In the modern period, contemporary researchers of Aristotle’s philosophy have paid greater attention to the concept of prime matter, which is surrounded by a number of challenging discussions. In this paper, the authors have compared the two concepts of matter and poten More
In the modern period, contemporary researchers of Aristotle’s philosophy have paid greater attention to the concept of prime matter, which is surrounded by a number of challenging discussions. In this paper, the authors have compared the two concepts of matter and potency, which are very close to each other, in Aristotle’s philosophy. Researchers have generally ignored the duality and separation of these two concepts from each other, while attending to their differences makes the explanation of the challenging issues in relation to Aristotelian prime matter much easier. One of such distinctions is the hypokeimenon or substratum nature of Aristotelian matter which prevents its confusion with the concept of potency due to its independence. In Aristotle’s writings, the terms hyle and dunamis (matter and potential) have always been used alongside each other, which has made it difficult to distinguish them from each other. However, it must be taken into consideration that this distinction plays a fundamental role in understanding prime matter and the related challenging problems, such as the quality of the combination of matter and form and the identity of new substance. Some philosophers, such as Ibn Sīnā, have paid attention to the various features of matter and differentiated them from each other. Among contemporary philosophers, Murtaḍa Muṭahharī has also posed some discussions in this regard, which are emphasized in this paper. An analysis of such views demonstrates that prime matter cannot be merely the same as absolute potency; rather, it is also a loci for receiving form. Hence, based on Aristotelian principles, the survival of prime matter is necessary.