On Substance & Atoms

The Mind Map

Content:

1 Substance

1.1 Substance

1.2 Essence

1.3 Primary substance

1.4 Contains contraries

2 Atoms 

2.1 What they are 

2.2 What affects them

2.3 Where they are

3 Elements

3.1 What are they made of?

3.2 Basic elements

4 Matter

4.1 What it is

5 Potentiality and Actuality

5.1 What are they?

5.2 Examples

5.3 The active power

6 Priori and Posteriori

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1 Substance

Qua-thing-that-is

Qua-thing-that-is. That which is may also be so-called in several ways, but all within reference to one origin. For some are called things that are because they are substance; some because they are affections of substances; some because they are a route to a substance, etc... (Aristotle Metaphysics Oxford  p. 1)

1.1 Substance

Whenever we say what something is, we do not say that it is white or that it is hot or that it is three-foot long, but that it is a man or that it is a god. Each of these other items (sitting, walking) owe theire being to substance, and so we may say that which is primary (i.e. not-is-F but just- is substance. (Aristotle Metaphysics Penguin p. 168)

Now the big question. What is substance? If we eliminate from something anything which is a property that it has rather than what has the property, we, first of all, get rid of such things as colour, weight, etc... and then remove even its basics dimensions, In the end, we arrive in a subject with no properties of its own. (Aristotle Metaphysics Penguin p. 173)

If we take everything out we are left with nothing. Unless just what delimited by these dimensions is something. But this means that if we adopt this approach it has to turn out that matter stands revealed as the only substance. The last item of something will not in itself be something, nor a quantity nor anything in one of the categories. We will not be able to identify this item even with the denial of these other subjects, since even denials will apply to it only accidentally. (Aristotle Metaphysics Penguin p.  175)

In the case of forms, the Good Itself is to be different from being good and Animal is to be different from being an animal and That-which-is is to be different from being a thing that is, then there will be both other substances and other natures and other forms in addition to those stated and these will be prior and more substantial, assuming that the what-it-was-to-be-that-thing is indeed a substance. (Aristotle Metaphysics Penguin p. 186)

1.2 Essence

The essence of a thing is those per se features of it that are mentioned in its definitions. (Aristotle Metaphysics Penguin p. 177)

1.3 Primary substance

A primary substance can receive contraries: a cold man a warm man. (Aristotle Categories and interpretation Oxford p. 11)

It is not possible for everything to be one, but it is possible for everything to be made by the same thing. (Aristotle Physics Oxford p.13)

1.4 Contains contraries

There are two types of contraries: those without intermediate states (e.g. every number is either odd or even) or those with the intermediate states (e.g. between white and black there are many colors) (Aristotle On the soul Oxford p.XXXiii)

2 Atoms 

2.1 What they are 

Everything is composed of atoms-minute, indivisible, indestructible particles moving perpetually and randomly through the void (i.e. empty space) before they combine to form the world. The atoms are all solids bits differing not in quality but in shape, and soul in particular consists of spherically shaped atoms. Identifying thought with the soul, that is, with the motion of soul-atom. His reasoning: knowledge is the same as perception because both are identical with the motion of soul-atoms (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. XXii)

We must imagine all these to be so small that no single particle of any of the four kinds is seen by us on account of their smallness, but when many of them are collected together their aggregates are seen. (Plato Timaeus p. 78)

2.2 What affects them

The opinion of Democritus that things are subject to three differentiations. In his system, the (material) substrate persist as a one-and-the-same but is differentiated either by rhythm (aka shape), slant (aka position), or deployment (aka disposition) (Aristotle Metaphysics p. 236) 

2.3 Where they are

The void and the full are found equally in every part whatever, and yet the one of those is that which is, the other that which is not. (Aristotle Metaphysics p. 16) 

3 Elements

For an element is what things are ultimately made of, existing in the things and indivisible in its own nature; but if the substance of the elements has disappeared the compound is no longer made up of indivisible things existing in it. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.118)

The argument is that anything that has elements must have matter and that nothing that has matter can be eternal. (Aristotle Metaphysics Penguin p.435)

What makes a fire burn? The thinness of the sides, the sharpness of the angles, the smallest of the particles, the quickness of the motion. (Plato Temaeus p. 19)

 Forming solids with 4, 8, 120 equilateral triangles. (Plato Temaeus p. 70)

3.1 What are they made of?

The primary substance of any compound, when indivisible in form into another form, is called element; for instance, the elements of a spoken sound are things out of which the spoken sound is composed and into which it divides ultimately, but which do not themselves divide further into spoken sounds that other in form, as a portion of water is water (Aristotle Metaphysics Oxford  p. 31)

3.2 Basic elements

Elements: Earth cube, fire pyramid, air octahedron, water icosahedron. (Plato Temaeus p. 18)

 The sublunary domain is made up of four basic elements earth, water, air, and fire - each of which travels by nature to a certain location. (Aristotle On the soul Oxford p.XVI) 

 Being, space, and generation existed before heaven. Generation: Moistened by water and inflamed by fire, and receiving the forms of earth and fire, and experiencing all the affections which accompany these, presented a strange variety of appearances. Being: Full of power which were neither similar nor equally balanced, always moving and arranging particles to form the universe. (Plato Temaeus p. 69)

4 Matter

4.1 What it is

The distinction between matter and form: Bronze (matter) creates statue (form) (Aristotle On the soul Oxford p.XXvi)

It would make more sense if there were a special kind of matter for each kind of thing that there is. - But not separated from the substance. 

5 Potentiality and Actuality

5.1 What are they?

A thing’s power or potential is its openness to some act or actuality, either the primary act of having the form or the second act of action. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.65)

5.2 Examples

Nevertheless, one ability can sometimes turn out to be a root or source of others, the actualizations of those others presupposing the actualization of the first power. This is the way our ability to feed is the root of our abilities to grow and to reproduce, both of which utilize food; and it is in this way too that our common root sensitivity is the root of our imagination and memory, which presuppose the actualization of common sense. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.143)

5.3 The active power

Moreover, Augustine and Aristotle say acting is a more excellent thing than being acted on. Now the lowest-level powers of living things-vegetative powers- are all active powers. So a fortiori the highest-level power of living things- understanding- must be active. (Aquinas - Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford) p.145)

6 Priori and Posteriori

One thing is called priori to another in four ways:

1- Time (One thing is older then another)

2- Something that doesn’t depend on existence (1 is priori to 2)

3- Order in science and speeches. (Silence - sound is priori to syllables Speech - Introduction is priori to the exposition)

4- Least proper: My loved one has priority to everything else.

(Aristotle Categories and interpretation Oxford p. 39)