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[1031a] [1] Clearly, then, there is definition of substance alone. If there were definition of the other categories also, it would have to involve an added determinant, as in the case of the qualitative; and of the odd, for this cannot be defined apart from number; nor can "female" apart from "animal."By "involving an added determinant" I mean descriptions which involve a tautology, as in the above examples. Now if this is true, there will be no definition of compound expressions either; e.g., "odd number." We fail to realize this because our terms are not used accurately. If on the other hand there are definitions of these too, either they are defined in a different way, or, as we have said, "definition" and "essence" must be used in more than one sense;thus in one sense there will be no definition of anything, and nothing will have an essence, except substances; and in another those other things will have a definition and essence. It is obvious, then, that the definition is the formula of the essence, and that the essence belongs either only to substances, or especially and primarily and simply.

We must inquire whether the essence is the same as the particular thing, or different. This is useful for our inquiry about substance; because a particular thing is considered to be nothing other than its own substance, and the essence is called the substance of the thing.In accidental predications, indeed, the thing itself would seem to be different from its essence; [20] e.g., "white man" is different from "essence of white man." If it were the same, "essence of man" and "essence of white man" would be the same. For "man" and "white man" are the same, they say, and therefore "essence of white man" is the same as "essence of man."But perhaps it is not necessarily true that the essence of accidental combinations is the same as that of the simple terms; because the extremes of the syllogism are not identical with the middle term in the same way.1 Perhaps it might be thought to follow that the accidental extremes are identical; e.g. "essence of white" and "essence of cultured"; but this is not admitted.2

But in per se expressions, is the thing necessarily the same as its essence, e.g., if there are substances which have no other substances or entities prior to them, such as some hold the Ideas to be?For if the Ideal Good is to be different from the essence of good, and the Ideal Animal and Being from the essence of animal and being,

1 The argument consists of two syllogisms: White=essence of white man. Man=white man. Therefore man=essence of white man. But essence of man=man. Therefore essence of man=essence of white man. The conclusion is faulty because whereas the first identity is assumed to be absolute, the second is accidental.

2 Aristotle seems to mean that both "essence of white man and "essence of cultured man" might be proved by the former syllogism to be identical in the same way with the middle term "man," in which case it would seem that "essence of white" and "essence of cultured" are the same. There is, however, the same fallacy as before.

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