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St Augustine

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The relation of Being and the Good in Aristotle

This paper is devoted to an analysis of thinking the entwining relation between being and the good in Aristotle. For Aristotle being is said in many ways. In Metaphysics he searches for the answer to ambiguity of being by pointing that different senses of being refer to primary kind of being, substance. It is the task of first philosophy to search for universal grounds. By delineating the question of being qua being, first philosophy as a kind of science, seeks for its own principles. The science which begins with that-it-is the knowledge is bound to perception. If all scientific knowing depends on knowledge of some set of first principles, the question is clearly how we know these first principles?

In Aristotle the search for the most fundamental principles of being qua being begins from sensible substance, however for him it is impossible to find the universal principles without a reference to non-sensible substance which by Catriona Hanley, is named God. The presence of God, or non-sensible substance, makes the science of being in Aristotle founded in ontology that depends on teleological search of the first unmovable being.

The relation of being and the good is brought near in Metaphysics, Book Lambda (Ð"‹) in which Aristotle poses the question whether the good is a separate entity or a mere order of things which constitute it?, or rather as Michael Frede phrases it "whether the good which accounts for the goodness of the sensible world is something antecedent to, and separate from sensible substances and the sensible world, or something immanent in the sensible world?" What is the good? What does it mean for Aristotle to become good? Is there a dialectical movement from the unmovable being Ð'- the substance which is actualized in a sensible being of which the potentiality yet points to the good? Can the good, with the happiness being the highest human good, be said to be of the same nature as the non-sensible, unmovable substance? What is the teleology, if any, of being? Is it to arrive at the highest good? Is being doomed to be good?




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