (in the same way that it is better not to see some things than to see them), thinking would not constitute the best. Thought is therefore this, to think itself, because it is the most excellent; and it is the thinking, which is the thinking of thinking. For understanding and sensation and opinion and deliberation seem always to have an object other than themselves, and to be their own objects only in a secondary sense. Further, if thinking and being thought of are different, in relation to which of the two is the Good inherent in thought ? For the Notion of thinking and that of the object of thought are not the same. Or, in the case of some things, does the science itself constitute that which is the object of science? In what is practical the thing is the immaterial substance and the determination of the end (h ousia kai to ti hn einai), and in what is theoretical it is the reason and the thinking. As therefore thought and the object of thought are not different, these opposites, so far as they involve no connection with matter, are the same thing, and there is only a thought of the thing thought of.” Reason which thinks itself, is the absolute end or the Good, for it only exists for its own sake. “There still remains a doubt whether that which thinks is of composite nature or not; for it might undergo change in the parts of the whole. But the Good is not in this or that part, for it is the best in the universe, as distinguished from it. In this way the Thought which is its own object subsists to all eternity.”
As this speculative Idea, which is the best and most free, is also to be seen in nature, and not only in thinking reason, Aristotle (Metaph. XII. 8) in this connection passes on to the visible God, which is the heavens. God, as living God., is the universe; and thus in the universe God, as living God, shows Himself forth. He comes forth as manifesting Himself or as causing motion, and it is in manifestation alone that the difference between the cause of motion and that which is moved comes to pass. “The principle and the first cause of that which is, is itself unmoved, but brings to pass the original and eternal and single motion,” that is, the heaven of the fixed stars. “We see that besides the simple revolution of the universe, which is brought about by the first unmoved substance, there are other eternal motions, those of the planets.” We must not, however, enter into further details on this subject.
Regarding the organization of the universe in general, Aristotle says (Metaph. XII. 10), “We must investigate in what manner the nature of the whole has within it the Good and the Best; whether as something set apart and absolute, or as an order, or in both ways, as in the case of an army. For the good condition of an army depends upon the order enforced, as much as on the general, and the general is the cause of the army’s good condition in all the greater degree from the fact of the order being through him, and not from his being through the order. All things are co-ordinated in a certain way, but not all in the same way: take, for example, animals which swim, and those which fly, and plants; they are not so constituted that one of them is not related to another, but they stand in mutual relations. For all are co-ordinated into one system, just as in a house it is by no means permitted to the free inmates to do freely whatever they like, but all that they do, or the most of it, is done according to orderly arrangement. By slaves and animals, on the contrary, little is dote for the general good, but they do much that is casual. For the principle of each is his own nature. In the same way it is necessary that all should attain to a position where distinction is drawn” (the seat of judgment) “but there are some things so constituted that all participate in them for the formation of a whole.” Aristotle then goes on to refute some other notions; showing, for instance, the embarrassments into which they fall who make all things proceed from oppositions, and he corroborates, on the other hand, the unity of the principle by quoting Homer’s line (Iliad II. 204):
“It is not good that many govern; let one alone bear rule.”
2- Philosophy of Nature
Amongst the special sciences treated by Aristotle, the Physics is contained in a whole series of physical treatises, which form a tolerably complete system of ‘what constitutes the Philosophy of Nature in its whole extent. We shall try to give their general plan. Aristotle’s first work is his Treatise, in eight books, on Physics, or on the Principles (fusikh akroasis h peri arcwn). In this he deals, as is fitting, with the doctrine of the Notion of nature generally, with movement, and with space and time. The first manifestation of absolute substance is movement, and its moments are space and time; this conception of its manifestation is the universal, which realizes itself first in the corporeal world, passing into the principle of separation. Aristotle’s Physics is what for present physicists would, properly speaking, be the Metaphysics of Nature; for our physicists only say what they have seen, what delicate and excellent instruments they have made, and not what they have thought. This first work by Aristotle is followed by his treatises concerning the Heavens, which deal with the nature of body and the first real bodies, the earth and heavenly bodies in general, as also with the general abstract relation of bodies to one another through mechanical weight and lightness, or what we should call attraction; and finally, with the determination of abstract real bodies or elements. Then follow the treatises on Production and Destruction, the physical process of change, while formerly the ideal process of movement was considered. Besides the physical elements, moments which are only posited in process. as such, now enter in: for instance, warmth, cold, &c. Those elements are the real existent facts, while these determinations are the moments of becoming or of passing away, which exist only in movement. Then comes the Meteorology; it represents the universal physical process in its most real forms. Here particular determinations appear, such as rain, the saltness of the sea, clouds, dew, hail, snow, hoar-frost, winds, rainbows, boiling, cooking, roasting, colours, &c. On certain matters, such as the colours, Aristotle wrote particular treatises. Nothing is forgotten, and yet the presentation is, on the whole, empiric. The book On the Universe, which forms the conclusion, is said not to be genuine; it is a separate dissertation, addressed to Alexander, which contains in part the doctrine of the universality of things, a doctrine found already in the other treatises; hence this book does not belong to this series.
From this point Aristotle proceeds to organic nature, and here his works not only contain a natural history, but also a physiology and anatomy. To the anatomy pertain his works on the Locomotion of Animals, and on the Parts of Animals. He deals with physiology in the works on the Generation of Animals, on the common Movement of Animals; and then he comes to the distinction between Youth and Age, Sleeping and Waking, and treats of Breathing, Dreaming, the Shortness and Length of Life, &c., all of which he deals with partly in an empiric, and partly in a more speculative manner. Finally, there comes the History of Animals, not merely as a history of Nature, but also as the history of the animal in its entirety – what we may call a kind of physiologico-anatomical anatomy. There is likewise a botanical work On Plants (peri futwn) which is ascribed to him. Thus we here find natural philosophy in the whole extent of its outward content.
As regards this plan, there is no question that this is not the necessary order in which natural philosophy or physics must be treated. It is long since physics adopted in its conception the form and tendency derived from Aristotle, of deducing the parts of the science from the whole; and thus even what is not speculative still retains this connection as far as outward order goes. This is plainly to be preferred to the arrangement in our modern text-books, which is a wholly irrational succession of doctrines accidentally put together, and is undoubtedly more suitable to that method of contemplating nature, which grasps the sensuous manifestation of nature quite irrespective of sense or reason. Physics before this contained some metaphysics, but the experience which was met with in endeavouring unsuccessfully to work it out, determined the physicists, so far as possible, to keep it at a distance, and to devote their attention to what they call experience, for they think that here they come across genuine truth, unspoiled by thought, fresh from the hand of nature; it is in their hands and before their faces. They can certainly not dispense with the Notion, but through a kind of tacit agreement they allow certain conceptions, such as forces, subsistence in parts, &c., to be valid, and make use of these without in the least knowing whether they have truth and how they have truth. But in regard to the content they express no better the truth of things, but only the sensuous manifestation. Aristotle and the ancients understand by physics, on the other hand, the comprehension of nature – the universal; and for this reason Aristotle also calls it the doctrine of principles. For in the manifestation of nature this distinction between the principle and what follows it, manifestation, really commences, and it is abrogated only in genuine speculation. Yet if, on the one hand., what is physical in Aristotle is mainly philosophic and not experimental, he yet proceeded in his Physics in what may be called an empiric way. Thus, as it has been already remarked of the Aristotelian philosophy in general that the different parts fall into a series of independently determined conceptions, so we find that this is the case here also; hence an account can only be given of a part of them. One part is not universal enough to embrace the other part, for each is independent. But that which follows, and which has in great measure reference to what is individual, no longer comes under the dominion of the Notion, but becomes a superficial suggestion of reasons, and an explanation from the proximate causes, such as we find in our physics.
In regard to the general conception of nature. we must say that Aristotle represents it in the highest and truest manner. For in the Idea of nature Aristotle (Phys. 11. 8) really relies on two determinations: the conception of end and the conception of necessity. Aristotle at once grasps the whole matter in its principles, and this constitutes the old contradiction and divergence of view existing between necessity (causæ efficientes) and end (causæ finales), which we have inherited. The first mode of consideration is that in accordance with external necessity, which is the same as chance – the conception that all that pertains to nature is determined from without by means of natural causes. The other mode of consideration is the teleological, but conformity to end is either inward or outward, and in the more recent culture the latter has long retained the supremacy. Thus men vibrate in their opinion between these two points of view, seek external causes, and war against the form of an external teleology which places the end outside of nature. These determinations were known to Aristotle, and he thoroughly investigates them and considers what they are and mean. Aristotle’s conception of nature is, however, nobler than that of to-day, for with him the principal point is the determination of end as the inward determinateness of natural things. Thus he comprehended nature as life, i.e. as that which has its end within itself, is unity with itself, which does not pass into another, but, through this principle of activity, determines changes in conformity with its own content, and in this way maintains itself therein. In this doctrine Aristotle has before his eyes the inward immanent end, to which he considers necessity an external condition. Thus, on the one hand, Aristotle determines nature as the final cause, which is to he distinguished from what is luck or chance; it is thus opposed by him to what is necessary, which it also contains within itself; and then he considers how necessity is present in natural things. In nature we usually think of necessity first, and understand as the essentially natural that which is not determined through end. For long men thought that they determined nature both philosophically and truly in limiting it to necessity. But the aspect of’ nature has had a stigma removed from it, because, by means of its conformity to the end in view, it is elevated above the common-place. The two moments which we have considered in substance, the active form and matter, correspond with these two determinations.
We must first consider the conception of adaptation to end as the ideal moment in substance. Aristotle begins (Phys. Il. 8) with the fact that the natural is the self-maintaining, all that is difficult is its comprehension. “The first cause of perplexity is, what hinders nature from not operating for the sake of an end, and because it is better so to operate, but” being, for example, “like Jupiter, who rains, not that the corn may grow, but from necessity. The vapour driven upwards cools, and the water resulting from this cooling falls as rain, and it happens that the corn is thereby made to grow. In like manner, if the corn of any one is destroyed, it does not rain for the sake of this destruction, but this is an accidental circumstance.” That is to say, there is a necessary connection which, however, is an external relation. and this is the contingency of the cause as well as of the effect. “But if this be so,” Aristotle asks, “what hinders us from assuming that what appears as parts” (the parts of an animal, for instance) “may thus subsist in nature, too, as contingent ? That, for example, the front teeth are sharp and adapted for dividing, and that the back teeth, on the contrary, are broad and adapted for grinding the food in pieces, may be an accidental circumstance, not necessarily brought about for these particular ends. And the same is true with respect to the other parts of the body which appear to be adapted for some end; therefore those living things in which all was accidentally constituted as if for some end, are now, having once been so existent, preserved, although originally they had arisen by chance, in accordance with external necessity.” Aristotle adds that Empedocles especially had these reflections, and represented the first beginnings of things as a world composed of all sorts of monstrosities, such as bulls with human heads; such, however, could not continue to subsist, but disappeared because they were not originally constituted so that they should endure; and this went on until what was in conformity with purpose came together. Without going back to the fabulous monstrosities of the ancients, we likewise know of a number of animal tribes which have died out, just because they could not preserve the race. Thus we also require to use the expression development (an unthinking evolution), in our present-day natural philosophy. The conception that the first productions were, so to speak, attempts, of which those which did not show themselves to be suitable could not endure, is easily arrived at by natural philosophy. But nature, as entelecheia or realization, is what brings forth itself. Aristotle hence replies: “It is impossible to believe this. For what is produced in accordance with nature is always, or at least for the most part, produced” (external universality as the constant recurrence of what has passed away), “but this is not so with what happens through fortune or through chance. That in which there is an end (teloς), equally in its character as something which precedes and as something which follows, is made into end; as therefore a thing is made, so is its nature, and as is its nature, so is it made; it exists therefore for the sake of this.” The meaning of nature is that as something is, it was in the beginning; it means this inward universality and adaptation to end that realizes itself; and thus cause and effect are identical, since all individual parts are related to this unity of end. He who assumes contingent and accidental forms, subverts, on the other hand, both nature itself and that which subsists from nature, for that subsists from nature which has a principle within itself, by whose means, and being continually moved, it attains its end.” In this expression of Aristotle’s we now find the whole of the true profound Notion of life, which must be considered as an end in itself – a self-identity that independently impels itself on, and in its manifestation remains identical with its Notion: thus it is the self-effectuating Idea. Leaves. blossoms, roots thus bring the plant into evidence and go back into it; and that which they bring to pass is already present in the seed from which they. took their origin. The chemical product, on the contrary, does not appear to have itself similarly present, for from acid and base a third appears to come forth; but here, likewise, the essence of both these sides, their relationship, is already present, though it is there mere potentiality, as it is in the product merely – a thing. But the self-maintaining activity of life really brings forth this unity in all relationships. What has here been said is already contained in that which was asserted by those who do not represent nature in this way, but say, “that which is constituted as though it were constituted for an end, will endure.” For this is the self-productive action of nature. In the modern way of looking at life this conception becomes lost in two different ways; either through a mechanical philosophy, in which we always find as principle pressure, impulse, chemical relationships and forces, or external relations generally – which certainly seem to be inherent in nature, but not to proceed from the nature of the body, seeing that they are an added, foreign appendage, such as colour in a fluid; or else theological physics maintain the thoughts of an understanding outside of the world to be the causes. In the Kantian philosophy we for the first time have that conception once more awakened in us, for organic nature at least; life has there been made an end to itself. In Kant this indeed had only the subjective form which constitutes the essence of the Kantian philosophy, in which it seems as though life were only so determined by reason of our subjective reasoning; but still the whole truth is there contained that the organic creation is the self-maintaining. The fact that most recent times have brought back the rational view of the matter into our remembrance, is thus none else than a justification of the Aristotelian Idea.
Aristotle also speaks of the end which is represented by organic nature in itself, in relation to the means, of which he says (Phys. Il. 8): “If the swallow builds her nest, and the spider spreads her web, and trees root themselves in the earth, for the sake of nutriment, there is present in them a self-maintaining cause of this kind, or an end.” For this instinctive action exhibits an operation of self-preservation, as a means whereby natural existence becomes shut up and reflected into itself. Aristotle then brings what is here said into relation with general conceptions which he had earlier maintained (p. 138): “Since nature is two-fold as matter and form, but since the latter is end, and the rest are on account of the end, this is final cause.” For the active form has a content, which, as content of potentiality, contains the means which make their appearance as adapted for an end, i.e. as moments established through the determinate Notion. However much we may, in the modern way of regarding things, struggle against the idea of an immanent end, from reluctance to accept it, we must, in the case of animals and plants, acknowledge such a conception, always re-establishing itself in another. For example, because the animal lives in water or in air, it is so constructed that it can maintain its existence in air or water; thus it requires water to explain the gills of fishes; and, on the other hand, because the animal is so constructed, it lives in water. This activity in transformation thus does not depend in a contingent way on life; it is aroused through the outward powers, but only in as far as conformity with the soul of the animal permits.
In passing, Aristotle here (Phys. 11. 8) makes a comparison between nature and art, which also connects what results with what goes before, in accordance with ends. “Nature may commit an error as well as art; for as a grammarian sometimes makes a mistake in writing, and a physician in mixing a medicinal draught, nature, too, sometimes does not attain its ends. Its errors are monstrosities and deformities., which., however, are only the errors of that which operates for an end. In the production of animals and plants, an animal is not at first produced, but the seed, and even in it corruption is possible.” For the seed is the mean, as being the not as yet established, independent, indifferent, free actuality. In this comparison of nature with art we ordinarily have before us the external adaptation to end, the teleological point of view, the making for definite ends. And Aristotle declaims against this, while he remarks that if nature is activity for a certain end, or if it is the implicitly universal, “it is absurd to deny that action is in conformity with end, because that which moves cannot be seen to have deliberated and considered.” The understanding comes forward with the determination of this end, and with its instruments and tools, to operate on matter, and we carry this conception of an external teleology over into nature. “But art also,” says Aristotle, “does not deliberate. If the form of a ship were the particular inward principle of the timber, it would act as nature prompted. The action of nature is very similar to the exercise of the art whereby anyone heals himself.” Through an inward instinct the animal avoids what is evil, and does what is good for him; health is thus essentially present to him, not as a conscious end, but as an understanding which accomplishes its ends without conscious thought.
As Aristotle has hitherto combated an external teleology he directs another equally applicable remark (Phys. 11. 9) against merely external necessity, and thus we come to the other side, or to how necessity exists in nature. He says in this regard: “Men fancy that necessity exists in this way in generation, just as if it were thought that a house existed from necessity, because heavy things – were naturally carried downwards, and light things upwards, and that, therefore, the stones and foundation, on account of their weight, were under the earth, and the earth, because it was lighter, was further up, and the wood in the highest place because it is the lightest.” But Aristotle thus explains the facts of the case. “The house is certainly not made without these materials, but not on account of, or through them (unless the material so demands), but it is made for the sake of concealing and preserving certain things. The same takes place in everything which has an end in itself; for it is not without that which is necessary to its nature, and yet it is not on account of this, unless the matter so demands, but on account of an end. Hence the necessary is from hypothesis only, and not as end. for necessity is in matter, but end is in reason (logw). Thus it is clear that matter and its movement are necessity in natural things;
both have to be set forth as principle, but end is the higher principle.” It undoubtedly requires necessity, but it retains it in its own power, does not allow it to give vent to itself, but controls external necessity. The principle of matter is thus turned into the truly active ground of end, which means the overthrow of necessity, so that that which is natural shall maintain itself in the end. Necessity is the objective manifestation of the action of its moments as separated, just as in chemistry the essential reality of both the extremes – the base and the acid – is the necessity of their relation.
This is the main conception of Aristotelian Physics. Its further development concerns the conceptions of the different objects of nature, a material for speculative. philosophy which we have spoken of above (pp. 153-155), and regarding which Aristotle puts before us reflections both difficult and profound. Thus he at first (Phys. III. 1-3) proceeds from this point to movement (kinhsiς), and says that it is essential that a philosophy of nature should speak of it, but that it is difficult to grasp; in fact, it is one of the most difficult conceptions. Aristotle thus sets to work to understand movement in general, not merely in space and time, but also in its reality; and in this sense, he calls it “the activity of an existent thing which is in capacity, so far as it is in capacity.” He explains this thus: “Brass is in capacity a statue; yet the motion to become a statue is not a motion of the brass so far as it is brass, but a motion of itself, as the capacity to become a statue. Hence this activity is an imperfect one (atelhς) i.e. it has not its end within itself, “for mere capacity, whose activity is movement, is imperfect.” The absolute substance, the moving immovable, the existent ground of heaven which we saw as end, is, on the contrary, both activity itself and the content and object of activity. But Aristotle distinguishes from this what falls under the form. of this opposition, “That moving is also moved which has movement as a capacity, and whose immobility is rest. That in which movement is present has immobility as rest; for activity in rest, as such, is movement.” That is to say, rest is capacity for motion. “Hence movement is the activity of that which is movable (kinhtou), So far as it is movable; but this happens from the contact of that which is motive (kintikou), so that at the same time it is posited as passive likewise. But that which moves always introduces a certain form or end (eidoς), either this particular thing (tode), or a quality or a quantity, which is the principle and cause of the motion when it moves; thus man, as he is in energy, makes man from man as he is in capacity. Thus, too, it is evident that movement is in the movable thing: for it is the activity of this, and is derived from that which is motive. The activity of that which is motive is likewise not different, for both are necessarily activity. It is motive because it has the capacity for being p so; but it causes motion because it energizes. But it is the energetic of the moveable (estin energhtikon tou kinhtou), so that there is one energy of both; just as the relation between one and two is the same as that between two and one, and there also is the same relation between acclivity and declivity, so the way from Thebes to Athens is the same as from Athens to Thebes. Activity and passivity are not originally (kuriwς) the same, but in what they are inherent, in motion, they are the same. In Being (tw einai) they are identical, but activity, in so far as it is activity of this in this” (what is moved), “and the activity of this from this” (what moves), “is different as regards its conception (tw logw).” Aristotle subsequently deals with the infinite (Phys. 111. 4-8).
“In like manner it is necessary,” says Aristotle (Phys. IV. 1-5), “that the natural philosopher should consider the subject of place (topoς).” Here come various definitions and determinations under which space generally and particular space or place appear. “Is place a body ? It cannot be a body, for then there would be in one and the same, two bodies. Again, if it is the place and receptacle (cwra) of this body, it is evident that it is so also of the air,” superficies and the remaining boundaries; but the same reasoning applies to these, for where the superficies of water were before, there will now be the superficies of air,” and thus the places of both superficies would be in one. “But in truth there is no difference between the point and the place of the point, so that if place is not different from the other forms of limitation, neither is it something outside of them. It is not an element, and neither consists of corporeal nor of incorporeal elements, for it possesses magnitude, but not body. The elements of bodies are, however, themselves bodies, and no magnitude is produced from intelligible elements. Place is not the material of things, for nothing consists of it – neither the form, nor the Notion. nor the end, nor the moving cause; and yet it is something.” Aristotle now determines place as the first unmoved limit of that which is the comprehending: it comprehends the body whose place it is. and has nothing of the thing in itself; yet it co-exists with the thing, because the limits and the limited co-exist. The uttermost ends of what comprehends and of what is comprehended are identical, for both are bounds; but they are not bounds of the Same, for form is the boundary of the thing, place is that of the embracing body. Place, as the comprehending, remains unchangeably passive while the thing which is moved is moved away; from which we see that place must be separable from the thing. Or place, according to Aristotle, is the boundary, the negation of a body, the assertion of difference, of discretion; but it likewise does not merely belong to this body, but also to that which comprehends. There is thus no difference at all, but unchangeable continuity. “Place is neither the universal (koinoς) in which all bodies are” (heaven), “nor the particular (idioς), in which they are as the first (prwtw).” Aristotle also speaks of above and below in space, in relation to heaven as that which contains, and earth as what is beneath. “That body, outside of which is a comprehending body, is in space. But the whole heavens are not anywhere, since no body comprehends them. Outside the universe nothing is, and hence everything is in the heavens, for the heavens are the whole. Place, however. is not the heavens, but its external quiescent boundary which touches the body moved. Hence the earth is in water, water in air, air in ether, but ether in the heavens.”
From this point Aristotle goes on (Phys. IV. 6, 7) to empty space, in which an old question is involved which physicists even now cannot explain: they could do so if they studied Aristotle, but as far as they are concerned there might have been no thought nor Aristotle in the world. “Vacuum, according to ordinary ideas, is a space in which there is no body, and, fancying that all Being is body, they say that vacuum is that in which there is nothing at all. The conception of a vacuum has its justification for one thing in the fact that a vacuum,” the negative to an existent form, “is essential to motion; for a body could not move in a plenum,” and in the place to which it does move there must be nothing. “The other argument in favour of a vacuum is found in the compression of bodies, in which the parts press into the empty spaces.” This is the conception of varying density and the alteration of the same, in accordance with which an equal weight might consist of an equal number of parts, but these, as being separated by vacuum, might present a greater volume. Aristotle confutes these reasonings most adroitly, and first of all in this way: “The plenum could be changed, and bodies could yield to one another even if no interval of vacuum separated them. Liquids as well as solids are not condensed into a vacuum; something that they contained is expelled, just as air is expelled if’ water is compressed.”
Aristotle deals more thoroughly, in the first place (Phys. IV. 8), with the erroneous conception that the vacuum is the cause of movement. For, on the one hand, lie shows that the vacuum really abolishes motion, and consequently in vacuum a universal rest would reign. He calls it perfect indifference as to the greater or less distance to which a thing is moved; in vacuum there are no distinctions. It is pure negation without object or difference; there is no reason for standing still or going on. But body is in movement, and that, indeed, as distinguished; it has a positive relation, and not one merely to nothing. On the other hand, Aristotle refutes the idea that movement is in vacuum because compression is possible. But this does not happen in a vacuum; there would be established in it not one movement, but a movement towards all sides, a general annihilation, an absolute yielding, where no cohesion would remain in the body. “Again, a weight or a body is borne along more swiftly or more slowly from. two causes; either because there is a difference in that through which it is borne along, as when it moves through air or water or earth, or because that which is borne along differs through excess of weight or lightness.” As regards difference of movement on account of the first difference – that in the density of the medium – Aristotle says: “The medium through which the body is borne along is the cause of the resistance encountered, which is greater if the medium is moving in a contrary direction (and less if it is at rest); resistance is increased also if the medium is not easily divided. The difference in velocity is in inverse ratio to the specific gravity of the medium. air and water, so that if the medium has only half the density, the rate of progress will be double as quick. But vacuum has to body no such relation of differences of specific gravity. Body can no more contain a vacuum within its dimensions than a line can contain a point, unless the line were composed of points. The vacuum has no ratio to the plenum.” But as to the other case, the difference in weight and lightness, which has to be considered as being in bodies themselves, whereby one moves more quickly than another through the same space: “this distinction exists only in the plenum, for the heavy body, by reason of its power, divides the plenum more quickly.” This point of view is quite correct, and it is mainly directed against a number of conceptions that prevail in our physics. The conception of equal movement of the heavy and the light, as that of pure weight, pure matter, is an abstraction, being taken as though they were inherently like, only differing through the accidental resistance of the air.
Aristotle (Phys. IV. 9) now comes to the second point, to the proof of the vacuum because of the difference in specific gravity. “Many believe that the vacuum exists because of the rare and the dense:” the former is said to be a rare body, and the latter a perfect continuity; or they at least differ quantitatively from one another through greater or less density. “For if air should be generated from a quantity of water, a given quantity of water must produce a quantity of air the same in bulk, or there must necessarily be a vacuum; for it is only on the hypothesis of a vacuum that compression and rarefaction are explicable. Now if, as they say, the less dense were that which has many separate void spaces, it is evident that since a vacuum cannot be separated any more than a space can have intervals, neither can the rare subsist in this manner. But if it is not separable, and yet a vacuum is said to exist in the body, in the first place movement could thus only be upwards; for the rare is the light, and hence they say that fire is rare,” because it always moves upwards. “In the next place the vacuum cannot be the cause of motion as that in which something moves, but must resemble bladders that carry tip that which adheres to them. But how is it possible that a vacuum can move, or that there can be a place where there is a vacuum? For that into which it is carried would be the vacuum of a vacuum. In short, as there can be no movement in vacuum, so also a vacuum cannot move.” Aristotle set against these ideas the true state of matters, and states generally the ideal conception of nature, “that the opposites, hot and cold, and the other physical contraries, have one and the same matter, and that from what is in capacity that which is in energy is produced; that matter is not separable though it is different in essence (tw einai), and that it remains one and the same in number (ariqmw) even if it possesses colour, or is hot and cold. And again, the matter of a small body and a large is the same, because at one time a greater proceeds from a smaller, and tit another time a smaller from a greater. If air is generated from water it is expanded, but the matter remains the same and without taking to itself anything else; for that which it was in capacity it becomes in actuality. In a similar way if air is compressed from a greater into a less volume, the process will be reversed, and air will similarly pass into water, because the matter which is in capacity both air and water, also becomes both.” Aristotle likewise asserts that increase and decrease of warmth, and its transition into cold, is no addition or otherwise of warm matter, and also one and the same is both dense and rare. This is very different from the physical conceptions which assert more or less matter to correspond with more or less density, thus comprehending the difference in specific weight as the external addition of matter. Aristotle, on the contrary, takes this dynamically, though certainly not in the sense in which dynamics are to-day understood, viz. as an increase of* intensity or as a degree, for he accepts intensity in its truth as universal capacity. Undoubtedly the difference must also be taken as a difference in amount, but not as an increase and decrease, or as an alteration in the absolute quantity of the matter. For here intensity means force, but again not as being a thing of thought separated from matter, but as indicating that if anything has become more intensive, it has had its actuality diminished, having, however, according to Aristotle, attained to a greater capacity. If the intensity is again directed outwards, and compared with other things, it undoubtedly becomes degree, and therefore magnitude immediately enters in. It then is indifferent whether greater intension or greater extension is posited; more air is capable of being warmed to the same degree as less, through the greater intensity of the warmth; or the same air can thereby become intensively warmer.
As regards the investigation of time, Aristotle remarks (Phys. IV. 10, 11, 13) that if time is externally (exoterically, ezwterikwς) regarded, we are inevitably led to doubt (diaporhsai) whether it has any being whatever, or whether it has bare existence, as feeble (molis kai amudrwς) as if it were only a potentiality. “For one part of it was and is not: another part will be and is not as yet; but of these parts infinite and everlasting (aei lambanomenoς), time is composed. But it now appears that time, if composed of things that are not, may be incapable of existence. And also as regards everything divisible, if it exists, either some or all of its parts must be. Time is certainly divisible; but some of the parts are past, others are future, and no part is present. For the now is no part, since a part has a measure, and the whole must consist of the parts; but time does not appear to consist of the Now.” That is to say, because the Now is indivisible, it has no quantitative determination which could be measured. “Besides it is not easy to decide whether the Now remains, or always becomes another and another. Again, time is not a movement and change, for movement and change occur in that which is moved and changed, or accompany time in its course; but time is everywhere alike. Besides change is swifter and slower, but time is not. But it is not without change and motion” (which is just the moment of pure negativity in the same) “for when we perceive no change, it appears as if no time had elapsed, as in sleep. Time is hence in motion but not motion itself.” Aristotle defines it thus: “We say that time is, when we perceive the before and after in movement; but these are so distinguished that we apprehend them to be another and another, and conceive that there is something between, as a middle. Now when we understand that the extremes of the conclusion are different from the middle, and the soul says that the Now has two instants, the one prior and the other posterior, then we say that this is time. What is determined through the Now, we call time, and this is the fundamental principle. But when we are sensible of the Now as one, and not as a prior and posterior in motion, nor as the identity of an earlier or later, then there does not appear to us to have been any time, because neither was there any motion.” Tedium is thus over the same. “Time is hence the number of motion, according to priority and posteriority; it is not motion itself, unless so far as motion has number. We judge of the more or less through number, but of a greater or less motion by time. But we call number that which can be numbered, as well as that with which we number; but time is not the number with which we number, but that which is numbered, and, like motion, always is changing. The Now is, which is the unity of number, and it measures time. The whole of time is the same, for the Now which was is the same” (universality as the Now destroyed) “but in Being it is another. Time thus is through the Now both continuous (sun hς) and discrete (dihrhtai). It thereby resembles the point, for that also is the continuity of the line and its division, its principle and limit; but the Now is not an enduring point. As continuity of time the Now connects the past and the future, but it likewise divides time in capacity,” the Now is only divisibility and the moments only ideal. “And in as far as it is such, it is always another; but, in as far as it unites, it is ever one and the same. Similarly, in as far as we divide the line, other and yet other points always arise for thought; but in as far as it is one, there is only one point. Thus the Now is both the division of time in capacity, and the limit and union of both” i.e. of the prior and posterior. The universally dividing point is only one as actual; but this actual is not permanently one, but ever and again another, so that individuality has universality, as its negativity, within it. “But division and union are the same, and similarly related; however their Notion (to einai) is different.” In one and the same respect the absolute opposite of what was posited is immediately set forth as existent; in space, on the other hand, the moments are not set forth as existent, but in it first appears this being and its motion and contradiction. Thus the identity of the understanding is not a principle with Aristotle, for identity and non-identity to him are one and the same. Because the Now is only now, past and future are different from it, but they are likewise necessarily connected in the Now, which is not without before and after; thus they are in one, and the Now, as their limit, is both their union and their division.
Aristotle (Phys. V. 1) then goes on to movement as realized in a thing, to change (metabolh) or to the physical processes – while before we had pure movement. “In movement there is first something which moves, also something which is moved, and the time in which it is moved; besides these, that from which, and that into which it is moved.” (Cf. supra, P. 141.) “For all motion is from something and .into something; but there is a difference between that which is first moved and that into which and from which it is moved, as, for instance, wood, warmth and cold. The motion is in the wood and not in the form; for neither form nor place, nor quantity moves or is moved, but” (in the order in which they follow) “there is that which is moved and that which moves, and that into which it is moved. That to which movement is made, more than that out of which movement is made, is named change. Hence to pass into non-being is also change, although what passes away is changed from Being: and generation is a mutation into Being, even though it is from non-being.” The remark is to be interpreted as meaning that for the first time in real becoming motion, i.e. in change, the relation whereto enters, while the relation wherefrom is that in which change is still the mere ideal motion. Besides this first form of difference between motion and change, Aristotle further gives another, since he divides change into three: “into change from a subject (ez upokeimenon) into a subject; or from a subject into a non-subject; or from a non-subject into a subject.” The fourth, “from a non-subject into a non-subject,” which may also appear in the general division, “is no mutation, for it contains no opposition.” It may certainly be merely thought or ideal, but Aristotle indicates the actual phenomenon. “The mutation from a non-subject into a subject is generation (genesiς); that from a subject into a non-subject is corruption (fqora) that from a subject into a subject, is motion as such; because that which is transformed remains the same, there is no becoming-another of the actual, but a merely formal becoming-another. This opposition of the materialized motion as mutation, and of merely formal motion, is noteworthy.
In the sixth book Aristotle comes to the consideration of the dialectic of this motion and change as advanced by Zeno, that is, to the endless divisibility which we have already (Vol. 1. pp. 266-277) considered. Aristotle solves it through the universal. He says that they are the contradiction of the universal turned against itself; the unity in which its moments dissolve is not a nothing, so that motion and change are nothing, but a negative universal, where the negative is itself again posited as positive, and that is the essence of divisibility.
Of the further details into which Aristotle enters, I shall only give the following. As against atoms and their motion, he remarks (Phys. VI. 10) that the indivisible has no motion and mutation, which is the direct opposite of the proposition of Zeno that only simple indivisible Being and no motion exists. For as Zeno argues from the indivisibility of atoms against motion, Aristotle argues from motion against atoms. “Everything which moves or changes is in the first division of this time partly here and partly there. The atom, as simple indivisible Being, can, however, not have any part of it in both points in space, because it then would be divisible. The indivisible could thus only move if time consisted of the Now; this is, however, impossible, as we proved before.” Because atoms thus neither have change in themselves, nor can this come to them from without through impulse, &c., they are really without truth.
The determination of the pure ideality of change is important. Aristotle says of this (Phys. VII. 3), “That which is changed is alone the sensuous and perceptible (aisqhton); and forms and figures, as also capacities, are not changed j they arise and disappear in a thing only, without being themselves changed.” In other words: the content of change is unchangeable; change as such belongs to mere form. “Virtues or vices belong, for example, to habits acquired. Virtue is the perfection (teleiwsiς) in which something has reached the end of its nature. Vice, however, is the corruption and non-attainment of this. They are not changes, for they only arise and pass away while another alters.” Or the difference becomes a difference of Being and non-being, i.e. a merely sensuous difference.
From these conceptions Aristotle now comes nearer to the first real or physical motion (Phys. VIII. 6, 8, 9; De Coelo, I. 4): The first principle of motion is itself unmoved. An endless motion in a straight line is an empty creation of thought; for motion is necessarily an effort after something. The absolute motion is the circular, because it is without opposition. For because movement has to be considered in re ard to the starting-place and the end in view, in the straight movement the directions from A to B and from B to A are opposed, but in motion in a circle they are the same. The idea that heavenly bodies would of themselves have moved in a straight line, but that they accidentally came into the sphere of solar attraction, is an empty reflection which is far from occurring to Aristotle.
Aristotle then shows (De Coelo, II. 1; I. 3) that “the whole heavens neither arose nor can pass away, for they are one and eternal: they neither have beginning nor end in eternal time, for they contain infinite time shut up within them.” All the other ideas are sensuous which try to speak of essential reality, and in them there always is that present which they think they have excluded. For when they assert a vacuum before the beginning of generation, this is the quiescent, self-identical, i.e. the eternal matter, which is thus already established before origination; they will not allow that before origination nothing exists. But in fact a thing does not exist before its origination, i.e. in movement there is something to move, and where reality is, there is motion. They do not, however, bring together that vacuum, the self-identical, the un-originated matter and this nothing. “That which has this absolute circular movement is neither heavy nor light; for the heavy is what moves downwards, and the light what moves upwards.” In modern physics the heavenly bodies, on the other hand, are endowed with weight, and seek to rush into the sun, but cannot do so on account of another force. “It is indestructible and ungenerated, without decrease or increase, without any change. It is different from earth, fire, air and water; it is what the ancients called ether, as the highest place, from its continuous course (aie qein) in infinite time.” This ether thus appears to be eternal matter which does not, however, take such a definite form, but which remains as it is, just as the heavens do in our conception, although here the juxtaposition begins ever to strike us more forcibly.
Aristotle (De Coelo, 111. 6) shows further that the elements do not proceed from one body, but from one another; for in generation they neither proceed from what is incorporeal, nor from what is corporeal. In the first case they would have sprung from the vacuum, for the vacuum is the immediate incorporeal; but in that case the vacuum must have existed independently as that in which determinate corporeality arose. But neither do the elements arise from a corporeal, for else this body itself would be a corporeal element before the elements. Thus it only remains that the elements must spring from one another. Regarding this we must remark that Aristotle understands by origination, actual origination – not the transition from the universal to the individual, but the origination of one determinate corporeal, not from its principle, but from the opposite as such. Aristotle does not consider the universal as it contains the negative within it; else the universal would be the absolute matter whose universality, as negativity, is set forth, or is real.
From this point Aristotle comes (De Coelo, IV. 1-5) to a kind of deduction of the elements, which is noteworthy. He shows that there must be four of them, in the following way – because he starts from the fundamental conceptions of weight and of lightness, or what we should call attraction and centrifugal force. The corporeal, he says, in its motion is neither light nor heavy, and, indeed, it is not only relative but also absolute. The relatively light and heavy is what, while equal in volume, descends more slowly or quickly. Absolute lightness goes up to the extremity of the heavens, Absolute weight down into the middle. These extremes are fire and earth. Between these there are mediums, other than they, which relate to one another like them; and these are air and water, the one of which has weight, and the other lightness, but only relatively. For water is suspended under everything except earth, and air over everything except fire. ‘I Hence,” Aristotle. concludes, “there now are these four matters, but they are four in such a way that they have one in common; more particularly, because they arise out of one another, but exist as different..” Yet it is not the ether that Aristotle designates as this common matter. We must in this regard remark that however little these first determinations may be exhaustive, Aristotle is still far further on than the moderns, since he had not the conception of elements which prevails at the present time, according to which the element is made to subsist as simple. But any such simple determination of Being, is an abstraction and has no reality, because such existence would be capable of no motion and change; the element must itself have reality, and it thus is, as the union of opposites, resolvable. Aristotle hence makes the elements, as we have already seen with those who went before (Vol. I., pp. 181, 182; 290-293; 336), arise out of one another and pass into one another; and this is entirely opposed to our Physics, which understands by elements an indelible, self-identical simplicity only. Hence men are wonderfully discerning in reproaching us for calling water, all., &c., elements! Nor yet in the expression “neutrality” have the modern physicists been able to grasp a universality conceived of as a unity, such as Aristotle ascribes to the elements; in fact, however, the acid which unites with a base is no longer, as is asserted, present within it as such. But however removed Aristotle may be from understanding simplicity as an abstraction, just as little does he recognize here the and conception of consisting of parts. Quite the contrary. He strives enough against this, as, for instance, in relation to Anaxagoras (De Coel. III. 4).
I shall further mention the moments of the real process in relation to motion, in which Aristotle finally passes on (De gen. et corr. II. 2-4) to the “principles of perceptible body “; we here see the elements in process, as formerly in their restful determinateness. Aristotle excludes the relations which concern sight, smell, &c., and brings forward the others as being those which are of sensible weight or lightness. He gives as these fundamental principles – warmth and cold, dryness and moisture; they are the sensible differences for others, while weight and lightness are different for themselves. Now in order to prepare for the transition of the elements into sensible relations, Aristotle says: “Because there are those four principles, and four things have properly six relations to one another, but the opposite cannot here be connected (the moist cannot be connected with the dry, or the warm with the cold), there are four connections of these principles, warm and dry, warm and moist, cold and moist, cold and dry. And these connections follow those first elements, so that thus fire is warm and dry, air warm and moist, (vapour), water cold and moist, earth cold and dry.” From this Aristotle now makes the reciprocal transformation of the elements into one another comprehensible thus: Origination and decay proceed from the opposite and into the opposite. All elements have a mutual opposite; each is as non-being to the Being of the other, and one is thus distinguished from the other as actuality and capacity. Now amongst these some have an equal part in common; fire and water, for example. have warmth; thus if in fire dryness were overcome by moisture, out of fire air would arise. On the contrary, as regards those which have nothing lit common with one another, like earth, which is cold and dry, and air, which is warm and moist, the transition goes more slowly forward. The transition of all elements into one another, the whole process of nature, is thus to Aristotle the constant rotation of their changes. This is unsatisfactory, because neither are the individual elements comprehended nor is the remainder rounded into a whole.
As a matter of fact, Aristotle now goes on, in meteorology, to the consideration of the universal process of nature. But here we have reached his limits. Here, in the natural process, the simple determination as such – this system of progressive determination – ceases to hold good, and its whole interest is lost. For it is in the real process that these determinate conceptions always lose their signification again and become their opposite, and in it also this contingent succession is forced together and united. In determining time and motion, we certainly saw Aristotle himself uniting opposite determinations; but movement, in its true determination, must take space and time back into itself; it must represent itself as being the unity of these its real moments and in them; that is, as the realization of this ideal. But still more must the following moments, moisture, warmth, &c., themselves come back under the conception of process. But the sensuous manifestation here begins to obtain the upper hand; for the empirical has the nature of the isolated form, which is to fall out of relation. The empirical manifestation thus outstrips thought, which merely continues everywhere to stamp it as its own, but which has no longer power to permeate the manifestation, since it withdraws out of the sphere of the ideal, while it is still ill the region of time, space and movement.
3- The Philosophy of Mind.
As regards the other side from the Philosophy of Nature, the Philosophy of Mind, we find that Aristotle has constituted in it also a separation into special sciences, in a series of works which I shall name. In the first place, his three books “On the Soul” deal partly with the abstract universal nature of the soul, though mainly in an antagonistic spirit; and even more, and in a fashion both profound and speculative, they deal with the soul’s essential nature not with its Being, but with the determinate manner and potentiality of its energy; for this is to Aristotle the Being and essence of the soul. Thus there are several different treatises, viz.: On Sense-perception and the Sensible, On Memory and Recollection, On Sleeping and Waking, On Dreams, Oil Divination (mantikh) through Dreams, besides a treatise on Physiognomy; there is no empirical point of view or phenomenon, either in the natural or the spiritual world, that Aristotle has considered beneath his notice. With respect to the practical side, be in like manner devotes his attention to man in his capacity of householder, in a work on economics (oikonomika); then he takes into his consideration the individual human being, in a moral treatise (hqika), which is partly an inquiry into the highest good or the absolute end, and partly a dissertation on special virtues. The manner of treatment is almost invariably speculative, and sound understanding is displayed throughout. Finally, in his Politics, he gives a representation of the true constitution of a state and the different kinds of constitution, which he deals with from the empirical point of view; and in his Polities an account is given of the most important states, of which we are, however, told very little.
In Aristotle’s teaching on this subject we must not expect to find so-called metaphysics of the soul. For metaphysical handling such as this really presupposes the soul as a thing, and asks, for example, what sort of a thing it is, whether it is simple, and so on. Aristotle did not busy his concrete, speculative mind with abstract questions such as these, but, as already remarked, he deals rather with the manner of the soul’s activity; and though this appears in a general way as a series of progressive determinations which are not necessarily blended into a whole each determination is yet apprehended in its own sphere with as much correctness as depth.
Aristotle (De Anima, I. 1) makes in the first place the general remark that it appears as if the soul must, on the one hand, be regarded in its freedom as independent and as separable from the body, since in thinking it is independent; and, on the other hand, since in the emotions it appears to be united with the body and not separate, it must also be looked on as being inseparable from it; for the emotions show themselves as materialized Notions (logoi enuloi), as material modes of what is spiritual. With this a twofold method of considering the soul, also known to Aristotle, comes into play, namely the purely rational or logical view, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the physical or physiological; these we still see practised side by side. According to the one view, anger, for instance, is looked on as an eager desire for retaliation or the like; according to the other view it is the surging upward of the heart-blood and the warm element in man. The former is the rational, the latter the material view of anger; just as one man may define a house as a shelter against wind, rain, and other destructive agencies, while another defines it as consisting of wood and stone; that is to say, the former gives the determination and. the form, or the purpose of the thing, while the latter specifies the material it is made of, and its necessary conditions.
Aristotle characterizes the nature of the soul more closely (De Anima, II. 1) by referring to the three moments of existence: “First there is matter (ulh), which is in itself no individual thing; secondly the form and the universal (morfh kai eidoς), which give a thing, individuality; thirdly, the result produced by both, in which matter is potentiality and form is energy (enteleceia) matter thus does not exist as matter, but only implicitly “The soul is substance, as being the form. of the physical organic body which is possessed potentially of life; but its substance is energy (enteleceia), the energy of a body such as has been described” (endowed with life). “This energy appears in two-fold form: either as knowledge (episthmh) or as active observation (to qewrein). But it is evident that here it is to be regarded as the former of these. For the soul is present with us both when we sleep and when we wake; waking corresponds with active observation, and sleep with possession and passivity. But knowledge is in origination prior to all else. The soul is thus the first energy of a physical but organic body.” It is in respect of this that Aristotle gives to the soul the definition of being the entelechy (supra, pp. 143, 144).
In the same chapter Aristotle comes to the question of the mutual relation of body and soul. “For this reason” (because soul is form) we must no more ask if soul and body are one than we ask if wax and its form are one, or, in general, if matter and its forms are one. For though unity and Being are used in various senses, Being is essentially energy.” Were we, namely, to pronounce body and soul one in the same way that a house, which consists of a number of parts, or as a thing and its properties, or the subject and predicate, and so on, are called one, where both are regarded as things, materialism results. An identity such as this is an altogether abstract, and therefore a superficial and empty determination, and a term which it is a mistake to employ, for form and material do not rank equally as regards Being; identity truly worthy of the name is to be apprehended as nothing else than energy such as has been described. The only question that now arises is whether activity and the organ it employs are one; and our idea is to answer in the affirmative. The more definite explanation of this relation is to be found in the following: “The soul is substance, but only according to the Notion (kata ton logon); but that is the substantial form (to ti hn einai) for such and such a body. For suppose that an instrument, such as an axe, were a natural body, this form, this axehood, would be its substance, and this its form would be its soul, for if this were to be taken away from it, it would no longer be an axe, the name only would remain. But soul is not the substantial form and Notion of such a body as an axe, but of a body which has within itself the principle of movement and of rest.’ – ‘ The axe has not the principle of its form in itself, it does not make itself an axe, nor does its form, its Notion, in itself constitute its substance, as its activity is not through itself. “If, for instance, the eye were in itself a living thing, vision would be its soul, for vision is the reality which expresses the Notion of the eye. But the eye, as such, is only the material instrument of vision, for if vision were lost, the eye would be an eye only in name, like an eye of stone or a painted eye.” Thus to the question, What is the substance of the eye? Aristotle answers: Are the nerves, humours, tissues, its substance ? On the contrary, sight itself is its substance, these material substances are only an empty name. “As this is the case in the part, so it also holds good of the body as a whole. The potentiality of life is not in any such thing as has lost its soul, but in that which still possesses it. The seed or the fruit is such and such a body potentially. Like hewing and seeing,” in the axe and the eye, “waking” in general “is activity; but the corporeal is only potentiality. But as the” living “eye is both vision and the eyeball” (the two being connected as actuality and potentiality), “so also are soul and body the living animal, the two are not to be separated. But it is not yet clear whether the soul is the activity of the body in the same way as the steersman is of the ship.” That the active form is the true substance, while matter is so only potentially, is a true speculative Notion.
As settling the question asked in the above-mentioned metaphor, we may quote what Aristotle says later (De Anima, II. 4): “As the principle of motion and as end (ou eneka), and as substance of living bodies, the soul is the cause. For substance is to all objects the cause of their existence, but life is the existence of the living, and its cause and principle is the soul; and further, its energy is the existing Notion of what has potential existence. The soul is cause also as end,” that is, as self-determining universality, “for nature, like thought, acts for the sake of an object, which object is its end, but in living beings this is soul. All the parts of the body are thus the organs of the soul, and hence exist for its sake.” In like manner Aristotle shows that the soul is the cause of motion.
Aristotle (De Anima, II. 2, 3) farther states that the soul is to be determined in three ways, namely As nutrient or vegetable, as sensitive, and as intelligent, corresponding with plant life, animal life and human life. The nutrient soul, when it is alone, belongs to plants; when it is at the same time capable of sense-perception, it is the animal soul; and when at once nutrient, sensitive and intelligent, it is the mind of man. Man has thus three natures united in himself; a thought which is also expressed in modern Natural Philosophy by saying that a man is also both an animal and a plant, and which is directed against the division and separation of the differences in these forms. That difference has also been revived in recent times in the observation of the organic, and it is highly important to keep these sides separate. The only question (and it is Aristotle who raises it) is how far these, as parts, are separable. As to what concerns more nearly the relation of the three souls, as they way be termed (though they are incorrectly thus distinguished), Aristotle says of them, with perfect truth, that we need look for no one soul in which all these are found, and which in a definite and simple form is conformable with any one of them. This is a profound observation, by means of which truly speculative thought marks itself out from the thought which is merely logical and formal. Similarly among figures only the triangle and the other definite figures, like the square, the parallelogram, &c., are truly anything; for what is common to them, the universal figure, is an empty thing of thought, a mere abstraction. On the other hand, the triangle is the first, the truly universal figure, which appears also in the square, &c., as the figure which can be led back to the simplest determination. Therefore, on the one hand, the triangle stands alongside of the square, pentagon, &c., as a particular figure, but – and this is Aristotle’s main contention – it is the truly universal figure. In the same way the soul must not be sought for as an abstraction, for in the animate being the nutritive and the sensitive soul are included in the intelligent, but only as its object or its potentiality; similarly, the nutritive soul, which constitutes the nature of plants, is also present in the sensitive soul, but likewise only as being implicit in it, or as the universal. Or the lower soul inheres only in the higher, as a predicate in a subject: and this mere ideal is not to be ranked very high, as is indeed the case in formal thought; that which is for itself is, on the contrary, the never-ceasing return into itself, to which actuality belongs. We can determine these expressions even more particularly. For if we speak of soul and body, we term the corporeal the objective and the soul the subjective; and the misfortune of nature is just this, that it is objective, that is, it is the Notion only implicitly, and not explicitly. In the natural there is, no doubt, a certain activity, but again this whole sphere is only the objective, the implicit element in one higher. As, moreover, the implicit in its sphere appears as a reality for the development of the Idea, it has two sides; the universal is already itself an actual, as, for example, the vegetative soul. Aristotle’s meaning is therefore this.. an empty universal is that which does not itself exist, or is not itself species. All that is universal is in fact real, as particular, individual, existing for another. But that universal is real, in that by itself, without further change, it constitutes its first species, and when further developed it belongs, not to this, but to a higher stage. These are the general determinations which are of the greatest importance, and which, if developed, would lead to all true views of the organic, &c., since they give a correct general representation of the principle of realization.
a. The nutritive or vegetative soul is therefore, according to Aristotle (De Anima, II. 4), to be conceived as the first, which is energy, the general Notion of the soul itself, just as it is, without further determination; or, as we should say, plant life is the Notion of the organic. What Aristotle goes on to say of nourishment, for instance, whether the like is nourished by the like, or by the opposite, is of little importance. It may, however, be mentioned that Aristotle (De Anima, II. 12) says of the vegetative soul that it is related only to matter, and that only after a material manner, as when we eat and drink, but that it cannot take up into itself the forms of sensible things: we, too, ourselves in practical matters are related as particular individuals to a material existence here and now, in which our own material existence comes into activity.
b. There is more to interest us in Aristotle’s determination of sense-perception (De Anima, II. 5), as to which I shall make some further quotations. Sense-perception is in general a potentiality (we should say a receptivity), but this potentiality is also activity; it is therefore not to be conceived as mere passivity. Passivity and activity pertain to one and the same, or passivity has two senses. “On the one hand a passivity is the destruction of one state by its opposite; on the other baud, it is a preservation of what is merely potential by means of what is actual.” The one case occurs in the acquisition of knowledge, which is a passivity in so far as a change takes place from one condition (eziς) into an opposite condition; but there is another passivity, in which something only potentially posited is maintained, therefore knowledge is knowing in an active sense (supra, p. 182). From this Aristotle concludes: “There is one change which is privative; and another which acts on the nature and the permanent energy The first change in the subject of perception (aisqhtikou) is caused by that which produces the perception; but, once produced, the perception is possessed as knowledge (episthmh).” Because that which produces the change is different from the result, perception is passivity; but it is just as much spontaneity, “and sense perception, like knowledge (qewrein), has to do with this aspect of activity. But the difference is, that what causes the perception is external. The cause of this is that perceptive activity is directed on the particular, while know ledge has as its object the universal; but the universal is, to a certain extent, in the soul itself as its substance. Everyone can therefore think when he will,” and for this very reason thought is free, “but perception does not depend on him, having the necessary condition that the object perceived be present.” The influence from without, as a passivity, comes therefore first; but there follows the activity of making this passive content one’s own. This is doubtless the correct point from which to view perception, whatever be the manner of further development preferred, subjective idealism, or any other way. For it is a matter of perfect indifference whether we find ourselves subjectively or objectively determined; in both there is contained the moment of passivity, by which the perception conies to pass. The monad of Leibnitz appears, it is true, to be an idea opposed to this, since every monad, every point of my finger, as atom or individual, is an entire universe, the whole of which develops in itself without reference to other monads. Here seems to be asserted the highest idealistic freedom, but it is of no avail to imagine that all in me develops out of me; for we must always recollect that what is thus developed in me is passive, and not free. With this moment of passivity Aristotle does not fall short of idealism; sensation is always in one aspect passive. That is, however, a false idealism which thinks that the passivity and spontaneity of the mind depend on whether the determination given is from within or from without, as if there were freedom in sense-perception, whereas it is itself a sphere of limitation. It is one thing when the matter – whether it be sensation, light, colour, seeing or hearing – is apprehended from the Idea, for it is then shown that it comes to pass from the self-determination of the Idea. But it is different when, in so far as I exist as an individual subject, the Idea exists in me as this particular individual; there we have the standpoint of finitude established, and therefore of passivity. Thus there need be no standing on ceremony with sense-perception, nor can a system of idealism be based on the theory that nothing comes to us from without: as Fichte’s theory about himself was, that when he put on his coat, he constituted it in part by drawing it on, or even by looking at it. The individual element in sensation is the sphere of the individuality of consciousness; it is present therein in the form of one thing as much as of another, and its individuality consists in this fact, that other things exist for it. Aristotle continues: “Speaking generally, the difference is that potentiality is twofold; as we say a boy may become a general, and a grown man may also become so,” for the latter has the effective power. “This is the nature of the faculty of sense-perception (aisqhtikon); it is in potentiality what the object of sense (aisqhton) is in actuality. Sense-perception is therefore passive, in so far as it does not resemble its object, but after the impression has been made it becomes similar to its object, and is identified with it.” The reaction of sense-perception consists therefore In this active receiving into itself of that which is perceived but this is simply activity in passivity, the spontaneity which abrogates the receptivity in sense-perception. Sense-perception, as made like to itself, has, while appearing to be brought to pass by means of an influence working on it, brought to pass the identity of itself and its object. If then subjective idealism declares that there are no external things, that they are but a determination of our self, this must be admitted in respect to pure sense-perception, since sense-perception is a subjective existence or state in me, which yet, however, is not for that reason freedom.
In speaking of sense-perception, Aristotle (De Anima, II. 12) makes use of his celebrated simile, which has so often occasioned misapprehension, because it has been understood quite incorrectly. His words are: “Sense-perception is the receiving of sensible forms without matter, as wax receives only the impress of the golden signet ring, not the gold itself, but merely its form.” For the form is the object as universal; and theoretically we are in the position, not of the individual and sensuous, but of the universal. The case is different with us in our practical relations, where the influence working upon us pre-supposes in return the contact of the material, for which reason, as Aristotle asserts, plants do not perceive (supra, p. 186). On the other hand, in receiving form, the material is lost sight of; for the receiving of form indicates no positive relation to the matter, which is no longer something offering resistance. If, therefore, sense-perceptions are termed in general sensuous impressions, we, in matter-of-fact fashion, do not get beyond this crude way of putting it; and in making the transition to soul, we take refuge behind popular conceptions, which are partly ill-defined Notions, and partly not Notions at all. Thus it is said that all sense-perceptions are impressed on the soul by external things, just as the matter of the signet ring works on the matter of the wax; and then we hear it alleged that this is Aristotle’s philosophy. It is the same with most other philosophers; if they give any sort of illustration that appeals to the senses, everyone can understand it, and everyone takes the content of the comparison in its full extent: as if all that is contained in this sensuous relationship should also hold good of the spiritual. No great importance is therefore to be attached to this conception, as it is only an illustration, professing to show by a side comparison that the passive element in sense-perception is in its passivity for pure form only; this form alone is taken up into the percipient subject, and finds a place in the soul. It does not, however, remain in the same relation to it as that in which the form stands to the wax., nor is it as in chemistry where one element is permeated by another as regards its matter. The chief circumstance, therefore, and that which constitutes the difference between this illustration and the condition of the soul is altogether overlooked. That is to say, the wax does not, indeed, take in the form, for the impression remains on it as external figure and contour, without being a form of its real Being; if it were to become such, it would cease to be wax; therefore, because in the illustration there is lacking this reception of form into the Being, no thought is given to it. The soul, on the contrary, assimilates this form into its own substance, and for the very reason, that the soul is in itself, to a certain extent, the sum of all that is perceived by the senses (infra, p. 198 ): as it was said above (p. 183), if the axe had its form in the determination of substance, this form would be the soul of the axe. The illustration of the wax has reference to nothing but the fact that only the form comes to the soul; and has nothing to do with the form being external to the wax and remaining so, or with the soul having, like wax, no independent form. The soul is by no means said to be passive wax and to receive its determinations from without; but Aristotle, as we shall soon see (p. 194), really says that the spirit repels matter from itself, and maintains itself against it, having relation only to form. In sense-perception the soul is certainly passive, but the manner in which it receives is not like that of the wax, being just as truly activity of the soul; for after the perceptive faculty has received the impression, it abrogates the passivity, and remains thenceforth free from it (supra, p. 187). The soul therefore changes the form of the external body into its own, and is identical with an abstract quality such as this, for the sole reason that it itself is this universal form.
This description of sense-perception Aristotle explains more fully in what follows (De Anima, III. 2), and expatiates upon this unity and its contrasts, in the course of which explanation there appear many clear and far-reaching glimpses into the Nature of consciousness. “The bodily organ of each sense-perception receives the object perceived without matter. Hence, when the object of sense is removed, the perceptions and the images which represent them remain in the organs. In the act of sense-perception the object perceived is no doubt identical with the subject that perceives, but they do not exist  as the same; for instance, sound and the hearing are the same when in active exercise, but that which has hearing does not always hear, and that which has sound is not always sounding. When that which is the potentiality of hearing comes into exercise, and likewise that which is the potentiality of sound, hearing and sound, being in full activity, coincide,” they do not remain separate energies. “If then movement and action, as well as passivity, have a place in the object on which activity is exercised (en tw poioumenw), it follows necessarily that the energy of hearing and sound is contained in that which potentially is hearing, for the energy of the active and moving is in the passive. As therefore activity and passivity are manifested in the subject which receives the effect, and not in the object which produces it (poiounti), the energy both of the object and of the faculty of sense-perception is in the faculty itself. For hearing and sounding there are two words, for seeing only one; seeing is the activity of the person who sees, but the activity of the colour is without name. Since the energy of that which is perceived and that which perceives is one energy, and the aspect they present is alone different, the so-called sounding and hearing must cease simultaneously.” There is a body which sounds and a subject which hears; they are twofold in the aspect they present, but hearing, taken by itself, is intrinsically an activity of both. In like manner, when I have by sense the perception of redness and hardness, my perception is itself red and hard: that is, I find myself determined in that way, even though reflection says that outside of me there is a red, hard thing, and that it and my finger are two; but they are also one, my eye is red and the thing. It is upon this difference and this identity that everything depends; and Aristotle demonstrates this in the most emphatic way, and holds firmly to his point. The later distinction of subjective and objective is the reflection of consciousness; sense-perception is simply the abrogation of this separation, it is that form of identity which abstracts from subjectivity and objectivity. What is simple, the soul proper or the I, is in sense-perception unity in difference. “Further, every sense-perception is in its organ, and distinguishes every thing that is perceived, like black and white, and so on. It is thus not possible for separate perceptions, white and sweet, to be distinguished as separate indifferent moments, for both must be present (dhka) to one subject. This one subject must therefore determine one thing to be different from another. This, as distinguished, can also not be in a different place or time, for it must be undivided and in undivided time. But it is impossible that one and the same thing should be affected by contrary movements, in so far as it is undivided and in undivided time. If sweetness affects sense-perception in one way, and bitterness in the contrary way, and whiteness in yet another way, the power of judging is numerically not discrete nor divisible, but according to the Notion (tw einai)  it is distinguished. That which is the same and indivisible thus possesses in potentiality opposite qualities; but with its true existence (tw einai) that cannot be the case, for in its activity it is separable, and cannot at the same time be both white and black. Sense-perception and thinking are like that which some term a point, which, in so far as it is one, is inseparable, and in so far as it is two, is separable. So far as it is undivided, the judging faculty is one and acts in a single point of time, but so far as it is divided” (not one) “it employs the same sign twice simultaneously. So far as it employs two, it by limitation distinguishes two, and separates them as having separate origin; but so far as it is one, it judges by one act in one single point of time” supra, p. 172). For as the point in time, which resembles the point in space, contains future and past, and thus is something different and at the same time one and the same, since it is in one and the same respect separation and union; sense-perception is also one and at the same time separation, separated and not separated, seeing that the faculty of perception has before it in one unity the distinct sense-perception, which by this means receives for the first time a determinate content. Another example is that of number; one and two are different, and, at the same time, even in two one is used and posited as one.
g. From sense-perception Aristotle passes on to thought, and becomes here really speculative. “Thinking,” he says (De Anima, III. 4) “is not passive (apaqeς), but receptive of the form, and is in potentiality similar to it. Therefore the understanding (nouς), because it thinks all things, is free from all admixture (amighς), in order that it may overcome (krath), as Anaxagoras says, that is, in order that it way acquire knowledge; for, coming forth in its energy (paremfainomenon), it holds back what is alien to it, and fortifies itself against it (antifrattei). Therefore the nature of the understanding is none other than this potentiality.” But potentiality itself is here not matter; that is to say, the understanding has no matter, for potentiality pertains to its very substance. For thinking is really the not being implicit; and on account of its purity its reality is not the being-for-another, but its potentiality is itself a being-for-self. A thing is real because it is this determinate thing; the opposite determination, its potentiality to be, for instance, smoke, ashes, and so on, is not posited in it. In the corporeal, therefore, matter, as potentiality, and external form, as reality, are opposed to one another; but the soul is, in contrast with this, universal potentiality itself, without matter, because its essence is energy. “Understanding, then, in the soul, as that which possesses consciousness, is nothing in reality before it thinks; “it is absolute activity, but exists only when it is active.” It is therefore not incorporated with the body. For what should it be like, warm or cold? Or should it be an organ? But it is none of these. That it is, however, different from the faculty of sense-perception is clear. For sense-perception cannot perceive after a violent perception; for instance, it cannot smell nor see after experiencing strong smells or colours.. But the understanding, after it has thought something which can only be thought with difficulty, will not have more but less difficulty in thinking of something that is easier. For there is no sense-perception independent of the body, but the understanding is separable from it. When it has then become something individual, like him who is really possessed of a faculty of knowing (and this happens when he can energize through himself), it then is also in a certain degree according to potentiality, but yet not so in the same manner as it was before learning and finding.” (Cf. supra, pp. 182, 187.)
Thinking makes itself into passive understanding, that is, into what is for it the objective; and thus it here becomes plain to what extent the dictum nihil est in intellectu quod non fuerit in sensu expresses Aristotle’s meaning. Aristotle, raising difficulties, goes on to ask, “If reason is simple and unaffected by impressions, and has nothing n common with other objects, how can it think, since thinking is certainly a state of receptivity?” That is to say, in thinking there is a reference to an object distinct from itself. “For it is when two objects have something in common that the one appears to produce and the other to receive an impression. There is a further difficulty, whether understanding can itself be the object of thought.. In that case understanding would either be inherent in other things – unless it is the object of thought in a different sense from that in which other things are so , but there is only one sense in which things can be objects of thought – or, on the other hand, it would have something compounded with it, making it an object of thought as other things are. Now it has been already said that passivity is so determined that understanding is in potentiality all that thought is exercised on: but at the same time it is in actuality nothing before the exercise of thought.” That is to say, thought is implicitly the content of the object of what is thought, and in coming into existence it only coincides with itself; but the self-conscious understanding is not merely implicit, but essentially explicit, since it is within itself all things. That is an idealistic way of expressing it; and yet they say that Aristotle is an empiricist.
The passivity of understanding has therefore ‘here only the sense of potentiality before actuality, and that is the great principle of Aristotle; in regard to this he brings forward at the end of the same chapter another much-decried illustration, which has been just as much misunderstood as the preceding. “Reason is like a book upon whose pages nothing is actually written; “that is, however, paper, but not a book. All Aristotle’s thoughts are overlooked, and only external illustrations such as this are comprehended. A book on which nothing is written everyone can understand. And the technical term is the well-known tabula rasa, which is to be found wherever Aristotle is spoken of: Aristotle is said to have alleged that the mind is a blank page, on which characters are first traced by external objects, so that thinking thus comes to it from without. But that is the very opposite of what Aristotle says. Instead of the Notion being adhered to, casual comparisons such as these have. been caught up here and there by the imagination, as if they expressed the matter itself. But Aristotle did not in the least intend that the analogy should be pushed to its furthest extent: the understanding is of a surety not a thing, and has not the passivity of a writing tablet; it, is itself the energy, which is not, as it would be in the case of a tablet, external to it. The analogy is therefore confined to this, that the soul has a content only in so far as actual thought is exercised. The soul is this book unwritten on, and the meaning consequently is that the soul is all things implicitly, but it is not in itself this totality; it is like a book that contains all things potentially, but in reality contains nothing before it is written on. Before real activity nothing truly exists; or “Understanding itself can enter thought, like the objects of thought in general. For in that which is without matter” (in mind), “the thinker” (the subjective) “and the thought” (the objective) “are the same; theoretical knowledge and that which comes to be known are the same. In that which is material, thinking is only in potentiality, so that understanding itself does not belong to it; for understanding is a potentiality without matter, but the object of thought exists in it,’ – ‘ while Nature contains the Idea only implicitly. It is plain from this that the above illustration has been taken in quite a false sense, utterly contrary to Aristotle’s meaning.
Until now we have spoken of the passive understanding. which is the nature of the soul, but also in equal degree its faculty of sense-perception and imagination. Aristotle now proceeds to distinguish active understanding from this, as follows (De Anima, III. 5): “In nature as a whole there is present in every species of things, on the one hand, matter, which in potentiality is the whole of this species, and, on the other hand, cause and energy, operative in all things, in the same way that art is related to matter. ]c therefore necessarily follows that in the soul also these different elements should be present. The faculty of understanding is thus, in one view of it, the capacity of becoming all things; but in another view it is the capacity of creating all things, as is done by an efficient power (eziς), light, for instance, which first causes the colours which exist in potentiality to exist in reality. This understanding is absolute (cwristoς), uncompounded, and not influenced from without, as it is essentially activity. For the active is always more in honour than the passive, and the principle more in honour than the matter that it forms. Knowledge, when in active exercise, is identical with the thing (pragma) known; but what is in potentiality (that is, external reason, imagination, sense-perception) is certainly prior in respect of time in one and the same individual, but in the universal (olwς) it is not even so in respect of time. Active understanding is not such that it sometimes thinks and sometimes does not. When it is absolute, it is the ono and only existence; and this alone is eternal and immortal. We, however, do not remember this process, because this understanding is unaffected from without; but the passive understanding is transitory, and without the former it is incapable of thought.”
The seventh and eighth chapters are expositions of the Maxims contained in the fourth and fifth; they begin ,with these maxims, and have the appearance of being from the hand of a commentator. “The soul,” says Aristotle (De Anima, III. 8), “is in a certain sense the whole of existence. For existent objects are either perceived by the senses or thought; but knowledge itself is in a manner the object of knowledge, and perception the object of perception.” What are known and perceived are either the things themselves or their forms. Knowledge and sense-perception are not the things themselves (the stone is not in the soul), but their form; so that the soul is like the hand. As this is the instrument by which we grasp instruments, so the understanding is the form by which we apprehend forms, and sense-perception the form of the objects of sense.” Before this Aristotle had remarked (De Anima, 111. 4) “It has been truly said that the soul is the place of ideas (tipos eidwn): not the whole soul, but only the thinking soul, and these ideas do not exist in the soul actually, but only potentially.” That is to say, the ideas are at first only quiescent forms, not activities, and so Aristotle is not a realist. But the understanding makes these forms, like those of external nature, its objects, its thoughts, its potentiality. Aristotle therefore says in the seventh chapter: “The understanding thinks the abstract (ta en afairesei legomena), just as it conceives snubnosedness not as snubnosedness that cannot be separated from the flesh, but as hollowness.” Then in the eighth chapter Aristotle goes ou to say: “But as no object is separated from its perceived dimensions, so in the forms perceived by sense there are also objects of thought, both abstract conceptions and the qualities (ezeiς) and determinations of the objects of sense. In this way he who perceives nothing by his senses learns nothing and understands nothing; when he discerns anything (qewrh), he must necessarily discern it as a pictorial conception, for such conceptions are like sense-perceptions, only without matter. In what way then are our primary ideas distinguished, so as not to be mistaken for conceptions? Or is it not the case also that other thoughts even are not pictorial conceptions, but only that they are never found unassociated with such conceptions ? “Since what follows contains no answer to the questions raised here at the very end, this would seem an additional indication that these portions follow later. Aristotle concludes the seventh chapter with the words: “Speaking generally, the understanding is the faculty which thinks things in their real activity. Whether, however, it can think the absolute or not, unless it be itself separated from the sensuous, we shall inquire later (usteron). This “later” Buhle considers to have reference to the “highest philosophy.”
This identity of the subjective and objective, which is present in the active understanding – while finite things and mental states are respectively one separated from the other, because there the understanding is only in potentiality – is the highest point which speculation can reach: and in it Aristotle reverts to his metaphysical principles (p. 147), where he termed self-thinking reason absolute Thought, divine Understanding, or Mind in its absolute character. It is only in appearance that thought is spoken of as on a level with what is other than thought; this fashion of bringing what is different into conjunction certainly appears in Aristotle. But what he says of thought is explicitly and absolutely speculative, and is not on the same level with anything else, such as sense-perception, which has only potentiality for thought. This fact is moreover involved, that reason is implicitly the true totality, but in that case thought is in truth the activity which is independent and absolute existence; that is, the thought of Thought, which is determined thus abstractly, but which constitutes the nature of absolute mind explicitly. These are the main points which are to be taken note of in Aristotle with regard to his speculative ideas, which it is impossible for us, however, to treat in greater detail.
We have now to pass on to what follows, which is a practical philosophy, and in doing so we must first establish firmly the conception of desire, which is really the turning round of thought into its negative side, wherein it becomes practical. Aristotle (De Anima, III. 7 and 6) says: “The object of knowledge and active knowledge are one and the same; what is in potentiality is in the individual prior in point of time, although not so in itself. For all that comes into being originates from that which operates actively. The object perceived by sense appears as that which causes the faculty of perception in potentiality to become the faculty of perception in actuality, for the latter is not receptive of influence, and does not undergo change. On that account it has a different kind of movement from the ordinary, for movement, as we have seen (p. 163) is the activity of an unaccomplished end (ene eia atelouς); pure activity (aplws energeia), on the contrary, is that of the accomplished end (tou tetelesmenou).” – “The simple thoughts of the soul are such that in regard to them there can be no falsity; but that in which there is falsity or truth is a combination of thoughts as constituting one conception; for example, “the diameter is incommensurate.” Or if by mistake white has been stated to be not white, not-white has been brought into connection with it. All this process may, however, just as well be termed separation. But that which makes everything one is reason, which in the form of its thinking thinks the undivided in undivided time and with the undivided action of the soul.” – “Sense-perception resembles simple assertion and thought; but pleasant or unpleasant sense-perception has the relation of affirmation or negation,” therefore of the positive and negative determination of thought. “And to perceive the pleasant or unpleasant is to employ the activity” (spontaneity) “of the middle state of sense-perception upon good or evil, in so far as they are such. But desire and aversion are the same in energy; it is only in manifestation that they are different. To the reasoning soul pictorial conceptions take the place of sense-perceptions, and when the mind affirms or denies something to be good or bad, it desires or avoids its object. It has the relation both of unity and limit. The understanding,” as that which determines opposites, “recognizes the forms underlying pictorial conceptions; and in the same manner as what is desirable in them and what is to be avoided have been determined for it, so it also is determined independently of actual sense-perceptions when it is in mental conceptions. And when, in dealing with conception or thought, as if seeing them, it compares the future with the present and passes judgment accordingly, and determines what is pleasant or unpleasant in this respect; it desires or seeks to avoid it, and in general it finds itself in practical operation. But independently of action true and false are of the same character as good or evil.”
b- Practical Philosophy
From this the conception of will, or the practical element is shown to us, and it has to be reckoned as still belonging to the Philosophy of Mind. Aristotle has treated it in several works which we now possess.
We have three great ethical works: the Nicomachean Ethics (Hqika Nikomaceia) in ten books, the Magna Moralia (Hqika megala) in two books, and the Eudemean Ethics (Hqika Eudhmia) in seven books; the last deals for the most part with particular virtues, while in the first two general investigations on the principles are contained. Just as the best that we even now possess in reference to psychology is what we have obtained from Aristotle, so is it with his reflections on the actual agent in volition, on freedom, and the further determinations of imputation, intention, &c. We must simply give ourselves the trouble to understand these, and to translate them into our own form of speech, conception and thought; and this is certainly difficult. Aristotle follows the same course here as in his Physics, determining one after the other, in the most thorough and accurate fashion, the many moments which appear in desire: the purpose, the decision, voluntary or forced action, the act of ignorance, guilt, moral responsibility, &c. I cannot enter upon this somewhat psychological presentation of the subject. I shall only make the following remarks on the Aristotelian definitions.
Aristotle defines the principle of morality or the highest good, as happiness (eudaimonia), which later on became a much disputed expression. It is good generally, not as abstract idea, but in such a way that the moment of realization is what actually answers to it. Aristotle thus does not content himself with the Platonic idea of the good, because it is only general; with him the question is taken in its determinateness. Aristotle then says that the good is what has its end in itself (teleion). If we tried to translate teleion by “perfect” here, we should translate it badly; it is that which, as having its end (to teloς) in itself, is not desired for the sake of anything else, but for its own sake (supra, pp. 162, 201). Aristotle determines happiness in this regard as the absolute end existing in and for itself, and gives the following definition of it. It is “the energy of the life that has its end in itself in accordance with absolute virtue (zwhs teleias energeia kat arethn teleian).” He makes rational insight an essential condition; all action arising from sensuous desires, or from lack of freedom generally, indicates lack of insight; it is an irrational action, or an action which does not proceed from thought as such. But the absolute rational activity is alone knowledge, the action which in itself satisfies itself, and this is hence divine happiness; with the other virtues, on the contrary, only human happiness is obtained, just as from a theoretic point of view feeling is finite as compared with divine thought. Aristotle goes on to say ranch that is good and beautiful about virtue and the good and happiness in general, and states that happiness, as the good attainable by us, is not to be found without virtue, &c.; in all of which there is no profound insight from a speculative point of view.
In regard to the conception of virtue I should like to say something more. From a practical point of view, Aristotle first of all distinguishes in soul a rational and an irrational side; in the latter reason only exists potentially; under it come the feelings, passions and affections. On the rational side understanding, wisdom, discretion, knowledge, have their place; but they still do not constitute virtue, which first subsists in the unity of the rational and the irrational sides. When the inclinations are so related to virtue that they carry out its dictates, this, according to Aristotle, is virtue. When the perception is either bad or altogether lacking, but the heart is good, good – will may be there, but not virtue, because the principle – that is reason – which is essential to virtue, is wanting. Aristotle thus places virtue in knowledge, yet reason is not, as many believe, the principle of virtue purely in itself, for it is rather the rational impulse towards what is good; both desire and reason are thus necessary moments in virtue. Hence it cannot be said of virtue that it is misemployed, for it itself is the employer. Thus Aristotle, as we have already seen (Vol. I. pp. 412-414), blames Socrates, because be places virtue in perception alone. There must be an irrational impulse towards what is good, but reason comes in addition as that which judges and determines the impulse; yet when a beginning from virtue has been made, it does not necessarily follow that the passions are in accordance, since often enough they are quite the reverse. Thus in virtue, because it has realization as its aim, and pertains to the individual, reason is not the solitary principle; for inclination is the force that impels, the particular, which as far as the practical side of the individual subject is concerned, is what makes for realization. But then the subject must, in this separation of his activity, bring likewise his passions under the subjection of the universal, and this unity, in which the rational is pre-eminent, is virtue. This is the correct determination; on the one hand this definition is opposed to these ideals of the utter subjection of the passions, by which men are guided from their youth up, and, on the other, it is opposed to the point of view that declares desires to be good in themselves. Both these extreme views have been frequent in modern times, just as sometimes we hear that the man who by nature is beauteous and noble, is better than he who acts from duty; and then it is said that duty must be performed as duty, without taking into account the particular point of view as a moment of the whole.
Aristotle then passes through the particular virtues at great length. Because the virtues, considered as the union of the desiring or realizing with the rational, have an illogical moment within them, Aristotle places’ their principle on the side of feeling in a mean, so that virtue is the mean between two extremes; e.g. liberality is the mean between avarice and prodigality; gentleness between passion and passive endurance; bravery between rashness and cowardice; friendship between egotism and self-effacement, &c. For the good, and specially that good which has to do with the senses, which would suffer if affected to an excessive degree (supra, p. 195), is therefore a mean, just because the sensuous is an ingredient in it. This does not appear to be a sufficient definition, and it is merely a quantitative determination, just because it is not only the Notion that determines, but the empirical side is also present. Virtue is not absolutely determined in itself, but likewise has a material element, the nature of which is capable of a more or a less. Thus if it has been objected to Aristotle’s definition of virtue as a difference in degree, that it is unsatisfactory and vague, we may say that this really is involved in the nature of the thing. Virtue, and determinate virtue in its entirety, enters into a sphere where that which is quantitative has a place; thought here is no more as such at home with itself, and the quantitative limit undetermined. The nature of particular virtues is of such a kind, that they are capable of no more exact determination; they can only bespoken of in general, and for them there is no further determination than just this indefinite one. But in our way of looking at things, duty is something absolutely existent in itself, and not a mean between existent extremes through which it is determined; but this universal likewise results in being empty, or rather undetermined, while that determinate content is a moment of being that immediately involves us in conflicting duties. It is in practice that man seeks a necessity in man as individual, and endeavours to express it; but it is either formal, or as in particular virtues, a definite content, which, in so being, falls a prey to empiricism.
We have still to speak of Aristotle’s Politics; he was conscious more or less that the positive substance, the necessary organization and realization of practical spirit, is the state, which is actualized through subjective activity, so that this last finds in it its determination and end. Aristotle hence also looks on political philosophy as the sum total of practical philosophy, the end of the state as general happiness. “All science and all capacity (dunamiς),” he says (Magn. Mor. I. 1), “have an end, and this is the good: the more excellent they are, the more excellent is their end; but the most excellent capacity is the political, and hence its end is also the good.” Of Ethics Aristotle recognizes that it indubitably also applies to the individual, though its perfection is attained in the nation as a whole. “Even if the highest good is the same for an individual and for a whole state, it would yet surely be greater and more glorious to win and maintain it for a state; to do this for an individual were meritorious, but to do it for a nation and for whole states were more noble and god-like still. Such is the object of practical science, and this pertains in a measure to politics.”
Aristotle indeed appreciates so highly the state, that he starts at once (Polit. I. 2) by defining man as “a political animal, having reason. Hence he alone has a knowledge of good and evil, of justice and injustice, and not the beast.,” for the beast does not think, and yet in modern times men rest the distinction which exists in these determinations on sensation, which beasts have equally with men. There is also the sense of good and evil, &c., and Aristotle knows this aspect as well (supra, p. 202); but that through which it is not animal sensation merely, is thought. Hence rational perception is also to Aristotle the essential condition of virtue, and thus the harmony between the sensational point of view and that of reason is an essential moment in his eudæmonism. After Aristotle so determines man, be says: “The common intercourse of these, forms the family and the state; in the understanding, however, that the state, in the order of nature” (i.e. in its Notion, in regard to reason and truth, not to time) “is prior to the family” (the natural relation, not the rational) “and to the individual among us.” Aristotle does not place the individual and his rights first, but recognizes the state as what in its essence is higher than the individual and the family, for the very reason that it constitutes their substantiality. “For the whole must be prior to its parts. If, for example, you take away the whole body, there is not a foot or baud remaining, excepting in name, and as if anyone should call a hand of stone a band; for a band destroyed is like a hand of stone.” If the man is dead, all the parts perish. “For everything is defined according to its energy and inherent powers, so that when these no longer remain such as they were, it cannot be said that anything is the same excepting in name. The state is likewise the essence of the individuals; the individual when separate from the whole, is just as little complete in himself as any other organic part separated from the whole.” This is directly antagonistic to the modern principle in which the particular will of the individual, as absolute, is made the starting-point; so that all men by giving their votes, decide what is to be the law, and thereby a commonweal is brought into existence. But with Aristotle, as with Plato, the state is the prius, the substantial, the chief, for its end is the highest in respect of the practical. “But whoever was incapable of this society, or so complete in himself as not to want it, would be either a beast or a god.”
From these few remarks it is clear that Aristotle could not have had any thought, of a so-called natural right (if a natural right be wanted), that is, the idea of the abstract man outside of any actual relation to others. For the rest, his Politics contain points of view even now full of instruction for us, respecting the inward elements of a state, and a description of the various constitutions; the latter, however, has no longer the same interest, on account of the different principle at the base of ancient and modern states. No land was so rich as Greece, alike in the number of its constitutions, and in the frequent changes from one to another of these in a single state; but the Greeks were still unacquainted with the abstract right of our modern states, that isolates the individual, allows of his acting as such, and yet, as an invisible spirit, holds all its parts together. This is done in such a way, however, that in no one is there properly speaking either the consciousness of, or the activity for the whole; but because the individual is really held to be a person, and all his concern is the protection of his individuality, he works for the whole without knowing how. It is a divided activity in which each has only his part, just as in a factory no one makes a whole, but only a part, and does not possess skill in other departments, because only a few are employed in fitting the different parts together. It is free nations alone that have the consciousness of and activity for the whole; in modern times the individual is only free for himself as such, and enjoys citizen freedom alone – in the sense of that of a bourgeois and not of a citoyen. We do not possess two separate words to mark this distinction. The freedom of citizens in this signification is the dispensing with universality, the principle of isolation; but it is a necessary moment unknown to ancient states. It is the perfect independence of the points, and therefore the greater independence of the whole, which constitutes the higher organic life. After the state received this principle into itself, the higher freedom could come forth. These other states are sports and products of nature which depend upon chance and upon the caprice of the individual, but now, for the first time, the inward subsistence and indestructible universality, which is real and consolidated in its parts, is rendered possible.
Aristotle for the rest has not tried like Plato to describe such a state, but in respect of the constitution he merely points out that the best must rule. But this always takes place, let men do as they will, and hence he has not so very much to do with determining the forms of the constitution. By way of proving that the best must rule, Aristotle says this: “The best would suffer injustice if rated on an equality with the others inferior to them in virtue and political abilities, for a notable man is like a god amongst men.” Here Alexander is no doubt in Aristotle’s mind, as one who must rule as though he were a god, and over whom no one, and not even law, could maintain its supremacy. “For him there is no law, for he himself is law. Such a man could perhaps be turned out of the state, but not subjected to control any more than Jupiter. Nothing remains but, what is natural to all, quietly to submit to such an one, and to let men like this be absolutely and perpetually kings in the states.” The Greek Democracy had then entirely fallen into decay, so that Aristotle could no longer ascribe to it any merit.
4- The Logic
On the other side of the Philosophy of Mind, we have still Aristotle’s science of abstract thought, a Logic, to consider. For hundreds and thousands of y ears it was just as much honoured as it is despised now. Aristotle has been regarded as the originator of Logic: his logical works are the source of, and authority for the logical treatises of all times; which last were, in great measure, only special developments or deductions, and must have been dull, insipid, imperfect, and purely formal. And even in quite recent times, Kant has said that since the age of Aristotle, logic like pure geometry since Euclid’s day – has been a complete and perfect science which has kept its place even down to the present day, without attaining to any further scientific improvements or alteration. Although logic is here mentioned for the first time, and in the whole of the history of Philosophy that is to come no other can be mentioned (for no other has existed, unless we count the negation of’ Scepticism), we cannot here speak more precisely of its content, but merely find room for its general characterization. The forms he gives to us come from Aristotle both in reference to the Notion and to the judgment and conclusion. As in natural history, animals, such as the unicorn, mammoth, beetle, mollusc, &c., are considered, and their nature described, so Aristotle is, so to speak, the describer of the nature of these spiritual forms of thought but in this inference of the one from the other, Aristotle has only presented thought as defined in its finite application and aspect, and his logic is thus a natural history of finite thought. Because it is a knowledge and consciousness of the abstract activity of pure understanding, it is not a knowledge of this and that concrete fact, being pure form. This knowledge is in fact marvellous, and even more marvellous is the manner in which it is constituted: this logic is hence a work which does the greatest honour to the deep thought of its discoverer and to the power of his abstraction. For the greatest cohesive power in thought is found in separating it from what is material and thus securing it. and the strength shows itself almost more, if thus secured when it, amalgamated with matter, turns about in manifold ways and is seen to be capable of numberless alterations and applications. Aristotle also considers, in fact, not .only the movement of thought, but likewise of thought in ordinary conception. The Logic of Aristotle is contained in five books, which are collected together under the name Organon.
a. The Categories (kathgoriai), of which the first work treats, are the universal determinations, that which is predicated of existent things (kathgoreitai): as well that which we call conceptions of the understanding, as the simple realities of things. This may be called an ontology, as pertaining to metaphysics; hence these determinations also appear in Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Aristotle (Categor. I.) now says: “Things are termed homonym., (omwnuma) of which the name alone is common, but which have a different substantial definition (logos ths oustaς); thus a horse and the picture of a horse are both called an animal.”
Thus the Notion (logoς) is opposed to the homonym and since Aristotle deduces herefrom ta legomena, of which the second chapter treats, it is clear that this last expression indicates more than mere predication, and is here to be taken as determinate Notions. “Determinate conceptions are either enunciated after a complex (kata sumplokhn) or after an incomplex manner (aneu sumplokhς); the first as ‘a man conquers,’ ‘the ox runs,’ and the other as ‘man,’ ‘ox,’ ‘to conquer,’ ‘to run.’” In the first rank of this division Aristotle places ta onta, which are undoubtedly purely subjective relations of such as exist per se, so that the relation is not in them but external to them. Now although ta legomena and ta onta are again distinguished from one another, Aristotle yet again employs both legetai and esti of the onta, so that legetai is predicated of a species, in relation to its particular; esti is, on the contrary, employed. of a universal, which is not Idea but only simple. For Aristotle says, “There are predicates (onta) which can be assigned to a certain subject (kaq upokeimenou legetai), yet are in no subject, as ‘man’ is predicated of “some certain man,” and yet he is no particular man. Others are in a subject (en upokeimenw esti) yet are not predicated of any subject (I mean by a thing being in a subject, that it is in any thing not as a part, but as unable to subsist without that in which it is), as ‘a grammatical art’ (tis grammatikh) is in a subject, “the soul,” but cannot be predicated of any,’ or related as genus to a subject. Some are predicated of a subject. (legetai) and are in it; science is in the soul and is predicated of the grammatical art. Some again are neither in, nor are predicated of any subject, as “a certain man,’ the individual, the one in number; but some of them can be in a subject like ‘a certain grammatical art.’” Instead of subject we should do better to speak of substratum, for it is that to which the Notion necessarily relates, i.e. that which is neglected in abstraction, and thus the individual opposed to the Notion. We can see that Aristotle has the difference of the genus or universal and the individual present to his mind.
The first thing which Aristotle has indicated in the foregoing is thus the genus, which is predicated of a man, but which is not in him, at least not as a particular quality; the brave man, for example, is an actual, but expressed as a universal conception. In formal logic and its conceptions and definitions there is always present opposition to an actual; and the logical actual is in itself something thought, bravery thus being, for example, a pure form of abstraction. This logic of the understanding seeks, however, in its three stages to imitate the categories of the absolute. The conception or definition is a logical actual, and thus in itself merely something thought, i.e. possible. In the judgment this logic calls a conception A the actual subject and connects with it another actual as the conception B; B is said to be the conception and A to be dependent on it – but B is only the more general conception. In the syllogism necessity is said to be simulated: even in a judgment there is a synthesis of a conception and something whose existence is assumed; in the syllogism it should bear the form of necessity, because both the opposites are set forth in a third as through the medius terminus of reason, e.g. as was the case with the mean of virtue (supra, p. 206). The major term expresses logical being and the minor term logical potentiality, for Caius is a mere potentiality for logic; the conclusion unites both. But it is to reason that life first unfolds itself, for it is true reality. What comes second in Aristotle is the universal, which is not the genus, i.e. it is not in itself the unity of universal and particular – nor is it absolute individuality and hence infinitude. This is the moment or predicate in a subject certainly, but it is not absolutely in and for itself. This relation is now expressed through ou legetai; for o legetai is that which, as universal in itself, is likewise infinite. The third is the particular which is predicated: just as science in itself is infinite and thus the genus, e.g. of the grammatical art; but at the same time as universal, or as not individual, it is the moment of a subject. The fourth indicated by Aristotle is what is called immediate conception – the individual. The reservation that something such as a definite grammatical art is also in a subject, has no place here, for the definite grammatical art is not really in itself individual.
Aristotle, himself,’ makes the following remarks on this matter: “When one thing is predicated (kathgoreitai) of another, as of a subject, whatever things are said (legetai) of the predicate,” i.e. what is related to it as a universal, “may be also said of the subject?’ This is the ordinary conclusion; from this we see, since this matter is so speedily despatched, that the real conclusion has with Aristotle a much greater significance. “The different genera not arranged under one another (mh up allhla tetargmena), such as ‘animal’ and ‘science,’ differ in their species (diaforaς). For instance, animals are divided into beasts, bird, fishes – but science has no such distinction. In subordinate genera, however, there may be the same distinctions; for the superior genera are predicated of the inferior, so that as many distinctions as there are of the predicate, so many will there be of the subject.”
After Aristotle had thus far spoken of what is enunciated respecting that which is connected, or the complex, he now comes to “that which is predicated without any connection,” or the incomplex; for as we saw (p. 212) this was the division which he laid down in the second chapter. That which is predicated without any connection he treats of more fully as the categories proper, in what follows; yet the work in which these categories are laid down is not to be regarded as complete. Aristotle takes tan of them “Each conception enunciated signifies either Substance (ousian), or Quality (poion), or Quantity (poson),” matter, “or Relation (pros ti), or Where (pou), or When (pote), or Position (keisqai), or Possession (ecein), or Action (poiein),or Passion (pascein). None of these is considered by itself an affirmation (katafasiς) or a negation (apofasiς), i.e. none is either true or false.” Aristotle adds to these predicables five post predicaments, but he only ranges them all side by side. The categories of relation are the syntheses of quality and quantity, and consequently they belonged to reason; but in as far as they are posited as mere relation, they belong to the understanding and are forms of finitude. Being, essence, takes the first place in them; next to it is possibility, as accident or what is caused; the two are, however, separated. In substance A is Being, B, potentiality; in the relation of causality A and B are Being, but A is posited in B as being posited in a postulation of A. A of substance is logical Being; it is its essence opposed to its existence, and this existence is in logic mere potentiality. In the category of causality the Being of A in B is a mere Being of reflection; B is for itself another. But in reason A is the Being of B as well as of A, and A is the whole Being of A as well as of B.
Aristotle goes on to speak of Substance; first Substance, “in its strictest. (kuriwtata), first and chief sense” is to him the individual, the fourth class of the divisions enunciated above (pp. 212-214). “Secondary substances are those in which as species (eidesi) these first are contained, that is to say, both these and the genera of these species. Of the subject both name and definition (logos) of all things predicated of a subject (twn kaq upokeimenou enwn) – of secondary substances – are predicated; for example of the particular man, as subject, both the name and the definition of ‘man’ (living being) are also predicated. But of things which are in a subject (en upokeimenw ontoς) it is impossible to predicate the definition of the” subordinate “subjects, yet with some we predicate the name: the definition of ‘whiteness.’ thus is not of the body in which it is, but only the name. All other things however,” besides Definition (logos) and “in most cases name, are related to primary substances as subjects” (the individual), “or are inherent in them. Thus without the primary substances none of the rest could exist, for they are the basis (upokeisqai) of all else. Of secondary substances. species is more substance than genus; for it is nearer to the primary substance, and genus is predicated of the species and not the other way.’ – ‘ For species is here the subject, or what does not always require to be something really determined as individual, but which also signifies that which is generally speaking subordinate. “But the species are not more substance one than another, just as in primary substances one is not more substance than the other. Species and genera are likewise, before the rest” (qualities or accidents) “to be called secondary substances: the definition” man “before the fact that he is ‘white’ or ‘runs.’” Abstraction has thus two kinds of objects; ‘man’ and ‘learned’ are both qualities of a certain individual; but the former only abstracts from the individuality and leaves the totality, and is thus the elevation of the individual into the rational, where nothing is lost but the opposition of reflection. “What is true of substances is also true of differences; for as synonyms (sunwnuma) they have both name and definition in common.”
b. The second treatise is on Interpretation (peri ermhneiaς); it is the doctrine of judgments and propositions. Propositions exist where affirmation and negation, falsehood and truth are enunciated;’ they do not relate to pare thought when reason itself thinks; they are not universal but individual.
c. The Analytics come third, and there are two parts of them, the Prior and the Posterior; they deal most fully with proof (apodeiziς) and the syllogisms of the understanding “The syllogism is a reason (logoς) in which if one thing is maintained, another than what was maintained follows of necessity.’ Aristotle’s logic has treated the general theory of conclusions in the main very accurately, but they do not by any means constitute the universal form of truth; in his metaphysics, physics, psychology, &c., Aristotle has not formed conclusions, but thought the Notion in and for itself.
d. The Topics (topika) which treat of ‘places’ (topoi) come fourth; in them the points of view from which anything can be considered are enumerated. Cicero and Giordano Bruno worked this out more fully. Aristotle gives a large number of general points of view which can be taken of an object, a proposition or a problem; each problem can be directly reduced to these different points of view, that must everywhere appear. Thus these ‘places’ are, so to speak, a system of many aspects under which an object can be regarded in investigating it; this constitutes a work which seems specially suitable and requisite for the training of orators and for ordinary conversation, because the knowledge of points of view at once places in our hands the possibility of arriving at the various aspects of a subject, and embracing its whole extent in accordance with these points of view (Vol. I. p. 358). This, according to Aristotle. is the function of Dialectic, which he calls an instrument for finding propositions and conclusions out of probabilities. Such ‘places’ are either of a general kind, such as difference, similarity, opposition, relation, and comparison, or special in nature, such as ‘places’ which prove that something is better or more to be desired, since in it we have the longer duration of time. that which the one wise man or several would choose, the genus as against the species, that which is desirable for itself; also because it is present with the more honourable, because it is end, what approximates to end, the more beautiful and praiseworthy, &c. Aristotle (Topic VIII. 2) says that we must make use of the syllogism by preference, with the dialectician,. but of induction with the multitude. In the same way Aristotle separates the dialectic and demonstrative syllogisms from the rhetorical and every kind of persuasion, but he counts induction as belonging to what is rhetorical.
e. The fifth treatise, finally, deals with the Sophistical Elenchi (sofistikoi elegcoi), or ‘On Refutations,’ as in the unconscious escape of thought in its categories to the material side of popular conception, it arrives at constant contradiction with itself. The sophistical elenchi betray the unconscious ordinary idea into these contradictions, and make it conscious of them, in order to entrap and puzzle it; they were mentioned by us in connection with Zeno, and the Sophists sought them out, but it was the Megarics who were specially strong in them. Aristotle goes through a number of such contradictions by the way of solving them; in so doing he proceeds quietly and carefully, and spares no pains, though they might have been made more dramatic. We have before (Vol. I. pp. 456-459) found specimens of these in treating of the Megarics, and we have seen how Aristotle solves such contradictions through distinction and determination.
Of these five parts of the Aristotelian Organon, what is produced in our ordinary systems of logic is, as a matter of fact, of the slightest and most trivial description, consisting as it does mainly of what is contained in the introduction of Porphyry. More particularly in the first parts, in the Interpretation and in the Analytics, this Aristotelian logic contains these representations of universal forms of thought, such as are now dealt with in ordinary logic, and really form the basis of what in modern times is known as logic. Aristotle has rendered a never-ending service in having recognized and determined the forms which thought assumes within us. For what interests us is the concrete thought immersed as it is in externalities; these forms constitute a net of eternal activity sunk within it, and the operation of setting in their places those fine threads which are drawn throughout everything, is a master-piece of empiricism, and this knowledge is absolutely valuable. Even contemplation, or a knowledge of the numerous forms and modes assumed by this activity, is interesting and important enough. For however dry and contentless the enumeration of the different kinds of judgments and conclusions, and their numerous limitations may appear to us to be, and though they may not seem to serve their purpose of discovering the truth, at least no other science in opposition to this one can be elevated into its place. For instance, if it is held to be a worthy endeavour to gain a knowledge of the infinite number of animals, such as one hundred and sixty-seven kinds of cuckoo, in which one may have the tuft on his head differently shaped from another, or to make acquaintance with some miserable new species of a miserable kind of moss which is no better than a scab, or with an insert, vermin, bug, &c., in some learned work on entomology, it is much more important to be acquainted with the manifold kinds of movement present in thought, than to know about such creatures. The best of what is stated respecting the forms of judgment, conclusion, &c., in ordinary logic, is taken from the works of Aristotle; as far as details are concerned, much has been spun out and added to it, but the truth is to be found with Aristotle.
As regards the real philosophic nature of the Aristotelian logic, it has received ill our text-books a position and significance as though it gave expression only to the activity of the understanding as consciousness; hence it is said to direct us how to think correctly. Thus it appears as though the movement of thought were something independent, unaffected by the object of thought; in other words, as if it contained the so-called laws of thought of our understanding, through which we attain to perception, but through a medium which was not the movement of things themselves. Tile result must certainly be truth, so that things are constituted as we bring them forth according to tile laws of thought; but the manner of this knowledge has merely a subjective, significance, and the judgment and conclusion are not a judgment and conclusion of things themselves. Now if, according to this point of view, thought is considered on its own account, it does not make its appearance implicitly as knowledge, nor is it without content in and for itself; for it is a formal activity which certainly is exercised, but whose content is one given to it. Thought in this sense becomes something subjective; these judgments and conclusions are in and for themselves quite true, or rather correct – this no one ever doubted; but because content is lacking to them, these judgments and conclusions do not suffice for the knowledge of the truth. Thus by logicians they are held to be forms whose content is something entirely different, because they have not even the form of the content; and the meaning which is given to them – namely that they are forms – is found fault with. The worst thing said of them, however, is that their only error is their being formal; both the laws of thought as such, and also its determinations, the categories, are either determinations of the judgment only, or merely subjective forms of the understanding, while the thing-in-itself is very different. Bat in that point of view and in the blame awarded the truth itself is missed, for untruth is the form of opposition between subject and object, and the lack of unity in them; in this case the question is not put at all as to whether anything is absolutely true or not. These determinations have certainly no empirical content, but thought and its movement is itself the content – and, indeed, as interesting a content as any other that can be given; consequently this science of thought is on its own account a true science. But here again we come across the drawback pertaining to the whole Aristotelian manner, as also to all succeeding logic – and that indeed in the highest degree that in thought and in the movement of thought as such, the individual moments fall asunder; there are a number of kinds of judgment and conclusion, each of which is held to be independent, and is supposed to have absolute truth as such. Thus they are simply content, for they then have an indifferent, undistinguished existence, such as we see ill the famous laws of contradiction. conclusions, &c. In this isolation they have., however, no truth; for their totality alone is the truth of thought, because this totality is at once subjective and objective. Thus they are only the material of truth, the formless content; their deficiency is hence not that they are only forms but rather that form is lacking to them, and that they are in too great a degree content. Thus as many individual qualities of a thing are not anything, such as red, hard, &c., if taken by themselves, but only in their unity constitute a real thing, so it is with the unity of the forms of judgment and conclusion, which individually have as little truth as such a quality, or as a rhythm or melody. The form of a conclusion, as also its content, may be quite correct, and yet the conclusion arrived at may be untrue, because this form as such has no truth of its own; but from this point of view these forms have never been considered, and the scorn of logic rests simply on the false assumption that there is a lack of content. Now this content is none other than the speculative Idea. Conceptions of the understanding or of reason constitute the essence of things, not certainly for that point of view, but in truth; and thus also for Aristotle the conceptions of the understanding, namely the categories, constitute the essential realities of Being. If they are thus in and for themselves true, they themselves are their own, and thus the highest content. But in ordinary logic this is not the case, and even as these are represented in the Aristotelian works they are only universal thought-determinations, between which the abstract understanding makes distinctions. This, however, is not the logic of speculative thought, i.e. of reason as distinguished from understanding; for there the identity of the understanding which allows nothing to contradict itself is fundamental. However little this logic of the finite may be speculative in nature, yet we must make ourselves acquainted with it, for it is everywhere discovered in finite relationships. There are many sciences, subjects of knowledge, &c., that know and apply no other forms of thought than these forms of finite thought, which constitute in fact the general method of dealing with the finite sciences. Mathematics, for instance, is a constant series of syllogisms; jurisprudence is the bringing of the particular under the general, the uniting together of both these sides. Within these relationships of finite determinations the syllogism has now, indeed, on account of its terms being three in number, been called the totality of these determinations, and hence by Kant (Kritik der reinen Vernunft, p. 261) also the rational conclusion; but this syllogism addressed to the intelligence as it appears in the ordinary logical form, is only the intelligible form of rationality, and, as we saw above (p. 76), is very different from the rational syllogism proper. Aristotle is thus the originator of the logic of the understanding; its forms only concern the relationship of finite to finite, and in them the truth cannot be grasped. But it must be remarked that Aristotle’s philosophy is not by any means founded on this relationship of the understanding; thus it must not be thought that it is in accordance with these syllogisms that Aristotle has thought. If Aristotle did so, he would not be the speculative philosopher that we have recognized him to be; none of his propositions could have been laid down, and he could not have made any step forward, if he had kept to the forms of this ordinary logic.
Like the whole of Aristotle’s philosophy, his logic really requires recasting, so that all his determinations should be ‘brought into a necessary systematic whole – not a systematic whole which is correctly divided into its parts, and in which no part is forgotten, all being set forth in their proper order, but one in which there is one living organic whole, in which each part is held to be a part, and the whole alone as such is true. Aristotle, in the Politics, for instance (supra, pp. 207-208), often gives expression to this truth. For this reason the individual logical form has in itself no truth, not because it is the form of thought, but because it is determinate thought, individual form, and to be esteemed as such. But as system and absolute form ruling this content, thought has its content as a distinction in itself, being speculative philosophy in which subject and object are immediately identical, and the Notion and the universal are the realities of things. Just as duty certainly expresses the absolute, but, as determinate, a determinate absolute which is only a moment and must be able again to abrogate its determination, the logical form which abrogates itself as this determinate in this very way gives up its claim to be in and for itself. But in this case logic is the science of reason, speculative philosophy of the pure Idea of absolute existence, which is not entangled in the opposition of subject and object, but remains an opposition in thought itself. Yet we certainly may allow that much in logic is an indifferent form.
At this point we would leave off as far as the Aristotelian philosophy is concerned, and from this it is difficult to break away. For the further we go into its details, the more interesting it becomes, and the more do we find the connection which exists among the subjects. The fulness with which I have set forth the principal content of the .Aristotelian philosophy is justified both by the importance of the matter itself, because it offers to us a content of its own, and also by the circumstances already mentioned (p. 118), that against no philosophy have modern times sinned so much as against this, and Done of the ancient philosophers have so much need of being defended as Aristotle.
One of the immediate followers of Aristotle was Theophrastus, born 01. 102, 2 (371 B.C.); though a man of distinction, be can still only be esteemed a commentator on Aristotle. For Aristotle is so rich a treasure-house of philosophic conceptions, that much material is found in him which is ready for further working upon, which may be put forward more abstractly, and in which individual propositions may be brought into prominence. However Aristotle’s manner of procedure, which is to take an empirical starting point of ratiocination [Raisonnement], and to comprehend this in the focus of the speculative Notion, is characteristic of his mind, without being one which, on its own account, can be freely elevated into a method and a principle. Thus of Theophrastus as of many others (Dicaearchus of Messina, for instance), amongst whom Strato of Lampsacus, the successor of Theophrastus, is best known, there is not much to tell. As regards Dicæarchus, Cicero says (Tusc. Quæst. I. 31, 10) that he controverted the immortality of the soul, for he asserted that “the soul is no more than an empty name, and the whole of the capacities and powers with which we act and feel are equally extended over all living bodies, and inseparable from the body; for it is nothing but the body so constituted as to live and feel through a certain symmetry and proportion in its body.” Cicero gives in an historical manner a result as he made it comprehensible to himself, without any speculative conception, Stobæus (Eclog. phys. p. 796), on the other hand, quotes from Dicæarchus that he held the soul to be “a harmony of the four elements.” We have only a little general information to give of Strato, that he acquired great fame as a physicist, and that his conception of nature went upon mechanical lines, and yet not on those of Leucippus and Democritus, and later, of Epicurus; for, according to Stobæus (Eclog. phys. p. 298), he made warmth and cold into elements. Hence, if what is said of him is accurate, he was most unfaithful to the beliefs of Aristotle, because he led everything back to mechanism and chance and did away with the immanent end, without accepting the false teleology of modern times. At least, Cicero (De nat. Deor. I. 13) relates of him that he maintained that “divine strength lies altogether in nature, which has in itself the causes of origination, of growth, and of decay, but lacks all sensation and conformation.” The other Peripatetics occupied themselves more with working up individual doctrines of Aristotle, with bringing out his works in a commentated form, which is more or less rhetorical in character, though similar in content. But in practical life the Peripatetic school maintained as the principle of happiness, the unity of reason and inclination. We thus may set aside any further expansion of the Peripatetic philosophy, because it has no longer the same interest, and later on tended to become a popular philosophy (Vol. I. p. 479, Vol. II. p. 130); in this mode it no longer remained an Aristotelian philosophy, although this, too, as what is really speculative, must coincide most closely with actuality. This decay of the Aristotelian philosophy is, indeed, closely connected with the’ circumstance already mentioned (pp. 126-128), that the Aristotelian writings soon disappeared, and that the Aristotelian philosophy did not retain its place so much through these documents as through the traditions in the school, whereby they soon underwent material changes; and amplifications of Aristotle’s doctrines were brought about, as to which it is not known whether some may not have slipped into what pass for his works.
Since Aristotle’s leading thought has penetrated all spheres of consciousness, and this isolation in the determination through the Notion, because it is likewise necessary, contains in every sphere the profoundest of true thoughts, Aristotle, to anticipate here the external history of his philosophy as a whole, for many centuries was the constant mainstay of the cultivation of thought. When in the Christian West science disappeared amongst the Christians, the fame of Aristotle shone forth with equal brilliance amongst the Arabians, from whom, in later times, his philosophy was again passed over to the West. The triumph which was celebrated upon the revival of learning, on account of the Aristotelian philosophy having been expelled from the schools, from the sciences, and specially from theology, as from the philosophy which deals with absolute existence, must be regarded in two different aspects. In the first place we must remember that it was not the Aristotelian philosophy which was expelled, go much as the principle of the science of theology which supported itself thereon, according to which the first truth is one which is given and revealed – an hypothesis which is once for all a fundamental one, and by which reason and thought have the right and power to move to and fro only superficially. In this form the thought which was awakened in the Middle Ages reconstructed its theology more especially, entered into all dialectic movements and determinations, and erected an edifice where the material that was given was only superficially worked up, disposed and secured. The triumph over this system was thus a triumph over that principle, and consequently the triumph of free, spontaneous thought. But another side of this triumph is the triumph of the commonplace point of view that broke free from the Notion and shook off the yoke of thought. Formerly, and even nowadays, enough has been heard of Aristotle’s scholastic subtleties; in using this name, men thought that they had a right to spare themselves from entering on abstraction, and, in place of the Notion, they thought that it justified them in seeing, hearing, and thus making their escape to what is called healthy human understanding. In science, too, in place of subtle thoughts, subtle sight has commenced; a beetle or a species of bird is distinguished with as great minuteness as were formerly conceptions and thoughts. Such subtleties as whether a species of bird is red or green in colour, or has a more or less perfect tail, are found more easy than the differences in thought; and in the meantime, until a people has educated itself up to the labour of thought, in order to be able thus to support the universal, the former is a useful preparation, or rather it is a moment in this course of culture.
But inasmuch as the deficiency in the Aristotelian philosophy rests in the fact, that after the manifold of phenomena was through it raised into the Notion, though this last again fell asunder into a succession of determinate Notions, the unity of the absolute Notion which unites them was not emphasized, and this is what succeeding time had to accomplish. What now appears is that the unity of the Notion which is absolute existence, makes its appearance as necessity, and it presents itself first as the unity of self-consciousness and consciousness, as pure thought. The unity of existence as existence is objective unity, thought, as that which is thought. But unity as Notion, the implicitly universal negative unity, time as absolutely fulfilled time, and in its fulfilment as being unity, is pure self-consciousness. Hence we see it come to pass, that pure self-consciousness makes itself reality, but, at the same time, it first of all does so with subjective significance as a self-consciousness that has taken up its position as such, and that separates itself from objective existence, and hence is first of all subject to a difference which it does not overcome.
Here we have concluded the first division of Greek philosophy, and. we have now to pass to the second period. The first period of Greek philosophy extended to Aristotle, to the attainment of a scientific form in which knowledge has reached the standing of free thought. Thus in Plato and Aristotle the result was the Idea; yet we saw in Plato the universal made the principle in a somewhat abstract way as the unmoved Idea; in Aristotle, on the other hand, thought in activity became absolutely concrete as the thought which thinks itself. The next essential, one which now is immediately before us, must be contained in that into which Philosophy under Plato and Aristotle had formed itself. This necessity is none other than the fact that the universal must now be proclaimed free for itself as the universality of the principle, so that the particular may be recognized through this universal; or the necessity of a systematic philosophy immediately enters in, what we formerly called one in accordance with the unity of the Notion.
We may speak of the Platonic and Aristotelian systems, but they are not in the form of a system; for that it is requisite that one principle should be maintained and consistently carried through the particular. In the perfect complex of the conception of the universe as it is to Aristotle, where everything is in the highest form of scientific knowledge led back to what is speculative, however empiric may be his manner of setting to work, there certainly is one principle brought forward, and that a speculative one, though it is not brought forward as being one. The nature of the speculative has not been explicitly brought to consciousness as the Notion – as containing in itself the development of the manifold nature of the natural and spiritual universe, consequently it is not set forth as the universal, from which the particular was developed. Aristotle’s logic is really the opposite of this. He in great measure passes through a series of the living and the dead, makes them confront his objective, that is, conceiving thought, and grasps them. in his understanding; each object is on its own account a conception which is laid open in its determinations, and yet he also brings these reflections together, and thereby is speculative. If even Plato on ‘the whole proceeded in an empiric way, taking up this and that idea, each of which is in turn examined, with Aristotle this loose method of procedure appears still more clearly. In the Aristotelian teaching the Idea of the self-reflecting thought is thus grasped as the highest truth; but its realization, the knowledge of the natural and spiritual universe, constitutes outside of that Idea a long series of particular conceptions, which are external to one another, and in which a unifying principle, led through the particular, is wanting. The highest Idea with Aristotle consequently once more stands only as a particular in its own place and without being the principle of his whole philosophy. Hence the next necessity in Philosophy is that the whole extent of what is known must appear as one organization of the Notion; that in this way the manifold reality may be related to that Idea as the universal, and thereby determined. This is the standpoint which we find in this second period.
A systematic philosophy such as this becomes in the first place dogmatism, in antagonism to which, because of its one-sided character, scepticism immediately arises. In the same way the French call what is dogmatic systématique, and système that in which all the conceptions must consistently proceed from one determination; hence to them systématique is synonymous with one-sided. But the philosophies that ensue are one-sided, because in them it was only the necessity of one principle that was recognized, without their meanwhile developing from themselves, as might well have come to pass in and for itself, the Idea as the real universal, and thus comprehending the world in such a way that the content is only grasped as the determination of the self-reflective thought. Hence this principle stands up formally and abstractly, and the particular is not yet deduced from it, for the universal is only applied to the particular and the rules for this application sought out. In Aristotle the Idea is at least implicitly concrete, as the consciousness of the unity of subjective and objective, and therefore it is not one-sided. Should the Idea be truly concrete, the particular must be developed from it. The other relation would be the mere bringing of the particular under the universal, so that both should be mutually distinguished; in such a case the universal is only a formal principle, and such a philosophy is therefore one-sided. But the true difficulty is that the two endeavours, the development of the particular from the Idea, and the bringing of the particular under the universal, collide with one another. The manifestations of the physical and spiritual world must first, from their respective sides, be prepared for and worked into the Notion, so that the other sciences can form therefrom universal laws and principles. Then for the first time can speculative reason present itself in determinate thoughts, and bring perfectly to consciousness the inwardly existing connection between them. As dogmatic, however, those philosophies, it may be farther said, are assertive likewise, because in such a method the principle is only asserted and is not truly proved. For a principle ‘is demanded under which everything is subsumed , thus it is only presupposed as the first principle. Before this we have had abstract principles such as pure Being, but here the particular, with which begins the distinction from what is different, became posited as the purely negative. That necessity, on the other hand, makes for a universal which must likewise be in the particular, so that this should not be set aside, but should have its determinate character through the universal.
This demand for a universal, even though still unproved principle, is henceforth present to knowledge. What answers to this demand now appears in the world through the inward necessity of mind – not externally, but as being in conformity with the Notion. This necessity has produced the philosophy of the Stoics, Epicureans, New Academy, and Sceptics, which we have now to consider. If we have remained too long in the consideration of this period, we may now make amends for this protraction, for in the next period we may be brief.
Hegel’s (1770–1831) Lectures on the History of Philosophy-1822-Translated by E.S. Haldane and Frances H. Simson, published by K. Paul Trench, Trübner in 1894.