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Title: Aristotle
Author: Taylor, A. E.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Aristotle" ***

[Illustration: Aristotle]


                 BY A. E. TAYLOR, M.A., D.LITT., F.B.A.

                       LONDON: T. C. & E. C. JACK
                   67 LONG ACRE, W.C., AND EDINBURGH
                     NEW YORK: DODGE PUBLISHING CO.










                              *CHAPTER I*

                            *LIFE AND WORKS*

It has not commonly been the lot of philosophers, as it is of great
poets, that their names should become household words. We should hardly
call an Englishman well read if he had not heard the name of Sophocles
or Molière.  An educated man is expected to know at least who these
great writers were, and to understand an allusion to the _Antigone_ or
_Le Misanthrope_. But we call a man well read if his mind is stored with
the verse of poets and the prose of historians, even though he were
ignorant of the name of Descartes or Kant.  Yet there are a few
philosophers whose influence on thought and language has been so
extensive that no one who reads can be ignorant of their names, and that
every man who speaks the language of educated Europeans is constantly
using their vocabulary. Among this few Aristotle holds not the lowest
place.  We have all heard of him, as we have all heard of Homer.  He has
left his impress so firmly on theology that many of the formulae of the
Churches are unintelligible without acquaintance with his conception of
the universe.  If we are interested in the growth of modern science we
shall readily discover for ourselves that some knowledge of
Aristotelianism is necessary for the understanding of Bacon and Galileo
and the other great anti-Aristotelians who created the "modern
scientific" view of Nature.  If we turn to the imaginative literature of
the modern languages, Dante is a sealed book, and many a passage of
Chaucer and Shakespeare and Milton is half unmeaning to us unless we are
at home in the outlines of Aristotle’s philosophy.  And if we turn to
ordinary language, we find that many of the familiar turns of modern
speech cannot be fully understood without a knowledge of the doctrines
they were first forged to express.  An Englishman who speaks of the
"golden mean" or of "liberal education," or contrasts the "matter" of a
work of literature with its "form," or the "essential" features of a
situation or a scheme of policy with its "accidents," or "theory" with
"practice," is using words which derive their significance from the part
they play in the vocabulary of Aristotle.  The unambitious object of
this little book is, then, to help the English reader to a better
understanding of such familiar language and a fuller comprehension of
much that he will find in Dante and Shakespeare and Bacon.

*Life of Aristotle.*--The main facts of Aristotle’s life may be briefly
told.  He was born in 385-4 B.C. at Stagirus, a little city of the
Chalcidic peninsula, still called, almost by its ancient name, Chalcis,
and died at the age of sixty-two at Chalcis in Euboea.  Thus he is a
contemporary of Demosthenes, his manhood witnessed the struggle which
ended in the establishment of the Macedonian monarchy as the dominant
power in Hellas, and his later years the campaigns in which his pupil
Alexander the Great overthrew the Persian Empire and carried Greek
civilisation to the banks of the Jumna.  In studying the constitutional
theories of Aristotle, it is necessary to bear these facts in mind.
They help to explain certain limitations of outlook which might
otherwise appear strange in so great a man.  It throws a great deal of
light on the philosopher’s intense conviction of the natural inferiority
of the "barbarian" intellect and character to remember that he grew up
in an outlying region where the "barbarian" was seen to disadvantage in
the ordinary course of life.  Hence the distinction between Greek and
"barbarian" came to mean for him much what the "colour-line" does to an
American brought up in a Southern State.  So, again, when we are struck
by his "provincialism," his apparent satisfaction with the ideal of a
small self-contained city-state with a decently oligarchical government,
a good system of public education, and no "social problems," but devoid
alike of great traditions and far-reaching ambitions, we must remember
that the philosopher himself belonged to just such a tiny community
without a past and without a future. The Chalcidic cities had been first
founded, as the name of the peninsula implies, as colonies from the town
of Chalcis in Euboea; Corinth had also been prominent in establishing
settlements in the same region.  At the height of Athenian Imperial
prosperity in the age of Pericles the district had fallen politically
under Athenian control, but had been detached again from Athens, in the
last years of the Archidamian war, by the genius of the great Spartan
soldier and diplomat Brasidas. Early in the fourth century the Chalcidic
cities had attempted to form themselves into an independent federation,
but the movement had been put down by Sparta, and the cities had fallen
under the control of the rising Macedonian monarchy, when Aristotle was
a baby.  A generation later, a double intrigue of the cities with Philip
of Macedon and Athens failed of its effect, and the peninsula was
finally incorporated with the Macedonian kingdom.  It is also important
to note that the philosopher belonged by birth to a guild, the
Asclepiadae, in which the medical profession was hereditary.  His father
Nicomachus was court physician to Amyntas II., the king for whose
benefit the Spartans had put down the Chalcidic league. This early
connection with medicine and with the Macedonian court explains largely
both the predominantly biological cast of Aristotle’s philosophical
thought and the intense dislike of "princes" and courts to which he more
than once gives expression.  At the age of eighteen, in 367-6, Aristotle
was sent to Athens for "higher" education in philosophy and science, and
entered the famous Platonic Academy, where he remained as a member of
the scientific group gathered round the master for twenty years, until
Plato’s death in 347-6.  For the three years immediately following
Aristotle was in Asia Minor with his friend and fellow-student Hermeias,
who had become by force of sheer capacity monarch of the city of
Atarneus in the Troad, and was maintaining himself with much energy
against the Persian king.  Pythias, the niece of Hermeias, became the
philosopher’s wife, and it seems that the marriage was happy.
Examination of Aristotle’s contributions to marine biology has shown
that his knowledge of the subject is specially good for the Aeolic coast
and the shores of the adjacent islands.  This throws light on his
occupations during his residence with Hermeias, and suggests that Plato
had discerned the bent of his distinguished pupil’s mind, and that his
special share in the researches of the Academy had, like that of
Speusippus, Plato’s nephew and successor in the headship of the school,
been largely of a biological kind.  We also know that, presumably
shortly after Plato’s death, Aristotle had been one of the group of
disciples who edited their teacher’s unpublished lectures. In 343
Hermeias was assassinated at the instigation of Persia; Aristotle
honoured his memory by a hymn setting forth the godlikeness of virtue as
illustrated by the life of his friend. Aristotle now removed to the
Macedonian court, where he received the position of tutor to the Crown
Prince, afterwards Alexander the Great, at this time (343 B.C.) a boy of
thirteen. The association of the great philosopher and the great king as
tutor and pupil has naturally struck the imagination of later ages; even
in Plutarch’s _Life of Alexander_ we meet already with the full-blown
legend of the influence of Aristotle’s philosophical speculations on
Alexander.  It is, however, improbable that Aristotle’s influence
counted for much in forming the character of Alexander.  Aristotle’s
dislike of monarchies and their accessories is written large on many a
page of his _Ethics_ and _Politics_; the small self-contained city-state
with no political ambitions for which he reserves his admiration would
have seemed a mere relic of antiquity to Philip and Alexander.  The only
piece of contemporary evidence as to the relations between the master
and the pupil is a sentence in a letter to the young Alexander from the
Athenian publicist Isocrates who maliciously congratulates the prince on
his preference for "rhetoric," the art of efficient public speech, and
his indifference to "logic-choppers."  How little sympathy Aristotle can
have had with his pupil’s ambitions is shown by the fact that though his
political theories must have been worked out during the very years in
which Alexander was revolutionising Hellenism by the foundation of his
world-empire, they contain no allusion to so momentous a change in the
social order.  For all that Aristotle tells us, Alexander might never
have existed, and the small city-state might have been the last word of
Hellenic political development.  Hence it is probable that the selection
of Aristotle, who had not yet appeared before the world as an
independent thinker, to take part in the education of the Crown Prince
was due less to personal reputation than to the connection of his family
with the court, taken together with his own position as a pupil of
Plato, whose intervention in the public affairs of Sicily had caused the
Academy to be regarded as the special home of scientific interest in
politics and jurisprudence.  It may be true that Alexander found time in
the midst of his conquests to supply his old tutor with zoological
specimens; it is as certain as such a thing can be that the ideals and
characters of the two men were too different to allow of any intimate
influence of either on the other.

When Alexander was suddenly called to the Macedonian throne by the
murder of his father in 336 B.C., Aristotle’s services were no longer
needed; he returned to Athens and gave himself to purely scientific
work.  Just at this juncture the presidency of the Academy was vacant by
the death of Speusippus, Aristotle’s old associate in biological
research. Possibly Aristotle thought himself injured when the school
passed him over and elected Xenocrates of Chalcedon as its new
president.  At any rate, though he appears never to have wholly severed
his connection with the Academy, in 335 he opened a rival institution in
the Lyceum, or gymnasium attached to the temple of Apollo Lyceus, to
which he was followed by some of the most distinguished members of the
Academy.  From the fact that his instruction was given in the
_peripatos_ or covered portico of the gymnasium the school has derived
its name of Peripatetic.  For the next twelve years he was occupied in
the organisation of the school as an abode for the prosecution of
speculation and research in every department of inquiry, and in the
composition of numerous courses of lectures on scientific and
philosophical questions.  The chief difference in general character
between the new school and the Academy is that while the scientific
interests of the Platonists centred in mathematics, the main
contributions of the Lyceum to science lay in the departments of biology
and history.

Towards the end of Alexander’s life his attention was unfavourably
directed on his old teacher.  A relative of Aristotle named Callisthenes
had attended Alexander in his campaigns as historiographer, and had
provoked disfavour by his censure of the King’s attempts to invest his
semi-constitutional position towards his Hellenic subjects with the pomp
of an Oriental despotism.  The historian’s independence proved fatal.
He was accused of instigating an assassination plot among Alexander’s
pages, and hanged, or, as some said, thrown into a prison where he died
before trial.  Alexander is reported to have held Aristotle responsible
for his relative’s treason, and to have meditated revenge.  If this is
so, he was fortunately diverted from the commission of a crime by
preoccupation with the invasion of India.

On the death of Alexander in 323 a brief but vigorous anti-Macedonian
agitation broke out at Athens.  Aristotle, from his Macedonian
connections, naturally fell a victim, in spite of his want of sympathy
with the ideals of Philip and Alexander. Like Socrates, he was indicted
on the capital charge of "impiety," the pretext being that his poem on
the death of Hermeias, written twenty years before, was a virtual
deification of his friend.  This was, however, only a pretext; the real
offence was political, and lay in his connection with the Macedonian
leader Antipater.  As condemnation was certain, the philosopher
anticipated it by withdrawing with his disciples to Chalcis, the mother
city of his native Stagirus.  Here he died in the following year, at the
age of sixty-two or sixty-three.

The features of Aristotle, familiar to us from busts and intaglios, are
handsome, but indicate refinement and acuteness rather than originality,
an impression in keeping with what we should expect from a study of his
writings.  The anecdotes related of him reveal a kindly, affectionate
character, and show little trace of the self-importance which appears in
his work. His will, which has been preserved, exhibits the same traits
in its references to his happy family life and its solicitous care for
the future of his children and servants.  He was twice married, first to
Pythias, and secondly to a certain Herpyllis, by whom he left a son
Nicomachus and a daughter.  The "goodness" of Herpyllis to her husband
is specially mentioned in the clauses of the will which make provision
for her, while the warmth of the writer’s feelings for Pythias is shown
by the direction that her remains are to be placed in the same tomb with
his own. The list of servants remembered and the bequests enumerated
show the philosopher to have been in easier circumstances than Plato.

*The Works of Aristotle*.--The so-called works of Aristotle present us
with a curious problem.  When we turn from Plato to his pupil we seem to
have passed into a different atmosphere.  The _Discourses of Socrates_
exhibit a prose style which is perhaps the most marvellous of all
literary achievements.  Nowhere else do we meet with quite the same
combination of eloquence, imaginative splendour, incisive logic, and
irresistible wit and humour.  The manner of Aristotle is dry and formal.
His language bristles with technicalities, makes little appeal to the
emotions, disdains graces of style, and frequently defies the simplest
rules of composition.  Our surprise is all the greater that we find
later writers of antiquity, such as Cicero, commending Aristotle for his
copious and golden eloquence, a characteristic which is conspicuously
wanting in the Aristotelian writings we possess.  The explanation of the
puzzle is, however, simple.  Plato and Aristotle were at once what we
should call professors and men of letters; both wrote works for general
circulation, and both delivered courses of lectures to special students.
But while Plato’s lectures have perished, his books have come down to
us.  Aristotle’s books have almost wholly been lost, but we possess many
of his lectures. The "works" of Aristotle praised by Cicero for their
eloquence were philosophical dialogues, and formed the model for
Cicero’s own compositions in this kind.  None of them have survived,
though some passages have been preserved in quotations by later writers.
That the "works" are actually the MSS. of a lecturer posthumously edited
by his pupils seems clear from external as well as from internal
evidence.  In one instance we have the advantage of a double recension.
Aristotle’s _Ethics_ or _Discourses on Conduct_ have come down to us in
two forms--the so-called _Nicomachean Ethics_, a redaction by the
philosopher’s son, Nicomachus, preserving all the characteristics of an
oral course of lectures; and a freer and more readable recast by a
pupil, the mathematician Eudemus, known as the _Eudemian Ethics_.  In
recent years we have also recovered from the sands of Egypt what appears
to be our one specimen of a "work" of Aristotle, intended to be read by
the public at large, the essay on the Constitution of Athens.  The style
of this essay is easy, flowing, and popular, and shows that Aristotle
could write well and gracefully when he thought fit.

                              *CHAPTER II*


Philosophy, as understood by Aristotle, may be said to be the organised
whole of disinterested knowledge, that is, knowledge which we seek for
the satisfaction which it carries with itself, and not as a mere means
to utilitarian ends.  The impulse which receives this satisfaction is
curiosity or wonder, which Aristotle regards as innate in man, though it
does not get full play until civilisation has advanced far enough to
make secure provision for the immediate material needs of life.  Human
curiosity was naturally directed first to the outstanding "marvellous
works" of the physical world, the planets, the periodicity of their
movements, the return of the seasons, winds, thunder and lightning, and
the like.  Hence the earliest Greek speculation was concerned with
problems of astronomy and meteorology.  Then, as reflection developed,
men speculated about geometrical figure, and number, the possibility of
having assured knowledge at all, the character of the common principles
assumed in all branches of study or of the special principles assumed in
some one branch, and thus philosophy has finally become the
disinterested study of every department of Being or Reality.  Since
Aristotle, like Hegel, thought that his own doctrine was, in essentials,
the last word of speculation, the complete expression of the principles
by which his predecessors had been unconsciously guided, he believes
himself in a position to make a final classification of the branches of
science, showing how they are related and how they are discriminated
from one another.  This classification we have now to consider.

*Classification of the Sciences*.--To begin with, we have to
discriminate Philosophy from two rivals with which it might be
confounded on a superficial view, Dialectic and Sophistry. Dialectic is
the art of reasoning accurately from given premisses, true or false.
This art has its proper uses, and of one of these we shall have to
speak.  But in itself it is indifferent to the truth of its premisses.
You may reason dialectically from premisses which you believe to be
false, for the express purpose of showing the absurd conclusions to
which they lead.  Or you may reason from premisses which you assume
tentatively to see what conclusions you are committed to if you adopt
them.  In either case your object is not directly to secure truth, but
only to secure consistency.  Science or Philosophy aims directly at
_truth_, and hence requires to start with true and certain premisses.
Thus the distinction between Science and Dialectic is that Science
reasons from true premisses, Dialectic only from "probable" or
"plausible" premisses.  Sophistry differs from Science in virtue of its
moral character.  It is the profession of making a living by the abuse
of reasoning, the trick of employing logical skill for the apparent
demonstration of scientific or ethical falsehoods.  "The sophist is one
who earns a living from an apparent but unreal wisdom."  (The emphasis
thus falls on the notion of making an "unreal wisdom" into a _trade_.
The sophist’s real concern is to get his fee.)  Science or Philosophy is
thus the disinterested employment of the understanding in the discovery
of truth.

We may now distinguish the different branches of science as defined.
The first and most important division to be made is that between
Speculative or Theoretical Science and Practical Science.  The broad
distinction is that which we should now draw between the Sciences and
the Arts (_i.e._ the industrial and technical, not the "fine" arts).
Speculative or Theoretical Philosophy differs from Practical Philosophy
in its purpose, and, in consequence, in its subject-matter, and its
formal logical character.  The purpose of the former is the
disinterested contemplation of truths which are what they are
independently of our own volition; its end is to _know_ and only to
_know_. The object of "practical" Science is to know, but not only to
know but also to turn our knowledge to account in devising ways of
successful interference with the course of events.  (The real importance
of the distinction comes out in Aristotle’s treatment of the problems of
moral and social science.  Since we require knowledge of the moral and
social nature of men not merely to satisfy an intellectual interest, but
as a basis for a sound system of education and government, Politics, the
theory of government, and Ethics, the theory of goodness of conduct,
which for Aristotle is only a subordinate branch of Politics, belong to
Practical, not to Theoretical Philosophy, a view which is attended by
important consequences.)

It follows that there is a corresponding difference in the objects
investigated by the two branches of Philosophy.  Speculative or
Theoretical Philosophy is concerned with "that which cannot possibly be
other than it is," truths and relations independent of human volition
for their subsistence, and calling simply for _recognition_ on our part.
Practical Philosophy has to do with relations which human volition can
modify, "things which may be other than they are," the contingent.
(Thus _e.g._ not only politics, but medicine and economics will belong
to Practical Science.)

Hence again arises a logical difference between the conclusions of
Theoretical and those of Practical Philosophy.  Those of the former are
universal truths deducible with logical necessity from self-evident[#]
principles.  Those of the latter, because they relate to what "can be
otherwise," are never rigidly universal; they are _general_ rules which
hold good "in the majority of cases," but are liable to occasional
exceptions owing to the contingent character of the facts with which
they deal.  It is a proof of a philosopher’s lack of grounding in logic
that he looks to the results of a practical science (_e.g._ to the
detailed precepts of medicine or ethics) for a higher degree of
certainty and validity than the nature of the subject-matter allows.
Thus for Aristotle the distinction between the necessary and the
contingent is real and not merely apparent, and "probability is the
guide" in studies which have to do with the direction of life.

[#] Self-evident, that is, in a purely logical sense. When you apprehend
the principles in question, you _see_ at once that they are true, and do
not require to have them _proved_. It is not meant that any and every
man _does_, in point of fact, always apprehend the principles, or that
they can be apprehended without preliminary mental discipline.

We proceed to the question how many subdivisions there are within
"theoretical" Philosophy itself.  Plato had held that there are none.
All the sciences are deductions from a single set of ultimate principles
which it is the business of that supreme science to which Plato had
given the name of Dialectic to establish.  This is not Aristotle’s view.
According to him, "theoretical" Philosophy falls into a number of
distinct though not co-ordinate branches, each with its own special
subjects of investigation and its own special axiomatic principles.  Of
these branches there are three, First Philosophy, Mathematics, and
Physics.  First Philosophy--afterwards to be known to the Middle Ages as
Metaphysics[#]--treats, to use Aristotle’s own expression, of "Being
_quà_ Being."  This means that it is concerned with the universal
characteristics which belong to the system of knowable reality as such,
and the principles of its organisation in their full universality. First
Philosophy alone investigates the character of those causative factors
in the system which are without body or shape and exempt from all
mutability.  Since in Aristotle’s system God is the supreme Cause of
this kind, First Philosophy culminates in the knowledge of God, and is
hence frequently called Theology.  It thus includes an element which
would to-day be assigned to the theory of knowledge, as well as one
which we should ascribe to metaphysics, since it deals at once with the
ultimate postulates of knowledge and the ultimate causes of the order of
real existence.

[#] The origin of this name seems to be that Aristotle’s lectures on
First Philosophy came to be studied as a continuation of his course on
Physics. Hence the lectures got the name _Metaphysica_ because they came
_after_ (_meta_) those on Physics. Finally the name was transferred (as
in the case of _Ethics_) from the lectures to the subject of which they

Mathematics is of narrower scope.  What it studies is no longer "real
being as such," but only real being in so far as it exhibits number and
geometrical form.  Since Aristotle holds the view that number and figure
only exist as determinations of objects given in perception (though by a
convenient fiction the mathematician treats of them in abstraction from
the perceived objects which they qualify), he marks the difference
between Mathematics and First Philosophy by saying that "whereas the
objects of First Philosophy are separate from matter and devoid of
motion, those of Mathematics, though incapable of motion, have no
separable existence but are inherent in matter."  Physics is concerned
with the study of objects which are both material and capable of motion.
Thus the principle of the distinction is the presence or absence of
initial restrictions of the range of the different branches of Science.
First Philosophy has the widest range, since its contemplation covers
the whole ground of the real and knowable; Physics the narrowest,
because it is confined to a "universe of discourse" restricted by the
double qualification that its members are all material and capable of
displacement.  Mathematics holds an intermediate position, since in it,
one of these qualifications is removed, but the other still remains, for
the geometer’s figures are boundaries and limits of sensible bodies, and
the arithmetician’s numbers properties of collections of concrete
objects.  It follows also that the initial axioms or postulates of
Mathematics form a less simple system than those of First Philosophy,
and those of Physics than those of Mathematics.  Mathematics requires as
initial assumptions not only those which hold good for _all_ thought,
but certain other special axioms which are only valid and significant
for the realm of figure and number; Physics requires yet further axioms
which are only applicable to "what is in motion."  This is why, though
the three disciplines are treated as distinct, they are not strictly
co-ordinate, and "First Philosophy," though "first," is only _prima
inter pares_.

We thus get the following diagrammatic scheme of the classification of

                 |                        |
            Theoretical               Practical
             |             |           |
    First Philosophy     Mathe−     Physics
           or            matics

Practical Philosophy is not subjected by Aristotle to any similar
subdivision.  Later students were accustomed to recognise a threefold
division into Ethics (the theory of individual conduct), Economics (the
theory of the management of the household), Politics (the theory of the
management of the State).  Aristotle himself does not make these
distinctions. His general name for the theory of conduct is Politics,
the doctrine of individual conduct being for him inseparable from that
of the right ordering of society.  Though he composed a separate course
of lectures on individual conduct (the _Ethics_), he takes care to open
the course by stating that the science of which it treats is Politics,
and offers an apology for dealing with the education of individual
character apart from the more general doctrine of the organisation of
society.  No special recognition is given in Aristotle’s own
classification to the Philosophy of Art.  Modern students of Aristotle
have tried to fill in the omission by adding artistic creation to
contemplation and practice as a third fundamental form of mental
activity, and thus making a threefold division of Philosophy into
Theoretical, Practical, and Productive.  The object of this is to find a
place in the classification for Aristotle’s famous _Poetics_ and his
work on Rhetoric, the art of effective speech and writing.  But the
admission of the third division of Science has no warrant in the text of
Aristotle, nor are the _Rhetoric_ and _Poetics_, properly speaking, a
contribution to Philosophy.  They are intended as collections of
practical rules for the composition of a pamphlet or a tragedy, not as a
critical examination of the canons of literary taste.  This was
correctly seen by the dramatic theorists of the seventeenth century.
They exaggerated the value of Aristotle’s directions and entirely
misunderstood the meaning of some of them, but they were right in their
view that the _Poetics_ was meant to be a collection of rules by obeying
which the craftsman might make sure of turning out a successful play.
So far as Aristotle has a Philosophy of Fine Art at all, it forms part
of his more general theory of education and must be looked for in the
general discussion of the aims of education contained in his _Politics_.

*The Methods of Science*.--No place has been assigned in the scheme to
what we call logic and Aristotle called _Analytics_, the theory of
scientific method, or of proof and the estimation of evidence.  The
reason is that since the fundamental character of proof is the same in
all science, Aristotle looks upon logic as a study of the methods common
to all science.  At a later date it became a hotly debated question
whether logic should be regarded in this way as a study of the methods
instrumental to proof in all sciences, or as itself a special
constituent division of philosophy.  The Aristotelian view was concisely
indicated by the name which became attached to the collection of
Aristotle’s logical works.  They were called the _Organon_, that is, the
"instrument," or the body of rules of method employed by Science.  The
thought implied is thus that logic furnishes the _tools_ with which
every science has to work in establishing its results.  Our space will
only permit of a brief statement as to the points in which the
Aristotelian formal logic appears to be really original, and the main
peculiarities of Aristotle’s theory of knowledge.

(a) *Formal Logic*.--In compass the Aristotelian logic corresponds
roughly with the contents of modern elementary treatises on the same
subject, with the omission of the sections which deal with the so-called
Conditional Syllogism.  The inclusion of arguments of this type in
mediæval and modern expositions of formal logic is principally due to
the Stoics, who preferred to throw their reasoning into these forms and
subjected them to minute scrutiny.  In his treatment of the doctrine of
Terms, Aristotle avoids the mistake of treating the isolated name as
though it had significance apart from the enunciations in which it
occurs.  He is quite clear on the all-important point that the unit of
thought is the proposition in which something is affirmed or denied, the
one thought-form which can be properly called "true" or "false."  Such
an assertion he analyses into two factors, that about which something is
affirmed or denied (the Subject), and that which is affirmed or denied
of it (the Predicate). Consequently his doctrine of the classification
of Terms is based on a classification of Predicates, or of Propositions
according to the special kind of connection between the Subject and
Predicate which they affirm or deny.  Two such classifications, which
cannot be made to fit into one another, meet us in Aristotle’s logical
writings, the scheme of the ten "Categories," and that which was
afterwards known in the Middle Ages as the list of "Predicaments" or
"Heads of Predicates," or again as the "Five Words."  The list of
"Categories" reveals itself as an attempt to answer the question in how
many different senses the words "is a" or "are" are employed when we
assert that "_x_ is _y_" or "_x_ is a _y_" or "_x_s are _y_s."  Such a
statement may tell us (1) what _x_ is, as if I say "_x_ is a lion"; the
predicate is then said to fall under the category of Substance; (2) what
_x_ is like, as when I say "_x_ is white, or _x_ is wise,"--the category
of Quality; (3) how much or how many _x_ is, as when I say "_x_ is tall"
or "_x_ is five feet long,"--the category of Quantity; (4) how _x_ is
related to something else, as when I say "_x_ is to the right of _y_,"
"_x_ is the father of _y_,"--the category of Relation.  These are the
four chief "categories" discussed by Aristotle.  The remainder are (5)
Place, (6) Time, (7) and (8) Condition or State, as when I say "_x_ is
sitting down" or "_x_ has his armour on,"--(the only distinction between
the two cases seems to be that (7) denotes a more permanent state of _x_
than (8)); (9) Action or Activity, as when I say "_x_ is cutting," or
generally "_x_ is doing something to _y_"; (10) Passivity, as when I say
"_x_ is being cut," or more generally, "so-and-so is being done to _x_."
No attempt is made to show that this list of "figures of predication" is
complete, or to point out any principle which has been followed in its
construction.  It also happens that much the same enumeration is
incidentally made in one or two passages of Plato.  Hence it is not
unlikely that the list was taken over by Aristotle as one which would be
familiar to pupils who had read their Plato, and therefore convenient
for practical purposes.  The fivefold classification does depend on a
principle pointed out by Aristotle which guarantees its completeness,
and is therefore likely to have been thought out by him for himself, and
to be the genuine Aristotelian scheme.  Consider an ordinary universal
affirmative proposition of the form "all _x_s are _y_s."  Now if this
statement is true it may also be true that "all _y_s are _x_s," or it
may not.  On the first supposition we have two possible cases, (1) the
predicate may state precisely what the subject defined _is_; then _y_ is
the Definition of _x_, as when I say that "men are mortal animals,
capable of discourse."  Here it is also true to say that "mortal animals
capable of discourse are men," and Aristotle regards the predicate
"mortal animal capable of discourse" as expressing the inmost nature of
man.  (2) The predicate may not express the inmost nature of the
subject, and yet may belong only to the class denoted by the subject and
to every member of that class.  The predicate is then called a Proprium
or property, an exclusive attribute of the class in question.  Thus it
was held that "all men are capable of laughter" and "all beings capable
of laughter are men," but that the capacity for laughter is no part of
the inmost nature or "real essence" of humanity.  It is therefore
reckoned as a Proprium.

Again in the case where it is true that "all _x_s are _y_s," but not
true that all "_y_s are _x_s," _y_ may be part of the definition of _x_
or it may not.  If it is part of the definition of _x_ it will be either
(3) a genus or wider class of which _x_ forms a subdivision, as when I
say, "All men are animals," or (4) a difference, that is, one of the
distinctive marks by which the _x_s are distinguished from other
sub-classes or species of the same genus, as when I say, "All men are
capable of discourse."  Or finally (5) _y_ may be no part of the
definition of _x_, but a characteristic which belongs both to the _x_s
and some things other than _x_s.  The predicate is then called an
Accident.  We have now exhausted all the possible cases, and may say
that the predicate of a universal affirmative proposition is always
either a definition, a proprium, a genus, a difference, or an accident.
This classification reached the Middle Ages not in the precise form in
which it is given by Aristotle, but with modifications mainly due to the
Neo-Platonic philosopher Porphyry. In its modified form it is regarded
as a classification of terms generally.  Definition disappears from the
list, as the definition is regarded as a complex made up of the genus,
or next highest class to which the class to be defined belongs, and the
differences which mark off this particular species or sub-class.  The
species itself which figures as the subject-term in a definition is
added, and thus the "Five Words" of mediæval logic are enumerated as
genus, species, difference, proprium, accident.

The one point of philosophical interest about this doctrine appears
alike in the scheme of the "Categories" in the presence of a category of
"substance," and in the list of "Predicaments" in the sharp distinction
drawn between "definition" and "proprium."  From a logical point of view
it does not appear why _any_ proprium, _any_ character belonging to all
the members of a class and to them alone, should not be taken as
defining the class.  Why should it be assumed that there is only _one_
predicate, viz. _man_, which precisely answers the question, "What is
Socrates?"  Why should it not be equally correct to answer, "a Greek,"
or "a philosopher"?  The explanation is that Aristotle takes it for
granted that not all the distinctions we can make between "kinds" of
things are arbitrary and subjective.  Nature herself has made certain
hard and fast divisions between kinds which it is the business of our
thought to recognise and follow.  Thus according to Aristotle there is a
real gulf, a genuine difference in kind, between the horse and the ass,
and this is illustrated by the fact that the mule, the offspring of a
horse and an ass, is not capable of reproduction. It is thus a sort of
imperfect being, a kind of "monster" existing _contra naturam_.  Such
differences as we find when we compare _e.g._ Egyptians with Greeks do
not amount to a difference in "kind."  To say that Socrates is a man
tells me what Socrates is, because the statement places Socrates in the
real kind to which he actually belongs; to say that he is wise, or old,
or a philosopher merely tells me some of his attributes. It follows from
this belief in "real" or "natural" kinds that the problem of definition
acquires an enormous importance for science.  We, who are accustomed to
regard the whole business of classification as a matter of making a
grouping of our materials such as is most pertinent to the special
question we have in hand, tend to look upon any predicate which belongs
universally and exclusively to the members of a group, as a sufficient
basis for a possible definition of the group.  Hence we are prone to
take the "nominalist" view of definition, _i.e._ to look upon a
definition as no more than a declaration of the sense which we intend
henceforward to put on a word or other symbol.  And consequently we
readily admit that there may be as many definitions of a class as it has
different propria. But in a philosophy like that of Aristotle, in which
it is held that a true classification must not only be formally
satisfactory, but must also conform to the actual lines of cleavage
which Nature has established between kind and kind, the task of
classificatory science becomes much more difficult.  Science is called
on to supply not merely a definition but _the_ definition of the classes
it considers, _the_ definition which faithfully reflects the "lines of
cleavage" in Nature.  This is why the Aristotelian view is that a true
definition should always be _per genus et differentias_.  It should
"place" a given class by mentioning the wider class next above it in the
objective hierarchy, and then enumerating the most deep-seated
distinctions by which Nature herself marks off this class from others
belonging to the same wider class.  Modern evolutionary thought may
possibly bring us back to this Aristotelian standpoint.  Modern
evolutionary science differs from Aristotelianism on one point of the
first importance.  It regards the difference between kinds, not as a
primary fact of Nature, but as produced by a long process of
accumulation of slight differences.  But a world in which the process
has progressed far enough will exhibit much the same character as the
Nature of Aristotle. As the intermediate links between "species" drop
out because they are less thoroughly adapted to maintain themselves than
the extremes between which they form links, the world produced
approximates more and more to a system of species between which there
are unbridgeable chasms; evolution tends more and more to the final
establishment of "real kinds," marked by the fact that there is no
permanent possibility of cross-breeding between them.  This makes it
once more possible to distinguish between a "nominal" definition and a
"real" definition.  From an evolutionary point of view, a "real"
definition would be one which specifies not merely enough characters to
mark off the group defined from others, but selects also for the purpose
those characters which indicate the line of historical development by
which the group has successively separated itself from other groups
descended from the same ancestors.  We shall learn yet more of the
significance of this conception of a "real kind" as we go on to make
acquaintance with the outlines of First Philosophy.  Over the rest of
the formal logic of Aristotle we must be content to pass more rapidly.
In connection with the doctrine of Propositions, Aristotle lays down the
familiar distinction between the four types of proposition according to
their quantity (as universal or particular) and quality (as affirmative
or negative), and treats of their contrary and contradictory opposition
in a way which still forms the basis of the handling of the subject in
elementary works on formal logic.  He also considers at great length a
subject nowadays commonly excluded from the elementary books, the modal
distinction between the Problematic proposition (_x_ may be _y_), the
Assertory (_x_ is _y_), and the Necessary (_x_ must be _y_), and the way
in which all these forms may be contradicted.  For him, modality is a
formal distinction like quantity or quality, because he believes that
contingency and necessity are not merely relative to the state of our
knowledge, but represent real and objective features of the order of

In connection with the doctrine of Inference, it is worth while to give
his definition of Syllogism or Inference (literally "computation") in
his own words.  "Syllogism is a discourse wherein certain things (viz.
the premisses) being admitted, something else, different from what has
been admitted, follows of necessity because the admissions are what they
are."  The last clause shows that Aristotle is aware that the
all-important thing in an inference is not that the conclusion should be
novel but that it should be proved.  We may have known the conclusion as
a fact before; what the inference does for us is to connect it with the
rest of our knowledge, and thus to show _why_ it is true.  He also
formulates the axiom upon which syllogistic inference rests, that "if A
is predicated universally of B and B of C, A is necessarily predicated
universally of C."  Stated in the language of class-inclusion, and
adapted to include the case where B is denied of C this becomes the
formula, "whatever is asserted universally, whether positively or
negatively, of a class B is asserted in like manner of any class C which
is wholly contained in B," the axiom _de omni et nullo_ of mediæval
logic.  The syllogism of the "first figure," to which this principle
immediately applies, is accordingly regarded by Aristotle as the natural
and perfect form of inference.  Syllogisms of the second and third
figures can only be shown to fall under the dictum by a process of
"reduction" or transformation into corresponding arguments in the first
"figure," and are therefore called "imperfect" or "incomplete," because
they do not exhibit the conclusive force of the reasoning with equal
clearness, and also because no universal affirmative conclusion can be
proved in them, and the aim of science is always to establish such
affirmatives.  The list of "moods" of the three figures, and the
doctrine of the methods by which each mood of the imperfect figures can
be replaced by an equivalent mood of the first is worked out
substantially as in our current text-books.  The so-called "fourth"
figure is not recognised, its moods being regarded merely as unnatural
and distorted statements of those of the first figure.

*Induction*.--Of the use of "induction" in Aristotle’s philosophy we
shall speak under the head of "Theory of Knowledge."  Formally it is
called "the way of proceeding from particular facts to universals," and
Aristotle insists that the conclusion is only proved if _all_ the
particulars have been examined.  Thus he gives as an example the
following argument, "_x_, _y_, _z_ are long-lived species of animals;
_x_, _y_, _z_ are the only species which have no gall; _ergo_ all
animals which have no gall are long-lived."  This is the "induction by
simple enumeration" denounced by Francis Bacon on the ground that it may
always be discredited by the production of a single "contrary instance,"
_e.g._ a single instance of an animal which has no gall and yet is not
long-lived.  Aristotle is quite aware that his "induction" does not
establish its conclusion unless all the cases have been included in the
examination.  In fact, as his own example shows, an induction which
gives certainty does not start with "particular facts" at all.  It is a
method of arguing that what has been proved true of each sub-class of a
wider class will be true of the wider class as a whole. The premisses
are strictly universal throughout.  In general, Aristotle does not
regard "induction" as _proof_ at all. Historically "induction" is held
by Aristotle to have been first made prominent in philosophy by
Socrates, who constantly employed the method in his attempts to
establish universal results in moral science.  Thus he gives, as a
characteristic argument for the famous Socratic doctrine that knowledge
is the one thing needful, the "induction," "he who understands the
theory of navigation is the best navigator, he who understands the
theory of chariot-driving the best driver; from these examples we see
that universally he who understands the theory of a thing is the best
practitioner," where it is evident that _all_ the relevant cases have
_not_ been examined, and consequently that the reasoning does not amount
to proof. Mill’s so-called reasoning from particulars to particulars
finds a place in Aristotle’s theory under the name of "arguing from an
example."  He gives as an illustration, "A war between Athens and Thebes
will be a bad thing, for we see that the war between Thebes and Phocis
was so."  He is careful to point out that the whole force of the
argument depends on the _implied_ assumption of a universal proposition
which covers both cases, such as "wars between _neighbours_ are bad
things." Hence he calls such appeals to example "rhetorical" reasoning,
because the politician is accustomed to leave his hearers to supply the
relevant universal consideration for themselves.

*Theory of Knowledge*.--Here, as everywhere in Aristotle’s philosophy,
we are confronted by an initial and insuperable difficulty.  Aristotle
is always anxious to insist on the difference between his own doctrines
and those of Plato, and his bias in this direction regularly leads him
to speak as though he held a thorough-going naturalistic and empirical
theory with no "transcendental moonshine" about it.  Yet his final
conclusions on all points of importance are hardly distinguishable from
those of Plato except by the fact that, as they are so much at variance
with the naturalistic side of his philosophy, they have the appearance
of being sudden lapses into an alogical mysticism.  We shall find the
presence of this "fault" more pronouncedly in his metaphysics,
psychology, and ethics than in his theory of knowledge, but it is not
absent from any part of his philosophy.  He is everywhere a Platonist
_malgré lui_, and it is just the Platonic element in his thought to
which it owes its hold over men’s minds.

Plato’s doctrine on the subject may be stated with enough accuracy for
our purpose as follows.  There is a radical distinction between
sense-perception and scientific knowledge. A scientific truth is exact
and definite, it is also true once and for all, and never becomes truer
or falser with the lapse of time.  This is the character of the
propositions of the science which Plato regarded as the type of what
true science ought to be, pure mathematics.  It is very different with
the judgments which we try to base on our sense-perceptions of the
visible and tangible world.  The colours, tastes, shapes of sensible
things seem different to different percipients, and moreover they are
constantly changing in incalculable ways.  We can never be certain that
two lines which seem to our senses to be equal are really so; it may be
that the inequality is merely too slight to be perceptible to our
senses.  No figure which we can draw and see actually has the exact
properties ascribed by the mathematician to a circle or a square.  Hence
Plato concludes that if the word science be taken in its fullest sense,
there can be no science about the world which our senses reveal.  We can
have only an approximate knowledge, a knowledge which is after all, at
best, probable opinion.  The objects of which the mathematician has
certain, exact, and final knowledge cannot be anything which the senses
reveal. They are objects of _thought_, and the function of visible
models and diagrams in mathematics is not to present _examples_ of them
to us, but only to show us imperfect _approximations_ to them and so to
"remind" the soul of objects and relations between them which she has
never cognised with the bodily senses.  Thus mathematical straightness
is never actually beheld, but when we see lines of less and more
approximate straightness we are "put in mind" of that absolute
straightness to which sense-perception only approximates.  So in the
moral sciences, the various "virtues" are not presented in their
perfection by the course of daily life.  We do not meet with men who are
perfectly brave or just, but the experience that one man is braver or
juster than another "calls into our mind" the thought of the absolute
standard of courage or justice implied in the conviction that one man
comes nearer to it than another, and it is these absolute standards
which are the real objects of our attention when we try to define the
terms by which we describe the moral life.  This is the
"epistemological" side of the famous doctrine of the "Ideas."  The main
points are two, (1) that strict science deals throughout with objects
and relations between objects which are of a purely intellectual or
conceptual order, no sense-data entering into their constitution; (2)
since the objects of science are of this character, it follows that the
"Idea" or "concept" or "universal" is not arrived at by any process of
"abstracting" from our experience of sensible things the features common
to them all.  As the particular fact never actually exhibits the
"universal" except approximately, the "universal" cannot be simply
disentangled from particulars by abstraction.  As Plato puts it, it is
"apart from" particulars, or, as we might reword his thought, the pure
concepts of science represent "upper limits" to which the comparative
series which we can form out of sensible data continually approximate
but do not reach them.

In his theory of knowledge Aristotle begins by brushing aside the
Platonic view.  Science requires no such "Ideas," transcending
sense-experience, as Plato had spoken of; they are, in fact, no more
than "poetic metaphors."  What is required for science is not that there
should be a "one over and above the many" (that is, such pure concepts,
unrealised in the world of actual perception, as Plato had spoken of),
but only that it should be possible to predicate one term universally of
many others.  This, by itself, means that the "universal" is looked on
as a mere residue of the characteristics found in each member of a
group, got by abstraction, _i.e._ by leaving out of view the
characteristics which are peculiar to some of the group and retaining
only those which are common to all.  If Aristotle had held consistently
to this point of view, his theory of knowledge would have been a purely
empirical one.  He would have had to say that, since all the objects of
knowledge are particular facts given in sense-perception, the universal
laws of science are a mere convenient way of describing the observed
uniformities in the behaviour of sensible things.  But, since it is
obvious that in pure mathematics we are not concerned with the actual
relations between sensible data or the actual ways in which they behave,
but with so-called "pure cases" or ideals to which the perceived world
only approximately conforms, he would also have had to say that the
propositions of mathematics are not strictly true.  In modern times
consistent empiricists have said this, but it is not a position possible
to one who had passed twenty years in association with the
mathematicians of the Academy, and Aristotle’s theory only begins in
naturalism to end in Platonism.  We may condense its most striking
positions into the following statement.  By science we mean _proved_
knowledge.  And proved knowledge is always "mediated"; it is the
knowledge of _conclusions_ from premisses.  A truth that is
scientifically known does not stand alone.  The "proof" is simply the
pointing out of the connection between the truth we call the conclusion,
and other truths which we call the premisses of our demonstration.
Science points out the _reason why_ of things, and this is what is meant
by the Aristotelian principle that to have science is to know things
through their _causes_ or _reasons why_.  In an ordered digest of
scientific truths, the proper arrangement is to begin with the simplest
and most widely extended principles and to reason down, through
successive inferences, to the most complex propositions, the _reason
why_ of which can only be exhibited by long chains of deductions.  This
is the order of logical dependence, and is described by Aristotle as
reasoning _from_ what is "more knowable in its own nature,"[#] the
simple, to what is usually "more familiar to _us_," because less removed
from the infinite wealth of sense-perception, the complex.  In
_discovery_ we have usually to reverse the process and argue from "the
familiar to us," highly complex facts, to "the more knowable in its own
nature," the simpler principles implied in the facts.

[#] This simple expression acquires a mysterious appearance in mediæval
philosophy from the standing mistranslation _notiora naturæ_, "better
known to nature."

It follows that Aristotle, after all, admits the disparateness of
sense-perception and scientific knowledge.  Sense-perception of itself
never gives us scientific truth, because it can only assure us that a
fact is so; it cannot _explain_ the fact by showing its connection with
the rest of the system of facts, "it does not give the _reason_ for the
fact."  Knowledge of perception is always "immediate," and for that very
reason is never scientific. If we stood on the moon and saw the earth,
interposing between us and the sun, we should still not have scientific
knowledge about the eclipse, because "we should still have to ask for
the _reason why_."  (In fact, we should not know the reason _why_
without a theory of light including the proposition that light-waves are
propagated in straight lines and several others.) Similarly Aristotle
insists that Induction does not yield scientific truth.  "He who makes
an induction points out something, but does not demonstrate anything."

For instance, if we know that _each_ species of animal which is without
a gall is long-lived, we may make the induction that _all_ animals
without a gall are long-lived, but in doing so we have got no nearer to
seeing _why_ or _how_ the absence of a gall makes for longevity.  The
question which we may raise in science may all be reduced to four heads,
(1) Does this thing exist? (2) Does this event occur? (3) If the thing
exists, precisely what is it? and (4) If the event occurs, _why_ does it
occur? and science has not completed its task unless it can advance from
the solution of the first two questions to that of the latter two.
Science is no mere catalogue of things and events, it consists of
inquiries into the "real essences" and characteristics of things and the
laws of connection between events.

Looking at scientific reasoning, then, from the point of view of its
formal character, we may say that all science consists in the search for
"middle terms" of syllogisms, by which to connect the truth which
appears as a conclusion with the less complex truths which appear as the
premisses from which it is drawn.  When we ask, "does such a thing
exist?" or "does such an event happen?" we are asking, "is there a
middle term which can connect the thing or event in question with the
rest of known reality?"  Since it is a rule of the syllogism that the
middle term must be taken universally, at least once in the premisses,
the search for middle terms may also be described as the search for
universals, and we may speak of science as knowledge of the universal
interconnections between facts and events.

A science, then, may be analysed into three constituents. These are: (1)
a determinate class of objects which form the subject-matter of its
inquiries.  In an orderly exhibition of the contents of the science,
these appear, as in Euclid, as the initial data about which the science
reasons; (2) a number of principles, postulates, and axioms, from which
our demonstrations must start.  Some of these will be principles
employed in all scientific reasoning.  Others will be specific to the
subject-matter with which a particular science is concerned; (3) certain
characteristics of the objects under study which can be shown by means
of our axioms and postulates to follow from our initial definitions, the
_accidentia per se_ of the objects defined.  It is these last which are
expressed by the conclusions of scientific demonstration.  We are said
to know scientifically that B is true of A when we show that this
follows, in virtue of the principles of some science, from the initial
definition of A.  Thus if we convinced ourselves that the sum of the
angles of a plane triangle is equal to two right angles by measurement,
we could not be said to have scientific knowledge of the proposition.
But if we show that the same proposition follows from the definition of
a plane triangle by repeated applications of admitted axioms or
postulates of geometry, our knowledge is genuinely scientific.  We now
know that it is so, and we see _why_ it is so; we see the connection of
this truth with the simple initial truths of geometry.

This leads us to the consideration of the most characteristic point of
Aristotle’s whole theory.  Science is demonstrated knowledge, that is,
it is the knowledge that certain truths follow from still simpler
truths.  Hence the simplest of all the truths of any science cannot
themselves be capable of being known by inference.  You cannot infer
that the axioms of geometry are true because its conclusions are true,
since the truth of the conclusions is itself a consequence of the truth
of the axioms.  Nor yet must you ask for demonstration of the axioms as
consequences of still simpler premisses, because if all truths can be
proved, they ought to be proved, and you would therefore require an
infinity of successive demonstrations to prove anything whatever.  But
under such conditions all knowledge of demonstrated truth would be
impossible.  The first principles of any science must therefore be
indemonstrable. They must be known, as facts of sense-perception are
known, immediately and not mediately.  How then do we come by our
knowledge of them?  Aristotle’s answer to this question appears at first
sight curiously contradictory.  He seems to say that these simplest
truths are apprehended intuitively, or on inspection, as self-evident by
Intelligence or Mind.  On the other hand, he also says that they are
known _to us_ as a result of induction from sense-experience.  Thus he
_seems_ to be either a Platonist or an empiricist, according as you
choose to remember one set of his utterances or another, and this
apparent inconsistency has led to his authority being claimed in their
favour by thinkers of the most widely different types.  But more careful
study will show that the seeming confusion is due to the fact that he
tries to combine in one statement his answers to two quite different
questions, (1) how we come to reflect on the axioms, (2) what evidence
there is for their truth.  To the first question he replies, "by
induction from experience," and so far he might seem to be a precursor
of John Stuart Mill.  Successive repetitions of the same
sense-perceptions give rise to a single experience, and it is by
reflection on experience that we become aware of the most ultimate
simple and universal principles.  We might illustrate his point by
considering how the thought that two and two are four may be brought
before a child’s mind.  We might first take two apples, and two other
apples and set the child to count them.  By repeating the process with
different apples we may teach the child to dissociate the result of the
counting from the particular apples employed, and to advance to the
thought, "any two apples and any two other apples make four apples."
Then we might substitute pears or cherries for the apples, so as to
suggest the thought, "two fruits and two fruits make four fruits."  And
by similar methods we should in the end evoke the thought, "any two
objects whatever and any other two objects whatever make four objects."
This exactly illustrates Aristotle’s conception of the function of
induction, or comparison of instances, in fixing attention on a
universal principle of which one had not been conscious before the
comparison was made.

Now comes in the point where Aristotle differs wholly from all
empiricists, later and earlier.  Mill regards the instances produced in
the induction as having a double function; they not merely fix the
attention on the principle, they also are the evidence of its truth.
This gives rise to the greatest difficulty in his whole logical theory.
Induction by imperfect enumeration is pronounced to be (as it clearly
is) fallacious, yet the principle of the uniformity of Nature which Mill
regards as the ultimate premiss of all science, is itself supposed to be
proved by this radically fallacious method.  Aristotle avoids a similar
inconsistency by holding that the sole function of the induction is to
fix our attention on a principle which it does not prove. He holds that
ultimate principles neither permit of nor require proof.  When the
induction has done its work in calling attention to the principle, you
have to see for yourself that the principle is true.  You see that it is
true by immediate inspection just as in sense-perception you have to see
that the colour before your eyes is red or blue.  This is why Aristotle
holds that the knowledge of the principles of science is not itself
science (demonstrated knowledge), but what he calls intelligence, and we
may call intellectual intuition.  Thus his doctrine is sharply
distinguished not only from empiricism (the doctrine that universal
principles are proved by particular facts), but also from all theories
of the Hegelian type which regard the principles and the facts as
somehow reciprocally proving each other, and from the doctrine of some
eminent modern logicians who hold that "self-evidence" is not required
in the ultimate principles of science, as we are only concerned in logic
with the question what consequences follow from our initial assumptions,
and not with the truth or falsehood of the assumptions themselves.

The result is that Aristotle does little more than repeat the Platonic
view of the nature of science.  Science consists of deductions from
universal principles which sensible experience "suggests," but into
which, as they are apprehended by a purely intellectual inspection, no
sense-data enter as constituents. The apparent rejection of
"transcendental moonshine" has, after all, led to nothing.  The only
difference between Plato and his scholar lies in the clearness of
intellectual vision which Plato shows when he expressly maintains in
plain words that the universals of exact science are not "in" our
sense-perceptions and therefore to be extracted from them by a process
of abstraction, but are "apart from" or "over" them, and form an ideal
system of interconnected concepts which the experiences of sense merely
"imitate" or make approximation to.

One more point remains to be considered to complete our outline of the
Aristotelian theory of knowledge.  The sciences have "principles" which
are discerned to be true by immediate inspection.  But what if one man
professes to see the self-evident truth of such an alleged principle,
while another is doubtful of its truth, or even denies it?  There can be
no question of silencing the objector by a demonstration, since no
genuine simple principle admits of demonstration.  All that can be done,
_e.g._ if a man doubts whether things equal to the same thing are equal
to one another, or whether the law of contradiction is true, is to
examine the consequences of a denial of the axiom and to show that they
include some which are false, or which your antagonist at least
considers false.  In this way, by showing the falsity of consequences
which follow from the denial of a given "principle," you indirectly
establish its truth.  Now reasoning of this kind differs from "science"
precisely in the point that you take as your major premiss, not what you
regard as true, but the opposite thesis of your antagonist, which you
regard as false.  Your object is not to prove a true conclusion but to
show your opponent that _his_ premisses lead to false conclusions.  This
is "dialectical" reasoning in Aristotle’s sense of the word, _i.e._
reasoning not from your own but from some one else’s premisses.  Hence
the chief philosophical importance which Aristotle ascribes to
"dialectic" is that it provides a method of defending the undemonstrable
axioms against objections.  Dialectic of this kind became highly
important in the mediæval Aristotelianism of the schoolmen, with whom it
became a regular method, as may be seen _e.g._ in the _Summa_ of St.
Thomas, to begin their consideration of a doctrine by a preliminary
rehearsal of all the arguments they could find or devise against the
conclusion they meant to adopt. Thus the first division of any article
in the _Summa Theologiæ_ of Thomas is regularly constituted by arguments
based on the premisses of actual or possible antagonists, and is
strictly dialectical.  (To be quite accurate Aristotle should, of
course, have observed that this dialectical method of defending a
principle becomes useless in the case of a logical axiom which is
presupposed by all deduction.  For this reason Aristotle falls into
fallacy when he tries to defend the law of contradiction by dialectic.
It is true that if the law be denied, then any and every predicate may
be indifferently ascribed to any subject. But until the law of
contradiction has been admitted, you have no right to regard it as
absurd to ascribe all predicates indiscriminately to all subjects.
Thus, it is only assumed laws which are _not_ ultimate laws of logic
that admit of dialectical justification.  If a truth is so ultimate that
it has either to be recognised by direct inspection or not at all, there
can be no arguing at all with one who cannot or will not see it.)

                             *CHAPTER III*

                           *FIRST PHILOSOPHY*

First Philosophy is defined by Aristotle as a "science which considers
What Is simply in its character of Being, and the properties which it
has as such."  That there is, or ought to be, such a science is urged on
the ground that every "special" science deals only with some restricted
department of what is, and thus considers its subject-matter not
universally in its character of being, or being real, but as determined
by some more special condition.  Thus, First Philosophy, the science
which attempts to discover the most ultimate reasons of, or grounds for,
the character of things in general cannot be identified with any of the
"departmental" sciences.  The same consideration explains why it is
"First Philosophy" which has to disentangle the "principles" of the
various sciences, and defend them by dialectic against those who impugn
them.  It is no part of the duty of a geometer or a physicist to deal
with objections to such universal principles of reasoning as the law of
contradiction.  They may safely assume such principles; if they are
attacked, it is not by specifically geometrical or physical
considerations that they can be defended.  Even the "principles of the
special sciences" have not to be examined and defended by the special
sciences.  They are the starting-points of the sciences which employ
them; these sciences are therefore justified in requiring that they
shall be admitted as a condition of geometrical, or physical, or
biological demonstrations.  If they are called in question, the defence
of them is the business of logic.

First Philosophy, then, is the study of "What Is simply as such," the
universal principles of structure without which there could be no
ordered system of knowable objects.  But the word "is" has more than one
sense.  There are as many modes of being as there are types of
predication.  "Substances," men, horses, and the like, have their own
specific mode of being--they are things; qualities, such as green or
sweet, have a different mode of being--they are not things, but
"affections" or "attributes" of things.  Actions, again, such as
building, killing, are neither things nor yet "affections" of things;
their mode of being is that they are processes which produce or destroy
things.  First Philosophy is concerned with the general character of all
these modes of being, but it is specially concerned with that mode of
being which belongs to _substances_.  For this is the most primary of
all modes of being.  We had to introduce a reference to it in our
attempt to say what the mode of being of qualities and actions is, and
it would have been the same had our illustrations been drawn from any
other "categories."  Hence the central and special problem of First
Philosophy is to analyse the notion of substance and to show the causes
of the existence of substances.

Next, we have to note that the word "substance" itself has two senses.
When we spoke of substance as one of the categories we were using it in
a secondary sense.  We meant by substances "horse," "man," and the rest
of the "real kinds" which we find in Nature, and try to reproduce in a
scientific classification.  In this sense of the word "substances" are a
special class of _predicates_, as when we affirm of Plato that he is a
man, or of Bucephalus that he is a horse.  But in the primary sense a
substance means an absolutely individual thing, "_this_ man," or "_this_
horse."  We may therefore define primary substances from the logician’s
point of view by saying that they can be only subjects of predication,
never predicates. Or again, it is peculiar to substances, that while
remaining numerically one a substance admits of incompatible
determinations, as Socrates, remaining one and the same Socrates, is
successively young and old.  This is not true of "qualities," "actions,"
and the rest.  The same colour cannot be first white and then black; the
same act cannot be first bad and then good.  Thus we may say that
individual substances are the fixed and permanent factors in the world
of mutability, the invariants of existence.  Processes go on in them,
they run the gamut of changes from birth to decay, processes take place
_among_ them, they act on and are acted on by one another, they
fluctuate in their qualities and their magnitude, but so long as a
substance exists it remains numerically one and the same throughout all
these changes.  Their existence is the first and most fundamental
condition of the existence of the universe, since they are the bearers
of all qualities, the terms of all relations, and the agents and
patients in all interaction.

The point to note is that Aristotle begins his investigation into the
structure of What Is and the causes by which it is produced by starting
from the existence of individual things belonging to the physical order
and perceived by the senses. About any such thing we may ask two
questions, (1) into what constituent factors can it be logically
analysed? (2) and how has it come to exhibit the character which our
analysis shows it to have?  The answer to these questions will appear
from a consideration of two standing antitheses which run through
Aristotle’s philosophy, the contrast between Matter and Form, and that
between Potential and Actual, followed by a recapitulation of his
doctrine of the Four Causes, or four senses of the word Cause.

*Matter and Form*.--Consider any completely developed individual thing,
whether it is the product of human manufacture, as a copper bowl, or of
natural reproduction, as an oak-tree or a horse.  We shall see at once
that the bowl is like other articles made of the same metal,
candlesticks, coal-vases, in being made of the same stuff, and unlike
them in having the special shape or structure which renders it fit for
being used as a bowl and not for holding a candle or containing coals.
So a botanist or a chemist will tell you that the constituent tissues of
an oak or horse, or the chemical elements out of which these tissues are
built up are of the same kind as those of an ash or an ox, but the oak
differs from the ash or the horse from the ox in characteristic
structure. We see thus that in any individual thing we can distinguish
two components, the stuff of which it consists--which may be identical
in kind with the stuff of which things of a very different kind
consist--and the structural law of formation or arrangement which is
peculiar to the "special" kind of thing under consideration.  In the
actual individual thing these two are inseparably united; they do not
exist side by side, as chemists say the atoms of hydrogen and oxygen do
in a drop of water; the law of organisation or structure is manifested
in and through the copper, or the various tissues of the living body.
Aristotle expresses this by saying that you can distinguish two aspects
in an individual, its Matter, (_hyle, materia_) and its Form (_eidos,
forma_).  The individual is the matter as organised in accord with a
determinate principle of structure, the form.  Of these terms, the
former, _hyle_ (_materia_, matter) means literally timber, and more
specifically ship’s timbers, and his selection of it to mean what is
most exactly rendered by our own word "stuff" may perhaps be due to a
reminiscence of an old Pythagorean fancy which looked on the universe as
a ship.  The word for form is the same as Plato’s, and its philosophical
uses are closely connected with its mathematical sense, "regular
figure," also a Pythagorean technicality which still survives in certain
stereotyped phrases in Euclid.  Aristotle extends the analysis into
Matter and Form by analogy beyond the range of individual substances to
everything in which we can distinguish a relatively indeterminate
"somewhat" and a law or type of order and arrangement giving it
determination.  Thus if you consider the relatively fixed or "formed"
character of a man in adult life, we may look upon this character as
produced out of the "raw material" of tendencies and dispositions, which
have received a specific development along definite lines, according to
the kind of training to which the mind has been subjected in the
"formative" period of its growth.  We may therefore speak of native
disposition as the matter or stuff of which character is made, and the
practical problem of education is to devise a system of training which
shall impress on this matter precisely the form required if the grown
man is to be a good citizen of a good state.  Since a man’s character
itself is not a substance but a complex of habits or fixed ways of
reacting upon suggestions coming from the world around him, this is a
good instance of the extension of the antithesis of Matter and Form
beyond the category of substance.  We see then that Matter in the
Aristotelian sense must not be confounded with body; the relatively
undetermined factor which receives completer determination by the
structural law or Form is Matter, whether it is corporeal or not. This
comes out with particular clearness in the metaphysical interpretation
put on the logical process of definition by genus and difference.  When
I define any real kind by specifying a higher and wider class of which
it is a sub-kind, and adding the peculiar characteristics which
distinguish the sub-kind under consideration from the other sub-kinds of
the same genus, the genus may be said to stand to the "differences" as
Matter, the relatively indeterminate, to the Form which gives it its

We further observe that Matter and Form are strictly correlative.  The
matter is called so relatively to the form which gives it further
determination.  When the words are used in their strictest sense, with
reference to an individual thing, the Form is taken to mean the _last_
determination by which the thing acquires its complete character, and
the Matter is that which has yet to receive this last determination.
Thus in the case of a copper globe, the spherical figure is said to be
its Form, the copper its material.  In the case of the human body, the
Matter is the various tissues, muscles, bones, skin, &c. But each of
these things which are counted as belonging to the Matter of the globe
or the human body has, according to Aristotle, a development behind it.
Copper is not an "element" but a specific combination of "elements," and
the same thing is even more true of the highly elaborate tissues of the
living body.  Thus what is Matter relatively to the globe or living body
is Matter already determined by Form if we consider it relatively to its
own constituents.  The so-called "elements" of Empedocles, earth, water,
air, fire, are the matter of all chemical compounds, the Form of each
compound being its specific law of composition; the immediate or
"proximate" Matter of the tissues of the animal body is, according to
Aristotle’s biology, the "superfluous" blood of the female parent, out
of which the various tissues in the offspring are developed, and the
Matter of this blood is in turn the various substances which are taken
into the body of the parent as food and converted by assimilation into
blood.  Their Matter, once more, is the earth, air, fire, and water of
which they are composed. Thus at every stage of a process of manufacture
or growth a fresh Form is superinduced on, or developed within, a Matter
which is already itself a combination of Matter and Form relatively to
the process by which it has itself been originated. Fully thought out,
such a view would lead to the conclusion that in the end the simple
ultimate matter of all individual things is one and the same throughout
the universe, and has absolutely no definite structure at all.  The
introduction of Form or determinate structure of any kind would then
have to be thought of as coming from an outside source, since
structureless Matter cannot be supposed to give itself all sorts of
specific determinations, as has been demonstrated in our own times by
the collapse of the "Synthetic Philosophy."  Aristotle avoids the
difficulty by holding that "pure Matter" is a creation of our thought.
In actual fact the crudest form in which matter is found is that of the
"elements."  Since the transmutability of the "elements" is an
indispensable tenet in Aristotle’s Physics, we cannot avoid regarding
earth, water, fire air as themselves determinations by specific Form of
a still simpler Matter, though this "prime Matter" "all alone, before a
rag of Form is on," is never to be found existing in its simplicity.[#]

[#] _Hudibras_, Pt. 1, Canto 1, 560.

"He had First Matter seen undressed;
He took her naked all alone,
Before one rag of Form was on."

*The Potential and the Actual*.--So far we have been looking at the
analysis of the individual thing, as the current jargon puts it,
statically; we have arrived at the antithesis of Matter and Form by
contrasting an unfinished condition of anything with its finished
condition.  But we may study the same contrast dynamically, with special
reference to the process of making or growth by which the relatively
undetermined or unfinished becomes determined or finished.  The contrast
of Matter with Form then passes into the contrast between Potentiality
and Actuality.  What this antithesis means we can best see from the case
of the growth of a living organism. Consider the embryos of two animals,
or the seeds of two plants.  Even a botanist or a physiologist may be
unable to pronounce with certainty on the species to which the germ
submitted to him belongs, and chemical analysis may be equally at a
loss.  Even at a later stage of development, the embryo of one
vertebrate animal may be indistinguishable from that of another.  Yet it
is certain that one of two originally indistinguishable germs will grow
into an oak and the other into an elm, or one into a chimpanzee and the
other into a man. However indistinguishable, they therefore may be said
to have different latent tendencies or possibilities of development
within them.  Hence we may say of a given germ, "though this is not yet
actually an oak, it is potentially an oak," meaning not merely that, if
uninterfered with, it will in time be an oak, but also that by no
interference can it be made to grow into an elm or a beech.  So we may
look upon all processes of production or development as processes by
which what at first possessed only the tendency to grow along certain
lines or to be worked up into a certain form, has become actually
endowed with the character to which it possessed the tendency.  The
acorn becomes in process of time an actual oak, the baby an actual man,
the copper is made into an actual vase, right education brings out into
active exercise the special capacities of the learner.  Hence the
distinction between Matter and Form may also be expressed by saying that
the Matter is the persistent underlying _substratum_ in which the
development of the Form takes place, or that the individual when finally
determined by the Form is the Actuality of which the undeveloped Matter
was the Potentiality.  The process of conception, birth, and growth to
maturity in Nature, or of the production of a finished article by the
"arts" whose business it is to "imitate" Nature, may be said to be one
of continuous advance towards the actual embodiment of a Form, or law of
organisation, in a Matter having the latent potentiality of developing
along those special lines.  When Aristotle is speaking most strictly he
distinguishes the process by which a Form is realised, which he calls
Energeia, from the manifestation of the realised Form, calling the
latter Entelechy (literally "finished" or "completed" condition).
Often, however, he uses the word Energeia more loosely for the actual
manifestation of the Form itself, and in this he is followed by the
scholastic writers, who render Energeia by _actus_ or _actus purus_.

One presupposition of this process must be specially noted. It is not an
unending process of development of unrealised capacities, but always has
an End in the perfectly simple sense of a last stage.  We see this best
in the case of growth. The acorn grows into the sapling and the sapling
into the oak, but there is nothing related to the oak as the oak is to
the sapling.  The oak does not grow into something else.  The process of
development from potential to actual in this special case comes to an
end with the emergence of the mature oak. In the organic world the end
or last state is recognised by the fact that the organism can now
exercise the power of reproducing its like.  This tendency of organic
process to culminate in a last stage of complete maturity is the key to
the treatment of the problem of the "true end" of life in Aristotle’s

*The Four Causes*.--The conception of the world involved in these
antitheses of Form and Matter, Potential and Actual, finds its fullest
expression in Aristotle’s doctrine of the Four Causes or conditions of
the production of things.  This doctrine is looked on by Aristotle as
the final solution of the problem which had always been the central one
for Greek philosophy, What are the causes of the world-order?  All the
previous philosophies he regards as inadequate attempts to formulate the
answer to this question which is only given completely by his own
system.  Hence the doctrine requires to be stated with some fullness.
We may best approach it by starting from the literal meaning of the
Greek terms _aitia_, _aition_, which Aristotle uses to convey the notion
of cause.  _Aition_ is properly an adjective used substantially, and
means "that on which the legal responsibility for a given state of
affairs can be laid." Similarly _aitia_, the substantive, means the
"credit" for good or bad, the legal "responsibility," for an act.  Now
when we ask, "what is responsible for the fact that such and such a
state of things now exists?" there are four partial answers which may be
given, and each of these corresponds to one of the "causes."  A complete
answer requires the enumeration of them all.  We may mention (1) the
_matter_ or _material_ cause of the thing, (2) the law according to
which it has grown or developed, the _form_ or _formal_ cause, (3) the
agent with whose initial impulse the development began--the
"starting-point of the process," or, as the later Aristotelians call it,
the _efficient_ cause, (4) the completed result of the whole process,
which is present in the case of human manufacture as a preconceived idea
determining the maker’s whole method of handling his material, and in
organic development in Nature as implied in and determining the
successive stages of growth--the _end_ or _final_ cause.  If any one of
these had been different, the resultant state of things would also have
been different.  Hence all four must be specified in completely
accounting for it.  Obvious illustrations can be given from artificial
products of human skill, but it seems clear that it was rather
reflection on the biological process of reproduction and growth which
originally suggested the analysis.  Suppose we ask what was requisite in
order that there should be now an oak on a given spot.  There must have
been (1) a germ from which the oak has grown, and this germ must have
had the latent tendencies towards development which are characteristic
of oaks.  This is the material cause of the oak.  (2) This germ must
have followed a definite law of growth; it must have had a tendency to
grow in the way characteristic of oaks and to develop the structure of
an oak, not that of a plane or an ash.  This is form or formal cause.
(3) Also the germ of the oak did not come from nowhere; it grew on a
parent oak. The parent oak and its acorn-bearing activity thus
constitute the _efficient_ cause of the present oak.  (4) And there must
be a final stage to which the whole process of growth is relative, in
which the germ or sapling is no longer becoming but is an adult oak
bearing fresh acorns.  This is the _end_ of the process. One would not
be going far wrong in saying that Aristotle’s biological cast of thought
leads him to conceive of this "end" in the case of reproduction as a
sub-conscious purpose, just as the workman’s thought of the result to be
attained by his action forms a conscious directing purpose in the case
of manufacture.  Both in Nature and in "art" the "form," the "efficient
cause," and the "end" tend to coalesce.  Thus in Nature "a man begets a
man," organic beings give birth to other organic beings of the same
kind, or, in the technical language of the Aristotelian theory of
Causation, the efficient cause produces, as the "end" of its action, a
second being having the same "form" as itself, though realised in
different "matter," and numerically distinct from itself.  Thus the
efficient cause (_i.e._ the parent) is a "form" realised in matter, and
the "end" is the same "form" realised in other matter.  So in "products
of art" the true "source of the process" is the "form" the realisation
of which is the "end" or final cause, only with this difference, that as
efficient cause the "form" exists not in the material but by way of
"idea" or "representation" in the mind of the craftsman.  A house does
not produce another house, but the house as existing in "idea" in the
builder’s mind sets him at work building, and so produces a
corresponding house in brick or stone.  Thus the ultimate opposition is
between the "cause as matter," a passive and inert substratum of change
and development and the "formal" cause which, in the sense just
explained, is one with both the "efficient" or starting-point, and the
"end" or goal of development.  It will, of course, be seen that
individual bearers of "forms" are indispensable in the theory; hence the
notion of _activity_ is essential to the causal relation. It is a
relation between things, not between events.  Aristotle has no sense of
the word cause corresponding to Mill’s conception of a cause as an event
which is the uniform precursor of another event.

Two more remarks may be made in this connection.  (1) The prominence of
the notion of "end" gives Aristotle’s philosophy a thorough-going
"ideological" character.  God and Nature, he tells us, do nothing
aimlessly.  We should probably be mistaken if we took this to mean that
"God and Nature" act everywhere with conscious design.  The meaning is
rather that every natural process has a last stage in which the "form"
which was to begin with present in the agent or "source of change" is
fully realised in the matter in which the agent has set up the process
of change.  The normal thing is _e.g._ for animals to reproduce "their
kind"; if the reproduction is imperfect or distorted, as in monstrous
births, this is an exception due to the occasional presence in "matter"
of imperfections which hinder the course of development, and must be
regarded as "contrary to the normal course of Nature."  So hybrid
reproduction is exceptional and "against Nature," and this is shown by
the sterility of hybrids, a sort of lesser monstrosity.  Even females,
being "arrested developments," are a sort of still minor deviation from
principle.  (2) It may just be mentioned that Aristotle has a
classification of efficient causes under the three heads of Nature,
Intelligence (or Man), and Chance.  The difference between Nature and
Man or Intelligence as efficient causes has already been illustrated.
It is that in causation by Nature, such as sexual reproduction, or the
assimilation of nutriment, or the conversion of one element into another
in which Aristotle believed, the form which is superinduced on the
matter by the agent already exists in the agent itself as _its_ form.
The oak springs from a parent oak, the conversion of nutriment into
organic tissue is due to the agency of already existing organic tissue.
In the case of human intelligence or art, the "form" to be superinduced
exists in the agent not as _his_ characteristic form, but by way of
representation, as a contemplated design.  The man who builds a house is
not himself a house; the form characteristic of a house is very
different from that characteristic of a man, but it is present in
contemplation to the builder before it is embodied in the actual house.
A word may be added about the third sort of efficient causality,
causation by chance.  This is confined to cases which are exceptions
from the general course of Nature, remarkable coincidences.  It is what
we may call "simulated purposiveness."  When something in human affairs
happens in a way which subserves the achievement of a result but was not
really brought about by any intention to secure the result, we speak of
it as a remarkable coincidence.  Thus it would be a coincidence if a man
should be held to ransom by brigands and his best friend should, without
knowing anything of the matter, turn up on the spot with the means of
ransoming him. The events could not have happened more opportunely if
they had been planned, and yet they were not planned but merely fell out
so: and since such a combination of circumstances simulating design is
unusual, it is not proper to say that the events happened "in the course
of Nature."  We therefore say it happened by chance.  This doctrine of
chance has its significance for mediæval Ethics.  In an age when the
Protestant superstition that worldly success is proof of nearness to God
had not yet been invented, the want of correspondence between men’s
"deserts" and their prosperity was accounted for by the view that the
distribution of worldly goods is, as a rule, the work of Fortune or
Chance in the Aristotelian sense; that is, it is due to special
coincidences which may look like deliberate design but are not really
so.  (See the elaborate exposition of this in Dante, _Inferno_, vii.

*Motion*.--We have seen that causation, natural or artificial, requires
the production in a certain "matter" of a certain "form" under the
influence of a certain "agent."  What is the character of the process
set up by the agent in the matter and culminating in the appearance of
the form?  Aristotle answers that it is Motion (_kinesis_).  The effect
of the agent on the matter is to set up in it a motion which ends in its
assuming a definite form.  The important point to be noted here is that
Aristotle regards this motion as falling wholly within the matter which
is to assume the form.  It is not necessary that the agent should itself
be in motion, but only that it should induce motion in something else.
Thus in all cases of intentional action the ultimate efficient cause is
the "idea of the result to be attained," but this idea does not move
about.  By its presence to the mind it sets something else (the members
of the body) moving.  This conception of an efficient cause which, not
moving itself, by its mere presence induces movement in that to which it
is present, is of the highest importance in Aristotle’s theology.  Of
course it follows that since the motion by which the transition from
potentiality to actuality is achieved falls wholly within the matter
acted upon, Aristotle is not troubled with any of the questions as to
the way in which motion can be transferred from one body to another
which were so much agitated in the early days of the modern mechanical
interpretation of natural processes. Aristotle’s way of conceiving
Nature is thoroughly non-mechanical, and approximates to what would now
be called the ascription of vital or quasi-vital characteristics to the
inorganic.  As, in the causality of "art" the mere presence of the
"form" to be embodied in a given material to the mind of the craftsman
brings about and directs the process of manufacture, so in some
analogous fashion the presence of an efficient cause in Nature to that
on which it works is thought of as itself constituting the "efficiency"
of the cause.  As Lotze phrases it, things "take note of" one another’s
compresence in the universe, or we might say the efficient cause and
that on which it exercises its efficiency are _en rapport_.  "Matter" is
sensitive to the presence of the "efficient cause," and in response to
this sensitivity, puts forth successive determinations, expands its
latent tendencies on definite lines.

The name "motion" has a wider sense for Aristotle than it has for
ourselves.  He includes under the one common name all the processes by
which things come to be what they are or cease to be what they have
been.  Thus he distinguishes the following varieties of "motion":
_generation_ (the coming of an individual thing into being), with its
opposite _decay_ or _corruption_ (the passing of a thing out of being),
_alteration_ (change of _quality_ in a thing), _augmentation_ and
_diminution_ (change in the _magnitude_ of a thing), _motion through
space_ (of which latter he recognises two sub-species, rectilinear
_transference_ and _rotation_ in a circular orbit about an axis).  It is
this last variety, motion through space, which is the most fundamental
of all, since its occurrence is involved in that of any of the other
types of process mentioned, though Aristotle does not hold the
thorough-going mechanical view that the other processes are only
apparent, and that, as we should put it, qualitative change is a mere
disguise which mechanical motion wears for our senses.

*The Eternity of Motion*.--Certain very important consequences follow
from the conception of efficient causation which we have been
describing.  Aristotle has no sympathy with the "evolutionist" views
which had been favoured by some of his predecessors.  According to his
theory of organic generation, "it takes a man to beget a man "; where
there is a baby, there must have been a father.  Biological kinds
representing real clefts in Nature, the process of the production of a
young generation by an already adult generation must be thought of as
without beginning and without end.  There can be no natural "evolution"
of animals of one species from individuals of a different kind.  Nor
does it occur to Aristotle to take into account the possibility of
"Creationism," the sudden coming into being of a fully fledged first
generation at a stroke.  This possibility is excluded by the doctrine
that the "matter" of a thing must exist beforehand as an indispensable
condition of the production of that thing.  Every baby, as we said, must
have had a father, but that father must also have been a baby before he
was a full-grown man.  Hence the perpetuation of unchanging species must
be without beginning and without end. And it is implied that all the
various processes, within and without the organism, apart from which its
life could not be kept up, must be equally without beginning and without
end.  The "cosmos," or orderly world of natural processes, is strictly
"eternal"; "motion" is everlasting and continuous, or unbroken.  Even
the great Christian theologians who built upon Aristotle could not
absolutely break with him on this point.  St. Thomas, though obliged to
admit that the world was actually created a few thousand years before
his own time, maintains that this can only be known to be true from
revelation, philosophically it is equably tenable that the world should
have been "created from all eternity."  And it is the general doctrine
of scholasticism that the expression "creation" only denotes the
absolute dependence of the world on God for its being.  When we say "God
created the world out of nothing," we mean that He did not make it out
of pre-existing matter, that it depends for its being on Him only; the
expression is purely negative in its import.

*God*.--With the doctrine of the eternity of the world and the processes
which make up its life we come close to the culminating theory of
Aristotelian First Philosophy, its doctrine of God, as the eternal,
unchanging source of all change, movement, and process.  All motion is a
process within matter by which the forms latent in it are brought into
actual manifestation. And the process only takes place in the presence
of an adequate efficient cause or source of motion.  Hence the eternity
of natural processes involves the existence of one or more eternal
sources of motion.  For, if we do not admit the existence of an
unoriginated and ever-present source or sources of motion, our only
alternative is to hold that the world-process is due to a series of
sources of motion existing successively. But such a view would leave the
unity and unbroken continuity of the world-process unaccounted for.  It
would give us a succession of processes, temporally contiguous, not one
unbroken process.  Hence we argue from the continuity of motion to its
dependence on a source or sources which are permanent and present
throughout the whole everlasting world-process.  And when we come to the
question whether there is only one such ultimate source of movement for
the whole universe, or several, Aristotle’s answer is that the supreme
"Unmoved Mover" is one.  One is enough for the purpose, and the law of
parcimony forbids us to assume the superfluous.  This then is the
Aristotelian conception of God and God’s relation to the world.  God is
the one supreme unchanging being to whose presence the world responds
with the whole process of cosmic development, the ultimate educer of the
series of "forms" latent in the "matter" of the world into actual
manifestation.  Standing, as He does, outside the whole process which by
His mere presence He initiates in Nature, He is not himself a composite
of "form" and "matter," as the products of development are. He is a pure
individual "form" or "actuality," with no history of gradual development
behind it.  Thus He is a purely immaterial being, indispensable to the
world’s existence but transcending it and standing outside it.  _How_
His presence inspires the world to move Aristotle tries to explain by
the metaphor of appetition.  Just as the good I desire and conceive,
without itself "moving" "moves" my appetition, so God moves the universe
by being its good.  This directly brings about a uniform unbroken
rotation of the whole universe round its axis (in fact, the alternation
of day and night).  And since this rotation is communicated from the
outermost "sphere" of heaven to all the lesser "spheres" between it and
the immovable centre, the effects of God’s presence are felt
universally.  At the same time, we must note that though God is the
supreme Mover of the Universe, He is not regarded by Aristotle as its
Creator, even in the sense in which creation can be reconciled with the
eternity of the world.  For the effect of God’s presence is simply to
lead to the development of "form" in an already existing "matter."
Without God there could be no "form" or order in things, not even as
much as is implied in the differentiation of matter into the four
"elements," yet "primary matter" is no less than God a precondition of
all that happens.

It is characteristic of Aristotle that his God is as far from
discharging the functions of a Providence as He is from being a Creator.
His "activity" is not, as Plato had made it, that of the great "Shepherd
of the sheep."  As far as the world is concerned, God’s only function is
to be there to move its appetition.  For the rest, the unbroken activity
of this life is directed wholly inward.  Aristotle expressly calls it an
"activity of immobility."  More precisely, he tells us, it is activity
of thought, exercised unbrokenly and everlastingly upon the only object
adequate to exercise God’s contemplation, Himself. His life is one of
everlasting _self_-contemplation or "thinking of thought itself."  Like
all unimpeded exercise of activity, it is attended by pleasure, and as
the activity is continuous, so the pleasure of it is continuous too.  At
our best, when we give ourselves up to the pure contemplative activity
of scientific thought or æsthetic appreciation, we enter for a while
into this divine life and share the happiness of God.  But that is a
theme for our chapter on the _Ethics_.

It is a far cry from this conception of a God untroubled by care for a
world to which He is only related as the object of its aspiration to the
God who cares even for the fall of the sparrow and of whom it is
written, _Sic Deus dilexit mundum_, but it was the standing task of the
philosophical theologians of the Middle Ages to fuse the two
conceptions.  Plato’s God, who, if not quite the Creator, is the "Father
and Fashioner" of us all, and keeps providential watch over the world He
has fashioned, would have lent Himself better to their purposes, but
Plato was held by the mediæval church to have denied the resurrection of
the body.  The combination of Aristotle’s Theism with the Theism of
early Christianity was effected by exquisitely subtle logical devices,
but even in St. Thomas one cannot help seeing the seams.

Nor can one help seeing in Aristotle’s own doctrine the usual want of
coherence between an initial anti-Platonic bias and a final reversion to
the very Platonic positions Aristotle is fond of impugning.  We are told
at the outset that the Platonic "separate forms" are empty names, and
that the real individual thing is always a composite of matter and a
form which only exists "in matter."  We find in the end that the source
of the whole process by which "matter" becomes imbued with "form" is a
being which is "pure" form and stands outside the whole development
which its presence sets up. And the issue of Aristotle’s warning against
"poetic metaphors" is the doctrine that God moves the world by being
"the object of the world’s desire."

                              *CHAPTER IV*


There is no part of Aristotle’s system which has been more carefully
thought out than his Physics; at the same time it is almost wholly on
account of his physical doctrines that his long ascendancy over thought
is so much to be regretted.  Aristotle’s qualifications as a man of
science have been much overrated. In one department, that of descriptive
natural history, he shows himself a master of minute and careful
observation who could obtain unqualified praise from so great a
naturalist as Darwin. But in Astronomy and Physics proper his
inferiority in mathematical thinking and his dislike for mechanical ways
of explaining facts put him at a great disadvantage, as compared with
Plato and Plato’s Pythagorean friends.  Thus his authority was for
centuries one of the chief influences which prevented the development of
Astronomy on right lines.  Plato had himself both taught the mobility of
the earth and denied correctly that the earth is at the centre of the
universe, and the "Copernican" hypothesis in Astronomy probably
originated in the Academy.  Aristotle, however, insists on the central
position of the earth, and violently attacks Plato for believing in its
motion. It is equally serious that he insists on treating the so-called
"four elements" as ultimately unanalysable forms of matter, though Plato
had not only observed that so far from being the ABC (_stoicheia_ or
_elementa_, literally, letters of the alphabet) of Nature they do not
deserve to be called even "syllables," but had also definitely put
forward the view that it is the geometrical structure of the
"corpuscles" of body upon which sensible qualities depend.  It is on
this doctrine, of course, that all mathematical physics rests.
Aristotle reverts to the older theory that the differences between one
"element" and another are qualitative differences of a sensible kind.
Even in the biological sciences Aristotle shows an unfortunate proneness
to disregard established fact when it conflicts with the theories for
which he has a personal liking.  Thus, though the importance of the
brain as the central organ of the sensori-motor system had been
discovered in the late sixth or early fifth century by the physician
Alemacon of Crotona, and taught by the great Hippocrates in the fifth
and by Plato in the fourth century, Aristotle’s prejudices in favour of
the doctrines of a different school of biologists led him to revert to
the view that it is the heart which is the centre of what we now call
the "nervous system."  It is mainly on account of these reactionary
scientific views that he was attacked in the early seventeenth century
by writers like our own Francis Bacon, who found in veneration for
Aristotle one of the chief hindrances to the free development of natural
science.  The same complaints had been made long before by critics
belonging to the Platonic Academy.  It is a Platonist of the time of
Marcus Aurelius who sums up a vigorous attack on the Aristotelian
astronomy by the remark that Aristotle never understood that the true
task of the physicist is not to prescribe laws to Nature, but to learn
from observation of the facts what the laws followed by Nature are.

In determining the scope of Physics, we have to begin by considering
what is the special characteristic of things produced by Nature as
contrasted with those produced by "art."  The obvious distinction,
intimated by the very etymology of the word "Nature" (_physis_,
connected with _phyesthai_, to grow, to be born, as _natura_ is with
_nasci_), is that "what is by Nature" is born and grows, whereas what is
as a result of artifice is _made_.  The "natural" may thus be said to
consist of living bodies and of their constituent parts.  Hence
inorganic matter also is included in "Nature," on the ground that living
tissue can be analysed back into compounds of the "elements."  Now
things which are alive and grow are distinguished from things which are
made by "a source of motion and quiescence within themselves"; all of
them exhibit motions, changes of quality, processes of growth and
decline which are initiated from within.  Hence Nature may be defined as
the totality of things which have a source of motion internal to
themselves and of the constituent parts of such things.  Nature then
comprises all beings capable of spontaneous change. Whatever either does
not change at all, or only changes in consequence of external
influences, is excluded from Nature.

Thus the fundamental fact everywhere present in Nature is "change,"
"process," "motion."  Since motion in the literal sense of change of
position is involved as a condition of every such process, and such
motion requires space through which to move and time to move in, the
doctrine of space and time will also form part of Physics.  Hence a
great part of Aristotle’s special lectures on Physics is occupied with
discussion of the nature of space and time, and of the continuity which
we must ascribe to them if the "continuous motion" on which the unbroken
life of the universe depends is to be real Aristotle knows nothing of
the modern questions whether space and time are "real" or only
"phenomenal," whether they are "objective" or "subjective."  Just as he
simply assumes that bodies are things that really exist, whether we
happen to perceive them or not, so he assumes that the space and time in
which they move are real features of a world that does not depend for
its existence on our perceiving it.

His treatment of space is singularly _naïf_.  He conceives it as a sort
of vessel, into which you can pour different liquids. Just as the same
pot may hold first wine and then water, so, if you can say, "there was
water here, but now there is air here," this implies the existence of a
receptacle which once held the water, but now holds the air.  Hence a
jug or pot may be called a "place that can be carried about," and space
or place may be called "an immovable vessel."  Hence the "place" of a
thing may be defined as the boundary, or inner surface, of the body
which immediately surrounds the thing. It follows from this that there
can be no empty space.  In the last resort, "absolute space" is the
actual surface of the outermost "heaven" which contains everything else
in itself but is not contained in any remoter body.  Thus all things
whatever are "in" this "heaven."  But it is not itself "in" anything
else.  In accord with the standing Greek identification of determinate
character with limitation, Aristotle holds that this outermost heaven
must be at a limited distance from us.  Actual space is thus finite in
the sense that the volume of the universe could be expressed as a finite
number of cubic miles or yards, though, since it must be "continuous,"
it is infinitely divisible.  However often you subdivide a length, an
area, or a volume, you will always be dividing it into lesser lengths,
&c., which can once more be divided.  You will never by division come to
"points," _i.e._ mere positions without magnitude of divisibility.

The treatment of time is more thoughtful.  Time is inseparably connected
with movement or change.  We only perceive that time has elapsed when we
perceive that change has occurred. But time is not the same as change.
For change is of different and incommensurate kinds, change of place,
change of colour, &c.; but to take up time is common to all these forms
of process.  And time is not the same as motion.  For there are
different rates of speed, but the very fact that we can compare these
different velocities implies that there are not different velocities of
_time_.  Time then is that in terms of which we _measure_ motion, "the
number of motion in respect of before and after," _i.e._ it is that by
which we estimate the _duration_ of processes.  Thus _e.g._ when we
speak of _two_ minutes, _two_ days, _two_ months as required for a
certain process to be completed, we are counting something.  This
something is time. It does not seem to occur to Aristotle that this
definition implies that there are indivisible bits of time, though he
quite correctly states the incompatible proposition that time is "made
up of successive _nows_," _i.e._ moments which have no duration at all,
and can no more be counted than the points on a straight line.  He
recognises of course that the "continuity" of motion implies that of
time as well as of space.  Since, however, "continuity" in his language
means the same thing as indefinite divisibility, it ought not to be
possible for him to regard time as "made up of _nows_"; time, like
linear extension, ought for him to be a "length of" something.

*The Continuous Motion and the "Spheres."*--The continuous world-process
depends upon a continuous movement set up in the universe as a whole by
the presence of an everlasting and unchangeable "First Mover," God.
From the self-sameness of God, it follows that this most universal of
movements must be absolutely uniform.  Of what precise kind can such a
movement be?  As the source of the movement is one, and the object moved
is also one--viz. the compass of the "heaven," the movement of the
_primum mobile_ or "first moved"--the object immediately stimulated to
motion by God’s presence to it, must be mechanically simple.  Now
Aristotle, mistakenly, held that there are two forms of movement which
are simple and unanalysable, motion of translation along a straight
line, and motion of rotation round an axis.  He is at pains to argue
that rectilinear motion, which we easily discover to be that
characteristic of bodies near the earth’s surface when left to
themselves, cannot be the kind of movement which belongs to the "heaven"
as a whole.  For continuous rectilinear movement in the same direction
could not go on for ever on his assumption that there is no space
outside the "heaven," which is itself at a finite distance from us.  And
motion to and fro would not be unbroken, since Aristotle argues that
every time a moving body reached the end of its path, and the sense of
its movement was reversed, it would be for two consecutive moments in
the same place, and therefore at rest.  Reversal of sense would imply a
discontinuity. Hence he decides that the primary unbroken movement must
be the rotation of the "first moved"--that is, the heaven containing the
fixed stars--round its axis.  This is the only movement which could go
on for ever at a uniform rate and in the same sense.  Starting with the
conviction that the earth is at rest in the centre of the universe, he
inevitably accounts for the alternation of day and night as the effect
of such a revolution of the whole universe round an axis passing through
the centre of the earth.  The universe is thus thought of as bounded by
a spherical surface, on the concave side of which are the fixed stars,
which are therefore one and all at the same distance from us.  This
sphere, under the immediate influence of God, revolves on its axis once
in twenty-four hours, and this period of revolution is absolutely
uniform.  Next the apparently irregular paths of the "planets" known to
Aristotle (_i.e._ the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter,
Saturn) are resolved into combinations of similar uniform rotations,
each planet having as many "spheres" assigned to it as are requisite for
the analysis of its apparent path into perfectly circular elementary
motions.  Altogether Aristotle holds that fifty-four such rotating
spheres are required over and above the "first moved" itself, whose
rotation is, of course, communicated to all the lesser "spheres"
included within it.  As in the case of the "first moved," the uniform
unceasing rotation of each "sphere" is explained by the influence on it
of an unchanging immaterial "form," which is to its own "sphere" what
God is to the universe as a whole.  In the Aristotelianism of the
mediæval church these pure forms or intelligences which originate the
movements of the various planetary spheres are naturally identified with
angels.  It is _e.g._ to the angelic intelligences which "move" the
heaven of Venus, which comes third in order counting outward from the
earth, that Dante addresses his famous Canzone, _Voi ch’ intendendo il
terzo del movete_.  The mediæval astronomy, however, differs in two
important respects from that of Aristotle himself.  (1) The number of
"spheres" is different.  Increasing knowledge of the complexity of the
paths of the planets showed that if their paths are to be analysed into
combinations of circular motions, fifty-four such rotations must be an
altogether inadequate number.  Aristotle’s method of analysis of the
heavenly movements was therefore combined with either or both of two
others originated by pure astronomers who sat loose to metaphysics.  One
of these methods was to account for a planet’s path by the introduction
of _epicycles_.  The planet was thought of not as fixed at a given point
on its principal sphere, but as situated on the circumference of a
lesser sphere which has its centre at a fixed point of the principal
sphere and rotates around an axis passing through this centre.  If need
were, this type of hypothesis could be further complicated by imagining
any number of such epicycles within epicycles.  The other method was the
employment of "eccentrics," _i.e._ circular movements which are
described not about the common centre of the earth and the universe, but
about some point in its neighbourhood.  By combinations of epicycles and
eccentrics the mediæval astronomers contrived to reduce the number of
principal spheres to _one_ for each planet, the arrangement we find in
Dante.  (2) Also real or supposed astronomical perturbations unknown to
Aristotle led some mediæval theorists to follow the scheme devised by
Alphonso the Wise of Castille, in which further spheres are inserted
between that of Saturn, the outermost planet, and the "first moved."  In
Dante, we have, excluding the "empyrean" or immovable heaven where God
and the blessed are, nine "spheres," one for each of the planets, one
for the fixed stars, and one for the "first moved," which is now
distinguished from the heaven of the stars.  In Milton, who adopts the
"Alphonsine" scheme, we have further a sphere called the "second
movable" or "crystalline" introduced between the heaven of the fixed
stars and the "first moved," to account for the imaginary phenomenon of
"trepidation."[#]  In reading Dante, Shakespeare, and Milton, we have
always to remember that none of these reproduces the Aristotelian
doctrine of the "spheres" accurately; their astronomy is an amalgam of
Aristotle, Ptolemy, and Hipparchus.

[#] _Paradise Lost_, iii. 481.

"They pass the planets seven, and pass the fixed,
And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs
The trepidation talked, and that first moved."

So far, the doctrine of the fifty-five "spheres" might be no more than a
legitimate mathematical fiction, a convenient device for analysing the
complicated apparent movements of the heavenly bodies into circular
components.  This was originally the part played by "spheres" in ancient
astronomical theory, and it is worth while to be quite clear about the
fact, as there is a mistaken impression widely current to-day that
Aristotle’s astronomy is typical of Greek views in general.  The truth
is that it is peculiar to himself.  The origin of the theory was
Academic. Plato proposed to the Academy as a subject of inquiry, to
devise such a mathematical analysis of astronomical motions as will best
"save the appearances," _i.e._ will most simply account for the apparent
paths of the planets.  The analysis of these paths into resultants of
several rotations was offered as a solution by the astronomer Eudoxus of
Cnidus.  So far, the "spheres," then, were a mere mathematical
hypothesis.  What Aristotle did, and it is perhaps the most retrograde
step ever taken in the history of a science, was to convert the
mathematical hypothesis into physical fact.  The "spheres" become with
him real bodies, and as none of the bodies we are familiar with exhibit
any tendency to rotate in circles when left to themselves, Aristotle was
forced to introduce into Physics the disastrous theory, which it was a
great part of Galileo’s life-work to destroy, that the stuff of which
the spheres are made is a "fifth body," different from the "elements" of
which the bodies among which we live are made.  Hence he makes an
absolute distinction between two kinds of matter, "celestial matter,"
the "fifth body," and "terrestrial" or "elementary" matter.  The
fundamental difference is that "terrestrial" or "elementary" matter,
left to itself, follows a rectilinear path, "celestial" matter rotates,
but it is further inferred from the supposed absolute uniformity of the
celestial movements that "celestial matter" is simple, uncompounded,
incapable of change, and consequently that no new state of things can
ever arise in the heavens.  The spheres and planets have always been and
will always be exactly as they are at the present moment.  Mutability is
confined to the region of "terrestrial" or "elementary" matter, which
only extends as far as the orbit of the moon, the "lowest of the
celestial bodies," because it is only "terrestrial" things which are, as
we should say, chemical compounds.  This is the doctrine which Galileo
has in mind when he dwells on such newly-discovered astronomical facts
as the existence of sun-spots and variable stars, and the signs of
irregularity presented by the moon’s surface.  The distinction is
peculiar to Aristotle.  No one before him had ever thought of supposing
the heavenly bodies to be made of any materials other than those of
which "bodies terrestrial" are made.  In the Academic attack on
Aristotle’s science of which we have already spoken the two points
singled out for reprobation are (1) his rejection of the principle that
all moving bodies, left to themselves, follow a rectilinear path, and
(2) his denial that the heavenly bodies are made of the same "elements"
as everything else.  (It may just be mentioned in passing that our word
_quintessence_ gets its sense from the supposed special "nobility" of
the incorruptible "fifth body.")

*Terrestrial Bodies*.--As we have seen already, Aristotle was out of
sympathy with the tendency to regard the sensible differences between
bodies as consequences of more ultimate differences in the geometrical
structure of their particles.  Hence his whole attitude towards the
problems of that branch of natural science which we call physics is
quite unlike any view to which we are accustomed.  He reverts from the
mathematical lines of thought current in Plato’s Academy to the type of
view more natural to the "plain man," and, like the earliest
sixth-century men of science, regards the _qualitative_ differences
which our senses apprehend as fundamental.  Among these, particular
stress is laid on the difference in sensible temperature (the hot--the
cold), in saturation (the dry--the moist), and in density (the
dense--the rare).  If we consider the first two of these oppositions, we
can make four binary combinations of the elementary "opposite"
characters, viz. hot and dry, hot and moist, cold and moist, cold and
dry.  These combinations are regarded as corresponding respectively to
the sensible characteristics of the four bodies which Empedocles, the
father of Greek chemistry, had treated as the ultimate components of
everything. Fire is hot and dry, air hot and moist, water moist and
cold, earth cold and dry.  This reflection shows us why Aristotle held
that the most rudimentary form in which "matter" ever actually exists is
that of one of these "elements."  Each of them has _one_ quality in
common with another, and it is in virtue of this that a portion of one
element can be assimilated by and transmuted into another, a process
which seems to the untutored eye to be constantly recurring in Nature.
We also observe that the order in which the "elements" appear, when so
arranged as to form a series in which each term has one quality in
common with each of its neighbours, is also that of their increasing
density.  This would help to make the conception of their
transmutability all the more natural, as it suggests that the process
may be effected by steady condensation. We must remember carefully that
for Aristotle, who denies the possibility of a vacuum, as for the
mediæval alchemists, condensation does not mean a mere diminution of the
distances between corpuscles which remain unchanged in character, but is
a process of real qualitative change in the body which undergoes it.
Incidentally we may remark that _all_ changes of quality are regarded by
Aristotle as stages in a continuous "movement" from one extreme of a
scale to another.  For example, colours, with him as with Goethe, form a
series of which the "opposites" white and black are the end-points.
Every other colour is a combination of white and black according to a
definite proportion.

The Aristotelian doctrine of weight was one of the chief obstacles which
seventeenth-century science had to contend with in establishing correct
notions in dynamics.  It is a curious feature of Greek science before
Aristotle that, though the facts connected with gravity were well known,
no one introduced the notion of weight to account for them.  The
difference between heavy bodies and light bodies had been previously
treated as secondary for science.  Plato’s treatment of the matter is
typical of the best fourth-century science.  We must not try to explain
why the heavier bodies tend to move towards the earth’s surface by
saying that they have a "downward" motion; their motion is not downward
but "towards the centre" (the earth, though not fixed at the centre of
the universe, being nearer to it than the rest of the solar and sidereal
system).  Plato then explains the tendency in virtue of which the
heavier bodies move towards the "centre" as an attraction of like for
like.  The universal tendency is for smaller masses of "earth," "water,"
"air," "fire" to be attracted towards the great aggregations of the same
materials.  This is far from being a satisfactory theory in the light of
facts which were not yet known to Plato, but it is on the right lines.
It starts from the conception of the facts of gravity as due to an
"attractive force" of some kind, and it has the great merit of bringing
the "sinking" of stones and the "rising" of vapours under the same

Aristotle, though retaining the central idea that a body tends to move
towards the region where the great cosmic mass of the same kind is
congregated, introduced the entirely incompatible notion of an absolute
distinction of "up" and "down."  He identified the centre of the
universe with that of the earth, and looked on motion to this centre as
"downward."  This led him to make a distinction between "heavy" bodies,
which naturally tend to move "down," and "light" bodies, which tend to
move "up" away from the centre.  The doctrine works out thus.  The
heaviest elements tend to be massed together nearest the centre, the
lightest to be furthest from it. Each element thus has its "proper
place," that of water being immediately above earth, that of air next,
and that of fire furthest from the centre, and nearest to the regions
occupied by "celestial matter."  (Readers of Dante will recollect the
ascent from the Earthly Paradise through the "sphere of fire" with which
the _Paradiso_ opens.)

In its own "proper region" no body is heavy or light; as we should say
any fluid loses its weight when immersed in itself.  When a portion of
an element is out of its own region and surrounded by the great cosmic
aggregate of another element, either of two cases may occur.  The body
which is "out of its element" may be _below_ its proper place, in which
case it is "light" and tends to move perpendicularly upwards to its
place, or it may be _above_ its proper place, and then it is "heavy" and
tends to move perpendicularly "down" until it reaches its place.  It was
this supposed real distinction between motion "up" and motion "down"
which made it so hard for the contemporaries of Galileo to understand
that an inflated bladder rises for the same reason that a stone sinks.

*Biology*.--Of Aristotle’s biology reasons of space forbid us to say
much here.  But a remark or two may be made about his theory of
reproduction, since it is constantly referred to in much modern
literature and has also played its part in theology. An interesting
point is the distinction between "perfect" and "imperfect" animals.
"Perfect" animals are those which can only be reproduced sexually.
Aristotle held, however, that there are some creatures, even among
vertebrates, which _may_ be produced by the vivifying effect of solar
heat on decomposing matter, without any parents at all.  Thus
malobservation of the facts of putrefaction led to the belief that flies
and worms are engendered by heat from decaying bodies, and it was even
thought that frogs and mice are produced in the same way from
river-slime.  In this process, the so-called "aequivocal generation,"
solar heat was conceived as the operative efficient cause which leads to
the realisation of an organic "form" in the decaying matter.

In sexual reproduction Aristotle regards the male parent as the agent or
efficient cause which contributes the element of form and organisation
to the offspring.  The female parent supplies only the raw material of
the new creature, but she supplies the whole of this.  No _material_ is
supplied by the male parent to the body of the offspring, a theory which
St. Thomas found useful in defending the dogma of the Virgin Birth.

*Psychology*.--Since the mind grows and develops, it comes under the
class of things which have a "source of motion internal to themselves,"
and psychology is therefore, for Aristotle, a branch of Physics.  To
understand his treatment of psychological questions we need bear two
things in mind. (1) _Psyche_ or "soul" means in Greek more than
"consciousness" does to us.  Consciousness is a relatively late and
highly developed manifestation of the principle which the Greeks call
"soul."  That principle shows itself not merely in consciousness but in
the whole process of nutrition and growth and the adaptation of motor
response to an external situation. Thus consciousness is a more
secondary feature of the "soul" in Greek philosophy than in most modern
thought, which has never ceased to be affected by Descartes’ selection
of "thought" as the special characteristic of psychical life.  In common
language the word _psyche_ is constantly used where we should say "life"
rather than "soul," and in Greek philosophy a work "on the _Psyche_"
means what we should call one on "the principle of life."

(2) It is a consequence of this way of thinking of the "soul" that the
process of bodily and mental development is regarded by Aristotle as one
single continuous process.  The growth of a man’s intellect and
character by which he becomes a thinker and a citizen is a continuation
of the process by which his body is conceived and born and passes into
physical manhood.  This comes out in the words of the definition of the
soul.  "The soul is the first entelechy (or actual realisation) of a
natural organic body."  What this means is that the soul stands to the
living body as all form realised in matter does to the matter of which
it is the form, or that the soul is the "form" of the body.  What the
"organic body" is to the embryo out of which it has grown, that soul is
to the body itself.  As the embryo grows into the actual living body, so
the living body grows into a body exhibiting the actual directing
presence of mind.  Aristotle illustrates the relation by the remark that
if the whole body was one vast eye, seeing would be its soul.  As the
eye is a tool for seeing with, but a living tool which is part of
ourselves, so the body is a like tool or instrument for living with.
Hence we may say of the soul that it is the "end" of the body, the
activity to which the body is instrumental, as seeing is the "end" to
which the eye is instrumental.  But we must note that the soul is called
only the "first" or initial "entelechy" of the body.  The reason is that
the mere presence of the soul does not guarantee the full living of the
life to which our body is but the instrument.  If we are to _live_ in
the fullest sense of the word, we must not merely "have" a soul; we
"have" it even in sleep, in ignorance, in folly.  The soul itself needs
further to be educated and trained in intelligence and character, and to
exercise its intelligence and character efficiently on the problems of
thought and life.  The mere "presence" of soul is only a first step in
the progress towards fullness of life.  This is why Aristotle calls the
soul the _first_ entelechy of the living body.  The full and final
entelechy is the life of intelligence and character actively

From this conception of the soul’s relation to the body we see that
Aristotle’s "doctrine of body and mind" does not readily fall into line
with any of the typical theories of our time.  He neither thinks of the
soul as a thing acting on the body and acted on by it, nor yet as a
series of "states of mind" concomitant with certain "states of body."
From his point of view to ask whether soul and body interact, or whether
they exhibit "parallelism," would be much the same thing as to ask
whether life interacts with the body, or whether there is a
"parallelism" between vital processes and bodily processes.  We must not
ask at all how the body and soul are united.  They are one thing, as the
matter and the form of a copper globe are one.  Thus they are in actual
fact inseparable. The soul is the soul of its body and the body the body
of its soul. We can only distinguish them by logical analysis, as we can
distinguish the copper from the sphericity in the copper globe.

*Grades of Psychical Life*.--If we consider the order of development, we
find that some vital activities make their appearance earlier than
others, and that it is a universal law that the more highly developed
activities always have the less highly developed as their basis and
precondition, though the less highly developed may exist apart from the
more highly developed.  So we may arrange vital activities in general in
an ontogenetic order, the order in which they make their appearance in
the individual’s development.  Aristotle reckons three such stages, the
"nutritive," the "sensitive," and the "intelligent."  The lowest form in
which life shows itself at all, the level of minimum distinction between
the living and the lifeless, is the power to take in nutriment,
assimilate it, and grow.  In vegetables the development is arrested at
this point. With the animals we reach the next highest level, that of
"sensitive" life.  For all animals have at least the sense of touch.
Thus they all show sense-perception, and it is a consequence of this
that they exhibit "appetition," the simplest form of conation, and the
rudiments of feeling and "temper."  For what has sensations can also
feel pleasure and pain, and what can feel pleasure and pain can desire,
since desire is only appetition of what is pleasant.  Thus in the
animals we have the beginnings of cognition, conation, and affective and
emotional life in general.  And Aristotle adds that locomotion makes its
appearance at this level; animals do not, like plants, have to trust to
their supply of nutriment coming to them; they can go to it.

The third level, that of "intelligence," _i.e._ the power to compare,
calculate, and reflect, and to order one’s life by conscious rule, is
exhibited by man.  What distinguishes life at this level from mere
"sensitive" life is, on the intellectual side, the ability to cognise
universal truths, on the conative, the power to live by rule instead of
being swayed by momentary "appetition."  The former gives us the
possibility of science, the latter of moral excellence.[#]

[#] _Cf._ Dante’s "Fatti non foste a viver como bruti,
       Ma per seguir virtute e conosoenza."

*Sensation*.--Life manifests itself at the animal level on the cognitive
side as sense-perception, on the conative as appetition or desire, on
the affective as feeling of pleasure or pain, and in such simple
emotional moods as "temper," resentment, longing. Aristotle gives
sensation a logical priority over the conative and emotional expression
of "animal" life.  To experience appetition or anger or desire you must
have an object which you crave for or desire or are angry with, and it
is only when you have reached the level of presentations through the
senses that you can be said to have an object.  Appetition or "temper"
is as real a fact as perception, but you cannot crave for or feel angry
with a thing you do not apprehend.

Aristotle’s definition of sense perception is that it is a "capacity for
discerning" or distinguishing between "the sensible qualities of
things."  His conception of the process by which the discernment or
distinguishing is effected is not altogether happy. In sense-perception
the soul "takes into itself the _form_ of the thing perceived without
its _matter_, as sealing-wax receives the shape of an iron seal-ring
without the iron."  To understand this, we have to remember that for
Aristotle the sensible qualities of the external world, colour, tones,
tastes, and the rest, are not effects of mechanical stimulation of our
sense-organs, but real qualities of bodies.  The hardness of iron, the
redness of a piece of red wax are all primarily "in" the iron or the
wax.  They are "forms," or determinations by definite law, of the
"matter" of the iron or the wax.  This will become clearer if we
consider a definite example, the red colour of the wax.  In the wax the
red colour is a definite combination of the colour-opposites white and
black according to a fixed ratio. Now Aristotle’s view of the process of
sense-perception is that when I become aware of the red colour the same
proportion of white to black which makes the wax red is reproduced in my
organ of vision; my eye, while I am seeing the red, "assimilated" to the
wax, is itself for the time actually "reddened."  But it does not become
wax because the red thing I am looking at is a piece of red wax.  The
eye remains a thing composed of living tissues.  This is what is meant
by saying that in seeing the colours of things the eye receives "forms"
without the "matter" of the things in which those forms are exhibited.
Thus the process of sense-perception is one in which the organ of sense
is temporarily assimilated to the thing apprehended in respect of the
particular quality cognised by that organ, but in respect of no other.
According to Aristotle this process of "assimilation" always requires
the presence of a "medium."  If an object is in immediate contact with
the eye we cannot see its colour; if it is too near the ear, we do not
discern the note it gives out.  Even in the case of touch and taste
there is no immediate contact between the object perceived and the true
organ of perception.  For in touch the "flesh" is not the organ of
apprehension but an integument surrounding it and capable of acting as
an intermediary between it and things. Thus perception is always
accomplished by a "motion" set up in the "medium" by the external
object, and by the medium in our sense-organs.  Aristotle thus contrives
to bring correct apprehension by sense of the qualities of things under
the formula of the "right mean" or "right proportion," which is better
known from the use made of it in the philosopher’s theory of conduct.
The colour of a surface, the pitch of the note given out by a vibrating
string, &c., depend on, and vary with, certain forms or ratios "in" the
surface or the vibrating string; our correct apprehension of the
qualities depends on the reproduction of the _same_ ratios in our
sense-organs, the establishment of the "right proportion" in _us_.  That
this "right proportion" may be reproduced in our own sense-organs it is
necessary (1) that the medium should have none of the sensible qualities
for the apprehension whereof it serves as medium, _e.g._ the medium in
colour-perception must be colourless.  If it had a colour of its own,
the "motion" set up by the coloured bodies we apprehend would not be
transmitted undistorted to our organs; we should see everything through
a coloured haze. It is necessary for the same reason (2) that the
percipient organ itself, when in a state of quiescence, should possess
none of the qualities which can be induced in it by stimulation. The
upshot of the whole theory is that the sense-organ is "potentially" what
the sense-quality it apprehends is actually. Actual perceiving is just
that special transition from the potential to the actual which results
in making the organ for the time being _actually_ of the same quality as
the object.

*The Common Sensibles and the Common Sense-organ*.--Every sense has a
range of qualities connected with it as its special objects.  Colours
can only be perceived by the eye, sounds by the ear, and so forth.  But
there are certain characters of perceived things which we appear to
apprehend by more than one sense.  Thus we seem to perceive size and
shape either by touch or by sight, and number by hearing as well, since
we can count _e.g._ the strokes of an unseen bell. Hence Aristotle
distinguishes between the "special sensible qualities" such as colour
and pitch, and what he calls the "common sensibles," the character of
things which can be perceived by more than one organ.  These are
enumerated as size, form or shape, number, motion (and its opposite
rest), being. (The addition of this last is, of course, meant to account
for our conviction that any perceived colour, taste, or other quality is
a reality and not a delusion.)  The list corresponds very closely with
one given by Plato of the "things which the mind perceives _by herself
without the help of any organ_," _i.e._ of the leading determinations of
sensible things which are due not to sense but to understanding.  It was
an unfortunate innovation to regard the discernment of number or
movement, which obviously demand intellectual processes such as counting
and comparison, as performed immediately by "sense," and to assign the
apprehension of number, movement, figure to a central "organ."  This
organ he finds in the heart.  The theory is that when the "special
organs" of the senses are stimulated, they in turn communicate movements
to the blood and "animal spirits" (_i.e._ the vapours supposed to be
produced from the blood by animal heat).  These movements are propagated
inwards to the heart, where they all meet.  This is supposed to account
for the important fact that, though our sensations are so many and
diverse, we are conscious of our own unity as the subjects apprehending
all this variety.  The unity of the perceiving subject is thus made to
depend on the unity of the ultimate "organ of sensation," the heart.
Further, when once a type of motion has been set up in any sense-organ
at the periphery of the body it will be propagated inward to the "common
sensorium" in the heart.  The motions set up by stimulation, _e.g._ of
the eye and of the skin, are partly different, partly the same (viz. in
so far as they are determined by the number, shape, size, movement of
the external stimuli).  Hence in the heart itself the stimulation on
which perception of number or size depends is one and the same whether
it has been transmitted from the eye or from the skin!  Awareness of
lapse of time is also regarded as a function of the "common
sense-organ," since it is the "common sensory" which perceives motion,
and lapse of time is apprehended only in the apprehension of motion.
Thus, in respect of the inclusion of geometrical form and lapse of time
among the "common sensibles," there is a certain resemblance between
Aristotle’s doctrine and Kant’s theory that recognition of spatial and
temporal order is a function not of understanding but of "pure" sense.
It is further held that to be aware that one is perceiving
(self-consciousness) and to discriminate between the different classes
of "special" sense-perception must also be functions of the "common
sense-organ."  Thus Aristotle makes the mistake of treating the most
fundamental acts of intelligent reflection as precisely on a par, from
the point of view of the theory of knowledge, with awareness of colour
or sound.

A more legitimate function assigned to the "common sensorium" in the
heart is that "fantasy," the formation of mental imagery, depends on its
activity.  The simplest kind of "image," the pure memory-image left
behind after the object directly arousing perception has ceased to
stimulate, is due to the persistence of the movements set up in the
heart after the sensory process in the peripheral organ is over.  Since
Aristotle denies the possibility of thinking without the aid of
memory-images, this function of the "common sensorium" is the
indispensable basis of mental recall, anticipation, and thought. Neither
"experience," _i.e._ a general conviction which results from the
frequent repetition of similar perceptions, nor thought can arise in any
animal in which sense-stimulation does not leave such "traces" behind
it.  Similarly "free imagery," the existence of trains of imagination
not tied down to the reproduction of an actual order of sensations, is
accounted for by the consideration that "chance coincidence" may lead to
the stimulation of the heart in the same way in which it might have been
stimulated by actual sensation-processes.  Sleeping and waking and the
experiences of dream-life are likewise due to changes in the functioning
of the "common sense-organ," brought about partly by fatigue in the
superficial sense-organs, partly by qualitative changes in the blood and
"animal spirits" caused by the processes of nutrition and digestion.
Probably Aristotle’s best scientific work in psychology is contained in
the series of small essays in which this theory of memory and its
imagery is worked out.  (Aristotle’s language about the "common
sensibles" is, of course, the source of our expression "common sense,"
which, however, has an entirely different meaning.  The shifting of
sense has apparently been effected through Cicero’s employment of the
phrase _sensus communis_ to mean tactful sympathy, the feeling of
fellowship with our kind on which the Stoic philosophers laid so much

*Thought*.--Though thinking is impossible except by the use of imagery,
to think is not merely to possess trains of imagery, or even to be aware
of possessing them.  Thinking means understanding the meaning of such
mental imagery and arriving through the understanding at knowledge of
the structure of the real world.  How this process of interpreting
mental imagery and reaching valid truth is achieved with greater and
greater success until it culminates in the apprehension of the supreme
principles of philosophy we have seen in dealing with the Aristotelian
theory of knowledge.  From the point of view of the "physicist" who is
concerned with thinking simply as a type of natural process, the
relation of "understanding" to the mental imagery just described is
analogous to that of sensation to sensible qualities.  The objects which
thinking apprehends are the universal types of relation by which the
world of things is pervaded.  The process of thinking is one in which
this system of universal relations is reproduced "by way of idea" in the
mind of the thinker.  The "understanding" thus stands to its objects as
matter to form.  The process of getting actually to understand the world
is one in which our "thought" or "understanding" steadily receives
completer determination and "form" from its contemplation of reality.
In this sense, the process is one in which the understanding may be said
to be passive in knowledge.  It is passive because it is the subject
which, at every fresh stage in the progress to knowledge, is being quite
literally "informed" by the action of the real world through the
sensation and imagery.  Hence Aristotle says that, in order that the
understanding may be correctly "informed" by its contact with its
objects, it must, before the process begins, have no determinate
character of its own.  It must be simply a capacity for apprehending the
types of interconnection. "What is called the intelligence--I mean that
with which the soul thinks and understands--is not an actual thing until
it thinks."  (This is meant to exclude any doctrine which credits the
"understanding" with either _furniture_ of its own such as "innate
ideas," or a specific _structure_ of its own.  If the results of our
thinking arose partly from the structure of the world of objects and
partly from inherent laws of the "structure of mind," our thought at its
best would not reproduce the universal "forms" or "types" of
interconnection as they really are, but would distort them, as the
shapes of things are distorted when we see them through a lens of high
refractive index.)  Thus, though Aristotle differs from the modern
empiricists in holding that "universals" realty exist "in" things, and
are the links of connection between them, he agrees with the empiricist
that knowledge is not the resultant of a combination of "facts" on the
one side and "fundamental laws of the mind’s working" on the other.  At
the outset the "understanding" has no structure; it develops a structure
for itself in the same process, and to the same degree, in which it
apprehends the "facts."  Hence the "understanding" only is real in the
actual process of understanding its objects, and again in a sense the
understanding and the things it understands are one.  Only we must
qualify this last statement by saying that it is only "potentially" that
the understanding is the forms which it apprehends.  Aristotle does not
mean by this that such things as horses and oxen are thoughts or
"ideas."  By the things with which "understanding" is said to be one he
means the "forms" which we apprehend when we actually understand the
world or any part of it, the truths of science.  His point then is that
the actual thinking of these truths and the truths themselves do not
exist apart from one another.  "Science" does not mean certain things
written down in a book; it means a mind engaged in thinking and knowing
things, and of the mind itself, considered out of its relation to the
actual life of thinking the truths of science, we can say no more than
that it is a name for the fact that we are capable of achieving such

*The Active Intelligence*.--So far Aristotle’s account of thought has
been plain sailing.  Thought has been considered as the final and
highest development of the vital functions of the organism, and hence as
something inseparable from the lower functions of nutrition and
sensitive life. The existence of a thought which is not a function of a
living body, and which is not "passive," has been absolutely excluded.
But at this point we are suddenly met by the most startling of all the
inconsistencies between the naturalistic and the "spiritualist" strains
in Aristotle’s philosophy.  In a few broken lines he tells us that there
is another sense of the word "thought" in which "thought" actually
creates the truths it understands, just as light may be said to make the
colours which we see by its aid.  "And _this_ intelligence," he adds,
"is separable from matter, and impassive and unmixed, being in its
essential nature an _activity_....  It has no intermission in its
thinking.  It is only in separation from matter that it is fully itself,
and it alone is immortal and everlasting ... while the passive
intelligence is perishable and does not think at all, apart from this."
The meaning of this is not made clear by Aristotle himself, and the
interpretation was disputed even among the philosopher’s personal

One important attempt to clear up the difficulty is that made by
Alexander of Aphrodisias, the greatest of the commentators on Aristotle,
in the second century A.D.  Alexander said, as Aristotle has not done,
that the "active intelligence" is numerically the same in all men, and
is identical with God. Thus, all that is specifically human in each of
us is the "passive intelligence" or capacity for being enlightened by
God’s activity upon us.  The advantage of the view is, that it removes
the "active intelligence" altogether from the purview of psychology,
which then becomes a purely naturalistic science.  The great Arabian
Aristotelian, Averroes (Ibn Roschd) of Cordova, in the twelfth century,
went still further in the direction of naturalism.  Since the "active"
and "passive" intelligence can only be separated by a logical
abstraction, he inferred that men, speaking strictly, do not think at
all; there is only one and the same individual intelligence in the
universe, and all that we call our thinking is really not ours but
God’s.  The great Christian scholastics of the following century in
general read Aristotle through the eyes of Averroes, "_the_
Commentator," as St. Thomas calls him, "Averrois che il gran commento
feo," as Dante says. But their theology compelled them to disavow his
doctrine of the "active intelligence," against which they could also
bring, as St. Thomas does, the telling argument that Aristotle could
never have meant to say that there really is no such thing as human
intelligence.  Hence arose a third interpretation, the Thomist,
according to which the "active intelligence" is neither God nor the same
for all men, but is the highest and most rational "part" of the
individual human soul, which has no bodily "organ."

                              *CHAPTER V*

                         *PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY*

Hitherto we have been concerned with the speculative branches of
knowledge, we have now to turn to practice. Practice, too, is an
activity of thought, but an activity which is never satisfied by the
process of thinking itself.  In practice our thinking is always directed
towards the production of some result other than true thought itself.
As in engineering it is not enough to find a solution of the problem how
to build a bridge over a given river capable of sustaining a given
strain, so in directing our thought on the problems of human conduct and
the organisation of society we aim at something more than the
understanding of human life.  In the one case what we aim at is the
construction of the bridge; in the other it is the production of
goodness in ourselves and our fellow-men, and the establishment of right
social relations in the state.  Aristotle is careful to insist on this
point throughout his whole treatment of moral and social problems.  The
principal object of his lectures on conduct is not to tell his hearers
what goodness is, but to make them good, and similarly it is quite plain
that _Politics_ was intended as a text-book for legislators.  In close
connection with this practical object stands his theory of the kind of
truth which must be looked for in ethics and politics.  He warns us
against expecting precepts which have the exact and universal rigidity
of the truths of speculative science.  Practical science has to do with
the affairs of men’s lives, matters which are highly complex and
variable, in a word, with "what may be otherwise."  Hence we must be
content if we can lay down precepts which hold good in the main, just as
in medicine we do not expect to find directions which will effect a cure
in all cases, but are content with general directions which require to
be adapted to special cases by the experience and judgment of the
practitioner.  The object of practical science then is to formulate
rules which will guide us in obtaining our various ends.  Now when we
consider these ends we see at once that some are subordinate to others.
The manufacture of small-arms may be the end at which their maker aims,
but it is to the military man a mere means to _his_ end, which is the
effective use of them. Successful use of arms is again the end of the
professional soldier, but it is a mere means among others to the
statesman. Further, it is the military men who use the arms from whom
the manufacturer has to take his directions as to the kind of arms that
are wanted, and again it is the statesman to whom the professional
soldiers have to look for directions as to when and with what general
objects in view they shall fight.  So the art which uses the things
produced by another art is the superior and directing art; the art which
makes the things, the inferior and subordinate art.  Hence the supreme
practical art is politics, since it is the art which uses the products
turned out by all other arts as means to its ends.  It is the business
of politics, the art of the statesman, to prescribe to the practitioners
of all other arts and professions the lines on which and the conditions
under which they shall exercise their vocation with a view to securing
the supreme practical end, the well-being of the community.  Among the
other professions and arts which make the materials the statesman
employs, the profession of the educator stands foremost.  The statesman
is bound to demand certain qualities of mind and character in the
individual citizens.  The production of these mental and moral qualities
must therefore be the work of the educator.  It thus becomes an
important branch of politics to specify the kind of mental and moral
qualities which a statesman should require the educator to produce in
his pupils.

It is this branch of politics which Aristotle discusses in his _Ethics_.
He never contemplates a study of the individual’s good apart from
politics, the study of the good of the society. What then is the good or
the best kind of life for an individual member of society?  Aristotle
answers that as far as the mere name is concerned, there is a general
agreement to call the best life, _Eudaimonia_, Happiness.  But the real
problem is one of fact.  What kind of life deserves to be called
happiness? Plato had laid it down that the happy life must satisfy three
conditions.  It must be desirable for its own sake, it must be
sufficient of itself to satisfy us, and it must be the life a wise man
would prefer to any other.  The question is, What general formula can we
find which will define the life which satisfies these conditions?  To
find the answer we have to consider what Plato and Aristotle call the
work or function of man.  By the work of anything we mean what can only
be done by it, or by it better than by anything else.  Thus the work of
the eye is to see.  You cannot see with any other organ, and when the
eye does this work of seeing well you say it is a good eye.  So we may
say of any living being that its work is to live, and that it is a good
being when it does this work of living efficiently. To do its own work
efficiently is the excellence or virtue of the thing.  The excellence or
virtue of a man will thus be to live efficiently, but since life can be
manifested at different levels, if we would know what man’s work is we
must ask whether there is not some form of life which can _only_ be
lived by man. Now the life which consists in merely feeding and growing
belongs to all organisms and can be lived with equal vigour by them all.
There is, however, a kind of life which can only be lived by man, the
life which consists in conscious direction of one’s actions by a rule.
It is the work of man to live this kind of life, and his happiness
consists in living it efficiently and well.  So we may give as the
definition of human well-being that it is "an active life in accord with
excellence, or if there are more forms of excellence than one, in accord
with the best and completest of them"; and we must add "in a complete
life" to show that mere promise not crowned by performance does not
suffice to entitle man’s life to be called happy.  We can see that this
definition satisfies Plato’s three conditions.  A vigorous and active
living in a way which calls into play the specifically human capacities
of man is desirable for its own sake, and preferable to any other life
which could be proposed to us.  It too is the only life which can
permanently satisfy men, but we must add that if such a life is to be
lived adequately certain advantages of fortune must be presupposed. We
cannot fully live a life of this kind if we are prevented from
exercising our capacities by lack of means or health or friends and
associates, and even the calamities which arise in the course of events
may be so crushing as to hinder a man, for a time, from putting forth
his full powers.  These external good things are not constituents of
happiness, but merely necessary conditions of that exercise of our own
capacities which is the happy life.

In our definition of the happy life we said that it was one of activity
in accord with goodness or excellence, and we left it an open question
whether there are more kinds of such goodness than one.  On
consideration we see that two kinds of goodness or excellence are
required in living the happy life. The happy life for man is a life of
conscious following of a rule.  To live it well, then, you need to know
what the right rule to follow is, and you need also to follow it.  There
are persons who deliberately follow a wrong rule of life--the wicked.
There are others who know what the right rule is but fail to follow it
because their tempers and appetites are unruly--the morally weak.  To
live the happy life, then, two sorts of goodness are required.  You must
have a good judgment as to what the right rule is (or if you cannot find
it out for yourself, you must at least be able to recognise it when it
is laid down by some one else, the teacher or lawgiver), and you must
have your appetites, feelings, and emotions generally so trained that
they obey the rule.  Hence excellence, goodness, or virtue is divided
into goodness of intellect and goodness of character (moral goodness),
the word _character_ being used for the complex of tempers, feelings,
and the affective side of human nature generally.  In education goodness
of character has to be produced by training and discipline before
goodness of intellect can be imparted.  The young generally have to be
trained to obey the right rule before they can see for themselves that
it is the right rule, and if a man’s tempers and passions are not first
schooled into actual obedience to the rule he will in most cases never
see that it is the right rule at all.  Hence Aristotle next goes on to
discuss the general character of the kind of goodness he calls goodness
of character, the right state of the feelings and passions.

The first step towards understanding what goodness of character is is to
consider the way in which it is actually produced.  We are not born with
this goodness of tempers and feelings ready made, nor yet do we obtain
it by theoretical instruction; it is a result of a training and
discipline of the feelings and impulses.  The possibility of such a
training is due to the fact that feelings and impulses are rational
capacities, and a rational capacity can be developed into either of two
contrasted activities according to the training it receives.  You cannot
train stones to fall upwards, but you can train a hot temper to display
itself either in the form of righteous resentment of wrong-doing or in
that of violent defiance of all authority.  Our natural emotions and
impulses are in themselves neither good nor bad; they are the raw
material out of which training makes good or bad character according to
the direction it gives to them.  The effect of training is to convert
the indeterminate tendency into a fixed habit.  We may say, then, that
moral goodness is a fixed state of the soul produced by habituation.  By
being trained in habits of endurance, self-mastery, and fair dealing, we
acquire the kind of character to which it is pleasing to act bravely,
continently, and fairly, and disagreeable to act unfairly, profligately,
or like a coward. When habituation has brought about this result the
moral excellences in question have become part of our inmost self and we
are in full possession of goodness of character.  In a word, it is by
repeated doing of right acts that we acquire the right kind of

But what general characteristics distinguish right acts and right habits
from wrong ones?  Aristotle is guided in answering the question by an
analogy which is really at the bottom of all Greek thinking on morality.
The thought is that goodness is in the soul what health and fitness are
in the body, and that the preceptor is for the soul what the physician
or the trainer is for the body.  Now it was a well-known medical theory,
favoured by both Plato and Aristotle, that health in the body means a
condition of balance or equilibration among the elements of which it is
composed.  When the hot and the cold, the moist and the dry in the
composition of the human frame exactly balance one another, the body is
in perfect health.  Hence the object of the regimen of the physician or
the trainer is to produce and maintain a proper balance or proportion
between the ingredients of the body.  Any course which disturbs this
balance is injurious to health and strength. You damage your health if
you take too much food or exercise, and also if you take too little.
The same thing is true of health in the soul.  Our soul’s health may be
injured by allowing too much or too little play to any of our natural
impulses or feelings.  We may lay it down, then, that the kind of
training which gives rise to a good habit is training in the avoidance
of the opposite errors of the too much and the too little.  And since
the effect of training is to produce habits which issue in the
spontaneous performance of the same kind of acts by which the habits
were acquired, we may say not merely that goodness of character is
produced by acts which exhibit a proper balance or mean, but that it is
a settled habit of acting so as to exhibit the same balance or
proportion. Hence the formal definition of goodness of character is that
it is "a settled condition of the soul which wills or chooses the mean
relatively to ourselves, this mean being determined by a rule or
whatever we like to call that by which the wise man determines it."

There are several points in this definition of the mean upon which moral
virtue depends of which we must take note unless we are to misunderstand
Aristotle seriously.  To begin with, the definition expressly says that
"moral goodness is a state of will or choice."  Thus it is not enough
that one should follow the rule of the mean outwardly in one’s actions;
one’s personal will must be regulated by it.  Goodness of character is
inward; it is not merely outward.  Next we must not suppose that
Aristotle means that the "just enough" is the same for all our feelings,
that every impulse has a moral right to the same authority in shaping
our conduct as any other.  How much or how little is the just enough in
connection with a given spring of action is one of the things which the
wise man’s rule has to determine, just as the wise physician’s rule may
determine that a very little quantity is the just enough in the case of
some articles of diet or curative drugs, while in the case of others the
just enough may be a considerable amount.  Also the right mean is not
the same for every one.  What we have to attain is the mean relatively
to _ourselves_, and this will be different for persons of different
constitutions and in different conditions.  It is this relativity of the
just enough to the individual’s personality and circumstances which
makes it impossible to lay down precise rules of conduct applicable
alike to everybody, and renders the practical attainment of goodness so
hard.  It is my duty to spend some part of my income in buying books on
philosophy, but no general rule will tell me what percentage of my
income is the right amount for me to spend in this way.  That depends on
a host of considerations, such as the excess of my income above my
necessary expenses and the like.  Or again, the just enough may vary
with the same man according to the circumstances of the particular case.
No rule of thumb application of a formula will decide such problems.
Hence Aristotle insists that the right mean in the individual case has
always to be determined by immediate insight.  This is precisely why
goodness of intellect needs to be added to goodness of character.  His
meaning is well brought out by an illustration which I borrow from
Professor Burnet. "On a given occasion there will be a temperature which
is just right for my morning bath.  If the bath is hotter than this, it
will be too hot; if it is colder, it will be too cold.  But as this just
right temperature varies with the condition of my body, it cannot be
ascertained by simply using a thermometer. If I am in good general
health I shall, however, know by the feel of the water when the
temperature is right.  So if I am in good moral health I shall know,
without appealing to a formal code of maxims, what is the right degree,
_e.g._ of indignation to show in a given case, how it should be shown
and towards whom."  Thus we see why Aristotle demands goodness of
character as a preliminary condition of goodness of intellect or
judgment in moral matters.  Finally, if we ask by _what_ rule the mean
is determined, the answer will be that the rule is the judgment of the
legislator who determines what is the right mean by his knowledge of the
conditions on which the well-being of the community depends.  He then
embodies his insight in the laws which he makes and the regulations he
imposes on the educators of youth.  The final aim of education in
goodness is to make our immediate judgment as to what is right coincide
with the spirit of a wise legislation.

The introduction of the reference to will or choice into the definition
of goodness of character leads Aristotle to consider the relation of
will to conduct.  His main object is to escape the paradoxical doctrine
which superficial students might derive from the works of Plato, that
wrong-doing is always well-meaning ignorance.  Aristotle’s point is that
it is the condition of will revealed by men’s acts which is the real
object of our approval or blame.  This is because in voluntary action
the man himself is the efficient cause of his act.  Hence the law
recognises only two grounds on which a man may plead, that he is not
answerable for what he does.  (1) Actual physical compulsion by _force
majeure_.  (2) Ignorance, not due to the man’s own previous negligence,
of some circumstances material to the issue.  When either of these pleas
can be made with truth the man does not really contribute by his choice
to the resulting act, and therefore is not really its cause. But a plea
of ignorance of the general laws of morality does not excuse.  I cannot
escape responsibility for a murder by pleading that I did not know that
murder is wrong.  Such a plea does not exempt me from having been the
cause of the murder; it only shows that my moral principles are

More precisely will is a process which has both an intellectual and an
appetitive element.  The appetitive element is our wish for some result.
The intellectual factor is the calculation of the steps by which that
result may be obtained. When we wish for the result we begin to consider
how it might be brought about, and we continue our analysis until we
find that the chain of conditions requisite may be started by the
performance of some act now in our power to do.  Will may thus be
defined as the deliberate appetition of something within our power, and
the very definition shows that our choice is an efficient cause of the
acts we choose to do.  This is why we rightly regard men as responsible
or answerable for their acts of choice, good and bad alike.

From the analysis of goodness of character, we proceed to that of
goodness of intellect.  The important point is to decide which of all
the forms of goodness of intellect is that which must be combined with
goodness of character to make a man fit to be a citizen of the state.
It must be a kind of intellectual excellence which makes a man see what
the right rule by which the mean is determined is.  Now when we come to
consider the different excellences of intellect we find that they all
fall under one of two heads, theoretical or speculative wisdom and
practical wisdom.

Theoretical wisdom is contained in the sciences which give us universal
truths about the fixed and unalterable relations of the things in the
universe, or, as we should say, which teach us the laws of Nature.  Its
method is syllogism, the function of which is to make us see how the
more complex truths are implied in simpler principles.  Practical wisdom
is intelligence as employed in controlling and directing human life to
the production of the happy life for a community, and it is this form of
intellectual excellence which we require of the statesman.  It is
required of him not only that he should know in general what things are
good for man, but also that he should be able to judge correctly that in
given circumstances such and such an act is the one which will secure
the good.  He must not only know the right rule itself, which
corresponds to the major premiss of syllogism in theoretical science,
but he must understand the character of particular acts so as to see
that they fall under the right rule.  Thus the method of practical
wisdom will be analogous to that of theoretical wisdom.  In both cases
what we have to do is to see that certain special facts are cases of a
general law or rule.  Hence Aristotle calls the method of practical
wisdom the practical syllogism or syllogism of action, since its
peculiarity is that what issues from the putting together of the
premisses is not an assertion but the performance of an act.  In the
syllogism of action, the conclusion, that is to say, the performance of
a given act, just as in the syllogism of theory, is connected with the
rule given in the major premiss by a statement of fact; thus _e.g._ the
performance of a specific act such as the writing of this book is
connected with the general rule what helps to spread knowledge ought to
be done by the conviction that the writing of this book helps to spread
knowledge.  Our perception of such a fact is like a sense-perception in
its directness and immediacy.  We see therefore that the kind of
intellectual excellence which the statesman must possess embraces at
once a right conception of the general character of the life which is
best for man, because it calls into play his specific capacities as a
human being, and also a sound judgment in virtue of which he sees
correctly that particular acts are expressions of this good for man.
This, then, is what we mean by practical wisdom.

So far, then, it would seem that the best life for man is just the life
of co-operation in the life of the state, which man, being the only
political animal or animal capable of life in a state, has as his
peculiar work, and as if the end of all moral education should be to
make us good and efficient citizens. But in the _Ethics_, as elsewhere,
the end of Aristotle’s argument has a way of forgetting the beginning.
We find that there is after all a still higher life open to man than
that of public affairs.  Affairs and business of all kinds are only
undertaken as means to getting leisure, just as civilised men go to war,
not for the love of war itself, but to secure peace. The highest aim of
life, then, is not the carrying on of political business for its own
sake, but the worthy and noble employment of leisure, the periods in
which we are our own masters. It has the advantage that it depends more
purely on ourselves and our own internal resources than any other life
of which we know, for it needs very little equipment with external goods
as compared with any form of the life of action.  It calls into play the
very highest of our own capacities as intelligent beings, and for that
very reason the active living of it is attended with the purest of all
pleasures.  In it, moreover, we enter at intervals and for a little
while, so far as the conditions of our mundane existence allow, into the
life which God enjoys through an unbroken eternity.  Thus we reach the
curious paradox that while the life of contemplation is said to be that
of our truest self, it is also maintained that this highest and happiest
life is one which we live, not in respect of being human, but in respect
of having a divine something in us. When we ask what this life of
contemplation includes, we see from references in the _Politics_ that it
includes the genuinely æsthetic appreciation of good literature and
music and pictorial and plastic art, but there can be no doubt that what
bulks most largely in Aristotle’s mind is the active pursuit of science
for its own sake, particularly of such studies as First Philosophy and
Physics, which deal with the fundamental structure of the universe.
Aristotle thus definitely ends by placing the life of the scholar and
the student on the very summit of felicity.

It is from this doctrine that mediæval Christianity derives its
opposition between the _vita contemplativa_ and _vita activa_ and its
preference for the former, though in the mediæval mind the contemplative
life has come to mean generally a kind of brooding over theological
speculations and of absorption in mystical ecstasy very foreign to the
spirit of Aristotle.  The types by which the contrast of the two lives
is illustrated, Rachael and Leah, Mary and Martha, are familiar to all
readers of Christian literature.

+The Theory of the State+.--Man is by nature a political animal, a being
who can only develop his capacities by sharing in the life of a
community.  Hence Aristotle definitely rejects the view that the state
or society is a mere creature of convention or agreement, an institution
made by compact between individuals for certain special ends, not
growing naturally out of the universal demands and aspirations of
humanity.  Mankind, he urges, have never existed at all as isolated
individuals.  Some rudimentary form of social organisation is to be
found wherever men are to be found.  The actual stages in the
development of social organisation have been three--the family, the
village community, the city state.  In the very rudest forms of social
life known to us, the patriarchal family, not the individual, is the
social unit.  Men lived at first in separate families under the control
of the head of the family.  Now a family is made up in its simplest form
of at least three persons, a man, his wife, and a servant or slave to do
the hard work, though very poor men often have to replace the servant by
an ox as the drudge of all work.  Children when they come swell the
number, and thus we see the beginnings of complex social relations of
subordination in the family itself.  It involves three such distinct
relations, that of husband and wife, that of parent and child, that of
master and man.  The family passes into the village community, partly by
the tendency of several families of common descent to remain together
under the direction of the oldest male member of the group, partly by
the association of a number of distinct families for purposes of mutual
help and protection against common dangers.  Neither of these forms of
association, however, makes adequate provision for the most permanent
needs of human nature.  Complete security for a permanent supply of
material necessaries and adequate protection only come when a number of
such scattered communities pool their resources, and surround themselves
with a city wall. The city state, which has come into being in this way,
proves adequate to provide from its own internal resources for all the
spiritual as well as the material needs of its members.  Hence the
independent city state does not grow as civilisation advances into any
higher form of organisation, as the family and village grew into it.  It
is the end, the last word of social progress. It is amazing to us that
this piece of cheap conservatism should have been uttered at the very
time when the system of independent city states had visibly broken down,
and a former pupil of Aristotle himself was founding a gigantic empire
to take their place as the vehicle of civilisation.

The end for which the state exists is not merely its own
self-perpetuation.  As we have seen, Aristotle assigns a higher value to
the life of the student than to the life of practical affairs.  Since it
is only in the civilised state that the student can pursue his vocation,
the ultimate reason for which the state exists is to educate its
citizens in such a way as shall fit them to make the noble use of
leisure.  In the end the state itself is a means to the spiritual
cultivation of its individual members. This implies that the chosen few,
who have a vocation to make full use of the opportunities provided for
leading this life of noble leisure, are the real end for the sake of
which society exists. The other citizens who have no qualification for
any life higher than that of business and affairs are making the most of
themselves in devoting their lives to the conduct and maintenance of the
organisation whose full advantages they are unequal to share in.  It is
from this point of view also that Aristotle treats the social problem of
the existence of a class whose whole life is spent in doing the hard
work of society, and thus setting the citizen body free to make the best
use it can of leisure.  In the conditions of life in the Greek world
this class consisted mainly of slaves, and thus the problem Aristotle
has to face is the moral justifiability of slavery.  We must remember
that he knew slavery only in its comparatively humane Hellenic form. The
slaves of whom he speaks were household servants and assistants in small
businesses.  He had not before his eyes the system of enormous
industries carried on by huge gangs of slaves under conditions of
revolting degradation which disgraced the later Roman Republic and the
early Roman Empire, or the Southern States of North America.  His
problems are in all essentials much the same as those which concern us
to-day in connection with the social position of the classes who do the
hard bodily work of the community.

Much consideration is given in the _Politics_ to the classification of
the different types of constitution possible for the city-state.  The
current view was that there are three main types distinguished by the
number of persons who form the sovereign political authority, monarchy,
in which sovereign power belongs to a single person; oligarchy, in which
it is in the hands of a select few; democracy, in which it is enjoyed by
the whole body of the citizens.  Aristotle observes, correctly, that the
really fundamental distinction between a Greek oligarchy and a Greek
democracy was that the former was government by the propertied classes,
the latter government by the masses.  Hence the watchword of democracy
was always that all political rights should belong equally to all
citizens, that of oligarchy that a man’s political status should be
graded according to his "stake in the country."  Both ideals are,
according to him, equally mistaken, since the real end of government,
which both overlook, is the promotion of the "good life."  In a state
which recognises this ideal, an aristocracy or government by the best,
only the "best" men will possess the full rights of citizenship, whether
they are many or few.  There might even be a monarch at the head of such
a state, if it happened to contain some one man of outstanding
intellectual and moral worth.  Such a state should be the very opposite
of a great imperial power.  It should, that its cultivation may be the
more intensive, be as small as is compatible with complete independence
of outside communities for its material and spiritual sustenance, and
its territory should only be large enough to provide its members with
the permanent possibility of ample leisure, so long as they are content
with plain and frugal living.  Though it ought not, for military and
other reasons, to be cut off from communication with the sea, the great
military and commercial high road of the Greek world, it ought not to be
near enough to the coast to run any risk of imperilling its moral
cultivation by becoming a great emporium, like the Athens of Pericles.
In the organisation of the society care should be taken to exclude the
agricultural and industrial population from full citizenship, which
carries with it the right to appoint and to be appointed as
administrative magistrates.  This is because these classes, having no
opportunity for the worthy employment of leisure, cannot be trusted to
administer the state for the high ends which it is its true function to

Thus Aristotle’s political ideal is that of a small but leisured and
highly cultivated aristocracy, without large fortunes or any remarkable
differences in material wealth, free from the spirit of adventure and
enterprise, pursuing the arts and sciences quietly while its material
needs are supplied by the labour of a class excluded from citizenship,
kindly treated but without prospects.  Weimar, in the days when
Thackeray knew it as a lad, would apparently reproduce the ideal better
than any other modern state one can think of.

The object of the _Politics_ is, however, not merely to discuss the
ideal state but to give practical advice to men who might be looking
forward to actual political life, and would therefore largely have to be
content with making the best of existing institutions.  In the absence
of the ideal aristocracy, Aristotle’s preference is for what he calls
Polity or constitutional government, a sort of compromise between
oligarchy and democracy. Of course a practical statesman may have to
work with a theoretically undesirable constitution, such as an oligarchy
or an unqualified democracy.  But it is only in an ideal constitution
that the education which makes its subject a good man, in the
philosopher’s sense of the word, will also make him a good citizen.  If
the constitution is bad, then the education best fitted to make a man
loyal to it may have to be very different from that which you would
choose to make him a good man. The discussion of the kind of education
desirable for the best kind of state, in which to be a loyal citizen and
to be a good man are the same thing, is perhaps the most permanently
valuable part of the _Politics_.  Though Aristotle’s writings on
"practical" philosophy have been more read in modern times than any
other part of his works, they are far from being his best and most
thorough performances.  In no department of his thought is he quite so
slavishly dependent on his master Plato as in the theory of the "good
for man" and the character of "moral" excellence.  No Aristotelian work
is quite so commonplace in its handling of a vast subject as the
_Politics_. In truth his interest in these social questions is not of
the deepest.  He is, in accordance with his view of the superiority of
"theoretical science," entirely devoid of the spirit of the social
reformer.  What he really cares about is "theology" and "physics," and
the fact that the objects of the educational regulations of the
_Politics_ are all designed to encourage the study of these
"theoretical" sciences, makes this section of the _Politics_ still one
of the most valuable expositions of the aims and requirements of a
"liberal" education.

All education must be under public control, and education must be
universal and compulsory.  Public control is necessary, not merely to
avoid educational anarchy, but because it is a matter of importance to
the community that its future citizens should be trained in the way
which will make them most loyal to the constitution and the ends it is
designed to subserve.  Even in one of the "bad" types of state, where
the life which the constitution tends to foster is not the highest, the
legislator’s business is to see that education is directed towards
fostering the "spirit of the constitution."  There is to be an
"atmosphere" which impregnates the whole of the teaching, and it is to
be an "atmosphere" of public spirit.  The only advantage which Aristotle
sees in private education is that it allows of more modification of
programme to meet the special needs of the individual pupil than a rigid
state education which is to be the same for all.  The actual regulations
which Aristotle lays down are not very different from those of Plato.
Both philosophers hold that "primary" education, in the early years of
life, should aim partly at promoting bodily health and growth by a
proper system of physical exercises, partly at influencing character and
giving a refined and elevated tone to the mind by the study of letters,
art, and music.  Both agree that this should be followed in the later
"teens" by two or three years of specially rigorous systematic military
training combined with a taste of actual service in the less exhausting
and less dangerous parts of a soldier’s duty.  It is only after this, at
about the age at which young men now take a "university" course, that
Plato and Aristotle would have the serious scientific training of the
intellect begun.  The _Politics_ leaves the subject just at the point
where the young men are ready to undergo their special military
training.  Thus we do not know with certainty what scientific curriculum
Aristotle would have recommended, though we may safely guess that it
would have contained comparatively little pure mathematics, but a great
deal of astronomy, cosmology, and biology.

With respect to the "primary" education Aristotle has a good deal to
say.  As "forcing" is always injurious, it should not be begun too soon.
For the first five years a child’s life should be given up to healthy
play.  Great care must be taken that children are not allowed to be too
much with "servants," from whom they may imbibe low tastes, and that
they are protected against any familiarity with indecency.  From five to
seven a child may begin to make a first easy acquaintance with the life
of the school by looking on at the lessons of its elders.  The real work
of school education is to begin at seven and not before.

We next have to consider what should be the staple subjects of an
education meant not for those who are to follow some particular calling,
but for all the full citizens of a state. Aristotle’s view is that some
"useful" subjects must, of course, be taught.  Reading and writing, for
instance, are useful for the discharge of the business of life, though
their commercial utility is not the highest value which they have for
us.  But care must be taken that only those "useful" studies which are
also "liberal" should be taught; "illiberal" or "mechanical" subjects
must not have any place in the curriculum.  A "liberal" education means,
as the name shows, one which will tend to make its recipient a "free
man," and not a slave in body and soul.  The mechanical crafts were felt
by Aristotle to be illiberal because they leave a man no leisure to make
the best of body and mind; practice of them sets a stamp on the body and
narrows the mind’s outlook.  In principle then, no study should form a
subject of the universal curriculum if its only value is that it
prepares a man for a profession followed as a means of making a living.
General education, all-round training which aims at the development of
body and mind for its own sake, must be kept free from the intrusion of
everything which has a merely commercial value and tends to contract the
mental vision.  It is the same principle which we rightly employ
ourselves when we maintain that a university education ought not to
include specialisation on merely "technical" or "professional" studies.
The useful subjects which have at the same time a higher value as
contributing to the formation of taste and character and serving to
elevate and refine the mind include, besides reading and writing, which
render great literature accessible to us, bodily culture (the true
object of which is not merely to make the body strong and hardy, but to
develop the moral qualities of grace and courage), music, and drawing.
Aristotle holds that the real reason for making children learn music is
(1) that the artistic appreciation of really great music is one of the
ways in which "leisure" may be worthily employed, and to appreciate
music rightly we must have some personal training in musical execution;
(2) that all art, and music in particular, has a direct influence on

Plato and Aristotle, though they differ on certain points of detail, are
agreed that the influence of music on character, for good or bad, is
enormous.  Music, they say, is the most imitative of all the arts.  The
various rhythms, times, and scales imitate different tempers and
emotional moods, and it is a fundamental law of our nature that we grow
like what we take pleasure in seeing or having imitated or represented
for us. Hence if we are early accustomed to take pleasure in the
imitation of the manly, resolute, and orderly, these qualities will in
time become part of our own nature.  This is why right musical education
is so important that Plato declared that the revolutionary spirit always
makes its first appearance in innovations on established musical form.

There is, however, one important difference between the two philosophers
which must be noted, because it concerns Aristotle’s chief contribution
to the philosophy of fine art.  Plato had in the _Republic_ proposed to
expel florid, languishing, or unduly exciting forms of music not only
from the schoolroom, but from life altogether, on the ground of their
unwholesome tendency to foster an unstable and morbid character in those
who enjoy them.  For the same reason he had proposed the entire
suppression of tragic drama.  Aristotle has a theory which is directly
aimed against this overstrained Puritanism. He holds that the exciting
and sensational art which would be very bad as daily food may be very
useful as an occasional medicine for the soul.  He would retain even the
most sensational forms of music on account of what he calls their
"purgative" value.  In the same spirit he asserts that the function of
tragedy, with its sensational representations of the calamities of its
heroes, is "by the vehicle of fear and pity to purge our minds of those
and similar emotions."  The explanation of the theory is to be sought in
the literal sense of the medical term "purgative."  According to the
medical view which we have already found influencing his ethical
doctrine, health consists in the maintenance of an equality between the
various ingredients of the body.  Every now and again it happens that
there arise superfluous accretions of some one ingredient, which are not
carried away in the normal routine of bodily life. These give rise to
serious derangement of function and may permanently injure the working
of the organism, unless they are removed in time by a medicine which
acts as a purge, and clears the body of a superfluous accumulation.  The
same thing also happens in the life of the soul.  So long as we are in
good spiritual health our various feelings and emotional moods will be
readily discharged in action, in the course of our daily life. But there
is always the possibility of an excessive accumulation of emotional
"moods" for which the routine of daily life does not provide an adequate
discharge in action.  Unless this tendency is checked we may contract
dangerously morbid habits of soul.  Thus we need some medicine for the
soul against this danger, which may be to it what a purgative is to the

Now it was a well-known fact, observed in connection with some of the
more extravagant religious cults, that persons suffering from an excess
of religious frenzy might be cured homoeopathically, so to say, by
artificially arousing the very emotion in question by the use of
exciting music.  Aristotle extends the principle by suggesting that in
the artificial excitement aroused by violently stimulating music or in
the transports of sympathetic apprehension and pity with which we follow
the disasters of the stage-hero, we have a safe and ready means of
ridding ourselves of morbid emotional strain which might otherwise have
worked havoc with the efficient conduct of real life.

The great value of this defence of the occasional employment of
sensation as a medicine for the soul is obvious.  Unhappily it would
seem to have so dominated Aristotle’s thought on the functions of
dramatic art as to blind him to what we are accustomed to think the
nobler functions of tragedy.  No book has had a more curious fate than
the little manual for intending composers of tragedies which is all that
remains to us of Aristotle’s lectures on Poetry.  This is not the place
to tell the story of the way in which the great classical French
playwrights, who hopelessly misunderstood the meaning of Aristotle’s
chief special directions, but quite correctly divined that his lectures
were meant to be an actual _Vade Mecum_ for the dramatist, deliberately
constructed their masterpieces in absolute submission to regulations for
which they had no better reasons than that they had once been given
magisterially by an ancient Greek philosopher.  But it may be worth
while to remark that the worth of Aristotle’s account of tragedy as
art-criticism has probably been vastly overrated.  From first to last
the standpoint he assumes, in his verdicts on the great tragic poets, is
that of the gallery.  What he insists on all through, probably because
he has the purgative effect of the play always in his mind, is a
well-woven plot with plenty of melodramatic surprise in the incidents
and a thoroughly sensational culmination in a sense of unrelieved
catastrophe over which the spectator can have a good cry, and so get
well "purged" of his superfluous emotion.  It is clear from his repeated
allusions that the play he admired above all others was the _King
Oedipus_ of Sophocles, but it is equally clear that he admired it not
for the profound insight into human life and destiny or the deep sense
of the mystery of things which some modern critics have found in it, but
because its plot is the best and most startling detective story ever
devised, and its finale a triumph of melodramatic horror.


The English reader who wishes for further information about Aristotle
and his philosophy may be referred to any or all of the following

E. Zeller.--_Aristotle and the Earlier Peripatetics_.  English
translation in 2 vols. by B. F. C. Costelloe and J. H. Muirhead. London.
Longmans & Co.

*E. Wallace.--_Outlines of the Philosophy of Aristotle_.  Cambridge
University Press.

G. Grote.--_Aristotle_.  London.  John Murray.

*W. D. Ross.--_The Works of Aristotle translated into English_, vol.
viii., _Metaphysics_.  Oxford.  Clarendon Press.

*A. E. Taylor.--_Aristotle on his Predecessor_.  (_Metaphysics_, Bk. I.,
translated with notes, &c.) Chicago.  Open Court Publishing Co.

G. D. Hicks.--_Aristotle de Anima_ (Greek text, English translation,
Commentary).  Cambridge University Press.

*D. P. Chase.--_The Ethics of Aristotle_.  Walter Scott Co.

*J. Burnet.--_Aristotle on Education_.  (English translation of
_Ethics_, Bks. I.-III. 5, X. 6 to end; _Politics_, VIII. 17, VIII.)
Cambridge University Press.

*B. Jowett.--_The Politics of Aristotle_.  Oxford.  Clarendon Press.

*I. Bywater.--_Aristotle on the Art of Poetry_.  (Greek Text, English
Translation, Commentary.)  Oxford.  Clarendon Press.

J. I. Beare and W. D. Ross.--_The Works of Aristotle translated into
English_, Pt. I.  (_Parvu Naturalia_, the minor psychological works.)
Oxford.  Clarendon Press.

J. I. Beare.--_Greek Theories of Elementary Cognition from Alemacon to
Aristotle_.  Oxford.  Clarendon Press.

The works marked by an asterisk will probably be found most useful for
the beginner.  No works in foreign languages and no editions not
accompanied by an English translation have been mentioned.

There is at present no satisfactory complete translation of Aristotle
into English.  One, of which two volumes have been mentioned above, is
in course of production at the Clarendon Press, Oxford, under the
editorship of J. A. Smith and W. D. Ross.

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