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Studia Neoaristotelica

Volume 13, Issue 1, 2016

A Journal of Analytic Scholasticism

John Kronen, Sandra Menssen
Pages 5-43
DOI: 10.5840/studneoar20161311

Towards a Robust Hylomorphism

Over the past fi fty years or so analytic philosophers (such as David Wiggins and Baruch Brody) have developed accounts of the nature of material objects that can plausibly be described as neo-Aristotelian. We argue that what we term non-robust neo-Aristotelian accounts of hylomorphism fail: if hylomorphism is true, then some species of robust hylomorphism is true. In Section 2 we explain what we take non-robust and robust hylomorphism to be and distinguish two species of non-robust hylomorphism (formal and substantial). In Section 3 we examine Aquinas’s definition of substance. It has much to recommend it, but precludes any sort of non-robust hylomorphism. So we consider whether there is an alternative definition of substance that might be employed in defense of non-robust hylomorphism. The only promising alternative, we suggest, is one inspired by Udayana, the great 10ᵗʰ-century Vaiśeṣika metaphysician, a definition that relies on the concept of inherence. In Section 4 we argue that formal non-robust hylomorphism is false under the alternative defi nition of substance, and that substantial non-robust hylomorphism, too, is false under that definition. And in Section 5 we offer a few final remarks, including a word of thanks to the neo-Aristotelians we so strongly criticize, for their work has signifi cantly benefitted those who, like us, favor a more traditional form of hylomorphism. Philosophi, ut aiunt, analytici (puta David Wiggins, Baruch Brody), postremis quinquaginta annis explicationem rerum materialium naturae, quae rite Neoaristotelica nuncupari potest, elaborant. Arguunt vero huius tractationis auctores, Neoaristotelicas hylemorphismi explicationes, quas ipsi “mitigatas” nominant, parum succedere: si hyle mor phismus verus sit, aliquam hylemorphismi non mitigati speciem veram esse debere. In sectione 2 auctores rationes hylemorphismi mitigati et non mitigati explicant duasque hyle morphismi mitigati species distinguunt: “ formalem” scil. et “substantialem”. In sectione 3 auctores substantiae defi nitionem examinant a S. Thoma propositam. Quae defi nitio nonnullis praestat virtutibus, hylemorphismum vero mitigatum omnino excludit. Hac de causa auctores aliam substantiae defi nitionem quaerunt, qua accepta hylemorphismus mitigatus vindicari possit. Non tamen videtur ulla posse inveniri nisi elaboratio aliqua defi nitionis quam Udayana proposuit (metaphysicus scil. praeclarus qui saec. 10 in India fl orebat, scholae quae “Vaiśeṣika” dicitur sectator): quae defi nitio inhaerentiae conceptui innixa est. In sectione 4 auctores arguunt, hylemorphismum mitigatum tam formalem quam substantialem esse falsum hac altera substantiae defi nitione posita. In sectione 5 auctores paucis quibusdam notulis tractationem concludunt, gratias quoque agentes philosophis Neoaristotelicis, quos ipsi impugnaverunt: eorum enim labore auctores magis traditionali hylemorphismi faventes speciei (huiusce tractationibus auctoribus non exclusis), multum profecerunt.

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