Kooky objects revisited: Aristotle's ontology

Metaphilosophy 39 (1):3–19 (2008)
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This is an investigation of Aristotle's conception of accidental compounds (or "kooky objects," as Gareth Matthews has called them)—entities such as the pale man and the musical man. I begin with Matthews's pioneering work into kooky objects, and argue that they are not so far removed from our ordinary thinking as is commonly supposed. I go on to assess their utility in solving some familiar puzzles involving substitutivity in epistemic contexts, and compare the kooky object approach to more modern approaches involving the notion of referential opacity. I conclude by proposing that Aristotle provides an implicit role for kooky objects in such metaphysical contexts as the Categories and Metaphysics.



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S. Marc Cohen
University of Washington