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



Previous | Next
                  

Metaphysics   


adopted this opinion without understanding what his statement
involves. But in any case if what is said by him is true, not even
this itself will be true-viz. that the same thing can at one and the
same time both be and not be. For as, when the statements are
separated, the affirmation is no more true than the negation, in the
same way-the combined and complex statement being like a single
affirmation-the whole taken as an affirmation will be no more true
than the negation. Further, if it is not possible to affirm anything
truly, this itself will be false-the assertion that there is no true
affirmation. But if a true affirmation exists, this appears to
refute what is said by those who raise such objections and utterly
destroy rational discourse.
6

The saying of Protagoras is like the views we have mentioned; he
said that man is the measure of all things, meaning simply that that
which seems to each man also assuredly is. If this is so, it follows
that the same thing both is and is not, and is bad and good, and
that the contents of all other opposite statements are true, because
often a particular thing appears beautiful to some and the contrary of
beautiful to others, and that which appears to each man is the
measure. This difficulty may be solved by considering the source of
this opinion. It seems to have arisen in some cases from the
doctrine of the natural philosophers, and in others from the fact that
all men have not the same views about the same things, but a
particular thing appears pleasant to some and the contrary of pleasant
to others.
That nothing comes to be out of that which is not, but
everything out of that which is, is a dogma common to nearly all the
natural philosophers. Since, then, white cannot come to be if the
perfectly white and in no respect not-white existed before, that which
becomes white must come from that which is not white; so that it
must come to be out of that which is not (so they argue), unless the
same thing was at the beginning white and not-white. But it is not
hard to solve this difficulty; for we have said in our works on
physics in what sense things that come to be come to be from that
which is not, and in what sense from that which is.
But to attend equally to the opinions and the fancies of disputing
parties is childish; for clearly one of them must be mistaken. And
this is evident from what happens in respect of sensation; for the
same thing never appears sweet to some and the contrary of sweet to
others, unless in the one case the sense-organ which discriminates the
aforesaid flavours has been perverted and injured. And if this is so
the one party must be taken to be the measure, and the other must not.
And say the same of good and bad, and beautiful and ugly, and all
other such qualities. For to maintain the view we are opposing is just
like maintaining that the things that appear to people who put their
finger under their eye and make the object appear two instead of one
must be two (because they appear to be of that number) and again one
(for to those who do not interfere with their eye the one object
appears one).
In general, it is absurd to make the fact that the things of
this earth are observed to change and never to remain in the same
state, the basis of our judgement about the truth. For in pursuing the
truth one must start from the things that are always in the same state
and suffer no change. Such are the heavenly bodies; for these do not
appear to be now of one nature and again of another, but are
manifestly always the same and share in no change.
Further, if there is movement, there is also something moved,
and everything is moved out of something and into something; it
follows that that that which is moved must first be in that out of
which it is to be moved, and then not be in it, and move into the
other and come to be in it, and that the contradictory statements
are not true at the same time, as these thinkers assert they are.

Previous | Next
Site Search