Aristotle’s Theory of Substance: The Categories and Metaphysics Zeta [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 55 (1):167-168 (2001)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Significant scholarship has been devoted to the problem of the incompatibility of Aristotle’s accounts of substance in the Categories and in the Metaphysics. Substance, in the former treatise, is that category of being distinguished from the other accidental categories by reason of the ontological dependence of accident upon substance: every accident must be present in a substance to be present at all. Primary substances such as “Socrates” are distinguished from secondary substances such as “human being” or “animal” since secondary substances are said of primary ones. Only primary substances are neither said of a subject nor present in a subject, depending upon nothing else for their existence. This assertion of the ontological primacy of the individual seems to be withdrawn by Aristotle, however, in the Metaphysics, in which substance emerges in a discussion of the hupokeimenon—the underlying subject of which everything else is predicated. This subject is to be understood in three senses: as matter, as form, and as the composite of the two. Primary substance, finally, is granted to form alone, the “most perplexing” of the candidates, according to Aristotle, and the one that turns out to refer to the same thing as essence. Since what Aristotle means by essence looks to be a form common to all individuals of a particular species, it is not surprising that commentators identify at worst a contradictory theory regarding substance, and at best a transformation of an immature theory of substance into a mature one.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 77,737

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Substances.S. Marc Cohen - 2009 - In Georgios Anagnostopoulos (ed.), A Companion to Aristotle. Blackwell-Wiley.
Aristotle’s Theory of Substance. [REVIEW]Charlotte Witt - 2002 - Philosophical Review 111 (1):98-101.
The Best Things: Primary Substances in Aristotle's Ontology.Catherine Alice Mckeen - 2001 - Dissertation, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
Um Problema a Respeito de Subst'ncia e Relativo em Aristóteles.Christopher Shields & Paulo Ferreira - 2003 - Cadernos de História E Filosofia da Ciência 13 (2).
Aristotle on Substance and Unity.Hye-Kyung Kim - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 10:79-91.
Substance and the Primary Sense of Being in Aristotle.Angus Brook - 2015 - Review of Metaphysics 68 (3):521-544.


Added to PP

5 (#1,178,705)

6 months
1 (#482,368)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Michael Golluber
Saint John's College

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references