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Contemporary Encounters with Ancient Metaphysics$
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Abraham Jacob Greenstine and Ryan J. Johnson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474412094

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474412094.001.0001

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Does It Matter? Material Nature and Vital Heat in Aristotle’s Biology

Does It Matter? Material Nature and Vital Heat in Aristotle’s Biology

Chapter:
(p.158) Chapter 9 Does It Matter? Material Nature and Vital Heat in Aristotle’s Biology
Source:
Contemporary Encounters with Ancient Metaphysics
Author(s):

Adriel M. Trott

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474412094.003.0009

Adriel M. Trott’s “Does It Matter? Material Nature and Vital Heat in Aristotle’s Biology” questions whether the difference between form and material in Aristotle is itself a formal or material distinction. Trott, framing her investigation with a discussion of the feminist critiques of the form/matter binary, argues that form and material, rather than being mutually exclusive, are distributed on a gradient, as contraries. Aristotle’s account of vital heat shows how the two-sex model slides into a one-sex model whose difference is located on a continuum: if woman is defined in terms of distance from man, a fluidity exists between these positions, whereby the difference between them is not a difference of form or kind, but a difference in heat, one of degree. Through this reading, Trott criticizes the myth of a link between femininity of matter (without devaluing the status of either), and shows that matter is rendered always-already meaningful for Aristotle.

Keywords:   Generation, Gender, Matter, Form, One-Sex Model, Heat, Continuum, Contraries

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