A substance (= object = entity = thing) is a set of matter arranged in a particular form (i.e. essence).

For example, a house is a substance that is created when blocks and mortar are arranged into a solid shape, and destroyed when the blocks and mortar lose that shape.


1   Substance

1.1   Form

A form (= shape) is a set of properties.

For example, a triangle, a set, a sequence, a tree.

Forms are sometimes said to subsist.

2   Further reading

3   Etymology

from Latin esse "to be"

is from Latin essentia "being, essence"

essence essential - pertaining to essence quintessence - pure essence; from Medieval Latin quinta essential "fifth essence", realted to Aristotle's four elements

This root of "existence" comes from Latin "existere" from ex "forth" + sistere "cause to stand". This forms the root of other words such as "consist" "stand with", "subsist" "stand under, to support oneself", "assist" to stand by, and "stet" to let it stand.

4   Study

Ontology is a branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of being and the basic categories of being and their relations.

4.1   Metaphysics

Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being.

Metaphysics today denotes the philosophical inquiry of a non-empirical character into the nature of existence.

Historically, metaphysics consisted of three branches:

  1. Ontology
  2. Cosmology - The study of origin of the universe
  3. Theology - The study of divinity

5   Etymology

"Ontos" is the Greek word for "thing".

6   History

Parmenides was among the first to propose an ontological characterization of the fundamental nature of existence.


In Categoriae, Aristotle identifies ten possible kinds of things that can be the subject or predicate of a proposition.

7   Properties

7.1   Quality

There are three major kinds of qualities: types or kinds, properties, and relations.

7.1.1   Types or kinds

See type.

  • Types or Kinds (e.g. mammal)
    • Types
      • Type-token distinction
        • Distinction that seperation concept from object which are instances of a concept
    • (Natural) Kinds
      • Termed by W.V.O Quine is his essay "Natural Kinds"
      • "Natural" grouping, not an artificial one.
      • Still would be groups of things, distinct from other things as a group, even if there were no people around to say that were members of a group. (e.g., chemical elements)

      > A more formal definition has it that a natural kind is a family of "entities possessing properties bound by natural law; we know of natural kinds in the form of categories of minerals, plants, or animals, and we know that different human cultures classify natural realities that surround them in a completely analogous fashion"

7.1.2   Properties

A form consists of a set of attributes.

See property.

For example, short, or strong.

The properties which are essential constitute the form. Non-essential properties are called accidentally.

7.1.3   Relations

See relation.

For example, "father of", or "next to".

7.2   Quantity

For any object, either no, one, or many exist.

If many, there may finitely many ("digital") or infinitely many ("analog", i.e. exists along a continuum).

Some things have a certain opposite (digital), and some thing have a middle (analog). What is the name for this? The opposite might be defined as that which, if you have both a thing and its opposite, you get nothing. For example, 1 and -1 make 0. f^-1(f(x)) = x.

8   Classification

8.1   Impossible object

An impossible object is one whose form includes contradictory attributes.

For example, a round square.

No impossible objects exist.

9   Terms

All real objects undergo motion.

# Distinctions

Between any two individuals, there is a real distinction; we express this by saying that they are not identical; they could exist separately.

There is no 'real' distinction between the evening start and the morning start.

1. Two properties are existentially distinct if some existent has the one but not the other.

2. Two properties are conceptually distinct if some possible has the one but not the other.

3. Two properties are formally distinct if their extension is identical but their intension is different.

The above distinction correspond to

  1. Extensional difference
  2. Intensional difference
  3. Comprehensional difference

[1]: "Extension, Intension, and Comprehension - Fraassen"

# Universals & Individuals

A universal is a shared trait of particular things.

Note: The noun "universal" contrasts with "individual" Note: The adjective "universal" contrasts with "particular"

Note: Usually, universals are abstract and particulars are concrete. It not always so, e.g. numbers.


Causes are spoken of in four senses:

# Problems

# The problem of universals

# Positions

While philosophers agree that human beings talk and think about properties, they disagree on whether these universals exist in reality or merely in thought and speech.

There are several positions on the problem of univerals.

## Realism

Two major forms of realism:

## Nominalism

## Idealism

10   See also

11   Questions

Matter in a certain shape produces a substance. The recognition procedure is x in A meaning it is the substance. The properties are the form.

I think, if this is right, then Form + Properties should mostly be merged.

Recognition is a yes-no procedure. For example, one can recognize a sentence as grammatical or a face as one you've seen before.

Classification is a what procedure. The result is a type.

Every object has a function. However, what something is used for is an expression of intention, and intentions are often hard to discover by looking at what something does. (Seeing an automobile in a traffic jam, it might be hard to guess that it is used to move people from one place to another.)

Actually, every object has a set of functions. Some things have many, such as a swiss army knife.

Duality is the quality or condition of being dual. In other word, one thing is two. Consider existence and non-existence or light and darkness; these pairs require the other to exist, and come into existence at the same time. Trinity is the condition of being three things.

We must therefore look at the elements of which the state is composed, in order that we may see in what the different kinds of rule differ from one another, and whether any scientific result can be attained about each one of them.