8. What, then, is this Kind, this Matter, described as one stuff, continuous and without quality?
Clearly since it is without quality it is incorporeal; bodiliness would be quality.
It must be the basic stuff of all the entities of the sense-world and not merely base to some while being to others achieved form.
Clay, for example, is matter to the potter but is not Matter pure and simple. Nothing of this sort is our object: we are seeking the stuff which underlies all alike. We must therefore refuse to it all that we find in things of sense- not merely such attributes as colour, heat or cold, but weight or weightlessness, thickness or thinness, shape and therefore magnitude; though notice that to be present within magnitude and shape is very different from possessing these qualities.
It cannot be a compound, it must be a simplex, one distinct thing in its nature; only so can it be void of all quality. The Principle which gives it form gives this as something alien: so with magnitude and all really-existent things bestowed upon it. If, for example, it possessed a magnitude of its own, the Principle giving it form would be at the mercy of that magnitude and must produce not at will, but only within the limit of the Matter's capacity: to imagine that Will keeping step with its material is fantastic.
The Matter must be of later origin than the forming-power, and therefore must be at its disposition throughout, ready to become anything, ready therefore to any bulk; besides, if it possessed magnitude, it would necessarily possess shape also: it would be doubly inductile.
No: all that ever appears upon it is brought in by the Idea: the Idea alone possesses: to it belongs the magnitude and all else that goes with the Reason-Principle or follows upon it. Quantity is given with the Ideal-Form in all the particular species- man, bird, and particular kind of bird.
The imaging of Quantity upon Matter by an outside power is not more surprising than the imaging of Quality; Quality is no doubt a Reason-Principle, but Quantity also- being measure, number- is equally so.