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David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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This essay belongs to a series of papers whose aim is to show that some differing accounts of relations in contemporary philosophy (commencing with Frege) are flawed because they resort to what can be labelled `hylomorphism'. Some standard difficulties of Aristotelianism reappear in these analytical approaches. All of them resort to «form» as playing the role of `«ctualizing» a given «matter» (objects taken as arguments, relata, or a relation along with the related terms -- the form then being, e.g., a logical form, as Russell thought when writing his Theory of Knowledge) by making it into another entity. In these accounts the actualizing or structuring form lacks the quality (of actuality or objecthood or whatever) it bestows upon the matter it clings to. The puzzle lies in those forms' baffling slipperiness; for they cannot be meant or intended outside their role of actualizing or informing some matter. But, when we point to (the process or result of) their playing such a role, we cannot mean or intend the form itself, but only the informed matter -- or, if you please, the result of its being thus informed. For some approaches, a problem also arises concerning matter itself, one closely resembling Aristotelian problems with prime matter -- problems which have prompted some interpreters to deny that Aristotle posited any such entity Foot note 1_1 . What in these approaches plays the role of Aristotelian matter, when taken «prior to» or outside of its being «informed» by a form, lacks sufficient self being and endowment with qualities and ontological profile to be an entity directly meant as such. Such a problem e.g. affects Tractarian «objects», which are both form and content, but which can be meant as neither separately. It follows that their ipseity always eludes us and evades being meant or signified. As we are about to see, a similar problem affects Bergmann's new ontology.
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