Substance and Independence in Aristotle

In B. Schnieder, A. Steinberg & M. Hoeltje (eds.), Varieties of Dependence: Ontological Dependence, Supervenience, and Response-Dependence. Basic Philosophical Concepts Series, Philosophia Verlag. pp. 36-67 (2013)

Authors
Phil Corkum
University of Alberta
Abstract
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.
Keywords aristotle  ontological dependence  substance
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References found in this work BETA

Essence and Modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8:1-16.
On What Grounds What.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383.
Is Metaphysical Dependence Irreflexive?C. S. Jenkins - 2011 - The Monist 94 (2):267-276.
A Clarification and Defense of the Notion of Grounding.Paul Audi - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-121.
An Introduction to Grounding.Kelly Trogdon - 2013 - In Miguel Hoeltje, Benjamin Schnieder & Alex Steinberg (eds.), Varieties of Dependence. Munich, Germany: Philosophia Verlag. pp. 97-122.

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Citations of this work BETA

Aristotle on Predication.Phil Corkum - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (3):793-813.
In Defense of Substance.Kathrin Koslicki - 2015 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 91 (1):59-80.
The Ontological Priority of the Unmoved Substances According to Aristotle’s Metaphysics Lambda.Meline Costa Sousa - 2017 - Archai: Revista de Estudos Sobre as Origens Do Pensamento Ocidental 21:65-97.

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