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Aristotle's Physics AlphaSymposium Aristotelicum$
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Katerina Ierodiakonou, Paul Kalligas, and Vassilis Karasmanis

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198830993

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198830993.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 January 2021

The Complexity of the Subject in a Change

The Complexity of the Subject in a Change

Physics I 7, Part 1

(p.229) 7 The Complexity of the Subject in a Change
Aristotle's Physics Alpha

Benjamin Morison

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Aristotle’s account of the role matter, form, and privation play in a change. It claims that Aristotle identifies a new item in the ontology, the hypokeimenon (subject) of a change, crucial for understanding the nature of change. This subject is a metaphysically complex item, the combination of some matter and a privation. Aristotle’s first, and best, example of such a metaphysically complex item is a seed, whose nature, fully specified, would be matter and privation. Such items are the ones in the world which are apt for engaging in change. Their complexity makes change intelligible, since they have a component that persists (matter) and a component that doesn’t (the privation). The interpretation offered differs from the more usual one by identifying the hypokeimenon with a complex item (e.g. a seed) rather than matter alone. This chapter explores the benefits and costs of the two interpretations.

Keywords:   Aristotle, physics, change, matter, form, privation, subject, seed

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