On Generation and corruption
only with a qualification?
The distinction must be investigated once more, for it demands
some explanation. (It is applied in a twofold manner.) For (i) we
say 'it is now passing-away' without qualification, and not merely
'this is passing-away': and we call this change 'coming-to-be', and
that 'passing-away', without qualification. And (ii) so-and-so
'comes-to-be-something', but does not 'come-to-be' without
qualification; for we say that the student 'comes-to-be-learned',
not 'comes-to-be' without qualification.
(i) Now we often divide terms into those which signify a 'this
somewhat' and those which do not. And (the first form of) the
distinction, which we are investigating, results from a similar
division of terms: for it makes a difference into what the changing
thing changes. Perhaps, e.g. the passage into Fire is 'coming-to-be'
unqualified, but 'passingaway-of-something' (e.g. Earth): whilst the
coming-to-be of Earth is qualified (not unqualified) 'coming-to-be',
though unqualified 'passing-away' (e.g. of Fire). This would be the
case on the theory set forth in Parmenides: for he says that the
things into which change takes place are two, and he asserts that
these two, viz. what is and what is not, are Fire and Earth. Whether
we postulate these, or other things of a similar kind, makes no
difference. For we are trying to discover not what undergoes these
changes, but what is their characteristic manner. The passage, then,
into what 'is' not except with a qualification is unqualified
passing-away, while the passage into what 'is' without qualification
is unqualified coming-to-be. Hence whatever the contrasted 'poles'
of the changes may be whether Fire and Earth, or some other couple-the
one of them will be 'a being' and the other 'a not-being'.
We have thus stated one characteristic manner in which unqualified
will be distinguished from qualified coming-to-be and passing-away:
but they are also distinguished according to the special nature of the
material of the changing thing. For a material, whose constitutive