[1056b] [1] but in the other case there is no question of difference, since the joint negation applies to things which are in different genera, and therefore the substrate is not one.1

A similar question might be raised about "one" and "many." For if "many" is absolutely opposed to "one," certain impossibilities result. (1) One will be few; for "many" is also opposed to "few."(2) Two will be many; since "twofold" is "manifold," and "twofold" is derived from two. Therefore one will be few; for in what relation can two be many if not in relation to one, which must therefore be few? for there can be nothing less. (3) If "much" and "little" are in plurality what "long" and "short" are in length, and if whatever is "much" is also "many,"and "many" is "much" (unless indeed there is a difference in the case of a plastic continuum2), "few" will be a plurality. Therefore one will be a plurality, if it is few; and this necessarily follows if two is many. Presumably, however, although "many" in a sense means "much," there is a distinction; e.g., water is called "much" but not "many."To all things, however, which are divisible the term "many" is applicable: in one sense, if there is a plurality which involves excess either absolutely or relatively (and similarly "few" is a plurality involving defect); and in another in the sense of number, in which case it is opposed to "one" only. [20] For we say "one or many" just as if we were to say "one and ones," or "white thing and white things," or were to compare the things measured with the measure.Multiples, too, are spoken of in this way; for every number is "many," because it consists of "ones," and because every number is measurable by one; and also as being the opposite of one, and not of few. In this sense even two is many; but as a plurality involving excess either relatively or absolutely it is not many, but the first plurality. Two is, however, absolutely few; because it is the first plurality involving defect(hence Anaxagoras3 was not right in leaving the subject by saying "all things were together, infinite both in multitude and in smallness"; instead of "in smallness" he should have said "in fewness,"4 for things cannot be infinite in fewness), since fewness is constituted not by one, as some hold, but by two.

In the sphere of numbers "one" is opposed to many as the measure to the measurable, i.e., as relative terms are opposed which are not of their own nature relative. We have distinguished elsewhere5 that things are called relative in two senses—either as being contraries, or as knowledge is related to the knowable, A being related to B because B is described in relation to A.

2 i.e., a fluid, which cannot be described as "many."

4 sc. "and then the absurdity of his view would have been apparent, for," etc. Aristotle assumes the Anaxagoras meant "smallness" (μικρότης) to be the opposite of "multitude" (πλῆθος); but he meant just what he said—that the particles of which things consist are infinitely many and infinitely small. See Bowman in Classical Review 30, 42-44.