Hattrup Dissertation Passes
Joseph Hattrup’s dissertation, "Form and Predicability in Aristotle's Categories and the Middle Books of the Metaphysics," was unanimously passed on April 19. He argued that two famous Aristotelian doctrines on substance are not contradictory in principle. Hattrup will now be referred to as Dr. Joseph Hattrup.
External Reader on the Examining Board, Dr. Edward Macierowski, professor of philosophy at Benedictine College, was impressed with Hattrup.
“Hattrup’s dissertation is not only a recognizable masterwork of a young philosopher, and so a convincing sign that he deserves the doctoral degree, but also the dissertation should be revised and submitted as soon as possible to publication at a major academic press."
Hattrup’s argument focused 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.”
Hattrup explained this in three steps. First, he argued there is a consistent and ordered procedure according to which Aristotle uses the term “substance.” Second, he asserted that Aristotle does not change his mind about the criteria according to which things ought to be called substances. Third, he clarified 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 examiners went through two rounds of questions and members of the UST faculty asked questions.
The Examining Board membership included:
- 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
A copy of the dissertation is available for examination in Sullivan Hall.
Pictured (left to right): Dr. Michael Boler, Dr. Edward Macierowski, Dr. Joseph Hattrup, Dr. R. Edward Houser, Dr. Andrew Hayes, Dr. Mary Catherine Sommers and Dr. Thomas Osborne in Sullivan Hall after Hattrup’s defense.