Anna Schriefl

Aristotle’s Concept of Matter

There is a broad consensus that Aristotle introduced the concept of matter in order to develop a consistent account of substantial change. However, it is disputed which role matter fulfils in substantial change. According to the traditional interpretation, matter persists while taking on or losing a substantial form. According to a rival interpretation, matter does not persist in substantial change; instead, it is an entity from which a new substance can emerge and which ceases to exist in this process. I will discuss both interpretations, and finally suggest a version of the rival interpretation which is based on the assumption that the common criteria for persistence do not apply to Aristotelian matter.

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