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On Generation and corruption   

change than for many. Air, e.g. will result from Fire if a single

quality changes: for Fire, as we saw, is hot and dry while Air is

hot and moist, so that there will be Air if the dry be overcome by the

moist. Again, Water will result from Air if the hot be overcome by the

cold: for Air, as we saw, is hot and moist while Water is cold and

moist, so that, if the hot changes, there will be Water. So too, in

the same manner, Earth will result from Water and Fire from Earth,

since the two 'elements' in both these couples have interchangeable

'complementary factors'. For Water is moist and cold while Earth is

cold and dry-so that, if the moist be overcome, there will be Earth:

and again, since Fire is dry and hot while Earth is cold and dry, Fire

will result from Earth if the cold pass-away.

It is evident, therefore, that the coming-to-be of the 'simple'

bodies will be cyclical; and that this cyclical method of

transformation is the easiest, because the consecutive 'clements'

contain interchangeable 'complementary factors'. On the other hand

(ii) the transformation of Fire into Water and of Air into Earth,

and again of Water and Earth into Fire and Air respectively, though

possible, is more difficult because it involves the change of more

qualities. For if Fire is to result from Water, both the cold and

the moist must pass-away: and again, both the cold and the dry must

pass-away if Air is to result from Earth. So' too, if Water and

Earth are to result from Fire and Air respectively-both qualities must


This second method of coming-to-be, then, takes a longer time. But

(iii) if one quality in each of two 'elements' pass-away, the

transformation, though easier, is not reciprocal. Still, from Fire

plus Water there will result Earth and Air, and from Air plus Earth

Fire and Water. For there will be Air, when the cold of the Water

and the dry of the Fire have passed-away (since the hot of the

latter and the moist of the former are left): whereas, when the hot of

the Fire and the moist of the Water have passed-away, there will be

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