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

Previous | Next


predication, and other than one another in the highest degree-for
the difference is complete-, and cannot be present along with one
another.) The difference, then, is a contrariety.
This, then, is what it is to be 'other in species'-to have a
contrariety, being in the same genus and being indivisible (and
those things are the same in species which have no contrariety,
being indivisible); we say 'being indivisible', for in the process
of division contrarieties arise in the intermediate stages before we
come to the indivisibles. Evidently, therefore, with reference to that
which is called the genus, none of the species-of-a-genus is either
the same as it or other than it in species (and this is fitting; for
the matter is indicated by negation, and the genus is the matter of
that of which it is called the genus, not in the sense in which we
speak of the genus or family of the Heraclidae, but in that in which
the genus is an element in a thing's nature), nor is it so with
reference to things which are not in the same genus, but it will
differ in genus from them, and in species from things in the same
genus. For a thing's difference from that from which it differs in
species must be a contrariety; and this belongs only to things in
the same genus.

One might raise the question, why woman does not differ from man
in species, when female and male are contrary and their difference
is a contrariety; and why a female and a male animal are not different
in species, though this difference belongs to animal in virtue of
its own nature, and not as paleness or darkness does; both 'female'
and 'male' belong to it qua animal. This question is almost the same
as the other, why one contrariety makes things different in species
and another does not, e.g. 'with feet' and 'with wings' do, but
paleness and darkness do not. Perhaps it is because the former are
modifications peculiar to the genus, and the latter are less so. And
since one element is definition and one is matter, contrarieties which
are in the definition make a difference in species, but those which
are in the thing taken as including its matter do not make one. And so
paleness in a man, or darkness, does not make one, nor is there a
difference in species between the pale man and the dark man, not
even if each of them be denoted by one word. For man is here being
considered on his material side, and matter does not create a
difference; for it does not make individual men species of man, though
the flesh and the bones of which this man and that man consist are
other. The concrete thing is other, but not other in species,
because in the definition there is no contrariety. This is the
ultimate indivisible kind. Callias is definition + matter, the pale
man, then, is so also, because it is the individual Callias that is
pale; man, then, is pale only incidentally. Neither do a brazen and
a wooden circle, then, differ in species; and if a brazen triangle and
a wooden circle differ in species, it is not because of the matter,
but because there is a contrariety in the definition. But does the
matter not make things other in species, when it is other in a certain
way, or is there a sense in which it does? For why is this horse other
than this man in species, although their matter is included with their
definitions? Doubtless because there is a contrariety in the
definition. For while there is a contrariety also between pale man and
dark horse, and it is a contrariety in species, it does not depend
on the paleness of the one and the darkness of the other, since even
if both had been pale, yet they would have been other in species.
But male and female, while they are modifications peculiar to
'animal', are so not in virtue of its essence but in the matter, ie.
the body. This is why the same seed becomes female or male by being
acted on in a certain way. We have stated, then, what it is to be
other in species, and why some things differ in species and others
do not.

Previous | Next
Site Search