Universality and Particularity of Aristotelian Substances

  • Erman Kar

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The primary question of this project is whether Aristotelian substantial forms are universals or particulars, or neither or both. In other words, the question is whether Aristotelian forms are peculiar to each particular being, or whether they are identical for all particular members of a kind. My position is that substantial forms are both universal and particular. I argue the primary question cannot be answered if the status of form in Aristotelian ontology is considered alone. I address the problem by looking at the ontological relation between universal and particular entities, besides their substantiality.
This thesis is divided into six chapters. The first and second chapters cover the Aristotelian background to the problem. In the third and fourth chapters, I discuss some important entities of the Four-Category Ontology of Jonathan Lowe, and the relations between three of these entities: form, universals and particulars. Jonathan Lowe defends a version of Aristotelian metaphysics. Especially, Lowe claims that both particulars and universals are substantial, since the ontological relation between universal and particular is symmetrical rather than asymmetrical. Next, in the fifth and sixth chapters, I analyse, firstly, the problem of knowledge in terms of the universality of substantial entities, and, secondly, the problem of individuation in terms of the particularity of substantial entities.
Date of Award25 Jun 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bristol
SupervisorJames A C Ladyman (Supervisor) & Giles B Pearson (Supervisor)

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