Hylemorphism and Aristotle's categorial scheme

1999 1999

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Abstract (summary)

Aristotle's categorial scheme presents two seemingly unrelated difficulties. First, nowhere does Aristotle articulate any procedure for the construction of his scheme. Although some scholars have proposed methods by which Aristotle might have constructed his scheme, these methods are philosophically suspect, and hence, they are incapable of providing support for Aristotle's scheme. As a result, Aristotle's scheme has faced the charge of arbitrariness; and it is unclear that Aristotle has the resources to defend it against other categorial schemes such as those presented by Kant, Hegel, Whitehead, and more recently Chisholm. Second, nowhere does Aristotle make explicit the relationship between his categorial scheme and the other main ontological theory he developed, hylemorphism. As a result scholars have proposed alternative theories about the relationship between Aristotle's two systems. The three main interpretations are as follows. First, some argue that the categorial scheme and hylemorphism contradict each other; second, some argue that the two systems are about distinct domains and hence are in some sense incommensurable; and third, some think that hylemorphism is a development of the categorial scheme, and hence that the categorial scheme undergirds hylemorphism.

Although the above three interpretations about the relationship between hylemorphism and Aristotle's categorial scheme are the only ones discussed in recent literature, there is another interpretation, one that allows for a single, comprehensive solution to both of the above problems. In my dissertation, I argue that Aristotle's categorial scheme is entailed by his hylemorphism and metaphysical truths about the nature of predication. Thus, the relationship between Aristotle's categorial scheme and his hylemorphism is entirely perspicuous: hylemorphism entails the categorial scheme. Furthermore, because Aristotle provides extensive argumentation for his hylemorphic ontology, and because the additional axioms needed to entail the categorial scheme are knowable a priori, the construction of the categorial scheme can proceed in an entirely systematic manner. As a result, Aristotle's categorial scheme can escape the charge of arbitrariness.

Although my interpretation is not discussed in recent literature, it in fact has a rich historical lineage. Rudolphus Brito, Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, and Franz Brentano all attempted to prove that Aristotle's categorial scheme is derivable from hylemorphism and certain logical/semantic axioms. Although extremely suggestive and insightful, their derivations are not given with the sort of detail needed in order to adequately assess them. The bulk of my dissertation is thus devoted to examining carefully and clarifying the fundamental concepts and presuppositions in a derivation of the categorial scheme from hylemorphism. In the first chapter, I discuss the general interpretive issues involved in my thesis. In the second, third and fourth chapters, I discuss form, matter and the relations between the two. And in the fifth chapter, I provide a detailed derivation of the categorial scheme from hylemorphism.

Indexing (details)

0422: Philosophy
Identifier / keyword
Philosophy, religion and theology; Aristotle; Categorial scheme; Hylemorphism
Hylemorphism and Aristotle's categorial scheme
Studtmann, Paul Henry
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 60/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780599584211, 0599584211
Shields, Christopher
University of Colorado at Boulder
University location
United States -- Colorado
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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