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point, but certainly not more than how the facts actually stand. And
so now also, since it is evident what language we use, essence will
belong, just as 'what a thing is' does, primarily and in the simple
sense to substance, and in a secondary way to the other categories
also,-not essence in the simple sense, but the essence of a quality or
of a quantity. For it must be either by an equivocation that we say
these are, or by adding to and taking from the meaning of 'are' (in
the way in which that which is not known may be said to be known),-the
truth being that we use the word neither ambiguously nor in the same
sense, but just as we apply the word 'medical' by virtue of a
reference to one and the same thing, not meaning one and the same
thing, nor yet speaking ambiguously; for a patient and an operation
and an instrument are called medical neither by an ambiguity nor
with a single meaning, but with reference to a common end. But it does
not matter at all in which of the two ways one likes to describe the
facts; this is evident, that definition and essence in the primary and
simple sense belong to substances. Still they belong to other things
as well, only not in the primary sense. For if we suppose this it does
not follow that there is a definition of every word which means the
same as any formula; it must mean the same as a particular kind of
formula; and this condition is satisfied if it is a formula of
something which is one, not by continuity like the Iliad or the things
that are one by being bound together, but in one of the main senses of
'one', which answer to the senses of 'is'; now 'that which is' in
one sense denotes a 'this', in another a quantity, in another a
quality. And so there can be a formula or definition even of white
man, but not in the sense in which there is a definition either of
white or of a substance.
5

It is a difficult question, if one denies that a formula with an
added determinant is a definition, whether any of the terms that are
not simple but coupled will be definable. For we must explain them
by adding a determinant. E.g. there is the nose, and concavity, and
snubness, which is compounded out of the two by the presence of the
one in the other, and it is not by accident that the nose has the
attribute either of concavity or of snubness, but in virtue of its
nature; nor do they attach to it as whiteness does to Callias, or to
man (because Callias, who happens to be a man, is white), but as
'male' attaches to animal and 'equal' to quantity, and as all
so-called 'attributes propter se' attach to their subjects. And such
attributes are those in which is involved either the formula or the
name of the subject of the particular attribute, and which cannot be
explained without this; e.g. white can be explained apart from man,
but not female apart from animal. Therefore there is either no essence
and definition of any of these things, or if there is, it is in
another sense, as we have said.
But there is also a second difficulty about them. For if snub nose
and concave nose are the same thing, snub and concave will be the
thing; but if snub and concave are not the same (because it is
impossible to speak of snubness apart from the thing of which it is an
attribute propter se, for snubness is concavity-in-a-nose), either
it is impossible to say 'snub nose' or the same thing will have been
said twice, concave-nose nose; for snub nose will be concave-nose
nose. And so it is absurd that such things should have an essence;
if they have, there will be an infinite regress; for in snub-nose nose
yet another 'nose' will be involved.
Clearly, then, only substance is definable. For if the other
categories also are definable, it must be by addition of a
determinant, e.g. the qualitative is defined thus, and so is the
odd, for it cannot be defined apart from number; nor can female be
defined apart from animal. (When I say 'by addition' I mean the
expressions in which it turns out that we are saying the same thing
twice, as in these instances.) And if this is true, coupled terms

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