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On Generation and corruption   


quality, yet how is the wood dissolved into such constituents and

how does it come-to-be out of them? Or how are such constituents

separated so as to exist apart from one another? Since, therefore,

it is impossible for magnitudes to consist of contacts or points,

there must be indivisible bodies and magnitudes. Yet, if we do

postulate the latter, we are confronted with equally impossible

consequences, which we have examined in other works.' But we must

try to disentangle these perplexities, and must therefore formulate

the whole problem over again.

On the one hand, then, it is in no way paradoxical that every

perceptible body should be indivisible as well as divisible at any and

every point. For the second predicate will at. tach to it potentially,

but the first actually. On the other hand, it would seem to be

impossible for a body to be, even potentially, divisible at all points

simultaneously. For if it were possible, then it might actually occur,

with the result, not that the body would simultaneously be actually

both (indivisible and divided), but that it would be simultaneously

divided at any and every point. Consequently, nothing will remain

and the body will have passed-away into what is incorporeal: and so it

might come-to-be again either out of points or absolutely out of

nothing. And how is that possible?

But now it is obvious that a body is in fact divided into

separable magnitudes which are smaller at each division-into

magnitudes which fall apart from one another and are actually

separated. Hence (it is urged) the process of dividing a body part

by part is not a 'breaking up' which could continue ad infinitum;

nor can a body be simultaneously divided at every point, for that is

not possible; but there is a limit, beyond which the 'breaking up'

cannot proceed. The necessary consequence-especially if coming-to-be

and passing-away are to take place by 'association' and 'dissociation'

respectively-is that a body must contain atomic magnitudes which are

invisible. Such is the argument which is believed to establish the

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