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A Biologically Informed Hylomorphism

Austin, Christopher J. (2017) A Biologically Informed Hylomorphism. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Although contemporary metaphysics has recently undergone a neo-Aristotelian revival wherein dispositions, or capacities are now commonplace in empirically grounded ontologies, being routinely utilised in theories of causality and modality, a central Aristotelian concept has yet to be given serious attention – the doctrine of hylomorphism. The reason for this is clear: while the Aristotelian ontological distinction between actuality and potentiality has proven to be a fruitful conceptual framework with which to model the operation of the natural world, the distinction between form and matter has yet to similarly earn its keep. In this chapter, I offer a first step toward showing that the hylomorphic framework is up to that task. To do so, I return to the birthplace of that doctrine - the biological realm. Utilising recent advances in developmental biology, I argue that the hylomorphic framework is an empirically adequate and conceptually rich explanatory schema with which to model the nature of organisms.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Austin, Christopher J.Christopherja@gmail.com
Additional Information: Final Version published in: Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science (Routledge)
Keywords: philosophy of biology; metaphysics; hylomorphism; causation; explanation; dynamic systems theory; developmental biology
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
Depositing User: Dr. Christopher J. Austin
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2017 13:41
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2017 13:41
Item ID: 14092
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Function/Teleology
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
Date: 2017
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/14092

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