Single Idea 16098

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 6. Early Matter Theories / f. Ancient elements]

Full Idea

Tradition holds that prime matter, a subject exhausted by its potentialities, lies at the foundation. I argue that Aristotle's system is instead grounded in the four simple bodies, earth, water, air and fire, as ultimate objects.

Gist of Idea

I claim that Aristotle's foundation is the four elements, and not wholly potential prime matter


report of Aristotle (Metaphysics [c.324 BCE], matter) by Mary Louise Gill - Aristotle on Substance Ch.2

Book Reference

Gill,Mary Louise: 'Aristotle on Substance: Paradox of Unity' [Princeton 1989], p.42

A Reaction

This seems to be a controversial view of Gill's, though I found her case persuasive. Those seeking an Aristotelianism that fits with modern science should like her reading. However, physical fields may be seen as pure potentiality.

Related Idea

Idea 16099 The traditional view of Aristotle is God (actual form) at top and prime matter (potential matter) at bottom [Aristotle, by Gill,ML]