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[1040b] [1] but the sun was supposed to be an individual, like Cleon or Socrates.Why does not one of the exponents of the Ideas produce a definition of them? If they were to try, it would become obvious that what we have just said is true.

It is obvious that even of those things which are thought to be substances the majority are potentialities; both the parts of living things (for none of them has a separate substantial existence; and when they are separated, although they still exist, they exist as matter), and earth, fire and air; for none of these is one thing —they are a mere aggregate before they are digested and some one thing is generated from them.It might be supposed very reasonably that the parts of living things and the corresponding parts of their vital principle are both, i.e. exist both actually and potentially, because they contain principles of motion derived from something in their joints; and hence some animals1 live even when they are divided. Nevertheless it is only potentially that all of them will exist when they are one and continuous by nature and not by force or concretion; for this sort of thing is malformation.2

And since "unity" has the same variety of senses as "being," and the substance of Unity is one, and things whose substance is numerically one are numerically one, evidently neither Unity nor Being can be the substance of things, just as neither "being an element" or "principle" can be the substance; [20] but we ask what the principle is so that we may refer to something more intelligible.3Now of these concepts Being and Unity are more nearly substance than are principle, element and cause; but not even the former are quite substance, since nothing else that is common is substance; for substance belongs to nothing except itself and that which contains it and of which it is the substance.Again, Unity cannot exist in many places at the same time, but that which is common is present in many things at the same time. Hence it is clear that no universal exists in separation apart from its particulars. The exponents of the Forms are partly right in their account when they make the Forms separate; that is, if the Forms are substances, but they are also partly wrong, since by "Form" they mean the "one-over-many."4The reason for this is that they cannot explain what are the imperishable substances of this kind which exist besides particular sensible substances; so they make them the same in kind as perishable things (for these we know); i.e., they make "Ideal Man" and "Ideal Horse," adding the word "Ideal" to the names of sensible things.However, I presume that even if we had never seen the stars,

1 e.g. wasps, bees, tortoises (P. Nat. 467a 18, 468a 25).

2 i.e., it is only when they do not properly constitute a unity that parts can be said to exist actually.

3 i.e., a thing is a principle in relation to something else which it explains; therefore a principle is less substantial than unity or being, which belong to a thing in itself.

4 i.e. universal; cf. Aristot. Met. 1.9.1.

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