Aristotle on Substance [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 45 (3):611-613 (1992)

Authors
Thomas Upton
Gannon University
Abstract
A good work in philosophy should, it seems, have two essential characteristics: broad philosophical vision and careful, convincing argumentation. This book has both. Guiding the work is Gill's refreshingly original vision of Aristotle's cosmos. Instead of the austere traditional view of this cosmos in which God as pure form and actuality is at the top, and prime matter as pure matter and potentiality is at the bottom, with composite bodies in between the two, Gill proposes another view. In Aristotle's cosmos God as pure form and actuality is indeed at the top, but at the bottom is not matter as indeterminate potentiality, but as a set of simple elements. These elements have definite natures, but are not composites of matter and form. Because these elements have definite natures, they are not just static building blocks of the composite substances into which they are formed. Rather, material, composite substances, held together by form, tend to be subverted by the very matter of which they are composed. Thus, on Gill's view, "The Aristotelian cosmos is a world of tension and commotion-ordered and preserved by form, disordered by matter".
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph199245313
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