عنوان مقاله [English]
In Mulla Sadra’s work, we encounter two different meanings of the terms substance and accident. One is the well-known meaning according to which contingent beings divide into substances and accidents: like first philosophers Mulla Sadra defines substance as a being not in the subject, and accident as a being in the subject. More precisely, substance is a quiddity which is not in the subject, not a property of something else, and accident is a quiddity in the subject, not needed by the subject, a property of something else. Thus, from this point of view both substance and accident are quiddities. God falls into neither of the two above defined categories, because in the division it is the quiddity which is divided; hence Mulla Sadra considers “non-substance” as a negative divine attribute, providing some arguments for his claim.
He proposes another meaning for the duality of substance and accident founded upon components of his own philosophy such as the primacy of existence (asālat al-wūjūd), hypostatic unity of being (waḥdat shakhsī wūjūd), and ontological indigence (faqr wūjūdi).
Based on the primacy of existence, he redefines quiddity as a shade (ẓīl) of existence. Therefore, quiddity is not divided into substance and accident, but the latter two are both existential. Next, invoking the principle of hypostatic unity of being, he states that it is only the true unified Being who deserves the title substance, describing as accidents other beings which are his manifestations. Through explaining ontological indigence he also proves that the realization of indigent existence depends on rich existence and compared to him everything in the universe is pure dependence (rabṭ) and mere indigence, and considered a mode and manifestation of him. The substance is he who is independent and essentially rich, and the rest which are the manifestation of dependence count as accidents.
Mulla Sadra matches the two meanings together. Everything in the universe is a manifestation of a particular name of God. Thus, just as parts of the universe are divided into genus, species, individuals, and substances, so the division is found in the names of God; and just as the truth of substances is veiled by accidents, so the divine essence is veiled by its names and attributes; and just as attributes such as species - some of which are more general and some more particular as with close and distant species and their correlatives – together with which the substance is a particular genus or type, so some of divine attributes are more general and more permeating and some more particular and less permeating. Each of the innumerable beings in the universe which are its parts is a manifestation of a particular name among divine names; and just as parts of the universe divide into genus, species, individuals, substances, and accidents (including quantity, quality, relation, habitus, time, location, situation (or position), action, and passion ("being acted on)), so the names of God divide into genus, species, substantial, accidental, etc. names.
Everything in the visible universe is a shade testifying to what is in the invisible the world of names, as the manifestation of the substantiality of the Creator, called Allah by Mulla Sadra, is “the perfect man”
In the light of foundations specific to his philosophy, Mulla Sadra’s novel explanation demonstrates that the duality of substance and accident both make sense and have examples in the external world (although in his wisdom in accordance with the well-known meaning of the terms an immediate cognition of substance is not possible, and it is only accidents which are knowable). But also his analysis paves the way for the demonstration of dependent existence (i.e. the existence of beings which are not God). If considered in comparison to the Necessary, everything is dependent, or, accidental, as Mulla Sadra calls it. The impact of the concept of dependence (or accidentality) upon philosophical discussions is that it dispenses with the need for quiddities and linking quiddity-bound concepts to the concepts not bound by quiddity.
Thanks to the analysis, the fact of God being together with names and attributes (called accidents by Mulla Sadra) takes on a novel interpretation: it is not like the coincidence of the accidental and essential; nor like the coincidence of substance and accident in the well-known sense of the terms; nor like the coincidence of quiddity and existence, because God is not a general quiddity at all. Instead, his truth is a pure, simple, sacred Being that has no names, shapes or limits, and for which no proof is invoked. Rather, he is the proof for everything, a witness to every manifestation.
The main concern of this article is to compare, examine and match the two views, since despite the fact that there are numerous books and articles addressing the issue of substance and accident, there is not a discrete study of the two perspectives; hence the necessity of explaining Mulla Sadra’s view. Because this aim is fulfilled through studying and researching into his books, the present article’s research method is conceptual analysis written in an analytic-descriptive form.