Aristotle, Metaphysics Λ Introduction, Translation, Commentary A Speculative Sketch devoid God


The present text is the revised and corrected English translation of the book published in German by the Lang Verlag, Bern 2008. Unfortunately the text still has some minor flaws (especially in the Index Locorum) but they do not concern the main thesis or the arguments. It will still be the final version, especially considering my age. It is among the most widespread and the least questioned convictions that in Metaphysics Lambda Aristotle presents a theology which has its basis in a metaphysics of substance. Doubts about theological interpretation are beginning to stir in a growing number of publications, but nevertheless the majority of research literature, compendiums and histories of philosophy argues within this frame. A closer look at the facts reveals that this conviction has no basis in the text. Quite the contrary it is based on a reception with theological interests. It arised over centuries, starting from Patristic times and the Middle Ages; it was influenced by Neoplatonic texts as the Liber de Causis or the Theologia Aristotelis, texts for a long time considered as original Aristotelian books. And, if you read not translations but the Greek text, you see that the word 'god' occurs much less than in a theological book should be. In some translations we find more occurences of that word, and especially in French, Italian, English translations some words as le Bien, l'Intelligence etc. are written with capitals to inticate that it is about god. To make it even more clear, we read often the term 'First Mover' or 'Unmoved Mover' as an other name for god, but this expression is never used by Aristotle. So the reader has the impression that Aristotle speaks continuously about god. In addition, in the present book you will find arguments which clean up with the outdated concept of substance in the Aristotelian text, a concept which was developed for quite other problems than Aristotle had, namely theolgical ones. And, if there is no substance, there is no corresponding metaphysics of substance and no theology or onto-theology. If substance, metyphysics, theology play no role in Metaphysics Lambda, what else is its content and aim? That is not so difficult to say because Aristotle says it sufficiently clear in his first sentence, περὶ οὐσίας ἡ θεωρία: our inquiry is about being; its aim is to develop the Frage nach dem Sein and to state a speculative answer: being is noesis, Sein ist Gewahren.

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