Mixing the Elements
All bodies in the sublunary word are composed of mixtures of all the primary elements – fire, air, earth, and water. Aristotle argues for the primacy of these four elements in the constitution of objects in our word. He further develops an original theory of mixing of elements to explain the formation of uniform matter such as granite, flesh, or oil. His theory of mixing of elements has received much attention in the past decade, resulting in an exciting array of interpretations that have also generated contributions to contemporary philosophy. In what follows I offer an account of Aristotle’s theory of elements and their mixtures, and survey the main alternative readings of his position.