Accident (philosophy)

The term commercial (also: accident ) (Latin accidens ) denotes the non- essentials ( not Essential ), of what changes, the Random (Greek symbebêkos ) as opposed to substance. Akzidentiell anything of substance here are adherent, but their non-essential or necessary provisions.

Commercial Aristotle

The distinction between substance and accident was introduced by Aristotle in philosophy. It shares the predication in ten basic categories. He distinguishes the category of substance ( in Aristotle: ancient Greek, ousia ') than to determining from the other nine, the accidentals quantity, quality, relation, timing, localization, activity, suffering, location and ownership, through the substance of the statement determine. The classical passage in Aristotle's treatise on the categories is:

"With, in an Underlying ' I mean, what's in something can exist from the not as a part, and not separately, which it is. For example, the individual grammatical knowledge is in an Underlying, the soul [ ... ] and the individual is in a white Underlying, the body. "

The Underlying, Latin substantia or Latin substratum corresponds, in Aristotle the substance and what is in it, the properties or accidents. That the Underlying actually individual things are meant in the sense of an ontological Partikluarismus, it becomes clear in the following location:

" Substance but is primarily and in the first place and especially mentioned, which is predicated neither of any Underlying, nor is in a Underlying, for example, the individual man or the individual horse. " "

Grammatical knowledge is in Aristotle, therefore, an example of a property, he called substance, however, the soul or the individual man.

Scholasticism and neo-Thomism

Great importance was the term in the context of scholastic philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. With him it is said: " Accidentis eat est inesse ", ie: ". For a commercial means to be to be something " in the same direction is going to be " accident of non est ens sed entis ", thus: " A commercial is not a being, but a something beings belonging. "

So it is between the real commercial, which are separated by the omnipotence of God continues to exist on the substance and distinguish the accidental forms. However, these are not independent or self of the substance, they are considered rather as inseparable and adherent to the substance.

In the scholastic as well as in neo-Thomism is the ratio of commercial to the substance also based on the ratio of body to the soul, the body representing the commercial. From this is derived in the Eucharist teaching an explanation of the events during the Holy Mass from. While the accidents, ie the properties of bread and wine remain changes, or transforms the substance, ie, the nature (ie not just the matter) the Eucharist into the body and blood of the risen Christ. This view is referred to in theology as transubstantiation.

Change in the 17th century

In the 17th century, the perception of the relationship of the substance for commercial and changed their separation. René Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, among others rejected the existence of " real" accidents. The opposition between substance and accident disappeared or was interpreted increasingly materialistic.

For Spinoza, there was only a single infinite substance. The accidents become attributes or modes of this substance. This view is also today still continue more or less.


Kant gives a lecture in one of his writings a fourfold distinction of predicates in essentialia, Attributa, modes and Relationes. Essentialia come to the subject immediately, and a priori, attributes, indirectly but still apriori, modes are immediate properties, but non- apriori and relations or indirectly, a priori. Modes are "states" of a substance, " Relationes " its relations with other substances. Attributes are those predicates that are not intensional part of the generic concept of substance. In this respect, can play a special attribute an individual who does not share the other members of the genus, except the essentialia all of these property classes may have commercial work. General - necessary attributes there are, according to Kant as well, just they are the ones who will be awarded a subject in a synthetic a priori judgment (see Immanuel Kant: AA 0008VIII, 226-246 ).

Epistemologically is initially no difference between representations of substances and accidents in the mind. Both are equally important components of categorical judgments. Be " This ball is red. " And " This is Red ball -shaped" are equally correct judgments about a red ball is only through the schema of the substance, the persistence in time, can substance and accident meaningful distinction (see Immanuel Kant: AA 0003III, 137-138 )

By generalization of the schema over all phenomena is obtained as the first analogy of experience, the persistence of matter of appearance as " primary substance ". Their essential characteristics, however, of human knowledge not open (see Immanuel Kant: AA 0003III, 224). For commercial work in the sense of variable properties then the third principle of the Analogies of Experience is: Any change happens according to the law of the connection of cause with the effect, that is, from causality and according to rules. This analogy is Kant's limited to appearances version of the principle of sufficient reason.