Analysis on the Significance and Defects of Aristotle’s Theory of Substance

Volume 8, Issue 1, February 2024     |     PP. 1-9      |     PDF (217 K)    |     Pub. Date: May 27, 2019
DOI:    319 Downloads     2917 Views  


He Yunsong, Sichuan Institute of Industrial Technology, Deyang, Sichuan, China

Aristotle’s theory of substance classifies being as ten kinds, i.e. ten categories, among which substance is a independent and key category, and the others are dependent and secondary categories. There is a relation of being depended on and depending on, and of being expressed and expressing between substance and other categories. Aristotle’s theory of substance has at least two points of academic significance: rectifying concepts and founding logic; implying that mankind cannot understand and hold the world beyond cognitive relation, and that being and thinking have identity. Taking as case, the paper holds that the proposition which argues that a white horse is not a horse is fallacious. The greatest defect in Aristotle’s theory of substance is the classification that which is the first substance and which the second one, and the contradiction and confusion of his views on general and individual and their relations. The paper argues, that as substance general and individual cannot be classified the first or the second respectively, that from an ontological perspective both general and individual are objective reality as well as concepts, and that from an epistemological perspective general may be of the same starting points of cognition as individual.

Aristotle; substance; a white horse not a horse; general and individual

Cite this paper
He Yunsong, Analysis on the Significance and Defects of Aristotle’s Theory of Substance , SCIREA Journal of Sociology. Volume 8, Issue 1, February 2024 | PP. 1-9.


[ 1 ] Aristotle. Categories, Analytics[M]. Trans. by Fang Shu-chun. Beijing: The Commercial Press, 1986. 1a-4b.
[ 2 ] Aristotle. Metaphysics[M]. Trans. by Wu Shou-peng. Beijing: The Commercial Press, 1995. 1028b-1041b.
[ 3 ] Gong Jiahuai. Sophistry Will Be Sophistry——A Discussion with Schoiars Who Argues That “A White Horse Is Not A Horse” Is not A Sophistic Proposition [J]. Journal of Inner Mongolia Normal University(Social Sciences Edition),1991,No. 2. p. 44.
[ 4 ] Wang Guan. Annotation on Gongsunlongzi[M]. Beijing:Zhonghua Book Company,1992. pp. 40-47.
[ 5 ] The Collected Works of Lenin Vol. 18[M]. Beijing: People's Publishing House, 1988. p. 130.