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[1069a] [18]

Our inquiry is concerned with substance; for it is the principles and causes of substances that we are investigating. Indeed if the universe is to be regarded as a whole, [20] substance is its first part; and if it is to be regarded as a succession,1 even so substance is first, then quality, then quantity. Moreover, the latter hardly exist at all in the full sense, but are merely qualifications and affections of Being. Otherwise "not-white" and "not-straight" would also exist; at any rate we say that they too "are," e.g., "it is not white."Further, none of the other categories is separately existent. Even the ancients in effect testify to this, for it was of substance that they sought the principles and elements and causes. Present-day thinkers2 tend to regard universals as substance, because genera are universal, and they hold that these are more truly principles and substances because they approach the question theoretically; but the ancients identified substance with particular things, e.g. fire and earth, and not with body in general.

Now there are three kinds of substance. One is sensible (and may be either eternal3 or perishable; the latter, e.g. plants and animals, is universally recognized); of this we must apprehend the elements, whether they are one or many.Another is immutable , which certain thinkers hold to exist separately; some dividing it into two classes, others combining the Forms and the objects of mathematics into a single class, and others recognizing only the objects of mathematics as of this nature.4 The first two kinds of substance come within the scope of physics, since they involve motion;

1 Cf. Aristot. Met. 12.10.14, Aristot. Met. 14.3.9.

2 Platonists.

3 i.e., the celestial bodies.

4 These three views were held respectively by Plato, Xenocrates and Speusippus. Cf. Aristot. Met. 7.2.3, 4; Aristot. Met. 13.1.4, and see Introduction.

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