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[1019a] [1] because the former is an attribute of the line in itself, and the latter of a surface.

Some things, then, are called prior and posterior in this sense; but others (iv.) in virtue of their nature and substance, namely all things which can exist apart from other things, whereas other things cannot exist without them. This distinction was used by Plato.1(And since "being" has various meanings, (a) the substrate, and therefore substance, is prior; (b) potential priority is different from actual priority.Some things are prior potentially, and some actually; e.g., potentially the half-line is prior to the whole, or the part to the whole, or the matter to the substance; but actually it is posterior, because it is only upon dissolution that it will actually exist.)Indeed, in a sense all things which are called "prior" or "posterior" are so called in this connection; for some things can exist apart from others in generation (e.g. the whole without the parts), and others in destruction (e.g. the parts without the whole). And similarly with the other examples.

"Potency"2 means: (a) the source of motion or change which is in something other than the thing changed, or in it qua other. E.g., the science of building is a potency which is not present in the thing built; but the science of medicine, which is a potency, may be present in the patient, although not qua patient.Thus "potency" means the source in general of change or motion in another thing, or in the same thing qua other; [20] or the source of a thing's being moved or changed by another thing, or by itself qua other (for in virtue of that principle by which the passive thing is affected in any way we call it capable of being affected; sometimes if it is affected at all, and sometimes not in respect of every affection, but only if it is changed for the better).(b) The power of performing this well or according to intention; because sometimes we say that those who can merely take a walk, or speak, without doing it as well as they intended, cannot speak or walk. And similarly in the case of passivity.(c) All states in virtue of which things are unaffected generally, or are unchangeable, or cannot readily deteriorate, are called "potencies." For things are broken and worn out and bent and in general destroyed not through potency but through impotence and deficiency of some sort; and things are unaffected by such processes which are scarcely or slightly affected because they have a potency and are potent and are in a definite state.

Since "potency" has all these meanings, "potent" (or "capable") will mean (a) that which contains a source of motion or change (for even what is static is "potent" in a sense) which takes place in another thing, or in itself qua other.

1 Not, apparently, in his writings.

2 Or "capacity" or "potentiality."

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