previous next
[1044a] [1] so neither the definition nor the essence will continue to exist if something is subtracted from or added to it. And (c) a number must be something in virtue of which it is a unity (whereas our opponents cannot say what makes it one); that is, if it is a unity.For either it is not a unity but a kind of aggregate, or if it is a unity, we must explain what makes a unity out of a plurality. And the definition is a unity; but similarly they cannot explain the definition either. This is a natural consequence, for the same reason applies to both, and substance is a unity in the way which we have explained, and not as some thinkers say: e.g. because it is a kind of unit or point; but each substance is a kind of actuality and nature.Also (d) just as a number does not admit of variation in degree, so neither does substance in the sense of form; if any substance does admit of this, it is substance in combination with matter.1

Let this suffice as a detailed account of the generation and destruction of so-called substances, in what sense they are possible and in what sense they are not; and of the reference of things to number.

As regards material substance, we must not fail to realize that even if all things are derived from the same primary cause, or from the same things as primary causes2; i.e. even if all things that are generated have the same matter for their first principle, nevertheless each thing has some matter peculiar to it; e.g., "the sweet" or "the viscous" is the proximate matter of mucus, and "the bitter" or some such thing is that of bile— [20] although probably mucus and bile are derived from the same ultimate matter.The result is that there is more than one matter of the same thing, when one thing is the matter of the other; e.g., mucus is derived from "the viscous"; and from "the sweet," if "the viscous" is derived from "the sweet"; and from bile, by the analysis of bile into its ultimate matter. For there are two senses in which X comes from Y; either because X will be found further on than Y in the process of development, or because X is produced when Y is analyzed into its original constituents.And different things can be generated by the moving cause when the matter is one and the same, e.g. a chest and a bed from wood. But some different things must necessarily have different matter; e.g., a saw cannot be generated from wood, nor does this lie in the power of the moving cause, for it cannot make a saw of wool or wood.

If, then, it is possible to make the same thing from different matter, clearly the art, i.e. the moving principle, is the same; for if both the matter and the mover are different, so too is the product.

So whenever we inquire what the cause is, since there are causes in several senses, we must state all the possible causes.E.g., what is the material cause of a man? The menses. What is the moving cause? The semen. What is the formal cause? The essence. What is the final cause? The end.

1 In Aristot. Categories 3b 33-4a 9 Aristotle does not allow this exception.

2 i.e. from prime matter or the four elements.

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: