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[1029a] [1] 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 shape ; 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 combination.

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 is.For when 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. [20] By 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 accidentally.

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 perplexing.

Now it is agreed that some sensible things are substances, and so we should begin our inquiry in connection with these.

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