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[1089b] [1] for then these too would be numbers and units. But if the Platonists had pursued this inquiry, they would have perceived the cause of plurality in substances as well; for the cause1 is the same, or analogous.

This deviation of theirs was the reason why in seeking the opposite of Being and unity, from which in combination with Being and unity existing things are derived, they posited the relative (i.e. the unequal), which is neither the contrary nor the negation of Being and unity, but is a single characteristic of existing things, just like substance or quality. They should have investigated this question also; how it is that relations are many, and not one.As it is, they inquire how it is that there are many units besides the primary unity, but not how there are many unequal things besides the Unequal. Yet they employ in their arguments and speak of Great and Small, Many and Few (of which numbers are composed), Long and Short (of which the line is composed), Broad and Narrow (of which the plane is composed), Deep and Shallow (of which solids are composed); and they mention still further kinds of relation.2 Now what is the cause of plurality in these relations?

We must, then, as I say, presuppose in the case of each thing that which is it potentially. The author3 of this theory further explained what it is that is potentially a particular thing or substance, but is not per se existent—that it is the relative (he might as well have said "quality"); which is neither potentially unity or Being, nor a negation of unity or Being, [20] but just a particular kind of Being. And it was still more necessary, as we have said,4 that, if he was inquiring how it is that things are many, he should not confine his inquiry to things in the same category, and ask how it is that substances or qualities are many, but that he should ask how it is that things in general are many; for some things are substances, some affections, and some relations.Now in the case of the other categories there is an additional difficulty in discovering how they are many. For it may be said that since they are not separable, it is because the substrate becomes or is many that qualities and quantities are many; yet there must be some matter for each class of entities, only it cannot be separable from substances.In the case of particular substances, however, it is explicable how the particular thing can be many, if we do not regard a thing both as a particular substance and as a certain characteristic.5 The real difficulty which arises from these considerations is how substances are actually many and not one.

Again, even if a particular thing and a quantity are not the same, it is not explained how and why existing things are many, but only how quantities are many;for all number denotes quantity, and the unit, if it does not mean a measure, means that which is quantitatively indivisible. If, then, quantity and substance are different, it is not explained whence or how substance is many;

1 Matter, according to Aristotle; and there is matter, or something analogous to it, in every category. Cf. Aristot. Met. 12.5.

2 Cf. Aristot. Met. 14.1.6, 18, Aristot. Met. 1.9.23.

3 Plato.

4 sect. 11.

5 This, according to Aristotle, is how the Platonists regard the Ideas. See Introduction.

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