Art presupposes something natural. Some

Art presupposes something natural. Some natural property is always taken as a given.

Whatever this property is: the rigidity of a two-by-four, the solidity of refined ore, the tendency of steam and gasoline to expand, the ability of copper to conduct electricity, fire making heat… the property must persevere in our artificial thing, in fact, it must persevere if we want our artificial thing to work or even exist.

This means that every artificial thing will be composed of things that already have a nature, and hang on to this nature. Our art will never have the unity of a natural substance. Our art is always “extrinsic” to nature, while nature is an intrinsic cause of motion. There is no replacing Antiphon’s wonderful observation that if you planted a bedpost, it would shoot up wood, not a bed.

Art always presupposes something natural as a material cause. Art is therefore a different kind of thing because its matter is from a different order of being. Art consists in giving certain artistic determinations to natural things- natural things taken as matter.

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