The Form-Matter ground-motive arose within ancient Greek thought and presupposes that all can, and should, be explained in terms of form and matter. Dooyeweerd traced its origin amalgamation of the early Greek nature religions which deified a formless, cyclical stream of life and blind fate, Ananke, with the culture religion of form, measure and harmony.
The Form-Matter ground-motive itself emerged as Greek thinking became more organised at the time Plato and Aristotle so that, for example, the being of a thing like a computer might be explained as matter (silicon, copper, etc.) in the form of a computer.
Form-Matter became a dualism, which elevated form (eternal, spiritual, reliable, pure) over matter (temporal, material, decaying, changing, impure). Form was seen as Good and matter, Evil (or, for those who enjoyed carousing, the other way round!), and the remedy was to rid one's life of as much matter as possible. Philosophers, as experts in Form should rule the State. We still feel its influence today in the mind-body dualism, in the assumed superiority of working with the mind over working with the hands, and also in the assumption of the autonomy of theoretical thought.
Compiled by Andrew Basden. You may use this material subject to conditions.
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Created: 3 May 2007. Last updated: 1 November 2010 links back to gm.html, and removed redundant para.