Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association:
Lindsay K. Cleveland
“Property” Characterization and the Status of Accidental Unities in Aquinas:
A Response to Brower
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Jeffrey Brower argues that Aquinas’s hylomorphic account of change entails a distinction between “property” possession and “property” characterization. Given that and Brower’s assumption that Aquinas’s fundamental hylomorphic compounds are material substances and accidental unities, it follows that material substances are not characterized by the accidents they possess. In order to avoid that counterintuitive consequence, Brower stipulates a form of derivative property characterization and a numerical sameness without identity relation, which together enable him to affirm that material substances are derivatively characterized by the accidents they possess. I argue that, by affirming a plausible alternative to Brower’s account of Aquinas’s fundamental hylomorphic compounds, we can maintain that accidents characterize material substances in the primary sense without having to affirm the real existence of accidental unities or Brower’s objectionable numerical sameness without identity relation.