What Killed Substantial Form?
(and can it be revived?)

This is a draft of a presentation given at the Anselm Institute Metaphysics Colloquium on June 21, 2007.


Substantial form died at the beginning of the scientific revolution when a new method made it unnecessary and a new view of the senses revealed by this new method made it unknowable. Its death was caused by a re-definition of the very nature of science. A clear look at the type of mechanism implied by this new definition of science is provided by using John Conway’s cellular automata game of Life as a model for mechanism. This model not only shows the power of this mechanism to explain the origin of the natural unities that seemed to require substantial forms, but also reveals fundamental limitations of mechanism and reveals a new type of form that mechanism cannot explain.

Draft of paper

Powerpoint (animations may not display properly over the internet)
Zipped file of powerpoint and animations to download to your computer.