The First Responses
In Metaphysics, Aristotle criticizes the existing philosophical tradition. But, surprisingly, the author received little explicit criticism himself. Even the Neoplatonists, who identified themselves with Plato's thought, did not reject Aristotle's metaphysics entirely. In Plotinus's view, this renders Aristotle's account of substance unjustifiable. The ideas Aristotle presented in Metaphysics have been widely read, discussed, and debated since antiquity. Philosophers considered Platonism the main rival for the philosophy Aristotle set out in the work. The critical debate with the Platonists did not necessarily affect the work's reception, either in Aristotle's time or afterwards. Aristotelian views were talked about and discussed for many centuries after Aristotle's death. And a lively debate still rages between thinkers who sympathize with Aristotle's ideas and those who favor Platonic or Neoplatonic theories. Although some thinkers claimed to have definitively refuted Aristotle's metaphysical account, later philosophers revived and defended it, allowing it to inspire new thought.