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Aquinas on Forms, Substances and Artifacts

Authors: Marmodoro, Anna; Page, Ben;

Aquinas on Forms, Substances and Artifacts

Abstract

Thomas Aquinas sees a sharp metaphysical distinction between artifacts and substances, but does not offer any explicit account of it. We argue that for Aquinas the contribution that an artisan makes to the generation of an artifact compromises the causal responsibility of the form of that artifact for what the artifact is; hence it compromises the metaphysical unity of the artifact to that of an accidental unity. By contrast, the metaphysical unity of a substance is achieved by a process of generation whereby the substantial form is solely responsible for what each part and the whole of a substance are. This, we submit, is where the metaphysical difference between artifacts and substances lies for Aquinas. Here we offer on behalf of Aquinas a novel account of the causal process of generation of substances, in terms of descending forms, and we bring out its explanatory merits by contrasting it to other existing accounts in the literature.

Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Medieval history Medieval philosophy Substantial form Philosophy Hylomorphism Causal process Metaphysics Of the form Artifact (software development) Epistemology

Keywords

Philosophy, History

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  • citations
    This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    5
    popularity
    This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
    influence
    This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    Average
    impulse
    This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
5
Average
Average
Average
bronze
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