Aristotle's Definition of Substance

Topics: Causality, Aristotle, Metaphysics Pages: 4 (1594 words) Published: April 5, 2013
Julia Kennedy
Ancient Greek Philosophy
Final Paper

Question 7: Aristotle's definitions of Substance from both his 'Categories' and 'Metaphysics, Book VIII'

To begin, a brief definition of both accounts should be described, but later, I will go over in greater specifics about his definition in 'Categories' for a basic elucidation, providing examples throughout. Then, I will compare and contrast the two accounts. First, for Aristotle's definitions of substance, there are two. One of the said definitions is written in 'Categories'. It states that a substance is neither said of something or in something; and, in the highest most fundamental sense are primary and underlie all other things. There is both a primary and secondary substance as he categorized them. The second definition is from 'Metaphysics, Book VIII'. He describes three kinds of substances: sensible, immovable, and such that it is all 'matter'. A sensible substance is changeable, and it can either be eternal or perishable. Substances may also be immovable, whereas they may exist apart or divided into. This suggests that substances exist separately, but cannot mix per se. In regards to matter, it is capable of being both states; or, rather, 'everything changes from that which is 'potentially' to that which is 'actually' (Metaphysics, Book VIII, 1069b, 15). To continue, a primary substance does not admit a more or a less; it does not have anything to do with quantity or quality, and the secondary substance is able to change. For example: and individual man is first an individual, then secondly, a man. If the secondary substance (man) was to change to 'woman', the substance of the 'individual' would still remain unchanged, therefore, an individual exists. But, if the primary substance changes (individual), then the secondary substance would have to change, too, or else, it would not exist. In other words, the 'man-ness' of the individual does not matter, for he is first and foremost,...
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