On Beatitude II- Material and

On Beatitude II- Material and Material Things

“Material” means “what something is made out of ” or “what we turn into something”. We call cloth “material” because we make clothes out of it, and a comedian calls his jokes his “material” because he makes a show out of them*. The word comes to mean “something that is necessary to do something” (as in “course materials”, “class materials” or “study materials”). In both these usages, however, we call something material because it is related to something else that comes to be from the material.**

Material as such does not exist except in relation to something that comes to be from the material. What comes to be from something, of course, also has a dependence on it- there are no clothes without cloth, or comedy shows without jokes, etc. But though there is a dependence both on the part of material to what it makes, and vice versa, we must always preserve the idea of “the thing that comes to be” as distinct from “the material”, otherwise we lose the very idea of what material is (and for that matter, we lose the idea of what comes to be.)

Material things, then, are things that come to be from something else- the something else being the material, or the matter. A material thing then, will have by definition composition: for material can never be identified with what comes to be from it. But the thing is also one (it is not “things”). Therefore it is a composite.

The composites can also be multiplied out. The only requirement for multiplying them out seems to be that one has enough of the stuff to make them out of, e.g. so long as the conditions under which one cake gets made persist, the only thing needed to make many cakes is more of the ingredients (i.e. materials) out of which a cake gets made. It is for this reason that matter is said to be the reason for why material things are individuated, and therefore multiplied.

In sum:

1.) Material exists in relation to what comes to be out of material
2.) One thing that comes to be out of material is called “a material thing”
3.) Material things are composites of material/ matter, and that which comes to be from matter.***
4.) The matter of material things is the principle of individuation, and multiplication.

*No one calls jokes “material” unless they are used in a show.
**Like the above, no one calls books “materials” unless the books are used to make up the class.
***”That which comes to be” is the material thing as such, but since the material thing as such cannot be identified with the matter, there remains a part of the material thing that is distinct both from the matter and the material thing.


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