But perhaps aristotles point is not that matter is

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Unformatted text preview: definite, particular, batch of matter as a singular object of reference: “the quantity of wood of which this tree is composed at this time.” But perhaps Aristotle’s point is not that matter is neither separable nor individual; all he is committed to saying is that matter fails to be both separable and individual. • Separability: Separate from a substance, matter fails to be a this. It owes what individuality it has to the substance it is the matter of. (What makes this quantity of wood one thing is that it is the wood composing this one tree.) • Individuality: Considered as an individual (a “this something”), matter fails to be separate from substance. (This batch of wood no longer has any unity once it no longer composes the tree it used to be the matter of—unless it now happens to be the matter of some other substance that gives it its unity.) So matter cannot simultaneously be both separable and individual, and therefore matter cannot be substance. The only remaining candidate for primary substance seems to be form (which Aristotle now begins to call essence). It is clear that Aristotle is now focusing on the concept of the substance of something—i.e., what it is about an individual plant or animal (what the Categories called a “primary substance”) that makes it a self-subsistent, independent, thing. Some evidence: • Z.3, 1029a30: “the substance composed of both—I mean composed of the matter and the form—should be set aside … we must, then, consider the third type of substance [the form], since it is the most puzzling.” • Z.6, 1031a16: “a given thing seems to be nothing other than its own substance, and...
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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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