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



Previous | Next
                  

Metaphysics   


this process cannot go on ad infinitum.-But, leaving these
arguments, let us insist on this, that it is not the same thing to
change in quantity and in quality. Grant that in quantity a thing is
not constant; still it is in respect of its form that we know each
thing.-And again, it would be fair to criticize those who hold this
view for asserting about the whole material universe what they saw
only in a minority even of sensible things. For only that region of
the sensible world which immediately surrounds us is always in process
of destruction and generation; but this is-so to speak-not even a
fraction of the whole, so that it would have been juster to acquit
this part of the world because of the other part, than to condemn
the other because of this.-And again, obviously we shall make to
them also the same reply that we made long ago; we must show them
and persuade them that there is something whose nature is
changeless. Indeed, those who say that things at the same time are and
are not, should in consequence say that all things are at rest
rather than that they are in movement; for there is nothing into which
they can change, since all attributes belong already to all subjects.
Regarding the nature of truth, we must maintain that not
everything which appears is true; firstly, because even if
sensation-at least of the object peculiar to the sense in
question-is not false, still appearance is not the same as
sensation.-Again, it is fair to express surprise at our opponents'
raising the question whether magnitudes are as great, and colours
are of such a nature, as they appear to people at a distance, or as
they appear to those close at hand, and whether they are such as
they appear to the healthy or to the sick, and whether those things
are heavy which appear so to the weak or those which appear so to
the strong, and those things true which appear to the slee ing or to
the waking. For obviously they do not think these to be open
questions; no one, at least, if when he is in Libya he has fancied one
night that he is in Athens, starts for the concert hall.-And again
with regard to the future, as Plato says, surely the opinion of the
physician and that of the ignorant man are not equally weighty, for
instance, on the question whether a man will get well or not.-And
again, among sensations themselves the sensation of a foreign object
and that of the appropriate object, or that of a kindred object and
that of the object of the sense in question, are not equally
authoritative, but in the case of colour sight, not taste, has the
authority, and in the case of flavour taste, not sight; each of
which senses never says at the same time of the same object that it
simultaneously is 'so and not so'.-But not even at different times
does one sense disagree about the quality, but only about that to
which the quality belongs. I mean, for instance, that the same wine
might seem, if either it or one's body changed, at one time sweet
and at another time not sweet; but at least the sweet, such as it is
when it exists, has never yet changed, but one is always right about
it, and that which is to be sweet is of necessity of such and such a
nature. Yet all these views destroy this necessity, leaving nothing to
be of necessity, as they leave no essence of anything; for the
necessary cannot be in this way and also in that, so that if
anything is of necessity, it will not be 'both so and not so'.
And, in general, if only the sensible exists, there would be
nothing if animate things were not; for there would be no faculty of
sense. Now the view that neither the sensible qualities nor the
sensations would exist is doubtless true (for they are affections of
the perceiver), but that the substrata which cause the sensation
should not exist even apart from sensation is impossible. For
sensation is surely not the sensation of itself, but there is
something beyond the sensation, which must be prior to the
sensation; for that which moves is prior in nature to that which is
moved, and if they are correlative terms, this is no less the case.
6

Previous | Next
Site Search