previous next
[1018b] [1] or (b) which are in the same genus and contain a differentia; or (c) which contain a contrariety in their essence.(d) Contraries, too (either all of them or those which are called so in a primary sense), are "other in species" than one another; and (e) so are all things of which the formulae are different in the final species of the genus (e.g., "man" and "horse" are generically indivisible, but their formulae are different); and (f) attributes of the same substance which contain a difference. "The same in species" has the opposite meanings to these.

"Prior" and "posterior" mean: (1.) (a) In one sense (assuming that there is in each genus some primary thing or starting-point) that which is nearer to some starting-point, determined either absolutely and naturally, or relatively, or locally, or by some agency; e.g., things are prior in space because they are nearer either to some place naturally determined, such as the middle or the extreme, or to some chance relation; and that which is further is posterior.(b) In another sense, prior or posterior in time . Some things are prior as being further from the present, as in the case of past events (for the Trojan is prior to the Persian war, because it is further distant from the present); and others as being nearer the present, as in the case of future events (for the Nemean are prior to the Pythian games because they are nearer to the present, regarded as a starting-point and as primary). [20] (c) In another sense, in respect of motion (for that which is nearer to the prime mover is prior; e.g., the boy is prior to the man). This too is a kind of starting point in an absolute sense. (d) In respect of potency; for that which is superior in potency, or more potent, is prior. Such is that in accordance with whose will the other, or posterior, thing must follow, so that according as the former moves or does not move, the latter is or is not moved. And the will is a "starting-point."(e) In respect of order; such are all things which are systematically arranged in relation to some one determinate object. E.g., he who is next to the leader of the chorus is prior to him who is next but one, and the seventh string is prior to the eighth1; for in one case the leader is the starting-point, and in the other the middle2 string.

In these examples "prior" has this sense; but (2.) in another sense that which is prior in knowledge is treated as absolutely prior; and of things which are prior in this sense the prior in formula are different from the prior in perception . Universals are prior in formula, but particulars in perception. And in formula the attribute is prior to the concrete whole: e.g. "cultured" to "the cultured man"; for the formula will not be a whole without the part.Yet "cultured" cannot exist apart from some cultured person.

Again, (3.) attributes of prior subjects are called prior; e.g., straightness is prior to smoothness,

1 The octachord to which Aristotle refers was composed of the following notes: E (῾υπάτη) F (παρυπάτη) G (λιχανός) A (μέση) B (παραμέση) C (τρίτη) D (παρανήτη) E (νήτη).

2 Strictly speaking there was no middle string in the octachord; the name was taken over from the earlier heptachord EFGABbCD, in which there was no παραμέση. The μέση was apparently what we should call the tonic. Cf. Aristot. Met. 14.6.5; Aristot. Problemata 919b 20.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1924)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (3 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: