To proteron. On the Prehistory of the Concept of A priori


  • Vitali Terletsky National Research Institute of Ukraine Studies and World History



prior, first, beginning, a priori, primary philosophy, metaphysics


The paper reconstructed Aristotle’s treatment of the concept tò próteron, which was not only a historical prototype for the conceptualization of the term a priori, but also retains its relevance today. It was first shown the methodological feature of this concept for the analysis and the constitution of theoretical sciences. Based on the frequent synonymic usage «the prior» as «the first» (tò prôton), found on the interpretation Aristotle’s metaphysics as «onto-theology», considered the well-known agonal characteristic of the Greek world view, I propose to inte-grate the elucidation of «first» in the thematic context of the «primary philosophy». It appears as an important principle for the subject field as well for peculiarity of the structure of this science.

Author Biography

Vitali Terletsky, National Research Institute of Ukraine Studies and World History



Aristoteles. (1831-1870). Aristotelis Opera (Vol. I-V). (I. Bekker, Ed.). Berlin: Reimer.

Aristotle. (1924). Aristotle’s Metaphysics (Vol. I). (W. D. Ross, Ed.). Oxford: Clarendon.

Aristotle. (1976-1983). The Works: in 4 vols. (V. F. Asmus, Z. N. Mikeladze et al., Eds.). [In Russian]. Moscow: Mysl.

Bonitz, H. (1870). Index Aristotelicus. In Aristoteles, Aristotelis Opera (Vol. V). (I. Bekker, Ed.). Berlin: Reimer.

Cleary, J. J. (1988). Aristotle On the Many Senses of Priority. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP.

Deninger, J. G. (1961). «Wahres Sein» in der Philosophie des Aristoteles. Meisenheim am Glan: Hain.

Elders, L. (1972). Aristotle’s Theology: A Commentary on Book Λ of the Metaphysics. Assen: Van Gorcum.

Eucken, R. (1879). Geschichte der philosophischen Terminologie. Leipzig: Veit.

Gloy, K. (2004). Metaphysik ein notwendiges oder verzichtbares Projekt? Zeitschrift für philosophische Forschung, 58(1), 104-128.

Hartmann, N. (1948). Zur Grundlegung der Ontologie (3. Aufl.). Meisenheim am Glan: Hain.

Heidegger, M. (1977). Sein und Zeit. In M. Heidegger, Gesamtausgabe (Bd. 2). Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann.

Henrich, D. (1982). Selbstverhältnisse. Stuttgart: Reclam.

Ilychev, L. F. et al. (Eds.). (1983). Philosophical encyclopedic dictionary. [in Russian]. Moscow: Sovetskaya Encyclopedia.

Kappes, M. (1984). Aristoteles-Lexikon. Paderborn: Schöningh.

Krämer, H. J. (1967). Zur geschichtlichen Stellung der aristotelischen Metaphysik. Kant-Studien, 58(3), 313-354.

Lalande, A. (1997). Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie (4e éd., Vol. I). Paris: PUF.

Martin, G. (1974). Einleitung in die allgemeine Metaphysik. Stuttgart: Reclam.

Merlan, Ph. (1969). Metaphysik: Name und Gegenstand [1957]. In F.-P. Hager (Hrsg.), Metaphysik und Theologie des Aristoteles (S. 251-265). Darmstadt: WBG.

Patzig, G. (1960-1961). Theologie und Ontologie in der «Metaphysik» des Aristoteles. Kant-Studien, 52(2), 185-205.

Prantl, C. (1870). Geschichte der Logik im Abendlande (Bd. IV). Leipzig: Hirzel.

Rapp, Ch. (1996). Substanz als vorrangig Seiendes (Z 1). In Aristoteles, Metaphysik: Die Substanzbücher (Ζ, Η, Θ) (S. 27-40). (Ch. Rapp, Hrsg.). Berlin: Akademie.

Rudnytsky, J. (1982). Etymological Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language (Vol. 2). [In Ukrainian]. Ottawa: Ottawa Press.

Sadovsky, V. N. (1962). Axiomatic Method of the Constructing of Scientific Knowledge. [In Russian]. In P. V. Tavanets (Ed.), Philosophical Questions of Modern Formal Logic (pp. 215-262). Moscow: Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

Scherpers, H. (1971). A priori - a posteriori, Apriorismus. In J. Ritter, & K. Gründer (Hrsg.), Historisches Wörterbuch zur Philosophie (Bd. I, S. 462-477). Darmstadt: WBG.

Scholz, H. (1930). Die Axiomatik der Alten. Blätter für deutschen Philosophie, 4, 258-278.

Schwegler, A. (1847). Die Metaphysik des Aristoteles: Grundtext, Übersetzung und Commentar (Bd. III). Tübingen: Furs.

Stepin et al., V. S. (Eds.). (2010). New Encyclopedia of Philosophy in 4 volumes (Vol. 1). [In Russian]. Moscow: Mysl.

Trendelenburg, F. A. (1836). Elementa Logices Aristotelicae. In usum scholarum. Berlin: Bethge.

Wagner, H. (1959). Zum Problem des Aristotelischen Metaphysikbegriffs. Philosophische Rundschau, 7(2), 129-148.

Wieland, W. (1960-1961). Das Problem der Prinzipienforschung und die Aristotelische Physik. Kant-Studien, 52(2).

Yanovskaya, S. A. (1958). On the History of the Axiomatic Method. [In Russian]. Historico-Mathematical Studies, 11, 63-96.

Zaitsev, A. I. (1985). Cultural Upheaval in Ancient Greece 8th-5th BC. [In Russian]. Leningrad: Leningrad State University.


Abstract views: 208



How to Cite

Terletsky, V. (2013). To proteron. On the Prehistory of the Concept of A priori. Sententiae, 29(2), 65–77.






Download data is not yet available.

Most read articles by the same author(s)