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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Hypokeimenon (Greek: ὑποκείμενον) is a term in metaphysics which literally means the "underlying thing" (Latin subiectum).

To search for the hypokeimenon is to search for that substance which persists in a thing going through change—its essential being.

According to Aristotle's definition (in Categories), hypokeimenon is something which can be predicated by other things, but cannot be a predicate of others.

The existence of a Material Substratum was posited John Locke, with conceptual similarities to Baruch Spinoza's substance and Immanuel Kant's concept of the noumenon (in The Critique of Pure Reason).

Locke theorised that when all sensible properties where abstracted away from an object, such as its colour, weight, density or taste, there would still be something left that the properties had adhered to—something which allowed the object to exist independently of the sensible properties that it manifested in the beholder. Locke saw this ontological ingredient as necessary if we are to be able to consider objects as existing independently of our own minds. The Material Substratum proved a difficult idea for Locke as by its very nature its existence could not be directly proved in then manner endorsed by empiricists (i.e., proof by exhibition in experience). Nevertheless, he believed that the philosophical reasons for it were strong enough for its existence to be considered proved.

The existence of the Substratum was denied by Berkeley in his Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, who maintained that an object consists of nothing more than the sensible properties (or possible sensible properties) that the object manifests; and the sensible properties only exist so long as the act of perceiving them does.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hypokeimenon" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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