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Aristotle's Metaphysics AlphaSymposium Aristotelicum$
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Carlos Steel and Oliver Primavesi

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199639984

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199639984.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

History and Dialectic in Metaphysics A 3 History and Dialectic in Metaphysics A 3 Metaphysics A 3, 983a24–4b8

History and Dialectic in Metaphysics A 3 History and Dialectic in Metaphysics A 3 Metaphysics A 3, 983a24–4b8

Chapter:
(p.68) (p.69) 3 History and Dialectic in Metaphysics A 3 Metaphysics A 3, 983a24–4b8
Source:
Aristotle's Metaphysics Alpha
Author(s):

Rachel Barney

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199639984.003.0003

This chapter discusses Metaphysics A.3, 983a24-4b8, in which Aristotle proposes to examine the first principles [archai] of his Presocratic predecessors in terms of his own theory of the four causes [aitiai]. It argues that Aristotle's account represents a particular kind of constructive dialectic, influenced by Plato's treatment of his predecessors in the Sophist; but that it also should be considered a foundational work in the history of philosophy, continuous with Peripatetic historical investigations in other fields. On more specific points, it argues that Aristotle's presentation of Thales is mostly taken from the sophist Hippias' account of Hippo, and that his account of Presocratic monism is more ambiguous than usually appreciated, and influenced by earlier readings as well.

Keywords:   ‘history of philosophy’ [or ‘philosophy, history of’, or ‘Aristotle as historian of philosophy’], ‘dialectic’, ‘Presocratics’, ‘Plato’ [or more specifically ‘Plato as historian of philosophy’], ‘aitiai’ [or ‘causes’], ‘archai’ [or ‘first principles’], ‘monism’ [or ‘monism, Presocratic’ or ‘monism, material’], ‘Thales’, Hippo

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