David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy. Cambridge University Press (2010)
The first unquestionably big idea in the history of philosophy was the idea of form. The idea of course belonged to Plato, and was then domesticated at the hands of Aristotle, who paired form with matter as the two chief principles of his metaphysics and natural philosophy. In the medieval period, it was Aristotle’s conception of form and matter that generally dominated. This was true for both the Islamic and the Christian tradition, once the entire Aristotelian corpus became available. For this reason, although there is much to say about the fate of Platonic Forms in medieval thought, the present chapter will focus on the Aristotelian tradition.1 Aristotelian commentators have been puzzled by form and matter for as long as there have been Aristotelian commentators. Indeed, it would not be too much to say that these are topics about which Aristotelians have never formed a very clear conception, and that their failure to do so was the principal reason why Aristotelianism ceased to be a flourishing research program from the seventeenth century onward. For those who aspire to a modern revival of Aristotelianism, the concepts of form and matter can easily take on the aspect of a kind of Holy Grail, such that if only we could get these ideas clearly in focus, we could see our way forward on any number of philosophical fronts, such as the union of mind and body, the coherence and endurance of substances, the nature of causality, and so on. The historical record, however, suggests that this hope is a snare and delusion, insofar as there has never been any such thing as the theory of form and matter. Although medieval philosophers of all kinds used this terminology incessantly, it had no more of a fixed meaning than does the ubiquitous contemporary philosophical talk of “properties.” Hence, the most a general survey of the topic can do is consider some of the more important areas of agreement and disagreement.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Jeffrey E. Brower (2011). Matter, Form, and Individuation. In Brian Davies & Eleonore Stump (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas. Oxford University Press 85-103.
John Goheen (1940). The Problem of Matter and Form in the De Ente Et Essentia of Thomas Aquinas. Cambridge, Mass.,Harvard University Press.
Denis OBrien (2011). Plotinus on the Making of Matter Part I: The Identity of Darkness. International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 5 (1):6-57.
Annabel Brett (2010). 'The Matter, Forme, and Power of a Common-Wealth': Thomas Hobbes and Late Renaissance Commentary on Aristotle's Politics. Hobbes Studies 23 (1):72-102.
Frank A. Lewis (2011). “Predication, Things, and Kinds in Aristotle's Metaphysics”. Phronesis 56 (4):350-387.
Catherine Jack Deavel (2003). Unity and Primary Substance for Aristotle. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 77:159-172.
Boris Hennig (2008). Matter in Z3. Foundations of Science 13 (3-4):199-215.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads41 ( #98,226 of 1,792,155 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #464,595 of 1,792,155 )
How can I increase my downloads?