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Metaphysics   


matter of the animal that is itself in virtue of its corruption the
potency and matter of a corpse, and it is water that is the matter
of vinegar. For the corpse comes from the animal, and vinegar from
wine, as night from day. And all the things which change thus into one
another must go back to their matter; e.g. if from a corpse is
produced an animal, the corpse first goes back to its matter, and only
then becomes an animal; and vinegar first goes back to water, and only
then becomes wine.
6

To return to the difficulty which has been stated with respect
both to definitions and to numbers, what is the cause of their
unity? In the case of all things which have several parts and in which
the totality is not, as it were, a mere heap, but the whole is
something beside the parts, there is a cause; for even in bodies
contact is the cause of unity in some cases, and in others viscosity
or some other such quality. And a definition is a set of words which
is one not by being connected together, like the Iliad, but by dealing
with one object.-What then, is it that makes man one; why is he one
and not many, e.g. animal + biped, especially if there are, as some
say, an animal-itself and a biped-itself? Why are not those Forms
themselves the man, so that men would exist by participation not in
man, nor in-one Form, but in two, animal and biped, and in general man
would be not one but more than one thing, animal and biped?
Clearly, then, if people proceed thus in their usual manner of
definition and speech, they cannot explain and solve the difficulty.
But if, as we say, one element is matter and another is form, and
one is potentially and the other actually, the question will no longer
be thought a difficulty. For this difficulty is the same as would
arise if 'round bronze' were the definition of 'cloak'; for this
word would be a sign of the definitory formula, so that the question
is, what is the cause of the unity of 'round' and 'bronze'? The
difficulty disappears, because the one is matter, the other form.
What, then, causes this-that which was potentially to be
actually-except, in the case of things which are generated, the agent?
For there is no other cause of the potential sphere's becoming
actually a sphere, but this was the essence of either. Of matter
some is intelligible, some perceptible, and in a formula there is
always an element of matter as well as one of actuality; e.g. the
circle is 'a plane figure'. But of the things which have no matter,
either intelligible or perceptible, each is by its nature
essentially a kind of unity, as it is essentially a kind of
being-individual substance, quality, or quantity (and so neither
'existent' nor 'one' is present in their definitions), and the essence
of each of them is by its very nature a kind of unity as it is a
kind of being-and so none of these has any reason outside itself,
for being one, nor for being a kind of being; for each is by its
nature a kind of being and a kind of unity, not as being in the
genus 'being' or 'one' nor in the sense that being and unity can exist
apart from particulars.
Owing to the difficulty about unity some speak of 'participation',
and raise the question, what is the cause of participation and what is
it to participate; and others speak of 'communion', as Lycophron
says knowledge is a communion of knowing with the soul; and others say
life is a 'composition' or 'connexion' of soul with body. Yet the same
account applies to all cases; for being healthy, too, will on this
showing be either a 'communion' or a 'connexion' or a 'composition' of
soul and health, and the fact that the bronze is a triangle will be
a 'composition' of bronze and triangle, and the fact that a thing is
white will be a 'composition' of surface and whiteness. The reason
is that people look for a unifying formula, and a difference,
between potency and complete reality. But, as has been said, the
proximate matter and the form are one and the same thing, the one
potentially, and the other actually. Therefore it is like asking

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