, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 303–315 | Cite as

Science and metaphysics in Aristotle’s philosophy

J. G. Lennox & Robert Bolton (eds): Being, nature, and life in Aristotle: Essays in honor of Allan Gotthelf. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, 306pp, £60 HBMariska Leunissen: Explanation and teleology in Aristotle’s science of nature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, 264pp, £53 HBTony Roark: Aristotle on time: A study of the Physics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, 248pp, £50 HB
  • Michail Peramatzis
Survey Review

The transition from the Analytics to the Metaphysics

In the first two chapters of the second book of the Posterior Analytics (=APo.), Aristotle distinguishes between four types of question which are of interest for scientific inquiry: whether x exists, whether x is F, what x is, and why x is F. He links our inquiry into whether x exists with that into whether x is F. Similarly, our knowledge of definition—what x is—is connected to our causal-explanatory knowledge—why x is F. This last point, it should be noted, is not merely a claim of epistemic or pragmatic interdependence between the practices of defining and explaining (or demonstrating from explanatory premises). Rather, it also aims to track a deeper metaphysical interdependence between essence (a thing’s what it is) and the cause or explanation for its being as it is but also for its having the necessary features it possesses.

In APo.II.8–10, Aristotle develops these twin interdependencies in his discussion of scientific...


  1. Charles, D. (ed.). 2010. Definition and explanation in the Posterior Analytics and Metaphysics. In Definition in Greek philosophy, ed. Charles D., 286–328. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Charles, D. 2000. Aristotle on meaning and essence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Peramatzis, M. 2011. Priority in Aristotle’s metaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Worcester CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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