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Metaphysics   


things which are from the beginning, i.e. in eternal things, there
is nothing bad, nothing defective, nothing perverted (for perversion
is something bad).
It is an activity also that geometrical constructions are
discovered; for we find them by dividing. If the figures had been
already divided, the constructions would have been obvious; but as
it is they are present only potentially. Why are the angles of the
triangle equal to two right angles? Because the angles about one point
are equal to two right angles. If, then, the line parallel to the side
had been already drawn upwards, the reason would have been evident
to any one as soon as he saw the figure. Why is the angle in a
semicircle in all cases a right angle? If three lines are equal the
two which form the base, and the perpendicular from the centre-the
conclusion is evident at a glance to one who knows the former
proposition. Obviously, therefore, the potentially existing
constructions are discovered by being brought to actuality; the reason
is that the geometer's thinking is an actuality; so that the potency
proceeds from an actuality; and therefore it is by making
constructions that people come to know them (though the single
actuality is later in generation than the corresponding potency).
(See diagram.)
10

The terms 'being' and 'non-being' are employed firstly with
reference to the categories, and secondly with reference to the
potency or actuality of these or their non-potency or nonactuality,
and thirdly in the sense of true and false. This depends, on the
side of the objects, on their being combined or separated, so that
he who thinks the separated to be separated and the combined to be
combined has the truth, while he whose thought is in a state
contrary to that of the objects is in error. This being so, when is
what is called truth or falsity present, and when is it not? We must
consider what we mean by these terms. It is not because we think truly
that you are pale, that you are pale, but because you are pale we
who say this have the truth. If, then, some things are always combined
and cannot be separated, and others are always separated and cannot be
combined, while others are capable either of combination or of
separation, 'being' is being combined and one, and 'not being' is
being not combined but more than one. Regarding contingent facts,
then, the same opinion or the same statement comes to be false and
true, and it is possible for it to be at one time correct and at
another erroneous; but regarding things that cannot be otherwise
opinions are not at one time true and at another false, but the same
opinions are always true or always false.
But with regard to incomposites, what is being or not being, and
truth or falsity? A thing of this sort is not composite, so as to 'be'
when it is compounded, and not to 'be' if it is separated, like
'that the wood is white' or 'that the diagonal is incommensurable';
nor will truth and falsity be still present in the same way as in
the previous cases. In fact, as truth is not the same in these
cases, so also being is not the same; but (a) truth or falsity is as
follows--contact and assertion are truth (assertion not being the same
as affirmation), and ignorance is non-contact. For it is not
possible to be in error regarding the question what a thing is, save
in an accidental sense; and the same holds good regarding
non-composite substances (for it is not possible to be in error
about them). And they all exist actually, not potentially; for
otherwise they would have come to be and ceased to be; but, as it
is, being itself does not come to be (nor cease to be); for if it
had done so it would have had to come out of something. About the
things, then, which are essences and actualities, it is not possible
to be in error, but only to know them or not to know them. But we do
inquire what they are, viz. whether they are of such and such a nature
or not.

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