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[1007a] [1] because "being man" and "being not-man" have different meanings if "being white" and "being man" have different meanings (for the opposition is much stronger in the former case so as to produce different meanings).And if we are told that "white" too means one and the same thing,1 we shall say again just what we said before,2 that in that case all things, and not merely the opposites, will be one. But if this is impossible, what we have stated follows; that is, if our opponent answers our question; but if when asked the simple question he includes in his answer the negations, he is not answering our question.There is nothing to prevent the same thing from being "man" and "white" and a multitude of other things; but nevertheless when asked whether it is true to say that X is man, or not, one should return an answer that means one thing, and not add that X is white and large. It is indeed impossible to enumerate all the infinity of accidents; and so let him enumerate either all or none.Similarly therefore, even if the same thing is ten thousand times "man" and "not-man," one should not include in one's answer to the question whether it is "man" that it is at the same time also "not-man," unless one is also bound to include in one's answer all the other accidental things that the subject is or is not. [20] And if one does this, he is not arguing properly.

In general those who talk like this do away with substance and essence,for they are compelled to assert that all things are accidents, and that there is no such thing as "being essentially man" or "animal." For if there is to be such a thing as "being essentially man," this will not be "being not-man" nor "not-being man" (and yet these are negations of it); for it was intended to have one meaning, i.e. the substance of something.But to denote a substance means that the essence is that and nothing else; and if for it "being essentially man" is the same as either "being essentially not-man" or "essentially not-being man," the essence will be something else.Thus they are compelled to say that nothing can have such a definition as this, but that all things are accidental; for this is the distinction between substance and accident: "white" is an accident of "man," because although he is white, he is not white in essence.And since the accidental always implies a predication about some subject, if all statements are accidental, there will be nothing primary about which they are made;

1 i.e. the same as "man."

2 Aristot. Met. 4.4.12.

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