Prime Matter and Extension in Aristotle

Journal of Philosophical Research 31:171-184 (2006)
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In this paper, I address both the interpretive and philosophical issues concerning prime matter. My aim is to show that a philosophically interesting account of prime matter can be articulated that strongly coheres with, even if it is not necessitated by, Aristotle’s texts. In articulating the interpretation, I first examine a view defended by both Richard Sorabji and Robert Sokolowski according to which prime matter is extension. Such a view, I argue, is problematic for a number of reasons. Nonetheless, it provides a convenient starting point for the view I defend according to which prime matter is intimately linked to, though not identical with, extension.



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Paul Studtmann
Davidson College

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