Fernando Inciarte on Substance: His interpretation of Aristotle’s Theory
Byarugaba, Jennifer K.
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Fernando Inciarte Armiñán (1929 – 2000 AD) was a contemporary Philosopher, cultured in an incomparably profound and ample manner not only in traditional and modern, but also in classical and actual Philosophy. Of interest to this study is his Aristotelian interpretation of substance as outlined in Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Books IV and VII-IX. What is primary substance and what is a subject? What may be predicated of a subject? Does this not categorise it as an accident? Can there be accidents of accidents? Regarding substance, he claims that it is because of a substance that a subject is what it is, both concretely and abstractly. He affirms that primary substance is the ultimate subject that has the fullness of the thing to be known. This ontological study regarding the theory of substance is of a hermeneutical nature. The researcher deals with Inciarte’s original works. The so-called “Substance Books” of the Metaphysics, Books VII to IX, are of primary interest because it is in these books that Aristotle concentrates on the meaning of substance and they therefore serve as a major and primary reference. Aristotle is of interest to this study on two counts. First, he provides the traditional, fundamental interpretation of substance as it is or should be. His work was greatly complemented by studies done by St. Thomas Aquinas and so reference to him is made for better comprehension purposes. And second, it is Aristotle that Inciarte interprets regarding the theory of substance. One of the most important results of this study is the attention that Inciarte draws once again to proper definition and understanding of terms in clearly defined boundaries. For example, he raises the important issue of knowing how to distinguish between being καθ’αὺτò (or just necessarily) and being essentially or by definition in order to avoid a kind of infinite regress that results from errors that have occurred due to wrong application, use and understanding of this term. Inciarte’s way of understanding of substance and his flexibility in metaphysical interpretation has not as yet been recorded nor has it been systematically studied. This therefore serves as a pioneer study. It intends to make his understanding of substance, be made known in a way that is accessible and understandable as well as provide an analysis of the origin of the epistemological differences that are associated with the different interpretations of substance. He himself said: You never have a ‘finished work’ in Philosophy but one can always propound philosophical truth in different ways without changing it.