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On The Generation Of Animals   


into that of his grandfather; and in this way not only in the male but
also in the female line the movement of the female parent changes into
that of her mother, and, if not into this, then into that of her
grandmother; and similarly also with the more remote ancestors.

Naturally then it is most likely that the characteristics of
'male' and of the individual father will go together, whether they
prevail or are prevailed over. For the difference between them is
small so that there is no difficulty in both concurring, for
Socrates is an individual man with certain characters. Hence for the
most part the male offspring resemble the father, and the female the
mother. For in the latter case the loss of both characters takes place
at once, and the change is into the two opposites; now is opposed to
male, and the individual mother to the individual father.

But if the movement coming from the male principle prevails while
that coming from the individual Socrates does not, or vice versa, then
the result is that male children are produced resembling the mother
and female children resembling the father.

If again the movements be resolved, if the male character remain but
the movement coming from the individual Socrates be resolved into that
of the father of Socrates, the result will be a male child
resembling its grandfather or some other of its more remote
ancestors in the male line on the same principle. If the male
principle be prevailed over, the child will be female and resembling
most probably its mother, but, if the movement coming from the
mother also be resolved, it will resemble its mother's mother or the
resemblance will be to some other of its more remote ancestors in
the female line on the same principle.

The same applies also to the separate parts, for often some of these
take after the father, and others after the mother, and yet others
after some of the remoter ancestors. For, as has been often said
already, some of the movements which form the parts exist in the semen
actually and others potentially. We must grasp certain fundamental
general principles, not only that just mentioned (that some of the
movements exist potentially and others actually), but also two
others, that if a character be prevailed over it changes into its
opposite, and, if it be resolved, is resolved into the movement next
allied to it- if less, into that which is near, if more, into that
which is further removed. Finally, the movements are so confused
together that there is no resemblance to any of the family or kindred,
but the only character that remains is that common to the race, i.e.
it is a human being. The reason of this is that this is closely knit
up with the individual characteristics; 'human being' is the general
term, while Socrates, the father, and the mother, whoever she may
be, are individuals.

The reason why the movements are resolved is this. The agent is
itself acted upon by that on which it acts; thus that which cuts is
blunted by that which is cut by it, that which heats is cooled by that
which is heated by it, and in general the moving or efficient cause
(except in the case of the first cause of all) does itself receive
some motion in return; e.g. what pushes is itself in a way pushed
again and what crushes is itself crushed again. Sometimes it is
altogether more acted upon than is the thing on which it acts, so that
what is heating or cooling something else is itself cooled or
heated; sometimes having produced no effect, sometimes less than it
has itself received. (This question has been treated in the special
discussion of action and reaction, where it is laid down in what
classes of things action and reaction exist.) Now that which is acted
on escapes and is not mastered by the semen, either through deficiency
of power in the concocting and moving agent or because what should

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