MÉTAPHYSIQUE Z 17
Keywords:Aristotle, Metaphysics, substance, cause, essence
This article provides a running commentary on Metaphysics Z 17. Aristotle in this chapter marks a new beginning to his discussion of substance, which takes up the entirety of Book Z, by focusing on substance as principle and cause, that is, as the cause of substances, which are intended as the realities belonging to the category of substance, for example, man. The article demonstrates that Aristotle’s resolves this issue by distinguishing between a composite item (that is, an attribute or predicate which belongs to a subject, such as a musical man) and a simple one (that is, an item considered in itself, such as a man). To do this, he applies the theory of explanation by cause, expounded in the Posterior Analytics II, and the theory of matter and form. In the case of simple beings, substance is shown to be a cause in the sense that it is the form which makes such a reality what it is and, therefore, properly speaking, its formal cause, which can be discovered inductively or by dialectical reasoning.