Aristotle and Plotinus on being and unity by Geoffrey Scott Bowe

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By Geoffrey Scott Bowe

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By making being and unity convertible predicates, he avoids placing them in a hierarchy; by making them dependent upon something prior (substance),he avoids parmenideanism. Because they are predicated of substance, convertibility does not result in al1 things being one as it would in the absence In an interesting passage in H l Aristotle suggests that the integration of matter and forrn is similar to the integration of being and unity. These two integrations, one may note, correspond to the two levels of the Platonic metaphysical hierarchy: Owing to the difficulty about unity some speak about 'participation,'and raise the question what is the cause of participation and what is it to participate .

This will not have any great effect on the outcome of my discussion of being and unity. It may actually indicate that 1 am understanding him correctly. 29 being and unity in the Platonic system. This 1 think will be seen more clearly when we corne to examine the more explicit discussions of being and unity that Aristotle sees as deleterious to the Platonic metaphysical hierarchy (Chapter 2 ) . Participation and Metaphysics Participation is entailed both by the Platonic rnetaphysical hierarchy and by the Xopiapoc that it engenders.

Hence there is a causal relationship, albeit a remote one, between the Unrnoved Mover and the unity and being of the concrete particular. " ' ~ h i s suggests sornething about the nature of substance itself, namely that the 9ormaln side of substance is a source or cause of unity in particular beings. If you think about a sensible particular abstractly, the form or essence is doing the work of unification, and the matter is that which is potentially unified by the forrn. The fact that the potency is what the matter is, just as the actuality is what the substantial form is, and these are a union, does not detract frorn the fact that if you could "remove" the matter (ontologically,not epistemically), you would have an essential unity.

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