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



Previous | Next
                  

Metaphysics   


comes from another in two senses, either because it will be found at a
later stage, or because it is produced if the other is analysed into
its original constituents. When the matter is one, different things
may be produced owing to difference in the moving cause; e.g. from
wood may be made both a chest and a bed. But some different things
must have their matter different; e.g. a saw could not be made of
wood, nor is this in the power of the moving cause; for it could not
make a saw of wool or of wood. But if, as a matter of fact, the same
thing can be made of different material, clearly the art, i.e. the
moving principle, is the same; for if both the matter and the moving
cause were different, the product would be so too.
When one inquires into the cause of something, one should, since
'causes' are spoken of in several senses, state all the possible
causes. what is the material cause of man? Shall we say 'the menstrual
fluid'? What is moving cause? Shall we say 'the seed'? The formal
cause? His essence. The final cause? His end. But perhaps the latter
two are the same.-It is the proximate causes we must state. What is
the material cause? We must name not fire or earth, but the matter
peculiar to the thing.
Regarding the substances that are natural and generable, if the
causes are really these and of this number and we have to learn the
causes, we must inquire thus, if we are to inquire rightly. But in the
case of natural but eternal substances another account must be
given. For perhaps some have no matter, or not matter of this sort but
only such as can be moved in respect of place. Nor does matter
belong to those things which exist by nature but are not substances;
their substratum is the substance. E.g what is the cause of eclipse?
What is its matter? There is none; the moon is that which suffers
eclipse. What is the moving cause which extinguished the light? The
earth. The final cause perhaps does not exist. The formal principle is
the definitory formula, but this is obscure if it does not include the
cause. E.g. what is eclipse? Deprivation of light. But if we add 'by
the earth's coming in between', this is the formula which includes the
cause. In the case of sleep it is not clear what it is that
proximately has this affection. Shall we say that it is the animal?
Yes, but the animal in virtue of what, i.e. what is the proximate
subject? The heart or some other part. Next, by what is it produced?
Next, what is the affection-that of the proximate subject, not of
the whole animal? Shall we say that it is immobility of such and
such a kind? Yes, but to what process in the proximate subject is this
due?
5

Since some things are and are not, without coming to be and
ceasing to be, e.g. points, if they can be said to be, and in
general forms (for it is not 'white' comes to be, but the wood comes
to be white, if everything that comes to be comes from something and
comes to be something), not all contraries can come from one
another, but it is in different senses that a pale man comes from a
dark man, and pale comes from dark. Nor has everything matter, but
only those things which come to be and change into one another.
Those things which, without ever being in course of changing, are or
are not, have no matter.
There is difficulty in the question how the matter of each thing
is related to its contrary states. E.g. if the body is potentially
healthy, and disease is contrary to health, is it potentially both
healthy and diseased? And is water potentially wine and vinegar? We
answer that it is the matter of one in virtue of its positive state
and its form, and of the other in virtue of the privation of its
positive state and the corruption of it contrary to its nature. It
is also hard to say why wine is not said to be the matter of vinegar
nor potentially vinegar (though vinegar is produced from it), and
why a living man is not said to be potentially dead. In fact they
are not, but the corruptions in question are accidental, and it is the

Previous | Next
Site Search