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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 Form

Aristotle's Theory of Form

(p.79) 5 Aristotle's Theory of Form
Space, Time, Matter, and Form

David Bostock

Oxford University Press

This essay is a résumé of all the ways in which Aristotle uses his notion of form in books, which one thinks of as ‘preceding’ the Metaphysics (in order of exposition, if not in order of composition). It is argued that this notion is invoked for far too many purposes; in fact for anything that cannot be explained merely by appeal to matter. As a result, it comes to be assigned many different roles which are not compatible with one another, although Aristotle never seems willing to abandon any of them. This multiplicity of roles is continued into the Metaphysics, where yet more roles are added. This is the reason why one cannot give any coherent account of the various papers that form books Z and H of the Metaphysics.

Keywords:   Aristotle, form, species, goal, telos, heredity, soul

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