[1080a] [1] then how can the Ideas, if they are the substances of things, exist in separation from them?

In thePhaedo1 this statement is made: that the Forms are causes both of being and of generation. Yet assuming that the Forms exist, still there is no generation unless there is something to impart motion; and many other things are generated (e.g. house and ring) of which the Idealists say that there are no Forms.Thus it is clearly possible that those things of which they say that there are Ideas may also exist and be generated through the same kind of causes as those of the things which we have just mentioned, and not because of the Forms. Indeed, as regards the Ideas, we can collect against them plenty of evidence similar to that which we have now considered; not only by the foregoing methods, but by means of more abstract and exact reasoning.

Now that we have dealt with the problems concerning the Ideas, we had better re-investigate the problems connected with numbers that follow from the theory that numbers are separate substances and primary causes of existing things. Now if number is a kind of entity, and has nothing else as its substance, but only number itself, as some maintain; then either (a) there must be some one part of number which is primary, and some other part next in succession, and so on, each part being specifically different2— and this applies directly to units, and any given unit is inaddible to any other given unit; [20] or (b) they3 are all directly successive, and any units can be added to any other units, as is held of mathematical number; for in mathematical number no one unit differs in any way from another.Or (c) some units must be addible and others not. E.g., 2 is first after 1, and then 3, and so on with the other numbers; and the units in each number are addible, e.g. the units in the first42 are addible to one another, and those in the first 3 to one another, and so on in the case of the other numbers; but the units in the Ideal 2 are inaddible to those in the Ideal 3;and similarly in the case of the other successive numbers. Hence whereas mathematical number is counted thus: after 1, 2 (which consists of another 1 added to the former) and 3 (which consists of another 1 added to these two) and the other numbers in the same way, Ideal number is counted like this: after 1, a distinct 2 not including the original 1; and a 3 not including the 2, and the rest of the numbers similarly.Or (d) one kind of number must be such as we first described, and another or such as the mathematicians maintain, and that which we have last described must be a third kind.

Again, these numbers must exist either in separation from things,

2 This statement bears two meanings, which Aristotle confuses: (i) There must be more than one number-series, each series being different in kind from every other series; (2) All numbers are different in kind, and inaddible. Confusion (or textual inaccuracy) is further suggested by the fact that Aristotle offers no alternative statement of the nature of number in general, such as we should expect from his language. In any case the classification is arbitrary and incomplete.

3 The units.

4 i.e., Ideal or natural.

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