- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note Hylomorphism during my Thesis research, as from 2014.
- Click here for Note.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Summary" above.
Write-up1 (as at 01/03/2018 00:46:05): Hylomorphism
- This Aristotelian idea is very peripheral to my concerns, though it appears somewhat similar to – or a rival to – the Constitution View3 (see "Quitterer (Josef) - Hylomorphism and the Constitution View").
- There does not appear to be an article dedicated to Hylomorphism in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, though Aristotle's Metaphysics by S. Mark Cohen (Link) discussed the topic in Sections 7 (Substance and Essence) and 8 (Substances as Hylomorphic Compounds).
- Wikipedia has a sound-looking article ("Wikipedia - Hylomorphism", see Link), from which I’ve extracted a few quotations:-
- Aristotle defines X's matter as "that out of which" X is made. For example, letters are the matter of syllables. Thus, "matter" is a relative term: an object counts as matter relative to something else. For example, clay is matter relative to a brick because a brick is made of clay, whereas bricks are matter relative to a brick house.
- Change is analyzed as a material transformation: matter is what undergoes a change of form. For example, consider a lump of bronze that's shaped into a statue. Bronze is the matter, and this matter loses one form (that of a lump) and gains a new form (that of a statue).
- Aristotle applies his theory of hylomorphism to living things. He defines a soul as that which makes a living thing alive. Life is a property of living things, just as knowledge and health are. Therefore, a soul is a form — that is, a property or set of properties — belonging to a living thing. Furthermore, Aristotle says that a soul is related to its body as form to matter.
- Hence, Aristotle argues, there is no problem in explaining the unity of body and soul, just as there is no problem in explaining the unity of wax and its shape. Just as a wax object consists of wax with a certain shape, so a living organism consists of a body with the property of life, which is its soul. On the basis of his hylomorphic theory, Aristotle rejects the Pythagorean doctrine of reincarnation, ridiculing the notion that just any soul could inhabit just any body.
- It is unclear whether Aristotle identifies the soul with the body's structure. According to one interpretation of Aristotle, a properly organized body is already alive simply by virtue of its structure. However, according to another interpretation, the property of life — that is, the soul — is something in addition to the body's structure. Likewise, according to this second interpretation, a living body is alive not only because of its structure but also because of an additional property: the soul is this additional property, which a properly organized body needs in order to be alive. John Vella uses Frankenstein's monster to illustrate the second interpretation: the corpse lying on Frankenstein's table is already a fully organized human body, but it is not yet alive; when Frankenstein activates his machine, the corpse gains a new property, the property of life, which Aristotle would call the soul.
- Works on this topic that I’ve actually read4, include5 the following:-
- "Wikipedia - Hylomorphism", Wiki
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might start with:-
- "Bynum (Caroline) - Resurrection, Hylomorphism, and Abundantia: Scholastic Debates in the Thirteenth Century", Bynum
- "Hershenov (David) - A Hylomorphic Account of Thought Experiments Concerning Personal Identity", Hershenov
- "Hershenov (David) - Are There Too Many Hylomorphic Individuals Thinking about this Life and the Next?", Hershenov
- "Hershenov (David) - How a Hylomorphic Metaphysics Constrains the Abortion Debate", Hershenov
- "Hershenov (David) - Soulless Organisms? Hylomorphism vs. Animalism", Hershenov
- "Hershenov (David) & Koch-Hershenov (Rose J.) - The Relevance of Metaphysics to the Morality of Abortion", Hershenov & Koch-Hershenov
- "Johnston (Mark) - Hylomorphism", Johnston
- "Oderberg (David) - Hylemorphic Dualism", Oderberg
- "Olson (Eric) - What Are We? Souls", Olson
- "Quitterer (Josef) - Hylomorphism and the Constitution View", Quitterer
- "Toner (Patrick) - Hylemorphic animalism", Toner
- This is mostly a place-holder6. Currently, just see the categorised reading-list.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (01/03/2018 00:46:05).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
- A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
- I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
- As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
- The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
- Frequently I’ll have made copious marginal annotations, and sometimes have written up a review-note.
- In the former case, I intend to transfer the annotations into electronic form as soon as I can find the time.
- In the latter case, I will have remarked on the fact against the citation, and will integrate the comments into this Note in due course.
- My intention is to incorporate into these Notes comments on material I’ve already read rather than engage with unread material at this stage.
- I may have read others in between updates of this Note – in which case they will be marked as such in the “References and Reading List” below.
- Papers or Books partially read have a rough %age based on the time spent versus the time expected.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)