37 - Categories . For substantial change requires a subject...

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Accidental vs. Substantial Change Aristotle notes (190b11) an important feature of change: that which comes to be is always composite . For example, what comes to be is the musical man . But what about Aristotle’s other case? What is the statue a compound of? Aristotle’s answer: matter and form . We thus see two different kinds of change in Aristotle’s account: a. Accidental change (e.g., alteration of a substance): the subject is a substance . E.g., the man becomes a musician, Socrates becomes pale. b. Substantial change (generation and destruction of a substance): the subject is matter , the form is the form of a substance. E.g., the bronze becomes a statue, a seed becomes a tiger, an acorn becomes an oak tree. Accidental change can be accommodated within the world of the Categories , a world in which primary substances (individual horses, trees, etc.) are the basic individuals. But what of substantial change? This seems to threaten the ontology of the
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Unformatted text preview: Categories . For substantial change requires a subject (viz., matter) that seems more basic than the individual plants and animals of the Categories . But this creates a problem: if the primary substances of the Categories turn out to be compounds of form and matter, how can they be the basic ingredients of the world? Example: a builder is not a basic individual, for Aristotle. A builder is a compound of a subject and a property: a substance (a human being) and a characteristic (s)he happens to havethe knowledge of building. How, then, can a tiger retain its status as a basic individual? After all, it, too, is a compound of a subject and a property: matter and a form that supervenes, a form that the matter happens to have. This problem is not addressed in the Physics , but it is one that Aristotle returns to in the Metaphysics . His answer, as we shall see, is not altogether clear....
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This note was uploaded on 01/31/2011 for the course PHYSICS 110 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '09 term at UC Davis.

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