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Metaphysics   


accurate arguments, some lead to Ideas of relations, of which they say
there is no independent class, and others introduce the 'third man'.
And in general the arguments for the Forms destroy things for
whose existence the believers in Forms are more zealous than for the
existence of the Ideas; for it follows that not the dyad but number is
first, and that prior to number is the relative, and that this is
prior to the absolute-besides all the other points on which certain
people, by following out the opinions held about the Forms, came
into conflict with the principles of the theory.
Again, according to the assumption on the belief in the Ideas
rests, there will be Forms not only of substances but also of many
other things; for the concept is single not only in the case of
substances, but also in that of non-substances, and there are sciences
of other things than substance; and a thousand other such difficulties
confront them. But according to the necessities of the case and the
opinions about the Forms, if they can be shared in there must be Ideas
of substances only. For they are not shared in incidentally, but
each Form must be shared in as something not predicated of a
subject. (By 'being shared in incidentally' I mean that if a thing
shares in 'double itself', it shares also in 'eternal', but
incidentally; for 'the double' happens to be eternal.) Therefore the
Forms will be substance. But the same names indicate substance in this
and in the ideal world (or what will be the meaning of saying that
there is something apart from the particulars-the one over many?). And
if the Ideas and the things that share in them have the same form,
there will be something common: for why should '2' be one and the same
in the perishable 2's, or in the 2's which are many but eternal, and
not the same in the '2 itself' as in the individual 2? But if they
have not the same form, they will have only the name in common, and it
is as if one were to call both Callias and a piece of wood a 'man',
without observing any community between them.
But if we are to suppose that in other respects the common
definitions apply to the Forms, e.g. that 'plane figure' and the other
parts of the definition apply to the circle itself, but 'what really
is' has to be added, we must inquire whether this is not absolutely
meaningless. For to what is this to be added? To 'centre' or to
'plane' or to all the parts of the definition? For all the elements in
the essence are Ideas, e.g. 'animal' and 'two-footed'. Further,
there must be some Ideal answering to 'plane' above, some nature which
will be present in all the Forms as their genus.
5

Above all one might discuss the question what in the world the
Forms contribute to sensible things, either to those that are
eternal or to those that come into being and cease to be; for they
cause neither movement nor any change in them. But again they help
in no wise either towards the knowledge of other things (for they
are not even the substance of these, else they would have been in
them), or towards their being, if they are not in the individuals
which share in them; though if they were, they might be thought to
be causes, as white causes whiteness in a white object by entering
into its composition. But this argument, which was used first by
Anaxagoras, and later by Eudoxus in his discussion of difficulties and
by certain others, is very easily upset; for it is easy to collect
many and insuperable objections to such a view.
But, further, all other things cannot come from the Forms in any
of the usual senses of 'from'. And to say that they are patterns and
the other things share in them is to use empty words and poetical
metaphors. For what is it that works, looking to the Ideas? And any
thing can both be and come into being without being copied from
something else, so that, whether Socrates exists or not, a man like
Socrates might come to be. And evidently this might be so even if
Socrates were eternal. And there will be several patterns of the
same thing, and therefore several Forms; e.g. 'animal' and

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