Essentialists hold that at least a certain range of entities can be meaningfully said to have natures, essences, or essential features independently of how these entities are described, conceptualized or otherwise placed with respect to our specifically human interests, purposes or activities. Modalists about essence, on the one hand, take the position that the essential truths are a subset of the necessary truths and the essential properties of entities are included among their necessary properties. Non-modalists about essence, on the other (...) hand, oppose the reduction of essence to modality and hold, rather, that essence is more basic than, and explanatory of, modality. This chapter begins with a brief summary of Kit Fine’s well-known challenges to the modal account of essence and considers a recent attempt by “sparse modalists” like Sam Cowling and Nathan Wildman to respond to Fine’s counterexamples by adding a sparseness constraint to the “bare” modal account of essence. A further question arises, however, as to whether and how Fine’s definitional approach can avoid his own counterexamples against the modal approach to essence. The chapter concludes with some final thoughts concerning the theoretical roles ascribed to essence by modalists and non-modalists. (shrink)
The subject of this essay is the classical problem of induction, which is sometimes attributed to David Hume and called “the Humean Problem of Induction.” Here, I examine a certain sort of Neo-Aristotelian solution to the problem, which appeals to the concept of natural kinds in its response to the inductive skeptic. This position is most notably represented by Howard Sankey and Marc Lange. The purpose of this paper is partly destructive and partly constructive. I raise two questions. The first (...) is: Are the natural kind solutions to the problem successful? The first thesis of this paper is that they are not, and I will show how and why they fail. And the second question I raise here is: Is there nonetheless some alternative Neo-Aristotelian solution to the problem which is successful and can overcome the shortcomings endemic to the Sankey-Lange account? The second thesis is that there is, and I’ll attempt to sketch one. My stance here may be summarized by saying that, while I agree with Sankey and Lange that the problem of induction can be adequately resolved, and while I am on the whole sympathetic with the Aristotelian spirit of their account, I am, for all that, dissatisfied with the letter of them. Nothing short of a more thoroughgoing Aristotelianism about the epistemology of induction will do. (shrink)
This article expands our knowledge of the historical-philosophical process by which the dominant metaphysical account of the Christian God became ascendant. It demonstrates that Marius Victorinus proposed a peculiar model of ‘consubstantiality’ that utilised a notion of ‘existence’ indebted to the Aristotelian concept of ‘prime matter’. Victorinus employed this to argue that God is a unity composed of Father and Son. The article critically evaluates this model. It then argues that Augustine noticed one of the model's philosophical liabilities but did (...) not publicly name Victorinus when he rejected it in De Trinitate, thereby exemplifying the practice of private ‘rebuke’ (ἐλέγχɛιν). (shrink)
In Metaphysics Z.6, Aristotle argues that each substance is the same as its essence. In this paper, I defend an identity reading of that claim. First, I provide a general argument for the identity reading, based on Aristotle’s account of sameness in number and identity. Second, I respond to the recent charge that the identity reading is incoherent, by arguing that the claim in Z.6 is restricted to primary substances and hence to forms.
As there is currently a neo-Aristotelian revival currently taking place within contemporary metaphysics and dispositions, or causal powers are now being routinely utilised in theories of causality and modality, more attention is beginning to be paid to a central Aristotelian concern: the metaphysics of substantial unity, and the doctrine of hylomorphism. In this paper, I distinguish two strands of hylomorphism present in the contemporary literature and argue that not only does each engender unique conceptual difficulties, but neither adequately captures the (...) metaphysics of Aristotelian hylomorphism. Thus both strands of contemporary hylomorphism, I argue, fundamentally misunderstand what substantial unity amounts to in the hylomorphic framework – namely, the metaphysical inseparability of matter and form. (shrink)
In this reply, I respond to points raised in Christian Kanzian's „Kommentar zu Kathrin Koslickis Form, Matter, Substance” in connection with a book-symposium on _Form, Matter, Substance_ held at the University of Innsbruck in May 2019.
In this reply, I respond to points raised in Winfried Löffler's „Koslickis Metaontologie“ in connection with a book-symposium on _Form, Matter, Substance_ held at the University of Innsbruck in May 2019.
In this reply, I respond to points raised by Uwe Meixner in “Koslicki on Matter and Form” in connection with a book symposium on _Form, Matter, Substance_ held at the University of Innsbruck in May 2019.
In this work I propose a theory of evolution as a process of unfolding. This theory is based on four logically concatenated principles. The principle of evolutionary order establishes that the more complex cannot be generated from the simpler. The principle of origin establishes that there must be a maximum complexity that originates the others by logical deduction. Finally, the principle of unfolding and the principle of actualization guarantee the development of the evolutionary process from the simplest to the most (...) complex. These logical principles determine the existence of a virtual ideological matrix that contains the sequence of the preformed and folded morphogenetic fields. In this manner, the evolutionary process consists of the sequential unfolding and actualization of these fields, which is motorized by a process of teleologization carried out by the opening consciousness of the forms included in the fields of the ideological matrix. This theory leads to a radical change of perspective regarding the materialist worldview, and places life at the center of the evolutionary process as an activity carried out by a consciousness that seeks to fulfill a purpose by actualizing its own potentialities. (shrink)
This aims to discuss the separation of the substance presented by Aristotle in Book Z of Metaphysics. In Z 1 the substance is prior in three aspects, namely as to the definition, the knowledge and the time. Aristotle's justification that substance is first in time is because it is the only category that is separate. Based on contemporary interpreters, we will discuss the separation as ontological separation associated with the definitional separation.
In this article, I present in a systematic way Aristotle’s understanding of movement (kinêsis) as efficient cause in the Generation of Animals. This aspect of movement is not disclosed in the approach to movement as an incomplete activity in contrast to energeia, which has been extensively discussed in the literature. I explain in which sense movement is the efficient cause of generation and how this movement is related to the other factors, in particular the source of movement, the seminal fluid, (...) pneuma, and the vital heat, as well as to the form and the soul. The role of movement as efficient cause of generation shows how, for Aristotle, form and soul are inseparable from matter and movement in nature. Explaining the role of movement as efficient cause of generation also helps to make sense of the multiplicity of factors involved in the efficient causality of generation. The key to articulating these factors with one another is the identity of form of the generative movement, which is specifically the same in the source, in the tools, and in the substance that is coming into being. (shrink)
This essay is the first part of an analysis on the form and matter in the works of Aristotle. Within the whole analysis, I shall examine passages taken from different works of Aristotle that are relevant to the investigation on form and matter. In this essay, I shall focus exclusively on the chapter Metaphysics Zeta 3. The concepts of substance, matter, ontological subject, form, composite substance, this something and separated, which are consistently used by Aristotle within the development of the (...) mentioned chapter, will be part of my survey of the contents of the chapter. The central argument of Metaphysics Zeta 3, which maintains the equivalence between substance and the feature represented by ontological subject, and which leads, through this first equivalence and through the equivalence between matter and ontological subject, to the result that matter is (the only) substance, will be investigated step by step so that all presuppositions, entailments, and consequences of the argument itself can be clearly shown. The problems which are caused by the mentioned equivalence of substance and ontological subject will be pointed out during my look at the chapter’s contents. In particular, Aristotle cannot accept that, in spite of the ontological subject being a correct feature of substance qua substance, substance is therewith reduced to matter. Being the ontological subject does not represent the only ontological feature of substance qua substance; the ontological features too of substance qua substance that are represented by being a this something and being separated belong to the concept of substance: they can never be forgotten within a right interpretation of substance. The identification of substance only with matter can never be accepted. Only the ontological values of substance represented by the form and by the composite substance possess the ontological features “being a this something” and “being separated”. Therefore, the ontological values of substance as form and as a composite substance must always be reckoned with in a correctly interpreted ontology. Neither of these values can be forgotten within an accurate inquiry of ontology. Hence, regardless of whether matter is substance and is correctly interpreted as substance, the values of substance as form and as composite substance must belong, in Aristotle’s view, to any right ontological system whatsoever. The plurality of values for substance, which I personally advocate, finds confirmation thanks to chapter Metaphysics Zeta 3: Matter, form, and composite substance all represent values for substance, despite the differences which they have as regards their own ontological features. (shrink)
Aristóteles comparte con Platón la concepción de la forma como causa del ser y del conocimiento de las cosas. Sin embargo, un análisis de sus críticas a las Ideas muestra que encuentra en la separación de las Ideas y las cosas sensibles la aporía fundamental de la teoría platónica. Con el propósito de circunscribir el significado de “separación” aplicable a las Ideas, concentraremos nuestro estudio en dos objeciones: 1) el argumento que conduce al tercer hombre y 2) la inutilidad de (...) las Ideas como causas. En el primer caso, creemos que la separación entraña homonimia, por lo que la solución aristotélica implicará la comunidad de naturaleza entre el individuo y su esencia. En el segundo, la separación implica trascendencia o falta de contacto entre generante y generado, por lo que la solución aristotélica apuntará a concebir la forma de las entidades naturales como un principio inmanente, inseparable de la materia y del movimiento, pero a la vez eterno a través de su reproducción en otros individuos de la misma especie. Creemos que en ambas soluciones opera un principio de sinonimia, que constituye su propia contribución al problema de la separación. (shrink)
The central claim of this paper is that the Aristotelian metaphysics of objects is incompatible with physicalism. This includes the contemporary variant of Aristotelianism I call ‘sortalism’. The core reason is that an object’s identity as an instance of a (natural) kind, as well as its consequent persistence conditions, is neither physically fundamental nor determined by what is physically fundamental. The argument for the latter appeals to what is commonly known as ‘the grounding problem’; in particular I argue that the (...) physicalist has no solution, and this requires that the physicalist jettison the traditional concept of objects having kind-specific identity and persistence conditions. (shrink)
Concrete particular objects (e.g., living organisms) figure saliently in our everyday experience as well as our in our scientific theorizing about the world. A hylomorphic analysis of concrete particular objects holds that these entities are, in some sense, compounds of matter (hūlē) and form (morphē or eidos). The Grounding Problem asks why an object and its matter (e.g., a statue and the clay that constitutes it) can apparently differ with respect to certain of their properties (e.g., the clay’s ability to (...) survive being squashed, as compared to the statue’s inability to do so), even though they are otherwise so much alike. In this paper, I argue that a hylomorphic analysis of concrete particular objects, in conjunction with a non-modal conception of essence of the type encountered for example in the works of Aristotle and Kit Fine, has the resources to yield a solution to the Grounding Problem. (shrink)
The present essay is the first part of an analysis regarding aspects of Aristotle’s ontology. Aristotle’s ontology is, in my opinion, a formal ontology that examines the fundamental structures of reality and that investigates the features belonging to entities such as substance, quantity, quality, universals. Aristotle’s ontology investigates, moreover, the reciprocal relations existing between these entities. Aristotle’s interpretation of universals is not, in my opinion, a nominalist interpretation of universals: I do not think Aristotle regards universals as being only mental (...) entities. Aristotle, rather, aims at the differentiation between the realms of reality to which individuals and universals belong. In this part of my investigation, I first expose my interpretation of the fundaments of Aristotle’s ontology. Thereafter, I concentrate my attention on chapter Metaphysics Zeta 13: I comment on Aristotle’s investigation regarding the ontological features belonging to the universal qua universal and to the substance qua substance. I analyse the ontological laws that Aristotle finds about universal and substance: substance and universals are considered by Aristotle as mutually incompatible entities. The analysis shows that a false interpretation of the features of the universals endangers the whole ontology. Moreover, the Third-Man-Regress, which is one of the consequences of the misunderstanding of the position of universals in the reality, is regarded as the key to the interpretation of one of Aristotle’s aims: Aristotle aims at the foundation of a typological ontology putting individual entities and universal entities on different levels of reality. The danger of the Third-Man-Regress is avoided through the introduction of a new ontology, that is, through the introduction of the typological ontology of the entities. (shrink)
The first major work in the history of philosophy to bear the title "Metaphysics" was the treatise by Aristotle that we have come to know by that name. But Aristotle himself did not use that title or even describe his field of study as 'metaphysics'; the name was evidently coined by the first century C.E. editor who assembled the treatise we know as Aristotle's Metaphysics out of various smaller selections of Aristotle's works. The title 'metaphysics' -- literally, 'after the Physics' (...) -- very likely indicated the place the topics discussed therein were intended to occupy in the philosophical curriculum. They were to be studied after the treatises dealing with nature (ta phusika). In this entry, we discuss the ideas that are developed in Aristotle's treatise. (shrink)
Is life a simple result of a conjunction of physico-chemical processes? Can be reduced to a mere juxtaposition of spatially determined events? What epistemology or world-view allows us to comprehend it? Aristotle built a novel philosophical system in which nature is a dynamical totality which is in constant movement. Life is a manifestation of it, and is formed and governed by the psyche. Psyche is the organizational principle of the different biological levels: nutritive, perceptive and intelective. Driesch's crucial experiment provided (...) empirical proof of the principle of life, which he called entelechy. Entelechy is an intensive manifoldness and cannot be comprehended by the usual extensive parameters. The entelechian's own ambiance is duration. This allows the reintroduction of the concept of teleology in the sphere of the living, understood not as a final cause, but as an order born from desire and leading to action. (shrink)
Aristotle outlines two methods in De Anima that one can employ when one investigates the soul. The first focuses on the exercises of a living organism’s vital capacities and the proper objects upon which these activities are directed. The second focuses on a living organism’s nature, its internal principle of movement and rest, and the single end for the sake of which this principle is exercised. I argue that these two methods yield importantly different, and prima facie incompatible, views about (...) what souls are. According to the first, the soul is a set of independently specifiable capacities that are related to one another in a manner that effects a unity of soul over and above the multiplicity. According to the second, the soul is a single, unitary nature that has a living organism’s form as its end. I bring the differences between these two conceptions of soul into relief and then attempt to reconcile the opposing views in a way privileges the conception according to which the soul is a unitary nature. In doing so, I discuss the following interrelated topics: (a) what makes a capacity a part of soul, (b) the relationship between the parts of soul within a given organism, (c) how a soul can be a unity while comprising various parts, (d) whether it is possible to give an adequate definition of life or soul, (e) what unity obtains among the various ways life is said that would allow for a proper, scientific investigation of life, and (f) the principle that grounds the hierarchy of souls—the nutritive, the perceptual, and the rational. (shrink)
La exposición y crítica de las doctrinas antiguas tiene un lugar importante en los escritos de Aristóteles. Sin embargo, ciertas dudas se han vuelto corrientes acerca de la confiabilidad de sus descripciones. Más aún, se ha sostenido que Aristóteles deforma la comprensión histórica a través de la introducción de conceptos y términos propios. En este libro se aborda el problema a través de un análisis de las críticas que Aristóteles dirige a la teoría platónica de las Ideas, que permite explicar (...) la constitución y desarrollo de importantes conceptos aristotélicos a partir de la confrontación dialéctica con las doctrinas de su maestro. En efecto, las dificultades genuinas que Aristóteles descubre en el platonismo constituyen el motor para gestar nuevos conceptos, que no son ajenos, sino que surgen como implicaciones del examen crítico. Así, la imposición de términos propios no debe interpretarse como distorsión, sino como el modo que Aristóteles adopta para exhibir su particular solución a los problemas que los filósofos anteriores dejaron sin solución. (shrink)
Bryant’s paper, "A Logic of Multiplicities: Deleuze, Immanence, and Onticology," is useful for showing how the historical legacy of hierarchy in its many philosophical forms is still present, important, and, in fact, required even by those such as Bryant who would seek to deconstruct or ignore it. The following response will discuss Bryant’s presentation of his alternative position and throughout point out: a) the straw-man versions of hierarchy that Bryant employs; b) why what Bryant claims to be inherent negatively in (...) hierarchy is not the case; c) how Bryant’s position actually relies upon hierarchy for its own explication, and finally; d) the various principles of hierarchical metaphysics that are required in order to make sense of experience and reality. These latter include the notions that i) there are many kinds of hierarchy; ii) Being and Unity are prior to Multiplicity; iii) relation without substance is incoherent; iv) hierarchy is not inherently tyrannical; v) the distinction between essentially and accidentally ordered causal series is a real and useful one; and vi) the existence of hierarchy is more self evident than is flat ontology. (shrink)
Amerini declares that by this book he did not want to make any contribution to the contemporary bioethical debate, or in another way, he wanted to give a preliminary contribution of great importance. His opinion on the implications of Aquinas's embryological theory for today's bioethical debate is in fact that it "certainly has some bioethical consequences, but it does not give rise to one particular bioethical theory rather than another. It is, as said, a philosophical explanation, traced in terms of (...) Aristotelian metaphysics, and as such can only be of support for the elaboration of a bioethical theory". (shrink)
This study shows that Aristotle’s introduction of the concept of substance represents a caesura in the history of ontology. The study takes two values for substance into consideration, which are a) substance as an organism (as a biological entity) and b) substance as essence, nature, form of an organism. Substances as organisms are biological concretized properties. Substance as form is the soul directing the organism and the development of the organism; the soul is both the principle of life of the (...) organism and the program which is realized in the organism. The substance as an organism is assigned the central position in Aristotle’s ontology: the organism is not reduced to forces or factors which should have an ontological primacy over the organism; the principle of life and activity of every organism is put into the biological entity and it is not identified with factors that lie outside the organism. (shrink)
The study deals with the main aspects of substance in the works of Aristotle. The presence of a plurality of values for substance is the central idea of the study; in particular, substance has 1) the value of living biological entity and 2) the value of form of the biological entity; both values are fundamental components of Aristotle's theory of substance. The prevalence, in the works of Aristotle, of the first or of the second of the two values depends on (...) the prevailing research interest of Aristotle in each work. The idea of a continuity in Aristotle's interpretation of substance in Aristotle's works is endorsed. This research treats, moreover, of the role of form as actuality, of the relations between form and matter in the material entities, and of the problem of the unity of definition. (shrink)
This paper is my first effort to revaluate the disagreement between two central texts for Aristotle's the conception of ousia: Categories and Metaphysics VII. Scholars have taken chapter Zeta-3 as a payment of the debt with the Categories, so that the hylomorphic analysis of the composite substance would require a revision of the subject-criterion, now improved by the addition of the “a this” and “separate” criterion. This paper, however, downgrades the importance of the Categories for understanding Aristotle's Metaphysics Z. The (...) two texts are dealing with different arguments and are not incompatible with one another. I myself consider this paper somehow obsolete, for I have returned to the same subject more than once: in my 2003 paper on Z-3 and, most importantly, on my Book 'As Noções Aristotélicas de Substância e Essência' (2008). (shrink)
"Wherein can consist the unity of that, the formula of which we call a definition, as for instance in the case of man, 'two-footed animal'; for let this be the formula of man. Why, then, is this one, and not many, viz. 'animal' and 'two-footed'? This is how the problem is stated. 'Animal' and 'two-footed' do make a unity, and they should, since: "The definition is a single formula and a formula of substance, so that it must be a formula (...) of some one thing; for substance means a 'one' and a 'this', as we maintain." All the same, there is a need to trace the unity of genus and difference back to its origin, and to see just how this unity differs from others. (shrink)
Aristotle's reasoning in Z, 10-11 has three stages. In the first, Aristotle proposes two different definitions for our consideration. The definitions contrast, at least superficially, for one appears to elucidate a whole by reference to its material parts, while the other does not appear to do so. Aristotle then in effect shows that the form of a whole can be taken in three somewhat different ways: We may be concerned with form by itself, or with the essential determinacy which is (...) form-having- its-formal-effect-in-a-milieu; in the latter alternative, the essential determinacy may be so taken as to be particular or as to be typical. In each of the three cases, form as the primary intelligible is the governing factor. On this basis, it is possible to clarify the character of the two definitions originally proposed as suggestive of a difficulty. (shrink)
Substantial form is a pivotal topic in the Metaphysics. While being is the subject of the entire work, ousiai are the primary cases of being. Among ousiai, individual material things are the ones directly available for examination. Substantial form is the chief determinant of such things. Aristotle assures us, moreover, that an understanding of this type of form will carry us forward, eventually, to an understanding of the formal being which exists totally apart from matter and change--the necessary reality somewhat (...) inadequately discerned by Plato. (shrink)