Forms Are Not Emergent Powers

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Hylomorphism is the Aristotelian theory according to which substances are composites of matter and form. If my house is a substance, then its matter would be a collection of bricks and timbers and its form something like a structure that unites those bricks and timbers into a single substance. Contemporary hylomorphists are divided on how to understand forms best, but a prominent group of theorists argue that forms are emergent powers. According to such views, when material components are arranged appropriately, a novel substance emerges with the power to impose unity on its components through time. I argue that these accounts of form fall prey to a bootstrapping problem, and so, suffer from issues of redundancy, given plausible assumptions about inherence. In their place, I suggest an ontologically minimalist conception of forms as collective manifestations of the powers of matter.

Similar books and articles

Hylomorphism: a Critical Analysis.Antonella Corradini - 2019 - Acta Analytica 34 (3):345-361.
Do Substances Have Formal Parts?Graham Renz - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
The Impossibility of Emergent Conscious Causal Powers.Pat Lewtas - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):475-487.
Hylomorphism and the Metaphysics of Structure.William Jaworski - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (2):179-201.
Kim on Emergence.Sydney Shoemaker - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 108 (1-2):53-63.
The Possibility of Emergent Conscious Causal Powers.Lok-Chi Chan & Andrew J. Latham - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (1):195-201.
Emergence and Reflexive Downward.John Symons - 2002 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 6 (1):183–201.
Must strong emergence collapse?Umut Baysan & Jessica Wilson - 2017 - Philosophica 91 (1):49--104.
Powerful Substances Because of Powerless Powers.Davis Kuykendall - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (3):339-356.
Emergence and Reflexive Downward.John Symons - 2002 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 6 (1):183–201.
Emergent Powers.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1031-1044.

Analytics

Added to PP
2023-06-09

Downloads
277 (#69,778)

6 months
168 (#16,454)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Graham Renz
Marian University

Citations of this work

Whence the Form?Graham Renz - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Things and Their Parts.Kit Fine - 1999 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 23 (1):61-74.
Hylomorphism.Mark Johnston - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (12):652-698.
Aristotle's hylomorphism without reconditioning.Anna Marmodoro - 2013 - Philosophical Inquiry 37 (1-2):5-22.

View all 35 references / Add more references