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[1072a] [1] Again, Plato at least cannot even explain what it is that he sometimes thinks to be the source of motion, i.e., that which moves itself; for according to him the soul is posterior to motion and coeval with the sensible universe.1 Now to suppose that potentiality is prior to actuality is in one sense right and in another wrong; we have explained2 the distinction.But that actuality is prior is testified by Anaxagoras (since mind is actuality), and by Empedocles with his theory of Love and Strife, and by those who hold that motion is eternal, e.g. Leucippus.

Therefore Chaos or Night did not endure for an unlimited time, but the same things have always existed, either passing through a cycle or in accordance with some other principle—that is, if actuality is prior to potentiality.Now if there is a regular cycle, there must be something3 which remains always active in the same way; but if there is to be generation and destruction, there must be something else4 which is always active in two different ways. Therefore this must be active in one way independently, and in the other in virtue of something else, i.e. either of some third active principle or of the first.It must, then, be in virtue of the first; for this is in turn the cause both of the third and of the second. Therefore the first is preferable, since it was the cause of perpetual regular motion, and something else was the cause of variety; and obviously both together make up the cause of perpetual variety. Now this is just what actually characterizes motions; therefore why need we seek any further principles?

Since (a) this is a possible explanation, and (b) if it is not true, we shall have to regard everything as coming from "Night"5 and "all things together" and "not-being,"6 [20] these difficulties may be considered to be solved. There is something which is eternally moved with an unceasing motion, and that circular motion. This is evident not merely in theory, but in fact. Therefore the "ultimate heaven" must be eternal. Then there is also something which moves it.And since that which is moved while it moves is intermediate, there is something which moves without being moved; something eternal which is both substance and actuality.

Now it moves in the following manner. The object of desire and the object of thought move without being moved. The primary objects of desire and thought are the same. For it is the apparent good that is the object of appetite, and the real good that is the object of the rational will.7 Desire is the result of opinion rather than opinion that of desire; it is the act of thinking that is the starting-point.Now thought is moved by the intelligible, and one of the series of contraries8 is essentially intelligible. In this series substance stands first, and of substance that which is simple and exists actually. (The one and the simple are not the same; for one signifies a measure,9 whereas "simple" means that the subject itself is in a certain state.)But the Good, and that which is in itself desirable, are also in the same series;

1 Aristotle refers to Plato's rather inconsistent account in Plat. Tim. 30-34.

2 The reference is probably to 5 above, but cf. Aristot. Met. 9.8.

3 The sphere of the fixed stars, Aristot. Met. 12.8.9; cf. Aristot. De Gen. et Corr. 336a 23ff.

4 The sun, which has its own yearly orbit in the ecliptic, and a daily rotation round the earth, which is explained most economically with reference to the rotation of the sphere of the fixed stars. Cf. Aristot. Met. 12.5.3 n., Aristot. De Gen. et Corr. 336a 23ff.

5 Aristot. Met. 12.6.6

6 Aristot. Met. 12.2.2, 3.

7 This shows that desire in general (of which appetite and will are the irrational and rational aspects) has as its object the good.

8 Aristotle himself recognizes two series, lists or columns of contraries, similar to those of the Pythagoreans (Aristot. Met. 1.5.6). One, the positive, contains being, unity, substance, etc.; the other is negative and contains not-being, plurality, non-substance, etc. The negative terms are intelligible only in reference to the positive. Cf. Aristot. Met. 4.2.21.

9 Cf Aristot. Met. 5.6.17.

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