The Concept of First Philosophy and the Unity of the Metaphysics of Aristotle

By Giovanni Reale
Edited and translated by John R. Catan

Subjects: Metaphysics
Paperback : 9780873954433, 544 pages, June 1980
Hardcover : 9780873953856, 544 pages, June 1980

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Table of contents

Preface to the First Edition (1961)
Preface to the Second Edition (1965)
Preface to the Third Edition (1967)
Translator's Preface
The Aim and Method of the Present Study
I. The Concept of First Philosophy
II. The "Platonic" and "Naturalistic" Requirements in the Metaphysics of Aristotle
III. The Literary Unity, the Philosophical Unity, and the Historical Origin of the Metaphysics
IV. The Limits of the Present Work
1. The Concept of -- or "First Philosophy" and the Inquiry into the Primary Causes in Books A and --
First Section
I. -- as the Knowledge of the Primary Causes and Principles
II. Wisdom as the "Science of Divine Things" or Theology
III. The Four Causes and the Supremacy of the Formal Cause
IV. The Confirmation of the Doctrine of the Four Causes through the Examination of the Doctrine of Preceding Philosophers
V. The Reconfirmation of the Theological Component in the Critique of the Pre-Socratics
VI. --, Ontology, and Ousiology
Second Section
The Meaning, Nature, and Origin of the Theory of the Four Causes
I. "Cause" as a Condition, Foundation, or Reason of Reality
II. The "Ionic" and "Platonic" Components in the Aristotelian Doctrine of the Four Causes
III. Conclusions
Third Section. Book -- as an Appendix of Book A
I. The Content of Book -. Philosophy as the Science of Truth
II. The Question of the Authenticity of Books
2. Book B and the Aporias of the Metaphysics
First Section. The Reading and Interpretation of the Aporias
I. The Concept and Goal of the Aporias
II. The Number and Listing of the Aporias
III. The Expositions of the Aporias
Second Section. The Specification of the Concept of First Philosophy through the Aporias
I. The Aetiological or Theory of Principles Component
II. The Ousiological Componenet
III. The Ontological Component
IV. The Theological Component and the Problems of Transcendence
Third Section. The Structure and Meaning of the Aporias and the Contemporary Genetic Interpretations
I. The Origin and Nature of the Aporias
II. The Plane of the Solution of the Aporias and Aristotelian Realism. The Inaccuracy of the Genetic Interpretations of Book B.
3. First Philosophy and the Science of Being qua Being in Book -
I. The Analysis of -.1. The Convergence of Ontology and Aetiolgy
II. The Exposition of -.2
III. Being and Substance: Ontology and Ousiology
IV. "First Philosophy" as Theology in -.2-3
V. The Significance of the Theological Component in Book -
Second Section. The Solution of the First Four Aporias in Book -
I. The Solution of the First Aporia
II. The Solution of the Second Aporia
III. The Solution of the Third Aporia
IV. The Solution of the Fourth Aporia
Third Section. The Theory of --- and the Presumed Evolutionary Trajectory of the Metaphysical Thought of Aristotle
I. The Meaning of ---
II. Empiricism, Platonism, and the Theory of ---
4. Metaphysics and Theology in Book E
First Section. The Analysis of E.
I. The Repetition of the Aetiological and Ousiological Components
II. The Three Theoretical Sciences: Physics, Mathematics, and First Philosophy or Theology
III. The Reconciliation between Ontology and Theology in E.1
Second Section. The Meaning of Being and the Irrelevancy of Some of Them for the Metaphysical Inquiry
I. The Four Meanings of Being
II. Being as Accident and the Reasons for Its Exclusion from the Metaphyscial Inquiry
III. Being as Truth and the Reason for Its Exclusion from the Metaphysical Inquiry
IV. The Conclusions of E.4 The -- Excludes of Itself the --- and the ---
Third Section. The Genetic Interpretations of Book E and the Theological Component
5. The Concept of First Philosophy in Books Z, H, O and I
First Section. The Significance of Books, Z, H, O, and I in the Scope of the Metaphysics According to Contemporary Scholarship
Second Section. Book Z
I. The Ontological and Ousiological Component. The Reduction of the Problem of Being to the Problem of --- in Z.1
II. The Theological Component in Book Z. General Ousiology and Theology
III. The Aetiological Component in Book Z
Third Section. Book H.
I. Ontology and Ousiology in Book H.
II. The Aetiological Component in Book H
III. The Theological Component in Book H
Fourth Section. Book O
I. The Doctrine of Act and Potency and the Ontological, Ousiological, and Aetiological Components
II. TheDoctrine of Act and Potency and the Theological Component
Fifth Section. Book I and the Object of First Philosophy
6. Book K and the Recapitulation of Books A, B, T, and E.
First Section. The Comparison between K.1-2 and Books A and B
I. A Brief Hint of A Summarized in K.1
II. A Comparison between the Aporias of K.1-2 and Those of Book B.
III. Conclusions Concerning K.1-2
Second Section. The Comparison between K.3-6 and Book T.
I. The Content of K.3-6
II. The Identity of Conception between K.3-6 and Book T.
Third Section. The Comparison between K.7-8 and Book E
I. The Content of K.7-8
II. The Comparison between K.7-8 and Book E
Fourth Section. The "excerpts" of the Physics, Books T and E, in K.9-12 and the Meaning of Book K
I. K.9-12 and the Physics
II. The Meaning of Book K in the Scope of the Metaphysics and the Meaning of K.9-12
Fifth Section. The Four Determinations of the Concept of First Philosophy in Book K
7. Books A, M, and N, concerning Transcendent Substance and the Fourfold Dimension of the Metaphysical Inquiry
First Section. The Four Componenets of Aristotle's Metaphysics in Books M and N.
I. Metaphysics as Theology
II. The Ousiological Component
III. The Aetiological or Science of Principles Component and its Relationship with Ousiology and Theology in Book A
IV. The Presence in Book A of the Ontological Component and its Relationship to the Other Components
Second Section. The Four Components of Aristotle's Metaphysics in Books M and N
I. The Theological Component
II. The Aetiological or Science of Principles Component
III. The Ousiological Component
IV. The Ontological Component
Third Section. The Genetic Interpretations of A, M, and N
I. Book A
II. Books M and N
8. Observations on Book Delta
I. The Character of Book Delta
II. The Position of Book Delta with Respect to the Other Books
III. Book Delta and the Genetic Interpretations
Conclusions. The Horizons of the Aristotelian Metaphsyics
I. The "Constants" of the Aristotelian Metaphysics
II. The Dialectical Unity of the Constants
III. The Synthesis of the Naturalistic and Platonic Requirements in the First Philosophy of Aristotle
IV. The Unitary Design of the Metaphysics
A. The Historical Importance of the Metaphysics of Theophrastus in comparison with the Metaphysics of Aristotle
B. The Metaphysics of Theophrastus with commentary
C. A Selected Annotated Bibliography (after 1932) Concerning the Object of Study of the Present Volume
D. Other works (prior to 1923) Expressly Cited in the Course of the Present Volume
I. An Analytic Index of Names
II. An Index of Greek Terms
III. An Index of Aristotelian Texts Cited


Reale's monumental work establishes the exact dimensions of Aristotle's concept of first philosophy and proves the profound unity of concept that exists in Aristotle's Metaphysics. Reale's opposition to the genetic interpretation of the Metaphysics is an updated return to a more traditional view of Aristotle's work, one which runs counter to nearly all contemporary scholarship. Reale argues that Aristotle's first philosophy includes a study of being, a study of substance, a study of divine substance, and a study of principles and causes, all of which are integrated and dialectically reconciled.


"The translation of this careful and persuasive study is a welcome and much-needed addition." — CHOICE

"Readers of Philosophy and Rhetoric will find this study a contribution, particularly because Reale's analysis of Aristotelian epistemology is central to both disciplines … Reale, who has already been recognized by Italians, will now illuminate English readers with his scholarship, thanks to this translation." — Philosophy and Rhetoric