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Unformatted text preview: not an ontologically basic item in the world—a scholar is just a human
with a liberal education.”)
If then primary substance (in the Metaphysics conception of primary substance)
cannot be a form-matter compound, what is primary substance? The possibilities
seem to be: matter and form. (Aristotle actually discusses more possibilities—this
is a simplification.)
Metaphysics Z.3: the subject criterion
In Z.3, Aristotle considers the claim of matter to be substance, and rejects it.
Substance must be separable and a this something (usually translated, perhaps
misleadingly, as “an individual”).
• Separable: to be separable is to be nonparasitic. Qualities, and other nonsubstances of the Categories, are not separable. They only exist in
substances. Separability, then, amounts to independent existence.
• This something: [there is much dispute over what Aristotle means by this
odd locution] “Individual” comes close, except for the suggestion that only a
primary substance of the Categories could count as a “this something”.
Perhaps an individual plant or animal counts as a this something, but perhaps
other things do, too. For Aristotle seems to count form as, in some way, a this
something (e.g., H.1, 1042a28). But, as a rough gloss, individuality seems to
be what is at issue.
Now it may seem puzzling that matter should be thought to fail the
“separability/individuality” test. For: Copyright © 2004, S. Marc Cohen 3 Last modified 12/4/2004 10:49 PM • Separability: It seems that the matter of a compound is capable of existing
separately from it. (The wood of which a tree is composed can continue to
exist after the tree has ceased to exist.)
• Individuality: We can certainly pick out a...
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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.
- Spring '09