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movement-they always have matter), it is clear how we must seek and
define the 'what' in the case of natural objects, and also that it
belongs to the student of nature to study even soul in a certain
sense, i.e. so much of it as is not independent of matter.
That physics, then, is a theoretical science, is plain from
these considerations. Mathematics also, however, is theoretical; but
whether its objects are immovable and separable from matter, is not at
present clear; still, it is clear that some mathematical theorems
consider them qua immovable and qua separable from matter. But if
there is something which is eternal and immovable and separable,
clearly the knowledge of it belongs to a theoretical science,-not,
however, to physics (for physics deals with certain movable things)
nor to mathematics, but to a science prior to both. For physics
deals with things which exist separately but are not immovable, and
some parts of mathematics deal with things which are immovable but
presumably do not exist separately, but as embodied in matter; while
the first science deals with things which both exist separately and
are immovable. Now all causes must be eternal, but especially these;
for they are the causes that operate on so much of the divine as
appears to us. There must, then, be three theoretical philosophies,
mathematics, physics, and what we may call theology, since it is
obvious that if the divine is present anywhere, it is present in
things of this sort. And the highest science must deal with the
highest genus. Thus, while the theoretical sciences are more to be
desired than the other sciences, this is more to be desired than the
other theoretical sciences. For one might raise the question whether
first philosophy is universal, or deals with one genus, i.e. some
one kind of being; for not even the mathematical sciences are all
alike in this respect,-geometry and astronomy deal with a certain
particular kind of thing, while universal mathematics applies alike to
all. We answer that if there is no substance other than those which
are formed by nature, natural science will be the first science; but
if there is an immovable substance, the science of this must be
prior and must be first philosophy, and universal in this way, because
it is first. And it will belong to this to consider being qua
being-both what it is and the attributes which belong to it qua being.

But since the unqualified term 'being' has several meanings, of
which one was seen' to be the accidental, and another the true
('non-being' being the false), while besides these there are the
figures of predication (e.g. the 'what', quality, quantity, place,
time, and any similar meanings which 'being' may have), and again
besides all these there is that which 'is' potentially or
actually:-since 'being' has many meanings, we must say regarding the
accidental, that there can be no scientific treatment of it. This is
confirmed by the fact that no science practical, productive, or
theoretical troubles itself about it. For on the one hand he who
produces a house does not produce all the attributes that come into
being along with the house; for these are innumerable; the house
that has been made may quite well be pleasant for some people, hurtful
for some, and useful to others, and different-to put it shortly from
all things that are; and the science of building does not aim at
producing any of these attributes. And in the same way the geometer
does not consider the attributes which attach thus to figures, nor
whether 'triangle' is different from 'triangle whose angles are
equal to two right angles'.-And this happens naturally enough; for the
accidental is practically a mere name. And so Plato was in a sense not
wrong in ranking sophistic as dealing with that which is not. For
the arguments of the sophists deal, we may say, above all with the
accidental; e.g. the question whether 'musical' and 'lettered' are
different or the same, and whether 'musical Coriscus' and 'Coriscus'
are the same, and whether 'everything which is, but is not eternal,
has come to be', with the paradoxical conclusion that if one who was

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