Karpov Kirill

Hylomorphism in Modern Analytical Philosophy

Karpov Kirill (2016) "Hylomorphism in Modern Analytical Philosophy ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2016, vol. 68, pp. 78-93 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201668.78-93


Analytical metaphysics in the 20th century was marked by the predominance of scientifi c reductionism. As a result metaphysics was considered dependent on the natural sciences in its topics and methodology. Conversely, the last two decades introduced new trends, defending the autonomy of metaphysical knowledge, while keeping such an important distinguishing feature of analytical philosophy as orientation on achievements of natural sciences. Hylomorphism is one of these new trends, which might be characterized as 'neo-Aristotelian’. Contemporary Hylomorphism is heterogeneous, has a number of branches, which are united by the idea that all material objects are composed of two basic elements — matter and form. The latter is often understood as a form in the strict sense, as a structure, a constitution or a power. The author considers the main issue faced by all hylomorphic ontologies: if matter and form are independent principles, what then unites them into a single composite? The article pays particular attention to the application of hylomorphic ontologies in solving such important philosophical and theological problems as the problem of the material constitution, mind-body problem, the Trinity. The last aspect deserves special attention. The author analyzes advantages and disadvantages of the proposed hylomorphic solutions. The main advantage is the amazing fl exibility of hylomorphic ontologies — they allow philosophers to introduce easily new principles, thus adopting to various problems solving. The disadvantages come directly from the main advantage and consist in weak reconcilement of those new principles with each other.


analytical metaphysics, hylomorphism, matter, form, structures, substance, composition, unity of substance, material constitution, mind-body problem, Trinity


1. Rei M. Troitsa // Oksfordskoe rukovodstvo po filosofskoi teologii / T. P. Flint, M. K. Rei, sost. M., 2013. P. 594–631.
2. Svt. Grigorii Bogoslov. Izbrannye tvoreniia / V. Burega. sost. Moscow, 2008.
3. Shokhin V. K. Filosofiia religii i raznovidnosti ratsional'noi filosofii, in Filosofiia religii: Al'manakh. 2010–2011. Moscow, 2011. P. 15–30.
4. Brower J. Aquinas’s Ontology of the material World: Change, Hylomorphism, and Material Objects. Oxford; N. Y., 2014. P. 66–69.
5. Brower J. Trinity // The Cambridge Companion to Abelard / J. Brower, K. Guilfoy, eds. N. Y., 2005. P. 223—257;
6. Brower J., Rea M. Material Constitution and the Trinity, in Faith and Philosophy. 2005. Vol. 22, No. 1. P. 57–76.
7. Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized / J. Ladyman, D. Ross, eds. N. Y., 2007.
8. Gasser G. Is Hylomorphism a Neglected Option in Philosophy of Mind? // Soul. A comparative Approach / Ch. Kanzian, M. Legenhausen, eds. Frankfurt, 2010. P. 43–61.
9. Jaworski W. Hylomorphism and Resurrection, in European Journal for Philosophy of Religion. 2012. Vol. 5, No. 1. P. 197–198.
10. Jaworski W. Structure and the Metaphysics of Mind: How Hylomorphism Solves the Mind-Body Problem. N. Y., 2016.
11. Koslicki K. The Structure of Objects. Oxford, 2008. P. 159.
12. Lowe E. J. A neo-Aristotelian substance ontology: neither relational nor constituent // Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics / T. Tahko, ed. Cambridge, 2011. P. 231.
13. Manning G. The History of «Hylomorphism», in Journal of the History of Ideas. 2013. Vol. 74. No. 2. P. 173–187.
14. Marenbon J. Abelard’s Changing Thoughts on Sameness and Diff erence in Logic and Theology, in American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly. 2011. Vol. 81, No. 2. P. 229–250.
15. Marmodoro A. Aristotle’s hylomorphism without reconditioning, in Philosophical Inquiry. 2013. Vol. 36, No. 1–2. P. 5–6.
16. Murray M., Rea M. Philosophy and Christian Theology, in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. URL:http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/christiantheology-philosophy/#ConMod (data obrashcheniia: 27.10.2016).
17. Quine W.O. Theories and Things. Cambridge (Mass.), 1981.
18. Quine W.O. World and Object. Cambridge (Mass.), 1960.
19. Rae M. Sameness without identity: an Aristotelian Solution to the problem of material constitution, in Ratio. 1998. Vol. 11. No. 3. P. 318–323.
20. Rea M. Hylomorphism reconditioned, in Philosophical Perspectives. 2011. Vol. 25. No. 1. P. 345.
21. Toner P. Emergent Substance, in Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition. 2008. Vol. 141, No. 3. P. 281–297.
22. Toner P. St. Thomas Aquinas on Gappy Existence, in Analytic Philosophy. 2015. Vol. 56, No. 1. P. 94–110.

Information about the author

Karpov Kirill

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Philosophy;
Place of work: Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences;
Email: email: kirill.karpov@gmail.com.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.


Работа выполнена в рамках реализации проекта «Метафизика в интеркультурном про- странстве: история и современность», поддержанного РГНФ, No 15-03-0021