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Title: Aristotle's Metaphysics Z from the standpoint of a theory of definition
Author: Argenti, A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 8844
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis is about the problems and the arguments presented in book Z of Aristotle's Metaphysics. In Z, Aristotle sets out an enquiry into the first genus of entities: substance. The solution is meant to contribute to the foundation of metaphysics. I suggest that metaphysics is conceived to be a demonstrative science and Z is the enquiry to establish its principle by answering what substance is. Accordingly, the most promising way to engage with Z is to establish a correspondence between substance and definition. Substance is the entity that grounds the existence of the other entities just as a definition is the statement that grounds the demonstrations conducted in a science. Chapter One and Chapter Two outline a theory of definition for my discussion of Z. In the light of the logical works, I argue that Z's enquiry is concerned with two issues about substance: primacy and unity. Chapter Three and Four are concerned with the primacy of substance. My contention is that Z.4-11 develops a formalist essentialism that is designed to ensure the primacy of substance. If substance is defined as essence and identified with form, then substance turns out to be primary. Chapter Five and Six are concerned with the unity of substance. My contention is that the difficulties raised in Z.13-14 lead to the failure of the enquiry. There is no way to ensure the unity of substance and thus to define it; consequently there is no way to establish the principle of metaphysics. This does not mean that Z fails to contribute to the foundation of the science of being. Its results enable the enquirer to give a derivative definition of some objects of metaphysics: sensible substances. In order to accomplish the project, the enquiry has to focus on some suprasensible substance, whose definition will posit the immediate principle of the totality of entities.
Supervisor: Galluzzo, G. ; Oderberg, D. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available