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Aristotle's Theory of Metaphysics

Aristotle’s birth traces back to 384BC in Stagira, Macedonia. Research establishes that Aristotle came from a family line where most people had been physicians. Nicomachus, his father was, in fact, a physician to the Macedonia royalty. This was an advantage to him as he was taught and trained on matters relating to natural phenomena by his father. Shields (2007) asserts that when his father died he was left under the guardianship of Proxenus who sent him to school at the age of seventeen years. He was sent to Plato’s school, which was one of the best schools in the entire world. He was the most enthusiastic student at the academy, and Plato believed he had a promising future. It is believed that he was so concerned about the real material world compared to Plato, his teacher.

            He left Plato’s Academy after twenty years and went to live with Hermeas, who was a king and his friend. After a three-year stay, he married Pythias who was the King’s niece. Aristotle again went ahead and married Herpyllis and had a son whom he named after his father. He decided to move out of the kingdom after the invasion by Persians. He moved to Mytilene where he settled for a while.

            He decided to return to Athens in 335 BC. In Athens, he found a well performing academy that was owned by Xenocrates. This motivated him to set up his own academy, which he named Lyceum. Aristotle’s nature of moving around to discuss ideas with people made the school be known among many people who called it Peripatetic School.  According to Shields (2007), he gathered many ideas from his continuous discussions and wrote a variety of significant works that are still vital in the current world. These works included Logic, Metaphysics, Ethics, Science, and Politics.

            Metaphysics is a branch of Philosophy that tries to explain the nature of beings and origin and nature of the entire world. It deals with first principles in relation to these issues. It takes an in- depth investigation of the realms of knowing even as they become more advanced to a level that they could go beyond intellectual understanding. Sachs (2005) asserts that Metaphysics probes the understanding of the daily experiences by human beings through their intellectual processes. It mainly focuses on explaining the reality of beings. It investigates the nature of beings from the point they are grounded. The major goal of metaphysics is always to reach an immutable first principle that forms the basis of all these beings.

            Aristotle’s Metaphysics theory seeks to inquire into how substances could be categorized as beings. He develops the theory by defining a substance as the final reality because it cannot fit into any category of a being. Research asserts that Aristotle considers a substance the overall measure of reality. He further asserts that a substance represents both formal and material reality. According to research, he defines a being depending on its composition, which forms the substance. Cohen (2008) observes that Aristotle claimed that an individual being are made of substances that are vital for its existence.

            According to research, Aristotle develops this theory by giving three kinds of substances. He asserts that the first substance is not in physical form. He calls this a non-physical substance. He explains that it is not subject to movement and cannot be changed. Research establishes that these substances cannot exist in material form but only in one’s eternity. He calls the other two types of substances as physical substances. According to Scaltsas (2010) these are material in nature and can be moved by any force. He further claims that these physical substances are either of a perishable or non-perishable state.

            Aristotle establishes the causes of things could be material, formal, efficient, and final causes. In line with this, he holds that the knowledge of a proposition is what enables one to tell its cause. According to Scaltsas (2010), if one does not know the truth in a proposition, then he cannot tell the actual cause. According to research, Aristotle asserts that the truth of one proposition could make the other propositions true so long as they are of an independent nature. In addition, he holds that appearance and reality are remarkably distinct fields. He establishes that the appearance of a substance does not necessarily reflect the truth about it due to different judgments among various individuals.

            In his metaphysics theory, Aristotle argues that the cause of something always emanate from the first principle which is its ground point. Research asserts that he claims that these causes could be accidental or the actual causes. In this view, he establishes that the existence of one thing could have the potential of determining the existence of the other related thing. He furthers the theory by holding that a substance must actually exist before its potential of affecting others succeeds. He says that the potentiality of existence is what brings about actuality of the substance. He concludes the theory by asserting that metaphysics is concerned with immovable and unchangeable substances. Aristotle argues that the distinguishing factor of metaphysics is that it seeks to explain the nature of beings.

            Aristotle’s theory on metaphysics has both similarities and distinctions with Plato’s theory. The theories have few similarities because the two intellectuals differed on most matters. The only similarity is that they both employed forms in their theories. On the other hand, they differed on reality and resemblance of two objects.

Both Aristotle and Plato employ the idea of forms in developing their theories.  Cranney and University (2005) assert that they use forms as the integral part of the theory because all things have form. Aristotle uses forms that give a real understanding of the human nature.  He develops his forms in a manner that could give the reality of the matter. In addition, he uses beings and substances as forms by stating that substances can only be categorized as beings because they cannot fit in any other place. Aristotle explains that all beings right here in the world could find some form in their continuous existence. His view is that form is present in the current world, and beings have the potential of acquiring it. Plato also uses the same form of beings to explain his theory, he asserts that if humans would rise above the world, they would realize a new sense of form that is non-existent in the world. The use of form thus forms the basis of both of these theories relating to metaphysics.

On the other hand, they differ on matters of reality. According to research, Aristotle asserts that appearance is so different from reality. This is because people have different perspectives and judgments relating to various issues. He further argues that it is not easy for one to tell the relationships existing between any two forms. Research establishes that his wide understanding of biology and physical phenomenon enables him draw a real world in the explanation of human beings and nature.  He claims that the world has physical forms despite the fact that they were perfect and ideal.  According to Cranney & University (2005) Aristotle’s theory establishes a sense of reality of the different forms. On the other hand, Plato does not bring out the reality of the forms. He puts forward his explanation by asserting that there exists another world beyond the physical world known to many people. According to research, he asserts that human beings would rise above to experience this form. This explanation on metaphysics is differs from that of Aristotle in the sense that it does not contain the element of reality of the forms. It does not establish the physical forms of the items it uses for the argument.

They differ in the explanation relating to the resemblance of two objects. According to research, Plato argues that the resemblance between two objects arises because of their mutual contribution to the final product. His explanation on this is that for objects to resemble they must come together with similar characteristics. Both parents must bear the characteristic that would ultimately make the final object.  Cohen (2008) reports that Metaphysics believes in the natural sense of substances, which means nature has the potential of determining the ultimate appearance of an object. His argument was thus rejected by many because of lack of a natural state. Aristotle views the resemblance between objects in a more different form. According to research, his metaphysics theory explains resemblance as a matter of nature. He asserts that nature determines the final product of objects. This is supported by the natural world in which they exist hence leading to constant changes. His explanation of the resemblance thus differs from Plato’s because of the natural aspect he employs. 

Aristotle’s theory is more natural and has a sense of reality. Therefore, I would prefer his theory. His theory is based on the natural world, which everyone understands better. I would prefer this theory because of its identification of reality and investigation of nature that could go beyond our intellectual understanding.

Reality is a vital thing to all human beings. Everyone likes real happenings in life rather than living in an unnatural world where things are just imagined. Aristotle’s theory is based on the physical world in which there are real occurrences. It explains all the issues relating to beings in a natural state. I would prefer it especially in the explanation of appearance and reality. This would help human beings to be analytic in everything they do because of the need to differentiate between the aspect of appearance and reality. Proper decision-making would thus be made by assessing the varying situations. The theory is developed in a real setting and can always be put to test to determine its accuracy.

The theory is more preferable because of its keen analysis of the natural world and beings. I would prefer it as it enhances the understanding of self and the world. This would be vital because it would promote self-acceptance and understanding of other beings around the world. Scaltsas (2010) asserts that the critical analysis of natural living would help in the explanation of the resemblance among various objects due to the natural state of affairs in the world. This theory is more preferably because of its natural assumptions, which are practicable.

In conclusion, Aristotle is one of the greatest philosophers that ever lived. He was born in a family line where there were many physicians, and this helped in the development of his interest regarding natural phenomena. He wrote the theory of metaphysics to explain the first principle through the investigation of the natural world and beings. Plato, his teacher also wrote a theory on the same subject, but they considerably differed in their view. They both employed form in the explanation of the theories. On the other hand, they differed on reality and the resemblance of two objects. Aristotle’s theory is more preferable because of his emphasis on the natural sense of beings and provides an opportunity for wider understanding through investigations of real situations.

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