Why Metaphysics? A Rather Ambitious Introduction
The aim of this volume is to re-examine systematically some of the most important traditional Aristotelian topics from a contemporary analytic perspective. Analytic metaphysics emerged for the most part independent of Aristotle and the Aristotelian tradition and hence often takes what appear to be surprising shapes to a historian of philosophy. 2 However, scholarship in the history of ancient and mediæval philosophy has made clear that traditional forms of metaphysics have strong affi nities to the topics, arguments, and approaches of analytic metaphysics and that these traditional forms may contribute insights to contemporary analytic discussions. 3 Many philosophers have become aware of this fact, as well as of the need to bring traditional Aristotelian and emerging neo-Aristotelian metaphysics into mutually enriching dialogue. So far, the manifestations of this dialogue have been mostly ad hoc and embedded in various specialized contexts such as philosophy of science and specifi c topics within analytic metaphysics. Our aim is to promote this dialogue in a more systematic and general fashion. 4
When approaching metaphysics, one needs to distinguish between questions within metaphysics and questions about it. With the exception of the fi rst chapter, this volume does not deal primarily with the latter-type, metametaphysical questions. Still, it seems that an attempt to advance metaphysics proper cannot nowadays altogether ignore the meta-question concerning the very nature and feasibility of such a philosophical project. Why metaphysics? And how can it be done? These are questions that no metaphysician can ignore, at least after Immanuel Kant, as the saying goes. This is why we say a few words in defence of metaphysics in the fi rst part of this introduction. The second part deals briefl y with the two principles guiding the selection of our topics and contributors, namely neo-Aristotelianism and Francisco Suárez’s Metaphysical Disputations. We conclude with a synoptic overview of the content of the chapters.