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Metaphysics   


something not predicated of a subject (by 'being shared in
incidentally' I mean that e.g. if a thing shares in 'double itself',
it shares also in 'eternal', but incidentally; for 'eternal' happens
to be predicable of the 'double'). Therefore the Forms will be
substance; but the same terms indicate substance in this and in the
ideal world (or what will be the meaning of saying that there is
something apart from the particulars-the one over many?). And if the
Ideas and the particulars that share in them have the same form, there
will be something common to these; for why should '2' be one and the
same in the perishable 2's or in those which are many but eternal, and
not the same in the '2' itself' as in the particular 2? But if they
have not the same form, they must have only the name in common, and it
is as if one were to call both Callias and a wooden image a 'man',
without observing any community between them.
Above all one might discuss the question what on earth the Forms
contribute to sensible things, either to those that are eternal or
to those that come into being and cease to be. For they cause
neither movement nor any change in them. But again they help in no
wise either towards the knowledge of the other things (for they are
not even the substance of these, else they would have been in them),
or towards their being, if they are not in the particulars which share
in them; though if they were, they might be thought to be causes, as
white causes whiteness in a white object by entering into its
composition. But this argument, which first Anaxagoras and later
Eudoxus and certain others used, is very easily upset; for it is not
difficult to collect many insuperable objections to such a view.
But, further, all other things cannot come from the Forms in any
of the usual senses of 'from'. And to say that they are patterns and
the other things share in them is to use empty words and poetical
metaphors. For what is it that works, looking to the Ideas? And
anything can either be, or become, like another without being copied
from it, so that whether Socrates or not a man Socrates like might
come to be; and evidently this might be so even if Socrates were
eternal. And there will be several patterns of the same thing, and
therefore several Forms; e.g. 'animal' and 'two-footed' and also
'man himself' will be Forms of man. Again, the Forms are patterns
not only sensible things, but of Forms themselves also; i.e. the
genus, as genus of various species, will be so; therefore the same
thing will be pattern and copy.
Again, it would seem impossible that the substance and that of
which it is the substance should exist apart; how, therefore, could
the Ideas, being the substances of things, exist apart? In the Phaedo'
the case is stated in this way-that the Forms are causes both of being
and of becoming; yet when the Forms exist, still the things that share
in them do not come into being, unless there is something to originate
movement; and many other things come into being (e.g. a house or a
ring) of which we say there are no Forms. Clearly, therefore, even the
other things can both be and come into being owing to such causes as
produce the things just mentioned.
Again, if the Forms are numbers, how can they be causes? Is it
because existing things are other numbers, e.g. one number is man,
another is Socrates, another Callias? Why then are the one set of
numbers causes of the other set? It will not make any difference
even if the former are eternal and the latter are not. But if it is
because things in this sensible world (e.g. harmony) are ratios of
numbers, evidently the things between which they are ratios are some
one class of things. If, then, this--the matter--is some definite
thing, evidently the numbers themselves too will be ratios of
something to something else. E.g. if Callias is a numerical ratio
between fire and earth and water and air, his Idea also will be a
number of certain other underlying things; and man himself, whether it
is a number in a sense or not, will still be a numerical ratio of
certain things and not a number proper, nor will it be a of number
merely because it is a numerical ratio.

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