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On Generation and corruption   

must be reciprocal. The reason of this belief is that 'movers' which

belong to the same kind as the 'moved' impart motion by being moved.

Hence if anything imparts motion without itself being moved, it may

touch the 'moved' and yet itself be touched by nothing-for we say

sometimes that the man who grieves us 'touches' us, but not that we

'touch' him.

The account just given may serve to distinguish and define the

'contact' which occurs in the things of Nature.


Next in order we must discuss 'action' and 'passion'. The

traditional theories on the subject are conflicting. For (i) most

thinkers are unanimous in maintaining (a) that 'like' is always

unaffected by 'like', because (as they argue) neither of two 'likes'

is more apt than the other either to act or to suffer action, since

all the properties which belong to the one belong identically and in

the same degree to the other; and (b) that 'unlikes', i.e.

'differents', are by nature such as to act and suffer action

reciprocally. For even when the smaller fire is destroyed by the

greater, it suffers this effect (they say) owing to its

'contrariety' since the great is contrary to the small. But (ii)

Democritus dissented from all the other thinkers and maintained a

theory peculiar to himself. He asserts that agent and patient are

identical, i.e. 'like'. It is not possible (he says) that 'others',

i.e. 'differents', should suffer action from one another: on the

contrary, even if two things, being 'others', do act in some way on

one another, this happens to them not qua 'others' but qua

possessing an identical property.

Such, then, are the traditional theories, and it looks as if the

statements of their advocates were in manifest conflict. But the

reason of this conflict is that each group is in fact stating a

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