Substance and Essence in Aristotle

Substance and Essence in Aristotle

An Interpretation of "Metaphysics" VII-IX

Substance and Essence in Aristotle is a close study of Aristotle's most profound—and perplexing—treatise: Books VII-IX of the Metaphysics. These central books, which focus on the nature of substance, have gained a deserved reputation for their difficulty, inconclusiveness, and internal inconsistency. Despite these problems, Witt extracts from Aristotle's text a coherent and provocative view about sensible substance by focusing on Aristotle's account of form or essence. After exploring the context in which Aristotle's discussion of sensible substance takes place, Witt turns to his analysis of essence. Arguing against the received interpretation, according to which essences are classificatory, Witt maintains that a substance's essence is what causes it to exist. In addition, Substance and Essence in Aristotle challenges the orthodox view that Aristotelian essences are species-essences, defending instead the controversial position that they are individual essences. Finally, Witt compares Aristotelian essentialism to contemporary essentialist theories, focusing in particular on Kripke's work. She concludes that fundamental differences between Aristotelian and contemporary essentialist theories highlight important features of Aristotle's theory and the philosophical problems and milieu that engendered it.

Charlotte Witt

Sally Haslanger is Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Charlotte Witt is Professor of Philosophy at the University of New Hampshire. She is the author of Ways of Being: Potentiality and Actuality in Aristotle's Metaphysics and Substance and Essence in Aristotle: An Interpretation of Metaphysics VII-IX (both from Cornell).


Ways of Being
Potentiality and Actuality in Aristotle's Metaphysics
Charlotte Witt
Charlotte Witt continues her highly regarded exploration of Aristotle's metaphysics in a book devoted to the ontological distinction between potentiality and actuality. She focuses on Metaphysics book ix, which provides the most sustained...



Substance and Essence in Aristotle
An Interpretation of "Metaphysics" VII-IX
Charlotte Witt
Substance and Essence in Aristotle is a close study of Aristotle's most profound—and perplexing—treatise: Books VII-IX of the Metaphysics. These central books, which focus on the nature of substance, have gained a deserved reputation for their difficulty, inconclusiveness, and internal inconsistency. Despite these problems, Witt extracts from...





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Also of interest

Substance and Essence in Aristotle
An Interpretation of "Metaphysics" VII-IX
Charlotte Witt

Subjects

Interdisciplinary Studies : Classics
Philosophy : History of Philosophy

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