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New Date: Defense Argues Aristotle

Photo: AristotleJoseph Hattrup argues that two famous Aristotelian doctrines on substance are not contradictory in principle. He will defend his dissertation, "Form and Predicability in Aristotle's Categories and the Middle Books of the Metaphysics," at 3:30 p.m. on April 19 in the Brezik Room in Sullivan Hall. The Center for Thomistic Studies faculty will participate on the Examining Board.

Hattrup said the argument of his dissertation focuses on how Aristotle develops two distinct doctrines of the notion of ‘substance’, a notion he generally places within the context of various ‘categories’ of being, in his two works the “Categories” and the “Metaphysics.”

“A widely received view about these works is that they contain doctrines of substance that are contradictory in principle and which therefore show significant changes in Aristotle’s thought,” he said. “I am arguing that these two doctrines of substance, though different, are compatible with each other and not contradictory in principle.”

Photo: Aristotle School at AthensHattrup explains this in three steps. First, he argues there is a consistent and ordered procedure according to which Aristotle uses the term “substance.” Second, he asserts that Aristotle does not change his mind about the criteria according to which things ought to be called substances. Third, he tries to clarify the properties of the first causes of substances as Aristotle conceives them.

“What I hope the dissertation will contribute to the scholarly community is support for current efforts at understanding the unity and consistency of Aristotle’s thought and principles, especially as regards logic and metaphysics,” Hattrup said.

The defense is public and the University community is welcome to attend. RSVP to the Center for Thomistic Studies at 713-525-3591 by noon on March 8. The defense will last about two hours.

The Examining Board membership includes:

     • Chair: Dr. Andrew Hayes, Assistant Professor, Department 
        of Theology
     • Director: Dr. R. Edward Houser, Professor and Bishop
        Wendelin J. Nold Chair in Graduate Philosophy
     • Reader: Dr. Michael Boler, Visiting Professor, Modern and
        Classical Languages
     • Reader: Dr. Thomas Osborne, Associate Professor, Center
        for Thomistic Studies

     • Reader: Dr. Mary Catherine Sommers, Professor, Center
        for Thomistic Studies
     • External Reader: Dr. Edward Macierowski, Professor of
        Philosophy, Benedictine College

When the examiners have concluded two rounds of questions, members of the UST faculty will have the opportunity to ask questions, at the discretion of the chair. Students may ask questions of the candidate after the defense. A copy of the dissertation is available for examination in Sullivan Hall.

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