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



Previous | Next
                  

Metaphysics   


not commensurate, but that which exceeds is, in relation to that which
is exceeded, so much and something more; and this something is
indefinite; for it can, indifferently, be either equal or not equal to
that which is exceeded.-All these relations, then, are numerically
expressed and are determinations of number, and so in another way
are the equal and the like and the same. For all refer to unity. Those
things are the same whose substance is one; those are like whose
quality is one; those are equal whose quantity is one; and 1 is the
beginning and measure of number, so that all these relations imply
number, though not in the same way.
(2) Things that are active or passive imply an active or a passive
potency and the actualizations of the potencies; e.g. that which is
capable of heating is related to that which is capable of being
heated, because it can heat it, and, again, that which heats is
related to that which is heated and that which cuts to that which is
cut, in the sense that they actually do these things. But numerical
relations are not actualized except in the sense which has been
elsewhere stated; actualizations in the sense of movement they have
not. Of relations which imply potency some further imply particular
periods of time, e.g. that which has made is relative to that which
has been made, and that which will make to that which will be made.
For it is in this way that a father is called the father of his son;
for the one has acted and the other has been acted on in a certain
way. Further, some relative terms imply privation of potency, i.e.
'incapable' and terms of this sort, e.g. 'invisible'.
Relative terms which imply number or potency, therefore, are all
relative because their very essence includes in its nature a reference
to something else, not because something else involves a reference
to it; but (3) that which is measurable or knowable or thinkable is
called relative because something else involves a reference to it. For
'that which is thinkable' implies that the thought of it is
possible, but the thought is not relative to 'that of which it is
the thought'; for we should then have said the same thing twice.
Similarly sight is the sight of something, not 'of that of which it is
the sight' (though of course it is true to say this); in fact it is
relative to colour or to something else of the sort. But according
to the other way of speaking the same thing would be said
twice,-'the sight is of that of which it is.'
Things that are by their own nature called relative are called
so sometimes in these senses, sometimes if the classes that include
them are of this sort; e.g. medicine is a relative term because its
genus, science, is thought to be a relative term. Further, there are
the properties in virtue of which the things that have them are called
relative, e.g. equality is relative because the equal is, and likeness
because the like is. Other things are relative by accident; e.g. a man
is relative because he happens to be double of something and double is
a relative term; or the white is relative, if the same thing happens
to be double and white.
16

What is called 'complete' is (1) that outside which it is not
possible to find any, even one, of its parts; e.g. the complete time
of each thing is that outside which it is not possible to find any
time which is a part proper to it.-(2) That which in respect of
excellence and goodness cannot be excelled in its kind; e.g. we have a
complete doctor or a complete flute-player, when they lack nothing
in respect of the form of their proper excellence. And thus,
transferring the word to bad things, we speak of a complete
scandal-monger and a complete thief; indeed we even call them good,
i.e. a good thief and a good scandal-monger. And excellence is a
completion; for each thing is complete and every substance is
complete, when in respect of the form of its proper excellence it
lacks no part of its natural magnitude.-(3) The things which have
attained their end, this being good, are called complete; for things

Previous | Next
Site Search