Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-xiv

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Preface

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pp. xv-xvii

This book has the aim of providing an intelligible interpretation of the views expressed by St. Thomas Aquinas in his De Principiis Naturae and in his De Mixtione Elementorum. Together, these two brief works offer a remarkably clear, sophisticated, and in many ways convincing, account of the nature of physical things, in terms of a theory which combines composition...

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Acknowledgments

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p. xviii

For many of the good things in this book, I thank many generous and giving people, colleagues and students and friends. I thank James Cushing and William Shephard, professors of physics at the University of Notre Dame, for teaching me so much about quarks and leptons and the like, and for doing it with enthusiasm, clarity, and precision. I thank Gregory...

Part One. De Principiis Naturae

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Chapter One. Generation and Corruption

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pp. 1-14

In chapter one, Aquinas talks about many things: about what can exist, and what does exist; about what is simply (or period), and what is something or other; about matter and form; about prime matter and subject; about generation and corruption, both substantial and accidental; about form, both substantial and accidental; about privation; about art and nature...

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Chapter Two. Matter, Form and Privation

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pp. 15-33

In chapter two, Aquinas talks about a number of things: about privation as a principle per accidens; about how privation differs from negation; about principles of coming to be and principles of being; about prime matter, both absolutely prime and relatively prime; about the ingenerability and the incorruptibility of matter and form; about the sort of numerical oneness...

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Chapter Three. Agent and End; Principle, Cause and Element

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pp. 34-56

In chapter three, Aquinas considers a number of things: the need of an agent for generation, in addition to matter, form and privation; the need of an end; the difference between a voluntary agent and a natural agent; what it means to intend an end; the four causes, namely material, efficient, formal and final; the difference between a principle and a cause; intrinsic causes...

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Chapter Four. Relations Among the Four Causes

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pp. 57-74

In chapter four, St. Thomas points out many things about the four causes: the same thing can have several causes; the same thing can be the cause of contraries; the same thing can be both cause and effect in relation to a same other thing; the final cause is the cause of causes; matter is prior to form in generation and in time; form is prior to matter in substance...

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Chapter Five. Divisions Within Each of the Four Causes

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pp. 75-89

In chapter five, St. Thomas points out, and makes clear, a number of ways in which each of the four kinds of cause -- efficient, material, formal, final -- can be divided. A cause can be a cause in a prior sense or in a posterior sense; a cause can be remote or proximate, per se or per accidens, simple or composite, actual or potential, universal or singular. His comments...

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Chapter Six. Sameness and Difference in Matter and Form

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pp. 90-10

In chapter six, Aquinas turns his attention to matter and form, the intrinsic causes of physical things which come to be in substantial change, in order to point out, and make clear what it means to say, that 1) what is numerically the same has a matter and a form which are numerically the same, 2) that things which are specifically the same have a matter...

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Part Two. De Mixtione Elementorum

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pp. 101-126

The question being considered in this brief work, as Aquinas indicates in 1., is the question: how are elements in a mixed body?
And, this prompts one to ask: what exactly is this question asking? It is clear that even the beginnings of an answer to the immediately preceding...

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Part Three. Elements in the Composition of Physical Substances

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pp. 127-242

According to St. Thomas Aquinas, all physical substances, including the elements, are composed out of prime matter and substantial form; and all physical substances, excluding the elements, are composed out of elements in addition to being composed out of prime matter and substantial form...

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Part Four. The Elements in Aquinas and the Elements Today

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pp. 243-316

This part, PART FOUR, looks at an assortment of things from different sources, in an attempt to make clearer, as far as this can be done, both what Aquinas thought about the elements and what we today think about them. These two views, i.e., that of Aquinas and that of people today, might well, by appropriate comparisons and contrasts, illuminate one another in helpful...

Index of Names

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pp. 317-318

Index of Subjects

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pp. 319-326