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[1087a] [29]

With regard to this kind of substance,1 then, let the foregoing account suffice. All thinkers make the first principles contraries; as in the realm of natural objects, so too in respect of the unchangeable substances.Now if nothing can be prior to the first principle of all things, that first principle cannot be first principle if it is an attribute of something else. This would be as absurd as to say that "white" is the first principle, not qua anything else but qua white, and yet that it is predicable of a subject, and is white because it is an attribute of something else; because the latter will be prior to it.Moreover, all things are generated from contraries as from a substrate, and therefore contraries must most certainly have a substrate.

1 i.e., the Platonic Ideas or numbers, which they regarded as unchangeable substances. There is, however, no definite transition to a fresh subject at this point. The criticisms of the Ideas or numbers as substances, and of the Platonic first principles, have not been grouped systematically in Books 13 and 14. Indeed there is so little distinction in subject matter between the two books that in some Mss. 14 was made to begin at 13.9.10. (Syrianus ad loc.). See Introduction.

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