On Generation and corruption
So much, then, to establish that things generate and are
generated, act and suffer action, reciprocally; and to distinguish the
way in which these processes can occur from the (impossible) way in
which some thinkers say they occur.
But we have still to explain 'combination', for that was the third
of the subjects we originally proposed to discuss. Our explanation
will proceed on the same method as before. We must inquire: What is
'combination', and what is that which can 'combine'? Of what things,
and under what conditions, is 'combination' a property? And,
further, does 'combination' exist in fact, or is it false to assert
For, according to some thinkers, it is impossible for one thing to
be combined with another. They argue that (i) if both the 'combined'
constituents persist unaltered, they are no more 'combined' now than
they were before, but are in the same condition: while (ii) if one has
been destroyed, the constituents have not been 'combined'-on the
contrary, one constituent is and the other is not, whereas
'combination' demands uniformity of condition in them both: and on the
same principle (iii) even if both the combining constituents have been
destroyed as the result of their coalescence, they cannot 'have been
combined' since they have no being at all.
What we have in this argument is, it would seem, a demand for the
precise distinction of 'combination' from coming-to-be and passingaway
(for it is obvious that 'combination', if it exists, must differ
from these processes) and for the precise distinction of the
'combinable' from that which is such as to come-to-be and pass-away.
As soon, therefore, as these distinctions are clear, the
difficulties raised by the argument would be solved.
Now (i) we do not speak of the wood as 'combined' with the fire, nor