Whence the Form?

Australasian Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Hylomorphists claim that substances—human beings, oak trees, chemical compounds—are compounds of matter and form. If a house is a substance, then its matter would be some bricks and timbers and its form the structure those bricks and timbers take on. While hylomorphism is traditionally presented as a theory of change, it only treats the coming-to-be and passing-away of matter-form compounds. But many hylomorphists understand forms to be entities in their own right, as parts or constituents of substances. So, a neglected question arises: how, when, and from where do forms come to be? I take up the view of one prominent and representative hylomorphist, Kathrin Koslicki, and argue that she cannot answer these questions satisfactorily. I close with a proposal for an account of the generation of forms based on machinery many hylomorphists already accept, namely, causal powers, that points to a deflationary metaphysics of form.

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Graham Renz
Marian University

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References found in this work

Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality.Barbara Vetter - 2015 - Oxford, England and New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
The Universe as We Find It.John Heil - 2012 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The structure of objects.Kathrin Koslicki - 2008 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Abstract particulars.Keith Campbell - 1990 - Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell.
The Mind in Nature.C. B. Martin - 2007 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.

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