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Metaphysics   


concepts we named above, the other and the dissimilar and the unequal,
and everything else which is derived either from these or from
plurality and unity, must fall within the province of the science
above named. And contrariety is one of these concepts; for contrariety
is a kind of difference, and difference is a kind of otherness.
Therefore, since there are many senses in which a thing is said to
be one, these terms also will have many senses, but yet it belongs
to one science to know them all; for a term belongs to different
sciences not if it has different senses, but if it has not one meaning
and its definitions cannot be referred to one central meaning. And
since all things are referred to that which is primary, as for
instance all things which are called one are referred to the primary
one, we must say that this holds good also of the same and the other
and of contraries in general; so that after distinguishing the various
senses of each, we must then explain by reference to what is primary
in the case of each of the predicates in question, saying how they are
related to it; for some will be called what they are called because
they possess it, others because they produce it, and others in other
such ways.
It is evident, then, that it belongs to one science to be able
to give an account of these concepts as well as of substance (this was
one of the questions in our book of problems), and that it is the
function of the philosopher to be able to investigate all things.
For if it is not the function of the philosopher, who is it who will
inquire whether Socrates and Socrates seated are the same thing, or
whether one thing has one contrary, or what contrariety is, or how
many meanings it has? And similarly with all other such questions.
Since, then, these are essential modifications of unity qua unity
and of being qua being, not qua numbers or lines or fire, it is
clear that it belongs to this science to investigate both the
essence of these concepts and their properties. And those who study
these properties err not by leaving the sphere of philosophy, but by
forgetting that substance, of which they have no correct idea, is
prior to these other things. For number qua number has peculiar
attributes, such as oddness and evenness, commensurability and
equality, excess and defect, and these belong to numbers either in
themselves or in relation to one another. And similarly the solid
and the motionless and that which is in motion and the weightless
and that which has weight have other peculiar properties. So too there
are certain properties peculiar to being as such, and it is about
these that the philosopher has to investigate the truth.-An indication
of this may be mentioned: dialecticians and sophists assume the same
guise as the philosopher, for sophistic is Wisdom which exists only in
semblance, and dialecticians embrace all things in their dialectic,
and being is common to all things; but evidently their dialectic
embraces these subjects because these are proper to philosophy.-For
sophistic and dialectic turn on the same class of things as
philosophy, but this differs from dialectic in the nature of the
faculty required and from sophistic in respect of the purpose of the
philosophic life. Dialectic is merely critical where philosophy claims
to know, and sophistic is what appears to be philosophy but is not.
Again, in the list of contraries one of the two columns is
privative, and all contraries are reducible to being and non-being,
and to unity and plurality, as for instance rest belongs to unity
and movement to plurality. And nearly all thinkers agree that being
and substance are composed of contraries; at least all name contraries
as their first principles-some name odd and even, some hot and cold,
some limit and the unlimited, some love and strife. And all the others
as well are evidently reducible to unity and plurality (this reduction
we must take for granted), and the principles stated by other thinkers
fall entirely under these as their genera. It is obvious then from
these considerations too that it belongs to one science to examine
being qua being. For all things are either contraries or composed of
contraries, and unity and plurality are the starting-points of all

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