Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Aristotle
Pages of On The Heavens

Previous | Next

On The Heavens   

this enough for the present.


Since there are some who say that there is a right and a left in the

heaven, with those who are known as Pythagoreans-to whom indeed the

view really belongs-we must consider whether, if we are to apply these

principles to the body of the universe, we should follow their

statement of the matter or find a better way. At the start we may

say that, if right and left are applicable, there are prior principles

which must first be applied. These principles have been analysed in

the discussion of the movements of animals, for the reason that they

are proper to animal nature. For in some animals we find all such

distinctions of parts as this of right and left clearly present, and

in others some; but in plants we find only above and below. Now if

we are to apply to the heaven such a distinction of parts, we must

exect, as we have said, to find in it also the distinction which in

animals is found first of them all. The distinctions are three,

namely, above and below, front and its opposite, right and left-all

these three oppositions we expect to find in the perfect body-and each

may be called a principle. Above is the principle of length, right

of breadth, front of depth. Or again we may connect them with the

various movements, taking principle to mean that part, in a thing

capable of movement, from which movement first begins. Growth starts

from above, locomotion from the right, sensemovement from in front

(for front is simply the part to which the senses are directed). Hence

we must not look for above and below, right and left, front and

back, in every kind of body, but only in those which, being animate,

have a principle of movement within themselves. For in no inanimate

thing do we observe a part from which movement originates. Some do not

move at all, some move, but not indifferently in any direction;

fire, for example, only upward, and earth only to the centre. It is

Previous | Next
Site Search