Annual Aristotle and Aristotelianism Conference



Principles, Cosmology, and First Philosophy in Aristotle and the Aristotelian Tradition

This Conference is intended to provide a formal occasion and central location for philosophers and scholars of the Midwest region (and elsewhere) to present and discuss their current work on Aristotle and his interpreters in ancient and medieval philosophy.

Presented by the Midwest Seminar in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy with the support of the Department of Philosophy at Marquette University

Thirteenth Annual Marquette Summer Seminar on

Aristotle and the Aristotelian Tradition

25-27 June 2018

Beaumier Conference Center B-C

Raynor Memorial Library

Marquette University

Department of Philosophy

Marquette Hall

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-1881

PRESENTERS: Established Scholars: send a title and tentative abstract; Graduate Students: send a title, abstract and have your faculty advisor or dissertation director email indicating that you are doing professional level work. (This need not be a full recommendation.)  Send applications to:


The Organizing Committee will select presenters on the basis of promise of quality of proposals (title and abstract) and scholarly record as the primary criteria.  Presenters selected will be asked to confirm their participation by registering and paying the conference fee ($40).


ATTENDING ONLY: Send Registration check with name, address, academic affiliation.



(fees cover breakfasts, refreshments, picnic dinner one night)

Advance Registration ($40 by check) Deadline: May 1.

NOTE => After May 1 Registration only at the door: $45 cash.

CHECKS SHOULD BE MADE OUT TO: Marquette University

(Fees are waived for Marquette students, faculty and staff for on campus events only.)


Registration Form.

=> ALL ATTENDEES (including the Marquette community) are asked to register.<=








(Registration fees are waived for members of the Marquette community.)


Print the Registration Form above and send your check made out to “Marquette University” to:

Owen Goldin

Philosophy Department

Marquette University

P.O. Box 1880

Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881

For housing options, see the bottom of this webpage.

Conference Schedule 2018

All sessions will be held in the Beaumier Conference Center in the lower level of Raynor Library at 1355 W. Wisconsin Ave. (See below for location link.)

MONDAY JUNE 25 :  Beaumier Conference Center, Raynor Library 

9-10:15 am [1] Prof. Daniel Bloom, West Texas A & M University, “The Ontological Character of Aristotle’s Categories: Unifying the Principles of Being and Logic"

10:20-11:35 am [2]  Mr. Samuel Meister, Brown University “Aristotle on the Relation between Substance and Essence”

11:40 am-1:00 pm Lunch: suggestions: Law School Cafe, AMU (Student Union), Subway, Jimmy John’s Subs, local Pizza restaurant, Qdoba, Miss Katie’s Diner, and more in the immediate area.

1:00-2:15 pm: [3]  Fr. Philip Neri-Reese O.P. University of Notre Dame, “Dominic of Flanders, Celestial Movers, and the Principles of Being”

2:20-3:35 pm [4] Prof. David Twetten, Marquette University, “Why Aristotle’s Prime Mover Is an Efficient Cause: The Best Argument and Why It Fails”

3:40-5:00 pm [5] Prof. Mary Krizan, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, “Elemental nature and elemental motion in Aristotle’s Physics 8.4 and De Caelo 4.3.”

6:00 pm  Picnic (TBA)

Carpooling available.

TUESDAY JUNE 26: Beaumier Conference Center, Raynor Library 

9-10:15 : [6]  Mr. Christopher Hauser, Rutgers University, “Aristotle’s Epistemology of Essence”

10:20-11:35  [7] Mr. Joshua Mendelsohn, University of Chicago “Aristotle on the necessity of first principles”

11:40 am-1:00 pm Lunch: suggestions: Law School Cafe, AMU (Student Union), Subway, Jimmy John’s Subs, local Pizza restaurant, Qdoba, Miss Katie’s Diner, and more in the immediate area.

1:00-2:15 pm: [8] Prof.  Caleb Cohoe, Metropolitan State University of Denver “How Simple Is Aristotle’s Divine Nous?”

2:20-3:35 pm [9] Fr. Ignacio De Ribera-Martin, Catholic University of America, “First Philosophy and the Radical Powers of the Soul”

3:40-5:00 pm [10] Prof. Joseph E. Steineger, Lindenwood University, “Hylomorphic Composition and the Virtual Distinction”

Dinner suggestions will be provided at the meeting.

WEDNESDAY JUNE 27: Beaumier Conference Center, Raynor Library 

9-10:15 : [11]  Prof. Scott O’Connor, New Jersey City University, “Aristotle on monism and pluralism in On Generation and Corruption I”

10:20-11:35  [12] Mr. Brandon Henrigillis, Marquette University “Metaphysics Λ 10 and the “Nature of the Whole.”

11:40 am - 1:05 pm: [13] Prof. Christopher Frey, University of South Carolina, “Aristotle on Activity as a Variety of Rest”


Daniel Bloom, The Ontological Character of Aristotle’s Categories: Unifying the Principles of Being and Logic

In De Anima (3.4) Aristotle claims that knowing is the taking on of form. This taking on of form must, in some way, be a non-linguistic process because there must be an already present form to serve as the basis for any linguistic description. This position dovetails with Aristotle’s arguments in Metaphysics Zeta that form is the primary substance, because, as primary, form itself must be prior to both instances and descriptions of form. Nonetheless, Aristotle’s categories, through the definitions and syllogisms they generate, are supposed to be able to give us necessary knowledge of forms. How does a logos, of any kind, capture a form? This question applies whether we are thinking of knowledge as going to or from first principles (i.e., as leading to, or following from, the intelligible forms). If definitions describe essences, and if syllogism can lead us to genuine knowledge, there must be some way that the oneness of form is captured by logos and syllogism. This paper will be an investigation of what this means for the character of the genera found in Aristotle’s Categories. Based on the above it appears that the genera of the Categories must be (at least part of) the basis for this mysterious relationship between form and expression, because the genera discussed in the Categories are the component elements of definition and syllogism, and definition and syllogism lead to knowledge of form. Yet, in order for the genera to make possible the capturing of the being of something in words it would seem that the categories must, in some way, be both categories of being and categories of thought. Or, to state the same point in a slightly different way, Aristotle’s categories must represent both actual divisions in reality and divisions of thought and language, and they must do this despite the fact that reality and expression cannot simply be identified. On this account, then, grasping this dual character of the categories is crucial to understanding the relation between being and logic.

Prof. Caleb Cahoe, How Simple Is Aristotle’s Divine Nous?

Aristotle’s description of divine intellect in Metaphysics Λ 9 is sometimes described as thought thinking of the best thing: itself. I show that this gloss does not resolve the problems Aristotle is worried about in this chapter. Aristotle is concerned that the object of understanding (τὸ νοούμενον) might turn out to be more honorable or better (τιμιώτερον) than the understanding (ὁ νοῦς) understanding it. But this issue still arises even if the object understood happens to be the same as the thing understanding. Even when Socrates understands himself, Socrates as object has a certain sort of priority over Socrates as subject. As subject of understanding, Socrates is defined by what he understands and thus depends on the object of understanding being what it is to limit and define what he is as the one understanding. Aristotle’s own approach relies on the claim that things work differently in the case of objects of understanding that are without matter. I examine the interpretations offered by Aryeh Kosman and Stephen Menn and then offer my reading.  To explain Aristotle’s solution, I draw on De Anima III 4, where Aristotle maintains that things without matter are both understood and understanding. There is not the sort of separation between subject and object that occurs in enmattered things. On my reading, Aristotle thinks understanding itself (ὁ νοῦς) is both understanding and understood. There is not one thing doing the understanding and a distinct object being understood (whether or not this object happens to share a form). I conclude by arguing that human self-understanding is not simple in this way. Only the divine understanding itself, Aristotle’s ultimate cosmic principle, is this kind of unity.

Ignacio De Ribera-Martin, First Philosophy and the Radical Powers of the Soul

In his Quaestiones Disputatae on Aristotle’s De anima, Aquinas considers whether the sensitive powers of the soul (potentiae sensitivae) remain in the separate soul after the corruption of the body (QD 19). While he answers in the negative, he nevertheless concedes that these powers remain in the separate soul “as in a principle” (sicut in principio) and “as in a root” (in radice). Powers are destroyed when their subject is destroyed, but the soul still retains their “virtuality” (anima separata est talis virtutis, ut si uniatur corpori iterum potest causare has potentias in corpore; sicut et vitam).

In this paper I argue that, although Aristotle did not hold such a view, the virtual presence of the sensitive powers in the soul is consistent with Aristotle’s metaphysical account of the powers of the human soul (i.e. the soul is not any—or all of—the psychic powers nor their subject, but rather the cause of those powers) as well as with our own experience of at least two natural phenomena: the progressive infusion of the sensitive powers in the generation of a living substance and the assimilation of transplanted organs. Even if transplants were inconceivable in Aristotle’s time, he speculated on the effects of a transplant (De an. I.4, 408b20ff.).

I also show that the distinction between powers and their virtuality signals a deeper dimension of the soul, which belongs to the province of First Philosophy and no longer to natural philosophy. The phenomenon of the infusion of powers in the body invites us to consider the possibility of the latency of these same powers in a separate soul: if there is a transition in generation by which the powers of the soul evolve from the mode of virtuality into the mode of actuality, perhaps the opposite transition is also the case, namely that at some point (i.e. death) those same powers fall back into a mode of latency and are still virtually preserved in the separate soul.

Christopher Frey, Aristotle on Activity as a Variety of Rest

Recent scholarship on Aristotle’s Metaphysics of individual substance has granted Metaphysics Theta a newly prominent role. This increased attention has led to a general appreciation that Aristotle’s account of substantial being is intimately connected to his account of activity (energeia). In this essay, I argue that we cannot fully comprehend this connection if we fail to understand what many take to be activity’s contrary, namely, rest. 

I first distinguish movement from activity and then discuss the ways in which inanimate natural bodies can be at rest with respect to each. I argue that Aristotle employs three varieties of rest.

Kinetic Rest — Insofar as we view the exercises of natural capacities as movements, they are subject, in principle, to kinetic rest. Fire is at rest kinetically when its locomotion ends upon reaching its natural place at the periphery. Aither is never at rest kinetically because its circular motion never ceases.

Energic Rest — Insofar as we view the exercises of natural capacities as activities, they are subject, in principle, to energic rest. Neither aither nor fire can be at rest energically. Aither is active eternally and the cessation of fire’s natural activity constitutes its destruction. But there are many capacities for activity that can be exercised on some occasions and be quiescent on others. For example, an animal is at rest energically with respect to its capacity to see when asleep.

Telic Rest — But Aristotle clearly maintains that there is another sense in which both fire and aither can be at rest.  Fire is complete and lacking in nothing when it occupies its proper location because for it to be at this location is for it to achieve its good as the kind of thing it is. Similarly, to move circularly exhausts what it is for aither to be and to persist as such. By moving circularly, aither is complete and lacking in nothing because for it to move circularly is for it to achieve its good as the kind of thing it is. To be at rest telically is, roughly, to be in this state of actively realizing one’s (natural) end completely.

Particular substances move and rest. Particular substances act and rest. But for all beings that come to be, move, and act for the sake of realizing their form, there is, in the attainment of this good, a variety of rest without cessation or destruction. According to Aristotle, the peace this state affords is not the contrary of motion or activity; it is not a variety of stasis. Telic rest consists in perfect and complete activity.

Aristotle’s use of ‘rest’ to describe this state is neither metaphorical nor analogical.  Its use is related to Aristotle’s claims that matter desires form and that god moves other bodies by being loved, each of which is, I contend, similarly non-metaphorical. This suite of theses is central to Aristotle’s identification of activity and actuality and is therefore essential to understanding what it is to be a substance. I defend this view by showing that these claims play an ineliminable role in Aristotle’s understanding of both human and divine activity.

Christopher Hauser, Aristotle’s Epistemology of Essence

One of the three types of scientific principles recognized by Aristotle are definitions which make clear the essences of their definienda. But how do we acquire knowledge of these essence-revealing definitions? A number of scholars have suggested that Aristotle’s answer to this question can be found in his Posterior Analytics. Though there is widespread agreement that Aristotle offers such an answer, there is disagreement about just what that answer is. After clarifying Aristotle’s theory of essence, I defend one of the three main interpretations of Aristotle’s account of how we come to know definitional principles. In particular, I argue that both Bronstein’s (2016) innovative Socratic interpretation and the traditional Intuitionist interpretation favored by Irwin (1988), Frede (1987), and Ross (1949) face the same devastating objection, an objection which is avoided by the Explanationist interpretation favored by Bolton (1987, 1991, 2014, 2017), Bolton & Code (2012) Charles (2000, 2010), Kosman (1973), and Lennox (1987, 2001). At the core of the paper is the twofold thesis that (a) Aristotle offers an explanationist theory of essence, according to which a kind’s essence consists in its explanatorily basic necessary features, and that (b) given this theory of essence, his accompanying account of how definitional principles become known must be based on explanation rather than division, (non-abductive) induction, or the deliverances of a faculty of intuitive reason.

Brandon Henrigillis, Metaphysics Λ 10 and the “Nature of the Whole

In the opening passage of Metaphysics Λ 10, Aristotle discusses how the “nature of the whole” possesses the good.1  However, his discussion which proceeds from this passage is by no means clear and has in fact been the matter of some debate among scholars.  The problem with this passage, as I see it, and one which in my view has not been sufficiently addressed, is how one ought to understand Aristotle’s claim that there is in fact a “nature of the whole” to speak about in the first place.  Given Aristotle’s definition of nature in Physics 2 and Metaphysics Δ 4, this claim of a “nature of the whole” is indeed puzzling and forces one to clarify precisely what Aristotle means in Λ 10.  And it is due to such interpretive issues that some scholars have even dismissed Aristotle’s reference to a “nature of the whole,” and have rather understood Aristotle to be speaking here in general terms of how each thing attains its own good as it is dictated to it by its own nature and thus that he is not referring to a nature of the cosmos or the whole.  However, I disagree with this position both for philosophical and philological reasons.   My paper then will attempt to defend a reading of Λ 10 which will ultimately argue that not only is the best reading of this passage the one which accepts that Aristotle is defending a kind of cosmic nature, and that this is what he is referring to when he is discussing the “nature of the whole,” but also that the way in which we understand this cosmic nature forces us to expand our understanding of the Aristotelian concept of nature beyond that which has been traditionally ascribed to him.  

Mary Katrina Krizan, Elemental nature and elemental motion in Aristotle’s Physics 8.4 and De Caelo 4.3

Aristotle’s most complete treatment of elemental motion, or the motions of simple bodies upward and downward, occurs in Physics 8.4 and De Caelo 4.3. In Physics 8.4, Aristotle sets out to explain why the motions of the elements are natural, despite requiring an external source of motion; in offering his explanation, Aristotle suggests that the motions of the elements are natural when they are governed by an internal principle (archê). In De Caelo 4.3, Aristotle turns to a related question for elemental motion: why do the motions of elements occur with regularity? He answers the question by arguing that changes in place are analogous to changes in quality and quantity; just as the latter changes occur with regularity due to a change between contraries, so, too, do changes in place.

Aristotle’s accounts of elemental nature and elemental motion in Physics 8.4 and De Caelo 4.3 introduce interpretative difficulties that have implications for how one is to understand the nature of Aristotle’s simple bodies and the place of the elements within Aristotle’s natural philosophy. Specifically, Physics 8.4 raises questions as to whether elements possess internal principles of motion and rest, and De Caelo 4.3 introduces questions regarding the relationship of changes in place to substantial and quasi-substantial changes that operate according to the principles of form, matter, and privation.

In this paper, I propose an interpretation of elemental nature and elemental motion in Physics 8.4 and De Caelo 4.3 that offers a starting point for a more complete treatment of the role of elements within Aristotle’s natural philosophy. First, I argue that in the text of Physics 8.4, Aristotle is committed to the thesis that the nature of an element is simultaneously a principle of motion and rest. This nature is distinct from that of a self-mover; in a simple body, the principle of rest is an active principle, the principle of motion is a passive principle, and the two principles are identical because one is potentially what the other is actually and actively. I then show that, given this account of elemental nature, the only non-accidental motions of elements are those that require a change from one element into another; elements, unlike other bodies and substances, cannot naturally change location without ceasing to be themselves. Next, I apply the account of elemental nature developed in my interpretation of Physics 8.4 in order to fill out the metaphysical implications of Aristotle’s account of elemental motion in De Caelo 4.3. In De Caelo 4.3, Aristotle explains the regularity of natural motion by showing that the motion of an element to its own place is also motion to its own form. I argue that in order to make sense of Aristotle’s argument, one must treat form in two ways: form is employed in the sense used in Physics 4, as the spatial limit of a body that is surrounded by another, but is also employed in the robust metaphysical sense, as an explanatory principle juxtaposed with matter. Accordingly, Aristotle’s account of natural motion, in the case of the elements, simultaneously explains changes in place and changes from matter to form – that is, substantial change.

The result of this interpretation is that it allows for an explicit coherence between Aristotle’s account of elemental motion and his account of elemental transformation on On Generation and Corruption 2. In the final part of the project, I offer a brief discussion of the relationship between these two processes in Aristotle’s natural philosophy, showing that the primary difference between Aristotle’s account of natural motion in De Caelo 4.3 and elemental transformation in On Generation and Corruption 2 is that the former takes as a starting point the reducible qualities heaviness and lightness, whereas the latter explains change according to the non-reducible qualities that constitute the essence of an element.

Samuel Meister, Aristotle on the Relation between Substance and Essence

In the past decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in Aristotelian accounts of substance and essence. Along with that interest, the question arises what the relation between substance and essence is. In Metaphysics Z.6, Aristotle himself gives a quite radical response, or so I will argue: Each (primary) substance is identical with its essence. It has been popular in the past to attribute that view to Aristotle, but more recently, the traditional interpretation has come under pressure from different sides. According to some scholars, Aristotle may hold that each substance is the same in number as its essence, that is, roughly, substance and essence expressions co-refer to one object, but that claim does not imply that each substance is identical with its essence. Others have concluded from the supposed incoherence of the view that each substance is identical with its essence that Aristotle must have a weaker sameness relation in mind than identity: Each substance is merely the same in substance as its essence, that is, roughly, they are distinct, but their accounts are the same. 

In this paper, I will argue against those exegetical trends, and for a version of the traditional view: Each substance is the same in number and substance as its essence, and hence identical with it. After developing the identity reading of Metaphysics Z.6 in detail, drawing on both the Topics and various passages in the Metaphysics, I will meet the objection that sameness in number is not identity. Moreover, I will argue that the view traditionally attributed to Aristotle is not incoherent. As far as Aristotle is concerned, the core of the account of substance and essence is indeed the (coherent) claim that each substance is identical with its essence.

Joshua Mendelsohn, Aristotle on the necessity of first principles

Aristotle holds that the first principles (archai) of each science are true of necessity. In Metaphysics Δ.5, he claims that their necessity owes to “the simple” (to haploun). This claim raises two questions: What is it whose simplicity accounts for the necessity of first principles, and how does the simplicity of this item ground their necessity?

I answer the first question by arguing that the necessity of first principles owes to the simplicity of their truth, which in turn depends on the simplicity of their subjects. I argue that first principles possess the type of truth that Aristotle calls “incomposite” (asunthetos) in Metaphysics Θ.10. In dialogue with Paolo Crivelli and Richard Sorabji, I develop a reading of Metaphysics Θ.10 according to which incomposite truths are propositional, but simple in the sense that their truth does not correspond to the combination or division of a subject and an attribute.

Instead, they are made true by the existence beings that are themselves simple in the sense that they lack the requisite ontological complexity to be the subjects of accidents or to exist in potentiality. I interpret Metaphysics Δ.5, 1015b.11–14 as an argument that incomposite truths are for this reason true of necessity. This provides an answer to the second question: The simplicity of the subjects of first principles secures their necessity because these subjects are too simple to fail to exist or exist with alternative intrinsic properties.

In the second half of the paper, I consider the evidence that Aristotle takes the three types of principle he recognizes in Posterior Analytics I.2 and I.10 (definitions, hypotheses and axioms) to be simple truths. I argue that there is strong evidence that Aristotle takes hypotheses and definitions to be simple truths, and that he may also take the axioms to be simple truths. In dialogue with Marguerite Deslauriers’ recent work on Aristotle’s theory of definition, I provide an interpretation of some of Aristotle’s remarks on definition in Posterior Analytics II.2 and II.8–10, arguing that he takes simplicity to distinguish those definitions which may serve as syllogistic principles from those which cannot. I then evaluate the success of Aristotle’s attempt to explain the necessity of each of these three classes of first principles by recourse to the ontological status of their subjects. The argument of Metaphysics Δ.5, 1015b.11–14 applies most straightforwardly to definitions, but can be adapted to accommodate hypotheses. The case of axioms presents special difficulties, which I consider in closing.

Scott O’Connor, Aristotle on monism and pluralism in On Generation and Corruption I

Call generation and destruction substantial change (Sub). Call changes in respect of alterable qualities—hot and cold, white and black, dry and wet, soft and hard, etc.— alteration (Alt). In GC I.1 Aristotle asks whether Sub and Alt have the same or different natures (314a1–6), a question that he motivates by arguing that his predecessors accept positions that commit them to the elimination of one or the other. The monists cannot allow for the existence of Sub (314b1–4), and the pluralists cannot allow for the existence of Alt. Aristotle disagrees. He believes that Sub and Alt are each sui generis changes and begins GC I.4 by stating that he will explain the difference between them. Since Aristotle thinks that both Sub and Alt exist, his account of both must sufficiently diverge from his predecessors if he is allow for both in a way that they cannot.

While much has been written about Aristotle’s response to monism in GC I.4, little has been written about how this chapter responds to pluralism. This is partly due to the fact that Aristotle’s objection to pluralism is difficult to reconstruct. In GC I.1 he indicts various groups of pluralists with rendering Alt impossible. As others have noted, the argument for this indictment includes premises accepted by only some of these pluralists. And while Aristotle presses other arguments against the pluralists both in this chapter and the next, these do not speak to the main charge of rendering Alt impossible. And, since it is unclear why Aristotle thinks pluralism renders Alt impossible, itis difficult to understand how his own account of Alt in GC I.4 is immune to his own objection against pluralism.

In this paper, I argue that Aristotle has a coordinated response to both monism and pluralism. Key to my reading is the claim that Aristotle’s objections to both monism and pluralism rely on one same claim about what is required to explain Sub, a claim that I do not believe has been advanced before: an adequate account of Sub must explain how entities that are capable of altering are generated and destroyed. For instance, in order to explain how a kitten is generated, one must explain how a kitten that can subsequently warm and play is generated. It is not obvious that there should be such a constraint on Sub. One might respond that an account of Sub can be neutral as to whether those things generated can alter (and grow). But this is not Aristotle’s view, or so I argue. His focus is entities that are capable of altering (and growing), and his concern is how such things could be generated and destroyed.

I subsequently argue that monism and pluralism fail the same test of adequacy, but for different reasons. Monism can explain how something alters, but it cannot explain how something that alters could also have been something that was generated (and be something that is destroyed). On the other hand, pluralists can explain how something is generated and destroyed. But they cannot explain how those things that are generated and destroyed could also be things which alter. Both monism and pluralism then are unable to explain how alterable substances are generated and destroyed. Aristotle responds, I argue, in GC I.4 by explaining how an entity might be generated and, at the same time, be a genuine subject of alteration.

Philip-Neri Reese, Dominic of Flanders, Celestial Movers, and the Principles of Being

Despite significant attention paid in recent years to the prooemium to Aquinas's commentary on the Metaphysics, it has nevertheless gone virtually unnoticed that St. Thomas there identifies the principles of being as being with separate substances in the plural, and not just with God. This idea that angels ought to be counted among the principles of ens inquantum ens is not at all easy to square with Aquinas's account of the subject-matter of metaphysics: do angels fall under that subject, or are they its principles? While recent interpreters of Aquinas offer few resources for answering this question, the same is not true when we turn to older commentators. In particular, the purpose of this paper is draw attention to an ingenious solution offered by the 15th century Dominican metaphysician, Dominic of Flanders. Dominic's answer is that, unlike God, angels both fall under being (insofar as they are immaterial beings in the category of substance) and are principles of being (insofar as they are truly causes of categorial being itself).

The paper will proceed in three parts: §1 will consider the problematic text from Aquinas's prooemium to the commentary on the Metaphysics in light of its immediate context; §2 will explain why this text poses a problem for Aquinas's account of the subject-matter of metaphysics; and §3 will outline Dominic of Flanders's resolution of the problem, according to which the angels’ causal role as celestial movers renders them not only cosmological principles of change, but ontological principles of being. As we shall see, were it not for the angels’ movement of the spheres, being qua being would be otherwise than it is because the categories of being would be otherwise than they are.

Joseph E. Steineger, Hylomorphic Composition and the Virtual Distinction

Contemporary metaphysical debates about hylomorphic composition are rooted in traditional debates about the nature and categorization of metaphysical distinctions. In his recent Structure and the Metaphysics of Mind, William Jaworski offers a criticism of David Oderberg’s use of the Thomist virtual distinction as a central principle of explanation in hylomorphic composition. After providing some historical background on the definition of the virtual distinction and its relation to real and conceptual distinctions, I show that there are two subtle equivocations in the way virtual distinctions have been understood. The first occurs when the virtual distinction is defined as a kind of conceptual rather than real distinction. Jaworski infers from this definition that a virtually distinct referent is not real. The Thomist, however, holds that the virtually distinct thing continues to possess many of its potencies; it is “real” in the sense of having being-in-potency rather than having being-simpliciter. A second equivocation occurs in the Thomist’s understanding of “virtual” when characterizing the virtually distinct thing as something mind-dependent (virtual-as-merely-logical) but yet capable of maintaining its own mind-independent powers as a part of the substance to which it belongs (virtual-as-active-potency). I conclude by providing some constructive responses to these equivocations.

David Twetten, Why Aristotle’s Prime Mover Is an Efficient Cause: The Best Argument and Why It Fails

I argue that Aristotle’s Prime Mover is not a final cause only, but is also not an efficient cause. How can that be? I start with the best argument that the Prime Mover is an efficient cause (cf. Berti), based on Metaphysics Lambda 6. But how is it possible to reconcile that argument with the claim that the prime mover moves only as an object of desire in Lambda 7? Alternatively, I sketch a unitary reading of the key texts on Aristotle’s prime mover from Physics, Metaphysics, On the Heavens, and the Parva naturalia. Then I propose a new account of what moves the celestial souls.

Housing Options

Among the most convenient local hotels are the four star Ambassador Hotel and the less expensive three star Ambassador Inn across the street.

See  and respectively.

Housing available at Marquette University

(below is information from January 2018)

Sleeping Room Summary
June 24, 2018 -- 10 single rooms
June 25, 2018 -- 10 single rooms
June 26, 2018  -- 10 single rooms
June 27, 2018 -- 10 single rooms

Nightly Room Rates
Straz Tower
Single Occupancy       $55.25       

Triple Occupancy$89.25
Quad Occupancy       $99.50

Reservation Procedures

Cut-Off Date

Cut-off date: May 24, 2018. Rooms requested after the cut-off date are subject to availability.
Check in time: After 3 p.m.*
Checkout time: Prior to 10 a.m.*
*These times are based upon Central Standard Time.

Reservation Procedures

Method of reservation is Individual/Direct. Individuals are requested to call 414-288-7887 for reservations after January 1st. Individuals should let the reservations assistant know they are associated with the Aristotle and Aristotelian Traditions Conference. 

Guaranteed Reservations

All reservations must be guaranteed with a valid credit card number. MasterCard or Visa are accepted.  Failure to check-in as scheduled without canceling the reservation at least 48 hours prior to the date of arrival will result in the guest being charged one night’s room. Failure to check-out at the posted time on the date of departure will also result in a penalty fee. There are no refunds for early departures.

Additional Policies

Rooms reserved under room blocks are not guaranteed to be located in the same area of the residence hall. It is our policy to try to keep all groups together, but special requests at times prohibit this from happening.

There is a $5 lockout policy to any guest who is locked out of his/her room.  There is a $75 key replacement fee that is billed to the guest for any key that is lost or not returned upon checkout.  Rooms are re-keyed immediately for security reasons; therefore, we cannot issue refunds for guests who send in or return keys after checkout time. 

Each guest is expected to leave his/her guest room in the same condition in which it was found at check-in.  Any damages sustained to the room during the guest’s stay will be billed directly to the guest.  Any damages noticed by a guest should be brought to the immediate attention of the desk staff.

Force Majeure

Neither party shall be considered in default in the performance of its obligations under this Agreement if such performance is prevented or delayed by Force Majeure. "Force Majeure" shall be understood to be any cause which is beyond the reasonable control of the party affected and which is forthwith, by notice from the party affected, brought to the attention of the other party, including but not limited to, severe weather, war, hostilities, revolution, civil commotion, strike, lockout, epidemic, accident, fire, wind or flood or because of any law, order, proclamation, ruling, regulation or ordinance of any government or subdivision of government or because of any act of God.

Weapons Policy
GROUP and its members are not permitted to:
- Carry any weapons on University property except as expressly permitted by applicable state law.
- Openly carry any weapons on University property.
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- Store any weapons in a personally owned vehicle on University property except in the vehicle’s glove compartment or trunk, or encased such that the existence of the weapon is concealed. 

- Encased means completely zipped, snapped, buckled, tied or otherwise fastened, with no part of the weapon exposed.

- Fail to lock a personally owned vehicle on University property that contains any weapon when the GROUP member is not present in the vehicle.

- Possess unloaded ammunition on University property.
- Imply possession of, threaten to use, display, brandish, use, or discharge a weapon on University property for any purpose or reason except lawful self-defense or lawful defense of others.

- Fail to report timely to the University Department of Public Safety the presence  on University property of any person whom the GROUP member has reason to believe is in possession of or carrying a weapon in violation of University policy, unless doing so would subject the GROUP member or others to the threat of physical harm, or take other action in response to the presence of any person whom the GROUP member has reason to believe is in possession of or carrying a weapon in violation of University policy except for reporting the presence of the weapon to the University Department of Public Safety.

GROUP members whose actions violate applicable State law with respect to the possession of weapons on University property may be subject to criminal prosecution.  GROUP members whose actions violate this provision will be asked to leave University property immediately and may be subject to no-trespassing directives in the future.  UNIVERSITY reserves the right to terminate
this Rooms Agreement for one or more violations of this provision.

Guest Identification

Updated information forthcoming.


There is an estimated charge of $7 per night per vehicle for parking in a Marquette University lot.

For information on the “Aquinas and the Arabs International Working Group,” click HERE.

Marquette Hall

Alumni Memorial Union,

Marquette University

Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions :

al-Ghazali July 2016

For information, visit