Substance

Authored by: David Robb

The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics

Print publication date:  April  2009
Online publication date:  April  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415396318
eBook ISBN: 9780203879306
Adobe ISBN: 9781134155866

10.4324/9780203879306.ch25

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Abstract

A substance is a basic being, something at reality’s foundation. What exactly this means is a matter of some controversy, one of several challenges the concept of substance presents. But even this simple definition reveals the topic’s importance to metaphysics. Any attempt to discern the fundamental categories of being – a task of ontology – must inquire into the existence and nature of the most basic beings. And if there are substances, they will play an important explanatory role, for the most general structure and character of the world will rest on the nature of its foundation.

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