Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 S - Substance


Substance: In Aristotle and ordinary language: What something is made of, as opposed to form, i.e. any given shape(s) of the substance.

In the above terms, and with Aristotle, we may distinguish between the substance of a statue, such as bronze or stone, and the form of a statue, such as its being shaped to look like Apollo or Socrates.

Note that while the distinction makes intuitive sense - as in "bread is made of flour, milk, water and yeast, shaped into a loaf and baked in an oven" - it is difficult to make precise in terms of logic or physics.

One fundamental difference tween substances and forms that has been proposed is that the parts of substances - such as a bit of bronze, a piece of a loaf of bread - has the same defining properties as what is part of, while this holds not for things that are forms.


See also: Ontology


Aristotle, Ockham, Leibniz, Simon


 Original: Aug 25, 2004                                                Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top