substance

substance
   Aristotle defined 'a substance' in his Categories as 'what is neither in a subject nor said of a subject', but in his Metaphysics as 'a determinate individual that is capable of existing on its own', that is, independently. Aristotle distinguishes two sorts of substance: primary substances (particular individuals, such as Socrates) and secondary substances (species and genera, such as the species of humanity). Many Christian philosophers have insisted that God is, strictly speaking, the only substance, since he is the only thing capable of existing on his own; everything else depends on him for its existence. But when the Nicene Creed describes the Son as being of one substance with the Father, it is not clear whether the framers of the creed had primary or secondary substances in mind, although they do seem to have had one of Aristotle's definitions in mind. That is, it is not clear whether they are saying that the members of the Trinity somehow compose a single particular individual (God) or whether they all share in a single genus (deity). Even if God is the only substance in a strict sense of 'substance', there may well be other substances in a looser sense; Descartes regarded matter as a single substance; Locke regarded individual material things as separate substances 'standing under' their properties. Locke could say nothing, however, about the substance or 'I-know-not-what' itself underlying all the properties, which problem has led some philosophers, such as Hume, to reject the concept of substance altogether, in favour of a theory that all that exists are just bundles of properties not inhering in anything. Those that believe in both mental and physical substances are faced with the additional problem of explaining how they interact. Whitehead thought that concentration on the concept of substance had led philosophy astray and instead proposed that philosophers should concentrate on the concept of a process; Whitehead's system of thought was termed process philosophy.
   Further reading: Hoffman and Rosenkrantz 1994 and 1997; van Inwagen 1990; Wiggins 2001; Woolhouse 1993

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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  • SUBSTANCE — Une idée reçue particulièrement tenace occupe le devant de la scène philosophique depuis l’époque du positivisme d’Auguste Comte, c’est à dire depuis plus d’un siècle: l’idée selon laquelle la métaphysique serait morte avec Kant, à la fin du… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Substance — • A genus supremum, cannot strictly be defined by an analysis into genus and specific difference; yet a survey of the universe at large will enable us to form without difficulty an accurate idea of substance Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight.… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • substance — Substance. s. f. Terme de Philosophie, Estre qui subsiste par luy mesme, à la difference de l accident qui ne subsiste qu estant adherant à un sujet. Substance spirituelle. substance corporelle. dans le mystere de l Eucharistie la substance du… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Substance P — Structure et représentation tridimensionnelle de la Substance P …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Substance — Sub stance, n. [F., fr. L. substantia, fr. substare to be under or present, to stand firm; sub under + stare to stand. See {Stand}.] 1. That which underlies all outward manifestations; substratum; the permanent subject or cause of phenomena,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • substance — 1 Substance, purport, gist, burden, core, pith can denote the inner significance or central meaning of something written or said. Substance implies the essence of what has been said or written devoid of details and elaborations; the term is used… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • substance — sub·stance n 1: substantive law was a question of substance and not process compare procedure 2: something (as language) essential esp. to establishing a valid right, claim, or charge a t …   Law dictionary

  • substance — ► NOUN 1) a particular kind of matter with uniform properties. 2) the real physical matter of which a person or thing consists. 3) solid basis in reality or fact: the claim has no substance. 4) the quality of being important, valid, or… …   English terms dictionary

  • substance — [n1] entity, element actuality, animal, being, body, bulk, concreteness, core, corpus, fabric, force, hunk, individual, item, mass, material, matter, object, person, phenomenon, reality, something, staple, stuff, texture, thing; concepts… …   New thesaurus

  • substance — [sub′stəns] n. [OFr < L substantia < substare, to be present < sub , under + stare, to STAND] 1. the real or essential part or element of anything; essence, reality, or basic matter 2. a) the physical matter of which a thing consists;… …   English World dictionary

  • Substance — Sub stance, v. t. To furnish or endow with substance; to supply property to; to make rich. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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