How Aristotle’s Metaphysics Fails Is Strange

How does Aristotle’s Metaphysics fail?

How Aristotle’s Metaphysics fails is one thing philosophers may refuse to consider as it brings a newfound paradigm in the concept of it-ness of being.

Metaphysics—Aristotle’s conceived “first philosophy” and one of his significant works nowadays called one of the branches of Philosophy that deals with ontological arguments by abstracting axioms, formulating principles and theories, making suppositions (a lot of it), and positions about his primary subject of concern, the “being qua being”—that is, what is it in existence that which exists and what is that which exists that what makes it exists that exists.

Simply put, Aristotle’s first philosophy is the ontology of ontology that he attempted to bring it on in the context of the existence of being and being existent here in the material world or this world of sense experience.

This essay attempts to philosophically review, as succinctly as possible, Aristotle’s Metaphysics while making critical commentaries on it.

Furthermore, this student’s essay prefers the usage of “existence” to “being” as the student conveniently interprets the fundamental subject of concern of Aristotle’s primary argument of his work, that is, to philosophize being qua being that in essence, in Aristotelian conception of that word, speaks of a universal yet independent characterization, classification, identification, and ordering, or taxonomizing of what is it in it that exists, in which, that which exists is what it is, and what it is that is—or simply to say, existence, the ontological aspects of existence that is beyond human grasps.

Being qua being as the primary subject

Keep in mind that being for Aristotle is in a general sense, as he says that it can be expressed in many things. As to my understanding of the concept of the primary thesis of Aristotelian metaphysics of existence, let me attempt to present it simplistically this way:

Let a as the X it, which Aristotle attempts to taxonomize universally and yet independently.

Then, let
a = {1, 0, ∞}.

Or anything is what it is in a thing (a) that is a thing that makes the thing a thing.

If 1a + 0a + ∞a = X, as according to Aristotle’s view that there is an it identifiable from the it where it is in it.

1a + 0a + ∞a are elements, substances, and forms, and where X is it that is in it of 1a + 0a + ∞a.

If 1a + 0a + ∞a is hylomorphic, that is, in the simplest understanding refers to a compound of the individual 1a, 0a, and ∞a, then, supposedly,

X = {a, ∞}, or any of the combinations of {1, 0, ∞} to infinity.
{a, ∞} = {1, 0, ∞}, and X = Xa.

However, in Aristotle’s principle of non-contradiction (PNC), this would also mean,

X = ~X or Xa = ~Xa.

Or the it is also not necessary the it that makes it it.

(X = ~X) + (Xa = ~Xa) in a hylomorphic interpretation under PNC.

Note that Aristotle’s PNC is absolute. What I meant by absolute is that there is no way anyone else can disagree.

As Aristotle puts it that PNC is a necessary truth. Meaning, if one attempts to disagree on it, one is already attempting to agree on it. Therefore, everyone must agree on it; otherwise, the discussion or argument ceases right at the moment.

Now, in the equation above, it shows that there could be no solution to draw from it unless there must be a standard derivative or an identifiable factor, for example, an integer to find the value of either X or Xa; otherwise, our efforts to find the solution from the equation renders null and void or irrational or cannot be determined.

Applying the concept of Aristotle’s Metaphysics on taxonomizing the it in a universal sense yet independent from the it itself, Aristotle’s search for being qua being may result in nullity, void, or indeterminate. This would lead us in hindsight as to how Aristotle’s Metaphysics fails for one thing.

Therefore, how Aristotle’s Metaphysics fails is anchored on his failure to provide a determinate explanation about his primary subject being qua being—which is also what emphatically meant for metaphysics after all. And how Aristotle’s Metaphysics fails, however, achieves one significant journey worth pondering—Aristotle’s journey to his first philosophy achieves the very meaning of existence, the being qua being—the void.

Ousia—the heart of inquiry

What is the true being?

This is the central focus of Aristotle’s Metaphysics that leads to the complexity of the perceived simplest question. Aristotle attempts to magnify and separate the it-ness of essence, character, and substance.

In his Categories, he further claims that these things are not only independent and unique but also dependent, except for the essence, the ousia of being. But Aristotle could not somehow define the exact it-ness of the essence, and this may lead to further confusion as essence and substance are independent and separable or these things are just mere names, suppositions, or mere descriptive words call it semantic out of inexactness.

And this taxonomizing thing I find useless with regard to the search for the fundamental answer to the search for the fundamental question about knowledge on being qua being though others will find it useful as to the application of this knowledge to other disciplines, and even more utilitarian in understanding it as an Aristotelian methodology in solving problems.

As Aristotle finds it deeper to provide a more determinate explanation of substance is it universal or unique or distinct from individuality, the problem gets worse. And how Aristotle’s Metaphysics fails? Aristotle cannot be able to distinguish himself, obviously, whether substance and essence are different in a true being. He continued to attempt in finding the role of substance in his primary subject as if Aristotle is studying it through the lens of his Physics.

Why consider the role of a thing in a thing in an ontological proof and discourse? This is strange though Aristotle wants to find a relationship between things that can be of help in further postulating about his primary subject, being qua being. ▲

____________. Metaphysics by Aristotle. Translated by W.D. Ross. The Internet Classics Archive. Accessed December 22, 2022.

Cohen, S. Marc and C. D. C. Reeve. (2021). “Aristotle’s Metaphysics”. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edward N. Zalta (ed.).

Gottlieb, Paula. (2019). “Aristotle on Non-contradiction“. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Accessed December 22, 2022.

Heather Wilburn, Heather. An Introduction to Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Open Library. Accessed December 22, 2022.

Tredennick, H. Aristotle The Metaphysics. Internet Archive. Accessed December 22, 2022.

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