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Metaphysics   


corresponding to sensible substances, which kinds of sensible
substance must be supposed to have this corresponding to them? Why
should one suppose men or horses to have it, more than either the
other animals or even all lifeless things? On the other hand to set up
other and eternal substances equal in number to the sensible and
perishable substances would seem to fall beyond the bounds of
probability.-But if the principle we now seek is not separable from
corporeal things, what has a better claim to the name matter? This,
however, does not exist in actuality, but exists in potency. And it
would seem rather that the form or shape is a more important principle
than this; but the form is perishable, so that there is no eternal
substance at all which can exist apart and independent. But this is
paradoxical; for such a principle and substance seems to exist and
is sought by nearly all the most refined thinkers as something that
exists; for how is there to be order unless there is something eternal
and independent and permanent?
Further, if there is a substance or principle of such a nature
as that which we are now seeking, and if this is one for all things,
and the same for eternal and for perishable things, it is hard to
say why in the world, if there is the same principle, some of the
things that fall under the principle are eternal, and others are not
eternal; this is paradoxical. But if there is one principle of
perishable and another of eternal things, we shall be in a like
difficulty if the principle of perishable things, as well as that of
eternal, is eternal; for why, if the principle is eternal, are not the
things that fall under the principle also eternal? But if it is
perishable another principle is involved to account for it, and
another to account for that, and this will go on to infinity.
If on the other hand we are to set up what are thought to be the
most unchangeable principles, being and unity, firstly, if each of
these does not indicate a 'this' or substance, how will they be
separable and independent? Yet we expect the eternal and primary
principles to be so. But if each of them does signify a 'this' or
substance, all things that are are substances; for being is predicated
of all things (and unity also of some); but that all things that are
are substance is false. Further, how can they be right who say that
the first principle is unity and this is substance, and generate
number as the first product from unity and from matter, assert that
number is substance? How are we to think of 'two', and each of the
other numbers composed of units, as one? On this point neither do they
say anything nor is it easy to say anything. But if we are to
suppose lines or what comes after these (I mean the primary
surfaces) to be principles, these at least are not separable
substances, but sections and divisions-the former of surfaces, the
latter of bodies (while points are sections and divisions of lines);
and further they are limits of these same things; and all these are in
other things and none is separable. Further, how are we to suppose
that there is a substance of unity and the point? Every substance
comes into being by a gradual process, but a point does not; for the
point is a division.
A further difficulty is raised by the fact that all knowledge is
of universals and of the 'such', but substance is not a universal, but
is rather a 'this'-a separable thing, so that if there is knowledge
about the first principles, the question arises, how are we to suppose
the first principle to be substance?
Further, is there anything apart from the concrete thing (by which
I mean the matter and that which is joined with it), or not? If not,
we are met by the objection that all things that are in matter are
perishable. But if there is something, it must be the form or shape.
Now it is hard to determine in which cases this exists apart and in
which it does not; for in some cases the form is evidently not
separable, e.g. in the case of a house.
Further, are the principles the same in kind or in number? If they
are one in number, all things will be the same.

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