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Metaphysics   


musical has come to be lettered, he must also have been lettered and
have come to be musical, and all the other arguments of this sort; the
accidental is obviously akin to non-being. And this is clear also from
arguments such as the following: things which are in another sense
come into being and pass out of being by a process, but things which
are accidentally do not. But still we must, as far as we can, say
further, regarding the accidental, what its nature is and from what
cause it proceeds; for it will perhaps at the same time become clear
why there is no science of it.
Since, among things which are, some are always in the same state
and are of necessity (not necessity in the sense of compulsion but
that which we assert of things because they cannot be otherwise),
and some are not of necessity nor always, but for the most part,
this is the principle and this the cause of the existence of the
accidental; for that which is neither always nor for the most part, we
call accidental. For instance, if in the dog-days there is wintry
and cold weather, we say this is an accident, but not if there is
sultry heat, because the latter is always or for the most part so, but
not the former. And it is an accident that a man is pale (for this
is neither always nor for the most part so), but it is not by accident
that he is an animal. And that the builder produces health is an
accident, because it is the nature not of the builder but of the
doctor to do this,-but the builder happened to be a doctor. Again, a
confectioner, aiming at giving pleasure, may make something wholesome,
but not in virtue of the confectioner's art; and therefore we say
'it was an accident', and while there is a sense in which he makes it,
in the unqualified sense he does not. For to other things answer
faculties productive of them, but to accidental results there
corresponds no determinate art nor faculty; for of things which are or
come to be by accident, the cause also is accidental. Therefore, since
not all things either are or come to be of necessity and always,
but, the majority of things are for the most part, the accidental must
exist; for instance a pale man is not always nor for the most part
musical, but since this sometimes happens, it must be accidental (if
not, everything will be of necessity). The matter, therefore, which is
capable of being otherwise than as it usually is, must be the cause of
the accidental. And we must take as our starting-point the question
whether there is nothing that is neither always nor for the most part.
Surely this is impossible. There is, then, besides these something
which is fortuitous and accidental. But while the usual exists, can
nothing be said to be always, or are there eternal things? This must
be considered later,' but that there is no science of the accidental
is obvious; for all science is either of that which is always or of
that which is for the most part. (For how else is one to learn or to
teach another? The thing must be determined as occurring either always
or for the most part, e.g. that honey-water is useful for a patient in
a fever is true for the most part.) But that which is contrary to
the usual law science will be unable to state, i.e. when the thing
does not happen, e.g.'on the day of new moon'; for even that which
happens on the day of new moon happens then either always or for the
most part; but the accidental is contrary to such laws. We have
stated, then, what the accidental is, and from what cause it arises,
and that there is no science which deals with it.
3

That there are principles and causes which are generable and
destructible without ever being in course of being generated or
destroyed, is obvious. For otherwise all things will be of
necessity, since that which is being generated or destroyed must
have a cause which is not accidentally its cause. Will A exist or not?
It will if B happens; and if not, not. And B will exist if C
happens. And thus if time is constantly subtracted from a limited
extent of time, one will obviously come to the present. This man,
then, will die by violence, if he goes out; and he will do this if

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