Michael V. Wedin

in Aristotle's Theory of Substance

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780199253081
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598647 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies


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Wedin's main point in this book is that the question of Metaphysics Zeta, ‘what is substance?’, should be understood as the question, ‘what is the substance of c‐substances?’. In other words, in virtue of what are the substances of the Categories the sort of things they are—in virtue of what do they have the central, salient features mentioned but not explained in the Categories? Aristotle's answer is that it is in virtue of a structural component of the c‐substance—the form: form, then, is primary substance, but this primacy is explanatory and not ontological. Thus, in Zeta, c‐substances are subjected to hylomorphic analysis, i.e. in terms of form and matter, two entities that are not even mentioned in the Categories: for Wedin this shows that Aristotle in the Categories has no interest in the structure of primary substances, because it is irrelevant to the purpose of the treatise. Hence, the treatises are complementary because ontological primacy is given to c‐substances, and explanatory primacy to their forms.

Keywords: Categories; c‐substance; explanatory primacy; form; hylomorphic analysis; matter; Metaphysics Zeta; ontological primacy; primary substance

Chapter.  4753 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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