Substance has been a leading idea in the history of Western philosophy. _Joshua Hoffman and Gary S. Rosenkrantz_ explain the nature and existence of individual substances, including both living things and inanimate objects. Specifically written for students new to this important and often complex subject, _Substance_ provides both the historical and contemporary overview of the debate. Great Philosophers of the past, such as Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Locke, and Berkeley were profoundly interested in the concept of substance. And, (...) the authors argue, a belief in the existence of substances is an integral part of our everyday world view. But what constitutes substance? Was Aristotle right to suggest that artefacts like tables and ships don't really exist? _Substance: Its Nature and Existence_ is one of the first non-technical, accessible guides to this central problem and will be of great use to students of metaphysics and philosophy. (shrink)
This book revives a neglected but important topic in philosophy: the nature of substance. The belief that there are individual substances, for example, material objects and persons, is at the core of our common-sense view of the world yet many metaphysicians deny the very coherence of the concept of substance. The authors develop an account of what an individual substance is in terms of independence from other beings. In the process many other important ontological categories are explored: (...) property, event, space, time. The authors show why alternative theories of substance fail, and go on to defend the intelligibility of interacting spiritual and material substances. (shrink)
This book takes up the central themes of Aristotle's metaphysical theory and the various transformations they undergo prior to their full expression in the Metaphysics. Aristotle's metaphysics is bedevilled by classic puzzles involving such notions as form, predication, universal, and substance, which result from his attempt to adapt the various requirements on primary substance developed in his earlier works so that they fit the very different metaphysical picture in his later work. Professor Lewis argues that Aristotle is himself (...) aware of most if not all of these difficulties and in the Metaphysics works hard to ensure the coherence of his theory. He presents Aristotle's views as a formal theory complete with axioms, definitions, and theorems. (shrink)
This paper is a study of Brentano’s ontology, and more specifically of his theory of substance and accident as put forward toward the end of his life in the materials collected together as the Kategorienlehre or Theory of Categories. Here Brentano presents an auditious (re-)interpretation of Aristotle’s theory of substance and accidence. We show that on the Brentano initially defends, it is space which serves as the single substance upon which all other entities depend as accidents of (...) space. In an appendix, however, Brentano puts forward an even more radical suggestion, inspired by the physics of Kelvin. According to this final view, space itself is an accident of a deeper substance: the present time. (shrink)
In this paper, I consider particular attempts by E. J. Lowe and Michael Gorman at providing an independence criterion of substancehood and argue that the stipulative exclusion of non-particulars and proper parts (or constituents) from such accounts raises difficult issues for their proponents. The results of the present discussion seem to indicate that, at least for the case of composite entities, a unity criterion of substancehood might have at least as much, and perhaps more, to offer than an independence criterion (...) and therefore ought to be explored further by neo-Aristotelians in search of a defensible notion of substancehood. I indicated briefly how such a unity criterion might be used by neo-Aristotelians to support the inclusion of hylomorphic compounds in the category of substance, given the traditional role of form as the principle of unity within the compound. (shrink)
According to the theory of intrinsic value and moral standing called the ‘substance view,’ what makes it prima facie seriously wrong to kill adult human beings, human infants, and even human fetuses is the possession of the essential property of the basic capacity for rational moral agency – a capacity for rational moral agency in root form and thereby not remotely exercisable. In this critique, I cover three distinct reductio charges directed at the substance view's conclusion that human (...) fetuses have the same intrinsic value and moral standing as adult human beings. After giving consideration to defenders of the substance view's replies to these charges, I then critique each of them, ultimately concluding that none is successful. Of course, in order to understand all of these things – the reductio charges, defenders of the substance view's replies to them, and my criticisms of their replies – one must have a better understanding of the substance view as well as its defense. Accordingly, I address the substance view's understanding of rational moral agency as well as present its defense. (shrink)
Substance and Essence in Aristotle is a close study of Aristotle's most profound—and perplexing—treatise: Books VII-IX of the Metaphysics. These central books, which focus on the nature of substance, have gained a deserved reputation for their difficulty, inconclusiveness, and internal inconsistency. Despite these problems, Witt extracts from Aristotle's text a coherent and provocative view about sensible substance by focusing on Aristotle's account of form or essence. After exploring the context in which Aristotle's discussion of sensible substance (...) takes place, Witt turns to his analysis of essence. Arguing against the received interpretation, according to which essences are classificatory, Witt maintains that a substance's essence is what causes it to exist. In addition, Substance and Essence in Aristotle challenges the orthodox view that Aristotelian essences are species-essences, defending instead the controversial position that they are individual essences. Finally, Witt compares Aristotelian essentialism to contemporary essentialist theories, focusing in particular on Kripke's work. She concludes that fundamental differences between Aristotelian and contemporary essentialist theories highlight important features of Aristotle's theory and the philosophical problems and milieu that engendered it. (shrink)
In this double-volume work, a great modern philosopher propounds a system of thought in which Einstein's theory of relativity represents only the latest (albeit the most radical) fulfillment of the motives inherent to mathematics and the physical sciences. In the course of its exposition, it touches upon such topics as the concept of number, space and time, geometry, and energy; Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry; traditional logic and scientific method; mechanism and motion; Mayer's methodology of natural science; Richter's definite proportions; relational (...) concepts and the activity of the ego; Einstein's relativity and "reality"; and the philosophical concept of truth and its role in relativity theory. 1923 edition. (shrink)
In my articles ‘The Substance View: A Critique’ and ‘The Substance View: A Critique,’ I raise objections to the substance view, a theory of intrinsic value and moral standing defended by a number of contemporary moral philosophers, including Robert P. George, Patrick Lee, Christopher Tollefsen, and Francis Beckwith. In part one of my critique of the substance view, I raise reductio-style objections to the substance view's conclusion that the standard human fetus has the same intrinsic (...) value and moral standing as the standard adult human being, among other human beings. In part two, I raise objections to some of the premises invoked in support of that conclusion. Here, in part three, I raise objections to Henrik Friberg-Fernros's attempt to rebut some of the aforementioned objections. (shrink)
Philosophers today have largely given up on the project of categorizing being. Aristotle’s ten categories now strike us as quaint, and no attempt to improve on that effort meets with much interest. Still, no one supposes that reality is smoothly distributed over space. The world at large comes in chunks, and there remains a widespread intuition, even among philosophers, that some of these chunks have a special sort of unity and persistence. These, we tend to suppose, are most truly agents (...) and subjects, and are what exist in the most proper sense of the term. We believe, in other words, in substances. (shrink)
This book is a study of Aristotle's metaphysics in which the central argument is that Aristotle's views on substance are a direct response to Plato's Theory of Forms. The claim is that Aristotle believes that many of Plato's views are tenable once one has rejected Plato's notion of separation. There have been many recent books on Aristotle's theory of substance. This one is distinct from previous books in several ways: firstly, it offers a completely new, coherent interpretation of (...) Aristotle's claim that substances are separate in which substances turn out to be specimens of natural kinds. Secondly, it covers a broad range of issues, including Aristotle's criticism of Plato, his views on numerical sameness and identity, his epistemology and his account of teleology. There is also a discussion of much of the recent literature on Aristotle. (shrink)
Individual substances are the ground of Aristotle’s ontology. Taking a liberal approach to existence, Aristotle accepts among existents entities in such categories other than substance as quality, quantity and relation; and, within each category, individuals and universals. As I will argue, individual substances are ontologically independent from all these other entities, while all other entities are ontologically dependent on individual substances. The association of substance with independence has a long history and several contemporary metaphysicians have pursued the connection. (...) In this chapter, I will discuss the intersection of these notions of substance and ontological dependence in Aristotle. I will canvass a few contemporary formulations of ontological dependence and discuss some of the interpretative difficulties in ascribing any of these formulations to Aristotle’s characterization of individual substances as ontologically independent. My aim is not to resolve fully these difficulties but to locate the topics of substance and independence relative to certain other controversies in Aristotle studies. However, I will sketch a position. In particular, elsewhere I have speculated that Aristotle is both a primitivist and a pluralist with respect to ontological dependence, and I will develop this line of interpretation a bit further later in the chapter. (shrink)
This book is a complete re-thinking of Aristotle's metaphysical theory of material substances. The view of the author is that the 'substances' are the living things, the organisms: chiefly, the animals. There are three main parts to the book: Part I, a treatment of the concepts of substance and nonsubstance in Aristotle's Categories; Part III, which discusses some important features of biological objects as Aristotelian substances, as analysed in Aristotle's biological treatises and the de Anima; and Part V, which (...) attempts to relate the conception of substance as interpreted so far to that of the Metaphysics itself. The main aim of the study is to recreate in modern imagination a vivid, intuitive understanding of Aristotle's concept of material substance: a certain distinctive concept of what an individual material object is. (shrink)
According to a certain kind of naïve or folk understanding of physical matter, everyday ‘solid’ objects are composed of a homogeneous, gap-less substance, with sharply defined boundaries, which wholly fills the space they occupy. A further claim is that our perceptual experience of the environment represents or indicates that the objects around us conform to this sort of conception of physical matter. Were this further claim correct, it would mean that the way that the world appears to us in (...) experience conflicts with the deliverances of our best current scientific theories in the following respect: perceptual experience would be intrinsically misleading concerning the structure of physical matter. I argue against this further claim. Experience in itself is not committed to, nor does it provide evidence for, any such conception of the nature of physical matter. The naïve/folk conception of matter in question cannot simply be ‘read-off’ from perceptual appearances. (shrink)
In my initial critique of the substance view, I raised reductio-style objections to the substance view's conclusion that the standard human fetus has the same intrinsic value and moral standing as the standard adult human being, among others. In this follow-up critique, I raise objections to some of the premises invoked in support of this conclusion. I begin by briefly presenting the substance view as well as its defense. (For a more thorough presentation, see the first part (...) of my critique.) I then raise objections to three claims involved in the substance view's defense: the claim that the standard human fetus's intrinsic value and moral standing is a function of its potentiality; the claim that the standard human fetus's intrinsic value and moral standing is a function of its essential properties; and the claim that it is the possession of the basic potential for rational moral agency that best accounts for the wrongness of killing the standard human fetus, among others. (shrink)
In this book, which thoroughly revises and greatly expands his classic work Sameness and Substance, David Wiggins retrieves and refurbishes in the light of twentieth-century logic and logical theory certain conceptions of identity, of substance and of persistence through change that philosophy inherits from its past. In this new version, he vindicates the absoluteness, necessity, determinateness and all or nothing character of identity against rival conceptions. He defends a form of essentialism that he calls individuative essentialism, and then (...) a form of realism that he calls conceptualist realism. In a final chapter he advocates a human being-based conception of the identity and individuation of persons, arguing that any satisfactory account of personal memory must make reference to the life of the rememberer himself. This important book will appeal to a wide range of readers in metaphysics, philosophical logic, and analytic philosophy. (shrink)
In this book I address a dichotomy that is as central as any in ontology - that between ordinary objects or substances and the various attributes we associate with them. My aim is to arrive at the correct philosophical account of each member of the dichotomy. What I shall argue is that the various attempts to understand substances or attri butes in reductive terms fail. Talk about attributes, I shall try to show, is just that - talk about attributes; and, (...) likewise, talk about substances is just tha- talk about substances. The result is what many will find a strange combina tion of views - a Platonistic theory of attributes, where attributes are univer sals or multiply exemplifiable entities whose existence is independent of "the world of flux", and an Aristotelian theory of substance, where substances are basic unities not reducible to metaphysically more fundamental kinds of things. Part One is concerned with the ontology of attributes. After distinguishing three different patterns of metaphysical thinking about attributes, I examine, in turn, the phenomena of predication, resemblance, and higher order quanti fication. I argue that none of these phenomena by itself is sufficient to establish the inescapability of a Platonistic interpretation of attributes. Then, I discuss the phenomenon of abstract reference as it is exhibited in the use of abstract singular terms. (shrink)
This book is a re-thinking of Aristotle's metaphysical theory of material substances. The view of the author is that the 'substances' are the living things, the organisms: chiefly, the animals. There are three main parts to the book: Part I, a treatment of the concepts of substance and nonsubstance in Aristotle's Categories; Part III, which discusses some important features of biological objects as Aristotelian substances, as analysed in Aristotle's biological treatises and the de Anima; and Part V, which attempts (...) to relate the conception of substance as interpreted so far to that of the Metaphysics itself. The main aim of the study is to recreate in modern imagination a vivid, intuitive understanding of Aristotle's concept of material substance: a certain distinctive concept of what an individual material object is. (shrink)
The essay constructs an ontological theory designed to capture the categories instantiated in those portions or levels of reality which are captured in our common sense conceptual scheme. It takes as its starting point an Aristotelian ontology of “substances” and “accidents”, which are treated via the instruments of mereology and topology. The theory recognizes not only individual parts of substances and accidents, including the internal and external boundaries of these, but also universal parts, such as the “humanity” which is an (...) essential part of both Tom and Dick, and also “individual relations”, such as Tom’s promise to Dick, or their current handshake. (shrink)
This book develops an account of what substance is in terms of the notion of independence. As the authors note, there is a tradition of defining substance as independent that begins with Aristotle. But what notion of independence can provide an adequate definition of substance? The authors find traditional attempts to define independence, including Aristotle’s, inadequate on a number of grounds, and they propose an alternative account. As a preface to this undertaking, the authors consider and reject (...) a number of standard objections to their project, and as an afterword, they argue that the notion of spiritual substance is as intelligible as the notion of material substance. (shrink)
In _Form, Matter, Substance_, Kathrin Koslicki defends a hylomorphic analysis of concrete particular objects (e.g., living organisms). The Aristotelian doctrine of hylomorphism holds that those entities that fall under it are compounds of matter (hulē) and form (morphē or eidos). Koslicki argues that a hylomorphic analysis of concrete particular objects is well-equipped to compete with alternative approaches when measured against a wide range of criteria of success. A successful application of the doctrine of hylomorphism to the special case of concrete (...) particular objects, however, hinges on how hylomorphists conceive of the matter composing a concrete particular object, its form, and the hylomorphic relations which hold between a matter-form compound, its matter and its form. Through the detailed answers to these questions Koslicki develops in this book, matter-form compounds, despite their metaphysical complexity, emerge as occupying the privileged ontological status traditionally associated with substances, due in particular to their high degree of unity. (shrink)
Jonathan Lowe argues that metaphysics should be restored to a central position in philosophy, as the most fundamental form of rational inquiry, whose findings underpin those of all other disciplines. He portrays metaphysics as charting the possibilities of existence, by idetifying the categories of being and the relations of ontological dependency between entities of different categories. He proceeds to set out a unified and original metaphysical system: he defends a substance ontology, according to which the existence of the world (...) s one world in time depends upon the existence of persisting things which retain their identity over time and through processes of qualitative change. And he contends that even necessary beings, such as the abstract objects of mathematics, depend ultimately for their existence upon there being a concrete world of enduring substances. Within his system of metaphysics Lowe seeks to answer many of the deepest and most challenging questions in philosophy. (shrink)
According to one argument for Animalism about personal identity, animal , but not person , is a Wigginsian substance concept—a concept that tells us what we are essentially. Person supposedly fails to be a substance concept because it is a functional concept that answers the question “what do we do?” without telling us what we are. Since person is not a substance concept, it cannot provide the criteria for our coming into or going out of existence; animal (...) , on the other hand, can provide such criteria. This argument has been defended by Eric Olson, among others. I argue that this line of reasoning fails to show Animalism to be superior to the Psychological Approach, for the following two reasons: (1) human animal , animal , and organism are all functional concepts, and (2) the distinction between what something is and what it does is illegitimate on the reading that the argument needs. (shrink)
Substance and the Fundamentality of the Familiar explicates and defends a novel neo-Aristotelian account of the structure of material objects. While there have been numerous treatments of properties, laws, causation, and modality in the neo-Aristotelian metaphysics literature, this book is one of the first full-length treatments of wholes and their parts. Another aim of the book is to further develop the newly revived area concerning the question of fundamental mereology, the question of whether wholes are metaphysically prior to their (...) parts or vice versa. Inman develops a fundamental mereology with a grounding-based conception of the structure and unity of substances at its core, what he calls substantial priority, one that distinctively allows for the fundamentality of ordinary, medium-sized composite objects. He offers both empirical and philosophical considerations against the view that the parts of every composite object are metaphysically prior, in particular the view that ascribes ontological pride of place to the smallest microphysical parts of composite objects, which currently dominates debates in metaphysics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind. Ultimately, he demonstrates that substantial priority is well-motivated in virtue of its offering a unified solution to a host of metaphysical problems involving material objects. (shrink)
In this paper, I develop an ontological position according to which substances such as you and I have no substantial parts. The claim is not that we are immaterial souls. Nor is the claim that we are “human atoms” co-located with human organisms. It is, rather, that we are macrophysical objects that are, in the relevant sense, simple. I contend that despite initial appearances, this claim is not obviously false, and I defend it by showing how much work it can (...) do. (shrink)
This book addresses two basic questions: What is the proper philosophical analysis of the concept of substance? and What kinds of compound substances are there? The second question is mainly addressed by asking what relations among objects are necessary and sufficient for their coming to compose a larger whole. The first 72 pages of the book contain a short history of attempts to answer the first question, and a brief presentation of the analysis the authors defend at length in (...) their earlier book, Substance Among Other Categories. In the remaining 119 pages, the authors take up the second question. This order of presentation makes sense; but it may help to create a false impression in those who only glance at the first few pages—that this book is just a simplified version of the earlier one, with a little bit of history thrown in. It would be quite unfortunate, however, if very many potential readers get this impression; for it might discourage them from looking closely at the bulk of the book, which is new. The issues discussed in the later chapters are at the center of one of the most lively debates in contemporary metaphysics; and the position Hoffman and Rosenkrantz stake out is appealing and carefully articulated. Their views deserve careful attention from philosophers working on the metaphysics of persistence through time, personal identity, artifact identity, and mereology. (shrink)
I argue that the debate between proponents of substance causation and proponents of causation by powers, as to whether substances or their powers are causes, hinges on whether or not powers are self-exemplifying or non-self-exemplifying properties. Substance causation is committed to powers being non-self-exemplifying properties while causation by powers is committed to powers being self-exemplifying properties. I then argue that powers are non-self-exemplifying properties, in support of substance causation.
Yitzhak Melamed here offers a new and systematic interpretation of the core of Spinoza's metaphysics. In the first part of the book, he proposes a new reading of the metaphysics of substance in Spinoza: he argues that for Spinoza modes both inhere in and are predicated of God. Using extensive textual evidence, he shows that Spinoza considered modes to be God's propria. He goes on to clarify Spinoza's understanding of infinity, mereological relations, infinite modes, and the flow of finite (...) things from God's essence. In the second part of the book, Melamed relies on this interpretation of the substance-mode relation and the nature of infinite modes and puts forward two interrelated theses about the structure of the attribute of Thought and its overarching role in Spinoza's metaphysics. First, he shows that Spinoza had not one, but two independent doctrines of parallelism. Then, in his final main thesis, Melamed argues that, for Spinoza, ideas have a multifaceted structure that allows one and the same idea to represent the infinitely many modes which are parallel to it in the infinitely many attributes. Thought turns out to be coextensive with the whole of nature. Spinoza cannot embrace an idealist reduction of Extension to Thought because of his commitment to the conceptual separation of the attributes. Yet, within Spinoza's metaphysics, Thought clearly has primacy over the other attributes insofar as it is the only attribute which is as elaborate, as complex, and, in some senses, as powerful as God. (shrink)
What is the relation between material objects and spacetime regions? Supposing that spacetime regions are one sort of substance, there remains the question of whether or not material objects are a second sort of substance. This is the question of dualistic versus monistic substantivalism. I will defend the monistic view. In particular, I will maintain that material objects should be identified with spacetime regions. There is the spacetime manifold, and the fundamental properties are pinned directly to it.
Introduction , Sophie Gibb 1. Mental Causation , John Heil 2. Physical Realization without Preemption , Sydney Shoemaker 3. Mental Causation in the Physical World , Peter Menzies 4. Mental Causation: Ontology and Patterns of Variation , Paul Noordhof 5. Causation is Macroscopic but not Irreducible , David Papineau 6. Substance Causation, Powers, and Human Agency , E. J. Lowe 7. Agent Causation in a Neo-Aristotelian Metaphysics , Jonathan D. Jacobs and Timothy O’Connor 8. Mental Causation and Double Prevention (...) , Sophie Gibb 9. The Identity Theory as a Solution to the Exclusion Problem , David Robb 10. Continuant Causation, Fundamentality, and Freedom , Peter Simons 11. There is no Exclusion Problem , Steinvor Tholl Arnadottir and Tim Crane. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe paper takes up a conception of substances according to which substances are simple property bearers, properties being modes, particular qualitative ways individual substances are. What a substance does or would do is determined by its qualities. Efficient causation is to be understood as the manifesting of powers possessed by substances owing to their qualitative natures. Although complexes, entities with substantial parts, are not substances, they would be no less real, no less participants in the causal fray. What the (...) substances and properties are is an empirical matter, however, to be settled, if at all, by physics. For all we know, the substances might be particles, or fields, or the universe as a whole. Efficient causation appears to require pluralism: distinct interacting substances. In a non-pluralistic universe, causal truths would be relegated to the manifest image: true still, but made true by non-causal features of the universe perhaps revealed by the scientific image. There remains the final reflection, how shallow, puny, and imperfect are efforts to sound the depths in the nature of things. In philosophical discussion, the merest hint of dogmatic certainty as to finality of statement is an exhibition of folly. : x). (shrink)
Descartes notoriously characterizes substance in two ways: first, as an ultimate subject of properties ; second, as an independent entity. The characterizations have appeared to many to diverge on the definition as well as the scope of the notion of substance. For it is often thought that the ultimate subject of properties need not—and, in some cases, cannot—be independent. Drawing on a suite of historical, textual, and philosophical considerations, this essay argues for an interpretation that reconciles Descartes's two (...) characterizations. It proposes that both characterizations invoke a type of independence that obtains just in case there is no relation to another entity that holds by the nature of the entity in question. Even though the ultimate subject of properties is sometimes not independent in other respects, it satisfies this independence-by-nature condition. (shrink)
The categorial concepts of substance (thing) and substance (stuff) are described, and the conceptual relationships between things and their constitutive stuff delineated. The relationship between substance concepts, expressed by other count-nouns, and natural kind concepts is examined. Artefacts and their parts are argued to be substances, whereas parts of organisms are not. The confusions of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophers who invoked the concept of substance are adumbrated.
‘Substance’ (substantia, zelfstandigheid) is a key term of Spinoza’s philosophy. Like almost all of Spinoza’s philosophical vocabulary, Spinoza did not invent this term, which has a long history that can be traced back at least to Aristotle. Yet, Spinoza radicalized the traditional notion of substance and made a very powerful use of it by demonstrating – or at least attempting to demonstrate -- that there is only one, unique substance -- God (or Nature) -- and that all (...) other things are merely modes or states of God. Some of Spinoza’s readers understood these claims as committing him to the view that only God truly exists, and while this interpretation is not groundless, we will later see that this enticing and bold reading of Spinoza as an ‘acosmist’ comes at the expense of another audacious claim Spinoza advances, i.e., that God/Nature is absolutely and actually infinite. But before we reach this last conclusion, we have a long way to go. So, let me first provide an overview of our plan. In the first section of this paper we will examine Spinoza’s definitions of ‘substance’ and ‘God’ at the opening of his magnum opus, the Ethics. Following a preliminary clarification of these two terms and their relations to the other key terms defined at the beginning of the Ethics, we will briefly address the Aristotelian and Cartesian background of Spinoza’s discussion of substance. In the second section, we will study the properties of the fundamental binary relations pertaining to Spinoza’s substance: inherence, conception, and causation. The third section will be dedicated to a clarification of Spinoza’s claim that God, the unique substance, is absolutely infinite. This essential feature of Spinoza’s substance has been largely neglected in recent Anglo-American scholarship, a neglect which has brought about an unfortunate tendency to domesticate Spinoza’s metaphysics to more contemporary views. The fourth section will study the nature of Spinoza’s monism. It will discuss and criticize the interesting yet controversial views of the eminent Spinoza scholar, Martial Gueroult, about the plurality of substances in the beginning of the Ethics; address Spinoza’s claim in Letter 50 that, strictly speaking, it is improper to describe God as “one”; and, finally, evaluate Spinoza’s kind of monism against the distinction between existence and priority monism recently introduced into the contemporary philosophical literature. The fifth and final section will explain the nature, reality, and manner of existence of modes. We therefore have an ambitious plan; let’s get down to business. (shrink)
Assigning the appropriate moral status to different stages of human development is an urgent problem in bioethics. Many philosophers have attempted to assess developmental events using strict ontological principles to determine when a developing entity becomes essentially human. This approach is not consistent with recent findings in reproductive and stem cell biology, including the discovery of the plasticity of early embryonic development and the advent of induced pluripotent stem cells. Substance ontology should therefore not be used to determine the (...) moral status of the embryo. (shrink)
The paper addresses a problem for the unification of quantum physics with the new Aristotelianism: the identification of the members of the category of substance. I outline briefly the role that substance plays in Aristotelian metaphysics, leading to the postulating of the Tiling Constraint. I then turn to the question of which entities in quantum physics can qualify as Aristotelian substances. I offer an answer: the theory of thermal substances, and I construct a fivefold case for thermal substances, (...) based on the irreversibility of time, the definition of thermodynamic concepts, spontaneous symmetry breaking, phase transitions, and chemical form. (shrink)
This book offers a sustained re-evaluation of the most central and perplexing themes of Leibniz's metaphysics. In contrast to traditional assessments that view the metaphysics in terms of its place among post-Cartesian theories of the world, Jan Cover and John O'Leary-Hawthorne examine the question of how the scholastic themes which were Leibniz's inheritance figure - and are refigured - in his mature account of substance and individuation. From this emerges a fresh and sometimes surprising assessment of Leibniz's views on (...) modality, the Identity of Indiscernibles, form as an internal law, and the complete-concept doctrine. As a rigorous philosophical treatment of a still-influential mediary between scholastic and modern metaphysics, their study will be of interest to historians of philosophy and contemporary metaphysicians alike. (shrink)
This article explains Aquinas's attempt to show, within an Aristotelian framework, how the soul can be both a substance in its own right and the form of the body. I argue that although Aquinas' theory is logically consistent, its plausibility is weakened by the fact that it requires a significant modification of the Aristotelian conceptions of both substance and form.
Spellman argues that Aristotle developed his views about substance in response to Plato’s theory of forms. In particular, she argues that Aristotelian substances are as much like Platonic forms as possible, minus the latter’s separation. Whether ASs are like PFs depends, of course, not only on what one takes ASs to be like, but also on what one takes PFs to be like; accordingly, Spellman provides accounts of both. She argues that ASs are what she calls specimens of natural (...) kinds. A specimen of a natural kind is not Socrates, but Socrates-qua-human-being: Socrates insofar as he is a human being. She argues that Socrates, and Socrates-qua-human-being are numerically the same, but not identical. They are not identical, because not everything true of Socrates is true of Socrates-qua-human-being. Socrates, for example, is snub-nosed, but Socrates-qua-human-being is not; for the latter has all and only the properties contained in the definition of human being. (shrink)
There is no consensus on how to define substance, but one popular view is that substances are entities that are independent in some sense or other. E. J. Lowe’s version of this approach stresses that substances are not dependent on other particulars for their identity. I develop the meaning of this proposal, defend it against some criticisms, and then show that others do require that the theory be modified.