Aims of Aristotle’s Metaphysics

Classical Arabic Philosophy: An Anthology of Sources. Trans. Jon McGinnis and David C. Reisman. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co. Inc., 2007.


“1. Our intention in this treatist is to point out the aim and primary divisions of the book by Aristotle known as the Metaphysics, since many people have the preconceived notion that the point and purpose of this book is to discuss the Creator (may He be glorified and exalted!), the intellect, the soul, and other related topics, and that the science of metaphysics and the science of theology are one and the same thing. Consequently, we find that most people who study it are perplexed and misguided by it, since we find that most of the talk in it is devoid of any such aim, or rather, we find that the only talk specifically related to this aim is that in the eleventh chapter, that is, the one designated by the letter Lambda. Moreover, none of the ancient philosophers has commented on this book in the correct manner, as they have for the rest of his books. To be more specific, there is an incomplete commentary on Lambda by Alexander of Aphrodisias and a complete commentary by Themistius, but for the rest of the chapters, either there was no commentary, or none has survived to our time — since upon examining the books of the later Peripatetics, it may be assumed that Alexander did in fact comment on the entire book. For our part, we want to point out the aim of the book and the contents of each chapter.”

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