Why did Aristotle invent the material cause ? The early development of the concept of hê hylê

In Pierre Pellegrin & Françoise Graziani (eds.), L'HÉRITAGE D'ARISTOTE AUJOURD'HUI : NATURE ET SOCIÉTÉ. Alessandria: Editzioni dell'Orso. pp. 59-86 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

I present a developmental account of Aristotle’s concept of hê hylê (usually translated “the matter”), focused the earliest developments. I begin by analyzing fragments of some lost early works and a chapter of the Organon, texts which indicate that early in his career Aristotle had not yet begun to use he hylê in a technical sense. Next, I examine Physics II 3, a chapter in which Aristotle conceives of he hylê not as a kind of cause in its own right, but merely as an example of the so-called “out of which” cause : the material is the cause out of which an artifact is made. Next, I examine Physics II 7, a chapter in which Aristotle names "the material" as one of the four kinds of cause in its own right. But Aristotle’s model of "the material" remains the material out of which an artifact is made.

Author's Profile

Monte Johnson
University of California, San Diego

Analytics

Added to PP
2021-02-11

Downloads
295 (#48,378)

6 months
111 (#28,318)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?