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The billiard balls of the classical Empiricists are a function of the mechanics of velocity and mass, 17th century physics, while atom bombs are a function of Relativity and other aspects of 20th century physics.


"Socrates," as the name of an individual, although bringing to mind many properties, is not a property; and no matter how many properties we specify, "snub-nosed," "ugly," "clever," "condemned," etc., they conceivably could apply to some other individual.

The problem of universals goes back to Plato and Aristotle.

From that we have a principle, still echoed by Kant, that "[primary] substance is that which is always subject, never predicate." On the other hand, a theory that eliminates the equivalent of Aristotelian "matter," like that of Leibniz, must require that individuals as such imply a unique, perhaps infinite, number of properties.

The "form" of a thing is not just what it looks like, it is the "final cause," the purpose of the thing, the "entelechy," , the "end within," which is one of the of natural growth and change.

Theodore Mueller. Grand Rapids:Zondervan Publishing House, 1954.

A contrast may also be drawn between substance and "attribute." In this distinction, all properties, whether essential or accidental, to the substance, the thing that "stands under" ( in Latin, , "lie under," in Greek) all the properties and, presumably, holds then together.

Before the modern discovery of DNA, this was pretty much the only theory there was to account for the growth of living things from seeds or embryos into full grown forms.

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To Aristotle that was the "matter" of the object.

Nevertheless, it introduces some difficulties into Aristotle's theory: If the "form" is accessible to understanding by abstraction, then this cannot be the "form" as the one that contains the adult oak tree in the acorn, since no one unfamiliar with oak trees can look at an acorn and see the full form of the tree.

He is overall nowhere near as interested in mathematics as Plato.

But if the entelechy cannot be perceived and abstracted, then it exists in the object in a way different from the external "form." But Aristotle's metaphysics makes no provision, any more than quantum mechanics, for a "hidden" internal "form." Neoplatonism took care of that by making the internal "form" transcendent, as in Plato, but this is then a fatal compromise with Aristotle's empiricism and with his move to "immanentize" Plato's Forms.

Hume's argument only works if he really means rather than .

While the Aristotelian "form" of an object is its substance (the "substantial form") and its essence, not all abstract properties belong to the essence.

Or you could use a drop-box or other more sophisticated system.

If Aristotle is going to be an empiricist, thinking that knowledge comes from experience, this puts him on a slippery slope to positivism or, more precisely, "": that (or, as puts it, "the Real is Rational").

This notion seems to go all the way back to (1079-1142).

This seems to account for important characteristics of reality, that true justice is rarely to be found, and that mathematicians describe the strangest things that have no obvious relation to experience.

If you have any characteristic grammatical failings, check for them.

Aristotle's theory can accommodate this, but only by positing "forms" that are inaccessible to perception and abstraction, which would contradict any original notion in Aristotelian epistemology that knowledge comes from experience.

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