Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 29 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The aim of the article is to provide a systematic introduction to Aquinas's primary or basic notions of matter and form. Aquinas considered matter and form as if they were entities belonging to specific ontological types or categories such as concrete, individuals and properties. He identified the matter of the statue example with a lump of bronze, which he regarded as a concrete individual and he identified the forms of the same example with different shapes, which he regarded as contingent properties or accidents. Aquinas denied that matter and form could be identified with entities of either type. Aquinas believed that there is the existence of change in which an immaterial (or spiritual) substance acquires a new contingent property or accident. This change will involve the generation and corruption of hylomorphic compounds, and hence entities composed of both matter and form. The matter of this change will itself be immaterial. Aquinas thought that all of the changes belong to a single type namely, ones involving a substance changing with respect to one of its contingent properties or accidents. Aquinas described prime matter as the primary principle of individuation, even though he reserved a role for a certain type of accident to play. Aquinas invoked matter and form to account for certain relations of sameness and difference holding between distinct individuals.

Keywords: hylomorphic compounds, contingent properties, prime matter, forms, theory of individuation

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.