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Alan Code – Substances versus Accidental Unities in Aristotle’s Metaphysics

McGill Philosophy Colloquium Series

“Substances versus Accidental Unities in Aristotle’s Metaphysics.”

Alan Code, Rutgers University

Aristotle treats individual substances as ultimate subjects of predication, and distinguishes such items from composites of a subject and attribute. A stock example of the former would be a log, and an example of the latter a white log. Although the log and the white log are numerically one and the same, they are nonetheless treated as distinct items in the ontology that temporarily coincide. The particular substance is a subject for predications, and as such is a substance, and is distinct from the composite of that subject taken together with an accidental attribute. This paper explores the basis for this distinction by examining the role that the demonstrative “this” plays in picking out just the subject of which some attribute is predicated, as well as some problems involved in the attempt to isolate the subject from the accidental unity of subject and attribute.

Friday, March 13, 3:30-5:30 in Leacock 927.

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