Helen Lang


Villanova University

Aristotle on The Relation between Matter and Body: A Continuing Philosophical Problem

In the Metaphysics, Aristotle argues that substance can be identified in three ways: (1) form, i.e., what is actual, separable, and prior; (2) matter, i.e., what is potential and provides the possibility for change and individuation; and (3) the combination of form and matter, i.e., natural things, the most commonly recognized substances. In the Physics, he first defines nature as a source of being moved and being at rest and then defines natural things as primarily form, although a reference to matter must be included in the definition.