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[1028a] [10]

The term "being" has several senses, which we have classified in our discussion1 of the number of senses in which terms are used. It denotes first the " what " of a thing, i.e. the individuality; and then the quality or quantity or any other such category. Now of all these senses which "being" has, the primary sense is clearly the "what," which denotes the substance (because when we describe the quality of a particular thing we say that it is "good or bad," and not "five feet high" or "a man"; but when we describe what it is, we say not that it is "white" or "hot" or "five feet high," but that it is "a man" or "a god"), and all other things are said to "be" because they are either quantities or qualities or affections or some other such thing.

[20] Hence one might raise the question whether the terms "to walk" and "to be well" and "to sit" signify each of these things as "being," or not; and similarly in the case of any other such terms; for not one of them by nature has an independent existence or can be separated from its substance. Rather, if anything it is the thing which walks or sits or is well that is existent.The reason why these things are more truly existent is because their subject is something definite; i.e. the substance and the individual, which is clearly implied in a designation of this kind, since apart from it we cannot speak of "the good" or "sitting." Clearly then it is by reason of the substance that each of the things referred to exists.Hence that which is primarily, not in a qualified sense but absolutely, will be substance.

Now "primary" has several meanings; but nevertheless substance is primary in all senses, both in definition and in knowledge and in time. For none of the other categories can exist separately, but substance alone;and it is primary also in definition, because in the formula of each thing the formula of substance must be inherent; and we assume that we know each particular thing most truly when we know what "man" or "fire" is—

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