previous next
[1074a] [1] there must be for each of the other planets other spheres, one less in number than those already mentioned, which counteract these and restore to the same position the first sphere of the star which in each case is next in order below.1 In this way only can the combination of forces produce the motion of the planets.Therefore since the forces by which the planets themselves are moved are 8 for Jupiter and Saturn, and 25 for the others, and since of these the only ones which do not need to be counteracted are those by which the lowest planet2 is moved, the counteracting spheres for the first two planets will be 6, and those of the remaining four will be 16; and the total number of spheres, both those which move the planets and those which counteract these, will be 55.If we do not invest the moon and the sun with the additional motions which we have mentioned,3 there will be 47 (?)4 spheres in all.

This, then, may be taken to be the number of the spheres; and thus it is reasonable to suppose that there are as many immovable substances and principles,5—the statement of logical necessity may be left to more competent thinkers.

If there can be no spatial motion which is not conducive to the motion of a star, [20] and if moreover every entity and every substance which is impassive and has in itself attained to the highest good should be regarded as an end, then there can be no other entity besides these,6 and the number of the substances must be as we have said. For if there are other substances, they must move something, since they are the end of spatial motion.But there can be no other spatial motions besides those already mentioned. This is a reasonable inference from a general consideration of spatial motion. For if everything which moves exists for the sake of that which is moved, and every motion for the sake of something which is moved, no motion can exist for the sake of itself or of some other motion, but all motions must exist for the sake of the stars.For if we are to suppose that one motion is for the sake of another, the latter too must be for the sake of something else; and since the series cannot be infinite, the end of every motion must be one of the divine bodies which are moved through the heavens.

It is evident that there is only one heaven.7 For if there is to be a plurality of heavens (as there is of men), the principle of each must be one in kind but many in number.But all things which are many in number have matter (for one and the same definition applies to many individuals, e.g. that of "man"; but Socrates is one8), but the primary essence has no matter, because it is complete reality. Therefore the prime mover, which is immovable, is one both in formula and in number; and therefore so also is that which is eternally and continuously in motion. Therefore there is only one heaven.

1 Aristotle is trying to establish a mechanical relation between the spheres, which Eudoxus and Callipus did not attempt to do.

2 The moon.

3 In sect. 11.

4 Either Aristotle has made a slip in his calculations, or we should read ἐννέα(Sosigenes) for ἑπτά; this would give 49, which appears to be the correct total. For alternative explanations of an error in calculation see Ross ad loc.

5 i.e., the movers of the spheres.

6 See previous note.

7 This paragraph seems to belong to an earlier period of Aristotle's thought. At any rate the argument that plurality involves matter is inconsistent with the view that there are 55 immaterial movers.

8 The definition or form is one and universal; it is the combination of form with matter that constitutes an individual. Thus a plurality of individuals is caused by the combination of the same form with different matter.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1924)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (3 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: