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International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics

Managing Editor: Koridze, Georg

Ed. by Hüntelmann, Rafael / Meixner, Uwe / Tegtmeier, Erwin

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Hylomorphism and the Priority Principle

Jeremy W. Skrzypek
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  • Department of Philosophy, Saint Louis University, 3800 Lindell Blvd., Adorjan Hall 130, Saint Louis, MO 63108, USA
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Published Online: 2017-04-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2017-0010


According to Jeffrey Brower’s hylomorphic account of material substances, prime matter and substantial forms together compose material substances, and material substances and accidental forms together compose accidental unities. In a recent article, Andrew Bailey has argued that Brower’s account has the counter-intuitive implication that no human person is ever the primary possessor, the primary thinker, of her own thoughts. In this paper, I consider various ways in which Brower might reply to this objection. I first consider several “invariant strategies”, solutions that do not require any significant alteration to Brower’s account. I argue that these strategies are unsuccessful. I then introduce two ways of modifying Brower’s hylomorphic account of material substances so as to avoid Bailey’s objection. I argue that these “variant strategies” are successful, but they require that Brower significantly alter one or more of the main features of his account.

Keywords: ontology; substance; hylomorphism; Aquinas


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-04-22

Published in Print: 2017-09-26

Citation Information: Metaphysica, Volume 18, Issue 2, Pages 207–229, ISSN (Online) 1874-6373, ISSN (Print) 1437-2053, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2017-0010.

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