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ful Facts; against the Doctrine of Xenophanes, Zeno, and Gorgias ; on the Wind; on Physiognomy; Miscellaneous Problems; on the Doctrine of Nature. This last is the work which is usually known by the name of Aristotle's Physics ; and which professes to explain, not so much the properties of matter, as the metaphysical nature of time, place, motion, and the like abstractions.
The metaphysics are contained in fourteen books, which treat of Being, considered abstractly, of Deity, and of the Human Soul.
Aristotle's Logic, so called, consists of a number of distinct works. These are, the Categories or ten general Heads of Arrangement; the Explanation of Nouns and Verbs, a work which explains the philosophical principles of grammar; Analytics, including the doctrine of Syllogism and Demonstration ; Topics, or Common Places, from which Probable Arguments may be drawn ; and Sophistical Refutations, which teaches the art of replying to an antagonist. These logical treatises are usually published together, under the general title of the Organon of Aristotle, in allusion to which, Bacon gave the name of Novum Organum to his counter system of in
The pieces on mathematics which Aristotle has left, are an obscure, and probably incomplete, treatise on Incommensurables, and a book of questions in Mechanics.
His system of Ethics is contained in ten books to Nicomachus; seven to Eudemus; two entitled the Greater Morals; and a book on Virtue and Vice, which aims to define the seVeral virtues and vices.
His political writings consist of two books on Economics, and eight on Politics, or the Science of Government.
His Rhetoric comprises three books. His Poetic, as extant, is contained in a single book, though it was originally an extended treatise.
The following remarks on the present state of these several works, are from Krug's Encyclopædia of Philosophy :
“The Poetic is a mere fragment of a larger work. The
same is true of the Politics, which a learned Florentine nobleman has undertaken to restore by the addition of two books in the Greek language. On the other hand, the Ethics to Eudemus and the Lesser Rhetoric, dedicated to King Alexander, are probably spurious. The Metaphysics also neither received that title from Aristotle himself, nor could it have proceeded from his hands, with all its contents, and in its present state. Among the physical treatises, again, is probably found much that is spurious; e. g. the Botany, the tenth book of the History of Animals, the piece on the World, and the Physiognomy. The rest, however, particularly the Physics, strictly so called, and the treatise on the soul, are probably genuine. Lastly, the genuineness of the logical pieces is acknowledged, with the exception of the last part of the treatise on the Categories, which contains the doctrine of the so called Post-predicaments. These logical pieces taken together, have in later times received the appellation of the Aristotelian Organon, because they were regarded as an instrument in reference to all the other sciences; for which reason, also, the teachers of logic in the universities were called “Professores Organi.”
It may be doubled whether scholars, and Krug among the rest, have not carried their skepticism too far in regard to ihe genuineness and integrity of Aristotle's works. It has been customary to speak of them as singularly corrupt; and, by way at once of confirming the fact and explaining the reason, reference is made to the singular history of the Aristotelian manuscripts. The account appears first in Strabo's Geography, and then in Plutarch's life of Sylla ; whence it has found its way into nearly all the commentaries and histories of philosophy of a later date. It is concisely as follows: Aristotle left his literary property, consisting of his library and manuscripts to Theophrastus, his most illustrious pupil, and his successor in the Lyceum. Theophrastus again bequeathed them to his scholar, and perhaps near relative, Neleus, who carried them to his native city Scepsis, and left them with the rest of his property to his lawful heirs. They, being uneducated
men, kept them under lock and key, unused and neglected, till they heard that the king of Pergamus, within whose dominions they lived, was ransacking his kingdom for books to form a large library, when, fearing that the despot might seize upon their collection, they hid their books in a subterranean apartment, where they lay buried 130 years, “a prey to dampness and worms." Raised at length from their tomb, they were sold for a great sum to Apellicon of Athens, who, though an admirer of the Peripatetic school, was more an antiquarian than a philosopher, and a lover of books rather than a genuine scholar. Finding the manuscripts injured by time, he had them transcribed, and, with ill-judged industry, supplied by conjecture such passages as had been defaced, or had become illegible. History has not informed us what became of Aristotle's original manuscripts. But the copy made by A pellicon, together with his large and valuable library, was seized by Sylla in his conquest of Athens, and conveyed to Rome. Here it was found by Tyrannio, who, though a learned Greek, rather multiplied than diminished the errors and corruptions in the text, by employing incompetent amanuenses to take copies, which he suffered to pass out of his hands without proper correction.
Such is the eventful, not to say romantic, history of Aristotle's manuscripts. And now, if these mutilated and corrupted copies were the only extant sources of Aristotle's works, as Strabo and most of those who have copied the story from him, have gratuitously inferred, then there is good reason for skepticism in regard to them, and no wonder that there are in them some things hard to be understood! But while we are not disposed to deny the truth of the principal facts in this narrative, we do not, on the other hand, feel obliged to admit the justice of the inserence. It will be seen that this inference proceeds on the assumption that Aristotle's works were not published during his lifetime, but, existing only in the single manuscript in the Lyceum, were lost in that manuscript, and only recovered with it a century and a half after his death. Now we have the most decisive evidence that he began to publish during his first residence at Athens, while he was still connected with the Academy ; since Cephisodorus censures him as having done an act unworthy of a philosopher, in publishing a book of Proverbs, and implies in various ways, that this was not the only book which he had then given to the public. And in the interval between his leaving the Academy and establishing the Lyceum, we find Alexander complaining in a letter to Aristotle, that he had published his Esoteric, as well as his Exoteric Philosophy. But, admitting that his principal works were not published during his lifetime, but were intended to be the exclusive property of the Lyceum and its pupils, (a supposition, by the way, as inconsistent with the well known disposition of Aristotle, as with the well authenticated facts just mentioned) still it is utterly incredible, and not the less, but the more incredible on the above supposition, that the original manuscripts would have been allowed to pass out of the Lyceum, unless copies had been already taken and preserved. If the original manuscripts were the only copies in existence, Theophrastus would have bequeathed them, not to Neleus, but to Strabo, his successor in the Lyceum. Again, it rests on good authority that Aristotle's works were in the library at Alexandria in the days of Ptolemy Philadelphus; and though these must have shared the fate of that library, still the fact shows that there were copies in existence at the very time when the originals are affirmed to bave been buried at Scepsis. Finally, there are evidences too numerous to mention, which have been gleaned by recent German critics, and which justify them in the conclusion, that the works of Aristotle were actually read, during the period of their alleged inhumation, not only in the Lyceum, but by other philosophers and scholars.
It is not at all improbable, however, that when the original manuscripts were disinterred, and imperfect copies multiplied, they became the occasion of corrupting the copies derived from other sources. And it is impossible to decide how much, by this means, the edition now in use may have been
affected. It is admitted on all hands, that the received text demands the application of more enlightened and elaborate criticism, than has yet been bestowed upon it. At the same time, it is beginning to be acknowledged that the books of Aristotle, in their present state, are not the mass of corruptions and interpolations which literary skeptics have been ready to pronounce them to be.
As to the style of Aristotle, it is quite amusing, and not a little perplexing withal, to compare the encomiums which were lavished upon him by the ancients, with the severe animadversions of the moderns, and with the concise, clumsy, and jejune diction of his existing works. Cicero not only adverts to the ornaments of his style, and speaks of him as pouring forth a golden flood of eloquence, but he has preserved specimens of his writings that are quite rhetorical. He even wrote poetry in early life, though with what success does not so clearly appear. Quinctilian speaks of the sweetness of his style, as not less wonderful than his knowledge or his acuteness. We think it must be admitted, that sorne at least of those works which are lost, were composed in a more flowing and popular style, than any which are now extant. Perhaps the following from Krug's Lexicon is as satisfactory a solution of the difficulty, as we can arrive at:
“ The writings of Aristotle, like his spoken discourses, were partly exoteric and partly esoteric. According to an old expounder of Aristotle, (Ammonius Hermiae ad Aristot. Categ. fol. 2, 6,) the former, like Plato's dialogues, were composed in the form of conversations, while in the latter, the author spoke in his own person. The form of dialogue was in very common use among the philosophers of that day. It was also far better adapted to an exoteric discourse, than to an esoteric, which required to be strictly scientific, and ar ranged in logical order. And it is quite probable, in the nature of the case, that Aristotle may have used that form in his exoteric writings; if indeed Cicero has not expressly affirmed it in his letters to Atticus (IV. 16. XIII. 19.) But since not a single dialogue is found among the existing works of Aris