"The idea that only substances can produce changes goes back to Aristotle. In Plato and the pre-Socratics however, the causal efficacy of principles is recognized (e.g. the love and strife of Empedocles)."
"There is no discernible reason why an existential fact cannot be grounded in nonexistential ones, why substantial things cannot be explained on the basis of some nonsubstantival circumstance or principle...Modern science teaches living organisms from complexes of inorganic molecules. If such a principle fails as regards matter and life, need it hold for substance?"
- Nicholas Rescher, A System of Pragmatic Idealism (Vol. 3: Metaphilosophical Inquiries)