•  
  •  
 

Episteme

Abstract

The author notices ambiguity in Aquinas’ principle of individuation, or how it is that a universal substantial form becomes instantiated in primary substances yet remains universal (to the class). The paper’s first section examines the general notion of the principle of individuation, as well as the three components of primary substance in Aquinas’ and Aristotle’s philosophy. The second investigates Aquinas’ three-tiered concept of matter and how matter is said to be the principle of individuation. The third section clarifies Aquinas’s claim, pointing toward designated matter as signified by quantity as being the specific principle of individuation. But there’s a problem. It would seem that Aquinas is in fact arguing that a primary substance is the principle of individuation for a primary substance. The author provides a nine-point summary of this argument before anticipating a potential response from Aquinas that suggests that it is quantity (an accident! and not matter) which is the principle of individuation. But this is a troubling discovery, no?

Included in

Philosophy Commons

Share

COinS
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.