Francis Cairns Publications

ARCA Classical and Medieval Texts, Papers and Monographs ISSN 0309-5541

Form and Universal in Aristotle

A.C. Lloyd

ARCA 4. ISBN 978-0-905205-05-2. Paper, vi+89. Publ. 1981. (repr. 2006)

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of Aristotle for a number of intellectual disciplines from Antiquity into the Middle Ages and beyond. However, Aristotle's philosophical ideas - both in themselves and as they were re-worked by later commentators - remain a subject of lively debate among contemporary philosophers and scholars.

Form and Universal in Aristotle is a contribution to this controversy, offering the first full-length case against a conventional picture which presents Aristotle as holding an in re theory of universals. Chapters 1-3 argue that forms as such are not universals but particular and identical with particular things. Chapter 4 explains how Alexander of Aphrodisias filled some gaps in this theory and was followed by the Neoplatonic commentators. Excursuses at various points in the book suggest a bearing of this approach on other philosophical difficulties in Aristotle, such as the nature of thought, the extent of God's thought, and the functions of matter.


I: An Alternative to the Conventional Picture

II: The Direct Evidence

Excursus on thought: the concept of 'thinking' X
Implications for God's thinking
A problem about the intellect in habitu
Return to the main thesis

III: The Indirect Evidence

Excursus on matter
How a substance is a particular form
The status of accidental forms
A philosophical assessment

IV: Part I.

Alexander of Aphrodisia
Uniform account of universals
Two formulas
The problem of abstraction
The extent of the prime mover's thinking
Objections to the genus as matter

Part II. The Neoplatonic Commentators

Three types of universal
Accidental forms and the principle of individuation

Appendix: Illustrative Texts

Universals and definitions
Universals post rem
A Neoplatonic criticism

Bibliography; Index of Passages; General Index


Philosophical Books 23 (1982) 151-2 (Julia Annan). "This is an excellent book, from which anyone interested in Aristotle or in problems of universals will learn much. Long gestation has (greatly to Lloyd's credit) refined rather than inflated the book, which is short and clear in outline, and, unlike most treatments of Aristotle on form, enjoyable to read."

Allgemeine Zeitschrift für Philosophie 14 (1989) 83-104, review article by Klaus Brinkmann, 'Neue Literatur zur Metaphysik des Aristoteles' (on Lloyd, pp.86-88)

Review of Metaphysics 35 (1981) (Joseph Owens) "Author and press are to be congratulated on an excellent piece of work"

Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 68 (1986) 200-202 (Walter Leszl)

Classical Review 32 (1982) 44-8 (Robert Heinaman)

Greece and Rome 29 (1982) 100