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Metaphysics   


is not expressly predicated of another (e.g. when we inquire 'what man
is'), because we do not distinguish and do not say definitely that
certain elements make up a certain whole. But we must articulate our
meaning before we begin to inquire; if not, the inquiry is on the
border-line between being a search for something and a search for
nothing. Since we must have the existence of the thing as something
given, clearly the question is why the matter is some definite
thing; e.g. why are these materials a house? Because that which was
the essence of a house is present. And why is this individual thing,
or this body having this form, a man? Therefore what we seek is the
cause, i.e. the form, by reason of which the matter is some definite
thing; and this is the substance of the thing. Evidently, then, in the
case of simple terms no inquiry nor teaching is possible; our attitude
towards such things is other than that of inquiry.
Since that which is compounded out of something so that the
whole is one, not like a heap but like a syllable-now the syllable
is not its elements, ba is not the same as b and a, nor is flesh
fire and earth (for when these are separated the wholes, i.e. the
flesh and the syllable, no longer exist, but the elements of the
syllable exist, and so do fire and earth); the syllable, then, is
something-not only its elements (the vowel and the consonant) but also
something else, and the flesh is not only fire and earth or the hot
and the cold, but also something else:-if, then, that something must
itself be either an element or composed of elements, (1) if it is an
element the same argument will again apply; for flesh will consist
of this and fire and earth and something still further, so that the
process will go on to infinity. But (2) if it is a compound, clearly
it will be a compound not of one but of more than one (or else that
one will be the thing itself), so that again in this case we can use
the same argument as in the case of flesh or of the syllable. But it
would seem that this 'other' is something, and not an element, and
that it is the cause which makes this thing flesh and that a syllable.
And similarly in all other cases. And this is the substance of each
thing (for this is the primary cause of its being); and since, while
some things are not substances, as many as are substances are formed
in accordance with a nature of their own and by a process of nature,
their substance would seem to be this kind of 'nature', which is not
an element but a principle. An element, on the other hand, is that
into which a thing is divided and which is present in it as matter;
e.g. a and b are the elements of the syllable.

Book VIII
1

WE must reckon up the results arising from what has been said, and
compute the sum of them, and put the finishing touch to our inquiry.
We have said that the causes, principles, and elements of substances
are the object of our search. And some substances are recognized by
every one, but some have been advocated by particular schools. Those
generally recognized are the natural substances, i.e. fire, earth,
water, air, &c., the simple bodies; second plants and their parts, and
animals and the parts of animals; and finally the physical universe
and its parts; while some particular schools say that Forms and the
objects of mathematics are substances. But there are arguments which
lead to the conclusion that there are other substances, the essence
and the substratum. Again, in another way the genus seems more
substantial than the various spccies, and the universal than the
particulars. And with the universal and the genus the Ideas are
connected; it is in virtue of the same argument that they are
thought to be substances. And since the essence is substance, and
the definition is a formula of the essence, for this reason we have
discussed definition and essential predication. Since the definition
is a formula, and a formula has parts, we had to consider also with
respect to the notion of 'part', what are parts of the substance and

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