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[1004a] [1] but we may consider that they have been sufficiently studied in the "Selection of Contraries"1) is the province of a science which is generically one.

And there are just as many divisions of philosophy as there are kinds of substance; so that there must be among them a First Philosophy and one which follows upon it.For Being and Unity at once entail genera, and so the sciences will correspond to these genera. The term "philosopher" is like the term "mathematician" in its uses; for mathematics too has divisions—there is a primary and a secondary science, and others successively, in the realm of mathematics.

Now since it is the province of one science to study opposites, and the opposite of unity is plurality, and it is the province of one science to study the negation and privation of Unity, because in both cases we are studying Unity, to which the negation (or privation) refers, stated either in the simple form that Unity is not present, or in the form that it is not present in a particular class; in the latter case Unity is modified by the differentia, apart from the content of the negation (for the negation of Unity is its absence); but in privation there is a substrate of which the privation is predicated.—The opposite of Unity, then, is Plurality; and so the opposites of the above-mentioned concepts—Otherness, Dissimilarity, Inequality and everything else which is derived from these or from Plurality or Unity— [20] fall under the cognizance of the aforesaid science. And one of them is Oppositeness; for this is a form of Difference, and Difference is a form of Otherness.Hence since the term "one" is used in various senses, so too will these terms be used; yet it pertains to one science to take cognizance of them all. For terms fall under different sciences, not if they are used in various senses, but if their definitions are neither identical nor referable to a common notion.And since everything is referred to that which is primary, e.g. all things which are called "one" are referred to the primary "One," we must admit that this is also true of Identity and Otherness and the Contraries. Thus we must first distinguish all the senses in which each term is used, and then attribute them to the primary in the case of each predicate, and see how they are related to it; for some will derive their name from possessing and others from producing it, and others for similar reasons.

Thus clearly it pertains to one science to give an account both of these concepts and of substance (this was one of the questions raised in the "Difficulties"2), and it is the function of the philosopher to be able to study all subjects.

1 It is uncertain to what treatise Aristotle refers; in any case it is not extant.

2 See Aristot. Met. 3.1.8-10, Aristot. Met. 3.2.18, 19.

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Aristotle, Metaphysics, 3.995b
    • Aristotle, Metaphysics, 3.997a
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