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Metaphysics   


nor a compound, but is the substance; but this people eliminate, and
state only the matter. If, then, this is the cause of the thing's
being, and if the cause of its being is its substance, they will not
be stating the substance itself.
(This, then, must either be eternal or it must be destructible
without being ever in course of being destroyed, and must have come to
be without ever being in course of coming to be. But it has been
proved and explained elsewhere that no one makes or begets the form,
but it is the individual that is made, i.e. the complex of form and
matter that is generated. Whether the substances of destructible
things can exist apart, is not yet at all clear; except that obviously
this is impossible in some cases-in the case of things which cannot
exist apart from the individual instances, e.g. house or utensil.
Perhaps, indeed, neither these things themselves, nor any of the other
things which are not formed by nature, are substances at all; for
one might say that the nature in natural objects is the only substance
to be found in destructible things.)
Therefore the difficulty which used to be raised by the school
of Antisthenes and other such uneducated people has a certain
timeliness. They said that the 'what' cannot be defined (for the
definition so called is a 'long rigmarole') but of what sort a
thing, e.g. silver, is, they thought it possible actually to
explain, not saying what it is, but that it is like tin. Therefore one
kind of substance can be defined and formulated, i.e. the composite
kind, whether it be perceptible or intelligible; but the primary parts
of which this consists cannot be defined, since a definitory formula
predicates something of something, and one part of the definition must
play the part of matter and the other that of form.
It is also obvious that, if substances are in a sense numbers,
they are so in this sense and not, as some say, as numbers of units.
For a definition is a sort of number; for (1) it is divisible, and
into indivisible parts (for definitory formulae are not infinite), and
number also is of this nature. And (2) as, when one of the parts of
which a number consists has been taken from or added to the number, it
is no longer the same number, but a different one, even if it is the
very smallest part that has been taken away or added, so the
definition and the essence will no longer remain when anything has
been taken away or added. And (3) the number must be something in
virtue of which it is one, and this these thinkers cannot state,
what makes it one, if it is one (for either it is not one but a sort
of heap, or if it is, we ought to say what it is that makes one out of
many); and the definition is one, but similarly they cannot say what
makes it one. And this is a natural result; for the same reason is
applicable, and substance is one in the sense which we have explained,
and not, as some say, by being a sort of unit or point; each is a
complete reality and a definite nature. And (4) as number does not
admit of the more and the less, neither does substance, in the sense
of form, but if any substance does, it is only the substance which
involves matter. Let this, then, suffice for an account of the
generation and destruction of so-called substances in what sense it is
possible and in what sense impossible--and of the reduction of
things to number.
4

Regarding material substance we must not forget that even if all
things come from the same first cause or have the same things for
their first causes, and if the same matter serves as starting-point
for their generation, yet there is a matter proper to each, e.g. for
phlegm the sweet or the fat, and for bile the bitter, or something
else; though perhaps these come from the same original matter. And
there come to be several matters for the same thing, when the one
matter is matter for the other; e.g. phlegm comes from the fat and
from the sweet, if the fat comes from the sweet; and it comes from
bile by analysis of the bile into its ultimate matter. For one thing

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