Aristotle - index for METAPHYSICA Book 1 Part 3

Original causes or first principles

Paragraph 1 Evidently we have to acquire knowledge of the original causes (for we say we know each thing only when we think we recognize its first cause), and causes are spoken of in four senses.
Paragraph 2 Of the first philosophers, then, most thought the principles which were of the nature of matter were the only principles of all things.
Paragraph 3 Yet they do not all agree as to the number and the nature of these principles.
Paragraph 4 Some think that even the ancients who lived long before the present generation, and first framed accounts of the gods, had a similar view of nature;
Paragraph 5 Anaximenes and Diogenes make air prior to water, and the most primary of the simple bodies, while Hippasus of Metapontium and Heraclitus of Ephesus say this of fire, and Empedocles says it of the four elements (adding a fourth - earth - to those which have been named);
Paragraph 6 Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, who, though older than Empedocles, was later in his philosophical activity, says the principles are infinite in number;
Paragraph 7 From these facts one might think that the only cause is the so-called material cause;
Paragraph 8 When these men and the principles of this kind had had their day, as the latter were found inadequate to generate the nature of things men were again forced by the truth itself, as we said, to inquire into the next kind of cause.

UPHOME HTML by RBJ created 1996/11/25 modified 2009/04/26