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A New Aristotle Reader by J. L. Ackrill

A New Aristotle Reader by J. L. Ackrill

Author:J. L. Ackrill [Ackrill, J. L.]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Published: 1987-12-31T22:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER 13

1038a

Let us again return to the subject of our inquiry, which is substance.

As the substrate and the essence and the compound of these are called

substance, so also is the universal. About two of these we have spoken;

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about the essence and about the substrate, of which we have said that

it underlies in two senses, either being a ‘this’—which is the way in

which an animal underlies its attributes—, or as the matter underlies

the complete reality. The universal also is thought by some to be in the

fullest sense a cause, and a principle; therefore let us attack the discussion

of this point also. For it seems impossible that any universal

term should be the name of a substance. For primary substance is that

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kind of substance which is peculiar to an individual, which does not

belong to anything else; but the universal is common, since that is

called universal which naturally belongs to more than one thing. Of

which individual then will this be the substance? Either of all or of

none. But it cannot be the substance of all; and if it is to be the

substance of one, this one will be the others also; for things whose

substance is one and whose essence is one are themselves also one.

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Further, substance means that which is not predicable of a subject,

but the universal is predicable of some subjects always.

But perhaps the universal, while it cannot be substance in the way in

which the essence is so, can be present in this, e.g. animal can be

present in man and horse. Then clearly there is a formula of the

universal. And it makes no difference even if there is not a formula of

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everything that is in the substance; for none the less the universal will

be the substance of something. Man is the substance of the individual

man in whom it is present; therefore the same will happen again, for

a substance, e.g. animal, must be the substance of that in which it is

present as something peculiar to it. And further it is impossible and

absurd that the ‘this’, i.e. the substance, if it consists of parts, should

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not consist of substances nor of what is a ‘this’, but of quality; for that

which is not substance, i.e. the quality, will then be prior to substance

and to the ‘this’. Which is impossible; for neither in formula nor in

time nor in coming to be can the affections be prior to the substance;

for then they would be separable from it. Further, in Socrates there

will be a substance in a substance, so that he will be the substance of

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two things. And in general it follows, if man and such things are

substances, that none of the elements in their formulae is the

substance of anything, nor does it exist apart from the species or in

anything else; I mean, for instance, that no animal exists apart from

the particular animals, nor does any other of the elements present in

formulae exist apart.

If, then, we view the matter from these standpoints, it is plain that

no universal attribute is a substance, and this is plain also from the fact

1039a

that no common predicate indicates a ‘this’, but rather a ‘such’.



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