As human beings we have the capabilities of thought and reasoning, which is why we have evolved the way we have. However one can never be to sure that what we think and what we reason is really truth. And that idea can lead a person asking certain questions; What is the nature of existence? What is the nature of reality and its principles? but then more questions follow within These; What are we touching? What are we looking at? What are these things interfering and altering our lives?
Are they the same in reality as they are in our mind? What are these substances? Are they even substances? If they are real then why are they, and what are they? Many great philosophers tackled these questions. Philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, and Berkeley. All of them came up with an idea of what substance is. Platos whole idea of the forms are what would be considered substance. The form is the standard pattern or ideal model of the object or action thats being named or mentioned.
In order to understand the natural world and or the material world, we need to associate them with the substance we find in the intelligible world. Sensory perception attends merely to a thing’s superficial appearance, and is therefore worthless for comprehending the world. These forms are required not only to comprehend the material world, but even to understand language itself. These forms of substance are a good way of explaining what we understand of the natural and material world. Aristotle refuted Platos idea of the forms.
He felt that the forms caused neither movement nor change, nor helped to understand what is real and what is knowable. Aristotle presents the concept of substance in his work The Categories. He states that substance is the fusion of matter and form. Matter is that out of which the substance arises and form is that into which the matter develops. In building a table, the wood, nails, etc. , are the matter. The idea of a table is the form, and the construction is the fusion, and the end result is the substance.
Rene Descartes started out doubting everything. For Descartes, reason was both the foundation and guide for pursuing truth. He wanted to fulfill some certainty into his life. Therefore he started fresh. He rejected everything he had been taught. He rejected God, the Church, Aristotle, all the other philosophers and even ancient literature were ditched in the search for rational principles from which to construct a secure system of knowledge. He became a solipsist.
After long meditations he came back to reality with the statement I think therefore I am. He saw everything to be substance but he categorized them and explained the relevance of each. The first few which are considered the (summa genera), which means the two highest kinds of things. Are the secondary and primary substances. For Descartes, secondary qualities arise from what he calls \”objects of the senses,\” and primary qualities from \”objects of mathematics. \” The following shows the connection: