The Place and Role of Book Delta in the Aristotelian Metaphysics

Jan Bigaj

It is commonly believed that Book V, which in fact is a dictionary of 30 terms, entered Aristotelian Metaphysics by chance and is out of place because it disrupts the fl ow of argumentation by artifi cially separating books IV and VI. W. D. Ross judges it to be „manifest intrusion” and „the outlying book”, while P. Natorp attributes its inclusion to an anonymous peripatetic also responsible for other incorrect editorial changes. Th e fact that this book was not taken into account in Book XI, which consists of rephrased contents from Books III, IV and VI, is supposed to be an argument for the incorrectness of the placement of Book V. H owever, the place of Book V turns out to be correct, and its role important, if we take into account that the edition of Metaphysics was carried out in two stages. Th e fi rst stage included Books III, IV, VI, and their paraphrases in the form of Book XI, as well as chapters 6–10 of Book XII. Book V was not present in this compilation, so no wonder that it was not paraphrased in Book XI. In the second edition, other new materials were added to Metaphysics. Th ey now compose Books VII, IX and X, and chapters 1–5 of Book XII. Th e lectures given there are based to a large extent on the dictionary forming Book V. Th ey expound some entries from the dictionary, such as ou)si/a, du/namiv, e[n.  No wonder that the dictionary itself was introduced into the work, but we don’t know when and by whom. A pparently, this dictionary belonged to important teaching materials oft en used by the Peripatetic teachers. Th e commentaries to some statements taken from there, sometimes critical, present in Books VII, IX and X seem to have been added by the teachers themselves. For instance, in Book VII, ch. 2 we read that a certain defi nition is „unclear” and leads to unacceptable consequences. Th e main topic of this article is a presentation of the connections between Books VII, IX and X and the entries from the Book V. Th e current place of this book is justifi ed by the fact that a signifi cant part of the subsequent Book VI is devoted to the problem of chance (sumbebhko/v), which is also the topic of the last entry of the dictionary. Books IV and VI, which were previously been closely connected, got separated by the inclusion of Book V. As a result the second shortest book of „Metaphysics” was created.


Keywords: etaphysics · pre-Metaphysics · editions of Metaphysics · Andronicus · peripatetic school · necessity – contingency · categories · essence · accidents · potential – actual · unity

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