By James G. Lennox
In at the components of Animals, Aristotle develops his systematic ideas for organic research and clarification, and applies these ideas to give an explanation for why different animals have the several elements that they do. This new translation and statement displays the subtlety and element of Aristotle's reasoning.
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Additional info for Aristotle: On the Parts of Animals I-IV (Clarendon Aristotle Series)
Asclepius, who quotes Alexander almost verbatim up to homoios aition, adds hen de, "but one' (op. cit. Hayduck 121,4), apparently meaning that there is in effect only one cause, not an infinite number. 79 152,3, mekhri ton eskhatou (down to the last) is somewhat misleading, because it suggests a movement downwards rather than the upward progression that is now in question. But Alexander means that our inquiry begins with the effect now before us and works back to discover the cause, as he explains more fully at 17ff.
62 149,25ff. Aristotle also deals with the impossibility of an infinite regress in the 28 On Metaphysics 2 a series if, in the case of a cause taken from each kind of cause, one were, as he proceeded, to keep naming successively some other cause, so that in the case of the material (hulikos) cause, for instance, this particular thing would always have matter that possesses some other matter, and this latter would again have 30 another, and so on ad infinitum,, [with the result that] there would be no ultimate matter which is no longer from matter.
153,6. 60 149,16. Alexander says epistemS, and his description of this kind of knowledge as dia tes tdn aitidn gndseds might suggest that episteme has here its technical sense of scientific knowledge, but the proper description of demonstrative knowledge is to say that it is dia gndsin aitidn (146,11), so that here he means only that knowledge of the first causes is the subject-matter of metaphysics. 61 149,23, ten arkMn. Here and at 151,17 below, it seems best to take this adverbial accusative as enforcing the negative: 'not even to start with', although it could be argued that in the present context, explicitly concerned with the question of the beginning of a causal series, ten arkhtn means 'at the beginning*, a sense it clearly has at 25 below.