Hylomorphism

Here’s a recipe for ozone: have lightning strike the ground. Both the ingredients and recipe are given. How so?

Here’s one idea: oxygen is the ingredient and the specification-of-how-things work is the recipe. While this is a useful dialectical description it has an obvious category mistake since the act of telling me something does nothing to bind oxygen into O. The recipe is something read off the world but given in it, and so the previous question is left unaddressed.

So maybe the recipe is present as a space-time process, like lifespans or history. This is something real, but it is no longer a recipe since lifespans are not guides or determinations of possible actions.

Here’s what’s left: the thing we call oxygen is both ingredient and recipe of ozone, so that oxygen A, oxygen B, and oxygen C, form O3 only when A uses both itself, the other two, and the lightning bolt as a resource in forming the final product, and the same description can be had from the perspective of B, C or the lightning bolt, though in this last case the recipe-bearer ones only its power and not its substance to form final product.

In the process just specified the difference between what is a resource or instrument and what is a recipe-bearer is not peculiar to one item in the recipe, in much the same way that if you want to have five marbles then you’ll need a fifth one but no particular marble has to have this description. This material equivalence will characterize all physical processes, until one is alive. At that point, what is using what as a resource is no longer only materially or arbitrarily specified. The fox uses the hen, not vice-versa. Explaining this asymmetry requires positing something over and above the complexity of the system, since even infinitely complex material systems – the system of all possible particles, say – need not have anything more than a material difference between resource and recipe-bearer. So soul returns under a description analogous to the one it has always had.

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