Substance, Independence and Unity

In Edward Feser (ed.), Aristotle on Method and Metaphysics. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 169-195 (2013)
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In this paper, I consider particular attempts by E. J. Lowe and Michael Gorman at providing an independence criterion of substancehood and argue that the stipulative exclusion of non-particulars and proper parts (or constituents) from such accounts raises difficult issues for their proponents. The results of the present discussion seem to indicate that, at least for the case of composite entities, a unity criterion of substancehood might have at least as much, and perhaps more, to offer than an independence criterion and therefore ought to be explored further by neo-Aristotelians in search of a defensible notion of substancehood. I indicated briefly how such a unity criterion might be used by neo-Aristotelians to support the inclusion of hylomorphic compounds in the category of substance, given the traditional role of form as the principle of unity within the compound.

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Kathrin Koslicki
Université de Neuchâtel


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