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§ 9. Being, Truth, Presence

Thus τὸ δὲ κυριώτατα ὂν ἀληθές ἢ ψεῦδος. What is going on here? The explicit theme is the ὂν (ὡς) ἀληθές. At the close of the properly central book of the Metaphysics, Aristotle takes up a topic from logic, i.e. a topic which he himself, earlier in E4, had explicitly excluded from the domain of first philosophy. It is thus immediately clear that this chapter is out of place and does not belong where we discover it. This is externally indicated by the fact that it stands at the end of the book. Therefore, although its overall content is indisputably Aristotelian, someone must have added it later. There is no difficulty in assuming this to be the case, for Aristotle's Metaphysics is not a continuously composed work but a collection of self-contained treatises which belong together because of their affiliated content. Furthermore, that this chapter on being-true cannot not belong to Θ, which concerns actuality as such, is quite clear from the fact that the ὂν ἀληθές, being as being-true, is introduced as even more proper than the ἐνεργείᾳ ὄν, which contradicts everything that precedes it and everything we know of Aristotle.18

We can see how the textual question of the correct positioning of this final chapter of Book Θ also raises the substantive problem if the meaning of being-true itself, or more precisely, the question if the relation between being qua being-true and being qua being-actual. Yet for the traditional, as also for the most recent interpretation and treatment of this Chapter 10, there is no problem here at all, because there can be none. For after all, every beginner in philosophy knows that the problem of truth belongs to logic and not to metaphysics, especially not to a treatise concerned with the fundamental problem of metaphysics. Such considerations lead Schwegler, to whom we owe a valuable Hegelian commentary on the Metaphysics, to say flatly: 'This chapter does not belong here'.19 Werner Jaeqer, the author of a very valuable study of the composition of the Aristotelian Metaphysics,20 is convinced by Schwegler's view: 'So the chapter just stands there, devoid of all connections'.21 Unlike


18 The unmodified Tredennick translation puts 'in the strictest sense' in perentheses, with the note 'This appears to contradict VI. iv. 3. But it is just possible to interpret κυριώτατα (with Jaeger) as "in the commonest sense"'. The relevant lines of the Ross translation read: 'The terms "being" and "non-being" are employed firstly with reference to the categories, and secondly with reference to the potency or actuality of these . . . and thirdly in the sense of true and dalse' [Trans.].

19 A. Schwegler, Aristoteles, Metaphysik, 4 vols, 1846-47; unaltered reprint, Frankfurst am Main (Minerva) 1960, Vol. IV, p. 186.

20 W. Jaeger, Studien zur Entwicklungsgeschichte der Metaphysik des Aristoteles, Berlin 1912. See also W. Jaeger, Aristoteles: Grundlegung einer Geschichte seiner Entwicklung, Berlin 1923.

21 W. Jaeger, Studien zur Entwicklungsgeschichte, p. 53.