Glenn Adamson on “Material Intelligence” and Why It Matters
The first attempts to create language around matter—at least in the tradition of European philosophy—began with an observation of the materials that make up trees. With no precedent to describe matter in general, the fourth century B.C. Greek philosopher Aristotle adapted the ancient Greek word for “wood” to develop the concept of “hyle,” or that which receives form or definiteness. The notion of hyle proposes the idea of a universal basic substance from which the entire physical world is made and would come to align with modern scientific ideas about matter and atomic structures.