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On Generation and corruption   


pass-away. Nor is it possible for Empedocles to explain how they do

so, since he does not assert that Fire too (and similarly every one of

his other 'elements') possesses 'elementary constituents' of itself.

Such an assertion would commit him to doctrines like those which

Plato has set forth in the Timaeus. For although both Plato and

Leucippus postulate elementary constituents that are indivisible and

distinctively characterized by figures, there is this great difference

between the two theories: the 'indivisibles' of Leucippus (i) are

solids, while those of Plato are planes, and (ii) are characterized by

an infinite variety of figures, while the characterizing figures

employed by Plato are limited in number. Thus the 'comings-to-be'

and the 'dissociations' result from the 'indivisibles' (a) according

to Leucippus through the void and through contact (for it is at the

point of contact that each of the composite bodies is divisible),

but (b) according to Plato in virtue of contact alone, since he denies

there is a void.

Now we have discussed 'indivisible planes' in the preceding

treatise.' But with regard to the assumption of 'indivisible

solids', although we must not now enter upon a detailed study of its

consequences, the following criticisms fall within the compass of a

short digression: i. The Atomists are committed to the view that every

'indivisible' is incapable alike of receiving a sensible property (for

nothing can 'suffer action' except through the void) and of

producing one-no 'indivisible' can be, e.g. either hard or cold. Yet

it is surely a paradox that an exception is made of 'the hot'-'the

hot' being assigned as peculiar to the spherical figure: for, that

being so, its 'contrary' also ('the cold') is bound to belong to

another of the figures. If, however, these properties (heat and

cold) do belong to the 'indivisibles', it is a further paradox that

they should not possess heaviness and lightness, and hardness and

softness. And yet Democritus says 'the more any indivisible exceeds,

the heavier it is'-to which we must clearly add 'and the hotter it

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