to his writings after his death. To answer it we should have to go far beyond Aristotle. But two corollaries follow from our present investigation of his extant writings; the first, that it was the long continuance of the Peripatetic school which gradually caused the publication, and in some cases the forgery, of the separate writings; and the second, that his Peripatetic successors arranged and edited some of Aristotle’s writings, and gradually arrived by the time of Andronicus, the eleventh from Aristotle, at an order of the whole body of writings forming the system. Now, it is probable that the arrangement of the works which we are considering was done by the Peripatetic successors of Aristotle. There is nothing indeed in the Metaphysics to show whether he left it in isolated treatises or in its present disorder; and nothing in the Politics. On the other hand, in the case of logic, it is certain that he did not combine his works on the subject into one whole, but that the Peripatetics afterwards put them together as organic, and made them the parts of logic as an organon, as they are treated by Andronicus. Perhaps something similar occurred to the Metaphysics, as Alexander imputed its redaction to Eudemus, and the majority of ancient commentators attributed its second opening (Book α) to Pasicles, nephew of Eudemus. Again, it is not unlikely that the Politics was arranged in the traditional order of books by Theophrastus, and that this is the meaning of the curious title occurring in the list of Aristotle’s works as given by Diogenes Laertius, πολιτικῆς ἀκροάσεως ὡς ἡ Θεοφράστου α´β´γ´δ´ε´ς´ζ´η´, which agrees with the Politics in having eight books. Although, however, we may concede that such great works as the Metaphysics, the Politics and the logical writings did not receive their present form from Aristotle himself, that concession does not deprive Aristotle of the authorship, but only of the arrangement of those works. On the contrary, Theophrastus and Eudemus, his immediate followers, both wrote works presupposing Aristotle’s Metaphysics and his logical works, and Dicaearchus, their contemporary, used his Politics for his own Tripoliticus. It was Aristotle himself then who wrote these works, whether he arranged them or not; and if he wrote the incomplete works, then a fortiori he wrote the completed works except those which are proved spurious, and practically consummated the Aristotelian system, which, as Leibnitz said, by its unity of thought and style evinces its own genuineness and individuality. We must not exaggerate the school and underrate the individual, especially such an individual. What he mainly wanted was the time, the leisure and the labour, which we have supposed to have been given to the gradual composition of the extant Aristotelian writings. Aristotle, asked where dwell the Muses, answered, “In the souls of those who love work.”
IV. Earlier and Later Writings
Aristotle’s quotations of his other books and of historical facts only inform us at best of the dates of isolated passages, and cannot decide the dates and sequences of whole philosophical books which occupied him for many years. Is there then any way of discriminating between early and late works? There is the evidence of the influences under which the books were written. This evidence applies to the whole Aristotelian literature including the fragments. As to the fragments, we are safe in saying that the early dialogues in the manner of Plato were written under the influence of Plato, and that the subsequent didactic writings connected with Alexander were written more under the influence of Philip and Alexander. Turning to the extant writings, we find that some are more under the influence of Plato, while others are more original and Aristotelian. Also some writings are more rudimentary than others on the same subject; and some have the appearance of being first drafts of others. By these differences we can do something to distinguish between earlier and later philosophical works; and also vindicate as genuine some works, which have been considered spurious because they do not agree in style or in matter with his most mature philosophy. In thirty-five years of literary composition, Aristotle had plenty of time to change, because any man can differ from himself at different times.
On these principles, we regard as early genuine philosophical works of Aristotle, (1) the Categories, (2) the De Interpretatione;(3) the Eudemian Ethics and Magna Moralia; (4) the Rhetoric to Alexander.
1. The Categories (κατηγορίαι).—This short discourse turns on Aristotle’s fundamental doctrine of individual substances, without which there is nothing. He arrives at it from a classification of categories, by which he here means “things stated in no combination” (τὰ κατὰ μηδεμίαν συμπλοκὴν λεγόμενα) or what we should call “names,” capable of becoming predicates (κατηγορούμενα κατηγορίαι). “Every name,” says he (chap. 4), “signifies either substance or something quantitative, or qualitative, or relative, or somewhere, or sometimes, or that it is in a position, or in a condition, or active or passive.” He immediately adds that, by the combination of these names with one another, affirmation or negation arises. The categories then are names signifying things capable of becoming predicates in a proposition. Next he proceeds to substances (οὐσίαι), which he divides into primary (πρῶται) and secondary (δεύτεραι). “Substance”, says he (chap. 5), “which is properly, primarily and especially so called, is that which is neither a predicate of a subject nor inherent in a subject; for example, a particular man, or a particular horse. Secondary substances so called are the species in which are the primarily called substances, and the genera of these species: for example, a particular man is in a species, man, the genus of which is animal: these then are called secondary substances, man and animal.” Having made these subdivisions of substance, he thereupon reduces secondary substances and all the rest of the categories to belongings of individual or primary substances. “All other things”, says he, “are either predicates of primary substances as subjects” (καθ᾽ ὑποκειμένων τῶν πρώτων οὐσιῶν) “or inherent in them as subjects” (ἐν ὑποκειμέναις αὐταῖς). He explains that species and genus are predicates of, and that other categories (e.g. the quality of colour) are inherent in, some individual substance such as a particular man. Then follows his conclusion: “without primary substances it is impossible for anything to be” (μὴ οὐσῶν οῧν τῶν πρώτων οὐσιῶν τῶν ἄλλων τι εἶναι. Cat. 5, 2 b 5-6).
Things are individual substances, without which there is nothing—this is the fundamental point of Aristotelianism, as against Platonism, of which the fundamental point is that things are universal forms without which there becomes nothing. The world, according to Aristotle, consists of substances, each of which is a separate individual, this man, this horse, this animal, this plant, this earth, this water, this air, this fire; in the heavens that moon, that sun, those stars; above all, God. On the other hand, a universal species or genus of substances is a predicate which, as well as everything else in all the other categories, always belongs to some individual substance or other as subject, and has no separate being. In full, then, a substance is a separate individual, having universals, and things in all other categories, inseparably belonging to it. The individual substance Socrates, for example, is a man and an animal (οὐσία), tall, (ποσόν), white (ποιόν), a husband (πρός τι), in the market (ποῦ), yesterday (πότε), sitting (κεῖσθαι), armed (ἔχειν), talking (ποιεῖν), listening (πάσχειν). Aristotelianism is this philosophy of substantial things.
The doctrine that all things are substances which are separate individuals, stated in the Categories, is expanded in the Metaphysics. Both works arrive at it from the classification of categories, which is the same in both; except that in the former the categories are treated rather as a logical classification of names signifying things, in the latter rather as a metaphysical classification of things. In neither, however, are they a grammatical classification of words by their structure; and in neither are they a psychological classification of notions or general conceptions (νοήματα), such as they afterwards became in Kant’s Critique and the post-Kantian idealism. Moreover, even in the Categories as names signifying distinct things they imply distinct things; and hence the Categories, as well as the Metaphysics, draws the metaphysical conclusion that individual substances are the things without which there is nothing else, and thereby lays the positive foundation of the philosophy running through all the extant Aristotelian writings.