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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

its existence?

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

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