previous next
[1027b] [1] Accordingly So-and-so will die by disease or violence if he goes out; and this if he gets thirsty; and this if something else happens; and thus we shall come to what is the case now, or to something which has already happened. E.g. "if he is thirsty"; this will happen if he is eating pungent food, and this is either the case or not.Thus of necessity he will either die or not die. And similarly if one jumps over to the past, the principle is the same; for this—I mean that which has just happened—is already present in something. Everything, then, which is to be, will be of necessity; e.g., he who is alive must die—for some stage of the process has been reached already; e.g., the contraries are present in the same body—but whether by disease or violence is not yet determined; it depends upon whether so-and-so happens.Clearly, then, the series goes back to some starting-point, which does not go back to something else. This, therefore, will be the starting-point of the fortuitous, and nothing else is the cause of its generation. But to what sort of starting-point and cause this process of tracing back leads, whether to a material or final or moving cause, is a question for careful consideration.

So much, then, for the accidental sense of "being"; we have defined it sufficiently. As for "being" qua truth, and "not-being" qua falsity, since they depend upon combination and separation, [20] and taken together are concerned with the arrangement of the parts of a contradiction (since the true has affirmation when the subject and predicate are combined, and negation where they are divided; but the false has the contrary arrangement.How it happens that we combine or separate in thought is another question. By "combining or separating in thought" I mean thinking them not as a succession but as a unity1); for "falsity" and "truth" are not in things —the good, for example, being true, and the bad false—but in thought ; and with regard to simple concepts and essences there is no truth or falsity even in thought;—what points we must study in connection with being and not-being in this sense, we must consider later. But since the combination and separation exists in thought and not in things, and this sense of "being" is different from the proper senses (since thought attaches or detaches essence or quality or quantity or some other category), we may dismiss the accidental and real senses2 of "being."For the cause of the one is indeterminate and of the other an affection of thought;

1 sc., "or not as a unity but as a succession" (this is separating in thought).

2 i.e., the senses in which the verb "to be" is used to express an accidental or a true relation.

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