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Metaphysics   


things unmovable there is nothing that moved them first), and (B) in
general it is hard to say whether perchance the science we are now
looking for deals with perceptible substances or not with them, but
with certain others. If with others, it must deal either with the
Forms or with the objects of mathematics. Now (a) evidently the
Forms do not exist. (But it is hard to say, even if one suppose them
to exist, why in the world the same is not true of the other things of
which there are Forms, as of the objects of mathematics. I mean that
these thinkers place the objects of mathematics between the Forms
and perceptible things, as a kind of third set of things apart both
from the Forms and from the things in this world; but there is not a
third man or horse besides the ideal and the individuals. If on the
other hand it is not as they say, with what sort of things must the
mathematician be supposed to deal? Certainly not with the things in
this world; for none of these is the sort of thing which the
mathematical sciences demand.) Nor (b) does the science which we are
now seeking treat of the objects of mathematics; for none of them
can exist separately. But again it does not deal with perceptible
substances; for they are perishable.
In general one might raise the question, to what kind of science
it belongs to discuss the difficulties about the matter of the objects
of mathematics. Neither to physics (because the whole inquiry of the
physicist is about the things that have in themselves a principle.
of movement and rest), nor yet to the science which inquires into
demonstration and science; for this is just the subject which it
investigates. It remains then that it is the philosophy which we
have set before ourselves that treats of those subjects.
One might discuss the question whether the science we are
seeking should be said to deal with the principles which are by some
called elements; all men suppose these to be present in composite
things. But it might be thought that the science we seek should
treat rather of universals; for every definition and every science
is of universals and not of infimae species, so that as far as this
goes it would deal with the highest genera. These would turn out to be
being and unity; for these might most of all be supposed to contain
all things that are, and to be most like principles because they are
by nature; for if they perish all other things are destroyed with
them; for everything is and is one. But inasmuch as, if one is to
suppose them to be genera, they must be predicable of their
differentiae, and no genus is predicable of any of its differentiae,
in this way it would seem that we should not make them genera nor
principles. Further, if the simpler is more of a principle than the
less simple, and the ultimate members of the genus are simpler than
the genera (for they are indivisible, but the genera are divided
into many and differing species), the species might seem to be the
principles, rather than the genera. But inasmuch as the species are
involved in the destruction of the genera, the genera are more like
principles; for that which involves another in its destruction is a
principle of it. These and others of the kind are the subjects that
involve difficulties.
2

Further, must we suppose something apart from individual things,
or is it these that the science we are seeking treats of? But these
are infinite in number. Yet the things that are apart from the
individuals are genera or species; but the science we now seek
treats of neither of these. The reason why this is impossible has been
stated. Indeed, it is in general hard to say whether one must assume
that there is a separable substance besides the sensible substances
(i.e. the substances in this world), or that these are the real things
and Wisdom is concerned with them. For we seem to seek another kind of
substance, and this is our problem, i.e. to see if there is
something which can exist apart by itself and belongs to no sensible
thing.-Further, if there is another substance apart from and

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