Modern critics have recognized that Aristotle did not intend to write a ‘history of philosophy’. He was doing just what he professed to undertake. He was seeking in his predecessors the four causes of the Physics, and any other causes that might possibly be there. (…) The stagirite claims that the earlier philosophers actually meant the four causes of the Physics, but could not express themselves clearly.
J. Owens, The doctrine of being…, p. 202