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The Physics of Duns ScotusThe Scientific Context of a Theological Vision$
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Richard Cross

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198269748

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198269748.001.0001

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Substantial Form

Substantial Form

(p.34) 3 Substantial Form
The Physics of Duns Scotus

Richard Cross

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the substantial form of matter in two sections. The first section of the chapter looks at Scotus's claim that instantiated substantial forms are individuals that are themselves essential parts of individual composite substances. It includes Aquinas' view that a substantial form is individuated in virtue of its inhering in this lump of matter. In this first section the chapter provides an account of how such forms are naturally produced. The second part of the chapter discusses what was called in medieval times the rationes seminales. It rejects a vitalistic account of matter, according to which all forms exist inchoately in matter. Scotus argues that the rationes seminales theory can't carry out the explanatory work required of it. He points out that it is not possible for inchoate properties to be sufficient for the existence of higher-order properties.

Keywords:   rationes seminales, higher-order properties, inchoate properties, vitalistic account of matter, substantial form, individual forms

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