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[1043b] [1] because the essence belongs to the form and the actualization.Soul and essence of soul are the same, but man and essence of man are not, unless the soul is also to be called man; and although this is so in one sense, it is not so in another.

It appears, then, upon inquiry into the matter,1 that a syllable is not derived from the phonetic elements plus combination, nor is a house bricks plus combination. And this is true; for the combination or mixture is not derived from the things of which it is a combination or mixture,nor, similarly, is any other of the "differences." E.g., if the threshold is defined by its position, the position is not derived from the threshold, but rather vice versa. Nor, indeed, is man "animal" plus "two-footed"; there must be something which exists besides these, if they are matter; but it is neither an element nor derived from an element, but the substance; and those who offer the definition given above are omitting this and describing the matter.If, then, this something else is the cause of a man's being, and this is his substance, they will not be stating his actual substance.

Now the substance must be either eternal or perishable without ever being in process of perishing, and generated without ever being in process of generation. It has been clearly demonstrated elsewhere2 that no one generates or creates the form; it is the individual thing that is created, and the compound that is generated.But whether the substances of perishable things are separable or not is not yet at all clear3; only it is clear that this is impossible in some cases, [20] i.e. in the case of all things which cannot exist apart from the particular instances; e.g. house or implement.4 Probably, then, neither these things themselves, nor anything else which is not naturally composed, are substances; for their nature is the only substance which one can assume in the case of perishable things.Hence the difficulty which perplexed the followers of Antisthenes5 and others similarly unlearned has a certain application; I mean the difficulty that it is impossible to define what a thing is (for the definition, they say, is a lengthy formula), but it is possible actually to teach others what a thing is like; e.g., we cannot say what silver is, but we can say that it is like tin.Hence there can be definition and formula of one kind of substance, i.e. the composite, whether it is sensible or intelligible; but not of its primary constituents, since the defining formula denotes something predicated of something, and this must be partly of the nature of matter and partly of the nature of form.

It is also obvious that, if numbers are in any sense substances, they are such in this sense, and not, as some6 describe them, aggregates of units. For (a) the definition is a kind of number, since it is divisible, and divisible into indivisible parts (for formulae are not infinite); and number is of this nature.And (b) just as when any element which composes the number is subtracted or added, it is no longer the same number but a different one, however small the subtraction or addition is;

1 Cf. Plat. Theaet. 204aff.

2 Cf. Aristot. Met. 7.8.

3 Cf. Aristot. Met. 8.1.6. n..

4 Cf. Aristot. Met. 7.8.6.

5 Cf. Aristot. Met. 5.29.4.

6 Aristotle is referring to the Pythagoreans and Platonists, but seems as usual to misrepresent their views. His object in this section is to show that the relation of number to substance is only one of analogy. Cf. Aristot. Met. 13.6, 7, and see Introduction.

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