previous next
[1035a] [1]

If then matter, form, and the combination of the two are distinct, and if both matter and form and their combination are substance, there is one sense in which even matter may be called "part" of a thing; and another in which it is not, but the only parts are those elements of which the formula of the form consists. E.g., flesh is not a part of concavity, because flesh is the matter in which concavity is induced; but it is a part of snubness. And bronze is part of the statue as a concrete whole, but not of the statue in the sense of form.We may speak of the form (or the thing as having a form) as an individual thing, but we may never so speak of that which is material by itself. This is why the formula of the circle does not contain that of the segments, whereas the formula of the syllable does contain that of the letters; for the letters are parts of the formula of the form; they are not matter; but the segments are parts in the sense of matter in which the form is induced. They approximate, however, more closely to the form than does the bronze when roundness is engendered in bronze.But there is a sense in which not even all the letters will be contained in the formula of the syllable; e.g. particular letters on wax1 or sounds in the air; for these too are part of the syllable in the sense that they are its sensible matter.For even if the line is divided and resolved into its halves, or if the man is resolved into bones and muscles and flesh, [20] it does not follow that they are composed of these as parts of their essence, but as their matter; and these are parts of the concrete whole, but not of the form, or that to which the formula refers. Hence they are not in the formulae.Accordingly in some cases the formula will include the formula of such parts as the above, but in others it need not necessarily contain their formula, unless it is the formula of the concrete object. It is for this reason that some things are composed of parts in the sense of principles into which they can be resolved, while others are not.All things which are concrete combinations of form and matter (e.g. "the snub" or the bronze circle) can be resolved into form and matter, and the matter is a part of them; but such as are not concrete combinations with matter, but are without matter—whose formulae refer to the form only—cannot be resolved; either not at all, or at least not in this way.Thus these material components are principles and parts of the concrete objects, but they are neither parts nor principles of the form. For this reason the clay statue can be resolved into clay, and the sphere into bronze, and Callias into flesh and bones, and the circle too into segments, because it is something which is combined with matter.

1 i.e. written on a waxed tablet.

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 Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: