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[1014b] [1] are called "elements" of demonstrations.1 Such are the primary syllogisms consisting of three terms and with one middle term.(d) The term "element" is also applied metaphorically to any small unity which is useful for various purposes; and so that which is small or simple or indivisible is called an "element."(e) Hence it comes that the most universal things are elements; because each of them, being a simple unity, is present in many things—either in all or in as many as possible. Some too think that unity and the point are first principles.(f) Therefore since what are called genera2 are universal and indivisible (because they have no formula), some people call the genera elements, and these rather than the differentia, because the genus is more universal. For where the differentia is present, the genus also follows; but the differentia is not always present where the genus is. And it is common to all cases that the element of each thing is that which is primarily inherent in each thing.

"Nature"3 means: (a) in one sense, the genesis of growing things—as would be suggested by pronouncing the υ of φύσις long—and (b) in another, that immanent thing4 from which a growing thing first begins to grow. (c) The source from which the primary motion in every natural object is induced in that object as such. [20] All things are said to grow which gain increase through something else by contact and organic unity (or adhesion, as in the case of embryos).Organic unity differs from contact; for in the latter case there need be nothing except contact, but in both the things which form an organic unity there is some one and the same thing which produces, instead of mere contact, a unity which is organic, continuous and quantitative (but not qualitative).Again, "nature" means (d) the primary stuff, shapeless and unchangeable from its own potency, of which any natural object consists or from which it is produced; e.g., bronze is called the "nature" of a statue and of bronze articles, and wood that of wooden ones, and similarly in all other cases.For each article consists of these "natures," the primary material persisting. It is in this sense that men call the elements of natural objects the "nature," some calling it fire, others earth or air or water, others something else similar, others some of these, and others all of them.Again in another sense "nature" means (e) the substance of natural objects; as in the case of those who say that the "nature" is the primary composition of a thing, or as Empedocles says:

1 Cf. Aristot. Met. 3.3.1.

2 This must refer to the highest genera, which have no definition because they cannot be analyzed into genus and differentia ( Ross).

3 On the meaning of φύσις cf. Burnet, E.G.P. pp. 10-12, 363-364.

4 Probably the seed (Bonitz).

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