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On Generation and corruption   


Wherever there is continuity in any process (coming-to-be or

'alteration' or any kind of change whatever) we observe

consecutiveness', i.e. this coming-to-be after that without any

interval. Hence we must investigate whether, amongst the consecutive

members, there is any whose future being is necessary; or whether,

on the contrary, every one of them may fail to come-to-be. For that

some of them may fail to occur, is clear. (a) We need only appeal to

the distinction between the statements 'x will be' and 'x is about

to which depends upon this fact. For if it be true to say of x that it

'will be', it must at some time be true to say of it that 'it is':

whereas, though it be true to say of x now that 'it is about to

occur', it is quite possible for it not to come-to-be-thus a man might

not walk, though he is now 'about to' walk. And (b) since (to appeal

to a general principle) amongst the things which 'are' some are

capable also of 'not-being', it is clear that the same ambiguous

character will attach to them no less when they are coming-to-be: in

other words, their coming-to-be will not be necessary.

Then are all the things that come-to-be of this contingent

character? Or, on the contrary, is it absolutely necessary for some of

them to come-to-be? Is there, in fact, a distinction in the field of

'coming-to-be' corresponding to the distinction, within the field of

'being', between things that cannot possibly 'not-be' and things

that can 'not-be'? For instance, is it necessary that solstices

shall come-to-be, i.e. impossible that they should fail to be able

to occur?

Assuming that the antecedent must have come-to-be if the

consequent is to be (e.g. that foundations must have come-to-be if

there is to be a house: clay, if there are to be foundations), is

the converse also true? If foundations have come-to-be, must a house

come-to-be? The answer seems to be that the necessary nexus no

longer holds, unless it is 'necessary' for the consequent (as well

as for the antecedent) to come-to-be-'necessary' absolutely. If that

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