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Ontological Separation in Aristotle’s Metaphysics

In: Phronesis
Author: Emily Katz1
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  • 1 Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, South Kedzie Hall, 368 Farm Lane, Room 503, East Lansing, mi 48824, USA
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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.

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