Chapter

Aristotle's Theory of Matter

David Bostock

in Space, Time, Matter, and Form

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780199286867
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603532 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199286868.003.0003

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies Series

 Aristotle's Theory of Matter

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This essay opens with a summary of Aristotle’s general position on matter and change, which leads to the question: What is the criterion of identity that we apparently need to make sense of the idea that the same matter persists through some change? The essay then explores this question on its own account, with almost no further reference to Aristotle’s own views. It is argued that although some progress can be made with this question, a fully satisfying answer is not available on Aristotelian terms. It is then questioned whether this is at all a serious defect in his conception. Some final remarks briefly indicate how his conception of matter has fared over the centuries between him and us.

Keywords: Aristotle; Physics; matter; identity criteria; spatio-temporal continuity; mass; substance

Chapter.  10266 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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