Essentially Enmattered Form as Prior to Matter: A Modest Proposal

Michail Peramatzis

in Priority in Aristotle's Metaphysics

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588350
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728877 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies Series

Essentially Enmattered Form as Prior to Matter: A Modest Proposal

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Chapter 7 deals with the apparent conflict between the form’s essential enmatterment and its claim to essential and definitional priority over matter. The proposed solution is that, while form is not essentially independent of its own essential material parts, yet it could be prior to the material constituents of (particular or universal) compounds. Chapter 6 introduces what can be called Aristotle’s ‘causal‐explanatory’ model of essence. Aristotle lays out this model in Posterior Analytics B.8‐10, in his discussion of definitions of process‐kinds such as thunder or eclipse. In Metaphysics Z.17 and H.2‐4 Aristotle extends this causal‐explanatory model to cases of substance‐kinds. He holds that a substance‐kind is defined in terms of its type‐matter and the form which is its essence. His idea seems to be that the form or essence (e.g., being a rational soul) fixes the identity and is the cause of the type‐with‐type‐matter, the one which is identified with the substance‐kind defined (e.g., the human‐kind).

Keywords: form; essential enmatterment; essential priority; definitional priority; matter; material parts; cause; explanation; process‐kinds; substance‐kinds

Chapter.  18026 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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