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Aristotle Dictionary

Aristotle Dictionary

by Thomas P. Kiernan

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At long last a comprehensive tool in English for a better understanding of the most basic terms in Aristotle’s philosophy. Interested readers, students and scholars of philosophy and of the general intellectual background of Western culture need no longer be handicapped by a lack of knowledge of Greek and Latin. A careful comparison of the original Greek,


At long last a comprehensive tool in English for a better understanding of the most basic terms in Aristotle’s philosophy. Interested readers, students and scholars of philosophy and of the general intellectual background of Western culture need no longer be handicapped by a lack of knowledge of Greek and Latin. A careful comparison of the original Greek, medieval and Renaissance Latin translations and a reappraisal of English usage make this work a definitive source for the precise grasp of what has been the historical Aristotle as far as the documents permit one to judge.

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Aristotle Dictionary

By Thomas P. Kiernan

Philosophical Library

Copyright © 1962 Philosophical Library, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-0929-4



Abstinence He who avoids all pleasures, like a boor, is an insensible sort of person.

N E—2. 2. 1104a24-25

Accent, Fallacy of

But concerning accent ... it is not easy to frame an argument except in writings and poems as, for instance, some defend Homer against those who accuse him of having spoken absurdly: to men ou kataputhetai ombro, for they solve this by accent saying that ou is to be marked with an acute accent.

S E—4.166b1-6


Now those things which are not predicated of a subject I call per se, but those which are so predicated I call accidents.

PO A—1. 4. 73b8-10

I call accidents those that are neither inherent in all nor per se, as musical or white is said to be in an animal.

PO A—1. 4. 73b4-5

But whatever do not signify substance, but are predicated of another subject, which is neither the thing itself, nor something belonging to it, are accidents, as white is predicated of man, since man is neither white, nor anything belonging to white.... Such as do not signify substance it is necessary should be predicated of a certain subject.

PO A—1. 22. 83a24-31

Accident is that which is not any of these, neither definition, nor property, nor genus; yet it is present with a thing and may not be present.

T—1. 5. 102b4-6

That was said to be accident which is neither definition, nor genus, nor property, yet is present with a thing.

T—1. 8. 103b17-19

We must especially have regard to the definition of accident ... we designate that an accident which may be or may not be with a certain thing.

T—4. 1. 120b30-35

Of all things the easiest to establish is the accident, for it is enough to show that it belongs to something.... On the other hand, the hardest to overthrow is the accident ... it is impossible to subvert it except by showing that it does not belong to something.

T—7. 5. 155a28-38

That is said to be an accident which can be present or not present in a subject, or that in whose definition is included a relation to that in which it is.

PHY—1. 3.186b18-21

Still from these it is manifest that there is nothing to prevent accident sometimes, and relatively from becoming a property, as to sit being accident, when someone alone sits it will then be a property ... however, it will not be a property simple.

T—1.5. 102b20-26

An accident is denominated as that which is inherent in something, and which it is true to affirm is so, yet not either necessarily, or for the most part.

ME—4.30. 1025a14-15

Whatever may be neither always nor for the most part this I call accident. ME—5. 2. 1028b31-33

An entity subsists according to accident ... either because both are inherent in the same entity, or because they are inherent in that entity, or because they are the same with that in which the accidents are inherent, and of which the thing itself is predicated.

ME—4. 7. 1017a8-22

No accident is either always or very frequently produced.

DE DIV—1. 463a2-3

Accident, Fallacy of

Fallacies which arise from accident are when something is attributed to a thing because it is attributed to one of its accidents ... Thus if Coriscus is different from man, he is different from himself, for he is a man.

S E—5. 166b28-33

Accident, Fallacy of, refutation of With respect to those arguments which are from accident, there is one and the same solution for them all, for since it is uncertain when an assertion can be made of a thing because of accident ... it must be said that the conclusion is not necessary.

S E—24. 179a26-31

Accidents (misfortunes) Now accidents are whatever things happen against all calculation, and proceed not from criminal principle.

RH—1. 13. 1374b6-7

Accidents, no demonstrative Knowledge of Of accidents, however, which are not per se after the manner in which things per se have been defined, there is no demonstrative science, since it is not possible to demonstrate the conclusion of necessity, because accident may not be present.

PO A—1. 6. 75a18-22


Hence from what we have stated it is clear that whatever exists of necessity is in act, so that if eternal natures are prior in existence, act is prior to potency, and some things, as the first substances, are in act without potency, but others are in act with potency, namely those which are prior by nature but posterior in time; lastly there are some which are never in act but are in potency only.

DE I—13. 23a21-26


Acting Unjustly

The voluntary commission of hurt in contravention of law.

RH—1. 10. 1368b6-7

Action (As One of the Categories) Action, for example, 'cuts,' 'burns.'

CAT-4. 2a3; T-1. 9. 103b23


If to be able is to be disposed, and if the use of anything is action; to use is to act and to have used is to have acted.

T—4. 4. 124a31-34

Ability to suffer or to act would be a property of being.

T—5. 9. 139a7-8

Both action and passion admit of contraries and more and less, for to make warm is contrary to making cold; to be warm, contrary to being cold ... they are also capable of more and less, to be heated, more or less, to be grieved, more or less; wherefore to act and to suffer admit the more and less. CAT—9. 11b1-10

Action is motion.

E E—2. 3. 1220b26-27

Action is always particular.

N E—6. 9.1141b16

Moral purpose then is the origin of action, i.e. the original motive, but not the final cause.

N E—6. 2. 1139a31-32

The end or character of an action depends upon the choice made at the moment of performing it.

N E-3. 1. 1110a13-14

It is actions as we have said that determine the character of the resulting moral states.

N E—2. 2. 1103b30-31

He who performs any action, not knowing what the action is, nor to what end it will lead, nor about whom such action is conversant, acts from ignorance essentially, and therefore acts involuntarily.

E E—2. 9. 1225b5-7

An action which is due to ignorance is always non-voluntary; but it is not involuntary, unless it is followed by pain and excites a feeling of regret.

N E—3.2. 1110b18-22

Action always consists in two things: when that for the sake of which the action is exists, and that which acts for the sake of this.

DE C—2. 12. 292b6-7

All things whatsoever which men do not of themselves, they do either by chance, or from compulsion, or by nature.

RH—Bk. 1. 10. 1368b33-36

A man's actions are signs of his habit.

RH—Bk. 1. 9. 1367b31-32

Actions of Man

It is not correct to say that the soul is angry ... it is better to say that man pities, or thinks or learns with or by the soul.

DE A—1. 4. 408b11-15

Active intellect

(Besides the mind that is potentially all things) there is mind such that it makes all things; and this is like a habit, for example like light; for light also makes colors which are in potentiality to be in some way actual colors. And this (intellect) is separable and impassible, unmixed, since it is in its substance actuality; for that which is act is always more noble than that which suffers.

DE A—3. 5. 430a13-19


Activity implies action and good action.

N E—1. 9. 1099a3

No activity is perfect if it be impeded.

N E—7. 14. 1153b16

Nothing is so pleasant or so lovable as the exercise of activity.

N E—9. 7. 1168a14-15


Every thing is able at one time to be actual, and at another not.

PHY—3. 1. 201b7-8

Actuality and Capacity

That which is hot in actuality, is cold in capacity; and that which is cold in actuality is hot in capacity.

DE G ET C—2. 7. 334b21-23

Actuality and Potentiality

In all the productions of nature and art what exists potentially is brought into entity only by that which is in actuality.

DE G A—2. 1. 734a30-31

Actually Infinite

Nothing is actually infinite.

DE G ET C—1. 3. 318a20-21


Adversity renders those who are true friends apparent.

E E—7. 2. 1238a19-20

Affection, Examples of

'To be lanced,' 'to be burned' are affection.

CAT—4. 2a4


Dissimilarity of manners is most apt to interrupt affection.

ECO—Bk. 1. 4. 1344a18

There are two things which principally inspire mankind with care and affection, namely, the sense of what is one's own, and exclusive possession.

POL—Bk 2. 4. 1262b22-23


Vide passions.


Affirmation signifies something of something, and this is either a noun or anonymous, but what is in affirmation must be one and of one thing.

DE I—10. 19b5-7

Affirmation is the enunciation of something concerning something.

DE I—6. 17a25

Now each of the above (the ten categories), considered by itself is predicated neither affirmatively nor negatively, but from the connexion of these with each other affirmation and negation arises.

CAT—4. 2a4-7

Still without a verb there is neither affirmation nor negation, for 'is,' or 'will be,' or 'was,' or 'is going to be,' etc., are verbs, ... since in addition to their meaning they signify time.

DE I—10. 19b12-14

Affirmation is prior to negation; just as the hot is to the cold.

DE C—2. 3. 286a25-26

Affirmation and Negation

The affirmation and negation are one, which indicate one thing of one, either of a universal, being taken universally, or in like manner if it is not.

DE I—8. 18a13-15

For every affirmation and negation seems to be either true or false.

CAT—4. 2a6

Affirm and Deny

To affirm and deny something of many, or many of one, is not one affirmation nor one negation, except that it is some one thing which is manifested from the many.

DE I—11. 20b13-15


It is necessary in every syllogism that one of the premises be affirmative and one universal.

P A—1. 24. 41b6-7


Such agents, therefore, as have not a form in matter, these are impassive; but such as have, are passive.

DE G ET C-1. 7. 324b4-6


Agriculture should be ranked first because it is just.

ECO—Bk. 1. 1. 1343a27-28

Agriculture contributes much towards fortitude.

ECO—Bk. 1. 2. 1343b2-3


Air is naturally moist.

DE S ET S—5. 443b5-6

Thus, since he who says the property of air is that it is breatheable, assigns property in potentiality (for a property of this kind is that which is capable of being breathed) but also assigns the property to that which is not; for although an animal should not exist, which is naturally capable of breathing the air, yet the air may exist, though if animal is not it is not possible to breathe; hence a thing of such a kind as that it may be breathed will not then be the property of air.

T—5. 9.138b30-35

Since he who asserts the property of air to be the respirable, asserts the property of a certain thing of similar parts, but assigns such a thing as is verified of a certain air, but is not spoken of all air (for all is not respirable), the respirable would not be the property of air.

T—5. 5. 135a33-135b1

The air which is emitted by expiration is hot, but that which is received by inspiration is cold.

DE R—5. 472b34-35

The air co-impels the natural motion of every thing.

DE C—3. 2. 301b22

The air flows circularly, because it is drawn along together with the circulation of the universe.

DE M—1. 3. 341a1-2

Air produces hearing. DE A—2. 8. 419b34

The air in itself has no sound, because it is too easily divisible.

DE A-2. 8. 420a7

Wind is not air; vide WIND.


Aliment belongs to matter.

DE G ET C—2. 8. 335a15-16


Things are able either to act or suffer, either to be or not to be, either in an infinite, or in some definite time.

DE C—1. 12. 283a7-9


Alliation is a motion according to quality. Vide: ALTERATION.

DE C—1. 3. 270a27

Alter ego A friend is another I. M M—2. 15. 1213a13


For alteration is the mutation of quality.

CAT—14. 15b11

Of motion there are six species: generation, corruption, increase, decrease, alteration, and change of place.

CAT—14. 15a13-14


Of all animals man is the only one that can use both hands equally.

HA—2. 1. 497b31-32


It seems that ambition makes most people wish to be loved rather than to love others.

N E—8. 9.1159a12-14

Men are guilty of the greatest crimes through ambition, and not from necessity. POL—Bk. 2. 7. 1267a12-14

Amphiboly (Equivocation)

As then in deceptions from equivocation, which mode of paralogism seems to be the most usual, some are manifest to every one, for almost all absurd sentences are from diction, for instance 'which of the cows will deliver before?' 'Neither, but both from the rear.'

S E—33. 182b13-18

Of refutations which are from equivocation and ambiguity some have a question with several meanings, others a conclusion with different meanings; for instance, 'he who is silent, speaks.'

S E—19. 177a9-12

Amphiboly, Fallacy of

Such arguments as these are from amphiboly: 'I wish that you the enemy may take' ... also 'there must be sight of what one sees'; 'he sees the pillar, does the pillar have sight?'

S E—4. 166a6-10


I call it analogous when the relation of the second term to the first is similar to that of the fourth to the third; for then the fourth is used instead of the second or the second instead of the fourth.

P—21. 1457b16-19


Bone is analogous to the spine, the nail to the horn, the hand to the claw, the feather to the scale, and so on.

H A—1. 1. 486b19-21

According to analogy are things one, as many as are disposed as one thing in relation to another.

ME—4. 6. 1016b34-35


Desire for vengeance on account of apparent contempt.

T-8. 1. 156a32

A desire accompanied by pain of a revenge which presents itself, on account of an apparent slight from persons acting toward one's self, or some of one's friends, unbecomingly.

RH—2. 2. 1378a31-33

Is in the irascible part of the soul.

T-2. 7. 113a36-113b1

Anger is productive of heat.

DE P A-2. 4. 650b35

Anger possesses a certain pleasure; since it is accompanied with the hope of vengeance.

E E—3. 1. 1229b31-32

Through the medium of anger and excited feeling arise acts of vengeance.

RH—BK. 1. 10. 1369b11-12


An animal is defined because of the possession of sense perception.

DE S—1. 454b24-25

Animals, in so far as each is an animal, have sensation necessarily, for it is thus that we distinguish what is animal and what is not. DE S ET S—1. 436b10-12

A man and an ox are both animal and are so named univocally, since not only the name but also the definition is the same; if a man should state in what sense each is an animal the statements would be the same.

CAT—1. 1a8-10

All animals are less wise than man.

DE P A—4. 10. 686b22-24

It seems that animals possess a certain natural power about each of the passions of the soul, with respect to wisdom and folly, fortitude and timidity, mildness and asperity, and other habits of a similar kind.

DE H A—9. 1. 608a13-17

Animals are viviparous, oviparous, or vermiparous.

H A—1. 5. 489a34-35

In some species, there is neither male nor female.

H A—1. 2. 489a12-13

The function of animals is hardly anything other than to produce young which in plants corresponds to seed and fruit.

DE G A—1. 4. 717a21-22

Many animals have no voice: for example, animals that are bloodless.

DE A 2. 8. 420b9-10

Animals therefore are composed from both similar and dissimilar parts; but the similar are for the sake of the dissimilar parts.

DE P A—2. 1. 646b10-12

Fat animals are barren. For that which ought to pass from the blood into the genital seed, this is consumed into fat and suet.

DE P A—2. 5. 651b13-14


Excerpted from Aristotle Dictionary by Thomas P. Kiernan. Copyright © 1962 Philosophical Library, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Philosophical Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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