Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Aristotle
Pages of On Generation and corruption

Previous | Next

On Generation and corruption   

the latter, while it is at one time, at another time is not. (For

whereas some things are of necessity, viz. the eternal things,

others of necessity are not. And of these two sets of things, since

they cannot diverge from the necessity of their nature, it is

impossible for the first not to he and impossible for the second to

he. Other things, however, can both be and not he.) Hence coming-to-be

and passing-away must occur within the field of 'that which can be-and

not-be'. This, therefore, is cause in the sense of material origin for

the things which are such as to come-to-be; while cause, in the

sense of their 'end', is their 'figure' or 'form'-and that is the

formula expressing the essential nature of each of them.

But the third 'originative source' must be present as well-the cause

vaguely dreamed of by all our predecessors, definitely stated by

none of them. On the contrary (a) some amongst them thought the nature

of 'the Forms' was adequate to account for coming-to-be. Thus Socrates

in the Phaedo first blames everybody else for having given no

explanation; and then lays it down; that 'some things are Forms,

others Participants in the Forms', and that 'while a thing is said

to "be" in virtue of the Form, it is said to "come-to-be" qua

sharing in," to "pass-away" qua "losing," the 'Form'. Hence he

thinks that 'assuming the truth of these theses, the Forms must be

causes both of coming-to-be and of passing-away'. On the other hand

(b) there were others who thought 'the matter' was adequate by

itself to account for coming-to-be, since 'the movement originates

from the matter'.

Neither of these theories, however, is sound. For (a) if the Forms

are causes, why is their generating activity intermittent instead of

perpetual and continuous-since there always are Participants as well

as Forms? Besides, in some instances we see that the cause is other

than the Form. For it is the doctor who implants health and the man of

science who implants science, although 'Health itself' and 'Science

itself' are as well as the Participants: and the same principle

Previous | Next
Site Search