Ontological separation plays a key role in Aristotle’s metaphysical project: substances alone are ontologically χωριστόν. The standard view identifies Aristotelian ontological separation with ontological independence, so that ontological separation is a non-symmetric relation. I argue that there is strong textual evidence that Aristotle employs an asymmetric notion of separation in the Metaphysics—one that involves the dependence of other entities on the independent entity. I argue that this notion allows Aristotle to prevent the proliferation of substance-kinds and thus to secure the unity of his metaphysical system.
E.g. Corkum2008, 68; G. Fine 1984, 35; Gill 1989, 38; Michael Loux 1991, 261; and Morrison 1985a, 137.
See e.g. G. Fine 1984; Witt2003, 81; and Makin 2003, most clearly at 229. Russell Dancy (1978, 404-5) takes ontological inseparability, and presumably ontological separability, to be some kind of existential relation: so the incapacity to ‘survive the loss of’ A designates inseparability from A. See also Kung 1978, 159. More recently, Corcilius and Gregoric claim that when Aristotle uses unqualified separation terminology ‘he always means that x can exist independently, or independently of y’ (2010, 90; see also 95). (Peramatzis 2008, 187-8 n. 2, gives a long list of commentators who share this view.)
Panayides1999, 336argues that Aristotle sometimes but not always takes priority in substance (what I am calling ontological priority) to be A’s capacity to exist without B and B’s incapacity to exist without A (what I am calling existential opm). Jonathan Beere argues that Aristotle has a ‘broad construal of priority in being’ (2009, 299): he has one set of criteria for relations between perishable things (priority ‘in being and form’), and another for relations between eternal and perishable things (non-reciprocal implication of being) (296-7). Both are kinds of ontological priority (299). See also Ross 1924, vol. 2, 414.
Peramatzis2011, 13; see also 203-10. This is formulated slightly differently in 2008, 189.
E.g. Corkum2008, 75; Beere 2009, 298-9; Peramatzis 2011, 241-3.