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Philosophy of Nature I

Class Notes
(Taken at a Pontifical University)
First Lesson:

PoN: Philosophy of Nature

MOb: Material Object
FOb: Formal Object

PoN is also called Cosmology (first used by C. v. Wolff 1730’s - 1750’s).

The early philosophers asked: “What is the ultimate component of things/of nature?”
“Cosmos” = Universe (“Cosmos” 1st used by Pythagoras)
“Logos” = Reason, way of presenting things, order…

PoN: Perfect knowledge of beings subject to change local movement |

Perfect: ultimate/first causes qualitative movement |— change
Change: Age, growth, movement… quantitative movement |
Things that change will in this class technically be called: Mobile Beings

The Material Object of PoN are Mobile Beings. On this level PoN shares the MOb with experimental sciences.

The Formal Object of PoN are the ultimate/first causes of Mobile Beings because the FOb focuses on the aspects of its subject
that make it what it is.

PoN is the branch of Philosophy which deals with the ultimate/first causes of Mobile Beings in the light of / by using natural reason

The principle of being can be applied to different things, but only in analogy (a sheet of paper and an elephant both “are”, but you
cant apply to them the principle of being in the same way).

Being (for Aristotle and St. Thomas) is the ultimate object of study, because you cannot study non-being. You cannot know non-
being, unless you know being.

Second Lesson:

The first philosophers (Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes) were looking for ultimate principles (archae). Philosophers of nature.
How come, that things change? If they do, there should be a principle of change.

Parmenides: Permanence
Heraklit: Change.

Plato wanted to reconcile change and permanence, so he said, in this world we have change, but this world is just partly real, the
real world would be the world of ideas, the world of form. Two worlds: Ideas, and world of material things. Here we have change,
but our world is derived from the permanent world of forms. There you can find the ideal form of beauty, patience, kindness, love.
What we see here are just trickles of beauty etc. Permanence in the world of forms, change in the world of images.

Aristotle and St. Thomas were not satisfied with these explanations. Material world is real, not just derived, not just ideas. So we
have to explain this material world. They explained this principle, that is interior to every material thing, change and permanence.
We call this principle Hylomorphism. Every material thing is composed of two ultimate principles: Matter and form. Most evident
to our eyes is movement. When there’s movement, we are aware.

What is movement? (Page nine of text). Act of a being in potency in as much as it is in potency.

There is something moving: Act of a being in potency in as much as it is in potency.

There was a movement: Transformation of an object from potency to act.

Movement is not in a point, but between two points. When you are between two points, you have partially achieved the way. So
you are in potency to your point of arrival. “Imperfect act of an imperfect being”.

Terminus a quo / terminus ad quem: Point of start / point of arrival.

(Movement = change)


We have two changes: Substantial change and accidental change

Accidental change: Change of location, change of hair-color By doing that, I do not change the substance.

Substantial change: If I burn a pen, it turns into ashes. Ashes are not a pen anymore. There has been a substantial change.

In Transubstantiation you change the substance but not the accidents: Body and Blood of Christ still have the accidents of bread
and wine. But these accidents cover the substance of body and blood: It’s a miracle.

Knowledge: No reason for pride, because it’s an accidental change, as are all accomplishments. They don’t make us more human
(more substantial). More realized as humans we become more open to possibilities, which brings obligation to help others to
become more realized as well.

Substance = Prime Matter (cause of individuality of human beings) and Substantial Form (soul): If you separate these, you have a
substantial change, e.g. when body and soul are separated, you do not have a human person anymore.

Prime matter has innate appetite to be united with the substantial form. Body and soul have transcendental relationship.

In movement we need a subject (pen). There is something accomplished. Due to its nature the pen cannot become rubber or ice,
or change color while it’s moving. To become something is always within the limit of the nature of the subject.

Nothing moves by itself, there is always a cause. Inanimate beings have extrinsic causes for movement, so called agents. (“I am
an agent, because I move the pen”).

Accidental change also is accidental movement: Example: When you change place you don’t change the substance. You acquire
a new accidental form, because you take another place. Place is an accident, bus all these categories can be seen as accidental
forms. You change the accidental form, not the substantial form.

Knowledge is an accidental form. “You don’t become an angel, when you know more.”

You can talk about a subject that has attained a certain perfection (or is moving). With beings having attained complete perfection,
you talk about two ultimate principles: (Prime) matter and (substantial) form.

With subjects not having attained perfection, there is a third ultimate principle: Privation, the gap between the achieved and the
still to be achieved. Privation is a negative reality, because it is a lack of something and because it is there, and once you
achieved the goal it is gone.

A principle is that from which something proceeds (A point is a principle of a line). Talk about principles is talk about origin.

Talk of cause is talk of dependence (The movement of the pen is dependent on an agent).

There are four causes:

2 extrinsic causes: the material cause and the formal cause
2 intrinsic causes: the efficient cause and the final cause
Efficient causes can be divided into principal and instrumental efficient causes.
Example: The sculptor is the principal efficient cause, hammer and spike are instrumental efficient causes; the block of marble is
material and formal cause; the statue is the final cause.

Third Lesson:

Substances and accidents: A substance can be on its own. An accident always has to inhere.
We see the accidents. The substances are not visible. We come to know the substance through the accidents. When you see a
piece of paper, you see the accidents of the paper, the size, the shape, the color. When we talk of prime matter and substantial
form (the ultimate principles), we have to remember that they are responsible for the movement of a being. When we talk about
nature, we also talk about the principle of movement present in mobile beings. This is the reason, why we call the first
philosophers “philosophers of nature” because they were looking for a principle of movement. When we say nature we can also
mean the essence, because it answers the question “what?”. The nature of man is rational animal. Nature can also mean the

How do you explain to a street-vendor that prime matter exists? Find out?!

Atomism (origins: Leucippus, Democritus):

Matter (extension) + local motion can explain changes.
Democritus: Being and not-being (void) exist together. You have an infinite number of atoms placed in an infinitely extended void.
In atomism atoms are the matter. When they manifest themselves they manifest through extension. Extension is an accident.
Early atomism is more on the material side, because of the extension. According to the old atomists, atoms can group together
and can thereby cause the “vortex motion”. With the vortex motion the atoms are arranged, so that the heavier ones will be below.
The atoms have properties like shape, size and weight and the capacity to move.
Spherical soul atoms create life. The living things die when the atoms are lost.
Even things like taste were explained with atoms. Spicy stuff, for instance, had more triangular (sharp) atoms in it. To boot, even
things you see have effluences of atoms that flow into your eyes too create the image there.
Plato said that the body is made up of triangles. When you are young, the triangles are sharp and if you eat, the food is cut well
and you can easily integrate it into your body. When you are older, the triangles are less sharp and you have problems digesting.
During the medieval times atomism was not used. Only Gassendi said that there are atoms, created by God. God is the one
providing the movement of these atoms.
For the ancient atomists the origin of the movement is not the primary question. They just took movement for granted.
Descartes (mechanistic atomism) did not accept empty space (void). The only principles he accepts are matter (extension) and
local motion. He talks about “subtle” matter that forms the in-between of the atoms. It is still called matter. The mechanistic
atomism does not accept the infinity of atoms. They are considered finite. With Descartes starts the Dualism. According to him
man is composed of two substances: The immaterial substance (soul) and the material substance (body). When he talks about
the atoms, he talks about the material substance. The immaterial substance is a different world ruled by different laws. The
immaterial substance is the thinking substance: Dualism. How do you explain the interaction between the two substances? In
contemporary philosophy this problem is called the mind-body-problem. The composition of our human bodies is finite, but the
atoms differ in placements, which is possible because of the local motion. Descartes explains the fluidity of water: The fluidity of
water is due to the perpetual movement of the atoms. When the perpetual movement stops, the fluidity is gone and the water
turns solid.
Criticism of atomism: We have to distinguish between the philosophical and the scientific atomism. Philosophical atomism
considers matter as inert (doesn’t have form or force, “vortex motion” makes it move). Scientific atomism says that in the atom
itself you find a center of force. The atoms are electrically charged. They are not inert. One point of criticism against atomism is
that atoms do have force and are not inert. Local motion is the end of an activity. So if you explain something by reasoning with
the end of the activity, you do not state anything. Local motion cannot explain its being local motion. Local motion cannot be the
explanation or the cause of activity.

Dynamism (Boscovich, 1711-1787):

Before Boscovich there were Newton and Leibniz. They influenced Boscovich. Leibniz called the science of force “dynamics”. In
their opinion the form equals force. The ultimate principle of mobile beings is force, not matter or atoms, or matter and form.
Manifestations of physical phenomena are manifestations of force, including matter. So they are in direct opposition to Descartes
(Cartesian = Thomas -> Thomism). It is the material side versus the formal side. Cartesian view sees matter as innate, Leibnizian
side sees matter as manifestation of force.
Kant explains changes mentioning attraction and repulsion. With Newton, you have gravitational force and tangential force to
explain the immutable revolution of heavenly bodies.
Leibniz belongs to the period of modern philosophy. He said that all phenomena of nature including matter are manifestations of
force. There is a kind of atomistic aspect in Leibniz. There is a center of force, which he calls Monad. Everything and everyone
has Monads. The Monads are self-sufficient. You cannot add or subtract anything. The Monads of everything are regulated by a
pre-established harmony -> God. The Monad of the body is different to the Monad of the soul (see Dualism of Descartes). Leibinz
follows the question how they interact. Descartes answered that question, saying they interact meeting together in the “pineal
gland”. This is subtle and delicate, but still material. Leibniz tries to answer, saying, there are two substances (of the soul and of
the body). So how do they interact? My mind is affected by what happens to my body (when I am sick). God established a
harmony between the substances. To illustrate: When it is five o clock in the Monad of the body, it is also five o clock in the
monad of the soul. The substances do not touch each other, but they are in a harmony.

Primitive forces and derivative forces:

Primitive forces are the conditions, that give the grounds for the derivative forces, which are particular states of activity and

Active force and passive force:

Active force is living force and dead force. Dead force is when you are pushed by somebody.
Passive force is always a reaction to active force. There are two varieties of passive force: Impenetrability (a place cannot be
occupied by two objects) and resistance (force against motion).
Because of these forces, people started to talk about action at a distance. This is the result of the principle of force as an
explanation for mobile being. Action at a distance is effect without contact and an instant effect. But science says that there is
no such thing as an instant effect, because even light and sound need time before they cause an effect.
Definition of Time is the measure of movement according to “before and after”.
Criticism of Dynamism: In action at a distance you have change but at the same time there is no time involved. In any event
(from light to dark, from hearing s/thing becoming louder), time is involved, which refutes instantaneous time. In quantum physics
there is no matter, only force. But even the smallest bit is still matter, even if you are lacking the instruments to measure it.

Fourth Lesson:

Closest accident to the substance: Quantity (accidental act!). Most evident of all accidents.

Quantity is a determination of a being -> to have parts along with other parts (a part is outside other parts (my arm is not my leg))
-> order in the parts -> whole

Extension and size are pre-supposed. Before you can divide something, you need extension and size. Substance (PM+SF, PM:
pure potency; SF: act, SF gives and determines mode of being) is more fundamental than quantity.

Quantity is not substance.

Quantity is ascribed to something that is existing or at least composed. Substance can stand on its own. Quantity has to inhere.
Quantity has to be predicated (ascribed) to something and that is substance.
1.) Quantity is ascribed to something, substance can stand on its own
2.) Quantity is visible, substance is not
3.) Neither PM nor SF can constitute the quantity of a thing
4.) If quantity is substance, then any change in quantity will imply a change in substance. This
cannot be. A glass of water or a bucket of water contain the same substance

When talking about quantity, you only talk about material substance. You can only have quantitative parts, when you have

Form is more related to units, matter is more related to division.

Primary formal effect of quantity is actual extension with respect to itself not another thing.
Secondary formal effect of quantity:
Actual extension with respect to place (something is related to a place)
Divisibility (parts can be separated from the unity; math: indefinitely, phys: limited)
Measurability (Body can be compared to the quantity of other bodies; Urmeter)
Impenetrability (A body cannot enter a place already occupied by another body)

Principle of individuation (related with quantity) => Prime matter (matter) signed (determined) by quantity. PM abstract: alone,
pure potency; PM concrete: with SF.
This principle explains why we have individuals

Principle of specification: SF
Principle of divisibility: PM

An act cannot determine another act. Therefore quantity (which is an accidental act) has to determine Prime Matter (which is
potency) and not Substantial form (which is also an act).

Individual: “Undivided in itself, divided (separated/isolated) from other things.”

Fifth Lesson:

Substantial Form serves as a specifying character of the proper quantity (Quantity for man or animal or plant i.e.)

Through the principle of individuation a thing becomes an individual. Rational animals share rationality and individuality. But it is
concretised individuality. Because of individuality we are divided from one another. To be an individual: “Undivided in itself,
divided from others.”

How do you know that there are two individuals? They occupy two different places. This is just an effect, not the cause of the
individuality. The cause is: They mutually exclude each other as “parts of this room”. My leg and my arm mutually exclude each
other as parts of my body.

Individual notes: Name, form, figure, motion, place, ancestors…

You only have these when you have an individual determined by quantity

Number follows quantity (how old, how long, how heavy, how many…)
Number is ratio of two or more quantities, one of which is taken as a standard unit.
Number exists only as a concept. What exists are distinct units. You don’t see “1” or “2” or “3”, but distinct units. Number is a
mental being. It is an intellectual work in which we perceive independent and whole units as dependent parts of a series.
Number: Only human beings can count, because it is an intellectual work.

Created material; materiality + quantity : Substance is quantified, an individual substance -> next thing added is time and space.
The substance enters time (history) and space (pace).
We experience “instant” or “actual moment”. But you can experience duration, continuity. But this exists in your mind, your
consciousness and the mind connect the different phases.

Definition of time: Number or measurement of movement according to before and after. This implies somebody who measures
-> consciousness.

Wrist watch: objective time (cosmic time)

Time and movement are related in a measurement of “before” and “after”. In our definition of time it is obvious that you have the
movement as objective aspect of time and the consciousness as the subjective aspect of time.

Time is not movement and movement is not time.

When I say “consciousness” in measuring time, some of us are not conscious, some are very conscious, like when you have a
date and the person doesn’t show and time just seems to take longer than usual. Our consciousness measures, but it is not the
only aspect of time, because then time would be subjective. People experience time differently. A class only lasts 45 minutes, no
matter how long it may seem to single students.

Grasp the continuity in the sense that we have past, presence and future in mind. The uniting piece seems to be the present.
Some say it’s the future, some say it’s the past.

St. Augustine (present): Takes as an example the breviary. The peaces of the office you have read are in the past and serve your
memory. You anticipate the lines still ahead of you, which becomes especially clear when you reach the end of a page and your
fingers already grad the corner of the page to flip it. Only where you are in the text requires your attention, so the present seems
to be the uniting part.

Heidegger (future): The future is coming of death and everything you do in life is just attempts to evade this death. The present is
just filled with countermeasures against approaching death. You take vitamins, you obey traffic rules, you dress warmly etc. So to
Heidegger the future is the time that mainly drives us

Ricoeur (past): Any important event in the past is a point of departure, serving as a reference point from which present and future
are measured. I. E. all our dates relate to the birth of Christ.

Reality of time: In Egypt the knew about yearly recurring floods of the Nile. They recorded the height of the water every year, by
marking a wooden stick with knives. Since the height is always different, you see that time is linear, nit circular, always repeating


Space and place represent two aspects of the same reality.

Space is more about the aspect of distance whereas place is about limits (concrete limits)

Definition of space: Distance between two material quantified entities.

Examples of space: external space (the space between two bodies) and internal space (the space between two parts of the same

How can you prove that space is real? Space is a mental concept, but based on reality, because you can’t have distance without
the presence of two real and concrete material entities, connected with quantity.

Definition of place: That which circumscribes/surrounds the body immediately”.

Place is immaterial, because it immediately surrounds the body. If it was material it would be like your clothes.

Sixth Lesson:

As an accident it is different from substance and as a modifier of substances it is distinguished from quantity. Quantity prepares
the substance, it doesn’t modify it. Then the substance is ready to be modified by quality.

One more remark on quantity: You can distinguish between continuous and discreet quantity.
Continuous: A quantity with one limit
Discrete: Several quantities that form a unit (as i.e. in a clock) or do not form a unit (as i. e. seven apples)

Quality is not limited to material things, like quantity is.

The primary formal effect of quality is modification.
Quality is an act (a secondary act, since the 1st act is substantial form) that determines the substance (substance: prime matter +
substantial form).
Quality is distinguished from quantity and relation (quantity prepares substance, quality modifies it; relation is outside the
substance, quality is inside).
Quality is directly sensible and has a specific diversity of intensity (i.e. different reds) and is heterogeneous (the color is different
from the odor. Both are qualities, but they are not the same).

There are four different species of quality:

1.) Habit/disposition: Habit in regard to being (entitative, like beauty or health) and operation (operative, like virtues or vices)
2.) Potency/Impotency: Potency is that which disposes somebody to operate. It can be strong or weak and thereby be an active
power or a less active power.
3.) Passion/patible quality: Passion is a modification of qualities (i.e. you blush). Patible quality is similar, but remains for a longer
time (i.e. your temperament).
4.) Form/figure: Figure is, i.e., when you see the shadow of a man you see the figure of a man, so it is natural. Form refers more
to artificial things like a house or a table.

Quantity per accidens of quality: The influence of dimension creates a difference. When you have a small spot and a larger spot of
the same color, the color in the small spot seems to be more intense.

Quantity per se of quality: You can measure a difference in quality because of a difference in quantity.
[exam alert!] The anthropomorphic and cosmological principle of the origin of the universe:
Cosmological explanation: The Big Bang. From that moment on different evolutions (i.e. temperature, elements) took place. This
explanation sometimes neglects the place of man and sometimes even the place of God.
Anthropomorphic explanation: Everything evolved in order to favor the existence of man.

The Future of the universe: Some scientists and some philosophers talk about the future of the universe as determined (teleology:
nature acts for an end and there is regularity). Other scientists and philosophers say the future of the universe is undetermined.

The universe is determined because it follows chemical and biological processes. But there is man as part of the universe. And
man is half determined because his body is subject to chemical and biological processes, but also is undetermined because he
has intellect and soul and is able to chose and make decisions. So that would make the universe undetermined, because man is
part of it.

If you have finite substances in a system, you cannot say that the system is infinite. If we accept the existence of infinite quantity,
we must have infinite substance. But if a substance is of limited nature, it is a finite substance and that can only contain finite
So the universe is a finite substance.
The universe is contingent, too. 3 reasons for that:
1) The universe is not its own existence. It got its existence from another
2) Because it is composed, the universe needs some force to unite it.
3) Whenever you see potentiality it has to be realized, has to evolve. And everything that has to evolve has to be contingent.

Seventh Lesson:

Alfred Whitehead (1861-1947), Process Philosophy of Nature

1.) Reality as a process = related becomings
A look back to “being or becoming, change or no change” -> Parmenides & Heraklitus. Whitehead does not deny spiritual realities
but accepts reality as a process. For him it is difficult to say that one is the object, the other the subject. There is an alternating
swing, one moment you are the one, next moment you are the other, impossible to distinguish between the subject and the object.
Events are related, therefore you don’t know if you are subject or object. Process: Becomings as events that are related. Even if
process is ultimate reality. When you think about something, you have pattern in your mind, abstract. These are provided by the
materials of science. If you go to science of atoms, they’ll say that the atoms are the ones providing the pattern, but atoms are
also made up of patterns (infinite regress). How to stop? -> First stuff!
2.) First Stuff
Category of the ultimate -> Creativity, many + one (Instead of PM, SF and privation). How does the Category of the ultimate work?
Many come together as one to form a unity, this is realized by creativity. Creativity has no pattern (like PM).
3.) Actual occasion = actual entity = moment of experience = event particle
Each one of us is one of that. The complex described in II with the many brought together in a unity by creativity is always one of
4.) Process Philosophy of Nature against scientific materialism
To say that the ultimate unit of our existence can be reduced to molecules would be scientific materialism. It can be molecules,
cells, form, genes -> Whitehead challenged that. He was against the reduction to a matter, because it makes things just happen,
without a purpose/value/sense. Process philosophy of Nature claims to present a universe that is an organized whole -> against
dualism (Descartes). Descartes spoke about 2 substances. Body and soul are two substances: Dual
5.) Prehension and stubborn fact
Prehension refers to the relatedness of actual entities. Apprehension concentrates more on the subject taking hold of the object
as known. Prehension is more interested in the relatedness between the subject and the object. Stubborn fact refers to the
relation of the actual entity and the past (“We finish a sentence because we have begun it.”)
6.) Process - the “Flux of things”, Concrescence + Transition
Not “all things flow” (Heraklit) but “flux of things”.
Constituting your actual entity = Concresccence = Constitution of an actual entity (finality)
Perpetual perishing referring to the arrival of a new one = Transition (refers to the power of the past -> no perishing, nothing new).

Religion (“one must be religious first before he becomes a believer”)

Religious experiences begin with personal solitude. There we extend to the universal.
Solitude -> Extending to the universal. How do you extend to the universal? When a man is taken beyond himself. when things
reveal beauty, moving you to go beyond the particular. Go out of your solitude beyond that and pretend, you relate to the
“What does the individual do with its solitariness?”
Transcendence, Awe, Sense of insignificance, gratitude, unity of reality, uniqueness, transformation -> You need solitude to get to
any of these. When you are distracted it does not work.
Religion -> World loyalty
Nexus: Nothing is experienced alone. Events are related in networks, that’s how we see/experience reality.
Religion is a condition, not a consequence of believe.

God has to be real because he provides the limit + chooses the potentiality. If he is real he has to be actual entity, like us. Theory
of “divine Di-polarity”. Di-polar God -> Primordial nature (abstract aspect; without time) and consequent nature (concrete God is
affected/influenced by our condition -> suffers; with time) -> God creates the world and the world creates God.

Philosophy of Nature Final Questions

1. Compare the Philosophy of nature and experimental science:

Subject of Philo of Nature: Mobile beings of a sensible matter in motion or capable of change.
Object of Cosmology: First principles of mobile being. To answer fundamental questions about the universe.
Cosmology seeks to understand mobile being as such that is the being in sensible matter and in motion. The Cosmologist
seeks to know the universe of mobile being according to 4 causes: 1.) the Essence, 2.) the Material Cause (what is it made
of?), 3.) Efficient cause (origin - what brought it into being), 4.) Final cause (why was it brought into being).
Seeks to answer fundamental questions about the universe.
Starts with sensible experience like experimental science, but Philo. of Nature looks at all mobile being as a whole.

Experimental science considers a mobile being within a certain condition or circumstance without rendering intelligible the
essence of such sensible material. They are confined to secondary and proximate principles of classes of mobile beings rather
than first principles.
Chemistry, for example, is interested not in mobile being but in its atomic weight and number - its’ chemical properties. A
scientist uses concepts like quantity, quality, space and time but it is not his job to deal with the essence of these concepts.
Physics and other experimental sciences do not answer questions related to mobile beings as such, because their science
does not ask them.
Cosmology - cosmos means order or good arrangement. Logos signifies ‘word’ or mental expression of the act of knowing.
Cosmology signifies the science of the universe. Aris. Called it physics, which meant for him ‘philo of nature.’
3 types of change in sensible experience:
Qualitative, Quantitative (parts of something - properties of an object) and local

13. Philosophy of Nature and other branches of philosophy

3 grades of Abstraction - certain immateriality of objects.
Natural Philosophy - Being has matter, but not individual - abstracted the individual. Just has matter as definition -
sensitive matter, quantity, extension.
Mathematics - intelligible matter - no bodies, therefore not sensitive. Matter abstracted - triangle, numbers -
quantitative matter. These things need matter to exist (triangle), but matter not included here.
Metaphysics - No matter - sensitive or quantitative. God, separated substances. No quantity or quality. Includes
Logic, Ontology, Epistemology, etc.

2. Doctrine of Hylomorphism:
Movement: Hylo/Morphism Greek: hylo and morphe
matter - form
(from my dictionary) The theory that all physical things are constituted of 2 internal principles: The one remains the same
throughout all change and is the passive basis of continuity and identity in the physical world - this is the prime matter. The
other is displaced or removed from actuation of the matter in substantial change - this is substantial form.

Definition: That from which something proceeds in whatever mode or way.

Something may proceed from another thing be it in the domain of knowledge or in physical world.
Principle is what is depended on for something else’s existence.
External principle - the sun, water
Internal principle - what constitutes the reality - man is constituted by or composed of body and soul.
Prime Matter: The first subject of which a thing is made - not accidental.
Substantial Form: The shape the prime matter takes - this is accidental.

Principles in the process of generation/movement: Elements involved in movement

1. The mobile subject - a subject that is moving or changing
2. “Terminus a quo” of the movement - point of departure
3. “Terminus ad quem” - point of arrival
4. The Movement itself - its intermediate process between 2 points.
Principles of mans movement? - Primary matter, substantial form and privation.

14. Characteristics of Prime matter and substantial form.

PM and SF are the essential parts of a natural composite substance.
Prime Matter is the first subject of which a thing is made – not in accidental way or mode.
PM is pure potency - it cannot exist without a determined SF - that’s why we call it “pure potency.” PM has innate inclination to
a GOOD which corresponds to it. This inclination is to a SF.
Primary (‘prime’ 1st) matter excludes form - form is act, not subject. PM is pure potency - if you have form as act, must have act
and potency. Impotency - matter cannot exist without act (form). To exist means to act - prime matter has no act without form.
Can’t exist by itself - the potency is passive. For a rock, potency passive.
Prime Matter is the substance, which is not an accident but a substrate of the accidents. Substare – “be underneath.” Prime
Matter carries and sustains the accidents.
Never a moment of prime matter being left alone - always with substantial form.
Prime Matter and substantial form are objects behind the “matter”.

Substantial form is the principle of specification and principle of operation.

Determines a mobile being in this or that species. SF is the first act, so first principle of operation.
Principle of unity in an organism, shows definite specific aspects, constant behavior.
Form is an act from which a ‘structural program’ of matter is derived.
Substantial form - Prime act of substantial matter. act co-created with matter - shape is just an accident. Form is just an act of
prime matter.
Material cause - stone - intrinsic - made of Prime Matter.
Substance (PM) and Form.
What is difference between plant and man - principle of specification.
Between the paper which burns and the ashes that are created, prime matter remains.

Both are essential parts of a substance and cannot exist in reality without one another.

Substance is not an accident, but a substrate of the accidents. Substance is “underneath” the accident.

4. Relationship between substance and accidents.

If change affects the substance of a being, it is a substantial change. generation/corruption of a substance.

Substance 1) Prime Matter
2) Substantial form - these are intrinsic principles
death is substantial change - soul leaves body. Substance is that which is essential. Substance equivalent to essence or
nature. Substrare - to be under. Substance is underneath, accidents on top and carried.

Accidents: secondary subjects

There is a rock, the rock is sculptured to a statue. This is accidental change.
intelligence is accidental change.
act co-created with matter - shape is just an accident.
accidents - color, quantity and change in volume
10 predicates -
1 substance - 9 accidents (need substance to adhere)
10 categories:
1. Man or horse Substance
2. 3 yards long; Quantity
3. white Quality
4. double Relation?
5. in the market-place Place
6. last year Time
7. lies, sits posture, Position
8. armed, with shoes Habitus - the way you are dressed (only found with humans)
9. cuts act, active
10. is cut or burnt acted upon, Passive

Substrate - something that links accidents to substance. Substance is not an accident, but a substrate. Only substance can
subsist - can exist independently. Substance equivalent to essence or nature.

5. Movement: definition and the difference between substantial change and accidental change.
my dictionary: Motion: Difference in space. Change of place. Made a universal principle by Heraclitus. Denied as a possibility
by Parmenides and Zeno. Subdivided by Aristotle into alteration or change in shape, and augmentation or diminution or
change in size.

Local movement: from office to outside.

Person is the subject. There is a point of departure (A), a local movement, then arrival (B).
3 principles: Material Cause - the subject; Formal Cause - the act of the subject; Privation.
At point of departure, subject is deprived of realizing goal. He is “in privation” - a negative reality. It is a kind of potentiality - but
this must correspond with nature - a cow can’t lament privation.
What are principles in mans movement?
Primary matter, substantial form and privation.

The act of being in potency (imperfect), in as much as it is in potency

Flowers open at certain time - sensible to light. Cause of movement from external cause - not from within plant.
Paper burns through external cause. Statue through external force.

6. Four causes presented with a unique example

Efficient cause, by which any change is brought about in the order of execution,
Material cause, that out of which a new being arises - prime matter in regard to substantial second matter in regard to
accidental forms.
Formal cause, the act by which a material substratum is determined towards a new being - substantial or accidental. Form is
just an act of prime matter.
Final cause, that because of which something is or becomes. All things tend towards an end by a ‘natural appetite.’
from another class:
Material: what a being is made of
Formal: the shape the material takes
Efficient: origin, what brought it into being. the author or mover of something. that by which a thing is made
Final: why was it made

Unique Example:
Material cause: Paper
Formal cause: individual sheets of a particular size bound with glue and/or string.
Efficient cause: Author and machinery used to print it.
Final cause: Education, entertainment, pleasure of man.

8. Quantity and Quality, definition, division and relation.

QUANTITY or size cannot be strictly defined because it is one of the supreme genus of being. It can be described: It is a
determination of a being that makes a substance have a part adjacent to another part, thus to have extension and size.
Quantity involves parts and divisibility.
Implies Order: Without quantity a substance will not have parts and will not have size.
Quantity is really the principle of extension in space.
Intrinsic: Shoe size, how tall. Predicative that asks “how much.”
Extrinsic: Time (measurement of movement as much as there is a before and after), Predicative that asks “when.”
Quantity is NOT a substance for 3 reasons: 1. Always ascribed to something and is never alone; 2. Visible and accessible to
the senses, but proper to the substance to be known by reason; 3. PM and SF do not constitute their own quantity and even
the 2 put together cannot form extension.
Effect of Quantity: A quantifier substance in a place.
Being in a place is a secondary formal effect. Without extension you will not find the chalk on the table.
Formal effect of quantity: Actual extension of parts of a body - parts in relation to other parts.
2ndary: Actual extension of a body in relation to a place, plus
Divisibility: can be broken up. Only if it has extension or potential.
Measurability: When body is capable of being compared with the quantity of other bodies.
Impenetrability: Secondary effect of quantity. Prevents another body from occupying its’ place.

Apply all primary and 2ndary effects:

Blackboard has extension: has parts, a border - left portion, middle, right; upper and lower portions
Divisibility: Possible - can break parts off it.
Measure length, height, width.
Impenetrability: The board occupies a place not occupied by anything else.

QUALITY is a property of bodies which is directly sensible to various senses and which has specific diversity and intensity. It
answers the question “what?”
2 principle characteristics: 1. Specific - differences between themselves - Color, sound, odor, and within each class there are
specific differences. Diversity of intensity - really red or a light right. Really loud or really quite.
Also includes immaterial realities such as intellect, virtue, goodness, etc.
species of quality: Habits (learned traits developed), Powers (principle for acting - power of reasoning), Passion (quality of
person - color) and Figure (physical size).

Relation between the 2: The Quantity of a body is always determined by the quality. Ex.: Virtue is a quality, how much is the
quantity - very little, or a lot of virtue? If the quality does not exist, it can not have quantity. If something is red, there exists a
certain quantity of red, but no quantity of white. Quality traced to form - quantity to prime matter. Qualities can be analogical.

7. Time and space: definition, formal and material foundation.

Space: Space implies a relation between 2 corporeal bodies. This distance is real because the foundation is taken from real
objects. Not just imaginary - you can measure it.
Space has 3 dimensions - length, width and height, and one dimension in time - a being exists within a certain period of time.
There can be no space without bodies or independent from bodies.
No problem with infinite division. The relation of distance constitute the idea of space.
For both time and space, we need them attached to relate to movement - In order to cover a certain distance, you need a
certain time.
Time: Continuum is a succession - before and after without ever existing simultaneously. Time has parts whose limits coincide.
Space and Time are examples of a continuum. Infinitely divisible and have real, potential parts.

Roger Bacon - nature tends to fill up any semblance of vacuum. “Horror vacui” - nature abhors the empty. Leibniz thought
empty space metaphysically impossible. Newton needed it to explain mechanical movement of celestial bodies.

Place: A reality that immediately surrounds an object. An area with determined, concrete limits. 2 ways of being in a Place -
Being reasonable as in man or water being in a container.
A place is mainly immaterial. If it were material it would be a body covering other bodies.

12. Philosophical and Scientific time

The formal basis of time is the conscious subject (person) who counts and measures it.
The material basis of time is the movement which exists outside the subject.
Formal object of Time is Movement.
Is Time real? The past and future are parts of time but they don’t exist. As a consequence, time is not something real. Only the
present is real or in act.
We perceive the passage of time when we observe some movement in succession (External - local movement, qualitative
alteration. Internal - the succession of our thoughts.)
Time - measurement of movement and rest according to before and after. How much time to repair building - before and after.
Time is connected with movement, but movement is not time. A car can be faster or slower but time is always the same.
Arist. Said there would be no time if there was no person to keep track of it.

Philosophical Time:
Augustine unites time with the ‘present.’ Past becomes present through memory, present made actual through attention and
the future is present through expectation.
Heidigger unites time with the ‘future’. Man is a being unto death. Past is a story of man’s struggle to avoid death, the present
is a testimony of his effort to avoid death, and he is anxious about how he can avoid death in the future. (strong socio-political
influence from WW II)
Ricouer - time with the past. The present is the effect of past experience, and the future will be an extension of this recounting.

Scientific Time:
Absolute time of Newton: There is a uniform time for everybody in everyplace in the universe. Simultaneous time.
Relative time of Einstein: My time is not your time. Time on Mars different from time on earth.
Subjective time of Kant: Time is a mental structure which stays in the mind even when one forgets about time.

Clock in Bonn, Germany is a cesium-beam clock and custodian of Earth time. Earth doesn’t keep good time.

From the 2nd law of thermodynamics, physicists determine the direction of time as irreversibly oriented towards ‘a maximum
level of disorganization,’ a stage called maximum chaos. Entropy.
Biological Time shared with other living creatures. Flowers open and close at certain times of day. HB craves rest and are
heading to the maximum level of chaos - we get older each day.

Religious Time: For pagans, things repeat - birth, death, rebirth. Catholic time not cyclical time. Christ died once and for all.
Time is linear for us.

3. Atomism and Dynamism: doctrine, difference and critique.

Atomism: Originated with Leucippus and elaborated by Democritus (460BC - 370BC). Ultimate realities are atoms and the
void. Later used by Epicurus as the foundation for stressing ethical concerns - Epicurianism.
Atoms are tiny indivisible beings that do not come into being or perish, but do move in the void, making possible the existence
of many worlds. Atoms are solid bodies having countless shapes and sizes, having weight or mass and capable of motion. Life
is caused by slippery spherical soul atoms, and living things die when they stop breathing.
Intrinsic elements or principles.
Matter and form are intrinsic principles of being. Atoms are 1 intrinsic principle of all things (except the void).

Position of Atomism - the atomists talk about matter and local movement. When you talk about a student, student as concrete
matter, and has capacity of local movement. How is it a Monism? always talking about 2 things - matter and local movement.
Matter and local movement is what we see externally. For atomists, they explain corporal principle called extension. Gives
reason to each individual being. Extension here is a ultimate constitutive principle. In hylomorphism it is just an accident.
Leucippus and Democrates didn’t deal with movement - it’s eternal. All these atoms were in a void, and the similars went
together. No question about 1st cause - mechanical explanation without touching causes. Just explaining everything.
As a philosophical concept it is materialistic.
As cosmological concept (on causes, can’t help going to first or final cause), they may say that, with regards to local
Dalton brought atomism back as a science in modern chemistry. Atoms here are charged electrically and therefore have
interior force - not inert like the Atomists thought.

Dynamism - Force. Only form - no matter or extension.

Force is not matter - just power. No extension, so no reality.
Physics is getting close to this. Fusion creates force. No talk about Mass or quantity with sub-atomic particles. Fusion can
make particles disappear and create other particles.
Force rather than mass or motion as the basic concept. Contrasted with mechanism

Scientific dynamism does not deny the existence of extended matter. Action at a distance is another consequence of
dynamism. With no contact, an effect may be accomplished in another body but it must be instantaneous, which is impossible.
There is always some time that takes place - even with light reaching a destination. This proves their can’t be action at a
We say with atomism or dynamism are in category of Monism (or reductionism). Only 1 principle which constitutes everything.
Dominates everybody else.

9. Origin of the Universe: the anthropomorphic and cosmological principle

Anthropomorphic: Folklore or myth
Cosmological: Big Bang. First proposed by G. Lemaître in 1927.
15,000 million years ago, all materials were condensed. The more condensed, the more dense.
Suddenly, big bang producing expansive movement.
Why did they start talking about big bang? based on mathematical figure.

Major observation in science called “Law of Hubble” - velocity /\ distance /\.
The further the distance between galaxies, the faster the separation is. Velocity proportionate to distance between galaxies.
Time is indicated by the velocity of incoming light. Longer time to arrive at certain planet. Person on the planet where the light
comes from grows older slower than we do.
Astronomers compared galaxies and saw they are moving away from each other. Determined through light reflected in
spectrum. Light was moving to red region of spectrum.
So, the universe is expanding. Doppler effect explains this movement of light to red region. Made use with law of Hubble to
present a universe that is constantly expanding.
Hubble’s law formulated in 1929.

10. The future of the universe: Determinism and Indeterminism

Determinism: Implied order, and in this order you follow a certain law. Sodium and chloride will always make salt.
Nature determines behavior. Enlarge this to material world is determined, or under this metaphysical view of Determinism -
sun always comes up. Behind this order, is a Primary (First) Cause. The rest is just secondary cause.
Some scientists say no absolute determinism because of presence of man. In man you have freedom/choice and body subject
to biological and physical law.
Why do we say that God is the first cause and yet in moving us we still conserve our freedom? (Medieval philosophy and
metaphysical theology)
my dictionary: Held as a theory by the Atomist Democritus (but only mechanical causation). Different from Fatalism,
where all the facts in the universe incl. human history are absolutely dependent upon and conditioned by their causes.
Indeterminism: Those who deny order and intelligent cause say the world can be interpreted using indeterminism.
Cannot be foreseen or predicted - Based on chance. Chance is the possibility of certain tendency towards one object or
Would take a lot longer if universe was created by chance. The stars would have died out before we were created. It
is claimed that science is based on indeterminism. Provoked by Quantum Physics. Principle of uncertainty - Heisenberg
explained with experiments you can not determine place and velocity of sub-atomic particles because of observance of
observer. Primary cause: None
We also have a complexity - things that are so sensitive to be redirected by minimal factors. Playing 8-ball.
Enlarge this to macro examples - ants. They know when stop making their piles of dirt too high.
Complexity provides for the condition of chance. Indeterminism - you don’t follow rigorous order or law.
Natural process you find in world not absolutely determined or undetermined.
Before 8 ball can go anywhere it has to follow law of motion and gravity. Some determination there.
Law is formulated based from different experiments.

Some scientists say combination of both determinism and indeterminism.

11. The universe is contingent and finite

The universe is determined: It follows an irreversible direction towards ------?
Law of Entropy (measure of the degree of chaos or disorganization or disorder)
When all areas of the planet are the same temp. (total equilibrium), maximum level of entropy - no presence of activity - death.
Some philosophers and scientists - Ilya Prigogine propose that total equilibrium is possible if you are already there, but if you
are not very near total equil, there is the possibility of chance (indeterminism - super sensitive) the temps will go in another
direction and slow death of universe.
This corresponds to our concept of Universe as “finite.” Because universe has a beginning and end, we consider it finite.

We can measure things only according to how good our instrument for measuring things. Anything that has quantity is finite.
The sense of infinity is that there is another extension, and another, etc. not exhausted. An indefinite plus.

Universe is contingent, so it has to be finite. It can exist or not.

Infinity cannot be applied to a created substance. If it is created, it has quantity.
A contingent being is dependent on another for its’ existence.
A necessary being has its’ existence dependent on itself.
That the world is contingent can be explained in this way - the world undergoes an evolution and composed of parts.

5 causes by Tom:
1.) Necessary Being ----------------> Contingent Beings
2.) Primary Causes -----------------> Secondary Causes
3.) Unmoved Mover ---------------> Moved Mover (we are self-moving, but what gave us that law.)
4.) Governance ---------------------> Order
5.) Grades of Perfection ----------> Must be a highest grade of perfection.

Remember basic definitions. Movement, place, time. causes, substantial forms, matter. Exact definition.

Other terms:

innate appetite - a tendency towards - no acquired knowledge. Natural appetite of stone falling to earth - inherent in its nature
to fall down. Animal - innate appetite to migrate - no acquired knowledge.
Innate appetite for the form
Acquired appetite - us turning to dust.

Causality - what is the cause of change, and what is the effect.

Causes also called principle. Ultimate constitution principles of being.
(Sr. Beata) What is a cause? The term implies an influence of something on something else.
This reality which influences or grounds the being about which we are speaking.

Phases of Natural Philosophy:

1. Anthropo-cosmic - man and cosmos. People projecting what they experience as something outside themselves as the
2. Rationality - Greeks. Tried to understand nature - reason.
3. Medieval - nature interpreted as opening to God. Universe depends on God.
4. Modern. Nature mathematically. Everything calculated. No God.

Nature is the principle of movement present in a mobile being, not in accidental manner but primarily present. Tom: the word
‘nature’ is properly said first of all to living things. It is also an intrinsic principle of motion.


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