On Generation and corruption
the same in name and nature; while Democritus and Leucippus say that
there are indivisible bodies, infinite both in number and in the
varieties of their shapes, of which everything else is composed-the
compounds differing one from another according to the shapes,
'positions', and 'groupings' of their constituents.)
For the views of the school of Anaxagoras seem diametrically opposed
to those of the followers of Empedocles. Empedocles says that Fire,
Water, Air, and Earth are four elements, and are thus 'simple'
rather than flesh, bone, and bodies which, like these, are
'homoeomeries'. But the followers of Anaxagoras regard the
'homoeomeries' as 'simple' and elements, whilst they affirm that
Earth, Fire, Water, and Air are composite; for each of these is
(according to them) a 'common seminary' of all the 'homoeomeries'.
Those, then, who construct all things out of a single element,
must maintain that coming-tobe and passing-away are 'alteration'.
For they must affirm that the underlying something always remains
identical and one; and change of such a substratum is what we call
'altering' Those, on the other hand, who make the ultimate kinds of
things more than one, must maintain that 'alteration' is distinct from
coming-to-be: for coming-to-be and passingaway result from the
consilience and the dissolution of the many kinds. That is why
Empedocles too uses language to this effect, when he says 'There is no
coming-to-be of anything, but only a mingling and a divorce of what
has been mingled'. Thus it is clear (i) that to describe
coming-to-be and passing-away in these terms is in accordance with
their fundamental assumption, and (ii) that they do in fact so
describe them: nevertheless, they too must recognize 'alteration' as a
fact distinct from coming to-be, though it is impossible for them to
do so consistently with what they say.
That we are right in this criticism is easy to perceive. For
'alteration' is a fact of observation. While the substance of the
thing remains unchanged, we see it 'altering' just as we see in it the