Page images
[ocr errors]

(3) Rhetorical:rtxyms rās 6eo.34%rov avvaywyh: The Theodected (cited in the Preface to the Rhetoric to Alexander (chap. i.), and as rà Geojikreta in the Rhetoric (iii. 9, 1410 b 2), rexvöv avvaywyh: A historical collection of arts of rhetoric. Difficult as it is to determine when Aristotle wrote all these various works, some of them indicate their dates. Gryllus, celebrated in the dialogue on rhetoric, was Xenophon's son who fell at Mantineia in 362; and Eudemus of Cyprus, lamented in the dialogue on soul, died in Sicily in 352. These then were probably written before Plato died in 347; and so probably were fmost of the dialogues, precisely because they were imitations of the dialogues of Plato. Among the didactic writings, the repl rāyaffol) would probably belong to the same time, because it was Aristotle's report of Plato's lectures. On the other hand, the two political works, if written for Alexander, would be after 343-342 when Philip made Aristotle his tutor. So probably were the rhetorical works, especially the Theodeclea; since both politics and oratory were the subjects which the father wanted the tutor to teach his son, and, when Alexander came to Phaselis, he is said by Plutarch (Alexander, 17) to have decorated the statue of Theodectes in honour of his association with the man through Aristotle and philosophy. On the whole, then, it seems as if Aristotle began with dialogues during his second period under Plato, but gradually came to prefer writing didactic works, especially in the third period after Plato's death, and in connexion with Alexander. These early writings show clearly how Aristotle came to depart from Plato. In the first place as regards style, though the Stagirite pupil Aristotle could never rival his Attic master in literary form, yet he did a signal service to philosophy in gradually passing from the vague generalities of the dialogue to the scientific precision of the didactic treatise. The philosophy of Plato is dialogue trying to become science; that of Aristotle science retaining traces of dialectic. Secondly as regards subjectmatter, even in his early writings Aristotle tends to widen the scope of philosophic inquiry, so as not only to embrace metaphysics and politics, but also to encourage rhetoric and poetics, which Plato tended to discourage or limit. Thirdly as regards doctrines, the surpassing interest of these early writings is that they show the pupil partly agreeing, partly disagreeing, with his master. The Eudemus and Prolreplicus are with Plato; the dialogues on Philosophy and the treatise on Forms are against Plato. The Eudemus, on the soul (Fragmenta, 37 seq.), must have been in style and thought the most Platonic of all the Aristotelian writings. Plato's theory of the soul and its immortality was not the # Greek view derived from Homer, who regarded the body as the self, the soul as a shade having a future state but an obscure existence, and stamped that view on the hearts of his countrymen, and affected Aristotle himself. After Homer there had come to Greece the new view that the soul is more real than the body, that it is imprisoned in the carcase as a prison-house, that it is capable of enjoying a happier life freed from |: body, and that it can transmigrate from body to body. This strange, exotic, ascetic view was adopted by some philosophers, and £ Pythagoreans, and so transmitted to Plato. Aristotle in the Eudemus, written about 352, when he was thirty-two, also believed in it. . Accordingly, the soul of Eudemus, when it left his body, is said to be returning home: the soul is made subject to the casting of lots, and in coming from the other world to this it is supposed to forget its former visions: but its disembodied life is regarded as its natural life in a better world. The Eudemus also contained a celebrated passage, preserved by Plutarch (Consolat. ad Apoll. 27; Fragm, 44). Here we can read the young Aristotle, writing in the form of the dialogue like Plato, '' hiatus like Isocrates, and justifying the praises accorded to his style by Cicero; Quintilian and Dionysius. It shows how nearly the £ il could imitate his master's dialogues, and still more how exactly he at first embraced his master's doctrines. It makes Silenus, captured by Midas, say that the best of all things is not to have been born, and the next best, having been born, to die as soon as possible. Nothing could be more like Plato's Phaedo, or more unlike Aristotle's later work on the Soul, which entirely rejects transmigration and allows the next life to sink into the background. Hardly less Platonic is the Protrepticus (Fragm., so seq.), an exhortation to philosophy which, according to Zeno the Stoic, was studied by his master Crates. It is an exhortation, whose point is that the chief good is philosophy, the contemplation of the universe by divine and immortal intellect. This is indeed a doctrine of

Platonic ethics from which Aristotle in his later days never swerved. But in the Protrepticus he goes on to say that seeming goods, such as strength, size, beauty, honours, opinions, are mere illusion (akaypadia), worthless and ridiculous, as we should know if we had Lyncean eyes to compare them with the vision of the eternal. This indifference to goods of body and estate is quite Platonic, but is very different from Aristotle's later ethical doctrine that such goods though not the essence, are nevertheless necessary conditions happiness. Finally, in the spirit of Plato's Phaedo and the dialogue Eudemus, the Protreplicus holds that the soul is bound to the sentient members of the y as prisoners in Etruria are bound face to face with corpses; whereas the later view of the De Anima is that the soul #the #al principle of the body and the body the necessary organ of the soul. Thus we find that at first, under the influence of his master, Aristotle held somewhat ascetic views on soul and body and on goods of body and estate, entirely opposed both in psychology and in ethics to the moderate doctrines of his later writings. This perhaps is one reason why Cicero, who had Aristotle's early writings, saw no differ:* the Academy and the Peripatetics £ Post, i. 4, 17-18). On the other hand, the dialogue on Philosophy (rep! d'Aozo&tas, Fragm, 1 seq.) strikingly exhibits the origin of Aristotle's divergence from Platonism, and that too in Plato's lifetime. The young son of a doctor from the colonies, proved too fond of this world to stomach his Athenian, master's philosophy of the supernatural, Accordingly, in this dialogue he attacked Plato's fundamental £ th in its written and in its unwritten presentment, as a ypothesis both of forms and of formal numbers. First, he attacked the hypothesis of forms (rù” rôviðeóvãrö6ers", Fragm. 8), exclaiming in his dialogues, according to Proclus, that he could not sympathize with the dogma even if it should be thought that he was opposing it out of contentiousness; while Plutarch says that his attacks on the forms by means of his exoteric dialogues were thought by some rsons more contentious than philosophical, as presuming to disdain lato's philosophy: so far was he, says Plutarch, from following it. Secondly, in the same dialogue £ 9), according to Syrianus, he disagreed with the hypothesis of formal numbers £, eiónrixers &piduois). If, wrote istotle, the forms are another sort of number, not mathematical, there would be no understanding of it. Lastly, in the same dialogue. (Fragm., 18 seq.) he revealed his emphasis on nature by contending that the universe is uncreate and indestructible. According to Plato, God caused the natural world to me: according to Aristotle it is eternal. This eternity of the world became one of his characteristic doctrines, and subsequently enabled him to explain how essences can be eternal without being separate from this world, which is also eternal (cf. Metaph. Z 8). Thus early did Aristotle begin, even in Plato's lifetime, to oppose Plato's hypothesis of supernatural forms, and advance his own # of the eternity of the world. He made another attack on Platonism in the didactic work reo: löeów (Fragm. 185 seq.), contending that the Platonic arguments rove not forms (tālai) but only things common (ra rotra). ere, £ to Alexander the commentator, he first brought against Plato the argument of “the third man" (ć retros area eros); that, if there is the form, one man beyond many men, there will be a third man predicated of both man and men, and a fourth predicated of all three, and so on to infinity (Fragm. 188). Here, too, he examined the hypothesis of Eudoxus that things are caused by mixture of forms, a hypothesis which formed a kind of transition to his own later views, but failed to satisfy him on account of its difficulties. , Lastly, in the didactic work repl rāyaffod (Fragm. 27 seq.), containing his report of Plato's lectures on the Good, he was dealing with the same mathematical metaphysics which in his dialogue on Philosophy he criticized for converting forms into formal num Aristoxenus, at the beginning of the second book of the Harmonics, gives a graphic account of the astonishment caused by these lectures of Plato, and of their effect on the lectures of £ In contending, as Aristotle's pupil, that a teacher should begin by proposing his subject, he tells us how Aristotle used to relate that most of Plato's hearers came £ to get something about human goods and happiness, but that when the discourses turned out to be all about mathematics, with the conclusion that good is one, it appeared to them a paradox, which some despised and others condemned. The reason, he adds, was that they were not informed by Plato beforehand; and for this very reason, Aristotle, as he told Aristoxenus himself, used to prepare his hearers by informing them of the nature of the subject. From this rare personal reminiscence we see at a glance that the mind of Plato and the mind of Aristotle were so different, that their philosophies must diverge; the one towards the supernatural, the abstract, the discursive, and the other towards the natural, the substantial, the scientific. Aristotle then even in the second period of his life, while Plato was still alive, began to differ from him in metaphysics. He rejected the Platonic hypothesis of forms, and affirmed that they are not separate but common, without however as yet having advanced to a constructive metaphysics of his own; while at the same time, after having at first adopted his master's dialectical treatment of metaphysical problems, he soon passed from dialogues to didactic works, which had the result of separating metaphysics from dialectic. The all-important consequence of this first departure from Platonism was that Aristotle became and remained '' a metaphysician. After Plato's death, coming to his third period he made a further departure from Platonism in his didactic works on politics and rhetoric, written in connexion with Alexander and Theodectes. Those on politics. (Fragm. 646-648) were designed to instruct Alexander on monarchy and on colonization; and in them Aristotle agreed with Plato in assigning a moral object to the state, but departed from him by saying that a king need not be a philosopher, as Plato had said in the Republic, but does need to listen to philosophers. Still more marked was his departure from Plato as regards rhetoric. Plato in the Gorgias, (501 A) had contended that rhetoric is not an art but an empirical practice (rpión sai iuretola); Aristotle in the Gryllas (Fragm. 68-69), written in his second period, took according to Quintilian a similar view. But in his third period, in the Theodected (Fragm. 125 seq.), rhetoric is treated as an art, and is laid out somewhat in the manner of his later Art of Rhetoric; while he also showed his interest in the subject by writing a history of other arts of rhetoric called rex vow ovvaywyh (Fragm. 136 seq.). Further, in treating rhetoric as an art in the Theodected he was forced into a conclusion, which carried him far beyond Plato's rigid notions of proof and of passion: he concluded that it is the work of an orator to use persuasion, and to arouse the passions (ró rà ráðn Bareifa'), e.g. anger and pity (ib. 133-134). Nor could he treat poetry as he is said to have done without the same result. On the whole then, in his early dialectical and didactic writings, of which mere fragments remain, Aristotle had already diverged from Plato, and first of all in metaphysics. During his master's life, in the second period of his own life, he protested against the Platonic hypothesis of forms, formal numbers and the one as the good, and tended to separate metaphysics from dialectic by beginning to pass from dialogues to didactic works. After his master's death, in the third period of his own life, and during his connexion with Alexander, but before the final construction of his philosophy into a system, he was tending to write more and more in the didactic style; to separate from dialectic, not only metaphysics, but also politics, rhetoric and poetry; to admit by the side of philosophy the arts of persuasive language; to think it part of their legitimate work to rouse the passions; and in all these ways to depart from the ascetic rigidity of the philosophy of Plato, so as to prepare for the tolerant spirit of his own, and especially for his ethical doctrine that virtue consists not in suppressing but in moderating almost all human passions. In both periods, too, as we shall find in the sequel, he was already occupied in composing some of the extant writings which were afterwards to form parts of his final philosophical system. But as yet he had given no sign of system, and—what is surprising— no trace of logic. Aristotle was primarily a metaphysician against Plato; a metaphysician before he was a logician; a metaphysician who made what he called primary philosophy (rp&rm pixocodia) the starting-point of his philosophical development, and ultimately of his philosophical system.


The system which was taught by Aristotle at Athens in the fourth period of his life, and which is now known as the Aristotelian philosophy, is contained not in fragments but in extant books. It will be best then to give at once a list of these extant works, following the traditional order in which they have long been arranged, and marking with a dagger (t) those which are now usually considered not to be genuine, though not always with sufficient reason.

A. Logical

1. Karmyopias: Categoriae: On , simple expressions signifying different kinds, of things and capable of predication probably an early work of Aristotle, accepting species and genera as “secondary substances" in deference to Plato's teaching].

2. rept "Eounveias: De interpretatione: On language as expression of mind, and especially on the enunciation or assertion (áródava is, āropavraos os) rejected by Andronicus according to Alexander; but probably an early work of Aristotle, based on Plato's analysis of the sentence into noun and verb).

3. ‘Ava Agrixà rooreca : Analytica Priora: On syllogism, with a view to demonstration.

4. Avaxured to repa: Anal Posteriora: On demonstration, or demonstrative or scientific syllogism (4xodes#s, ārosexrixó, 5 *riat muovakós at Axe" touás).

5. Torixá: Topica: . On dialectical syllogism (&axexrixó, ovXxo~ *6s), so called from consisting mainly of commonplaces Gróra, loci). or general sources of argument.

[merged small][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

ra "rá rà &versa: , Metaphysica: On being as being and its properties, its causes and principles, and on God as the motive motor of the world.

E. Practical

1. Høsa Nixouáxeia: Ethica Nicomachea: On the good of the individual.

2.1 Howa ueyaxa: Magna Moralia: On the same subject. |According to Zeller, an abstract of the Nicomachean and the Eudemian Ethics, tending to follow the latter, but possibly an early draft of the Nicomachean Ethics.]

3.t 'Howa . Evöhua or reds Erónuo": Ethica ad Eudemum: On the same subject. Usually supposed to be written by Eudemus, but possibly an early draft of the Nicomachean Ethics.]

De virtutibus et vitifs: On virtues

4.t repl aperöv kal saxtov: and vices. [An eclectic work of the 1st century B.c., half Academic and half Peripatetic, according to Zeller.]

5., IIoMarisă: De republica: Politics, on the good of the state.

6.f Qixonouxá; De cura rei familiaris: . Economics, on the good of the family. ... [The first book a work of the school of Theophrastus or Eudemus, the second later Peripatetic, aecording to Zeller.]

F. Art #########" on the same subject. [Ascribed to Anaximenes of Lampsacus (fl. 365, Diodorus xv. 76) by Petrus Victorius, and Spengel, but possibly an earlier rhetoric by Aristotle.] 3. repl IIonrafts: De poetica: On the art of poetry (fragmentary]. G. Historical A6mbatov roAireta: . De republica Atheniensium: On the Constitution of Athens. [One of the IIoM retal, said to have been 158 at least, the genuineness of which is attested by the defence which Polybius (xii) makes of Aristotle's history of the Epizephyrian Locrians against Timaeus, Aristotle's contemporary and critic. Hitherto, only fragments have come down to us (cf. Fra £ The present treatise, without however its beginning and end, written on a papyrus discovered in # and now in the British Museum, was first edited by F. G. Kenyon 1890-1891.] (See the article CoNstitution of ATHENS.) The Difficulty.—The genuineness of the Aristotelian works, as Leibnitz truly said (De Stilo Phil. Nizolii, xxx.), is ascertained by the conspicuous harmony of their theories, and by their uniform method of swift subtlety. Nevertheless difficulties lurk beneath their general unity of thought and style. In style they are not quite the same: now they are brief and now diffuse: sometimes they are carelessly written, sometimes so carefully as to avoid hiatus, e.g. the Metaphysics A, and parts of the De Coelo and Parva Naturalia, which in this respect resemble the fragment quoted by Plutarch from the early dialogue Eudemus (Fragm. 44). They also appear to contain displacements, interpolations, prefaces such as that to the Meteorologica, and appendices such as that to the Sophistical Elenchi, which may have been added. An Aristotelian work often goes on continuously at first, and then becomes disappointing by suddenly introducing discussions which break the connexion or are even inconsistent with the beginning; as in the Posterior Analytics, which, after developing a theory of demonstration from necessary principles, suddenly makes the admission, which is also the main theory of science in the Metaphysics, that demonstration is about either the necessary or the contingent, from principles either necessary or contingent, only not accidental. At times order is followed by disorder, as in the Politics. Again, there are repetitions and double versions, e.g. those of the Physics, vii., and those of the De Anima, ii., discovered by Torstrik; or two discussions of the same subject, e.g. of pleasure in the Nicomachean Ethics, vii. and x., or several treatises on the same subject very like one another, viz. the Nicomachean Ethics, the Eudemian Ethics and the Magna Moralia; or, strangest of all, a consecutive treatise and other discourses amalgamated, e.g. in the Metaphysics, where a systematic theory of being running through several books (B, T, E, Z, H, 6) is preceded, interrupted and followed by other discussions of the subject. Further, there are frequently several titles of the same work or of different parts of it. Sometimes diagrams (5taypadai or broypadai) are mentioned, and sometimes given (e.g. in De Interp. 13, 22 a 22; Nicomachean Ethics, ii. 7; Eudemian Ethics, ii. 3), but sometimes only implied (e.g. in Hist. An. i. 17,497 a 32; iii. 1, 51o a 3o; iv. 1, 525 a 9). The different works are more or less connected by a system of references, which give rise to difficulties, especially when they are cross-references: for example, the Analytics and Topics quote one another: so do the Physics and the Metaphysics; the De Vita and De Respiratione and the De Partibus Animalium; this latter treatise and the De Animalium Incessu; the De Interpretatione and the De Anima. A late work may quote an earlier; but how, it may be asked, can the earlier reciprocally quote the later? Besides these difficulties in and between the works there are others beyond them. On the one hand, there is the curious story given partly by Strabo (608-600) and partly in Plutarch's Sulla (c. 26), that Aristotle's successor Theophrastus left the books of both to their joint pupil, Neleus of Scepsis, where they were hidden in a cellar, till in Sulla's time they were sold to Apellicon, who made new copies, transferred after Apellicon's death by Sulla to Rome, and there edited and published by Tyrannio and Andronicus. On the other hand, there are the curious and

puzzling catalogues of Aristotelian books, one given by Diogenes Laertius, another by an anonymous commentator (perhaps Hesychius of Miletus) quoted in the notes of Gilles Ménage on Diogenes Laertius, and known as “Anonymus Menagii,” and a third copied by two Arabian writers from Ptolemy, perhaps King Ptolemy Philatlelphus, son of the founder of the library at Alexandria. (See Rose, Fragm. pp. 1-22.) But the extraordinary thing is that, without exactly agreeing among themselves, the catalogues give titles which do not agree well with the Aristotelian works as we have them. A title in some cases suits a given work or a part of it; but in other cases there are no titles for works which exist, or titles for works which do not exist. These difficulties are complicated by various hypotheses concerning the composition of the Aristotelian works. Zeller supposes that, though Aristotle may have made preparations for his philosophical system beforehand, still the properly didactic treatises composing it almost all belong to the last period of his life, i.e. from 335-334 to 322; and from the references of one work to another Zeller has further suggested a chronological order of composition during this period of twelve years, beginning with the treatises on Logic and Physics, and ending with that on Metaphysics. There is a further hypothesis that the Aristotelian works were not originally treatises, but notes of lectures either for or by his pupils. This easily passes into the further and still more sceptical hypothesis that the works, as we have them, under Aristotle's name, are rather the works of the Peripatetic school, from Aristotle, Theophrastus and Eudemus downwards. “We cannot assert with certainty,” says R. Shute in his History of the Aristotelian Writings (p. 176), “that we have even got throughout a treatise in the exact words of Aristotle, though we may be pretty clear that we have a fair representation of his thought. The unity of style observable may belong quite as much to the school and the method as to the individual.” This sceptical conclusion, the contrary of that drawn by Leibnitz from the harmony of thought and style pervading the works, shows us that the Homeric question has been followed by the Aristotelian question. The Solution.—Such hypotheses attend to Aristotle's philosophy to the neglect of his life. He was really, as we have seen, a prolific writer from the time when he was a young man under Plato's guidance at Athens; beginning with dialogues in the manner of his master, but afterwards preferring to write didactic works during the prime of his own life between thirty-eight and fifty (347-335-334), and with the further advantage of leisure at Atarneus and Mitylene, in Macedonia and at home in Stagira. When at fifty he returned to Athens, as head of the Perlpatetic school, he no doubt wrote much of his extant philosophy during the twelve remaining years of his life (335-322). But he was then a busy teacher, was growing old, and suffered from a disease in the stomach for a considerable time before it proved fatal at the age of sixty-three. It is therefore improbable that he could between fifty and sixty-three have written almost the whole of the many books on many subjects constituting that grand philosophical system which is one of the most wonderful works of man. It is far more probable that he was previously composing them at his leisure and in the vigour of manhood, precisely as his contemporary Demosthenes composed all his great speeches except the De Corona before he was fifty. Turning to Aristotle's own works, we immediately light upon a surprise: Aristotle began his extant scientific works during Plato's lifetime. By a curious coincidence, in two different works he mentions two different events as contemporary with the time of writing, one in 357 and the other in 356. In the Politics (E 10, 1312 b 10), he mentions as now (viv) Dion's expedition to Sicily which occurred in 357. In the Meteorologica (iii. 1, 371 a 30), he mentions as now (viv) the burning of the temple at Ephesus, which occurred in 356. To save his hypothesis of late composition, Zeller resorts to the vagueness of the word “now" (vöv). But Aristotle is graphically describing isolated events, and could hardly speak of events of 357 and 356 as happening “now "in or near 335. Moreover, these two works contain further proofs that they were both begun earlier than this

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »