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On Generation and corruption   


thus expressed, is itself open to criticism. Things which come-to-be

and pass-away cannot be called by the name of the material out of

which they have come-tobe: it is only the results of 'alteration'

which retain the name of the substratum whose 'alterations' they

are. However, he actually says' that the truest account is to affirm

that each of them is "gold"'.) Nevertheless he carries his analysis of

the 'elements'-solids though they are-back to 'planes', and it is

impossible for 'the Nurse' (i.e. the primary matter) to be identical

with 'the planes'.

Our own doctrine is that although there is a matter of the

perceptible bodies (a matter out of which the so-called 'clements'

come-to-be), it has no separate existence, but is always bound up with

a contrariety. A more precise account of these presuppositions has

been given in another work': we must, however, give a detailed

explanation of the primary bodies as well, since they too are

similarly derived from the matter. We must reckon as an 'originative

source' and as 'primary' the matter which underlies, though it is

inseparable from, the contrary qualities: for the hot' is not matter

for 'the cold' nor 'the cold' for 'the hot', but the substratum is

matter for them both. We therefore have to recognize three

'originative sources': firstly that which potentially perceptible

body, secondly the contrarieties (I mean, e.g. heat and cold), and

thirdly Fire, Water, and the like. Only 'thirdly', however: for

these bodies change into one another (they are not immutable as

Empedocles and other thinkers assert, since 'alteration' would then

have been impossible), whereas the contrarieties do not change.

Nevertheless, even so the question remains: What sorts of

contrarieties, and how many of them, are to be accounted

'originative sources' of body? For all the other thinkers assume and

use them without explaining why they are these or why they are just so

many.


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