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On The Heavens   



figures best adapted to movement; they are not, however, well

adapted to the movement of fire, which is an upward and rectilinear

movement, but rather to that form of circular movement which we call

rolling. Earth, again, they call a cube because it is stable and at

rest. But it rests only in its own place, not anywhere; from any other

it moves if nothing hinders, and fire and the other bodies do the

same. The obvious inference, therefore, is that fire and each

several element is in a foreign place a sphere or a pyramid, but in

its own a cube. Again, if the possession of angles makes a body

produce heat and combustion, every element produces heat, though one

may do so more than another. For they all possess angles, the

octahedron and dodecahedron as well as the pyramid; and Democritus

makes even the sphere a kind of angle, which cuts things because of

its mobility. The difference, then, will be one of degree: and this is

plainly false. They must also accept the inference that the

mathematical produce heat and combustion, since they too possess

angles and contain atomic spheres and pyramids, especially if there

are, as they allege, atomic figures. Anyhow if these functions

belong to some of these things and not to others, they should

explain the difference, instead of speaking in quite general terms

as they do. Again, combustion of a body produces fire, and fire is a

sphere or a pyramid. The body, then, is turned into spheres or

pyramids. Let us grant that these figures may reasonably be supposed

to cut and break up bodies as fire does; still it remains quite

inexplicable that a pyramid must needs produce pyramids or a sphere

spheres. One might as well postulate that a knife or a saw divides

things into knives or saws. It is also ridiculous to think only of

division when allotting fire its shape. Fire is generally thought of

as combining and connecting rather than as separating. For though it

separates bodies different in kind, it combines those which are the

same; and the combining is essential to it, the functions of

connecting and uniting being a mark of fire, while the separating is

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