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On The Heavens   

which succeeds in destroying, that is, in resolving into smaller

bodies, a body of some size, cannot reasonably be expected to fail

with the smaller body. Now in fire we observe a destruction of two

kinds: it is destroyed by its contrary when it is quenched, and by

itself when it dies out. But the effect is produced by a greater

quantity upon a lesser, and the more quickly the smaller it is. The

elements of bodies must therefore be subject to destruction and


Since they are generated, they must be generated either from

something incorporeal or from a body, and if from a body, either

from one another or from something else. The theory which generates

them from something incorporeal requires an extra-corporeal void.

For everything that comes to be comes to be in something, and that

in which the generation takes place must either be incorporeal or

possess body; and if it has body, there will be two bodies in the same

place at the same time, viz. that which is coming to be and that which

was previously there, while if it is incorporeal, there must be an

extra-corporeal void. But we have already shown that this is

impossible. But, on the other hand, it is equally impossible that

the elements should be generated from some kind of body. That would

involve a body distinct from the elements and prior to them. But if

this body possesses weight or lightness, it will be one of the

elements; and if it has no tendency to movement, it will be an

immovable or mathematical entity, and therefore not in a place at all.

A place in which a thing is at rest is a place in which it might move,

either by constraint, i.e. unnaturally, or in the absence of

constraint, i.e. naturally. If, then, it is in a place and

somewhere, it will be one of the elements; and if it is not in a

place, nothing can come from it, since that which comes into being and

that out of which it comes must needs be together. The elements

therefore cannot be generated from something incorporeal nor from a

body which is not an element, and the only remaining alternative is

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