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Hypokeimenon is a term in metaphysics which loosely means the "underlying thing" or the substratum. First it is mentioned by Anaximander, Anaximenes and also Democritus. Later is is considered by Plato in Cratylus and by Aristotle in Categories.

To search for the hypokeimenon is to search for that substance which persists in a thing going through change—its essential being. It is conceptually similar to Spinoza's "substance" and Kant's concept of the noumenon in The Critique of Pure Reason. Philosophers such as George Berkeley and other philosophical idealists attempted to discredit the idea of any "underlying" substance which lay "behind" appearances, arguing instead that appearances are the only true reality.


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