Review of Metaphysics 31 (3):387-405 (1978)

S. Marc Cohen
University of Washington
Quine, in an influential passage, characterizes a certain kind of metaphysical view as "Aristotelian essentialism." Recent work on Aristotle suggests that he may not have been an essentialist in Quine's sense. This paper examines the question whether, and to what extent, Aristotle is committed to the kind of essentialism Quine discusses. Various promising areas of Aristotle's thought (alteration vs. coming-to-be and passing-away, kath' hauto predication) are examined and found wanting as sources of essentialism. Instead, Aristotle is found to be committed to essentialism in the hylomorphic conception of substance featured in the late books of the Metaphysics, despite the superficially anti-essentialistic appearance of the conception of matter as the ultimate subject of predication. Essentialism is part and parcel of Aristotle's conception of substances as the basic individuals.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph19783131
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Essential Vs. Accidental Properties.Teresa Robertson & Philip Atkins - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Subjacente e Forma na Teoria Aristotélica da Ousia.Lucas Angioni - 2003 - Cadernos de História E Filosofia da Ciência 13 (2):245-275.
Essence and Cause: Making Something Be What It Is.Riin Sirkel - 2018 - Discipline Filosofiche 28 (1):89-112.
Greek Ontology and the 'Is' of Truth.Mohan Matthen - 1983 - Phronesis 28 (2):113 - 135.
Accidental Sameness in Aristotle.Frank A. Lewis - 1982 - Philosophical Studies 42 (1):1 - 36.

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