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On Longevity And Shortness Of Life   


In order to find premisses for our argument, we must answer the

question, What is that which, in natural objects, makes them easily

destroyed, or the reverse? Since fire and water, and whatsoever is

akin thereto, do not possess identical powers they are reciprocal

causes of generation and decay. Hence it is natural to infer that

everything else arising from them and composed of them should share in

the same nature, in all cases where things are not, like a house, a

composite unity formed by the synthesis of many things.

In other matters a different account must be given; for in many

things their mode of dissolution is something peculiar to

themselves, e.g. in knowledge and health and disease. These pass

away even though the medium in which they are found is not destroyed

but continues to exist; for example, take the termination of

ignorance, which is recollection or learning, while knowledge passes

away into forgetfulness, or error. But accidentally the disintegration

of a natural object is accompanied by the destruction of the

non-physical reality; for, when the animal dies, the health or

knowledge resident in it passes away too. Hence from these

considerations we may draw a conclusion about the soul too; for, if

the inherence of soul in body is not a matter of nature but like

that of knowledge in the soul, there would be another mode of

dissolution pertaining to it besides that which occurs when the body

is destroyed. But since evidently it does not admit of this dual

dissolution, the soul must stand in a different case in respect of its

union with the body.


Perhaps one might reasonably raise the question whether there is any

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