Now online at Synthese is an article developed as part of my postdoctoral work: “World Enough and Form: Why Cosmology Needs Hylomorphism.” It is part of the special issue, “Form, Structure, and Hylomorphism,” guest-edited by Anna Marmodoro and Michele Paolini Paoletti.
You can read a complete online-only version here.
Attending to its recent developments, and taking a long view of the history of the discipline during the twentieth century, it is no longer wise to ask whether modern cosmology has need of philosophy and answer in the negative. Cosmology needs philosophy. More controversially, however, cosmology needs a particular philosophy, the one that defends hylomorphism. Hylomorphism is a general account of changing and changeable beings that appeals to a complementary pair of explanatory principles of change: a determining form (morphe) and determinable matter (hyle). In what follows, we offer a systematic blueprint for the hylomorphic foundation of cosmology. This hylomorphic foundation grounds the possibility of global regularities and structures, the regularity of global regularities, and the existence of the global as such. We obtain these results by arguing that the universe is a whole whose members are substances; that the universe at the global scale exhibits law-governed behaviors; and that the universe is not merely an aggregate of substances but a system, a unity of order.
The original proponent of hylomorphism noted that in order to articulate a philosophical topic well, the matter at hand must be clarified in itself, done so in a way “so as to solve the difficulties” that belong to the topic, and lastly one must “[make] apparent the cause of the perplexity and of the difficulties about it. For thus most beautifully would each thing be shown” (Aristotle 2004; 211a7–12). We adopt this method in proposing an affirmative answer to our question: Does cosmology need hylomorphism?