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Substance theory, or substance–attribute theory, is an
ontological In metaphysics, ontology is the philosophical study of being, as well as related concepts such as existence, becoming, and reality. Ontology addresses questions like how entities are grouped into categories and which of these entities exi ...
theory positing that objects are constituted each by a ''substance'' and
properties Property is the ownership of land, resources, improvements or other tangible objects, or intellectual property. Property may also refer to: Mathematics * Property (mathematics) Philosophy and science * Property (philosophy), in philosophy a ...
borne by the substance but distinct from it. In this role, a substance can be referred to as a ''substratum'' or a ''
thing-in-itself In Kantian philosophy, the thing-in-itself (german: Ding an sich) is the status of objects as they are, independent of representation and observation. The concept of the thing-in-itself was introduced by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, an ...
''. ''Substances'' are
particulars In metaphysics, particulars or individuals are usually contrasted with universals. Universals concern features that can be exemplified by various different particulars. Particulars are often seen as concrete, spatiotemporal entities as opposed to ...
that are ontologically independent: they are able to exist all by themselves. Another defining feature often attributed to substances is their ability to ''undergo changes''. Changes involve something existing ''before'', ''during'' and ''after'' the change. They can be described in terms of a persisting substance gaining or losing properties. ''Attributes'' or ''properties'', on the other hand, are entities that can be exemplified by substances. Properties characterize their bearers, they express what their bearer is like. ''Substance'' is a key concept in
ontology In metaphysics, ontology is the philosophical study of being, as well as related concepts such as existence, becoming, and reality. Ontology addresses questions like how entities are grouped into categories and which of these entities ...
and
metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the fundamental nature of reality, the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity, and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of conscio ...
, which may be classified into
monist Monism attributes oneness or singleness (Greek: μόνος) to a concept e.g., existence. Various kinds of monism can be distinguished: * Priority monism states that all existing things go back to a source that is distinct from them; e.g., i ...
, dualist, or pluralist varieties according to how many substances or individuals are said to populate, furnish, or exist in the world. According to monistic views, there is only one substance.
Stoicism Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BCE. It is a philosophy of personal virtue ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world, asserting th ...
and
Spinoza Baruch (de) Spinoza (born Bento de Espinosa; later as an author and a correspondent ''Benedictus de Spinoza'', anglicized to ''Benedict de Spinoza''; 24 November 1632 – 21 February 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese-Jewish origin, ...
, for example, hold monistic views, that
pneuma ''Pneuma'' () is an ancient Greek word for "breath", and in a religious context for "spirit" or "soul". It has various technical meanings for medical writers and philosophers of classical antiquity, particularly in regard to physiology, and is a ...
or
God In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typicall ...
, respectively, is the one substance in the world. These modes of thinking are sometimes associated with the idea of
immanence The doctrine or theory of immanence holds that the divine encompasses or is manifested in the material world. It is held by some philosophical and metaphysical theories of divine presence. Immanence is usually applied in monotheistic, panthe ...
. Dualism sees the world as being composed of two fundamental substances (for example, the Cartesian substance dualism of mind and matter). Pluralist philosophies include
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was a Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thought and the Academy, the first institution ...
's
Theory of Forms The theory of Forms or theory of Ideas is a philosophical theory, fuzzy concept, or world-view, attributed to Plato, that the physical world is not as real or true as timeless, absolute, unchangeable ideas. According to this theory, ideas in t ...
and
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatetic school of ...
's
hylomorphic Hylomorphism (also hylemorphism) is a philosophical theory developed by Aristotle, which conceives every physical entity or being (''ousia'') as a compound of matter (potency) and immaterial form (act), with the generic form as immanently real w ...
categories.

# Ancient Greek philosophy

## Aristotle

Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatetic school of ...
used the term "substance" ( el, οὐσία ''
ousia ''Ousia'' (; grc, οὐσία) is a philosophical and theological term, originally used in ancient Greek philosophy, then later in Christian theology. It was used by various ancient Greek philosophers, like Plato and Aristotle, as a primary ...
'') in a secondary sense for
genera Genus ( plural genera ) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms as well as viruses. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenc ...
and species understood as hylomorphic forms. Primarily, however, he used it with regard to his
category Category, plural categories, may refer to: Philosophy and general uses * Categorization, categories in cognitive science, information science and generally * Category of being * ''Categories'' (Aristotle) * Category (Kant) * Categories (Peirce ...
of substance, the specimen ("this person" or "this horse") or
individual An individual is that which exists as a distinct entity. Individuality (or self-hood) is the state or quality of being an individual; particularly (in the case of humans) of being a person unique from other people and possessing one's own nee ...
, ''qua'' individual, who survives accidental change and in whom the essential properties inhere that define those
universals In metaphysics, a universal is what particular things have in common, namely characteristics or qualities. In other words, universals are repeatable or recurrent entities that can be instantiated or exemplified by many particular things. For exa ...
. In chapter 6 of book I the ''
Physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its fundamental constituents, its motion and behavior through space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relat ...
'' Aristotle argues that any change must be analysed in reference to the property of an invariant subject: as it was before the change and thereafter. Thus, in his hylomorphic account of change, ''matter'' serves as a relative substratum of transformation, i.e., of changing (substantial) form. In the ''Categories'', properties are predicated only of substance, but in chapter 7 of book I of the ''Physics'', Aristotle discusses substances coming to be and passing away in the "unqualified sense" wherein primary substances (πρῶται οὐσίαι; ''Categories'' 2a35) are generated from (or perish into) a material substratum by having gained (or lost) the essential property that formally defines substances of that kind (in the secondary sense). Examples of such a substantial change include not only conception and dying, but also metabolism, e.g., the bread a man eats becomes the man. On the other hand, in accidental change, because the essential property remains unchanged, by identifying the substance with its formal essence, substance may thereby serve as the relative subject matter or property-bearer of change in a qualified sense (i.e., barring matters of life or death). An example of this sort of accidental change is a change of color or size: a tomato becomes red, or a juvenile horse grows. Aristotle thinks that in addition to primary substances (which are particulars), there are secondary substances (δεύτεραι οὐσίαι), which are universals (''Categories'' 2a11–a18). Neither the "bare particulars" nor "property bundles" of modern theory have their antecedent in Aristotle, according to whom all matter exists in some form. There is no ''prime matter'' or pure elements, there is always a mixture: a ratio weighing the four potential combinations of primary and secondary properties and analysed into discrete one-step and two-step abstract transmutations between the elements. However, according to Aristotle's theology, a form of invariant form exists without matter, beyond the
cosmos The cosmos (, ) is another name for the Universe. Using the word ''cosmos'' implies viewing the universe as a complex and orderly system or entity. The cosmos, and understandings of the reasons for its existence and significance, are studied in ...
, powerless and oblivious, in the eternal substance of the
unmoved movers The unmoved mover ( grc, ὃ οὐ κινούμενον κινεῖ, ho ou kinoúmenon kineî, that which moves without being moved) or prime mover ( la, primum movens) is a concept advanced by Aristotle as a primary cause (or first uncaused cau ...
.

## Pyrrhonism

Early
Pyrrhonism Pyrrhonism is a school of philosophical skepticism founded by Pyrrho in the fourth century BCE. It is best known through the surviving works of Sextus Empiricus, writing in the late second century or early third century CE. History Pyrrho of ...
rejected the idea that substances exist.
Pyrrho Pyrrho of Elis (; grc, Πύρρων ὁ Ἠλεῖος, Pyrrhо̄n ho Ēleios; ), born in Elis, Greece, was a Greek philosopher of Classical antiquity, credited as being the first Greek skeptic philosopher and founder of Pyrrhonism. Life ...
put this as:
"Whoever wants to live well (
eudaimonia Eudaimonia ( Greek: εὐδαιμονία ; sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia, ) is a Greek word literally translating to the state or condition of 'good spirit', and which is commonly translated as ' happiness' or ' welfare'. In ...
) must consider these three questions: First, how are ''pragmata'' (ethical matters, affairs, topics) by nature? Secondly, what attitude should we adopt towards them? Thirdly, what will be the outcome for those who have this attitude?" Pyrrho's answer is that "As for ''pragmata'' they are all
adiaphora Adiaphoron (; plural: adiaphora; from the Greek (pl. ), meaning "not different or differentiable") is the negation of ''diaphora'', "difference". In Cynicism, adiaphora represents indifference to the s of life. In Pyrrhonism, it indicates thin ...
(undifferentiated by a logical differentia), ''astathmēta'' (unstable, unbalanced, not measurable), and ''anepikrita'' (unjudged, unfixed, undecidable). Therefore, neither our sense-perceptions nor our ''doxai'' (views, theories, beliefs) tell us the truth or lie; so we certainly should not rely on them. Rather, we should be ''adoxastoi'' (without views), ''aklineis'' (uninclined toward this side or that), and ''akradantoi'' (unwavering in our refusal to choose), saying about every single one that it no more is than it is not or it both is and is not or it neither is nor is not.

## Stoicism

The
Stoics Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BCE. It is a philosophy of personal virtue ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world, asserting tha ...
rejected the idea that
incorporeal Incorporeality is "the state or quality of being incorporeal or bodiless; immateriality; incorporealism." Incorporeal (Greek: ἀσώματος) means "Not composed of matter; having no material existence." Incorporeality is a quality of souls, ...
beings inhere in matter, as taught by
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was a Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thought and the Academy, the first institution ...
. They believed that all being is
corporeal Corporeal may refer to: *Matter (corporeal, or actual, physical substance or matter), generally considered to be a substance (often a particle) that has rest mass and (usually) also volume *Body Body may refer to: In science * Physical body, ...
infused with a creative fire called
pneuma ''Pneuma'' () is an ancient Greek word for "breath", and in a religious context for "spirit" or "soul". It has various technical meanings for medical writers and philosophers of classical antiquity, particularly in regard to physiology, and is a ...
. Thus they developed a scheme of categories different from
Aristotle's Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatetic school of phil ...
based on the ideas of
Anaxagoras Anaxagoras (; grc-gre, Ἀναξαγόρας, ''Anaxagóras'', "lord of the assembly";  500 –  428 BC) was a Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. Born in Clazomenae at a time when Asia Minor was under the control of the Persian Empire, ...
and Timaeus. The fundamental basis of Stoicism in this context was a universally consistent
ethical Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior".''Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy'' The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns ...
and moral
code In communications and information processing, code is a system of rules to convert information—such as a letter, word, sound, image, or gesture—into another form, sometimes shortened or secret, for communication through a communica ...
that should be maintained at all time, the physical belief of beings as matter is an important philosophical
footnote A note is a string of text placed at the bottom of a page in a book or document or at the end of a chapter, volume, or the whole text. The note can provide an author's comments on the main text or citations of a reference work in support of the ...
, as it marked the start of thinking as beings as inherently linked to
reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only imaginary. The term is also used to refer to the ontological status of things, indicating their existence. In physical terms, re ...
, instead of to some abstract heaven.

## Neoplatonism

Neoplatonists Neoplatonism is a strand of Platonic philosophy that emerged in the 3rd century AD against the background of Hellenistic philosophy and religion. The term does not encapsulate a set of ideas as much as a chain of thinkers. But there are some i ...
argue that beneath the surface phenomena that present themselves to our senses are three higher spiritual principles or hypostases, each one more sublime than the preceding. For
Plotinus Plotinus (; grc-gre, Πλωτῖνος, ''Plōtînos'';  – 270 CE) was a philosopher in the Hellenistic tradition, born and raised in Roman Egypt. Plotinus is regarded by modern scholarship as the founder of Neoplatonism. His teacher w ...
, these are the soul or world-soul, being/intellect or divine mind (''
nous ''Nous'', or Greek νοῦς (, ), sometimes equated to intellect or intelligence, is a concept from classical philosophy for the faculty of the human mind necessary for understanding what is true or real. Alternative English terms used i ...
''), and "the one".''Neoplatonism (Ancient Philosophies)'' by Pauliina Remes (2008), University of California Press , pages 48–52.

# Religious philosophy

## Christianity

The Christian writers of antiquity adhered to the Aristotelian conception of substance. Their peculiarity was the use of this idea for the discernment of theological nuances.
Clement of Alexandria Titus Flavius Clemens, also known as Clement of Alexandria ( grc , Κλήμης ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς; – ), was a Christian theologian and philosopher who taught at the Catechetical School of Alexandria. Among his pupils were Origen a ...
considered both material and spiritual substances: blood and milk; mind and soul, respectively.
Origen Origen of Alexandria, ''Ōrigénēs''; Origen's Greek name ''Ōrigénēs'' () probably means "child of Horus" (from , "Horus", and , "born"). ( 185 – 253), also known as Origen Adamantius, was an early Christian scholar, ascetic, and the ...
may be the first theologian expressing Christ's similarity with the Father as
consubstantiality Consubstantiality, a term derived from la, consubstantialitas, denotes identity of substance or essence in spite of difference in aspect. It appears most commonly in its adjectival form, "consubstantial", from Latin ''consubstantialis'', an ...
.
Tertullian Tertullian (; la, Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus; 155 AD – 220 AD) was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He was the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of ...
professed the same view in the West. The ecclesiastics of the Cappadocian group (
Basil of Caesarea Basil of Caesarea, also called Saint Basil the Great ( grc, Ἅγιος Βασίλειος ὁ Μέγας, ''Hágios Basíleios ho Mégas''; cop, Ⲡⲓⲁⲅⲓⲟⲥ Ⲃⲁⲥⲓⲗⲓⲟⲥ; 330 – January 1 or 2, 379), was a bishop of Ca ...
,
Gregory of Nyssa Gregory of Nyssa, also known as Gregory Nyssen ( grc-gre, Γρηγόριος Νύσσης; c. 335 – c. 395), was Bishop of Nyssa in Cappadocia from 372 to 376 and from 378 until his death in 395. He is venerated as a saint in Catholicis ...
) taught that the
Trinity The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (, from 'threefold') is the central dogma concerning the nature of God in most Christian churches, which defines one God existing in three coequal, coeternal, consubstantial divine persons: God t ...
had a single substance in three hypostases individualized by the relations among them. In later ages, the meaning of "substance" became more important because of the dogma of the
Eucharist The Eucharist (; from Greek , , ), also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, is a Christian rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. According to the New Testament, the rite was institu ...
. Hildebert of Lavardin, archbishop of Tours, introduced the term ''
transubstantiation Transubstantiation (Latin: ''transubstantiatio''; Greek: μετουσίωσις '' metousiosis'') is, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, "the change of the whole substance of bread into the substance of the Body of Christ and of ...
'' about 1080; its use spread after the Fourth Council of the Lateran in 1215. According to
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas, OP (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican friar and priest who was an influential philosopher, theologian and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism; he is known ...
, beings may possess substance in three different modes. Together with other Medieval philosophers, he interpreted God's epithet "
El Shaddai El Shaddai ( ''ʾĒl Šadday''; ) or just Shaddai is one of the names of the God of Israel. ''El Shaddai'' is conventionally translated into English as ''God Almighty'' (''Deus Omnipotens'' in Latin, الله عز وجل Allāh 'azzawajal in Ara ...
" ( Genesis 17:1) as self-sufficient and concluded that God's essence was identical with existence. Aquinas also deemed the substance of spiritual creatures identical with their essence (or form); therefore he considered each angel to belong to its own distinct species. In Aquinas' view, composite substances consist of form and matter. Human substantial form, i.e. soul, receives its individuality from body.

## Buddhism

Buddhism rejects the concept of substance. Complex structures are comprehended as an aggregate of components without any essence. Just as the junction of parts is called cart, so the collections of elements are called things. All formations are unstable (''aniccā'') and lacking any constant core or “self” (''anattā''). Physical objects have no metaphysical substrate. Arising entities hang on previous ones conditionally: in the notable teaching on interdependent origination, effects arise not as caused by agents but conditioned by former situations. Our senses, perception, feelings, wishes and consciousness are flowing, the view ''satkāya-dṛṣṭi'' of their permanent carrier is rejected as fallacious. The school of
Madhyamaka Mādhyamaka ("middle way" or "centrism"; ; Tibetan: དབུ་མ་པ ; ''dbu ma pa''), otherwise known as Śūnyavāda ("the emptiness doctrine") and Niḥsvabhāvavāda ("the no ''svabhāva'' doctrine"), refers to a tradition of Buddhi ...
, namely Nāgārjuna, introduced the idea of the ontological void (''śūnyatā''). The Buddhist metaphysics
Abhidharma The Abhidharma are ancient (third century BCE and later) Buddhist texts which contain detailed scholastic presentations of doctrinal material appearing in the Buddhist ''sutras''. It also refers to the scholastic method itself as well as the f ...
presumes particular forces which determine the origin, persistence, aging and decay of everything in the world.
Vasubandhu Vasubandhu (; Tibetan: དབྱིག་གཉེན་ ; fl. 4th to 5th century CE) was an influential Buddhist monk and scholar from ''Puruṣapura'' in ancient India, modern day Peshawar, Pakistan. He was a philosopher who wrote commentar ...
added a special force making a human, called "''aprāpti''" or "''pṛthagjanatvam''". Because of the absence of a substantial soul, the belief in personal immortality loses foundation. Instead of deceased beings, new ones emerge whose fate is destined by the karmic law. The
Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, most commonly referred to as the Buddha, was a wandering ascetic and religious teacher who lived in South Asia during the 6th or 5th century BCE and founded Buddhism. According to Buddhist tradition, he was born in ...
admitted the empirical identity of persons testified by their birth, name, and age. He approved the authorship of deeds and responsibility of performers. The disciplinary practice in the
Sangha Sangha is a Sanskrit word used in many Indian languages, including Pali meaning "association", "assembly", "company" or "community"; Sangha is often used as a surname across these languages. It was historically used in a political context t ...
including reproaches, confession and expiation of transgressions, requires continuing personalities as its justification.

# Early modern philosophy

René Descartes René Descartes ( or ; ; Latinized: Renatus Cartesius; 31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) was a French philosopher, scientist, and mathematician, widely considered a seminal figure in the emergence of modern philosophy and science. Mathe ...
means by a substance an entity which exists in such a way that it needs no other entity in order to exist. Therefore, only God is a substance in this strict sense. However, he extends the term to created things, which need only the concurrence of God to exist. He maintained that two of these are mind and body, each being distinct from the other in their attributes and therefore in their essence, and neither needing the other in order to exist. This is Descartes' substance dualism.
Baruch Spinoza Baruch (de) Spinoza (born Bento de Espinosa; later as an author and a correspondent ''Benedictus de Spinoza'', anglicized to ''Benedict de Spinoza''; 24 November 1632 – 21 February 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese-Jewish origin, ...
denied Descartes' "real distinction" between mind and matter. Substance, according to Spinoza, is one and indivisible, but has multiple "attributes". He regards an attribute, though, as "what we conceive as constituting the ingleessence of substance". The single essence of one substance can be conceived of as material and also, consistently, as mental. What is ordinarily called the natural world, together with all the individuals in it, is
immanent The doctrine or theory of immanence holds that the divine encompasses or is manifested in the material world. It is held by some philosophical and metaphysical theories of divine presence. Immanence is usually applied in monotheistic, pantheis ...
in God: hence his famous phrase ''deus sive natura'' (" God or Nature").
John Locke John Locke (; 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the "father of liberalism". Considered one of ...
views substance through a corpuscularian lens where it exhibits two types of qualities which both stem from a source. He believes that humans are born ''
tabula rasa ''Tabula rasa'' (; "blank slate") is the theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content, and therefore all knowledge comes from experience or perception. Epistemological proponents of ''tabula rasa'' disagree with the do ...
'' or “blank slate” – without innate knowledge. In ''An Essay Concerning Human Understanding'' Locke writes that “first essence may be taken for the very being of anything, whereby it is, what it is.” If humans are born without any knowledge, the way to receive knowledge is through perception of a certain object. But, according to Locke, an object exists in its primary qualities, no matter whether the human perceives it or not; it just exists. For example, an apple has qualities or properties that determine its existence apart from human perception of it, such as its mass or texture. The apple itself is also “pure substance in which is supposed to provide some sort of ‘unknown support’ to the observable qualities of things” that the human mind perceives. The foundational or support qualities are called primary essences which “in the case of physical substances, are the underlying physical causes of the object's observable qualities”. But then what is an object except “the owner or support of other properties”? Locke rejects Aristotle's category of the forms, and develops mixed ideas about what substance or “first essence” means. Locke's solution to confusion about first essence is to argue that objects simply are what they are – made up of microscopic particles existing because they exist. According to Locke, the mind cannot completely grasp the idea of a substance as it “always falls beyond knowledge”. There is a gap between what first essence truly means and the mind's perception of it that Locke believes the mind cannot bridge, objects in their primary qualities must exist apart from human perception. The molecular combination of atoms in first essence then forms the solid base that humans can perceive and add qualities to describe - the only way humans can possibly begin to perceive an object. The way to perceive the qualities of an apple is from the combination of the primary qualities to form the secondary qualities. These qualities are then used to group the substances into different categories that “depend on the properties umanshappen to be able to perceive”. The taste of an apple or the feeling of its smoothness are not traits inherent to the fruit but are the power of the primary qualities to produce an idea about that object in the mind. The reason that humans can't sense the actual primary qualities is the mental distance from the object; thus, Locke argues, objects remain
nominal Nominal may refer to: Linguistics and grammar * Nominal (linguistics), one of the parts of speech * Nominal, the adjectival form of "noun", as in "nominal agreement" (= "noun agreement") * Nominal sentence, a sentence without a finite verb * No ...
for humans. Therefore, the argument then returns to how “a philosopher has no other idea of those substances than what is framed by a collection of those simple ideas which are found in them.” The mind's conception of substances “ scomplex rather than simple” and “has no (supposedly innate) clear and distinct idea of matter that can be revealed through intellectual abstraction away from sensory qualities”. The last quality of substance is the way the perceived qualities seem to begin to change – such as a candle melting; this quality is called the tertiary quality. Tertiary qualities “of a body are those powers in it that, by virtue of its primary qualities, give it the power to produce observable changes in the primary qualities of other bodies”; “the power of the sun to melt wax is a tertiary quality of the sun”. They are “mere powers; qualities such as flexibility, ductility; and the power of sun to melt wax”. This goes along with “passive power: the capacity a thing has for being changed by another thing”. In any object, at the core are the primary qualities (unknowable by the human mind), the secondary quality (how primary qualities are perceived), and tertiary qualities (the power of the combined qualities to make a change to the object itself or to other objects).
Robert Boyle Robert Boyle (; 25 January 1627 – 31 December 1691) was an Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, alchemist and inventor. Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of ...
's corpuscularian hypothesis states that "all material bodies are composites of ultimately small particles of matter" that "have the same material qualities as the larger composite bodies do".Sheridan, P. (2010). Locke: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: Continuum. pp. 34, 38. Using this basis, Locke defines his first group, primary qualities, as "the ones that a body doesn't lose, however much it alters." The materials retain their primary qualities even if they are broken down because of the unchanging nature of their atomic particles. If someone is curious about an object and they say it is solid and extended, these two descriptors are primary qualities.Stumpf, S. E. (1999). ''Socrates to Sartre: a history of philosophy''. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill. p. 260. The second group consists of secondary qualities which are "really nothing but the powers to produce various sensations in us by their primary qualities." Locke argues that the impressions our senses perceive from the objects (i.e. taste, sounds, colors, etc.) are not natural properties of the object itself, but things they induce in us by means of the "size, shape, texture, and motion of their imperceptible parts." The bodies send insensible particles to our senses which let us perceive the object through different faculties; what we perceive is based on the object's composition. With these qualities, people can achieve the object through bringing "co-existing powers and sensible qualities to a common ground for explanation". Locke supposes that one wants to know what "binds these qualities" into an object, and argues that a "
substratum In linguistics, a stratum (Latin for "layer") or strate is a language that influences or is influenced by another through contact. A substratum or substrate is a language that has lower power or prestige than another, while a superstratum or su ...
" or "substance" has this effect, defining "substance" as follows: This substratum is a construct of the mind in an attempt to bind all the qualities seen together; it is only "a supposition of an unknown support of qualities that are able to cause simple ideas in us." Without making a substratum, people would be at a loss as to how different qualities relate. Locke does, however, mention that this substratum is an unknown, relating it to the story of the world on the turtle's back and how the believers eventually had to concede that the turtle just rested on "something he knew not what". This is how the mind perceives all things and from which it can make ideas about them; it is entirely relative, but it does provide a "regularity and consistency to our ideas". Substance, overall, has two sets of qualities — those that define it, and those related to how we perceive it. These qualities rush to our minds, which must organize them. As a result, our mind creates a substratum (or ''substance'') for these objects, into which it groups related qualities.

# Criticism of soul as substance

Kant Immanuel Kant (, , ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher and one of the central Enlightenment thinkers. Born in Königsberg, Kant's comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aest ...
observed that the assertion of a spiritual soul as substance could be a synthetic proposition which, however, was unproved and completely arbitrary. Introspection does not reveal any diachronic substrate remaining unchanged throughout life. The temporal structure of consciousness is retentive-perceptive-prognostic. The selfhood arises as result of several informative flows: (1) signals from our own body; (2) retrieved memories and forecasts; (3) the affective load: dispositions and aversions; (4) reflections in other minds. Mental acts have the feature of appropriation: they are always attached to some pre-reflective consciousness. As visual perception is only possible from a definite point of view, so inner experience is given together with self-consciousness. The latter is not an autonomous mental act, but a formal way how the first person has their experience. From the pre-reflective consciousness, the person gains conviction of their existence. This conviction is immune to false reference. The concept of person is prior to the concepts of subject and body. The reflective self-consciousness is a conceptual and elaborate cognition. Selfhood is a self-constituting effigy, a task to be accomplished. Humans are incapable of comprising all their experience within the current state of consciousness; overlapping memories are critical for personal integrity. Appropriated experience can be recollected. At stage B, we remember the experience of stage A; at stage C, we may be aware of the mental acts of stage B. The idea of self-identity is enforced by the relatively slow changes of our body and social situation. Personal identity may be explained without accepting a spiritual agent as subject of mental activity. Associative connection between life episodes is necessary and sufficient for the maintenance of a united selfhood. Personal character and memories can persist after radical mutation of the body.

# Irreducible concepts

Two irreducible concepts encountered in substance theory are the ''bare particular'' and ''inherence''.

## Bare particular

In substance theory, a bare particular of an
object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy), a thing, being, or concept ** Object (abstract), an object which does not exist at any particular time or place ** Physical object, an identifiable collection of matter * Goal, an ai ...
is the element without which the object would not exist, that is, its substance, which exists independently from its properties, even if it is impossible for it to lack properties entirely. It is "bare" because it is considered without its properties and "particular" because it is not abstract. The properties that the substance has are said to inhere in the substance.

## Inherence

Another primitive concept in substance theory is the
inherence Inherence refers to Empedocles' idea that the qualities of matter come from the relative proportions of each of the four elements entering into a thing. The idea was further developed by Plato and Aristotle. Overview That Plato accepted (or ...
of properties within a substance. For example, in the sentence, "The apple is red" substance theory says that red inheres in the apple. Substance theory takes the meaning of an apple having the property of redness to be understood, and likewise that of a property's inherence in substance, which is similar to, but not identical with, being part of the substance. The inverse relation is participation. Thus in the example above, just as red inheres in the apple, so the apple participates in red.

# Arguments supporting the theory

Two common
argument An argument is a statement or group of statements called premises intended to determine the degree of truth or acceptability of another statement called conclusion. Arguments can be studied from three main perspectives: the logical, the dialecti ...
s supporting substance theory are the argument from grammar and the argument from conception.

## Argument from grammar

The argument from grammar uses
traditional grammar Traditional grammar (also known as classical grammar) is a framework for the description of the structure of a language. The roots of traditional grammar are in the work of classical Greek and Latin philologists. The formal study of grammar based ...
to support substance theory. For example, the sentence "Snow is white" contains a grammatical subject "snow" and the predicate "is white", thereby asserting ''snow is white''. The argument holds that it makes no grammatical sense to speak of "whiteness" disembodied, without asserting that snow or something else ''is'' white. Meaningful assertions are formed by virtue of a grammatical subject, of which properties may be predicated, and in substance theory, such assertions are made with regard to a substance.
Bundle theory Bundle theory, originated by the 18th century Scottish philosopher David Hume, is the ontological theory about objecthood in which an object consists only of a collection (''bundle'') of properties, relations or tropes. According to bundle th ...
rejects the argument from grammar on the basis that a grammatical subject does not necessarily refer to a metaphysical subject. Bundle theory, for example, maintains that the grammatical subject of a statement refers to its properties. For example, a bundle theorist understands the grammatical subject of the sentence, "Snow is white", to be a bundle of properties such as white. Accordingly, one can make meaningful statements about bodies without referring to substances.

## Argument from conception

Another argument for the substance theory is the argument from conception. The argument claims that in order to conceive of an object's properties, like the redness of an apple, one must conceive of the object that has those properties. According to the argument, one cannot conceive of redness, or any other property, distinct from the substance that has that property.

# Criticism

The idea of substance was famously critiqued by
David Hume David Hume (; born David Home; 7 May 1711 NS (26 April 1711 OS) – 25 August 1776) Cranston, Maurice, and Thomas Edmund Jessop. 2020 999br>David Hume" ''Encyclopædia Britannica''. Retrieved 18 May 2020. was a Scottish Enlightenment phil ...
, who held that since substance cannot be perceived, it should not be assumed to exist.
Friedrich Nietzsche Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (; or ; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, prose poet, cultural critic, philologist, and composer whose work has exerted a profound influence on contemporary philosophy. He began his ca ...
, and after him
Martin Heidegger Martin Heidegger (; ; 26 September 188926 May 1976) was a German philosopher who is best known for contributions to phenomenology, hermeneutics, and existentialism. He is among the most important and influential philosophers of the 20th cent ...
,
Michel Foucault Paul-Michel Foucault (, ; ; 15 October 192625 June 1984) was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, writer, political activist, and literary critic. Foucault's theories primarily address the relationship between power and knowledge, and ho ...
and
Gilles Deleuze Gilles Louis René Deleuze ( , ; 18 January 1925 – 4 November 1995) was a French philosopher who, from the early 1950s until his death in 1995, wrote on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volu ...
also rejected the notion of "substance", and in the same movement the concept of subject - seeing both concepts as holdovers from
Platonic idealism Platonic realism is the philosophical position that universals or abstract objects exist objectively and outside of human minds. It is named after the Greek philosopher Plato who applied realism to such universals, which he considered idea ...
. For this reason,
Althusser Louis Pierre Althusser (, ; ; 16 October 1918 – 22 October 1990) was a French Marxist philosopher. He was born in Algeria and studied at the École normale supérieure in Paris, where he eventually became Professor of Philosophy. Althusser ...
's "anti-humanism" and Foucault's statements were criticized, by
Jürgen Habermas Jürgen Habermas (, ; ; born 18 June 1929) is a German social theorist in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. His work addresses communicative rationality and the public sphere. Associated with the Frankfurt School, Habermas's wor ...
and others, for misunderstanding that this led to a fatalist conception of social determinism. For Habermas, only a subjective form of
liberty Liberty is the ability to do as one pleases, or a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant (i.e. privilege). It is a synonym for the word freedom. In modern politics, liberty is understood as the state of being free within society f ...
could be conceived, to the contrary of Deleuze who talks about "''a'' life", as an impersonal and
immanent The doctrine or theory of immanence holds that the divine encompasses or is manifested in the material world. It is held by some philosophical and metaphysical theories of divine presence. Immanence is usually applied in monotheistic, pantheis ...
form of liberty. For Heidegger, Descartes means by "substance" that by which "we can understand nothing else than an entity which ''is'' in such a way that it need no other entity in order to ''be''." Therefore, only God is a substance as ''Ens perfectissimus'' (most perfect being). Heidegger showed the inextricable relationship between the concept of substance and of subject, which explains why, instead of talking about "man" or "humankind", he speaks about the ''
Dasein ''Dasein'' () (sometimes spelled as Da-sein) is the German word for 'existence'. It is a fundamental concept in the existential philosophy of Martin Heidegger. Heidegger uses the expression ''Dasein'' to refer to the experience of being that ...
'', which is not a simple subject, nor a substance.
Alfred North Whitehead Alfred North Whitehead (15 February 1861 – 30 December 1947) was an English mathematician and philosopher. He is best known as the defining figure of the philosophical school known as process philosophy, which today has found applic ...
has argued that the concept of substance has only a limited applicability in everyday life and that metaphysics should rely upon the concept of process.See, e.g., Ronny Desmet and Michel Weber (edited by),
Whitehead. The Algebra of Metaphysics. Applied Process Metaphysics Summer Institute Memorandum
', Louvain-la-Neuve, Éditions Chromatika, 2010 ().
Roman Catholic theologian
Karl Rahner Karl Rahner (5 March 1904 – 30 March 1984) was a German Jesuit priest and theologian who, alongside Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Yves Congar, is considered to be one of the most influential Roman Catholic theologians o ...
, as part of his critique of
transubstantiation Transubstantiation (Latin: ''transubstantiatio''; Greek: μετουσίωσις '' metousiosis'') is, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, "the change of the whole substance of bread into the substance of the Body of Christ and of ...
, rejected substance theory and instead proposed the doctrine of ''transfinalization'', which he felt was more attuned to modern philosophy. However, this doctrine was rejected by
Pope Paul VI Pope Paul VI ( la, Paulus VI; it, Paolo VI; born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, ; 26 September 18976 August 1978) was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City, Vatican City State from 21 June 1963 to his ...
in his encyclical '' Mysterium fidei''.

# Bundle theory

In direct opposition to substance theory is bundle theory, whose most basic premise is that all concrete particulars are merely constructions or 'bundles' of attributes or qualitative properties: :Necessarily, for any concrete entity, $a$, if for any entity, $b$, $b$ is a constituent of $a$, then $b$ is an attribute. The bundle theorist's principal objections to substance theory concern the bare particulars of a substance, which substance theory considers independently of the substance's properties. The bundle theorist objects to the notion of a thing with no properties, claiming that such a thing is inconceivable and citing John Locke, who described a substance as "a something, I know not what." To the bundle theorist, as soon as one has any notion of a substance in mind, a property accompanies that notion.

## Identity of indiscernibles counterargument

The indiscernibility argument from the substance theorist targets those bundle theorists who are also metaphysical realists. Metaphysical realism uses the identity of ''universals'' to compare and identify particulars. Substance theorists say that bundle theory is incompatible with metaphysical realism due to the
identity of indiscernibles The identity of indiscernibles is an ontological principle that states that there cannot be separate objects or entities that have all their properties in common. That is, entities ''x'' and ''y'' are identical if every predicate possessed by ' ...
: particulars may differ from one another only with respect to their attributes or relations. The substance theorist's indiscernibility argument against the metaphysically realistic bundle theorist states that numerically different concrete particulars are discernible from the self-same concrete particular only by virtue of qualitatively different attributes. :Necessarily, for any complex objects, $a$ and $b$, if for any entity, $c$, $c$ is a constituent of $a$ if and only if $c$ is a constituent of $b$, then $a$ is numerically identical with $b$. The indiscernibility argument points out that if bundle theory and discernible concrete particulars theory explain the relationship between attributes, then the identity of indiscernibles theory must also be true: :Necessarily, for any concrete objects, $a$ and $b$, if for any attribute, Φ, Φ is an attribute of $a$ if and only if Φ is an attribute of $b$, then $a$ is numerically identical with $b$. The indiscernibles argument then asserts that the identity of indiscernibles is violated, for example, by identical sheets of paper. All of their qualitative properties are the same (e.g. white, rectangular, 9 x 11 inches...) and thus, the argument claims, bundle theory and metaphysical realism cannot both be correct. However, bundle theory combined with
trope theory Trope denotes figurative and metaphorical language and one which has been used in various technical senses. The term ''trope'' derives from the Greek τρόπος (''tropos''), "a turn, a change", related to the root of the verb τρέπειν (' ...
(as opposed to metaphysical realism) avoids the indiscernibles argument because each attribute is a trope if can only be held by only one concrete particular. The argument does not consider whether "position" should be considered an attribute or relation. It is after all through the differing positions that we in practice differentiate between otherwise identical pieces of paper.

* History of chemistry * History of molecular theory *
Hypokeimenon ''Hypokeimenon'' (Greek: ὑποκείμενον), later often material substratum, is a term in metaphysics which literally means the "underlying thing" (Latin: ''subiectum''). To search for the ''hypokeimenon'' is to search for that substance t ...
*
Inherence Inherence refers to Empedocles' idea that the qualities of matter come from the relative proportions of each of the four elements entering into a thing. The idea was further developed by Plato and Aristotle. Overview That Plato accepted (or ...
*
Materialism Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds matter to be the fundamental substance in nature, and all things, including mental states and consciousness, are results of material interactions. According to philosophical materialism ...
* Sortal *
Transcendentals The transcendentals ( la, transcendentalia, from transcendere "to exceed") are the properties of being, nowadays commonly considered to be truth, beauty, and goodness. The concept arose from medieval scholasticism. Viewed ontologically, the tr ...