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Primary "Ousia": An Essay on Aristotle's Metaphysics Z and H Paperback – July 31, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0801474880 ISBN-10: 0801474884 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (July 31, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801474884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801474880
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,049,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This work clearly makes a highly significant contribution to the study of Books Z and H, the center of Aristotle's Metaphysics."—Mind

"Loux's investigation of the difficult central books of Aristotle's Metaphysics is clearly the result of a sustained, minute study of the text. . . . It offers a sensitive, carefully crafted interpretation of Aristotle's mature theory of substance."—Choice

"Primary Ousia should be read by everyone with a serious interest in Aristotle. Its sharp focus and straightforward style will be appreciated by students seeking guidance through the tangled thickets of Metaphysics Z and H. Scholars will be rewarded by its detailed arguments and its careful consideration of alternative views."—The Philosophical Review

"Primary Ousia is a work of the very highest philosophical and scholarly quality, and, as a bonus, it is written in lucid and lively prose. It is timely, useful, and important."—Charlotte Witt, author of Substance and Essence in Aristotle

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. R. Brown on February 13, 2011
Format: Paperback
Although some people have questioned the value of Aristotle, his theory of essences shaped philosophy, theology, and science until the late nineteenth century, and those works cannot be understood without first understanding Aristotle's theory of essences. That theory is developed in Metaphysics Z and H, which is the topic of Loux's book.
Aristotle's essences of physical objects are now explained as DNA (for living things) and molecular structure (for minerals), and the essential forms of artifacts are still regarded as designs in the mind, as Aristotle said. But Aristotle's theory extended beyond natural sciences to include God and the soul, and these remain live topics. More to the ponit, his objective was to identify the primary ousia, the basic reality. That remains a live question, and Aristotle's answer to it remains a live and challenging option, yet philosophers remain divided in their interpretation of it. Prof. Loux has provided a helpful explanation of the whole topic.
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By Thomas J. Hickey on June 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
Mike's Folly

Michael Loux is a faculty member of the philosophy department of the University of Notre Dame, which is near South Bend, Indiana, USA. On 4 August 1879 Pope Leo XIII issued an encyclical titled "Aeterni Patris", which mandated that Roman Catholic schools teach Thomism. This mandate still has a recognizably residual influence in the University of Notre Dame's philosophy department.

In my personal experience as a graduate student in the Notre Dame philosophy department I found that the Notre Dame philosophers abhor new ideas including notably those of the ascendant contemporary pragmatism. I therefore concluded that their philosophers do not just study the past, but are cultural atavisms that intellectually live in it. For many of them Saint Thomas Aquinas is their New Testament and Aristotle is their Old Testament. And I see Loux as one of their Old Testament philosophers.

Philosophy has come a long way since Aristotle. I doubt that a contemporary philosopher reading this book will find value for contributing to the future advancement of twenty-first-century philosophy. The Victorian English aristocracy built edifices on their manorial estates that were quaint but useless, and that were called "follies." Loux's book may interest the resolute antiquarian, but for contemporary philosophers including the opinion of this reviewer it is an academic "folly."

Furthermore quite apart from Aristotle's anachronistic philosophy, there are also philological problems. In the 1960's I wrote a commentary on Aristotle's semantical work, "De Interpretatione." I relied on three different English translations, and given the discrepancies among them I found none of the translations to be uniformly adequate.
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