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The Role of Aristotle’s Metaphysics 12.9

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Ch.9 of Metaph. 12 gives no support to the common view (against which I have argued elsewhere) that in ch.7 Aristotle identifies his Prime Mover not only as a god but also as an intellect. Rather, ch.9 approaches the divinity of intellect as a common belief (ἔνδοξον) from the Greek philosophical and poetic tradition (as at ch.7, 1072b23) that now requires dialectical testing. Here Aristotle initially establishes that there is a most active intellect (proposed ch.7, 1072b18–19: demonstrated ch.9, 1074b17–21, b28–9), and that it contemplates what is best (proposed loc. cit.: demonstrated ch.9, 1074b21–7). Thus ch.9 proceeds by deducing, as a new result, characteristics implying that this intellect is itself the Prime Mover, since its object, qua best, must be the god of ch.7, and divine intellect is essentially identical (1074b33–1074a5), and an indivisible unity (a5–10), with that object.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand, dougal.blyth@auckland.ac.nz

10.1163/24680974-02801005
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2016-05-03
2018-11-13

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