for the primary substrate is considered
to be in the truest sense substance.
Now in one sense
we call the matter
the substrate; in another, the
; and in a third, the combination of the two.
By matter I mean, for instance, bronze; by shape, the arrangement of
the form; and by the combination of the two, the concrete thing: the
statue. Thus if the form is prior to the matter and more truly
existent, by the same argument it will also be prior to the
We have now stated in outline the
nature of substance—that it is not that which is predicated
of a subject, but that of which the other things are predicated. But
we must not merely define it so, for it is not enough. Not only is the
statement itself obscure, but also it makes matter substance; for if
matter is not substance, it is beyond our power to say what else
everything else is removed, clearly nothing but matter remains;
because all the other things are affections, products and potencies of
bodies, and length, breadth and depth are kinds of quantity, and not
substances. For quantity is not a substance; rather the substance is
that to which these affections primarily belong.But when we take away length and
breadth and depth we can see no thing remaining, unless it be the
something bounded by them; so that on this view matter must appear to
be the only substance.
matter I mean that which in itself is neither a particular thing nor a
quantity nor designated by any of the categories which define
Being.For there is
something of which each of these is predicated, whose being is
different from that of each one of the categories; because all other
things are predicated of substance, but this is predicated of matter.
Thus the ultimate substrate is in itself neither a particular thing
nor a quantity nor anything else. Nor indeed is it the negations of
these; for the negations too will only apply to it
If we hold this view, it follows that
matter is substance. But this is impossible; for it is accepted that
separability and individuality belong especially to substance. Hence
it would seem that the form and the combination of form and matter are
more truly substance than matter is.The substance, then, which consists of
both—I mean of matter and form—may be dismissed,
since it is posterior and obvious. Matter too is in a sense evident.
We must consider the third type, for this is the most
Now it is agreed that
some sensible things are substances, and so we should begin our
inquiry in connection with these.