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Hattrup Dissertation Unanimously Passed at UST

By Bridget Hardy, University of St. Thomas
May 14th, 2013
University of St. Thomas (stthom.edu)

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 University of St. Thomas faculty asked questions.

The Examining Board membership included:
A copy of the dissertation is available for examination in Sullivan Hall.

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