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[1007b] [1] so the predication must proceed to infinity. But this is impossible, for not even more than two accidents can be combined in predication. An accident cannot be an accident of an accident unless both are accidents of the same thing.I mean, e.g., that "white" is "cultured" and "cultured" "white" merely because both are accidents of a man. But it is not in this sense—that both terms are accidents of something else—that Socrates is cultured. Therefore since some accidents are predicated in the latter and some in the former sense, such as are predicated in the way that "white" is of Socrates cannot be an infinite series in the upper direction; e.g. there cannot be another accident of "white Socrates," for the sum of these predications does not make a single statement.Nor can "white " have a further accident, such as "cultured"; for the former is no more an accident of the latter than vice versa; and besides we have distinguished that although some predicates are accidental in this sense, others are accidental in the sense that "cultured" is to Socrates; and whereas in the former case the accident is an accident of an accident, it is not so in the latter; and thus not all predications will be of accidents.Therefore even so there will be something which denotes substance. And if this is so, we have proved that contradictory statements cannot be predicated at the same time.

Again, if all contradictory predications of the same subject at the same time are true, clearly all things will be one. [20] For if it is equally possible either to affirm or deny anything of anything, the same thing will be a trireme and a wall and a man; which is what necessarily follows for those who hold the theory of Protagoras.1 For if anyone thinks that a man is not a trireme, he is clearly not a trireme; and so he also is a trireme if the contradictory statement is true.And the result is the dictum of Anaxagoras, "all things mixed together"2; so that nothing truly exists. It seems, then, that they are speaking of the Indeterminate; and while they think that they are speaking of what exists, they are really speaking of what does not; for the Indeterminate is that which exists potentially but not actually.But indeed they must admit the affirmation or negation of any predicate of any subject, for it is absurd that in the case of each term its own negation should be true, and the negation of some other term which is not true of it should not be true. I mean, e.g., that if it is true to say that a man is not a man, it is obviously also true to say that he is or is not a trireme.Then if the affirmation is true, so must the negation be true; but if the affirmation is not true the negation will be even truer than the negation of the original term itself.

1 i.e., that all appearances and opinions are true.

2 Fr. 1 (Diels).

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