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On Generation and corruption   

moist, and 'the dry' which is opposed to it will derive from the

primary dry. Again (ii) the 'moist' and the solidified derive in the

same way from the primary pair. For 'moist' is that which contains

moisture of its-own deep within it ('sodden' being that which is

deeply penetrated by foreign mosture), whereas 'solidigied' is that

which has lost this inner moisture. Hence these too derive from the

primary pair, the 'solidified' from the dry and the 'solidified'

from the dry the 'liquefiable' from the moist.

It is clear, then, that all the other differences reduce to the

first four, but that these admit of no further reduction. For the

hot is not essentially moist or dry, nor the moist essentially hot

or cold: nor are the cold and the dry derivative forms, either of

one another or of the hot and the moist. Hence these must be four.


The elementary qualities are four, and any four terms can be

combined in six couples. Contraries, however, refuse to be coupled:

for it is impossible for the same thing to be hot and cold, or moist

and dry. Hence it is evident that the 'couplings' of the elementary

qualities will be four: hot with dry and moist with hot, and again

cold with dry and cold with moist. And these four couples have

attached themselves to the apparently 'simple' bodies (Fire, Air,

Water, and Earth) in a manner consonant with theory. For Fire is hot

and dry, whereas Air is hot and moist (Air being a sort of aqueous

vapour); and Water is cold and moist, while Earth is cold and dry.

Thus the differences are reasonably distributed among the primary

bodies, and the number of the latter is consonant with theory. For all

who make the simple bodies 'elements' postulate either one, or two, or

three, or four. Now (i) those who assert there is one only, and then

generate everything else by condensation and rarefaction, are in

effect making their 'originative sources' two, viz. the rare and the

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