1902 Encyclopedia > Aristotle

Aristotle




ARISTOTLE. In the history of European thought and knowledge, down to the period of the revival of letters, the name of Aristotle was, without a rival, supreme ; and this supremacy arose from no false estimate or unwarranted preference. Aristotle, speaking generally, treated of every of subject which name within the range of ancient thought, and if we regard matter, and not form or literary style, he treated of each of these subjects better than any one else. He also initiated many new branches of inquiry, dependent on observation and induction, and thus not only represented in himself the culmination of Greek speculative philosophy, but was also, as far as possible, the forerunner of modern science. Therefore, the sense of mankind recognised him gradually (after many vicissitudes of appreciation) as the strongest of the ancients. It even came to pass that, for a long period, all secular writings but those of Aristotle had dropped out of notice in Europe. His works may almost have the credit of having saved men from relapsing into barbarism. All sought in Aristotle the basis of knowledge. Universities and grammar schools were founded in Aristotle. Dante only justly expresses this predominance, when he speacks of Aristotle_ as "the master of those that know," and depicts him as centre and head of the philosophic family. Of the influence which h has exercised which he has exercised over the minds of men we have evidence, not only in the vast literatures connected with his system, which exist in all great libraries, but also in the traces which that system has left in all the modern languages of Europe. The number of Aristotelian "fossils"_ existing in our everyday language is quite remarkable. If it had not been for the system of Aristotle, we should have had to express many of our ordinary thoughts differently.

The thought of Aristotle takes its start our of two separates sets of elements previously existing in Greece : the one purely philosophical, the other scientific. In Plato were summed up and remoulded all the former results of logical, metaphysical, psychological, ethical, and political speculation in Greece. And Aristotle was, in the first place, thoroughly imbued with Plato, and all the purely philosophical side of his writings was conceived in close relation to Plato’s works, the results of which he may be said to have codified, reducing into expository form what Plato had left scattered up and down, rather as hints and suggestions, in his brilliant dramatic dialogues. Partly, then, Aristotle adopted the results of Plato, and made them available for the world in general ; partly he dissented from some of the Platonic doctrines, and carried on a polemic against them. To compare the Platonic dialogues with the works of Aristotle, and to trace the agreements and disagreements between them, forms, an interesting study in the history of philosophy. But on the whole, the difference between Aristotle and Plato is one of aims rather then of doctrines. Aristotle’s aim, almost from first to last, is to be scientific, and to reduce even philosophy to science. He wishes to deal with what can be known for certain, and to express this is exact language. Plato’s aim was, in one sense, greater than this ; in another sense it was inferior to it. Plato stood apart from dogmatic systematising ; he seems to have regarded truth as too great and many-sided to be capable of being submitted to such a process ; he was content to develop various aspects of the truth, on all the highest questions, as they appeared to different minds, or to the same mind at different periods. To do this he chose the vehicle of the dramatic dialogue, in which nothing was positively announced beyond the views arrived at for the moment by the particular speakers. He was a poet at the same time

FOOTNOTE (p. 510)

(1) Inferno, canto iv. 130, sqq.

(2) The Aristotelian words in modern use come chiefly through Latin renderings of his phraseology. Some of them are :—Maxim = a major premiss ; principle, from principium, the translation of Aristotle’s GREEK, has the same meaning. Subject (GREEK) comes from the doctrine of the four causes. So does matter from materies (timber), the Latin for GREEK. So form, end, final cause, &c. Motive is a fossilised confusion, as it should stand for the efficient cause (GREEK), whereas it really denotes the final cause of action. Faculty (in Universitities) represents Aritotle’s GREEK = art. Energy is of purely Aristotelian origin, though not q uite keeping its philosophic sense. Actually is from the form of the same term. So, too, in category and predicament (e.g., "an unpleasant predicament") we preserve both the Greek and Latin form of an Aristotelian term. Habit (in morals) varies a little in meaning from GREEK. We have also another habit (i,e., "dress") from GREEK (see note 2, p. 515). The mean and the extremes still live in modern parlance, and so does the quintessence, or fifth substance beyond the four elements of which the outer heaven, according to Aristotle, was composed. Metaphysics is derived from the name given by his followers to his last treatise, and natural history from his "Histories," or investigation "about animals." That he was a philosopher, and his works exhibits that true note of poetry which consists in constant attention to form, so that no part is a mere means to a final result ; but each part is treated as an end in itself, and contains its own beauty and perfection. His dialogues are thus masterpieces of consummate literary art, though somewhat indefinite in their conclusions, and not without a tinge of imaginative mysticism. To all these Platonic tendencies in the treatment of philosophy Aristotle was totally opposed. He disregarded form in all his extant works ; he thought of matter alone, and his main care was to be definite and exhaustive. In adopting results from Plato he first stripped them of the poetry with which they had been surrounded. We shall revert below to some of the points on which he controverts Plato, but the real contrast between them is in their attitude ; the one is essentially a dialectician, though of the highest and noblest type, the other more and more tends to be a man of science. Following out his proper bent, Aristotle, in many of his work, strikes on a path in which Plato had not been his precursor, In these works he lays the foundation for the sciences of Natural Philosophy, Mechanics, Physiology, and Natural History. In these branches of thought he stands related, not to Plato, but to the early Greek writers on physical subjects, the inquirers on special questions, the medical writers, and the travellers, whose works he often mentions,_ though they are all now lost. If we possessed them, we should probably only see how meagre had been these beginnings of science, and what great things Aristotle achieved in the accumulation and systematising of knowledge, and preparing the way for its future development.

Aristotle complete neglect of artistic form (in his extant works), and his adherence "to essential naked truth," induced Wilhelm von Humboldt_ to say that Aristotle was un-Greek it the character of is mind ; that he was deeper and more earnest than the Greeks, but was wanting in Greek fancy and grace, and spiritual freedom of treatment. This may be so ; but in point of descent Aristotle was purely Ecllenic._ His family, however, had been settled for some generations on the Macedonian frontier, and it was there that Aristotle was born, at the town of Stageira,4 a Greek colony, on the Strymonic gulf. This place was not far from Pella, the residence of the Macedonian king, Amyntas, whose physician Nicomachus, the father of Aristotle, became. Intercourse with the Macedonians may have, to some extent, influenced the manners of this family. But it is to be remembered that manners of this family. But it is to be remembered that they belonged to the race of the Asclepiads, or supposed descendants of Aesculapius, and it is more naturual to attribute the scientific tendencies of Aristotle’s mind to the inherited character and traditions of this race than to any influence which he can have received from the Macedonians. Among those traditions it is said5 to have been one, that "from father to son they learned the art of dissections, as regularly as others learn to read and write," The best biography of Aristotle, hitherto written, it that given by Grote in his posthumous work referred to in note 3. The chief ancient authority on the subject is Diognes Laertius, a compiler6 and anecdotemonger, perhaps of the 3d or 4th century A. D. His life of Aristotle contains, amid many worthless, gossiping statements, two fragments of antiquity which are of the greatest value. One of these is an extract from the chronology (GREEK) of Apollodorus (140 B.C), giving the dates of the chief events of Aristotle’s career ; the other is a catalogue of "the books which he left behind him," to the number of 146. The following are the statements of Apollodorus :—That Aristotle was born 384 B.C. That he joined Plato and passed twenty years with him, thirteen of them consecutively, and that he came to Mitylene 345 B.C. That in the first year after the death of Plato he went to Hermeas, and abode with him three years ; that he came to Philips 343 B.C. , when Alexander was fifteen years old ; that he came to Athens 335 B.C. That he held a school in the Lyceum thirteen yeas, and then went to Chalcis 322 B.C., where he died of a disease, about sixty-three years old, This skeleton of the life of Aristotle is probably authentic;7 and if so, we know as much about him as could possibly be expected. It is easy to fill up, to some extent, the details : he must have been in his seventeenth year when he came to Athens to put himself under Plato ; twenty years afterwards, when Plato died, he was, on account of his great divergencies of mind from Plato, not appointed head of the school, and he therefore, retreated to the court of his philosophical friend, Hermeas, ruler of Atarneas, in Asia Minor ; he married the niece of Hermeas, who the niece of Hermeas, who was a eunuch, and had been a slave. On his death Aristotle went to live in retirement in Mitylene, whence, in his forty-second year, he was summoned by Philip of Macedon to undertake the tuition of Alexander the Great, then fifteen years old. Seven years later Philip was assassinated and Alexander became king of Macedonia, and was immediately absorbed in plans for the conquest of the East. Aristotle now come to Athens and spent the last thirteen years of his life there, and it is these years which have the most interest for us, for in them, in all probability, he composed all those of his works8 which still remain. In rivalry to the Platonic school which had been established in the gardens of the "Academia" on the west side of the Athens, he set up his own school in the covered "walks" (GREEK) round the temple of the Lycean Apollo, on the east side of the city, and from this circumstance his philosophy got the appellation of "Peripatetic," His mind and the general features of his system were now mature ; he had before him the task, on the one hand, of reducing to writing for the world the results of his reflections in philosophy, on the other hand, of accumulating fresh materials for those sciences of observation of which he was laying the foundation. He set himself simultaneously to writing and to teaching, and there is reason to believe that the employed

FOOTNOTE (p 511)

(1) See Bonitz’s Index to Aristotle, in the 5th vol. of the edition of the Prussian Royal Academy (Berlin, 1870), under the words GREEK, GREEK, Philosophus Incertus, GREEK (books of travels), GREEK, GREEK, &c., where the references to passages are given.

(2) In a letter to F. A. Wolf, dated 15th June 1795. See his works, v. 125.

(3) See Aristotle, by George, &c. (1872), vol. i. p. 3, note.

(4) Hence his frequent appellation by the Greek commentators of ó GREEK. This is English is often mis-spelt as "Stagyrite."

(5) Galen, De Anatomicis Administr., ii. 1. It is a doubtful and interesting question whether Aristotle ever dissected the human subject. This would have been the case with Aristotle. But he appears to have dissected the human foetus, and in one place, at all events, he seems to indicate scquaintance with dissections of the adult human subject (De Part. Animal, i. v. 7). But his knowledge of anatomy, as compared with that of modern times, was superficial.

(6) See his Lives of the Philosophers, v.i.

(7) Niebuhr considered Apollodorus to be a trustworthy chronologist. Valentine Rose, however, De Aristotelis Librorum Ordine et Auctoritate Commentatio (Berlin, 1854), pp. 112-119, thinks that the date of Aristotle’s death can alone be relied on, and that all the other particulars are filled in, going backwards from this, on conjecture. Rose believes are filled in, going backwards from this, on conjecture. Rose believes that the account of Aristotle’s connection both with Plato and with Alexander is a mere fictions, and, in short, that we know nothing about the life of Aristotle. This is an extreme of scepticism.

(8) These works all seems to belong to the same epoch of the author’s mind. They all presuppose a certain generally completed system of philosophy and a certain previously settled phraseology. But considerable development of particular thougths can be traced as having occurred during the actual writing of the books.



his school to some extent, in co-operation with himself, to work out details, and to assist in a subordinate way in the construction of the great philosophical and scientific edifice which he had in view. The period of the zenith of Aristotle was coeval with the astonishing career of his pupil, Alexander. There is a tradition that Alexander1 furnished him with funds for his physical and zoological researches. However this may have been, it appears certain that Aristotle was identified in Athens with the Macedonian cause, and that when, in the summer of 323 B.C., the startling news of the sudden death of Alexander was spread through Greece, Aristotle was involved in the temporary fall of a political party, and those who, from different causes, were his enemies, made an attack upon him which caused him to fly from Athens. Grote has well drawn out the various elements of enmity against Aristotle, and to his account we refer. Aristotle retired to Chalcis in Euboea, a place garrisoned by the Macedonians, and there shortly afterwards closed, in an illness, his life of unsurpassed activity and achievement. His will, preserved by Diogenes, would seem to indicate a kind, just, and generous disposition ; of the genuineness of this document we cannot be sure, but there is nothing recorded of Aristotle with any certainty which would lead us to think of him personally otherwise than with respect.2

After his death is works had a strange and remarkable history. His library, containing all his own autographs, many of them being MSS. of unpublished and unfinished treatises, was bequeathed to Theophrastus, his chief disciple, who, dying, thirty-five years later, bequeathed them in turn, together with his own books and writings, to Neleus, a Peripatetic scholar. Neleus took the whole precious collection with him to his home at Scepsis, in Asia Minor, and his heirs concealed it in a vault to prevent its being seized by the king of Pergamus, who was then levying contributions for his royal library. The Aristotelian MSS. were thus lost to the world for 187 years. About the year 100 B.C. they were brought out of their hiding-place and sold to a wealthy book-collector, named Apellicon, who carried them back to Athens. In the year 86 B.C., on the taking of Athens by Sulla, the library of Apellicon was seized and brought to Rome. There some learned Greeks obtained access to it ; Tyrannion, the friend of Cicero, arranged the MSS.; and Andronicus of Rhodes undertook that task of furnishing a correct text, and a complete edition of the philosophical works of Aristotle, out of the materials at his disposal. He arranged the different treatises and scattered fragments under their proper heads, and published what was henceforth received as the authorised edition of the works of Aristotle.3 It seems reasonable to believed with Grote4 that "our Aristotle" that is, the collection of writings which under this name has come down to modern times, is none other than the edition of Andronicus, and thus dates from about the year 50 B.C. For the first generation after the death of Aristotle, his scholars,5 Theophrastus, Eudemus, Phanias, Straton, &c., were engaged partly in editing, partly in paraphrasing, sometimes in endeavouring to improve upon his mostly unfinished works. But the Peripatetic school very rapidly declined ; all the philosophic ability round the shores of the Aegean threw itself into one or other of the two new rival schools which had arisen, the Stoic and the Epicurean. The Peripatetics could not keep up to their master’s level ; they soon lost interest in the higher parts of his system ; they took to writing monographs6 on small separate questions, and moral platitudes7 dressed up in rhetorical form. We may hesitate to affirm that, during 187 years, there were absolutely no copies of Aristotle’s greatest works extant besides those hidden in the vault of Scepsis, for the Stoical eithics and logic both bear traces of a knowledge of Aristotle. But, at all events, for the time, the world had lost its interest in all that we most prize in Aristotle’s thought. Strabo8 says expressly that "all his writings except a few accordance with this, Cicero 39 says that "even philosophers know nothing of Aristotle, though they ought to have been attracted by the incredible sweetness of his diction." The latter part of this remark may seem surprising, for it is not in the least applicable to any of the works of Aristotle which have come down to us. But Cicero is evidently referring to the Dialogues,10 which were read, admired, and attributed to Aristotle in the days before the edition of Andronicus became known. The question has been raised, especially by Valentine Rose,11 whether these dialogues, and other short, unsystematic works which passed under the name of Aritotle, were all forgeries, or were in any case genuine. On the one hand it is urged that the dialogic, or artistic, mode of exposition, was alien from Aristotle’s turn of mind. On the other hand, if may be said that Aristotle in his youth may very probably have tried his hand at imitating the Platonic dialogues. And, indeed, unless he had done so, it is difficult to understand how even the forgers could have ventured to publish dialogues bearing his name. Very likely, after his death and the loss of the main bulk of his works by their removal to a vault in Asia Minor, a crop of forged Aristotelian writings sprung up, and imitations of his earlier and more popular works were among the number. But still, it appears safest to believe that Aristotle did at one time endeavour to make the dialogue his vehicle for philosophy. In the years that followed the death of Plato, he probably felt within himself a reaction and repugnance against this mode of writing, and when he returned to Athens as the leader of a school, he utterly renounced it, and set himself henceforth to the statement of the naked truth in the directest and most scientific terms which he could find. Whether the dialogues which Cicero and his contemporaries read and admired were early works of Aristotle himself, or were forgeries, there is no means of knowing. But the fragments12 of these works, which a search of all ancient literature has brought together, show us nothing worthy of Aritotle in his best days, nothing that contributes any light to his philosophy. And it is remarkable that all works of this kind seem to have been excluded from the edition of Andronicus. Owing to that exclusion they are all now lost, and thus the tables are turned, for whereas before the edition of Andronicus the

FOOTNOTE (p. 512)

(1) Athenaeus, ix. 398. Pliny, H.N., viii. c. 16.

(2) See some remarks in the Edinburgh Review, No. 278, page 525.

(3) The authorities for this story are Strabo (who was the pupil of Tyrannion), xiii. 609 ; Plutarch, Sulla, c. xxvi ; Porphyry, Vita Plotini, p. 117. It has been much criticised by Stahr, Brandis, Zeller, Bernays, Rose, &c. For the last remarks on the subject see Brote (l. c.), and Sir A. Grant’s Ethics of Aristotle, illustrated with Essays and Notes, Sd edition (London, 1874), essay i.pp. 5-18.

(4) Aristotle, vol. i. pp.57-62.

(5) See Brandis, Scholia in Arist, p. 28, note.

(6) See Rose, Aristoteles Pseudepigraphus (Leipsic, 1863), pp. 20-22, where a list of many such productions falsely ascribed to Aristotle is given.

(7) Strabo, xiii. 609, says that all they did was GREEK.

(8) Ibidem.

(9) Topica, i. 1-3.

(10) See Cicero, Epist, ad Famil., t. ix. 23, where he speaks of his three books De Oratore as "a dialogue in the style of Aristotle," and Epist. ad Atticum, xiii. xix., where he says that he has copied Aristotle "who in his dialogues always assigns to himself the leading part in the conversation." This shows that the dialogues of Aristotle were very different from those of Plato, and were probably expository and dogmatic, and not at all dramatic.

(11) Arist. Pseudepigraphus, pp. 23-26.

(12) These fragments are given collectively in the 5th volume of the Prussian Royal Academy’ edition of Aristotle (Berlin, 1870).



world had forgotten all about Aristotle, except so far as he was represented by his own youthful and lighter productions, or by spurious imitations of these, it came to pass later that all except his solid and great philosophical treatises passed into oblivion.

Turning now to the catalogue of the works of Aristotle which has been preserved by Diognes Laertius, we find that it contains 146 different names, not one of which1 seems to correspond with any of the forty works which make up "our Aristotle." This is very striking, and suggests the question, Did Aristotle really write all these works enumerated in the catalogue, and if so, how is it that they are all lost? Did he really over and over again on the same subject, as the catalogue, taken together with our edition, would indicate? Or is the catalogue virtually a list of forgeries, published under the name of Aristotle at the time when the unique MSS. many of his greatest works were shut up underground and forgotten? Neither hypothesis can be accepted a absolutely, but the last mentioned contains, probably, by far the nearest approximation to the truth. It seems credible that the catalogue in question was taken from the backs of rolls in the Alexandrian library, and that it was made by Hermippus, pupil of Callimachus, the chief librarian, between the years 240 and 210 B.C.2 It found its way into some biography, and was thence mechanically copied by Diogenes. If this be so, it represents the kind of books which were being received by the world as Aristolte’s at a time when the real Aristotle was buried out of sight. The books enumerated in the catalogue strikes us at once as peculiar in character : first we meet with the names of the several dialogues (such as "Nerinthus," "Gryllus, or on Rhetoric," "Menexenus," "Symposium," "the lover," &c.) ; afterwards there are the names of apparently short treatises or monographs on separate subjects,3 without any trace of that organic unity of each of the great branches of philosophy which we find a Aristotle as we know him. This organic unity we find in Aristotle as we know him. This organic unity has not been superinduced by the editorial labours of Andronicus, for we see by the openings of the Metaphysics, Ethics, Politics, and other existing works, taken in connection with their succeeding parts, that Aristotle conceived a grand and comprehensive plan for each main branch of philosophy and science ; that he proposed to follow this out so as to produce in each case a complete whole, but that most of his multifarious designs were arrested by death, so that much that he has left bears the character of a mighty fragment. But the Peripatetic school seem to have abandoned his comprehensive views, and to have only followed him in that other side of his method which consisted in working out the details of special and subordinate questions. This tendency resulted in the production of small separate treatises and essays, and it is the names of such as these that are recorded in the catalogue. The Peripatetic school seem to have worked on a sort of co-operative principle. Aristotle, during his own lifetime, probably encouraged them to work up separate points for incorporation into his philosophy ; and if so, they would have less scruple in affixing his name to works written after his death, but which they conceived to represent, or, perhaps, a little to improve upon, his views. Whatever may have been the literary morality of this procedure, we can hardly doubt that it existed as a fact. Even the works of Aristotle, as we possess them, show clear traces of it. Take, for instance, the four different ethical treatises which are found among these works. Of these the first is the Nicomachean Ethics,4 the main bulk of which is the genuine writing of Aristotle. It is conceived which is the genuine writing of Aristotle. It is conceived on a comprehensive plan, and the beginning and end are complete, but the middle part was probably never written. The name of this treatise was, perhaps, given to it for the sake of distinguishing if from the other ethical works in the Peripatetic school library, the MS. of this having been to some extent revised and edited by Nicomachus, the son of Aristotle. The second is the Eudemian Ethics, a paraphrase of the work of Aristotle, written by Eudemus, one of his scholars, with a slight divergence in some points from the original doctrines. Three books from the Eudemian treatise, on Justice, on the Relation of the Intellect to Morality, and on Weakness of the Will, were afterwards incorporated by some editor into the Nicomachean Ethics, so that in modern times they have always formed part of both treatises, and their authorship has been much disputed.5 The third is called the Great Ethics,6 and is the work of a later Peripatetic ; it is résumé of morals, made up chiefly out of the work of Eudemus, but with some of its conclusions taken directly from that of Aristotle, and with some matter introduced form another source, perhaps the ethical writings of Theophrastus. The fourth is a little tract On Virtues and Vices, which is not even Aristotelian in doctrine, though it shows an acquaintance with the Aristotelian system. It is chiefly characterised by some small points of physiognomical observation, such as are found in the characters of Theophrastus. These four works well illustrate the growth of an ungenuine Aristotelian literature. We begin with a genuine work of Aristotle himself, though even into this a spurious element has been introduced ; we go on to a paraphase, and then to the paraphrase of that paraphrase ; we end with a light essay written for the sake of one or two observations on character which the writer had made ; and yet all stands under the name of Aristotle.7 This instance which we have before our eyes, and the proportion of the ungenuine to the genuine which it presents, may enable us to form a conception of the nature of those works, the 146 names of which make up the catalogue of Diogenes. Far be it from us to say that none of the works so enumerated were written by Aristotle himself, but probably much the greater portion of them were not written by him. And without denying that many works of Aristotle, and even some works by him of interest and value, have been lost, we may say with confidence that the "lost works"8 of Aristotle were of no importance in comparison with what has been preserved,

FOOTNOTE (p. 513)

1 With the exception of "Categories, in one book," and "On Interpretation, in one book." "Great Posterior Analytics, in two books," may stand to the Post, Anal. of Aristotle as the Great Ethics do to Eth. Nicomach. Titze, Michelet, and other writers, have endeavoured to identify some of the monographs of the catalogue with parts of Aristotle’s extant works, e.g., works On the Voluntary, On Friendship, On Pleasure, with parts of Eth. Nic.; the book On the Various Senses of Words, with part of the Metaphysics, &c. But, as Grote says, vol. i. p. 61, note, "the identification is not convincing." In fact, the theory is untenable.

2 Heitz, Die Verlorenen Schriften des Aristotles (Leipsic, 1865), pp. 45-52 ; Grote, Ar., vol.i. pp. 48, 49.

3 E.g., On Suffering (GREEK), one book ; On Contraries, one book ; On Science, one book ; Feelings, one book ; Art, one book ; On Unproductiveness, one book ; Signs of Storms, one book ; Proverbs, one book ; Select Dissections, one book, &c.

4 See Grant’s Ethics of Aristotle, vol. i. essay. 1.

5 See Spengel, "Ueber die unter dem Namen des Aristotles erhaltenen ethischen Schriften" (in Abhandl. Der Philos-philol. Klasse der K. Bay. Akad., 1841), and Grant’s Ethics, l.c.

6 This name may have been due to the vanity of the compiler. We have seen in the Catalogue of Diogenes the name Great Posterior Analytics. See above note 1.

7 Whether all stood thus in the edition of Andronicus, or whether some of those works were added in subsequent editions, we have no means of knowing. If the former, Andronicus must have aimed at giving a collected body of Aristotelian doctrine, rather than an edition of Aristotle’s own undoubted writings. We know that Andronicus pronounced the treatise of On Interpretation to be spurious, and yet we find it in our edition of Aristotle.

(8) See above, note 1, and compare Valentine Rose, Arist. Pseud-epigraph where the fragments are commented upon.



and that the greatest and most valuable of his achievements, incomplete as he left them, but subsequently edited to some extent and touched up, remain for us, and contain the essence of his thought.





In eight passages of the works we possess under his name, there is a reference to "exoteric discourses" (GREEK).1 This phrase had attracted a wonderful amount of notice, and a whole literature2 has been composed in support of the different meanings which have been attributed to it. But the question is now reduced to a very small one. The word "exoteric" suggests the opposite term "esoteric," in the sense of secret ; and the writers of the later empire,3 who were accustomed to the idea of mystical and hierophantic teachings, as professed by the neo-Pythagorean and neo-Platonic schools, took up the notion that Aristotle had two forms of doctrine : The one "esoteric,"—containing his real opinions, an confined to the circle of his initiated scholars, —the other "exoteric," containing superficial truth with which the profane vulgar might be put off and satisfied. After the Renaissance the idea of a double doctrine in Aristotle was exploded, and it was acknowledged that "exoteric" in the passages above mentioned is not opposed to "esoteric" or "secret," but denotes the external, non-philosophical, non-scientific treatment of a subject, as opposed to the strictly scientific treatment of it (GREEK). The only question, then, which remained is this,— Does Aristotle, when he refers to "the exoteric discourses," mean to refer directly to his own more popular writings, or does he make general reference to popular discussions on philosophical subjects, including not only his own and other people’s popular writings, but also the ordinary debates and discussions on such subjects, rife enough in Athenian society, and, of course, unscientifically conducted? Powerful supporters are to be found for either view, and Bernays4 especially, in an elegant and learned monograph, has endeavoured to prove that each of the passages in which "the exoteric discourses" are mentioned refers especially to some one of the lost dialogues of Aristotle, the character and contents of which Bernays seeks to gather from the scanty fragments of them preserved by the ancients. It appears to us, however, that this attempt is infelicitous in its results, and that there are many reasons for thinking that Aristotle did not appeal to his own popular writings for conclusions in philosophy, but merely said, occasionally, that the popular views on some questions of philosophy were sufficiently accurate and might be accepted.

Of the works that have come down to us as Aristotle’s. the following are undoubtedly genuine:—1. Topics. 2. Prior Analeytics. 3. Posterior Analytics. 4. On Sophistical Refutations. 5. Art of Rhetoric. 6. Nicomachean Ethics.5 7. Politics. 8. On the Art of Poetry. 9. A Physical Discourse.6 10. On the Heavens. 11. On Generation and Destruction. 12. Meteorologics. 13. Researches7 about Animals. 14. On Soul. 15. Appendices to the preceding work—(a.) On Sense and Sensible Things. (b.) On Memory and Recollection. (c.) On Sleep and Waking. (d.) On Dreams and Prophesying in Sleep. (e.) On Longevity and Shortlivedness. (f.) On Youth and Old Age. (g.) On Life and Death. (h.) On Respiration. 16. On Parts of Animals. 17. On Locomotion of Animals. 18. On Generation of Animals. 19. The Metaphysics.8

The following works attributed to Aristotle are almost undoubtedly spurious :—1. On Rhetoric ; addressed to Alexander. 2. Eudemian Ethics. 3. Great Ethics. 4. On Virtues and Vices. 5. Economics. 6. On Colours. 7. Physiognomics. 8. On Plants. 9. On Strange Statements. 10. Mechanics. 11. On Indivisible Lines. 12. On Xenophanes, Zeno, and Gorgias. 13. On the Universe ; addressed to Alexander. 14. On Motion of Animals. 15. On Breath. 16 Problems.9

The following two works are of doubtful genuineness:—

1. Categories ; 2. On Interpretation. None, however, of the so-called works of Aristotle have been more commented on or studied than these two. They stand as the two first of the six logical treatises, or Organon,10 of Aristotle, and thus had particular attention directed to them in the Middle Ages,11 when the logical writings were solely or chiefly studied. The separate way in which these two short treatises are written, without any preface or other connection with the main body of analytic (i.e., demostrative logic), seems peculiar and unlike Aristotle. We may safely say that they were not composed at the same time as the Analytics, to which they have been prefixed. Either they were earlier works written before the time of Aristotle’s final residence in Athens, or else they are the productions of unknown and probably later Peripatetics. There is an important difference of doctrine between the Categories and works known to be by Aristotle. For in the Categories12 it is laid down that "the first essence" (GREEK) is the individual, and that the class, genius, or species, is a "second essence," that is, that it has an existence derived from and secondary to the individuals of which it is composed. In the Metaphysics,13 on the other hand, we are told that the "first essence" are universals, genera, or species. The former is the doctrine of nominalism, the
2.
FOOTNOTE (p. 514).

(1) See Bonitz’s Index, sub voce, for the reference.

(2) All recent German commentators have touched upon the question. Most of the leading opinions upon it have referred to by Grote, Ar., vol. i. chapter 2. See also Grant’s Ethics, vol. i. appendix B.

(3) E.g., Aulus Gellius, xx. 4.

(4) Die Dialoge des Aristoteles, in ihrem Verhältniss zu seinen übrigen Werken, von Jacob Bernays (Berlin, 1863).

(5) With the exception of books v. vi. vii. See Grant’s Ethics.

(6) The title cannot with certainty be attributed to Aristotle. In some MSS. it stands as GREEK, GREEK. GREEK indicated a scientific, as opposed to a popular, lecture or discourse.

(7) GREEK. GREEK means a "record of investigations." Aristotle sometimes uses the word simply in the sense of "history," but it was a mistranslation to call his work on animals Historia Animalium. Out of this the term "Natural History" has grown into modern usage.

(8) Tà GREEK. The name merely means " the writings which come after the Physics." It was given not by Aristotle himself, but by his posthumous editors. Out of it the name of "Metaphysics" grew for that science, which Aristotle himself called "First Philosophy," "Wisdom," or "Theology." See Bonitz. Metaphysica (Bonn, 1849), 2d part, pp. 3-6. The work is composite, with a spurious admixture. See below.

(9) An interesting paper by Karl Prantl (Abhandl. Der Philosoph-philol. Klasse der K. Bayer-Akad. 1852) discusses the thirty-eight books of "Problems" attributed to Aristotle, in which questions on all conceivable subjects are proposed and answered. Prantl shows the contradictory and often anti-Aristotelian character of many of the answers given. His conclusion is that, though Aristotle certainly set the example of starting and endeavouring to answer "problems" as a contribution to science, and though there may be a small nucleus of Aristotle’s own writing here, yet the great mass of the contents of these books is the production of the Peripatetic school, after the time of Aristotle. The Problems, among other characteristics, exhibit strongly the materialistic tendencies of the Peripatetics.

(10) This name is said to have been given to the collective logical treatises by Andronicus, to indicate that they were not a part of philosophy, being neither "practical," "productive," nor "speculative," but that they contained the organ or instrument of philosophy, in the theory of reasoning. Aristotle himself uses the phrase about Dialects,—GREEK, Topics, viii. 14, 3. See Grote, vol. i. p. 78, and Brandis, Scholia, p. 140, a. 47, p. 259, a. 48.

(11) During the 9th, 10th, and 11th centuries, a war was furiously waged between Peripatetics and Platonists, i.e., between Nominalists and Realists. But al this time the Peripatetic library of Western Europe seems to have been restricted to Latin translations (by Boëthius) of the Categories and Interpretations, together with a Latin translation of Porphyrry’s Introduction to the Categories. The whole question of Nominalism and Realism was started by Porphyrys’s Introduction. See Hauréau, Histoire de la Philosophie scolastique, 2d. ed., i. (Paris, 1874).

(12) Categ., v. 1.

(13) Metaph., vi. 7, 4 ; 11, 18. &c.



latter that of realism. If Aristotle wrote the Categories long prior to the Metaphysics (which, if he wrote the book at all, he must have done), then we must suppose that at the outset of his independent career as a philosopher he began with an extreme reaction against the realism of Plato, and that in later life he returned from this to approximation towards Plato’s views. The other hypothesis possible is, that a bias towards physical research and experiment and the collection of facts naturally led the Peripatetic school in the direction of nominalism, till at last some member of that school gave expression to this tendency by writing this little treatise called the Categories, derived, indeed, mainly from Aristotle’s doctrines and teaching, but laying it down far more dogmatically than he would have done that the concrete individual is the unit of knowledge.1 Considerations of style are insufficient to enable us to pronounce in favour of one hypothesis or the other. For the school of Aristotle copied, and obtained a close resemblance to, their master’s style. But whether this treatise was written by Aristotle or not, it has had a great influence. It led the world not only to think that Aristotle was a lecided nominalist, but also that he classified existence under ten "categories" or summa genera. But this doctrine would hardly have been gathered from the undoubted writings of Aristotle. In his logical researches he naturally much busied himself with the different relations which the predicate of a sentence can bear to the subject. And in the earliest of the extant works (Topics, i. 9), he enumerates "the classes of predictions" (GREEK) as ten,2 and gives the same list as the given in the Categories ;but the object of this enumeration is merely logical, in order to show what must be meant by the word "same" when it is predicted of any subject. Elsewhere, Aristotle does not adhere to the number ten ; he mention3 in one place eight, in another six, in another five, in another four, and very often there, GREEK, or modes of prediction. There is no trace of his mapping out to himself the "Cosmos" under the divisions of ten or any other number of categories. In De Anima, i. 1, 7, he says that "it will be necessary, in discussing the soul, to define which of the categories it belongs to, and again whether it is a potentiality or an actuality," But, having said this, Aristotle does not further advert to the categories, while he obtains his whole definition of the soul by considering it as in an "actuality." In fact, "Potentiality, and Actuality," or "Matter, Form, and Deprivation," were the ontological "categories" of Aristotle, far rather than that logical list of ten kinds of predication, on which mediaeval and modern thinkers have laid so much stress. The they have done so is perhaps mainly due to this little work called the Categories, which (whether it was an early production of Aristotle himself, or was the compilation of some peripatetic follower) has had undue prominence given to it in relation to Aristotle’s system. It has caused Aristotle to be misunderstood, severely criticised, and sneered at. At the same time it has given an impulse to philosophers, from the Stoics4 to Kant and J. S Mill, to endeavour to frame an ultimate classification of all that exists or can be thought

The treatise On Interpretation (i.e., the expression of the thought in language) was pronounced spurious by Andronicus Rhodius. This we learn from some interesting discussions given by Brandis in his Scholia to Aristotle, p. 97. The opposite view seems to have been taken by Ammonius, Alexander of Aphrodists, and Boethius. The arguments, however, both pro and con are inconclusive. Whether this treatise was by Aristotle or not, it contains a very full statement of the Peripatetic logic, so far as the Proposition,with its various characteristics, is concerned. It quotes the treatise On Soul,5 and, therefore, was written later than Aristotle’s undoubted logical works, more probably by one of his school than by himself. It is the source of much of the matter of the elementary logic of modern times, and contains may distinctions, at one time novel, but essential to clearness of thought,— on Affirmation and Negation, the Different Ways in which the Negative Particles may be used, Contrary and Contradictory Opposition, the Truth or falsehood of Propositions, Modality of Assertion, &c. Grote’s6 account of the contents of this work had opened it for the English reader.

We now come to the undoubted works of Aristotle. These, as before said, were probably all actually written during the extent, been prepared during the previous course of his life, during which he had thought out the divisions, the method, and the terminology of philosophy and science. The order of composition of these works, so far as it can be determined at all, must be determined by internal evidence. This internal evidence does not consist merely in reference from one book to another (for these are not always reliable—in some cases they are almost certainly interpolated), but still more in comparison of the thought in different books, and the various degrees of maturity exhibited by the same conception occurring in different books. For instance in all the first chapter of the Analytics the Topics are referred to ; therefore, either the Topics were written first, or else this reference is spurious. But the doctrine of the syllogism is worked out with far more precision in the Analytics than in the Topics, therefore the former hypothesis must be accepted. A similar combination of verbal and real internal evidence would seem to show7 that the Topics (with the exception of the eighth book) were first written of all the extant works of Aristotle, next the Analytics (Prior and Posterior), next the eighth book of the Topics next the Rhetoric, and then the Sophistical Refutations; and the same canon of criticism would lead us to believe that Aristotle next in order wrote the Nicomahean Ethics, and then (perhaps after an interval) the Politics and the treatise on Poetry. The above order of books may be considered as established certainty. But the reasons seem rather far fetched which induce Valentine Rose8 to lay down that Aristotle, in his 55th year, commenced a second series of writings with the Physical Lecturer, which were followed by the works On the Heavens, On Generation and Destruction, and the Meteorologics ; and afterwards a third series, with the Researches about Animals, followed by the work On Soul, and his other psychological and physiological writings.

FOOTNOTE (p. 515)

(1) In De An., i. 1, 7, there is an apparent assertion of Nominalism GREEK, but Torstrik points out (Ar. De An., p. 113) that Aristotle is here referring to the views of others, not stating his own.

(2) Substance, quantity, quality, relation place, time, posture (GREEK) habit (or dress, GREEK), action, passion. Such a list would form a strange classification of all things in the universe. Some of these categories have an easily traceable affinity with the parts of speech, thus showing the relation between logic and grammar. But this is not their only source. As the individual man may sometimes be the subject of prediction, his "dress" and "posture" were admitted among the classes of categories. Habit, from the Latinised form of GREEK, survives in modern languages, e.g., to be "habited" is to be dressed a, a lady’s riding "habit," habit (in French) = a coat.

(3) See Bonitz’s Index to Aristotle, in the Berlin edition (1870), sub voce GREEK, where the references are given.

(4) See Grote’s Aristotle, vol. i. p. 114. Trendelenburg. Kategorienlehre.

(5) De Interpret., i. 3.

(6) Ar., vol. i. pp. 155-199.

(7) See Aristotle on Fallacies ; or, the Sophistici Elenchi, with a Translation and Notes, by E. Poste (London, 1866), page 103, note 4.

(8) Arist. Pseudepigraph. P. 3 ; cf. De Ar. Lib. Ord. Et Auct., p. 204, sqq.



Granting that the work On Soul was written later than most of the other works of Aristotle, it seems to us safest to say that, in all probability, many of his works were simultaneously "on the stocks" up to the time of his death, and this makes their precise order difficult to assign.

We shall now proceed briefly to indicate, we cannot attempt more, the leading features of the contents of Aristotle’s undoubted works, as they have some down to us. The books of the Organon (see note 10, p. 514) form together a connected whole. Of these the Topics appear to have been written first, but the sequence of thought between the books is that the Prior Analytics stand first, as containing the theory of the syllogism, a necessary preliminary to reasoning of all kinds; and then growing out of this root we have two devergent treatises: the Posterior Analytics, on demonstrative reasoning, or the logic of science ; and the Topics, on dialectic, or the art of discussing subjects in which demonstration is impossible. For the details contained in these treatises we must refer the reader to Grote’s (see note 3, p. 511) generally1 excellent account. The matter of the Prior Analytics has become the common property of all modern books on logic. And scarcely anything2 has had to be detracted from or added to what Aristotle wrote upon the syllogism. His was the proud distinction of having discovered and fully drawn out the laws under which the mind acts in deductive reasoning. That in deduction the mind proceeds from some universal proposition, and how it proceeds—these were the first things which Aristotle had to tell the world. The modern attempts to impugn these principles, and to show that the mind does not reason from universals, are a failure. They confuse inductive with deductive reasoning, and ignore both the case of a science like geometry, which is all deduction, and also the numerous cases where the mind, having unduly assumed a universal principle, rests in it afterwards and makes deductive applications of it. Granting that there is such a thing a deductive reasoning, and before he had discovered and stated the laws under which the mind acts in deductive reasoning. They did so, however, unconsciously and by instincts, just as men wrote and talked grammatically before any idea of a science or an art of grammar existed. In Aristotle deductive reasoning became conscious of itself. Unfortunately for his reputation, this merely preliminary part of his labours, in which the principles and rules of syllogistic inference were drawn out, occupied almost exclusively the minds of thinkers in the Middle Ages. The errors of modern Aristotelians were imputed to Aristotle, and hence arose the notion that Aristotle explained nature by means of the syllogism. Nothing could be further from the truth ; Aristotle was not only one of the most inquiring and encyclopaedical, but also one of the most thoroughly sensible, of all writers, and no one would have repudiated more strongly than himself the idea that the formula of the syllogism can be used to test or explain anything beyond the process of reasoning from certain premisses possessed or assumed, and he is never tired of telling us that the only means of obtaining premisses is by experience and observation of facts. While discussing the syllogism itself, he says,4—" This is the case in astronomy, which is based on the observation of astronomical phenomena, and it is the case with every branch of science or art. When the facts in each branch are brought together, it will be the province of the logician to set out the demonstrations in a manner clear and fit for use." It is true that Aristotle did nothing towards the logic of Induction that is to say, towards, elucidating the methods by which the mind legitimately arrives at general facts or laws of nature. This was left to be worked out by the moderns, by Galileo, and Bacon, and Whewell, and J. S. Mill. Aristotle, indeed, made a cursory attempt5 to put the inductive process into syllogistic form, thus:— "A, B, and C draw iron ; A, B, and C are (or represent) all magnets ; therefore all magnets draw iron." It is clear that this syllogism does not explain the inductive process, it only records in the minor premiss a previous induction. The real question is. Do A, B, and C here properly represent all magnets? To answer this, verification would be required. The syllogism, then, does not explain the inductive process, but only calls attention to what is implied in it. Leaving unattempted the question how the minor premiss in the Inductive syllogism is to be obtained, and how tested,—what Aristotle really works out is the logic of Deductive Science (in the Post. Analytics) and the logic of Deductive Probability (in the Topics). Under the former head the draws the ideal of a perfect science and recounts the conditions necessary to its existence. Interesting discussions6 are introduced by him on Causation, Hypotheses, Axioms, Ultimate Laws Definition, and the Apprehension of Primary Truths. In all this there is little which might not be accepted by a man of science of the present day. The Topics, on the other hand, treat of a subject which possesses rather an antiquarian than a living interest, namely, the conduct and regulation of Dialectic as practised in Athenian society.

In the Middle Ages men made a business7 of propounding, attacking, and defending theses, but this was a lame imitation of the spontaneous disputations of lively Athens, and from its utter profitlessness has long fallen into desuetude. The Dialogues of Plato may serve to give us an idea of a society possessed with an insatiate appetite for discussion and controversy, and always delighted to take part in, or assist at, an intellectual game or fencing match between two opponents. And it is the object of the Topics of Aristotle to lay down the rules for the game of Dialectic, and to establish it as a highly salubrious and necessary intellectual art. Dialectic, properly speaking, is discussion with a view to probable truth, and so far is worthy of the attention of a philosopher. But it may easily emerge into Eristic, which is discussion with a view to victory. Even under this aspect Aristotle does not think it ought to be neglected. Drawing on his vast and methodised observation of life, he gives rules and hints of the conduct of Eristic. The name Topics means " On Common-places," the chief contents of this treatise consists of "heads" useful in arguing for or against a proportion. All this is wearisome to read in eight book. Much more readable are the Sophistical Refutations, which form a conclusion to the

FOOTNOTE (p. 516)

(1) See some criticism upon Grote’s account of the Organon, Edinburgh Review, No. 278, pp. 546-9.

(2) "Both Kant and Hegel acknowledge that from the time of Aristotle to their own age, logic had made no progress" (Stahr, in Smith’s Dict. of Greek and Roman Biography). The fourth figure was added to the syllogism (uselessly); and Sir W. Hamilton introduced the quantification of the predicate. Voilà tout.

(3)In Plato GREEK meant a "computation" generally. By Aristotle a special and technical meaning was given to the word.

(4) Analyt. Prior., i. 30, 3.

(5) Ibid., ii. 23, 2-4. See a criticisms on this in Professor Bain’s Inductive Logic (London, 1870), chap. i. § 2.

(6) See the Logic of Science ; a Translation of the Post. Analyt. Of Aristotle, with Notes and Introduction, by E. Poste (Oxford, 1850).

(7) See, e.g., the achievements, in this way, attributed to "The admirable Crichton," so late as about 1580 A.D.



Topics. The intellectual tendencies of Athenian society had given scope to a class, which gradually arose, of professional and paid disputants, or professors and teachers of the art of controversy. This professional class, under the name "Sophists," got a bad name in antiquity,1 and Aristotle treats them disparagingly as mere charlatans. Thus, while Eristic is arguing for victory, he describes Sophistry as arguing for gain. The Sophist, according to Aristotle, tried to refute by means of fallacy, in order that he might be thought clever, and so get pupils and make money. Aristotle collects, classifies, and exposes these fallacious refutations ; and so exhaustive is he is one short book, that the human mind has hardly invented any fallacious argument since which may not be brought under some head of the Sophistical Refutations. The theory of fallacy was a proper wind up to the Organon, as containing the theory of reasoning in all its branches. Aristotle concludes this part of his system with words full of a just pride in his achievements. It is almost2 the only place in his writings in which any reference to his own personality can be traced. He says,3 " In regard to the process of syllogising I found positively nothing said before me ; I had to work it out for myself by long and laborious research."

Greece at this time was full of Dialectic and Rhetoric, and the two were closely connected ; and it was quite natural for Aristotle (whose aim was to take up and carry out to perfection all that the intellect of his countrymen had assayed), next in order after Logic an Dialectic, to deal with Rhetoric. We have already seen (p. 515) that he probably wrote his Rhetoric immediately after the main books of the Organon, but before the Sophistical Refutations. But a distinction must here be added, for its seems pretty plain that, after he had written the two first books of his Rhetoric, there was an interval, and that he did not add on the third book4 for some time afterwards. Many treatises on the same subject had previously been composed, an account of which has been given by Spengel in his Artium Scriptores,5 or Writers of Arts of Rhetoric, a work professing to replace, as far as might be, the lost book called GREEK , attributed, rightly or wrongly, to Aristotle. It is a curious fact that one of these earlier systems of Rhetoric has been preserved for us among the works of Aristotle, having been long attributed to him on account of a spurious letter prefixed to it, and purportin to be form Aristotle to his former pupil, Alexander the Great Hence the treatise got its name of Rhetoric, addressed to Alexander. But the investigations of scholars6 show conclusively that this work could not have been written by Aristotle, that with great probability it may be attributed to Anaximenes, the historian and rhetorician, and that it was written between 340 and 330 B.C. , only a few years before the composition of Aristotle’s treatise. The work itself is representative of the school of the Sophistical Rhetoricians, and abounds in those tricks of procedure7 which gained their bad name for the Sophists, and which drew forth the reprobation both of Plato and Aristotle. Plato,8 indeed, identified rhetoric with trickery, and refused to countenance the study of it. Aristotle, who exhibits less moral earnestness, but greater intellectual breadth than Plato, thought it necessary that this, like other intellectual fields, should be exploited. He thought,9 amongst other reasons, that unless this were done, truth and justice would sometimes be left deprived of proper representation and support. He repudiates the practice of the earlier rhetoricians, who had based their "Arts" entirely on appeals to the passions; and in a large and manly way he proceeds to develop all the various points which an orator must keep in view, and to indicate all the kinds of knowledge which he must acquire in order to be master of his profession. In so doing, Aristotle has displayed his extraordinary power of exhausting any subject to which he gave him mind. Hardly anything of importance on the subject of Rhetoric has been added to what he wrote. Take the most powerful and subtle specimens of modern oratory,—for instance, Shakespeare’s speech of Mark Antony over the body of Caesar,—and you will find the rationale by every telling point set forth by anticipation in the Rhetoric of Aristotle. His work contains some few Greek technicalities,—for instance, the doctrine of the Enthymeme,10 or rhetorical syllogism,—on the precise nature of which commentators are not agreed. But the main bulk of the treatise consists of a rich collection of remarks on human nature and life, applicable to all periods. In the wisdom and knowledge of the world which it exhibits, Aristotle’s Rhetoric might be compared with the Essays of Lord Bacon. And it might compared with them also in this respect, that a bad and Machiavelian use might certainly be made of some of the suggestions which it contains, though Aristotle professes only to giver them to be employed in the interest of truth and justice. The third book, on Style, is excellent so far as it goes, but it is less exhaustive and universally applicable than the former books, which treat of the matter of speeches.

Rhetoric was said by Aristotle11 to be allied, on the one hand to Dialectic, on the other hand to Ethics ; and, accordingly he, seems to have gone next to the exploration of the latter subject. At all events he wrote the Nicomachean Ethics later than the Rhetoric. When we compare the two treatises together we are struck with the growth of mind which has taken place between them. The Rhetoric is full of ethical definitions of happiness, pleasure, virtue, friendship, and the like. But in the Ethics these are all remodelled, and made far deeper and more exact.





The Nicomachean Ethics was, perhaps, the first of Aristotle’s extant works which entered upon the matter of knowledge, as distinct from the theory of the reasonings by which knowledge is obtained, and from the theory of the statement by which knowledge may be best set forth. The moral system herein contained differs from the ethics of Plato, first, in its more accurate psychological analysis, in distinguishing the will from the intellect, and in making virtue to consist in a formed state of the will, rather than

FOOTNOTE(p. 517)

(1) a controversy on the justice of the reproaches of Xenophon, Plato, Aristotle, &c., against the Sophists, was initiated by Grote in vol. viii. of his History of Greece, and continued in his subsequent works on Plato and Aristotle. On the other side, see Prof. Jowett’s Dialogues of Plato translated (vol. iii. p. 449, sqq.)

(2) Another exception is in Eth. Nic.i.6, where he refers to the fact of Plato having been his friend.

(3) Mr Poste, in his Aristotle on Fallacies, p. 95, translates the words GREEK, as if they meant " on dialectic" generally. But the general opinion is, that Aristotle was here referring to his having worked out the forms of the syllogism.

(4)Book iii. opens with the same words with which book ii. had concluded. This looks as if Aristotle had returned to the subject after an interval, having forgotten the exact form of what he had before written. This book (c. i. § 10) quotes the treatise On Poetry, which must have been written in the meantime.

(5) L. Spengel, GREEK, sive Artium Scriptores, &c. (Stuttgart, 1828).

(6) See An Introduction to Aristotle’s Rhetoric, by E. M. Cope, &c. (London, 1867), pp. 401-414, where the evidence on this point is briefly summed up.

(7) Ib., p. 457, sqq.

(8) Gorgias, p. 465, &c.

(9) Rhet., i 1, 12.

(10) The Enthymeme is a rhetorical (i.e., non-demonstrative) syllogism. Its premisses are "signs" and "probabilities." Its province is to show likelihood, not certainty. The question with scholars is, whether it is essential tot he Enthymeme that one of its premisses should be left unexpressed. See Sir W. Hamilton, Lectures on Logic, vol. i. p. 386, sqq. ; Mr Cope’s Introduction, p. 103, sqq. ; and Grote’s Ar., vol. i. p. 291, sqq.

(11) Rhet., i. 2, 7



In wise insight; secondly, in being disconnected from any assumption, or theory, of the immortality of the soul,—from all that we should call "Faith." Whether or not Aristotle denied a future life is another question to be considered later. But at all events he constructed ethics independently on such a doctrine. On the other hand, his system differs from the modern point of view, in that he asks, not, What is right? what is our duty? or what is the ground of moral obligation? but, What is the chief good for man? In order to answer this question, he calls in the aid of his metaphysical forms of thought,1 such as the doctrine of the Four Causes, and of Actuality and Potentiality. From these he deduces that the chief good fro man must consist in something which is an End in itself, and that it must be found in the actuality of the human powers. It is a weak point in the system that, instead of at once recognizing the law of moral obligation as the deepest thing in man, it introduces2 the idea of virtue and morality in a dry logical way, saying that the chief good for man be the actuality of his powers according to their own proper law of excellence (GREEK). Having in this colourless and neutral way brought in the term GREEK=excellence or virtue, Aristotle divides it, in relation to man, into moral and intellectual. The part of his work which treated of intellectual excellence is lost, or was left unwritten. His discussion on moral excellence or virtue is full of interest. Its salient points are—first, the doctrine of the formation of habits or states of mind; second, the doctrine of "the mean," as the essential determinator of virtue,; third, a brilliant analysis of the qualities and characters which were reckoned either as cardinal or secondary virtues in Greece. On Aristotle’s doctrine of "the mean" a word must be said. Objection has been made to it in modern times, on the ground that it sets up a merely quantitative difference between virtue and vice. But Aristotle’s point of view was thoroughly Greek, it was based on the analogy of Art. When we speak of actions being "right" or "wrong" the Greeks spoke of them as being "beautiful" (GREEK) or "ugly (GREEK). In all Greek art and literature the great aim was to avoid the "too much" and the "too little," and in this way to attain perfection. Aristotle only followed Greek feeling, and the lead of Plato,3 in applying the same idea to morals. It might, indeed, be urged that this idea of "the mean," of "neither too much nor too little," is a negative and merely regulative conception, and that it does not suffice to explain the moral beauty of the phenomena which Aristotle had in view. For instance, he describes the brave man4 consciously meeting death for a worthy object, and consciously sacrificing life and happiness, and much that he holds dear, so far as we can learn from Aristotle, the "beauty" here consists in exhibiting neither too much nor too little boldness, but the exact mean. In this there is obviously something inadequate; but the fault seems to lie, not so much in laying down "the mean" as the law of beauty, but rather in not going beyond the identification of the morally admirable with the beautiful. This leaves each moral action, or course of conduct, to be judged of as a work of art. The proportions in each case are relative, but he who can judge aright will fell the harmony or otherwise of the details. With this artistic and somewhat superficial conception of morality, Aristotle is, in his own way, an intuitionist. He thinks5 that we have a sense (GREEK) for moral beauty, but that this sense exists in perfection in the wise man (GREEK), to whom in all cases must be the ultimate appeal.

But the whole question of man’s moral nature is really subsidiary in the Ethics of Aristotle. His question is, What is the chief good man? and the answer to this question is, It must consist in the evocation and actuality of man’s highest faculty, namely, the Reason. Thus, the highest happiness is to be found in contemplation and speculative thoughts; the joys of the philosopher are beyond compare. A satisfaction of an inferior kind is to be found in the exercise of the moral virtues. Such is, in brief, the view which Aristotle gives of human life. He excludes religion from his consideration of the subject, though his disciple, Eudemus,6 in restating his conclusions, tries to introduce it. The same question, What is the summum bonum for man? has been answered in somewhat similar terms, in modern times, by Spinoza.7

The concluding paragraphs of the Nicomachean Ethics form the prelude and introduction to the Politics of Aristotle. Neither virtue nor happiness,8 he says, can be attained by the individual separately. Moral development and the realization of our powers (GREEK) require as external conditions a settled community, social habits, the restraint and protection of laws, and a wisely-regulated system of public education. Man in by nature a political creature; he cannot isolate himself without becoming either less or more than man (GREEK). Thus the state is a prime necessity to man, and, indeed, the state is prior in idea to the individual, that is to say, the normal conception of man is of man in state of civilization, and this implies beforehand the conception of a state. On these grounds Aristotle went on from his Ethics to the composition of his Politics. Some little time,9 however, may have elapsed between the two works. This is suggested by the mature and free handling given to ethical questions when they occur in the Politics. Aristotle, with his usual tendency to seek a solid basis of experiences for his theories, may, in this interval, have been engaged in making that remarkable collection called the Constitutions (GREEK), which, according to Diogenes Laertius (v. 27), contained a description and history of the constitutions, manners, and usages of 158 states, and of which numerous fragments remain.10 However this may be, the Politics, as we possess them, are full of learning and information. After a preliminary dissertation on the family as a unit in the state, they give a critical history of previous philosophical theories of politics, and an examination of some of the chief existing constitutional systems, before proceeding to the statement of Aristotle’s own view. The treatise is unfinished; in Bekker’s edition it bearks off in the middle of Aristotle’s theory of education (book viii.) Some have

thought that this unfinished book was put last be some editor because it was unfinished, but that it originally stood earlier in the treatise, and that the commonly received order of the books should be transposed as follows:—i,ii. iii. vii. viii. iv. vi. v. It is forcibly argued11 that a better



FOOTNOTES (page. 520)

(1) See Grant’s Ethics, vol. i. essay 4.

(2) Eth. Nic., i. 7, 15.

(3) Plato’s term for the law of the beautiful was GREEK. See Philebus, pp. 23-27, and Grant’s ethics, essay 4.

(4) Eth. Nic., iii. 9, 4.

(5) See Politics, I, 2, 12.

(6) See Fritzschius, eudemi Rhodii ethica (Ratisbon, 1851), p. 40, note, p. 261, note; and Grant’s ethics, essay 1.

(7) De Intellectus Emendatione, ii. 13, 14. The highest good (says Spinoza) is to arrive at a state consisting in knowledge of the union which the mind has with the whole of nature, and to be able to enjoy that state in common with other individuals.

(8) Eth. Nic., x. 10, 8-23; Pol., 1, 2, 8, 9.

(9) Spengel thinks that "the Politics were written long after the ethics.

(10) These, as collected and annotated by C.F. Neumann, are given in Bekker’s Oxford edition of Aristotle.

(11) See M. Barthélemy St Hilaire’s Politique d’ Aristotle (Paris, 1837); Spengel, "Ueber die Pol. Des Ar." (Abhand. Der Bayerisch, Akad., 1849); Nickes, De Arist. Polit. Lib, (Bonn, 1851); and Mr Congreve’s Pol. Of Ar. (London, 1855, 1874).



Logical orde for the subject matter of the entire treatise is thus provided; book I, being preliminary on the family, book ii. being critical of previous theories and existing constitutions, book iii. viii. giving Aristotle’s own conception of an ideal state (unfortunately not concluded in the most interesting part of all), books iv. vi. v. forming a return from the ideal point of view to practical statesmanship, and suggesting remedies for the different evils apparent in the actual Governments of Greece. Suffice it, however, to say that he Politics of Aristotle have come down to us in a fragmentary condition, not carrying out all that their author had intended, and probably never having received his last hand. The contents of this work are interesting, first, from an antiquarian point of view, as throwing a flood of light on Grecian history; secondly, form the knowledge of human nature and the wise remarks applicable to all times with which they abound. On the other hand, Aristotle’s consideration are too much confined to Greek states, that is, to states on an extremely small scale, to allow of his political theories being very useful in modern times. Owing to this his Politics have been comparatively little studied. It is said1 that in the Italian republics, from their resemblance to the Greek states, more attention than elsewhere was paid to this treatise. Aristotle had no political ties; he lived at Athens as a metic, or foreigner, without the rights or duties of a citizen, and thus he was in a position to write, with the utmost impartiality, of political questions. But his statesmanship does not appear to have extended to what we should call the "balance of power," by which national existence might be preserved and guaranteed. He limited his view to the well-being of each little state within itself, though he probably would not have objected to, and perhaps even contemplated, the hegemony of Macedonia, provided that under this each Greek city were left to carry on it own civic life.

His ideal state contrast favourably, from a scientific point of view, with that of Plato. For while giving, as we have been seen above, great and predominant weight to the idea of the state, he refuses to allow the individual and the family to be absorbed by the state. He thus resist all approaches to that communism2 which was carried to so great extravagance in the Republic of Plato. The form of government which, ideally speaking, he prefers, is a wise monarchy or aristocracy,—some government, in short in which neither wealth nor numbers shall be permitted to determine everything. In some points it must be confessed that he exhibits a narrow and conservative spirit, and a belief in the divine right of things as they are, which puts him at a disadvantage in comparison either with Plato or with modern views. Thus, despite counter opinions in his own day, he maintains the institution of slavery as based on nature, and even lays it down3 that it is justifiable to make war upon and reduce to slavery those races who were evidently intended by nature to be subject. In accordance with his physiological system, he treats woman4 as stunted man, fixed by nature in a position of inferiority; and, therefore, he resists Plato’s proposals for the emancipation and improved education of women. And by a third misapplication of his favourite conception of "nature," he denounces interest5 as unnatural, money being a mere instrument of exchange, whereas interest unnaturally increases it. These specimens of backwardness of though all occur in the first book of the Politics, and may serve to show how much "Truth is the daughter of Time," and into what weakness the strongest individual minds may fall on questions not yet sufficiently ventilated and sifted by time. From his unfinished theory of education6 in the eight book of the Politics, Aristotle was led on to the composition of his work On Poetry. This also is a fragment, and while promising7 to treat of tragedy, adding a few brief remarks on epic poetry, and omitting comedy altogether. Aristotle, when he wrote it, had not yet written the third book of his Rhetoric,8 and he had not yet got thedivision of the two subjects clear in his mind; for he introduces into his fragment On Poetry observations on style, and even on grammar, which would have been more appropriate elsewhere.

His account of tragedy is a profound piece of aesthetic philosophy. By implication he defends tragedy against Plato, who had wised to banish the drama from his ideal republic, as tending to make men unmanly. In his celebrated definition of tragedy,9 Aristotle says that, "by pity and fear, it effects the purification of such feelings." On the exact meaning of these terms a lively discussion10 has taken place in Germany. The question is, whether "purification" (GREEK) has a moral significance, such as was associated with the term in the Greek "mysteries," or whether it is a purely medical metaphor, and means simply "purging." In the Politics (viii. 7, 3) Aristotle has used the same term (GREEK) in reference to the effect of certain kinds of music and had promised to give a fuller explanation of it in his treatise On Poetry; but his promise is unfulfilled, and we have rather to go back to the Politics11 as affording most light on the subject. The result of the discussion seems to be that GREEK is a medical term, and that Aristotle’s meaning is that tragedy, by causing the feelings of pity and fear to "operate" pleasurably, relieves12 the moral nature of a certain burden. We must regret, however, that the fuller disquisition on this subject, which he had promised, has not been given. Much stress has been laid, especially by the French, on "the unities" of the drama, as supposed to be prescribed by Aristotle On Poetry. But in reality he attaches no importance to the external "unities" of time and place. In enumerating the differences between tragedy and epic poetry, he says,13 that "the one generally tries to limit its action to a period of twenty-four hours, or not much to exceed that, while the other is unlimited in point of time." But he does not lay this down as a law for tragedy. The peculiarity of the Greek drama, in which a chorus remained constantly present and the curtain never fell, almost necessitated "the unities," but Aristotle only concerns himself with internal unity, which he says that tragedy must have in common with every other work of art,14 and which consists in making every part bear an organic relation to the whole, so that no part could be altered or omitted without the whole suffering. This principle, much more valuable than that of "the unities," is habitually



FOOTNOTES ( page 519)

(1) See Mr Congreve, Pol. Of Ar., introduction, p. xxiii.

(2) Pol., ii. 1, 3; 5, 28.

(3) Pol., i. 8, 12.

(4) Pol., i. 13, 7-11. Cf. A celebrated passage on the characteristics of female, Hist. Animal., ix. 1.

(5) Pol., i. 10, 4.

(6) See an interesting summary of Aristotle’s views on this subject, National Education in Greece, in the 4th Century B.C., by A.S. Wilkins, (London, 1873), pp. 135-167.

(7) Poet, vi. 1.

(8) See note 4, p. 517.

(9) Post., vi. 2.

(10) See Aristoteles über Tragödie, von Dr J. H. Reinkens (Vienna, 1870), pp. 78-167, in which the controversy is summarized.

(11) Besides the passage above quoted, there is another place in the Pol. Where the terms GREEK and GREEK are used to express the relief of the passions procured by indulging them, Pol. Ii. 7, 11, 12.

(12) Pol., viii. 7, 5, GREEK.

(13) Poet., v. 8.

(14) Poet., viii. 4.



Violated by all but the few first-rate works of fiction of the present day.

The Rhetoric, The Nicomachean Ethics, the Politics, and the fragment ON Poetry, make up the sum of Aristotle’s extant contributions to "practical" and "productive" philosophy. We have now to follow him into the "speculative" part of his system, consisting of a rich series of physical and physiological treatises. In this series of physical and physiological treatises. In this department the results arrived at 2200 years ago by Aristotle come into sharp contrast with the achievement of modern science up to the present day. Those who enter upon the comparison are apt to run into one of two extremes,1—either to pass undiscriminating eulogies on Aristotle, and to credit him with impossible anticipations of future discovery, or to treat him with undue disparagement, as utterly false in method and puerile in his views of nature. It is only owing to Aristotle’s real greatness that such a comparison could for a moment be made,—for what, comparatively speaking, could be expected of a philosophy 2000 years old in respect of the sciences of observation and experiment, whose very essence consists in gradual advance form one new vantage point to another? To do personal justice to Aristotle, we must conceive, as a matter of fancy, what it would have been if he could have had one of the great modern discoveries imparted to him,—the Copernican system, or the law of gravitation, or the circulation of the blood, or the analyses of air and water, or the conservation of energy; if he could have had any modern instrument of observation, such as the telescope or microscope, or even the thermometer or barometer, placed in his hands. How swiftly would he have used such an advantage! What new and ramifying deductions and inductions he would have made! How radically he would have had modified many of his views! But all this was, of course impossible. Physical knowledge was in its infancy; Aristotle could only start where his predecessors left off; he laid the foundation of many sciences, and wherever simple observation was adequate,—as, for instance, in politics and in some parts of natural history,—his achievements were complete and surprising. But for the greater realms of science he had no starting point and no appliances; he could only slightly modify the almost childlike views of the Greeks, and rest content with such unverified hypotheses2 as seemed to him best to cohere together, and to explain the nature of things. Thus, it is not to be wondered at that he considered the earth to be stationary and the centre of the world, with the seven planets (including as such the sun and moon) moving round it in oblique courses to the left, while the outer heaven or sphere of the stars—composed not of perishable matter, but of divine ether—he thought to move form left to right, with perfect and regular motion returning on itself, deriving its motion from the encompassing Godhead,—that essence which moves things, but is not moved itself. Such was, according to the belief of Aristotle, the framework of the universe; and the order3 of his physical treatises corresponds with the filling up of this framework. Of his method it may be said, in one word, that no one was ever more keen than he to make "fact" (GREEK) the basis of every theory. It is not to be supposed for a moment that he attempted to explain nature by means of the syllogism. But, on the other hand, the art of experimenting, and the exact quantitative record of observations had not been developed. So Aristotle was often quite destitute of the appropriate "facts" for a particular inquiry, and sometimes deceived in the "facts" upon which he founded. And his training as a dialectician was in some respects a disadvantage to him, as it led him to depend too much on the evidence of language in forming his theories of nature.

The logical order of the physical treatises, and, probably to a great extent, the actual order of their composition, is as follows:—1st , The Physical Discourse, in eight books, forms an introduction to the entire subject. It is, as Hegel called it, "a Metaphysic of Physic." It treats of the Principles of Existence, Matter and Form, Nature, Motion, Time, Space, the Unmoved First Mover, and The Ever moved, i.e., the sphere of the outer heaven. 2nd, The treatise On the Heavens, in four books, naturally succeeds; and Aristotle, thus beginning with the periphery and divinest part of the universe, descends gradually to the region of the material and perishable. In so doing it becomes necessary to him to consider the causes of those changes,—that passing into and out of existence,—which had no nplace in the higher region. Therefore, 3d, the treatise On Generation and Destruction, in two books, gives us Aristotle’s theory of the Hot and the Cold, and the Wet and the Dry,—pairs of opposites, the first pair active, and the second pair passive, which by their combination and mutual workings produce the four elements (Hot and Dry= Fire, Hot and Wet=Air, Cold and Dry=Earth, Cold and Wet=Water), and form the ground for all natural changes. 4th, The Meteorologics, in three books, treats of the region of the planets, comets, and meteors,—a region ever full of changes and alteration. The fourth book of this treatise does not logically belong to it, for in it Aristotle develops his theory of two exhalations—the steamy or wet, and the smoky of dry—which, being imprisoned within the earth, produce, the former the metals, and the latter the rocks, and such other minerals as are incapable of being melted. This theory, which seems to be a dim foreshadowing of the doctrine of crystallization, takes us out of the mid-air below the surface of the earth. It is, therefore, our of place; but almost everything in Aristotle must be looked upon as unfinished. 5th, The treatise On the Parts of Animals, in four books, leads the way to the investigation of organic life. It contains Aristtole’s physiological distinction between homogenous and unhomogenous substances (GREEK), i.e., tissues and organs. This distinction, which is recognized still as perfectly valid, gives a scale of ascension from the inorganic to the organic world. First, Heat and Cold, &c., form the simple elements; out of the elements are formed the homogeneous substances or tissues; out of these are formed the organs, out of the organs the organized being. As a principle of method, Aristotle lays it down4 that all which is common to the various species of living being should be discussed before entering upon their specific differences. Therefore, 6th, the treatise On Soul follows next in order, which, as Spengel observes (see note 3), is not to be regarded as a work on psychology in the modern sense, but as a physiological treatise on the soul or vital principle common to all living-beings. And next follow, 7th, the so-called Parva Naturalia, which form appendices to the three books On Soul, and treat physiologically of sense and sensation, youth and age, sleep and waking, and other phenomena attaching to life in general. 8th , The short essay On Locomotion of Animals shown how various organs in the



FOOTNOTES (page 520)

(1) This subject may be studied in Mr Lewes’s Aristotle, a Chapter from the History of Science, referred to in note 5, p. 511. Mr Lewes quotes some of the principal eulogies upon Aristotle’s scientific merits. He himself affords an instance of the opposite extreme, being in many points too hard upon Aristotle.

(2) There are some interesting remarks on the position of a Greek philosopher of the 4th century B.C. in relation to physical science, in Professor Jowett’s Dialogues of Plato, translated (Oxford, 1871), vol. ii. p. 503, sqq. in the introduction to the "Timaeus."

(3) See Dr Leonhard Spengel’s paper on this subject, Abhandlungen der Philos-philol. Klasse der Bayerischen Akademnie, 5th vol. 2d div. p. 142 (Munich, 1849).

(4) De Part. Anim., i. 1, 4-7.



Various creatures are adapted by nature for this purpose. 9th , The elaborate treatise, in five books. On Generation of Animals, works out this subject with astonishing fullness. And, 10th, the great work entitled Researches about Animals, in ten books, in which Aristotle exhibits an acquaintance, more or less intimate, with about 500 species,1 crowns the series of his physical writings, and certainly constitutes one of his greatest achievements.

There were two other treatises which Aristotle had proposed2 to himself to write, as belonging to this Greek, or department, namely, one ON the Physiology of Plants, and one On Disease and Health, so far as belongs to Physical Philosophy. But neither of these intentions, so far as we know, was executed by him.

Last of Aristotle’s extant and undoubted works, we have to deal with the Metaphysics. We cannot accept the opinion expressed by Valentine Rose3 that this work was written before the Physical Discourse and the other kindred books which have just been enumerated. Doubtless many of the metaphysical conceptions were pretty complete in Aristotle’s head before he wrote on physics, but that is another question. The very name "Metaphysics" (see before, note 8, p. 514) embodies a strong tradition that the work to which it has been applied came "after the physical works." Secondary, There is another tradition4 that this treatise was sent to Eudemus for revision, and that while Eudemus was suggesting some improvements in the arrangement, Aristotle died. Thirdly, there are four places5 in the physical writings which put off the discussion of certain questions as belonging to "first philosophy," just as in the Ethics6 other questions are put off as belonging to physics. Fourthly, The Metaphysics are quoted in no genuine work of Aristotle,7 now generally attributed to a later Peripatetic. Fifthly, The doctrine of causes seems to be handled in a more mature way in the Metaphysics than in the physical writings. Sixthly, In no less than twelve places8of the Metaphysics the physical treatises appear to be referred to. There is good ground, then, both external and internal, for believing that the Metaphysics were among the latest of Aristotle’s works, and they were certainly not finished by him.

As the work stands in Bekker’s edition, it consists of thirteen books, exclusive oft eh brief fragment which succeeds book i., and is marked as A E_ATTON, or, I. Minor. This fragment was attributed by ancient9tradition to Pasides, and is probably un-Aristotelian. It merely contains some very general remarks on the search for principles. Book iv. is a sort of glossary of the various meanings in which certain philosophical (but not exclusively metaphysical) words are used. It may have been jotted down by Aristotle himself, and have been found among his papers; but it is only through injudicious editing that it can have been inserted in this work. Book x. is quite peculiar; the first half of it (chapters 1-7) is a brief restatement (by Aristotle himself, as Bonitz thinks) of the conclusions of books ii. iii. v.; the second half is an un-Aristotelian epitome of part of the Physical Discourse. Even making these deductions, the remainder of the work is not homogenous, but is resolvable into two separate treatises; the first being intended to set forth Aristotle’s system of metaphysic, and consisting of books i. ii. iii. v. vi. vii. viii., which give the history of former systems and the groundwork of his own. The second treatise is contained in book xi., which, after a short sketch of the nature of substance in general, ends in a dissertation upon the nature of God. Book ix. (on Unity) and xii. xiii. (on the Pythagorean and Platonic systems of numbers and ideas), appear to have been intended for the first treatise, but they remain as mere materials for a magnum opus which was never achieved. We see, then, out of what disjecta membra the Metaphysics of Aristotle, as they stand in our editions, are composed. How far the making up of them into their present form is due to Eudemus and the earlier Peripatetics, how far to the editorial hands of Andronicus, we cannot tell.

Among the many-sides merits of Aristotle must be mentioned the example set by him of making the history of opinion on each subject the prelude to a scientific consideration of the subject itself. In the first book of his Metaphysics he sketches the leading doctrines of his predecessors on the first principles of existence. He thus becomes the father of then history of philosophy, a study which has been taken up anew and much developed during the present century. His brief and masterly sketch is, however, open to the charge of not doing sufficient justice to the different points of view of former philosophers. And his polemic against Plato’s doctrine of Ideas, which is several times repeated10 in his extent writings, has the appearance of captiousness, and of misrepresenting the11 doctrine which it impugns. Aristotle himself never discarded idealism. He declared that universals, and the truths apprehensible by the highest reason, were "by nature more known"12 than individual concrete phenomena, and the facts apprehended by sense. But yet he the strongest bias towards physical research and empirical observation. A modern physical philosopher might have been content to follow out his own special inquiries without seeking a general scheme for the universe. But Aristotle had to form a theory of the whole, leaving scope, afterwards, fro the separate physical sciences. The idealism of Plato did not do this; it left no place for matter, motion, or change; when followed out it reduced all but the Ideas to the category of the non-existent. Aristotle, to rescue all nature from theoretical annihilation, introduced a term between the existent and the non-introduced a term between the existent and the non-existent, namely, the "potential" does not exist, for as yet it has no qualities; on the other hand, it does exist, for some change brings the "actual"



FOOTNOTES (page 521)

(1) See Die Thierarten des Aristoteles, von der Klassen der Säugethiere, Vögel, Reptilien, und Insecten, von, Carl J. Sundevall, Uebersetzung aus dem Schwedischen (Stockholm, 1863). Prof. Sundewall estimates the total number of mammals indicated and described by Aristotle to have been about 70; of birds, 150; of reptiles, 20; and of fishes, 116; making altogether 356 species of vertebrate animals. Of the invertebrate classes, about 60 species of insects and arachnids seem to have been known to Aristotle; some 24 crustaceans and annelids, and about 40 molluses and radiates. See The Natural History Review for 1864, page 494.

(2) De Sensu, iv. 14; De Gen. Animal., 1.2, 1; De Long. Vit., i. 4, vi. 8. In Hist. Anim., v. 1, 4, GREEK is probably a misreading for GREEK.

(3) De Ar. Lib. Ord. et Auct., pp. 135-232.

(4) see Brandis, Schol, in Arist., `519, b. 33.

(5) Quoted by Bonitsz, Ar. Metaphysica (Bonn, 1849), p. 4.

(6) Eth. Bic., viii. 1, 7, &c.

(7) This little treatise bears all the marks of being a monograph in which the conclusions out of various parts of Aristotle’s physical, psychological, and metaphysical writings are amplified and brought together. Rose gives arguments to show that the physiology of this book, and of the treatise On Breath, belongs to a medical school (Praxagoras, Erasistratus, &c.) later than the time of Aristotle. He admits the De Motu Animal. to have been compiled by some very able Peripatetic, De Ar. Lib. Ord. et Auct., pp. 162-174.

(8) See Bonitz, p. 5

(9) See Brandis, Schol. In Arist., p. 589, a. 41.

(10) See a critical examination of all the places in Zeller’s Platonische Studien (Tubingen, 1839), pp. 199-300.

(11) Plato by no means consistently maintained the doctrine of Ideas, as commonly attribute to him. In the Parmenides he himself draws out the objections which may be urged against the system. And, wonderful to relate, Aristotle uses some of these very objections in attacking Plato!

(12) Topics, vi. 4, 1-10, and see note 13, p. 514.



(GREEK) into existence, and this could not be without implying the previous existence of the potential . The universe, according to Aristotle, is a continuous chain; at the one end is the purely potential—matter without form or qualities; at the other end is pure unconditioned actuality, the ever existent, or God.

Reflection upon the relations of the potential and the actual shows the world to have been eternal, for the actual must always have preceded the potential;1 the seed is the potentiality of the plant, and the plant must always have preceded the seed,2 the fowl the egg, &c. Thus, all the system of cause and effect, which makes up what is called "nature," has been and will be, according to Aristotle, of eternal duration, and is only slightly modified and altered by two uncalculable elements3 of causation,—chance and the will of man .

"Nature," or the system prevailing from the earth upwards through the planetary sphere, is full of reason; it does nothing in vain.4 The formal causes, the form, or perfection, of each thing, is generally to be identified with the final cause, or end, at which nature aims. Matter, rising from the merely potential, through the four elements into various substances, is the material cause; and the efficient, or motive cause is supplied by the active powers of heat and cold. Nature, however, is impersonal, and to speak of it as pervaded by reason, has all the appearance of pantheism. But yet in the system of Aristotle there was a God who was not part of nature. Aristotle’s utterances on this subject are obscure; he speaks of the unmoved Mover of all things at one time5 as if He supplied motion to the periphery of heaven, at another as if He move things by desire, under the form of the Good. But, at all events, He is personal: He enjoys for ever that bliss which we can only at brief moments attain to; His life is the thinking upon thought. In all this there is something incomplete, and the different points of view are not reconciled. Aristotle argues that6 God could not, as thoughts, have any object of thoughts inferior to himself, else the divine thought, by thinking upon an inferior object, would suffer change and degradation. God, therefore, can only think upon himself. This argument would seem to foreclose the possibility of either Providence or prayer. There is something Eastern in this idea of a God absorbed in self-meditation; and, on the other hand, we observe that Aristotle, while considering no trouble too great to obtain excellence in any little point of art, or science, or morals, or politics,—still, in comparison with the great universe, makes human affairs of relatively little importance. But yet, within the sphere of nature, man is, according to him, the highest product—indeed, the one end for which all the arrangements of nature are but means.7 Nor does man himself fall wholly within the sphere of nature. Every natural soul is the ultimate expression (GREEK) of a corresponding physical body. But in the human soul there is something which ahs no physical substratum, which came in from without.8 And, if not physical, this something must belong to the ethereal essence of which the outer heavens and the self-conscious, happy stars are composed. Thus man, by his reason, has a direct connection with the sphere of the eternal and the blessed. The question then arises whether the individual man can look forward to immortality. On this, regardless of Plato’s elaborate pictures of a Hell, a Purgatory, and a Heaven, Aristotle says nothing. In one celebrated passage9 he makes reason twofold, the active and the passive, of which the active reason, and it alone, is indestructible; but if this be incapable of receiving impressions, it would seem that all our memory,—in short, all that constitutes human individuality,—is doomed to extinction. But Aristotle never says so in express terms, and therefore has given scope for much controversy in modern times as to his opinion.10

Returning to his psychology, we find that11 he considers knowledge to imply a certain similarity, if not identity, between the subjects and the object. Therefore, the higher reason in apprehending universals, apprehends something homogenous with itself,—something, in short, ethereal, This would bring the Aristotelian universals every near to the Platonic ideas, but that he maintains12 that the universals are always immanent in the individuals, never transcendental, or existing by themselves. But this doctrine widely separates Aristotle from the modern experimental school, though, on the other hand, there is no trace of his having believed in "innate ideas" upon any subject. Aristotle, like Locke, considered each human mind to be originally a blank tablet, but he would not agree with Locke that this tablet is written upon by external objects, he would rather say that, by the joint action of the active and the passive reason, the tablet writes upon itself, and that there is much in our knowledge which comes from the nature of the intellect itself. Two doctrines lie at the foundation of his system: 1st, the principle of contradiction,—that a thing must be either A or not A; 2d, the dualistic opposition, throughout the universe, of reason and matter. In modern times we have been long accustomed to think of this world as having had a beginning, and recent theories of "development" are attempts at a speculative history of nature gradually arriving at its present condition. Such theories have nothing to correspond to them in the system of Aristotle, for in his view the present fabric of the world has had an eternal existence, and nature is fixed, being only slightly varied by the element of chance. He admits, indeed, a process of development in human society, but in order to adapt this process to a fixed and eternal frame of things he announces13 the curious opinion, that the human race has repeatedly brought to perfection all art, science, and philosophy, and has on each occasion been swept away by some widespread catastrophe or convulsion of nature, leaving only a few individuals or repropagate the race, and to begin again the development of civilization out of the merest rudiments.



In endeavouring to bring forward, in a brief space, some of the salient characteristics of Aristotle, we have been led to mention chiefly those points on which he differs most



FOOTNOTES (page. 522)

(1) Metaphys., viii. 8, 1-11.

(2) A similar doctrine to this was stated by Sir W. Thomson in his address to the British Association, 1871. He said, "I am ready to adopt an as an article of scientific faith, true through all space and through all time, that life proceeds from life, and from nothing but life." His suggestion as to our own globe was "that life originated on this earth through moss-grown fragments from the ruins of another world."

(3) Eth. Nic., iii. 3, 7, &c.

(4)See the whole of book ii. of the Physical Discourse

(5) See the dissertation on the nature of God, Metaph., xi. c. 6-10.

(6) Metaph., xi. 9, 4.

(7) See Polit., i. 8, 11, where it is said that "plants are evidently for the sake of animals, and animals for the sake of man; thus nature, which does nothing in vain, has made all thing for the sake of man.

(8) De Gen. Animal., ii. 3, 9. 10.

(9) De Anima, iii. 5. 2.

(10) Averroes made for himself a bad name by pushing the words of Aristotle to their logical conclusion. On the other hand, St Thomas Aquinas argued in favour of Aristotle’s belief in immortality. Spengel, apparently, takes the latter view (see note 3, p. 520); he quotes with approval an anonymous ancient—GREEK . See some criticisms, on Grote’s view, Ed. Rev., No. 278, pp. 553-556.

(11) See Die Erkjenntnisstheorie des Aristotles, von Dr F. Kampe (Leipsic, 1870), p. 316, sqq.

(12) Post. Analyt., i. 11, 1, &c.

(13) Metaphys., xi. 8, 19.



Widely from the modern point of view, and which, therefore, are his points of weakness. Much that the world has accepted from him, many a solid mass of wisdom and good sense, to be found in his writings, we have been obliged to pass over in silence. On most subjects Aristotle is no longer an authority, but yet, for many reasons his works are well worth study. First, on account of the important part they have borne in the history of the world. No one who aspires to cultivation can dispense with a historical knowledge of the thought of Europe, and Aristotle is one of the great foundation-heads of that thought. Secondly, if cultivation consists, as has been said, in an acquaintance with all the best productions of the human mind, Aristotle’s works, despite their want of style, certainly come among the number. Hegel advocated the study of these works as "the noblest problem of classical philology." The University of Oxford, during the present century, has made a renewed study of Aristotle one of its chief instruments of education,—and with great success, as was especially testified to by the late Dr Arnold1 of Rugby. Aristotle’s great knowledge of human nature, exhaustive classification, and clear methods of disentangling a question and dealing with what is essential in it, render many of his works an excellent curriculum for training young men, and fitting them for all the superior business of life. There is a certain dynamical impulse to be derived from Aristotle, independent of all his results and conclusions. The Aristotelian element in thought and knowledge may, perhaps, be summoned u[ as "analytic insight," and this insight arises out of concentration of the mind upon the subject in hand, marshalling together all the facts and opinions attainable upon it, and dwelling on these, and scrutinizing and comparing them till a light flashes on the whole subject. Such is the procedure which may be learnt, by imitation, from Aristotle.

The history of the study of the Aristotelian philosophy, since the time of Andronicus, falls under various heads, dealt with elsewhere. It is contained,—first, uner such names as those of the Greek commentators, Boethus, Nicolas Damascenus, Alexander fo Aegae, Aspasius, Adrastus, Galenus, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Porphyry, Iamblichus, Dexippus, Themistius, Proclus, Ammonius, Damascius, David the Armenian, Asclepius, Olympiodorus, Simplicius, and Johannes Philoponus; secondly, under the history of the caliphs of Baghdad, and their encouragement of the translation into Arabic of Greek philosophical works; thirdly, under the names of Avicenna (of Baghdad), and Averroes, and Moses Maimonides (of Cordova), and the history of the controversies to which they gave rise; fourthly, under the name of Thomas Aquinas, and the history of Scholasticism generally; fifthly, under the history of the Renaissance, and of the manifold editions of Aristotle to which the first age of printing gave birth; sixthly, under the names of Ramus and Bacon, and the history of reaction against scholastic Arsitotelianism; seventhly, under the names of Lessing, Hegel, and other great Germans who, within the last hundred years, have revived a genuinely philosophical and critical study of Aristotle.

For the bibliography of Aristotle’s works we must refer to the first volume of Buhle’s (Bipontine) edition (1791-1800), which contains an enumeration of all the earlier editions, translations, and commentaries. All previous editions of the text of the entire works give way to the recension of Immanuel Bekker (1831-1840), which being supplemented by a volume of Scholia upon Airstotle,



FOOTNOTES (page. 523)

1 See The Life and Correspondence of Thomas Arnold, D. D., &c., by A . P. Stanley, &c., vol. ii., letter 274.



Edited by Brandis (1836), and a complete index to all the works, compiled by Bonitz (1870), constitutes the great edition of the Prussian Royal Academy. Within the last forty years much admirable work has been done in Germany in the way of clearing up special questions relating to Aristotle, and introducing correct judgments about his philosophy generally. Perhaps the scholar who, by a mixture of rich learning and penetrating good sense, has deserved best of Aristotle is Dr Leonhard Spengel, to whose papers, contributed to the Royal Bavarian Academy of Munich, we have often previously referred. The historians of philosophy, beginning with Hegel’s "Lectures," and going on to Brandis, Zeller, Schwegler, and Ueberweg, reflect the progress opinions about Aristotle of critical and philosophical circles. Many excellent editions of the separate treatises, and many monographs on special points, have performed a subsidiary function. And a good German translation, executed by Stahr, Bender, Karsel, &c., of the works of Aristotle, now nearly complete, has been published at Stuttgart, by Krais and Hoffmann.

No other nation can compare with Germany in recent services towards a knowledge of Aristotle. France has contributed translations of the Physics, De Anima, Parva Naturalia, Organon, Politics, and ethics, by Barthélemy St Hilaire, an essay on the Metaphysics, by Ravaisson, and a few less important works. The translations are readable, but cannot be relied on for accuracy in any difficult point. In England he contributions to Aristotelian literature have borne no sort of proportion to tehe xtent to which minds have been educationally imbued with certain of Aristotle’s works. The unproductiveness of Oxford in this respect is certainly a matter of reproach to that university. Sir W. Hamilton exhibited great learning in all that concerned Aristotle rather than a true insight into Aristotle himself. Grote’s work was conceived in a German spirit, but it was begin far too late in life to have any chance of success. The problem how to translate Aristotle into English has not yet been solved. We have had a translation of the entire works by the very sane, and very unscholarlike, Thomas Taylor (10 vols., London, 1806-12), which exists only as a curiosity for book collectors. And we have had the not uncreditable versions of Bohn’s Classical Library, but there latter were done to order, and cannot be expected to perform what is in itself so difficult. Mr Poste, perhaps the most thorough of present English Aristotelians, in his Aristotle on Fallacies, gives us rather a condensed paraphrase than a translation, and is often as difficult as the original Greek. The problem is, how to convey, in readable English, a philosophical style, full of technical terms for which we have no exact representatives. Circumlocution, or paraphrase, becomes necessary; the question is, how to use this with the greatest tact, so as, while conveying Aristotle’s exact meaning, to retain something of his manner. Perhaps this problem may, in course of time, be solved, if in the meanwhile the study of Greek is not altogether abandoned in England.

The following are works relating to Aristotle which are worthy of consultation, but have not been mentioned in the previous text or notes—Stahr, Aristotelia (2 vol., Halle, 1830-32); Aristoteles bei den Römern (Leipsic, 1834). Biese, Die Philosphie des Aristoteles (2 vols., Berlin, 1835042). Waitz, Organon (2 vols., Leipsic, 1844-46). Schwegler, Metaphysica (4 vols., Tübingen, 1847-48). Torstrick, De Anima (Berlin, 1862). Meyer, J. B. Dissertatio de Principiis Aristotelis in distributione animalium adhibitis (Berlin, 1854); Aristotelis Thierkunde: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Zoologie, Physiologie, und alter Philosophie (1855). Spengel, Ueber die Rhetorik des Aristotel s (Munich, 1851).




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