Someone recently asked me a great philosophical question. Here is my response:
Since a substance is something that is in and of itself; instead of the example being a human, shouldn’t the example be a little bit more specific like the human soul?
Great question regarding the substance and the soul. I would say, not necessarily; because Aristotle is more of an empiricist, so he would probably apply any substance relation to something within the material realm. Plato, on the other hand, refers to a true substance in the immaterial realm; where the physical realm is a shadow of the immaterial Forms also known as substances. I think your question is presupposing another question in your mind; whether which takes precedence, the body or the soul? If it is the soul which takes precedence then maybe the soul is the substance and the body the accident. Now, generally in philosophy, a substance deals with something physical like a person, thing, or material object; accidents would be the properties or attributes of the substances. This is not to say that a substance necessitates an accident because it does not, but an accident does necessitate a substance to exist in; for example, imagine concrete as a substance. Concrete can be used to make a foundation. The form of a foundation would be the accident of the concrete substance. The concrete can exist of itself without forming a foundation, but the foundation cannot exist of itself without the substance of concrete. To answer your question fully, I do not believe Aristotle would consider the soul a substance, but I could be wrong; furthermore, I personally would consider the soul or spirit the substance, and the body the accident. Reason being is because it seems to reason with Christian theology. When the body dies the soul lives on for eternity somewhere; therefore somehow the soul takes precedence, and though the soul may live for eternity as a substance, the body as an accident cannot live without the soul as the substance. I hope this helped. Thanks for the question.