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hand in name only, just as stone flutes might still be called

flutes: for these members, too, are instruments of a kind. But in

the case of flesh and bone the fact is not so clear to see, and in

that of fire and water even less. For the end is least obvious there

where matter predominates most. If you take the extremes, matter is

pure matter and the essence is pure definition; but the bodies

intermediate between the two are matter or definition in proportion as

they are near to either. For each of those elements has an end and

is not water or fire in any and every condition of itself, just as

flesh is not flesh nor viscera viscera, and the same is true in a

higher degree with face and hand. What a thing is always determined by

its function: a thing really is itself when it can perform its

function; an eye, for instance, when it can see. When a thing cannot

do so it is that thing only in name, like a dead eye or one made of

stone, just as a wooden saw is no more a saw than one in a picture.

The same, then, is true of flesh, except that its function is less

clear than that of the tongue. So, too, with fire; but its function is

perhaps even harder to specify by physical inquiry than that of flesh.

The parts of plants, and inanimate bodies like copper and silver,

are in the same case. They all are what they are in virtue of a

certain power of action or passion-just like flesh and sinew. But we

cannot state their form accurately, and so it is not easy to tell when

they are really there and when they are not unless the body is

thoroughly corrupted and its shape only remains. So ancient corpses

suddenly become ashes in the grave and very old fruit preserves its

shape only but not its taste: so, too, with the solids that form

from milk.

Now heat and cold and the motions they set up as the bodies are

solidified by the hot and the cold are sufficient to form all such

parts as are the homogeneous bodies, flesh, bone, hair, sinew, and the

rest. For they are all of them differentiated by the various qualities

enumerated above, tension, tractility, comminuibility, hardness,

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