Skip to main content

Full text of "Aristotle"

See other formats








cop. 2 

Presented to the 
LIBRARY of the 


The Estate of -ttie late 
Professor A.S.P. Woodhouse 
Head of the English 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 






A. E. TAYLOR, M.A., D.Litt., F.B.A. 


T. C. & E. C. JACK, LTD. | T. NELSON & SONS, LTD. 



^ JAN 2 6 iSSo 












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 English- 
man well read if he had not heard the name of 
Sophocles or Moliere. An educated man is expected 
to know at least who these great writers were, and 
to understand an allusion to the Antigone or Le Mis- 
anthrope. 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 
fame of Descartes or Kant. Yet there are a few 
philosophers whose influence on thought and lan- 
guage 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 neces- 
sary 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 un- 
meaning to us unless we are at home in the outlines 
of Aristotle's philosophy. And if we turn to ordi- 
nary 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 and Milton. 

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 man- 
hood 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" in- 
tellect 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 "bar- 
barian" 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 with- 
out 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 estab- 
lishing 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 be- 
longed by birth to a guild, the Asclepiadae, in which 
the medical profession was hereditary. His father 
Nicomachus was court physician to Amyntas III., 
the king for whose benefit the Spartans had put 
down the Chalcidic league. This early connection with 
medicine and with the rough -living Macedonian 
court largely explains both the predominantly bio- 
logical 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 Aeolis, and was maintaining himself 
with much energy against the Persian king. Pythias, 
the niece of Hermeias, became the philosopher's wife, 

* It is perhaps significant that Aristotle's entry into the school 
fell in the year when Plato was absent on his political mission 
in Syracuse. Thus he probably did not get his first introduc- 
tion to Platonism from the lips of Plato. 



and it seems that the marriage was happy. Exami- 
nation 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 dis- 
tinguished 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 published their notes of their 
teacher's famous unpublished lecture On the Good. 
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, im- 
probable 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 am- 
bitions for which he reserves his admiration would 
have seemed a mere reHc 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 Speu- 
sippus, 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 connec- 
tion 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 Peri- 
patetic. 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 philo- 
sophical 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, how- 
ever, 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 works. 
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 circum- 
stances 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. No- 
where else do we meet with quite the same combina- 
tion 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 con- 
spicuously 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 

(1,994) 2 


the model for C5icero's own compositions in this kind. 
None of them have survived, though some passages 
have been preserved in quotations by later writers. 
That our "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, Nico- 
machus, 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. 




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, 


, the ■! 


thought that his own doctrine was, in essentials, 
last word of speculation, the complete expression of 
the principles by which his predecessors had been un- 
consciously 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 dis- 
criminated from one another. This classification we ^1 
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 
indifierent 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 

* A proposition is regarded as "probable " if it is held either 
(1) by the great majority of men, or (2) by one or more men of 
special eminence in a subject. This is the ultimate origin of the 
" Probabilism " of "moraJ theologians." 


logical. skill for the apparent demonstration of scientific 
or ethical falsehoods. " The sophist is one who earns 
a living from an apparent but unreal wisiom." (The 
emphasis thus falls on the notion of making an " un- 
real 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 Philos- 
ophy in its purpose, and, in consequence, in its sub- 
ject-matter, and its formal logical character. The 
purpose of the former is the disinterested contempla^ 
tion of truths which are what they are independently of 
our own volition; its end is to hiow 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 dis- 
tinction 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 govern- 
ment. 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 beHl 
other than it is," truths and relations independent^' 
of human volition for their subsistence, and calling 
simply for recognition on our part. Practical Philos- 
ophy 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 uni- 
versal ; 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 
facfs with which they deal. It is a proof of a phi- 
losopher'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 lo^cal 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 Aris- 
totle's own expression, of " Being qub, Being." This 
means that it is concerned with the universal char- 
acteristics which belong to the system of knowable 
reality as such, and the principles of its organisation 
in their full universality. First Philosophy alone in- 
vestigates 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 xvaxcMSiMeta'physica 
because they came ajter (meta) those on Physics. Finally the 
name was transferred (as in the case of Ethics) from the lectures 
to the subject of which they treat. 


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 per- 
ception (though by a convenient fiction the mathe- 
matician 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 Philos- 
ophy 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 displace- 
ment. 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 cdl thought, but certain other special 
axioms which are only valid and significant for the 



realm of figure and number ; Physics requires yet fur- 
ther 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 sciences : — 


Theoretical Practical 


1 1 I 

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 in- 
separable 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 Pro- 
ductive. 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 as- 
signed in the scheme to what we call logic and Aris- 
totle 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 

lo-i^i-k ^^^ 



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 in- 
dicated 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 imphed is thus that logic furnishes the tools 
with which every science has to work in establish- 
ing its results. Our space will only permit of a 
brief statement as to the points in which the Aris- 
totelian formal logic appears to be really original, 
and the main peculiarities of Aristotle's theory of 

{a) Formal Logic. — In compass the Aristotelian 
logic corresponds roughly with the contents of modem 
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 mediaeval and modern expositions of 
formal logic is principally due to the Stoics, who pre- 
ferred 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 signi- 
ficance 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 asser- 
tion 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 con- 
nection 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" or "Predicaments," and that which 
was afterwards known in the Middle Ages as the list 
of " Predicables," 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 "a; is 3/" or "cc is a y" or "a;s are ys." 
Such a statement may tell us (1) what x is, as if I 
say " cc is a lion " ; the predicate is then said to fall 
under the category of Substance ; (2) what x is like, 
as when I say " a: is white, or x is wise," — the category 
of Quality ; (3) how much or how many x is, as when 
I say " there are five xs " or " x is five feet long," — the 
category of Quantity ; (4) how x is related to some- 
thing 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 com- 
plete, or to point out any i)rinciple 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 un- 
likely 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 com- 
pleteness, and is therefore likely to have been thought 
out by him for himself, and to be the genuine Aristo- 
telian scheme. Consider an ordinary universal affirm- 
ative proposition of the form "all x^ are 2/s." Now 
if this statement is true it may also be true that "all 
ys are ccs," 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 £c, as when I say that "men are 
mortal animals, capable of discourse." Here it is 
also true to say that "mortal animals capable of dis- 
course 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% are 
2/s," but not true that aU " 2/s are ics," 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 xs 
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 cc, but a characteristic which belongs 
both to the oos and some things other than ocs. 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 ^N'eo-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 mediaeval logic 
are enumerated as genus, species, difference, proprium, 

The one point of philosophical interest about this 
doctrine appears alike in the scheme of the "Cate- 
gories " in the presence of a category of " substance," 
and in the list of " Predicables " in the sharp dis- 
tinction drawn between " definition " and "proprium." 
From a logical point of view it does not appear why 
any proprium, a7iy 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 

hen ^^ 



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 ex- 
planation 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 propagating. 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 Socra- 
tes 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 faccustomed 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 declara- 
tion 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 defini- 
tions 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 be- 
comes much more diflacult. 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 olDJective 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 evolu- 
tionary 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 be- 
tween "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 ; 

* All mathematical definitions are of this kind, and are thus 
purely "nominal." 


evolution tends more and more to the final establish- 
ment 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 distin- 
guish 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 ofi" the group de- 
fined 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 quan- 
tity (as universal or particular) and quality (as affir- 
mative 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 Asser- 
tory {x is 2/)j 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 Nature. 

(1,994) 3 


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 asj 
a fact before; what the inference does for us is 
connect it with the rest of our knowledge, and thi 
to show why it is true. He also formulates th« 
axiom upon which syllogistic inference rests, ths 
" if A is predicated universally of B and B of C, A il 
necessarily predicated universally of C." Stated 
the language of class-inclusion, and adapted to in-j 
elude the case where B is denied of C, this become 
the formula, "whatever is asserted universally^ 
whether positively or negatively, of a class B 
asserted in like manner of any class C which is wholly 
contained in B," the axiom de omni et nullo 
mediaeval logic. The syllogism of the " first figure,* 
to which this principle immediately applies, is 
cordingly 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 "incom- 
plete," 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 re- 
placed 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 p7'oqf a.t all. Histori- 
cally '* induction " is held by Aristotle to have been 
first made prominent in philosophy by Socrates, who 
constantly employed the method in his attempts to 


elicit 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 w^ar 
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 

* We must remember that " rhetorician " or " orator," in the 
Greek of Aristotle's day, means " politician." 


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 malgre 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 mathe- 
matics 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 an- 
other, 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 com- 
parative 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 sen- 
sible 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 con^ 
elusions from premisses. A truth that is scientifi- 
cally 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 ws," 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. 

It follows that Aristotle, after all, admitjs the 

* This simple expression acquires a mysterious appearance 
in mediaeval philosophy from the standing mistranslation notiora 
natures, " better known to nature." 


disparateness of sense-perception and scientific know- 
ledge. Sense-perception of itself never gives us scien- 
tific truth, because it can only assure us that a fact is 
so; it cannot explain the fact by showing its con- 
nection 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 includ- 
ing the proposition that light-waves are propagated 
in straight lines and several others.) Similarly 
Aristotle insists that Induction does not yield scien- 
tific proof. " 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 questions which we may raise in 
science may all be reduced to four heads : (1) Does 
this thing exist 1 (2) Does this event occur 1 (3) If the 
thing exists, precisely what is it ? and (4) If the event 
occurs, why does it occur? and science has not com- 
pleted 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 
betw^een 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 1 " 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 know- 
ledge of the universal interconnections between facts 
and events. 

A science, then, may be analysed into three con- 
stituents. 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 charac- 
teristics 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 demonstra- 
tion. 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 j 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 condi- 
tions 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, inmaediately 
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 ap- 
prehended 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, ac- 
cording 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 con- 
fusion 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 experi- 
ence," 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 con- 
sidering 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 nvethods 
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 prin- 


ciple 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 trutL 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 simi- 
lar 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 im- 
mediate inspection, just as m sense-perception you 
have to see that the colour before your eyes is red or 
blue. This is why Aristotle holds that the know- 
ledge of the principles of science is not itself science 
(demonstrated knowledge), but what he calls intelli- 
gence, 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 modem 
logicians who hold that "self-evidence" is not re- 
quired 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 

The result is that Aristotle does little more than 
repeat the Platonic view of the nature of science. 
Science consists of deductions from universal prin- 
ciples which sensible experience " suggests/' but into 
which, as they are apprehended by a purely intellec- 
tual inspection, no sense-data enter as constituents. 
The apparent rejection of "transcendental moon- 
shine " has, after all, led to nothing. The only differ- 
ence between Plato and his scholar lies in the clear- 
ness 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 com- 
plete our outline of the Aristotelian theory of know- 
ledge. 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 o/ demon- 
stration. All that can be done — e.y. if a man doubts 
whether things equal to the same thing are equal to 
one another, or whether the la,w 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 philosoph- 
ical importance which Aristotle ascribes to "dialec- 
tic" is that it provides a method of defending the 
undemonstrable axioms against objections. Dialectic 
of this kind became highly important in the mediaeval 
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 argu- 
ments they could find or devise against the conclusion 
they meant to adopt. Thus the first division of any 
article in the Summa Theologiae of Thomas is regularly 
constituted by arguments based on the premisses of 
actual or possible antagonists, an,d is strictly dialec- 
tical. (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 riot ultimate 
laws of logic that admit of dialectical justification. If 
a truth is so ultimate that it has either to be recog- 
nised by direct inspection or not at all, there can be 
no arguing at all with one who cannot or will not 
see it.) 



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 con- 
siders its subject-matter not universally in its char- 
acter 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 im- 
pugn 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 physi- 
cal 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 

(1,994) 4 


are the starting-points of the sciences which employ 
them; these sciences are therefore justified in re- 
quiring 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, 
liorses, 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 refer- 
ence 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," " mafi," 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 whUe remain- [ 
ing numerically one a substance admits of incom-J 
patible 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 in- 
vestigation 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 con 
stituent 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 de- 
veloped 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 organisa- 

nnn. ^^ 


tion 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 dis- 
tinguish two aspects in an individual, its Matter, 
{hyhy '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 the 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 determina- 
tion. Thus if we 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 disposi- 
tion 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 con- 
founded with body; the relatively undetermined fac- 
tor which receives completer determination by the 
structural law or Form is Matter, whether it is cor- 
poreal or not. This comes out with particular clear- 
ness 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 indetermi- 
nate, to the Form which gives it its structure. 

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, accord- 
ing 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 ofi*spring are de- 
veloped, 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 haa 
absolutely no definite structure at all. The intro- 
duction 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 diflficulty 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 



'. theflj 

the "elements." Since the transmutability of 
"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.* 

The Potential and the Actual. — So far we have 
been looking at the analysis of the individual thing, m 
as the current jargon puts it, statically ; we have ^1 
arrived at the antithesis of Matter and Form by con- 
trasting 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 chim- 
panzee and the other into a man. However indis- 

* 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. " 


tinguishable, they therefore may be said to have 
different latent tendencies or possibilities of develop- 
ment 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 un- 
interfered 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 pro- 
cesses 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 dis- 
tinction between Matter and Form may also be ex 
pressed by saying that the Matter is the persisten\ 
underlying substratiim in which the development of 
the Form takes place, onthat 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" con- 
dition). 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 pro- 
cess 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 ten- 
dency 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 Ethics. 

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 1 
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 substantivally, 



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 com- 
pleted 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 hand- 
ling his material, and in organic development in 
Nature as implied in and determining the successive 
stages of growth — the end ov final cause. If any one 
of these had been different, the resultant state of 
things would also have been different. Hence aU 
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 re- 
production 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 repro- 
duction as a sub-conscious purpose, just as the work- 
man'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 " prod- 
ucts 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 crafts- 
man. 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 corre- 
sponding 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. Aris- 
totle 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 " teleological " 
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 every- 
where 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 re- 
produce " their kind " ; if the reproduction is im- 
perfect or distorted, as in monstrous births, this is an 
exception due to the occasional presence in " matter " 
of imperfections which hinder the course of develop- 
ment, 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 deveio^^^ 
ments," are a sort of still minor deviation from prin- 
ciple. (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 Intelli- 
gence as efficient causes has already been illustrated. 
It is that in causation by Nature, such as sexual re- 
production, 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 chara.cteristic 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 mediaeval 
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 67-97.) 

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 culmi- 
nating in the appearance of the form^ Aristotle 
answers that it is Motion (kii/iesis). 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 move- 
ment 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 
modem mechanical interpretation of natural pro- 
cesses. 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 "effi- 
cient 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 comqytion 
(the passing of a thing out of being), alteration (change 
of quality in a thing), augmentation and diminution 
(change in the m^ugnitude 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 aD, 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 
might 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 " evolu- 
tion " of animals of one species from individuals of a 
diflferent 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, 

(1.994) 5 


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 con- 
tinuous, or unbroken. Even the great Christian theo- 
logians 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 equally tenable that the world 
should have been " created from all eternity." And 
it is the general doctrine of scholasticism that the ex- 
pression "creation" only denotes the absolute de- 
pendence 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 un- 
accounted 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 ever- 
lasting 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 parsimony forbids us to assume the super- 
fluous. 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 exist- 
ence, 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 
is 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 uni- 
versally. 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 His life is directed 
wholly inward. Aristotle expressly calls it an " activity 
of immobility." More precisely, he tells us, it is activ- 
ity of thought, exercised unbrokenly and everlastingly 
upon the only object adequate to exercise God's contem- 
plation. Himself. His life is one of everlasting self- 
contemplation or " thinking of thought itself." Like all 
unimpeded exercise of activity, it is attended by pleas- 
ure, and as the activity is continuous, so the pleasure of 
it is continuous too. At our best, when we give our- 
selves up to the pure contemplative activity of scientific 


thought or aesthetic 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 un- 
troubled 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 dilexU mundutn^ 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 mediaeval church to have denied the re- 
surrection of the body.* The combination of Aris- 
totle'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. 

Kor 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 im- 
bued 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." 

* Because in the Pkaedo he makes Socrates speak of the 
"saints " as living "wholly freed from the body." 



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 dis- 
advantage, 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 As- 
tronomy probably originated in the Academy. Aris- 
totle, 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 treat- 


ing the so-called "four elements" as ultimately un- 
analysable forms of matter, though Plato had not only 
observed that so far from being the ABC {stoicheia 
or eleinenta^ 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 con- 
flicts 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 Alcmaeon 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 

* Plato does not even claim to be the author of the doctrine, 
«'hich he ascribes to the Pythagoreans of the age of Socrates. 


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, inti- 
mated by the very etymology of the word " Nature " 
(physisy connected with phyesthai, to grow, to be 
born, as natura is with nasci), is that " what is by 
Nature" is bom 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 con- 
stituent 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, pro- 
cesses 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 spon- 
taneous 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 


* Even the "element8,"accordingto Aristotle, exhibit "spon- 
taneity." Earth e.g. spontwneoualy falls dowmoards, fire and air 
rise uptoards. 


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 modem 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 naif. 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 immov- 
able 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 identifica- 
tion of determinate character with limitation, Aris- 
totle 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, etc., which can once more be divided. 
You will never by division come to "points," i.e. 
mere positions without magnitude of divisibility. i 
The treatment of time is more thoughtful. Time ifl 3 
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 difierent and incom- 
mensurate kinds, change of place, change of colour, 
etc. ; but to take up time is common to all these 
forms of process. And time is not the same as 
motion. For there are difierent 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 Grod, it 
follows that this most universal of movements must 
be absolutely uniform. Of what precise kind can 
such a movement be 1 As the source of the move- 
ment 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 im- 
mediately stimulated to motion by God's presence to 
it, must be mechanically simple. Now Aristotle, 
mistakenly, held that there are two forms of move- 
ment 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 move- 
ment 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 alter- 
nation of day and night as the effect of such a 
revolution of the whole universe round an axis pass- 
ing 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 com- 
binations 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 mediaeval Church these 
pure forms or intelligences which originate the move- 
ments of the various planetary spheres are naturally 
identified with angels. It is e.g. to the angelic in- 
telligences that " move " the heaven of Venus, which 
comes third in order counting outward from the 
earth, that Dante addresses his famous Canzone, 
Voi cK intendendo il terzo del movete. The mediaeval 
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 im- 
agining 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 com- 
binations of epicycles and eccentrics the mediaeval 
astronomers contrived to reduce the number of 
principal spheres to one for each planet, the arrange- 


ment we find in Dante. (2) Also real or supposed 
astronomical perturbations unknown to Aristotle led 
some mediaeval theorists to follow the scheme devised 
by Alphonso the Wise of Castile, 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 " intro- 
duced between the heaven of the fixed stars and the 
"first moved," to account for the imaginary pheno- 
menon of "trepidation."* In reading Dante, Shake- 
speare, 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. 

So far, the doctrine of the fifty-five "spheres" 
might be no more than a legitimate mathematical 
fiction, a convenient device for analysing the com- 
plicated 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 
♦ 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." 



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 kinematical 
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 hypo- 
thesis 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 funda- 
mental difference is that "terrestrial" or "ele- 
mentary" 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 con- 
sequently 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 coropounds. 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 con- 
sequences of more ultimate differences in the geomet- 
rical 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 roA^erts 
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 

* For a mediaeval " Aristotelian " explanation of the "face in 
the moon," see Dante Paradiso, ii. 46-105. 


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 opposi- 
tions, 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 respec- 
tively 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 com- 
mon with each of its neighbours, is 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 care- 
fully that for Aristotle, who denies the possibility of 
a vacuum, as for the mediaeval alchemists, condensa- 
tion does not mean a mere diminution of the distances 
between corpuscles which remain unchanged in char- 
acter, 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 

(1,994) 6 


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 wit' 
gravity were well known, no one introduced th 
notion of weight to account for them. The differem 
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 riiust 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 explanation. 

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 " down- 
ward." 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" a body is simply 
quiescent; 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 sur- 
rounded 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 tends to move perpendicularly 
upwards to its place, or it may be above its proper 
place, and then it tends to move perpendicularly 
"down" until it reaches its place. Hence the two 
elements whose " proper place " is " below," earth and 
water, are absolutely heavy; those whose "proper 
place " is " above," air and fire, are light. It was this 
supposed real distinction between motion " up " and 
motion " down " which made it so hard for the con- 




temporaries of Galileo to understand that an in 
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 inter- 
esting point is the distinction between " perfect " an 
" imperfect " animals. " Perfect " animals are thoi 
which can only be reproduced sexually. Aristot 
held, however, that there are some creatures, ev( 
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 psy- 
chology is therefore, for Aristotle, a branch of Physics. 
To undei-stand his treatment of psychological ques- 




tions we need bear two things in mind. (1) Psyche 
or "soul" means in Greek more, and less, than "con- 
sciousness " does to us. Consciousness is a relatively 
late and highly developed manifestation of the prin- 
ciple which the Greeks call "soul." That principle 
shows itself not merely in consciousness but in the 
whole process of nutrition and growth and the adap- 
tation 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 philos- 
ophy 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 defini- 
tion 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 

* In particular the importance of self -consciousness is a dis- 
covery of the Neo-Platonist Plotinus. 


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, sight 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^H 
"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 "pre- 
sence" of soul is only a first step in the progress 
towards fullness of life. This is why Aristotle calls 
the soul the Ji^'st entelechy of the living body. The 
full and final entelechy is the life of intelligence and 
character actively functioning. 

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" con- 
comitant 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 insepa- 
rable. 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 de- 
veloped. 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 life- 
less, 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 cogni- 
tion, 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.* 

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. 

Ai'istotle's definition of sense-perception is that it 
is a "capacity for discerning" or distinguishing be- 

* Cf. Dante's "Fatti non foste a viver come bniti, 

Ma per seguir virtute e conoscenza " 

— that is, to follow practical [virtute] and speculative [conoscenza) 


tween "the sensible qualities of things." His con- 
ception 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 repro- 
duced 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 be- 
come wcux although the red thing I am looking at is 
a piece of red wcux. The eye remains a thing com- 
posed 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. CThus 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 Aris- 



totle this process of "assimilation" always requires 
the presence of a " medium." If an object is in im- 
mediate 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 perce^Dtion. 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 per- 
ception 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, etc., 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 samfie 
ratios in our sense-organs, the establishment of the 
" right proportion " in us. That this " right propor- 
tion " 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 per- 
cipient organ itself, when in a state of quiescence, 
should possess none of the qualities which can be in- 


duced 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 per- 
ceiving is just that special transition from the potential 
to the actual which results in making the organ for 
the time being actually oi the same quality as the object. 
The Common Sensibles and the Common Sense- 
organ. — Every sense has a range of qualities con- 
nected 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 
characters 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 per- 
ceives hy 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 in- 
tellectual 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 appre- 
hending 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-per- 


ception 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 sensa- 
tion-processes. Sleeping and waking and the ex- 
periences 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 tlie phrase sensus communis 
to mean tactful sympathy, the feeling of fellowship 
with our kind on which the Stoic philosophers laid so ^m 
much stress.) ^| 

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 truth is achieved with greater 
and greater success until it culminates in the appre- 
hension 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 rela- 
tion 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 pro- 
cess 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 under- 
stands — 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 modem empiricists in holding that " uni- 
versals" really exist "in" things, and are the links 
of connection between them, he agrees with the em- 
piricist that knowledge is not the resultant of a com- 
bination 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 appre- 
hends. 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 dow^H 
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 natu- 
ralistic 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 under- 
stands, 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 activiiy. . . . 
It has no intermivssion 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 inter- 
pretation was disputed even among the philosopher's 
personal disciples. 

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 hsid 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 enlight- 
ened 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 Roshd) 
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 cen- 
tury in general read Aristotle through the eyes of 
Averroes, "^Ae Commentator," as St. Thomas calls 
him, " Averrois che il gran commento feo," as Dante 

(1,994) 7 


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 hurtmn in- 
telligence. 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." Aristotle 
had said of it that it is the only thing in us which 
is not contributed by our parents, but comes "from 
outside." In Christian theology this becomes the 
doctrine that the " rational soul " is directly created 
by God. 




Hitherto we have been concerned with the specu- 
lative 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 under- 
standing 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 prescriptions which will effect a 
cure in all cases, but are content with general direc- 
tions 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. Success- 
ful 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 poli- 
tics, 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 com- 
munity. Among the other professions and arts which 
make the materials the statesman employs, the pro- 
fession of the educator stands foremost. The states- 
man 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 1 
Aristotle answers that as far as the mere name is con- 
cerned, there is a general agreement to call the best 
life, Eudaimonia, H appine ss. But the real problem 
is one of fact. What knicT^of life deserves to be called 
happiness 1 Plato had laid it down that the happy 
life must satisfy threfLHo nditions . It must be desir- 
able for i ts own sake , it must be sufficient of itself to ' ^ 
^ia|istX-^' ^^^ ^* must be t he life a w i se man would 
'prefer to any other. The question is,' W hat general 
~fofmTila" can we fin3 which will define the life that 
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'^efficientiy, but slntin^ life can be manifested 
at HiHereht 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 
acti^aJi fe in accord!~ wltTriexcelIe'nce, or if there Sre^ 
"more forms oi excellence than one , in accord with the 
bestand completest of them"; and we mugTadd ''in' 
aoraiplete life*^To ^Eow* 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 vigor- 
ous 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 advan- 
tages of fortune must be presupposed. We caimot 
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 crush- 


mg 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 con- 
ditions 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 ex- 
cellence, 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 lifa 
ThfiJiapjgWife for man is a life of consciaus-i^llewiHg- 
ofja rula To live it well, then, you need to know 
whaFtKe 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 un- 
ruly — 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 good- 
ness of intellect and goodness of character (moral 
goodness), the word character being used for the com- 
plex of tempers, feelings, and the affective side of 
human nature generally. In education goodness of 
character has to be produced by training and dis- 
cipline 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 good- 
ness 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 im- 
pulses. 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 dis- 
play 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 endur- 
ance, 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 un- 
fairly, profligately, or like a coward. When habitua- 
tion b»s brought about this result the moral excel- 
lences 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 character. 
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 tlie 
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 feel- 
ings. 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 spon- 
taneous 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 ''^^|{ 
settled condition of the soul which wills or chooses^^B 
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." ^|l 

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. Good- 
ness 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 
w^hich 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 taking 
a yearly holiday, 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 accord- 
ing 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 deter- 
mined 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 good- 
ness of character as a preliminary condition of good- 
ness of intellect or judgment in moral matters. 
Finally, if we ask by what rule the mean is deter- 
mined, the answer will be that the rule is the judg- 
ment of the legislator who determines what is the 


right mean by his knowledge of the conditions 
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 ybrcema/6«^e. (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 depraved. 

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 

} on^l 


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 efiicient 
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 im- 
portant 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 

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 Natura 
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 prac- 
tical 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 con- 
nected with the general rule that 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 con- 
ception 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 judg- 
ment in virtue of which he sees correctly that par- 
ticular acts ai-e expressions of this good for man. 
This, then, is what we mean by practical wisdom. 


So far, then, it would seem that the best Kfe 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 in- 
telligent 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 exist- 
ence 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 aesthetic 


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 

It is from this doctrine that mediaeval Christianity 
derives its opposition between the vita contemplativa 
and vita activa and its preference for the former, though 
in the mediaeval 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 — 
Rachel 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 aspira- 
tions of humanity. Mankind, he urges, have never 
existed at all as isolated individuals. Some rudi- 
mentary 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 associa- 
tion 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 com- 
munities pool their resources, and surround them- 
selves 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 organi- 
sation, 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 

(1,994) 8 


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 voca- 
tion, 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 quali- 
fication 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 condi- 
tions 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 com- 
paratively 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 degrada- 
tion 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. As 
against social revolutionaries who regard all slavery 
as wrong, Aristotle holds that it would certainly be 
wrong if it meant the condemnation of the slave to 
a worse life than the best of which he is capable. But 
it does not really mean this. Non-Greeks, "bar- 
barians," do not really possess the capacity for being 
their own masters or for living either the life of the 
civilised man of affairs or that of the student. They 
attain the highest mental and moral development of 
which they are capable, not when left in their native 
" barbarism," but when they occupy the position of 
servants in a civilised Greek society. A Thracian 
who is the slave of a decent and kindly Greek master 
is living a worthier life than a Thracian who runs 
wild on his "native heath." It is thus really for his 
own good and for his own happiness that he should 
make the best of himself; he is not wronged by 
losing a " freedom " of which he is incapable of mak- 
ing the proper use. Much in the same way evan- 
gelical Protestants used at one time to defend negro 
slavery in our own colonies by the plea that the slave 
got opportunities of salvation which he could not 
have enjoyed as a free heathen in his native Africa. 

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 politi- 
cal 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 funda- 
mental distinction between a Greek oligarchy and a 
Greek democracy was that the former was govern- 
ment 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 citizen- 
ship, 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 independ- 
ence 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 highroad 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 agricul- 
tural 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 further. 

Thus Aristotle's political ideal is that of a small 
but leisured and highly cultivated aristocracy, with- 
out 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 re- 
produce 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 in which political power is in the 
hands of the " middle " classes. Of course a practi- 
cal 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 per- 
formances. 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 char- 
acter 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 " theo- 
retical 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 in- 
jurious, 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 look- 
ing on at the lessons of its elders. The real work 
of school education is to begin at seven and not 

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 com- 
mercial 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 pro- 
fession 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 "profes- 
sional" 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 em- 
ployed, 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 character. 

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 revolu- 
tionary 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 phi- 
losophy of fine art. Plato had in the Republic pro- 
posed to expel florid, languishing, or unduly exciting 
forms of music not only from the schoolroom, but 
from life altogether, on the ground of their unwhole- 
some tendency to foster an unstable and morbid 
character in those who enjoy them. Por 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 " pur- 
gative." 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 emo- 
tional 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 body. 

Now it was a well-known fact, observed in con- 
nection 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 excite- 
ment 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 accus- 
tomed 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 Aris- 
totle's chief special directions, but quite correctly 
divined that his lectures were meant to be an actual 
Yade Mecum for the dramatist, deliberately con- 
structed 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 scene 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 works : — 

E. Zaller. — Aristotle and the Earlier Peripatetics. English 
translation in 2 vols, by B. F. C. Costelloe and J. H. 
Muirhead. London. Longmans & Co. 

*E. Wallace. — Outlijies of the Philosophy of Aristotle. Cam- 
bridge 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 Predecessors. {Metaphysics^ 
Bk. L, translated with notes, &c.) Chicago. Open 
Court Publishing Co. 

E.. D. Hicks. — Aristotle de Anima. (Greek text, English 
translation. Commentary.) Cambridge University 

*D. P. Chase.— TVie Ethics of Aristotle. Walter Scott Co. 

*J. Burnet. — Aristotle on Education. (English translation of 
Ethics, Bks. L-III. 5, X. 6 to end; Politics, VII. 17, 
VIII.) Cambridge University Press, 

*B. Jowett. — The Politics of Aristotle. Oxford. Clarendon 

*I. By water. — Aristotle on the Art of Poetry. (Greek text, 
English translation. Commentary.) Oxford. Claren- 
don Press. 


J. I. Beare and G. T. Ross. — The Works of Aristotle trans- 
lated into English^ Pt. I. {Parva NaturcUia, the 
minor psychological works.) Oxford. Clarendon 

J. I. Beare. — Greek Theories of Elementary Cognition from 
Alcmaeon 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 G. T. Ross. 



" We have nothing but the highest praise for these httle books, and no 
e who examines them will have anything else." — Westminster Gazette. 


The Foundations of Science . 
Embryology— The Beginnings of Life . 


Zoologry : The Study of Animal Life . 

Botanjr: The Modern Study of Plants. 


The Structure of the Earth 

Evolution .... 

Heredity .... 

Inorganic Chemistry 

Organic Chemistry . 

The Principles of Electricity 

Radiation .... 

The Science of the Stars 

The Science of Light 


Hypnotism and Self-Education 

The Baby: A Mother's Book by a Mother 

By W. C. D.Whetham, M.A., F.R.S. 

By Prof. Gerald Leighton, M.D. 

By Prof. W. D. Henderson, M.A. 
/By Prof. E. W. MacBride, M.A., 
(. F.R.S. 

By M. C. Stopes,D.Sc.,Ph.D.,F.L.S. 

By W. E. Carnegie-Dickson, M.D. 

By Prof. T. G. Bonney, F.R.S. 

By E. S. Goodrich, M.A., F.R.S. 

By J. A. S. Watson, B.Sc. 

By Prof. E. C. C. Baly, F.R.S. 

By Prof. J. B. Cohen, B.Sc, F.R.S. 

By Norman R. Campbell, M.A. 

By P. Phillips, D.Sc. 

By E. W. Maunder, F. R.A.S. 

By P. Phillips, D.Sc. 

By R, G. K. Lempfert, M.A. 

By A. M. Hutchison, M.D. 

By a University Woman. 

Youth and Sex— Dangers and Safe- \ By Mary Scharlieb, M.D., M.S 
' " ~ ■ "■ ' / F. Arthur Sibly 

Davidson, M.B., 

gTiards for Boys and Girls 
Marriage and Motherhood— A Wife's \ By H. S. 

Handbook / F.R.C.S.E. 

Lord Kelvin By A Russell, D.Sc, M.I. E.E. 

Huxley By Prof. G. Leighton, M.D. 

Sir William Huggins and Spectro-\ByE. W. Maunder, F.R.A.S., of the 

scopic Astronomy / Roj^I Observatory, Greenwich. 

Emanuel Swedenborg . . . . By L. B. De Beaumont, D.Sc. 
"chinglT°°; '^^'^ Philosophy of}ByH.WildonCarr. 
Psychology' .**.!!!! By H. J. Watt, M.A, Ph.D., D.Phil. 
Ethics ByCanonRashdall, D.Litt., F.B.A. 

Kant's Philosophy 
Christianity and Christian Science 
Roman Catholicism .... 
The Oxford Movement . 

The Bible and Criticism . 

The Growth of Freedom . 

Bismarck and Origin of German Empire 

Oliver Cromwell 

Mary Queen of Scots .... 
Cecil Rhodes, 1853-1902 .... 
JuHus^Caesar : Soldier. Statesman, Em- 1 g'^ ^^^^^ Hardinge 

/By Prof.F.J.C. Hearnshaw, M.A 

•I LL.D. 

. By E. O'Neill, M.A. 

By A. D. Lindsay, M.A., Oxford. 
, By M. C. Sturge. 

By H. B. Coxon. 
, By Wilfrid Ward. 
/By W. H. Bennett, M.A., D.D., 
• \ LittD.,&W. F. Adeney, M.A.,D.D. 

By H. W. Nevinson, 

By Prof. F. M. Powicke. 

By Hilda Johnstone, M.A. 

By E. O'Neill, M.A 

By Ian D. Colvin. 

England in the Making . 

England in the Middle Ages . 
The Monarchy and the People 
The Industrial Revolution . 
Empire and Democracy . . 
Women's Suffrage , , , 
A History of Greece , , 
Shakespeare .... 

Wordsworth By Rosaline Masson. 

Pure Gold-A Choice ofLyricsft Sonnets By H. C. O'Neill. 

Francis Bacon By Prof. A. R. Skemp, M.A, 

The Brontes By Flora Masson. 

Carlyle By L. Maclean Watt. 

Dante By A. G. Ferrers Howell. 

By W. T. Waugh, M.A. 

By Arthur Jon«s, M.A 

By G. S. Veitch, M.A., Litt.D. 

By M. G. Fawcett, LL.D. 

By E. Fearenside, B.A. 

By Prof. C. Herford, Litt.D. 

THE FHOPLE'S BOOKS— (Con/inMd).m\ 


58. Charles Dickens By Sidney Dark. 

60. A Dictionary of Synonyms . , . By Austin K. Gray, B. A. 

61. Home Rule By L. G. Redmond Howard. 

62. Practical Astronomy .... By H. Macpherson, Jr., F.R.A 

63. Aviation By S. F. Walker, R.N., M.I.E. 

64. Navigation By William Hall, R.N., B.A. 

65. Pond Life By E. C Ash, M.R.A.C. 

66. Dietetics By Alex. Bryce, M.D., D.P.H. 

67. Aristotle By Prof. A. E.Taylor, M. A., F.I 

68. Friedrich Nietzsche . . . . By M. A. Mugge. 

69. Eucken : Philosophy of Life . . . By A. J. Jones, M.A., B.Sc., Pt 

70. Experimental Psychology of Beauty . By C. W. Valentine, B.A. 

71. The Problem of Truth . . . . By H. Wildon Carr. 

72. Church of England By Rev. Canon Masterman. 

73. Anglo-Catholicism By A. E. Manning- Foster. 

74. Hopeand Mission of the Fr-ee Churches By Rev. Edward bhillito, M.A 

75. Judaism By Ephraim Levine, M.A. 

76. Theosophy By Annie Besant. 

78. Wellington and Waterloo ... By Major G. W. Redway. 

79. Mediaeval Socialism .... By Bede Jarrett, O.P., M.A. 

80. Syndicalism By J. H. Harley, M.A. 

82. Co-operation By Joseph Clayton. 

83. Insurance as a Means of Investment . By W. A. Robertson, F.F.A. 
85. A History of English Literature . . ByA.Conipton-Rickett,M.A, 

87. Charles Lamb By Flora Masson. 

88. Goethe By Prof. C. H. Herford, Litt. 

92. Training of the Child: A Parents' \ r>„ r- c«;tu. 

Manual |ByG. Spiller. 

93. Tennyson By Aaron Watson. 

94. The Nature of Mathematics . . By P. E. B. Jourdain, M.A. 

'=• *¥iifh„"SV/aferr"f*^'" .'""':} By Al=..„d=rOgilvi., B.Sc 

96. Gardening By A. Cecil Bartlett. 

97. Vegetable Gardening , . , . By J. S. Chisholm. 

98. Atlas of the World By J, Bartholomew, F.R.G.S. 

loi. Luther and the Reformation . , By Leonard D. Agate, M.A. 

103. Turkey and the Eastern Question . By John Macdonald, M.A 

104. Architecture (108 Illustrations) . . By Mrs. Arthur Bell. 

105. Trade Unions By Joseph Clayton. 

106. Everyday Law By J. J. Adams. 

107. Robert Louis Stevenson . . .By Rosaline Masson. 

108. Shelley .By Sydney Waterlow, M.A. 

110. British Birds By F. B. Kirkman, B.A. 

111. Spiritualism By J- Arthur Hill. 

XX2. Kindergarten Teaching at Home . { %^^^,,%';^lr °';^'' "" 

113. Schopenhauer .... 

114. The Stock Exchange . 

115. Coleridge 

116. The Crusades .... 

117. Wild Flowers (209 Illustrations) 

118. Principles of Logic 

119. Foundations of Religion 

120. A History of Rome. . ^ . 

121. Land, Industry, and Taxation 

122. Canada 

123. Tolstoy 

124. Greek Literature . 

125. The Navy of To-day 

128. A French Self-Tutor 

129. Germany . 

130. Treitschke 

131. The HohenzoUerns. • 
X32. Belgium .... 
133. The British Army , 

By Margrieta Beer, M.A. 

By J. F. Wheeler. 

By S. L. Bei&usan. 

By M. M. C. Calthrop. 

By Macgregor Skene, B.Sc. 

By Stanley Williams, B.A. 

By Stanley A. Cook, M.A. 

By A. F. Giles, M.A.(Edin. &Ox 

By Fredk. Verinder. 

By Ford Fairford. 

By L. Winstanley, M.A. 

By H. J. W. Tillyard, M.A. 

By Percival H islam. 

By W. M. Conacher. 

By W. T. Waugh, M.A. 

By M. A. Miigge. 

By A. D. Innes. 

By A. W. Evans. 

By Captain A. H. Atteridge. 





cop. 2 

Taylor, Alfred Edward 
Aristotle Rev. ed