Aristotle famously held that objects are comprised of matter and form. That is the central doctrine of hylomorphism (sometimes rendered “hylemorphism”—hyle, matter; morphe, form), and the view has become a live topic of inquiry today. Contemporary proponents of the doctrine include Jeffrey Brower, Kit Fine, David Hershenov, Mark Johnston, Kathrin Koslicki, Anna Marmodoro, Michael Rea, and Patrick Toner, among others. In the wake of these contemporary hylomorphic theories the doctrine has seen application to various topics within mainstream analytic metaphysics. Here, (...) appeals to form and matter are used to shed light on problems about ontology, personal identity, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion. The current entry documents this resurgence of interest in hylomorphism, the ways it has been applied, and its reception. (shrink)
Nihilists cannot square their position with common sense simply by paraphrasing away apparent ontological commitments in ordinary language. I argue for this claim by analogy. Paraphrase atheism says there is no God, but tries to square the truth of atheism with ordinary religious sentences by paraphrasing away apparent ontological commitments. Obviously, paraphrase does not reconcile atheism with ordinary language about God. I discuss two different reasons that paraphrase can fail and suggest that both reasons afflict paraphrase nihilism. Hence, paraphrase nihilism (...) cannot reconcile nihilism and common sense, and so nihilists must look for some other strategy that can evade the force of the Atheism Case. (shrink)
When does a developing human being acquire moral status? I outline three different positions based on substance ontology that attempt to solve the question by locating some morally salient event in the process of human development question. In the second section, I consider some specific empirical objections to one of these positions, refute them, and then show how similar objections and responses would generalize to the other substance-based positions on the question. The crucial finding is that all the attempts to (...) answer the question that involve substance ontology need to appeal to dispositions. (shrink)
A trope is an abstract particular. Trope theorists maintain that tropes exist and argue that they can solve important philosophical problems, such as explaining the nature of properties. While many contemporary interpreters of Aristotle read him as a trope theorist, few commentators distinguish different versions of trope theory. Which, of any, of these versions did Aristotle hold? Classical trope theorists say that individuals just are bundles of tropes. This essay offers a reading of Categories 2-5 and Metaphysics VII-VIII that aligns (...) Aristotle's view with nonclassical trope theory, according to which objects are more than just bundles of tropes. (shrink)
Some time ago I wrote a paper about conceivability and knowledge. An anonymous referee rejected it on the grounds that the result had already been established in a short story by Jorge Luis Borges. Intrigued, I looked for the story but found no mention of it in Louis and Ziche’s extensive bibliography. I spent months consulting archives and electronic records to no avail. I had begun to doubt whether the story even existed when I had the curious good luck to (...) encounter Sir Thomas Browne of Pembroke College, Oxford, who assured me of the piece’s authenticity and introduced me to Brother Christian Rosenkreuz of Invisible College who in turn generously put me into correspondence with Borges himself. The literary defects in what follows reflect not a diminution of Borges’s undoubted power as a storyteller, but merely my limited ability as an amateur translator. Whatever the translation’s literary faults may be, I hope the story’s philosophical interest—i.e., an argument that ideal conceivers have higher-order knowledge of necessary truths—remains. [Trans.]. (shrink)
Very brief notices of Sarah Broadie's *Aristotle and Beyond*, Bryan Van Norden's translation of selected texts from Mengzi, and a collection of papers by G. E. M. Anscombe entitled *Faith in a Hard Ground*.