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[1028b] [1] rather than its quality or quantity or position; because we know each of these points too when we know what the quantity or quality is.Indeed, the question which was raised long ago, is still and always will be, and which always baffles us—"What is Being?"—is in other words "What is substance?" Some say that it is one1; others, more than one; some, finite2; others, infinite.3 And so for us too our chief and primary and practically our only concern is to investigate the nature of "being" in the sense of substance.

Substance is thought to be present most obviously in bodies. Hence we call animals and plants and their parts substances, and also natural bodies, such as fire, water, earth, etc., and all things which are parts of these or composed of these, either of parts or them or of their totality; e.g. the visible universe and its parts, the stars and moon and sun.We must consider whether (a) these are the only substances, or (b) these and some others, or (c) some of these, or (d) some of these and some others, or (e) none of these, but certain others. Some4 hold that the bounds of body—i.e. the surface, line, point and unit—are substances, and in a truer sense than body or the solid.Again, some5 believe that there is nothing of this kind besides sensible things, while others believe in eternal entities more numerous and more real than sensible things. [20] Thus Plato posited the Forms and the objects of mathematics as two kinds of substance, and as a third the substance of sensible bodies;and Speusippus6 assumed still more kinds of substances, starting with "the One," and positing principles for each kind: one for numbers, another for magnitudes, and then another for the soul. In this way he multiplies the kinds of substance. Some7 again hold that the Forms and numbers have the same nature, and that other things—lines and planes—are dependent upon them; and soon back to the substance of the visible universe and sensible things.We must consider, then, with regard to these matters, which of the views expressed is right and which wrong; and what things are substances; and whether there are any substances besides the sensible substances, or not; and how sensible substances exist; and whether there is any separable substance (and if so, why and how) or no substance besides the sensible ones. We must first give a rough sketch of what substance is.

The term "substance" is used, if not in more, at least in four principal cases; for both the essence and the universal and the genus are held to be the substance of the particular, and fourthly the substrate. The substrate is that of which the rest are predicated, while it is not itself predicated of anything else. Hence we must first determine its nature,

1 The Milesians and Eleatics.

2 The Pythagoreans and Empedocles.

3 Anaxagoras and the Atomists.

4 The Pythagoreans.

5 The pre-Socratics.

6 Plato's nephew and successor as the head of the Academy.

7 The followers of Xenocrates, successor to Speusippus.

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