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Priority in Aristotle's Metaphysics by Michail Peramatzis

Priority in Aristotle's Metaphysics

Part of the Oxford Aristotle Studies Series Series


Priority in Aristotle's Metaphysics by Michail Peramatzis

Michail Peramatzis presents a new interpretation of Aristotle's view of the priority relations between fundamental and derivative parts of reality, following the recent revival of interest in Aristotelian discussions of what priority consists in and how it relates existents. He explores how in Aristotle's view, in contradistinction with (e.g.) Quinean metaphysical views, questions of existence are not considered central. Rather, the crucial questions are: what types of existent are fundamental and what their grounding relation to derivative existents consists in. It is extremely important, therefore, to return to Aristotle's own theses regarding priority and to study them not only with exegetical caution but also with an acutely critical philosophical eye. Aristotle deploys the notion of priority in numerous levels of his thought. In his ontology he operates with the notion of primary substance. His Categories, for instance, confer this honorific title upon particular objects such as Socrates or Bucephalus, while in the Metaphysics it is essences or substantial forms, such as being human, which are privileged with priority over certain types of matter or hylomorphic compounds (either particular compound objects such as Socrates or universal compound types such as the species human). Peramatzis' chief aim is to understand priority claims of this sort in Aristotle's metaphysical system by setting out the different concepts of priority and seeing whether and, if so, how Aristotle's preferred prior and posterior items fit with these concepts.


Few concepts are more important to Aristotle's Metaphysics than that of priority ... book-length study of priority in the Metaphysics is, then, long overdue, and Michail Peramatzis's detailed and intriguing new book is particularly welcome. Journal of the History of Philosophy a major contribution to Aristotelian literature...There is no doubt that Peramatziss book is bound to become indispensable reading for anybody interested in Aristotles metaphysics. Peramatzis provides a sophisticated set of detailed arguments which are clearly expressed and extremely engaging. This book will be of great interest and value to scholars of Aristotles Metaphysics as well as to scholars working in the area of contemporary metaphysics. Rebekah Johnston, Philosophy in Review The topic of priority in Aristotle's philosophy has not received the scholarly attention it deserves. Priority in Aristotle's Metaphysics is a complex, detailed contribution to the scholarly literature that will help to focus attention on the topic ... his scope is admirably wide and philosophically ambitious. Charlotte Witt, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

About the Author

Michail Peramatzis studied for his BA in Philosophy and Classics at the University of Athens, Greece, and his MA in Philosophy & History of Science at the Athens National Technical University and the University of Athens. From 2002 until 2006 he studied at Christ Church, Oxford University, for his DPhil. He secured a four-year post-doctoral research position at Christ Church as a Junior Research Fellow, during which he published articles on Aristotle's notion of Priority in Substance and views of essence and predication. He is now a Lecturer in Philosophy at the School of Politics, International Studies & Philosophy, in Queen's University, Belfast.

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Book Info

Publication date

11th August 2011


Michail Peramatzis

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Oxford University Press


342 pages


Western philosophy: Ancient, to c 500
Philosophy: metaphysics & ontology



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