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On The Generation Of Animals   


and female, or that the different sexes come from the right and
left, is not altogether unreasonable in itself; for the right of the
body is hotter than the left, and the concocted semen is hotter than
the unconcocted; again, the thickened is concocted, and the more
thickened is more fertile. Yet to put it in this way is to seek for
the cause from too remote a starting-point; we must draw near the
immediate causes in so far as it is possible for us.

We have, then, previously spoken elsewhere of both the body as a
whole and its parts, explaining what each part is and for what
reason it exists. But (1) the male and female are distinguished by a
certain capacity and incapacity. (For the male is that which can
concoct the blood into semen and which can form and secrete and
discharge a semen carrying with it the principle of form- by
'principle' I do not mean a material principle out of which comes into
being an offspring resembling the parent, but I mean the first
moving cause, whether it have power to act as such in the thing itself
or in something else- but the female is that which receives semen,
indeed, but cannot form it for itself or secrete or discharge it.)
And (2) all concoction works by means of heat. Therefore the males
of animals must needs be hotter than the females. For it is by
reason of cold and incapacity that the female is more abundant in
blood in certain parts of her anatomy, and this abundance is an
evidence of the exact opposite of what some suppose, thinking that the
female is hotter than the male for this reason, i.e. the discharge
of the catamenia. It is true that blood is hot, and that which has
more of it is hotter than that which has less. But they assume that
this discharge occurs through excess of blood and of heat, as if it
could be taken for granted that all blood is equally blood if only
it be liquid and sanguineous in colour, and as if it might not
become less in quantity but purer in quality in those who assimilate
nourishment properly. In fact they look upon this residual discharge
in the same light as that of the intestines, when they think that a
greater amount of it is a sign of a hotter nature, whereas the truth
is just the opposite. For consider the production of fruit; the
nutriment in its first stage is abundant, but the useful product
derived from it is small, indeed the final result is nothing at all
compared to the quantity in the first stage. So is it with the body;
the various parts receive and work up the nutriment, from the whole of
which the final result is quite small. This is blood in some
animals, in some its analogue. Now since (1) the one sex is able and
the other is unable to reduce the residual secretion to a pure form,
and (2) every capacity or power in an organism has a certain
corresponding organ, whether the faculty produces the desired
results in a lower degree or in a higher degree, and the two sexes
correspond in this manner (the terms 'able' and 'unable' being used
in more senses than one)- therefore it is necessary that both female
and male should have organs. Accordingly the one has the uterus, the
other the male organs.

Again, Nature gives both the faculty and the organ to each
individual at the same time, for it is better so. Hence each region
comes into being along with the secretions and the faculties, as
e.g. the faculty of sight is not perfected without the eye, nor the
eye without the faculty of sight; and so too the intestine and bladder
come into being along with the faculty of forming the excreta. And
since that from which an organ comes into being and that by which it
is increased are the same (i.e. the nutriment), each of the parts
will be made out of such a material and such residual matter as it
is able to receive. In the second place, again, it is formed, as we
say, in a certain sense, out of its opposite. Thirdly, we must
understand besides this that, if it is true that when a thing perishes
it becomes the opposite of what it was, it is necessary also that what
is not under the sway of that which made it must change into its

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