Single Idea 16099

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 6. Early Matter Theories / b. Prime matter]

Full Idea

Since antiquity prime matter has enjoyed a hallowed place in the Aristotelian system, which displays an awesome completeness, with God (pure form and actuality) at the top, and prime matter (pure matter and potentiality) at the bottom.

Gist of Idea

The traditional view of Aristotle is God (actual form) at top and prime matter (potential matter) at bottom


report of Aristotle (Metaphysics [c.324 BCE], God) 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

Gill suggests that actually the four elements should be at the bottom, with matter only coming into it when distinct objects are in the offing. The Great Chain of Being emerged as the story between the two extremes.

Related Idea

Idea 16098 I claim that Aristotle's foundation is the four elements, and not wholly potential prime matter [Aristotle, by Gill,ML]