In itself and not in itself

The Categories distinguishes all things into those that are in a subject, and those that are not in a subject. To be in a subject means to really depend upon the subject for its existence. Whatever is not in a subject is a substance (ousia, see below), either primarily (John) or secondarily (man, animal).

One of the characteristic marks of perennial philosophy is this irreducible and primary division between derived existence and existence not being derived. This allows for a certain order, or even a hierarchy among beings. Since there is no common genus between derived beings and beings not derived, but at the same time the mind is naturally carried from the idea of the one to the other, we approximate a genus by a sort of incomplete thought, like “_______ of existence” where certain terms can be placed in the blank. The relation between the various results are said to be “named analogously”.

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