Aristotle's Theory of Form

David Bostock

in Space, Time, Matter, and Form

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780199286867
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603532 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies Series

 Aristotle's Theory of Form

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This essay is a résumé of all the ways in which Aristotle uses his notion of form in books, which one thinks of as ‘preceding’ the Metaphysics (in order of exposition, if not in order of composition). It is argued that this notion is invoked for far too many purposes; in fact for anything that cannot be explained merely by appeal to matter. As a result, it comes to be assigned many different roles which are not compatible with one another, although Aristotle never seems willing to abandon any of them. This multiplicity of roles is continued into the Metaphysics, where yet more roles are added. This is the reason why one cannot give any coherent account of the various papers that form books Z and H of the Metaphysics.

Keywords: Aristotle; form; species; goal; telos; heredity; soul

Chapter.  14694 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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