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Metaphysics   


the customary that is intelligible. The force of habit is shown by the
laws, in which the legendary and childish elements prevail over our
knowledge about them, owing to habit. Thus some people do not listen
to a speaker unless he speaks mathematically, others unless he gives
instances, while others expect him to cite a poet as witness. And some
want to have everything done accurately, while others are annoyed by
accuracy, either because they cannot follow the connexion of thought
or because they regard it as pettifoggery. For accuracy has
something of this character, so that as in trade so in argument some
people think it mean. Hence one must be already trained to know how to
take each sort of argument, since it is absurd to seek at the same
time knowledge and the way of attaining knowledge; and it is not
easy to get even one of the two.
The minute accuracy of mathematics is not to be demanded in all
cases, but only in the case of things which have no matter. Hence
method is not that of natural science; for presumably the whole of
nature has matter. Hence we must inquire first what nature is: for
thus we shall also see what natural science treats of (and whether
it belongs to one science or to more to investigate the causes and the
principles of things).

Book III
1

WE must, with a view to the science which we are seeking, first
recount the subjects that should be first discussed. These include
both the other opinions that some have held on the first principles,
and any point besides these that happens to have been overlooked.
For those who wish to get clear of difficulties it is advantageous
to discuss the difficulties well; for the subsequent free play of
thought implies the solution of the previous difficulties, and it is
not possible to untie a knot of which one does not know. But the
difficulty of our thinking points to a 'knot' in the object; for in so
far as our thought is in difficulties, it is in like case with those
who are bound; for in either case it is impossible to go forward.
Hence one should have surveyed all the difficulties beforehand, both
for the purposes we have stated and because people who inquire without
first stating the difficulties are like those who do not know where
they have to go; besides, a man does not otherwise know even whether
he has at any given time found what he is looking for or not; for
the end is not clear to such a man, while to him who has first
discussed the difficulties it is clear. Further, he who has heard
all the contending arguments, as if they were the parties to a case,
must be in a better position for judging.
The first problem concerns the subject which we discussed in our
prefatory remarks. It is this-(1) whether the investigation of the
causes belongs to one or to more sciences, and (2) whether such a
science should survey only the first principles of substance, or
also the principles on which all men base their proofs, e.g. whether
it is possible at the same time to assert and deny one and the same
thing or not, and all other such questions; and (3) if the science
in question deals with substance, whether one science deals with all
substances, or more than one, and if more, whether all are akin, or
some of them must be called forms of Wisdom and the others something
else. And (4) this itself is also one of the things that must be
discussed-whether sensible substances alone should be said to exist or
others also besides them, and whether these others are of one kind
or there are several classes of substances, as is supposed by those
who believe both in Forms and in mathematical objects intermediate
between these and sensible things. Into these questions, then, as we
say, we must inquire, and also (5) whether our investigation is
concerned only with substances or also with the essential attributes
of substances. Further, with regard to the same and other and like and
unlike and contrariety, and with regard to prior and posterior and all

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