Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Aristotle
Pages of Metaphysics



Previous | Next
                  

Metaphysics   


everything, except the One; for all things excepting God proceed
from strife. At least he says:-

From which all that was and is and will be hereafter-
Trees, and men and women, took their growth,
And beasts and birds and water-nourished fish,
And long-aged gods.

The implication is evident even apart from these words; for if
strife had not been present in things, all things would have been one,
according to him; for when they have come together, 'then strife stood
outermost.' Hence it also follows on his theory that God most
blessed is less wise than all others; for he does not know all the
elements; for he has in him no strife, and knowledge is of the like by
the like. 'For by earth,' he says,

we see earth, by water water,
By ether godlike ether, by fire wasting fire,
Love by love, and strife by gloomy strife.


But-and this is the point we started from this at least is
evident, that on his theory it follows that strife is as much the
cause of existence as of destruction. And similarly love is not
specially the cause of existence; for in collecting things into the
One it destroys all other things. And at the same time Empedocles
mentions no cause of the change itself, except that things are so by
nature.

But when strife at last waxed great in the limbs of the
Sphere,
And sprang to assert its rights as the time was fulfilled
Which is fixed for them in turn by a mighty oath.

This implies that change was necessary; but he shows no cause of
the necessity. But yet so far at least he alone speaks consistently;
for he does not make some things perishable and others imperishable,
but makes all perishable except the elements. The difficulty we are
speaking of now is, why some things are perishable and others are not,
if they consist of the same principles.
Let this suffice as proof of the fact that the principles cannot
be the same. But if there are different principles, one difficulty
is whether these also will be imperishable or perishable. For if
they are perishable, evidently these also must consist of certain
elements (for all things that perish, perish by being resolved into
the elements of which they consist); so that it follows that prior
to the principles there are other principles. But this is
impossible, whether the process has a limit or proceeds to infinity.
Further, how will perishable things exist, if their principles are
to be annulled? But if the principles are imperishable, why will
things composed of some imperishable principles be perishable, while
those composed of the others are imperishable? This is not probable,
but is either impossible or needs much proof. Further, no one has even
tried to maintain different principles; they maintain the same
principles for all things. But they swallow the difficulty we stated
first as if they took it to be something trifling.
(11) The inquiry that is both the hardest of all and the most
necessary for knowledge of the truth is whether being and unity are
the substances of things, and whether each of them, without being
anything else, is being or unity respectively, or we must inquire what
being and unity are, with the implication that they have some other
underlying nature. For some people think they are of the former,
others think they are of the latter character. Plato and the
Pythagoreans thought being and unity were nothing else, but this was

Previous | Next
Site Search