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Metaphysics   


3

Since the science of the philosopher treats of being qua being
universally and not in respect of a part of it, and 'being' has many
senses and is not used in one only, it follows that if the word is
used equivocally and in virtue of nothing common to its various
uses, being does not fall under one science (for the meanings of an
equivocal term do not form one genus); but if the word is used in
virtue of something common, being will fall under one science. The
term seems to be used in the way we have mentioned, like 'medical' and
'healthy'. For each of these also we use in many senses. Terms are
used in this way by virtue of some kind of reference, in the one
case to medical science, in the other to health, in others to
something else, but in each case to one identical concept. For a
discussion and a knife are called medical because the former
proceeds from medical science, and the latter is useful to it. And a
thing is called healthy in a similar way; one thing because it is
indicative of health, another because it is productive of it. And
the same is true in the other cases. Everything that is, then, is said
to 'be' in this same way; each thing that is is said to 'be' because
it is a modification of being qua being or a permanent or a
transient state or a movement of it, or something else of the sort.
And since everything that is may be referred to something single and
common, each of the contrarieties also may be referred to the first
differences and contrarieties of being, whether the first
differences of being are plurality and unity, or likeness and
unlikeness, or some other differences; let these be taken as already
discussed. It makes no difference whether that which is be referred to
being or to unity. For even if they are not the same but different, at
least they are convertible; for that which is one is also somehow
being, and that which is being is one.
But since every pair of contraries falls to be examined by one and
the same science, and in each pair one term is the privative of the
other though one might regarding some contraries raise the question,
how they can be privately related, viz. those which have an
intermediate, e.g. unjust and just-in all such cases one must maintain
that the privation is not of the whole definition, but of the infima
species. if the just man is 'by virtue of some permanent disposition
obedient to the laws', the unjust man will not in every case have
the whole definition denied of him, but may be merely 'in some respect
deficient in obedience to the laws', and in this respect the privation
will attach to him; and similarly in all other cases.
As the mathematician investigates abstractions (for before
beginning his investigation he strips off all the sensible
qualities, e.g. weight and lightness, hardness and its contrary, and
also heat and cold and the other sensible contrarieties, and leaves
only the quantitative and continuous, sometimes in one, sometimes in
two, sometimes in three dimensions, and the attributes of these qua
quantitative and continuous, and does not consider them in any other
respect, and examines the relative positions of some and the
attributes of these, and the commensurabilities and
incommensurabilities of others, and the ratios of others; but yet we
posit one and the same science of all these things--geometry)--the
same is true with regard to being. For the attributes of this in so
far as it is being, and the contrarieties in it qua being, it is the
business of no other science than philosophy to investigate; for to
physics one would assign the study of things not qua being, but rather
qua sharing in movement; while dialectic and sophistic deal with the
attributes of things that are, but not of things qua being, and not
with being itself in so far as it is being; therefore it remains
that it is the philosopher who studies the things we have named, in so
far as they are being. Since all that is is to 'be' in virtue of
something single and common, though the term has many meanings, and
contraries are in the same case (for they are referred to the first

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