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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book John Duns Scotus on Parts, Wholes, and Hylomorphism. Medieval philosophers would have classified hylomorphism as part of a theory of physics, since physics, according to them, is the discipline which studies things undergoing change and only things undergoing change are hylomorphic composites. Nowadays we would classify hylomorphism as a metaphysical theory. Scotus's version of hylomorphism is hylomorphism from the ground up. It emphasizes Scotus's consistent doctrine that parts are prior to their wholes: essential parts- prime matter and substantial form- are prior to and can exist independent of material substances; integral parts like organs are prior to substances like organisms; elements are prior to the substances mixed from them; and things in the world are prior to the world they compose.

Keywords: hylomorphism; medieval philosophers; physics; Scotus



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