Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of Western philosophy. Among his many contributions to the field was his work on metaphysics – a branch of philosophy that explores the nature of reality beyond the physical realm. In this article, we will delve into what Aristotle said about metaphysics.

The Basics of Metaphysics

Metaphysics is a complex and abstract field that deals with questions such as: What is real? What is the nature of existence?

How does the universe work? Aristotle believed that metaphysics was the study of “being qua being” – in other words, it was an exploration of what it means to exist.

The Four Causes

One of Aristotle’s key contributions to metaphysics was his theory of the four causes. According to this theory, every object or event has four causes that contribute to its existence:

Aristotle believed that understanding these four causes was essential for understanding how things exist and function in the world.

Substance and Essence

Another key concept in Aristotle’s metaphysics is substance. For Aristotle, substance referred to anything that exists independently and cannot be broken down into smaller parts. He believed that every substance had an essence – a defining characteristic or set of characteristics that made it what it was.

For example, according to Aristotle, the essence of a human being is their rationality. This means that even if a person loses their physical body, they still retain their essence as a rational being.

The Prime Mover

Aristotle also believed in the existence of a prime mover – an eternal, unchanging being that set the universe in motion. He argued that everything in the universe was constantly in motion and that this motion must have been caused by something that was itself unmoved.

The prime mover, according to Aristotle, was not a personal or anthropomorphic deity, but rather an abstract concept that represented the ultimate source of all movement and change in the universe.


In conclusion, Aristotle’s work on metaphysics was groundbreaking for its time and has had a lasting impact on philosophy. His theories of substance, essence, and the four causes continue to be studied and debated by philosophers today. While his ideas may seem abstract and difficult to understand at times, they offer a fascinating glimpse into one of history’s greatest minds.