-Person is a substance. The Porphyrian tree thus has substance at both ends.

-Among real things, the order of logic is the inverse of the order of being. Descent down the Porphyrian tree is an approach toward the light of existence, ascent is toward the shadow.

-The tree leading down to the person is the shadow cast by the person.

-The person generates the nature, i.e. its intelligible aspect.

-Among created things, the nature is not the perfect image of the individual substance that generates it. This is why individual substances are unknowable to us by their natures.

-Hypothesis: the Hellenic-Medieval attempts to make nature or the communicable primary failed. They could never quite keep the story straight. Aristotle’s system never came to terms with the contradiction of making both form and the individual primary.

-Substance : nature :: The One : Mind

-Nature in created things is the primary duality; in the creator it is, in different ways, The Second Person and divinity.


-Substance is nature in its absolute consideration.

-Substance is not the logical atom, but that which generates both the atom and the most general category. Substance is no more particular than it is universal. The sense of “is” I just used is logical.

-The particular can be used as a placeholder for a substance we cannot know, but so can the universal. Used the second way, we speak of the individual so far as it is intelligible to us, spoken of in the first way, so far as it is the unapproachable limit of understanding.

-Particular : Universal :: Substance as unreachable limit of intelligibility : substance as approachable limit of intelligibility. Note that the same limit is approachable and unreachable.

-Reality limits logic at two extremes. The limits are not homogeneous with the limited. Our logic cannot think reality into existence.

-We cannot think reality into existence, but we can approach it infinitely. In this sense our thought does give rise to the real. So far as thus us the case the Copernican turn is justified, and nature just is dialectical.


-Dreams teach us that we must separate the substance of things from any analyzable element in them. This is that familiar dream experience of any thing being anything else.

-We can distinguish substance from appearance, but appearance must be understood as both the revealing and veiling of substance.

-One of the most common critiques of Kant is that he could not decide whether the phenomena revealed substance or veiled it. But it’s obvious that the only reason to call it an appearance is because it does both.

-Substance : appearance :: the wedding cake we’ll make : everything one can observe happening in the bakery.

– Note carefully the “we’ll make”. Future tense said of something just as much in a present tense. Substance acts on bakers, ingredients, delivery trucks, farmers growing wheat and sugar cane, etc. From an entire world, it manages to congeal into that single drop that is itself, ready to be shipped to the wedding.

-Science rejects teleology because it wants the analyzable order. This rejection is an unattainable ideal.

-Substance writes itself backwards into the present and the past. It causes mixing ingredients, delivering them, growing them, tilling land for them, clearing forests for them, giving us the idea of agriculture for them, generating humans for them…

-The whole world is being backwritten from the substance of the eschaton. So far as this is true, Leibniz was right

-But the further one falls back from any one substance, the more that substance must combine with others to cause itself. A wedding cake might suffice to explain the baker’s actions, but we need more than this to explain deliveries, more than that to explain the clearing of land, more than that to explain the idea of agriculture. No one result, no one substance, is of itself necessary in the sweep of things. Contingency – both negatively in indeterminism and positively in freedom – are both elements of this retrodiction of substance.

-We call this “an idea” of the wedding cake only as a metaphor. Ideas depend on us to exist. Here we are gesturing at what our ideas depend on. The recipe does not depend on us the way our child’s name depended on us. My child’s name is “an idea” simpliciter, the recipe is a discerning something latent in the world of possibility.

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