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On Generation and corruption   


2



Since, then, we are looking for 'originative sources' of perceptible

body; and since 'perceptible' is equivalent to 'tangible', and

'tangible' is that of which the perception is touch; it is clear

that not all the contrarieties constitute 'forms' and 'originative

sources' of body, but only those which correspond to touch. For it

is in accordance with a contrariety-a contrariety, moreover, of

tangible qualities-that the primary bodies are differentiated. That is

why neither whiteness (and blackness), nor sweetness (and bitterness),

nor (similarly) any quality belonging to the other perceptible

contrarieties either, constitutes an 'element'. And yet vision is

prior to touch, so that its object also is prior to the object of

touch. The object of vision, however, is a quality of tangible body

not qua tangible, but qua something else-qua something which may

well be naturally prior to the object of touch.

Accordingly, we must segregate the tangible differences and

contrarieties, and distinguish which amongst them are primary.

Contrarieties correlative to touch are the following: hot-cold,

dry-moist, heavy-light, hard-soft, viscous-brittle, rough-smooth,

coarse-fine. Of these (i) heavy and light are neither active nor

susceptible. Things are not called 'heavy' and 'light' because they

act upon, or suffer action from, other things. But the 'elements' must

be reciprocally active and susceptible, since they 'combine' and are

transformed into one another. On the other hand (ii) hot and cold, and

dry and moist, are terms, of which the first pair implies power to act

and the second pair susceptibility. 'Hot' is that which 'associates'

things of the same kind (for 'dissociating', which people attribute to

Fire as its function, is 'associating' things of the same class, since

its effect is to eliminate what is foreign), while 'cold' is that

which brings together, i.e. 'associates', homogeneous and

heterogeneous things alike. And moise is that which, being readily

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