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Space, Time, Matter, and FormEssays on Aristotle's Physics$
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David Bostock

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199286867

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199286868.001.0001

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Aristotle's Theory of Matter

Aristotle's Theory of Matter

(p.30) 3 Aristotle's Theory of Matter
Space, Time, Matter, and Form

David Bostock

Oxford University Press

This essay opens with a summary of Aristotle’s general position on matter and change, which leads to the question: What is the criterion of identity that we apparently need to make sense of the idea that the same matter persists through some change? The essay then explores this question on its own account, with almost no further reference to Aristotle’s own views. It is argued that although some progress can be made with this question, a fully satisfying answer is not available on Aristotelian terms. It is then questioned whether this is at all a serious defect in his conception. Some final remarks briefly indicate how his conception of matter has fared over the centuries between him and us.

Keywords:   Aristotle, Physics, matter, identity criteria, spatio-temporal continuity, mass, substance

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