Substance: Its Nature and Existence (Problems of Philosophy)

Metaphysics
Free download. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. You can download and read online Substance: Its Nature and Existence (Problems of Philosophy) file PDF Book only if you are registered here. And also you can download or read online all Book PDF file that related with Substance: Its Nature and Existence (Problems of Philosophy) book. Happy reading Substance: Its Nature and Existence (Problems of Philosophy) Bookeveryone. Download file Free Book PDF Substance: Its Nature and Existence (Problems of Philosophy) at Complete PDF Library. This Book have some digital formats such us :paperbook, ebook, kindle, epub, fb2 and another formats. Here is The CompletePDF Book Library. It's free to register here to get Book file PDF Substance: Its Nature and Existence (Problems of Philosophy) Pocket Guide.

An Aristotelian individual possesses some properties essentially and some accidentally. The accidental properties of an object are ones that can be gained and lost over time, and which it might never have possessed at all: The situation is different for Leibniz's monads —which is the name he gives to individual substances, created or uncreated so God is a monad. Whereas, for Aristotle, the properties that an object has to possess and those that it possesses throughout its existence coincide, they do not do so for Leibniz.

Substance: Its Nature and Existence

That is, for Leibniz, even the properties that an object possesses only for a part of its existence are essential to it. Every monad bears each of its properties as part of its nature, so if it were to have been different in any respect, it would have been a different entity. Furthermore, there is a sense in which all monads are exactly similar to each other, for they all reflect the whole world. They each do so, however, from a different perspective. So each monad reflects the whole system, but with its own perspective emphasised.

If a monad is at place p at time t, it will contain all the features of the universe at all times, but with those relating to its own time and place most vividly, and others fading out roughly in accordance with temporal and spatial distance. Because there is a continuum of perspectives on reality, there is an infinite number of these substances.

Nevertheless, there is internal change in the monads, because the respect in which its content is vivid varies with time and with action. Indeed, the passage of time just is the change in which of the monad's contents are most vivid. It is not possible to investigate here Leibniz's reasons for these apparently very strange views. Our present concern is with whether, and in what sense, Leibniz's substances are subjects of change.

One can say that, in so far as, at all times, they reflect the whole of reality, then they do not change. But in so far as they reflect some parts of that reality more vividly than others, depending on their position in space and time, they can be said to change. According to Locke, we have two conceptions of substance.

Both these conceptions of substance provide difficulties of interpretation. They also both relate to issues in contemporary philosophy of substance, in which Locke's influence is almost as important as Aristotle's. Of course, they belong to objects, but what are objects over and above their properties?

The special category of substantial form, as found in Aristotle, is rejected. It is contested whether Locke actually believed in substance as a characterless substratum. Although the first quotation above seems to affirm it, Locke also in the same section speaks disparagingly about the idea, comparing it to the notion that the world rests on an elephant, which rests on a tortoise, and so on: Michael Ayers , b: This is what he elsewhere characterizes as the real essence. For the view that he accepts it, and why, see Bennett, and He argues that the notion of spiritual substance is in no worse a predicament than material substance, because.

This argument seems to conflate the notions of substratum as pure logical support with that as minute parts. If he means minute parts, then, though it is true that we do not and, in his view, cannot know in detail what they are, we have a theory, which he endorses, that they are probably minute parts as conceived by the atomists, which means they have primary qualities similar in kind though not in scale to those possessed by macroscopic objects. This gives a coherent, though speculative, conception of material substance. Of spiritual substance, we have no similar hypothesis.

If, on the other hand, he means pure logical substratum, there is nothing to know, for there is no more to it, in either the material or spiritual case, than its role as substratum. He seems to conflate the ignorance we have of minute parts with the logical emptiness of the idea of pure substratum. In fact there are three issues concerning the material underpinning of things which Locke regards as mysterious, and he seems to move indifferently from one to the other.

First, there is organization of the minute parts of particular kinds of objects, which is responsible for the manifest properties of those objects, and which he thinks will always fall beyond our knowledge. Second is the mystery of what holds the minute parts together: Perhaps it is more profitable to ask whether, in his own terms, Locke ought to have accepted bare substratum. If we accept that the question of what binds together the qualities of a macroscopic object can be answered by appeal to the minute parts, the issue would then be what binds the primary qualities of atoms. Do the size, shape, mass, solidity of a particular atom require a bare substratum to inhere in for them to constitute a coherent object?

Would they, without such a substratum be just a stack of qualities, a house of cards with nothing holding them together? There does not seem to be anywhere in the text where Locke discusses this problem—that is, the coherence of atoms as opposed to composite objects—explicitly. One possible resort is to treat solidity as the core or master quality and all the others as features of it. One would never ask what binds together a patch of colour and its shape, because the shape is the shape of the colour patch, and, though the shape of something can change, its shape cannot come away from it, like a separable component.

Perhaps the shape, size and density of an atom are similarly features of the solidity. The quality solidity would then become equivalent to the notion of material stuff or material substance and Locke shows no sign of wanting to elide the ideas of quality and substance in this way, though it should be noted that this is what Descartes does with extension.

Because he does not believe in void, extension carries with it the other basic properties of matter as features of it. Thus, for Locke, the real essence is an unknown atomic constitution. The types that we categorize them in depend on the properties we happen to be able to perceive and kinds or sorts are defined in terms of these observable properties. Our concepts of natural substances presuppose that the nominal essence hides a real essence—that is, that all water, gold, horses etc are in some way similar at a microscopic level.

But he both denies that these real essences play any role in the formation of our concepts and is deeply sceptical of our ever being able to discover what they are. His attitude towards the Aristotelian view is expressed later in the paragraph just quoted:. Locke's doctrine of sortals is in some respects realist and in some conceptualist or conventionalist. It is realist in at least the following ways. Thus Locke is entirely realist about individual bodies and their properties. He is more conventionalist, however, about their classification under particular sortals. There are four ways in which he is a conceptualist about particular substances, as we classify them.

Locke's contribution is, therefore, three-fold. He brings to centre stage the question of whether properties require some substratum or bare particular to inhere in or belong to. He asserts that the substantial nature of the physical world is the unknown structure of atomic parts, not a substantial form which reflects our usual concepts. Third, he develops a theory of substance which is realist about particular objects and their properties, but conceptualist or conventionalist about our classifications, within the constraints that the facts about particulars and properties impose.

Editorial Reviews

linawycatuzy.gq: Substance: Its Nature and Existence (Problems of Philosophy) ( ): Joshua Hoffman, Gary Rosenkrantz: Books. Substance has been a number one inspiration within the background of Western philosophy. Joshua Hoffman and Gary S. Rosenkrantz clarify.

There is one important context, however, where Locke does not appear to talk in a conventionalist way about sortal identity, but in a way that seems to be reminiscent of substantial forms. This is when he is discussing the individuation of living things. He understands ordinary bodies as mereological sums of atoms. As such, any change of particle constitues a new object, for a mereological sum is individuated by its parts and a change of parts means a change of the object constituted by those parts.

Treating ordinary, non-living, bodies as complex enduring objects is a matter of convention determined by the concepts we happen to possess. Living things, however, have a deeper principle of unity. Furthermore, it is tempting to argue that all coherent, solid bodies—such as a lump of rock or plasticene—have some principle of organization which persists through change. Living objects are simply the most dramatic case of this. Though Peter van Inwagen defends the view that only living things and atoms are real entities: So our division of things into species, though grounded in real continuities in the way that our non-biological or non-natural concepts are not, is still nominal.

As we shall see, the idea that there is a real unity which is passed on through the life of an object or through any principle of organization is something that Hume criticizes and rejects. The potential for a stronger realism in Locke has been exploited by Putnam and Kripke in their development of a modern, essentialist conception of natural kind terms. Locke was pessimistic in two connected respects. First he was sceptical about the possibility of science discovering the nature of the real essences—the structures of atoms or molecules—that underlie kinds of substance picked out by our ordinary sortals.

Second, he doubted whether the objects picked out by our actual substance concepts really shared a real essence in the way we assume that they do. He was not confident, that is, that everything we call gold, or iron, or a monkey, was actually interestingly similar at a non-superficial level. Both these forms of pessimism proved largely unfounded. The consequence of this is the possibility of bringing together real essence and the sortal concepts originally picked out by a nominal essence. We now know water to be H2O and iron to be the element of atomic weight Our substance concepts were, often at least, tracking real essences in the world.

This involves reinterpreting the rationale of our substance concepts. He thought that we add the optimistic assumption that there will be similarity at the microscopic level. What many philosophers, under Putnam's influence, now think he should have said is that gold is that kind of thing which is individuated by a particular kind of minute structure that underlies the stuff which is gold in colour, malleable, soluble in aqua regia.

In other words, our confidence that these kinds have a genuine real essence is built into the concept. How does Locke, then, rate against the six criteria for substancehood that were set up in the introduction? There is a sense in which it is ontologically basic, but it is a rather empty sense: Again, it meets the criterion, but in an empty way.

It is difficult to see how it could be destroyed like Aristotle's prime matter but it has no positive nature. As with matter for Aristotle, it meets the first of these standards well, but, in so far as it is a component only in atoms, it is not the subject of change. Although in everything, it is itself no kind of thing and therefore no kind of individual or stuff. Substratum's claim to substancehood does not rest, however, on meeting the tests itself, but on being what enables particular kinds of substances to be substances.

According to the believer in substratum, it is in virtue of their inhering in a substratum that a collection of properties can constitute an enduring, change-sustaining thing of a certain kind. Without that support, individual instances of properties could, if they could exist at all, be no more than ephemeral events. We have seen that Locke's particular substances are kinds of things, and because they are kinds they correspond to Aristotle's secondary substances.

But we have also seen that the boundaries between these kinds are largely a matter of convention, which is not true of Aristotle's secondary substances. In so far as their individuation is dependent on human convention, they are not ultimately real in their own right. But though they are not real as kinds, the individual parcels of matter that we classify in these ways are perfectly real. Substances, considered as kinds, or instances of kinds, can sustain change—living things, for example, change in size throughout their lives.

Most individual parcels of matter, however, become different individuals if they change any of their parts; although we have seen that this does not apply to living things, where there seems to be a metaphysical component called sameness of life. In general, Locke's particular substances are not ontologically basic, because their essences are nominal, though this is not so clearly true for sortals naming biological kinds. Locke's conceptualism about such substances makes most of the tests irrelevant, which are cast within a realist framework.

But Locke is not without substance other than substratum, for his real essence—that is, the atoms and their structures—are his real substances, and what we say above about the substantiality of atoms also goes for Locke. It is plausible to maintain the general thesis that there are many issues on which Hume was a sceptic or nihilist, but where his legacy is more reductionist than sceptical or nihilist.

This general thesis can be explained and illustrated by considering his treatment of substance, for it is a case in question. According to Hume, in the Treatise , our belief in substance is the result of a mistake or illusion. The crucial point is that a succession of very similar things does not constitute the real continuation of anything, only the illusion of real continuation. Thus Hume's treatment of substance is like his treatment of causation, in that he sees both as the projection onto the world of a tendency of our minds either to pass from one thing to another or to associate them in some way.

He either doubts that there are such things as substance or causation scepticism or even positively denies that there are nihilism. Out of Hume's very forthright negative attitude there developed two more subtle variants. One of these variants is in the empiricist tradition. That tradition modified Hume's approach by developing it into a form of reductionism. The experiences which gave rise, through habit, to the mistaken belief in, for example, substance or causation are presented as what the belief really affirms.

Similar books and articles

That is, the empirical basis for what Hume deems to be an illusion, is reinterpreted as the reductive account of the concept. Causation then becomes constant conjunction, or substance a name for a bundle of properties organized in a certain way or the continuing of the possibility of certain sensations. Kant developed the other variant. Hume's empiricist emphasis is psychological. It concerns what we are habituated to do. Because of his empiricism, he will not bring non-psychological necessity into it.

Nevertheless, there is the implication that making these transitions is the only way in which one can understand the world. Kant drops the empirical psychology and makes it a matter of a priori psychology, that only by employing certain categories could we have experience as of a physical world. It is only by understanding the world as possessing enduring spatio-temporal objects, which enter into causal relations with each other that is, it is only by applying the categories of substance and causation that we can have intelligible experience.

Substances—that is, a framework of stable, enduring objects—are essential, but the source of this necessity lies not how the world is in itself, but in the framework which we are obliged to impose. In the Kantian philosophy of P. Strawson , , this framework of necessity is taken in a more common-sense and realist spirit. The world must possess such enduring objects for it to be intelligible for us—indeed, for us to be part of it, for we are essentially stable bodies amongst other stable bodies.

The important point for both Strawson and Kant is that there must be substances for there to be a coherent empirical, spatio-temporal world. Substance has become a formal concept of central importance—that is a concept with a special central role in the structure of our conceptual scheme—rather than being the name for certain kinds of important things in the world.

This distinction, however, is one that has to be handled carefully, especially within a realist Kantian framework, such as Strawson provides. This should become clear below when we discuss Wiggins's theory, which is both Aristotelian and Strawsonian. Nevertheless, it gives ground for adding the seventh of the marks of substance mentioned in the Introduction, namely that substances are those enduring particulars that give unity to our spatio-temporal framework and individuation and re-identification of which enables us to locate ourselves in that framework. Two major areas of controversy require attention.

First, there are the issues concerning how to characterize substance in contradistinction to properties and the other categories. There are at least two major questions here. One concerns defining the notion of substance. In particular, there has been much debate about whether substance can be accounted for in terms of its special kind of independence. The other is whether substancehood require some extra component beyond properties, and, if so, what? Second there is the relation between substances and our practices of individuation and reidentification. In particular, we shall look at the issue of whether objects must be individuated under the kind of sortal expressions that correspond to Aristotelian substance concepts, or whether a more generic notion, such as physical body , will suffice.

This latter concern will lead on to a consideration of the connection between substance and teleology. One natural response to the question of what distinguishes substances from properties is that properties depend for their existence on substances, for they are properties of objects that is, of individual substances , but that substances do not similarly depend on properties for their existence. The point cannot be made quite so simply, however. Properties could not exist without objects to be properties of, but neither could substances exist without properties, so the dependence appears to be mutual.

This problem can be overcome by more careful expression of the point, making it clear that we are not talking about properties in general and substances in general, but about particular instances or cases of a property and the particular objects to which they belong. A particular property instance cannot exist and could not have existed without the substance of which it is a property, but the particular substance can exist and could have existed without that property instance.

Thus, a particular instance of colour cannot exist, and could not have existed, without the object of which it is the colour, but the object can exist without the colour instance, for it may change colour and remain the same object, or it could have had a different colour from the start. Various problems can be raised for this account. The most obvious is that it does not, as stated, distinguish between substances and events. Some property-instances belong to events rather than substances. The performance of a symphony, for example, is an event, and it may possess the property, in one of its movements, of being allegro.

It seems plausible that this particular case of something's being allegro could not have been exemplified by another performance, but the performance might go on to be andante in another movement, so the event can continue to exist without that original property. The assimilation of events with substances in this way seems strained, however.

It does not seem natural to say that the same event was first allegro, then andante, because it is more natural to attribute the different properties to different parts of the event, which are themselves events in this case, movements. This brings out a major difference between substances and events, namely that the temporal parts of events are themselves events in their own right, but the temporal parts of objects—meaning by that expression the temporal phases of an object's existence—are not themselves objects.

Indeed, it is not natural to talk of the temporal parts of objects, though some philosophers led by David Lewis , but see also Sider , Hawley and the entry on temporal parts think that there are compelling philosophical reasons for doing so. The rationale implicit in our ordinary concept is that an object is wholly present at all the temporal points of its existence. Nevertheless, one does not think of a long-lived object as consisting of a series of short-lived objects stacked end to end, but one does think it natural to think of a drawn-out event as consisting of a series of shorter events.

If it is not natural to think of objects as having objects as their temporal parts, this seems to commit one to thinking of objects as wholly present at all times of their existence, strange though this form of expression may also be. The difference between substances, events and properties can now be expressed as follows. Substances and events are distinguished from properties by the fact that properties are the kinds of things the instances of which depend for their existence on the particular substance or event by which they are instantiated, whereas substances and events are such as not to depend for their existence on particular instances of properties.

And substances are distinguished from events in the following way: He considers two objections to his own account which would seem to apply to all independence accounts. One is that it cannot cope with essential properties, for it seems to imply that, for any given property-instance, a substance can exist without it, which is not true of essential properties. The other is that it cannot cope with the necessity of origin for individual identity. Lowe responds to the former objection by saying that essential properties are identical with the substance, so cannot be cited as something other than substance that meets his criterion for being substance.

It is not clear that this will work. The idea that the essence is identical with the substance is Aristotelian, but it is not clear how this applies to essential properties, taken individually. We have already seen, in our discussion of Aristotle, that the relation between the essence as some kind of unity and the properties that seem to constitute it is not clear. He copes with the second by denying that origin is essential to identity. Unfortunately, he argues for this position by citing human subjects: Socrates, for example, would still have been who he was even if he had had different parents.

This is, of course, controversial about humans, but it is our Cartesian intuitions that make it plausible in that case. That this table, for example, could have been the same object even if made from different material does not have the same plausibility. Whether these objections to the above versions of the independence account can be answered is unclear. Hoffman and Rosenkrantz and develop a different, though probably not incompatible, conception of the relative independence of substances compared to other categories.

Substance, they say, is the only category of thing which might have only one instance through at least a minimally extended period of time. Thus, for example, there is no possible world which has, in a given period of time, only one event, for any non-instantaneous event will be made of events which are its parts. Similarly for properties or tropes, there can never be only one because any one entails the existence of others, as, for example, the existence of a red property instance entails the existence of an instance of the property colour.

By contrast, there could exist through a period of time just one substance, provided that it was atomic. As Mackie points out, the full statement of this theory involves various relatively ad hoc restrictions. More importantly, it does not seem to explain what unifies the category of substance, for it does not say that it is true of any substance that it could conceivably be the only substance existing for a period of time—indeed, it could not apply to non-atomic substances, for complex ones can exist only if other substances—those that constitute their parts—also exist.

It implies only that something from the category of substance might so exist and that this could not be true of any other category. One might wonder what enabled substances that could not exist alone to count as substances at all. If either of the above accounts are successful, substances, properties and events are distinguished. The question remains, however, how far these are nominal and how far real distinctions.

That there is a difference between substance concepts and property concepts has definitely been shown, but does it follow that there are, in reality two different kinds of thing , namely properties and substances? The answer might seem to be obvious. Given that there are substance concepts, if those concepts are instantiated, then there are substances in reality.

Cat , table , human being , are substance concepts by the above accounts, and there are cats, tables and humans, so there are substances in reality as well as properties. The matter is not so simple, however. It is possible, and not uncommon, for concepts of a certain kind to be exemplified, but for it to be the case that, nevertheless, entities answering directly to those concepts are not included in the most economical statement of one's ontology. In the present case, it would conform to the analytical option if the concept of substance could be analysed in terms of properties or events e.

But one might still hold that, though the concept of substance is not precisely analysable and is indispensible, substances in fact are nothing but collections of properties. This latter is the de facto option. So the existence of substances does not show that the concept is important from a philosophical perspective, or, if it has some significance, whether this is just as a necessary part of our conceptual scheme, or as an ineliminable feature of reality itself. We have just noted that there could be analytically reductionist or de facto reductionist accounts of substance in terms of properties.

There are, therefore, four options for the bundle theorist. Whether it does carry this commitment may depend on whether one allows spatial points as particulars, in addition to the properties that are universal. If one did, then the universal theories would not entail the identity of indiscernibles, for the same universals could be in two bundles by being at two different locations. If properties are conceived of as individuals—otherwise known as tropes, property-instances or individualized forms—then there cannot be a problem about the distinctness of exactly similar bundles, for the difference is built into the identity of the elements of the bundle, as it is not if the bundle is made of universals.

The problem for this version of the bundle theory seems to be that it is difficult to individuate or distinguish tropes in a way that makes them suitable to be individuals—in one sense, the substances—from which objects are made. One way out of this problem may be to resort to the notion of a master property which was invoked in the discussion of Locke on substratum 2. In the Newtonian model, solidity might fill this role, for shape is merely the outline of the solidity which constitutes the heart of the object. In a sense, theories of this kind are not ordinary bundle theories, for one property is chosen to fill the role of substratum, because the other properties inhere in, or are modes of, it.

Whether anything could perform this role from amongst the properties that are basic to modern, post-Newtonian physics—properties such as charm, energy, spin and mass—is not easy to judge. This question can be given a deflationary or a substantive answer. The deflationary answer is that a substance is a thing which has properties, and that is all one needs to say.

See, for example, Crane and Farkas , f, and Chisholm Any feature of it can, of course, be regarded as a property, but that does not render an object nothing but a collection of properties. There seems to be a clash of intuitions at this point about what makes sense. An opponent of the deflationary view will say that properties, however understood, must be components of objects, conceptually or formally speaking. If they are not the only components in this sense, one must say something about the nature of the rest.

The deflationist thinks that this line of thought embodies some kind of category mistake in the way it handles the idea of a component. The anti-deflationist will argue that the fact that we are talking about components only in a conceptual sense does not alter the fact that we are obliged, once we start, to offer an account that is complete and distinguishes the various elements.

This solution, as Bennett recognizes, makes substancehood a function of how we operate on the properties we perceive. It is, in that sense, more Kantian than realist. As what it recognizes as out there in the world is just a bundle of properties, it does not dissolve the problem in the way that a deflationist would require. It is the particular in abstraction from its properties.

When considered with its properties it is a thick particular. The important point is that thin particulars really are particulars. Different properties might have been hung on this hook. It is not so clear, by contrast, that a substratum of the kind Locke considers, or like Aristotle's prime matter, is a particular in this sense. It is more like a kind of stuff—the substantiveness on to which properties are stuck.

It is useful at this point to take note of the three different functions the thin particular or substratum might fulfil. It might be argued that this intuition begs the question against the bundle theory. At the current state of the debate, it looks as if there is no compelling reason for accepting substratum. The Aristotelian tradition anchors the concept of substance, at least in nature, primarily to instances of species of natural object. The Kantian tradition ties it to those enduring bodies the individuation of which gives sense and structure to our spatio-temporal framework.

David Wiggins , , has made a sustained attempt to prove that these two objectives necessarily go together and to make the Aristotelian notion of substance, even including its bias towards the biological, central to our practice of individuating objects. Wiggins assumes that individuating a temporally enduring object involves being able to re-identify it at different times and under different descriptions. This assumption makes it possible to state substance individuation using the language of identity.

Within the scope of this assumption, he makes two claims. The first is the sortal relativity of identity: Furthermore, the relevant concept must be an Aristotelian substance concept or sortal. More formally, this can be expressed as follows:. The conclusion is striking because it is a denial that a and b might be identical under one form of identification, but not under another. In fact it implies that every individuable object falls under just one ultimate sortal. Wiggins admits this in What is meant by ultimate sortal will emerge below. For every ultimate sortal has its own principle of individuation, and if an object fell under more than one, there could be a time at which it satisfied the criteria for one and not for the other.

Wiggins's thesis is a very strong claim, apparently backed up by a powerful argument.

It is a strong claim for it purports to prove that any world with individuable objects must be constituted by Aristotelian substances. The argument is powerful because it follows by simple logic, granted seemingly plausible claims about identity, and Leibniz's Law. On the other hand, there seem to be many cases of objects which can be identified under a variety of concepts, leading to different life histories.

This is termed relativity of identity. For example, a and b may be the same person but not the same child because b is a grown up and no longer a child. Or a and b may be the same lump of clay but not the same statue because b is the lump after it has been reshaped out of its statue shape. These are the most typical kinds of counter examples and Wiggins has responses to both.

He deals with the first by invoking the concept of a phase sortal. A phase sortal is one that, by its meaning, denotes part of the life history of something, which, as a whole, is denoted by another sortal. So child is a phase sortal which applies to a phase of the things fully designated by human being. This illuminates an important aspect of the concept of a sortal. It is a necessary condition for F 's being an ultimate sortal that, whenever it applies to something, it applies in a present-tensed manner to the thing through the whole of its existence. The statue and the lump of clay are dealt with by denying that the lump and the statue are identical: Notice that he could have argued that the statue was just a phase of the lump, but he does not do so because statue is not, by its very meaning, a phase sortal: So Wiggins deals with objections mainly by two distinctions.

One is between sortals which apply to objects through the whole of their existence, and sortals appropriate only to a phase of their existence: There are certain kinds of counter-example that Wiggins does not discuss in print. There might, for example, be a sword-stick, which has its blade removed and the inside of the cane filled with resin, so that it ceases to be a sword but remains the same walking stick.

Walking stick and sword are perfectly good concepts for picking out objects, if any artifactual terms are, and, on pain of excessive artificiality, a sword stick is both a sword and a walking stick. This kind of example does not appear to occur amongst natural objects, but, as a swordstick is a perfectly good reidentifiable object, this fact about natural objects would seem to be a contingent truth about them. Of course, it is not an accident that nature works that way, but neither is it a conceptual requirement.

Wiggins's original proof was a priori, and it should allow no exceptions.

  • Sternenkönig: Eine Weihnachtslegende (German Edition).
  • 1st Edition.
  • Help Me! Guide to the HTC Incredible: Step-by-Step User Guide for the HTC Incredible.
  • Metaphysics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)?

Wiggins's response to this example in personal communication is that the sword-stick ceases to exist when it loses its ability to function as a sword and is replaced by a walking stick. But this response too is ad hoc. One possible way out of this kind of case is to say that the sword is a phase of the walking stick, thereby introducing ad hoc phase sortals. Of course, even normal phase sortal might, contingently, in a given instance, designate an object through the whole of its existence.

One might say that the phase sortal baby could designate something through the whole of its existence if, for example, a human being died at the age of six months and hence never got beyond babyhood. But it remains the case that, by dint of the meaning of the term, a baby is a phase of a human being or, perhaps, some other animal even when a particular creature fails to get beyond that phase.

Allowing sortals of this kind would put the concept of sortal under pressure, for an ultimate sortal was originally thought to be a kind of concept that necessarily characterizes an object present-tensedly throughout its existence, not a concept that sometimes does and sometimes does not. If it were possible for a given sortal, such as sword , sometimes to be an ultimate sortal and sometimes a phase sortal, it is not clear how such an expression would differ from an expression such as brown thing , which may or may not characterize something through the whole of its existence.

But it is vital that the distinction between sortals, phase or ultimate, and expressions such as brown thing be clearly maintained, if the notion of sortal is to serve any formal purpose. More importantly, that there are no ad hoc sortals is essential to the significance of the formal proof that there is no such thing as relative identity. This is also the way phase sortals work: All the cases of putative relative identity could be reconciled with Leibniz's Law by deeming one of the sortals to be operating as a phase sortal in this instance.

Another possible line is that a swordstick is not one object, but two objects that share some of their matter. This introduces a category of what one might call Siamese objects. It can be argued, however, that allowing this kind of entity undermines Wiggins's opposition to those, like Ayers, who think that the concept for reidentifying objects is, or often is, something more generic than sortal concepts; something akin to material body. To see how this may come about, we must consider the rationale for Ayers's theory. The fact that sortals do not seem to follow the discipline that Wiggins wishes for them might be taken to support the view that substances can be individuated under much more generic notions, such as same body or same material thing.

On this view, material cohesion is what picks out paradigmatic physical things. Wiggins regards these ideas as too generic to be adequate on their own. Such a concept cannot be. One natural thought is that we can reidentify middle-sized physical bodies that have fairly stable properties, irrespective of whether there is any interesting sortal term under which they fall. This is not to say that they could be reidentified under the purely generic notions body or physical thing , if there were no continuity of manifest properties.

That this may be a powerful criticism of Wiggins's view can be seen by considering the notion of a Siamese object, which seemed to be necessary to answer the kind of problem posed by the swordstick. The physical mass that houses both the sword and the walking stick can be identified independently of either. If this were not the case it is difficult to see how one could even make the mistake of thinking of it as one thing.

The composites Siamese entities form are quite identifiable, and yet that entity is not supposed to fall under a sortal in its own right. A statue and a lump of clay occupy the same place at a given time. What is their relation to each other? The apparent options are i they are identical ii they are not identical, but the clay constitutes the statue. First, it has the intuitive disadvantage that it allocates two solid physical objects to the same place.

Each of them weighs, say, ten pounds, yet the total of their weight is only ten pounds. It might seem natural to think—and it was formerly a well established maxim—that there can be only one solid physical thing at one place at a given time. Someone impressed by the idea that two bodies cannot be in the same place at the same time might think it more natural to say that there are two different ways of conceptualizing the material presence at that point, than that there are two material things.

That way it is easy to see why two ten pound objects need not add up to twenty pounds when put together. Second, the language of constitution is more natural if the situation is described in some ways rather than others.

Customers who bought this item also bought

It is natural to say that the statue is made of clay or even from a piece of clay. But suppose one characterizes the clay more exactly, in terms of the particular atoms in a particular arrangement. Strictly, on modal grounds, this structured collection and the statue are different. The statue could have been made of a collection of atoms with at least some different members, but the entity defined as containing just those atoms could not. This entity—atoms A 1 …A n in given spatial arrangement S—is not a very natural kind of object, but it is a real body, in a way that something arbitrarily composed of, for example, half of this table and two toes from President Bush's left foot is not.

This collection of atoms in this structure is what investigation would show to be really there. Though it is natural to say that the statue is constituted by the atoms, it is less natural to say that the atoms and the structure taken together, are what it is made from: To use the Aristotelian terminology, there is strong pressure to say that atoms and structure together are matter and form , and hence are the complete individual. All these issues are very controversial, and different philosophers have different intuitions. See, for example, Rea But, if one were to conclude that the statue and the lump are neither identical nor stand in the constitution relation, what else could one say?

One strategy is to take the notion of body or material object as basic. In the next section, this possibility is compared with other options. For Ayers, on the other hand the notion of a coherent, unified body or material object is the basic notion for individuating objects and is presupposed by sortal concepts. It is only in so far as dogs and tables are unified bodies that these notions can be used to individuate objects.

We saw, briefly, in section 3. Although van Inwagen's position is different from both, his reasons for thinking that the concept of a complex body is, of its own, an inadequate concept, are consistent with Wiggins's claim that the idea is too determinable to function in its own right. Van Inwagen, therefore, more directly challenges Ayers. For a brief discussion of van Inwagen's argument, see section 3. How might we choose between sortalism and somatism? The dispute between them can seem difficult to pin down. Perhaps an irenic compromise is possible.

Metaphysically, this compromise favours the somatist, but seems to give the sortalist everything he should want. The principle of the compromise is that Wiggins's formal argument is correct: But it is only a contingent truth that the terms that can substitute for F in his formal proof are generally—but not always—sortals of an Aristotelian kind. Anything can be substituted for F which picks the object out as a unified body. The following theses might plausibly be maintained. In that way, it will be possible to avoid the need to have two material objects in the same place.

Since about the mid s there has developed a debate covering similar territory to that disputed by Wiggins and Ayers, but having rather different roots. It claims to be a revival of a broadly Aristotelian hylomorphism, but it comes mainly from disputes in mereology. David Lewis famously propounded the doctrine of Unrestricted Composition: So my left foot and any arbitrary stone at the bottom of the sea constitutes an object, though an object of no descriptive or explanatory interest.

In the opposite corner, Peter van Inwagen denied that there was any such thing as composition, at least for inanimate material objects. Van Inwagen's main argument is that necessary and sufficient particularly sufficient conditions cannot be given for the kind of cohesion of parts that is supposed to bind atoms into complexes. None of the standard candidates—contact, fastening, adhesion, fusion, nor any acceptable disjunction of them—will suffice. They all have counterexamples. So the notion cannot be well defined.

The arguments are subtle and interesting. The question might be raised whether van Inwagen gives sufficient consideration to the possibility of taking a line similar to that taken by Putnam on natural kinds. One fixes putative paradigm cases of non-living complexes, and says that the kind of cohesion required is whatever sort of bonding holds in those cases. It seems unlikely that there will not be a reasonably tidy, scientific account of how atoms bond.

Nevertheless, van Inwagen's mereological nihilism has a stopping point, namely that he believes that he, though a composite material object, really does exist. So organisms do exist. Van Inwagen's unwillingness unlike the early Unger to apply the nihilism to himself, and others like him, prompted the thought in other philosophers that there may be a way of having a doctrine of Restricted Composition on the basis of being things of the right kind —namely having a structure of the right kind— and that this idea resembled Aristotle's notion of form and his doctrine of hylomorphism.

Philosophers following this line of thought included Fine , , Johnston , Lowe , Koslicki , Rea and Jaworski , It is difficult to provide a compact account of these philosophers' positions, as it can seem that all they have in common is a belief in some form of restricted composition and a sense that the Aristotelian label 'hylomorphism' helps to give their theories a pedigree.

My strategy here will be to illustrate modern hylomorphism mainly using the examples of Jaworski and Johnston, then citing a major problem for any theory of this general kind, and illustrating this by reference to Marmodoro , where good discussions of Lowe, Koslicki and Rea can be found. If there is a single notion that plays a role in the rationale of the restriction of composition, it is probably structure.

Jaworski probably deploys this notion in the most straightforward way. He and Rea both use the following illustration. If you compact a human being in a machine or waterproof bag, you retain the same matter, but lose the human being, because you have destroyed the structure. Structure is, therefore, a real and essential element in many or most complex objects. He explains his theory as follows. Hylomorphism claims…[t]hat structure is a basic ontological and explanatory category. Structure is also a basic explanatory principle in that it explains why members of this or that kind are able to engage in the behaviors they do.

It is because humans are organized as they are, for instance,that they are able to speak, to learn, to engage in the range of activities that distinguish them from other living things and from non-living ones. I think all the hylomorphists would agree with these statements, but they each have their own way of stating the theory and it is not easy to fit them together. Johnston's central account is as follows. A statement of the genuine parts and principle of unity of an item…takes the following canonical form:.

What it is for this hydrochloric acid molecule to be is for this positive hydrogen ion and this negative chlorine ion to be bonded together. For it is the idea that each complex item admits of a real definition, or statement of its essence, in terms of its matter, understood as parts or components, and its form, understood as a principle of unity.

One might wonder whether such an apparatus preserves what one might want to save from a common-sense notion of composition. A general worry about the hylomorphist approach might be put as follows. The modern hylomorphists do not claim to be interpreting Aristotle, but to be inspired by his concept of form. This means that it is out of place simply to argue that they have not interpreted him in a scholarly fashion.

Nevertheless, it is relevant to point it out if they have totally misunderstood his deployment of the concept of form, for if this is the case,it might suggest that they are pretending to a solution to the composition problem that they do not possess. Someone who was sceptical about their claim to a solution might start by pointing out that all the moderns reject the 'traditional' Aristotelian idea that form has a role as an efficient cause, actually making a difference to the way that its matter behaves.

They deny this because they all want their theories to be consistent with the closure of the world under physics. At the same time, they seem to intend their composites to have full ontological weight, and to have causal efficacy. Jaworski is particularly clear in emphasizing that he is a causal pluralist and that the structural level is in no sense epiphenomenal or a mere logical construct out of the lower properties see his ; But one might query whether this is consistent with accepting the possibility of closure under physics.

Such closure naturally raises the question of the causal claims made for form or structure, and, hence, for their ontological weight.

Download options

The importance of explanations at the level of complex structures is not disputed, but whether these represent just ways of conceptualizing a fundamental level which we cannot normally access, is another matter. Johnston raises this question ; —62 but leaves it unresolved. This latter remark seems to concede that what one has in fact is an explanatory pluralism, with causation included in the domain of explanation, but all the brute force is confined to physics.

Johnston is keen to deny that explanation is a subjective or psychological phenomenon, but admitting this does not place explanation in the world, in the sense in which the forces that actually make things happen are in the world: It seems that modern hylomorphism faces the following dilemma. The following argument has appeal. If 4 is correct, it looks as if, though our structural concepts are well grounded in reality, structures are not part of the basic furniture of the world.

This is, in fact, the same issue as whether Kim's exclusion principle applies to the special sciences: See Kim and Robinson Perhaps the status of form and structure cannot be solved in a modern context without solving the exclusion issue. Anna Marmodoro argues that the modern hylomorphists have misunderstood Aristotle in a radical fashion, in a way that is directly connected with their concern about the unity and hence reality of composites. She claims, with strong backing from the text, that form is not structure, because it is not a combination of parts.

The essence of form is its unity, and its unity depends essentially on the fact that the matter that comes to compose it loses its previous identity. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. It provides a good review of the concept of susbtance. One person found this helpful. After having fallen by the wayside of Anglo-American philosophy in the early twentieth century metaphysics, as attested by works such as this, has experienced something of a revival in recent decades.

What exactly is a substance? While belief in particular enduring entities appears both intuitive and necessary, it is difficult to say precisely how the notion of substance should be understood, prime matter, bare particulars, form matter composites, property bundles or something else? In the present text the authors implement the two-pronged approach that is characteristic of this series, a survey and critical assessment of leading historic approaches to the subject followed by their own solution to the problem.

From a content perspective the text is solid if unremarkable. And, while it is important to acknowledge that this is an informed and thorough analysis by reputable scholars I was somewhat disappointed by the text. First and foremost, it is a tedious and difficult read. That said, the book suffers from the plodding and awkward prose that unfortunately characterize much contemporary academic philosophy.

Second, there does not appear to be an obvious audience for the book. While the Problems of Philosophy series is aimed at both students and scholars, the present text does not seem to be optimized for either audience. For students seeking an introduction to the issue there are better options, e. It covers the historic and contextual material in a more concise and readable manner. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway.

Its Nature and Existence Problems of Philosophy. Set up a giveaway. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations. View or edit your browsing history. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally. Amazon Inspire Digital Educational Resources. Amazon Rapids Fun stories for kids on the go.