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Metaphysics   


out of that which is not. Further, if generation and movement exist
there must also be a limit; for no movement is infinite, but every
movement has an end, and that which is incapable of completing its
coming to be cannot be in process of coming to be; and that which
has completed its coming to be must he as soon as it has come to be.
Further, since the matter exists, because it is ungenerated, it is a
fortiori reasonable that the substance or essence, that which the
matter is at any time coming to be, should exist; for if neither
essence nor matter is to be, nothing will be at all, and since this is
impossible there must be something besides the concrete thing, viz.
the shape or form.
But again (B) if we are to suppose this, it is hard to say in
which cases we are to suppose it and in which not. For evidently it is
not possible to suppose it in all cases; we could not suppose that
there is a house besides the particular houses.-Besides this, will the
substance of all the individuals, e.g. of all men, be one? This is
paradoxical, for all the things whose substance is one are one. But
are the substances many and different? This also is unreasonable.-At
the same time, how does the matter become each of the individuals, and
how is the concrete thing these two elements?
(9) Again, one might ask the following question also about the
first principles. If they are one in kind only, nothing will be
numerically one, not even unity-itself and being-itself; and how
will knowing exist, if there is not to be something common to a
whole set of individuals?
But if there is a common element which is numerically one, and
each of the principles is one, and the principles are not as in the
case of perceptible things different for different things (e.g.
since this particular syllable is the same in kind whenever it occurs,
the elements it are also the same in kind; only in kind, for these
also, like the syllable, are numerically different in different
contexts),-if it is not like this but the principles of things are
numerically one, there will be nothing else besides the elements
(for there is no difference of meaning between 'numerically one' and
'individual'; for this is just what we mean by the individual-the
numerically one, and by the universal we mean that which is predicable
of the individuals). Therefore it will be just as if the elements of
articulate sound were limited in number; all the language in the world
would be confined to the ABC, since there could not be two or more
letters of the same kind.
(10) One difficulty which is as great as any has been neglected
both by modern philosophers and by their predecessors-whether the
principles of perishable and those of imperishable things are the same
or different. If they are the same, how are some things perishable and
others imperishable, and for what reason? The school of Hesiod and all
the theologians thought only of what was plausible to themselves,
and had no regard to us. For, asserting the first principles to be
gods and born of gods, they say that the beings which did not taste of
nectar and ambrosia became mortal; and clearly they are using words
which are familiar to themselves, yet what they have said about the
very application of these causes is above our comprehension. For if
the gods taste of nectar and ambrosia for their pleasure, these are in
no wise the causes of their existence; and if they taste them to
maintain their existence, how can gods who need food be eternal?-But
into the subtleties of the mythologists it is not worth our while to
inquire seriously; those, however, who use the language of proof we
must cross-examine and ask why, after all, things which consist of the
same elements are, some of them, eternal in nature, while others
perish. Since these philosophers mention no cause, and it is
unreasonable that things should be as they say, evidently the
principles or causes of things cannot be the same. Even the man whom
one might suppose to speak most consistently-Empedocles, even he has
made the same mistake; for he maintains that strife is a principle
that causes destruction, but even strife would seem no less to produce

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