Material Substance

Henrik Lagerlund

in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195379488
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Material Substance

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  • History of Western Philosophy
  • Metaphysics



Aristotle's emphasis on substance introduced many problems into Western metaphysics, such as what accounts for the unity of a substance through accidental change. This article outlines four different views of material substance: the unity account; plurality of forms account; mereological account; and atomistic account. The first two are related in the sense that they are both hylomorphic accounts of material substances. The other two are less known, but the mereological account is important for later, more modern, discussions of substance.

Keywords: Aristotle; Western metaphysics; material substance; mereological account; plurality of forms; hylomorphic substance

Article.  9236 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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