Heraclitus and the physical (pt. 2)

1.) We have experience of dealing with things of the same description as the ship of Theseus, and they show us that artifacts have individuality by participation, that is, to the extent that they relate to an extrinsic agent or efficient cause.

2.) While physical things have substantial forms and so have a being for themselves that artifacts lack, they have the same lack of individuality that an artifact has.

3.) This lack of individuality is either from lacking it altogether, or because the individuality is always in flux.

4.) But natural things, just as artifacts, cannot lack individuality altogether, thus they have an individuality in constant flux.

5.) This constant flux arises because the individuality of the physical as such arises is defined by the totality of its accidents; esp. where it is, when it is, what position it is in, etc. In the animate, however, substantial form gives the entity a self-action to the individual (i.e. non-abstract) entity.

6.) Self-activity is thus divided from the physical. You (who remain the same) cannot step in the same river twice. By way of opposition, you can speak to the same person or pray to the same God twice.

7.) Leibniz’ indiscernibility axiom shows that there is a more and less in what counts as the same individual. At the defining limit of this, the individual must not be measured by categories like when it is, where it is, what position it is in, what acts upon it, etc.




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