Chapter

Plato as seen by Aristotle Plato as seen by Aristotle <i>Metaphysics</i> A 6

Carlos Steel

in Aristotle's Metaphysics Alpha

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199639984
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191743337 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199639984.003.0006

Series: Symposia Aristotelia

Plato as seen by Aristotle Plato as seen by Aristotle Metaphysics A 6

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In chapter 6 Aristotle introduces Plato's views on the first principles. In the first part Aristotle offers a plausible account on how Plato came to develop the doctrine of the Forms. The second part, on the relation between numbers and Forms and on the ultimate principles of whatever exists (the One and the Great and the Small) , has inspired numerous speculations on the ‘unwritten’ doctrine of Plato Notwithstanding some misgivings we may have about Aristotle's transposition of Plato's doctrine in his own format, chapter 6 occupies within the composition of Alpha a central place as Aristotle expounds here how he understands the views, not of some remote predecessor, but of the philosopher who had the greatest influence on the formation of his own thought and who kept dominating and haunting the Academy to which Aristotle still intellectually belonged. Although his insistence on similarities with the Pythagoreans may have led him to integrate too easily the doctrine of the Forms and numbers — probably because in the Academy this Pythagorizing current was dominant — he recognizes Plato's essential contribution in the search for the first principles. Plato, is indeed, the first to have developed the doctrine of a formal cause, which is also central in Aristotle's explaining of the world. It is also Plato who first developed a notion of a material principle that is quite different from the material cause of the natural philosophers, a purely receptive principle that can only functions when ‘given form’ by the Forms. It is not without reason that this chapter set for centuries the perspective to understand Plato.

Keywords: Plato's Unwritten Doctrine; Mathematical objects as intermediary; Forms and numbers; Ultimate principles: ‘the Great and the Small’ and ’the One’; Plato and the Pythagoreans; Plato and Cratylus/ Heraclitus; Plato and Socrates; Doctrine of the Forms; Participation and imitation; Synonymous or Homonymy of the Forms; Plato as seen by Aristotle; Participation and imitation; Infinity and Limit; Dialectic

Chapter.  17546 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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