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[1064b] [1] Evidently, then, there are three kinds of speculative science: physics, mathematics, and theology. The highest class of science is the speculative, and of the speculative sciences themselves the highest is the last named, because it deals with the most important side of reality; and each science is reckoned higher or lower in accordance with the object of its study.

The question might be raised as to whether the science of Being qua Being should be regarded as universal or not.Each of the mathematical sciences deals with some one class of things which is determinate, but universal mathematics is common to all alike. If, then, natural substances are the first of existing things, physics will be the first of the sciences; but if there is some other nature and substance which exists separately and is immovable, then the science which treats of it must be different from and prior to physics, and universal because of its priority.

Since the term Being in its unqualified sense is used with several meanings, of which one is accidental Being, we must first consider Being in this sense.1 Clearly none of the traditional sciences concerns itself with the accidental; the science of building does not consider what will happen to the occupants of the house, [20] e.g. whether they will find it unpleasant or the contrary to live in; nor does the science of weaving or of shoemaking or of confectionery.Each of these sciences considers only what is proper to it, i.e. its particular end. As for the question whether "the cultured" is also "the lettered," or the quibble2 that "the man who is cultured, when he has become lettered, will be both at once although he was not before; but that which is but was not always so must have come to be; therefore he must have become at the same time cultured and lettered"—none of the recognized sciences considers this, except sophistry. This is the only science which concerns itself with the accidental, and hence Plato was not far wrong in saying3 that the sophist spends his time in the study of unreality. But that it is not even possible for there to be a science of the accidental will be apparent if we try to see what the accidental really is.

Of some things we say that they are so always and of necessity (necessity having the sense not of compulsion, but that which we use in logical demonstration4), and of others that they are so usually, but of others that they are so neither usually nor always and of necessity, but fortuitously. E.g., there might be a frost at midsummer, although this comes about neither always and of necessity nor usually;

1 Sections 1-9 of this chapter correspond to Aristot. Met. 6.2-4.

2 This is a different form of the "quibble" in Aristot. Met. 6.2.4. Here the fallacy obviously consists in the wrong application of the word ἅμα("at once" or "at the same time").

3 Plat. Sop. 254a.

4 Cf. Aristot. Met. 6.2.6.

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