Tuesday, January 6, 2009


This part is given as an introduction to the next topic on definitions. Whenever we attempt to define things, we try to find out what is the feature that the thing has in common with other objects so that we may readily disclose the nature of the thing from such common feature. Then when we proceed to look for the feature that distinguishes the thing from other objects and manifests the specific nature that is proper to the thing.


The first predicament is that of Substance. The other nine predicaments are classifications of the so-called metaphysical accidents, which are non-essential modification of the substance.

1. SUBSTANCE – is a being that exists by or for itself and does not need any other subject in order to exist. Ex. Man; house. It answers the question “who or what is this thing?”

ACCIDENTS – is any thing that cannot exist by itself and must be attached to a substance. The following as the accidents:

2. Quantity – an accident which determines the spatial extension of a thing in the form of magnitude or multitude. Ex. The pole is 10 feet long. It answers the question “how much or how big?”

3. Quality – is an accident which specifies or characterizes a thing. Ex. Intelligent; brave. It answers the question “what sort of a thing it is?”

4. Relation – is an accident which logically or really connects one thing with another. Ex. Fatherhood; taller than. It answers the question “to what or to whom does it refer to?”

5. Action – is the motion of the substance commonly inducing a result on doing something in another time. Ex. Painting; running. It answers the question “what hr is doing?”

6. Passion – is the reception of an effect from another. Sometimes, it is called reaction. Ex. Being heated; being killed. It answers the question “what does it do to another?”

7. Time – is an accident that measure the duration of mobile beings. Ex. Yesterday; at 8:30 am. It answer questions, “when?”

8. Place – is an accident that determines the location. Ex, in Calbayog; in the air. It answer the question, “where?”

9. Posture -– is an accident which tells the position of part of the body. Ex. Standing; to sit down.

10. Habit – is an accident signifying the coverings of the things that are placed around the body. Ex. Clothed; armed. It answers the question “how surrounded, equipped or conditions?”


The predicables are the different kinds of logical universals, that is, universal concepts that may applied to many subjects. Taken as classifications, they are universal concepts bearing different kinds of logical relationship to the subject.

1. Genus – a universal term that expresses the essential feature which a things has in common with other species; e.g., man is an animal. The predicate animal is the genus or generic feature which man shares with the brutes.

2. Specific Difference – a universal tern that expresses the essential feature which distinguishes the essence of the subject from the essence of other things with which the subject shares the same genus; e.g., man is a rational being. Rationality is the essential feature which distinguishes the essence or nature of man from that of brutes.

3. Species – a universal term that expresses the whole essence or nature of the subject. It embodies both the genus and the specific difference as constituent or essential features of the subject; e.g., man is a RATIONAL – ANIMAL.

4. Property – a universal term that expresses a feature that does not form part of the essence of the subject, but necessarily derives from its essence in an exclusive and distinctive manner; e.g., man is a being capable of education, of wonderment, of religious sentiment, etc.

Logically considered, property is not any attribute that derives from or goes with the nature of man, e.g. three – fold dimension, mortality, etc.; but only a feature that is exclusive of the essential nature of man and hence derives primarily from his specific constituent feature (specific difference).

5. Accident – a universal term that expresses a feature which is not part of the essence of the subject, not necessarily connected with it, but is found in the subject only in an accessional or contingent manner; e.g., Pedro is healthy, handsome or virtuous. Contingent means that the feature may be present or may be absent from the subject.