chapter
17 Pages

Is Form Structure?

WithDAVID S. ODERBERG

The central distinction in Aristotelian metaphysics, without which there can be no such system, is that between form and matter. Hylemorphism is the theory of what they are, how they are related, and how substances are analysed in their terms. There are many aspects of hylemorphism that invite exploration, continued interpretation, and refi nement. The central distinction in Aristotelian metaphysics, without which there can be no such system, is that between form and matter. Hylemorphism is the theory of what they are, how they are related, and how substances are analysed in their terms. There are many aspects of hylemorphism that invite exploration, continued interpretation, and refi nement. Here I am focused on a more specifi c issue, organized around the crucial question of whether the form/matter distinction can be translated into terms that many contemporary analytic metaphysicians may fi nd more palatable. The question has been brought to centre stage by the important recent work of Kathrin Koslicki, 1 who with great refi nement and suggestiveness has interpreted hylemorphism in terms of the distinction between structure and content. My interest here is the attempt to identify form as structure, hence my concentration on the formal half of the form/matter distinction. Before tackling her interpretation directly, however, I want to set out a little background.