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[1044b] [1] (But perhaps both the latter are the same.) We must, however, state the most proximate causes. What is the matter? Not fire or earth, but the matter proper to man.

Thus as regards generable natural substances we must proceed in this manner, if we are to proceed correctly; that is, if the causes are these and of this number, and it is necessary to know the causes. But in the case of substances which though natural are eternal the principle is different. For presumably some of them have no matter; or no matter of this kind, but only such as is spatially mobile.1Moreover, things which exist by nature but are not substances have no matter; their substrate is their substance. E.g., what is the cause of an eclipse; what is its matter? It has none; it is the moon which is affected. What is the moving cause which destroys the light? The earth. There is probably no final cause. The formal cause is the formula; but this is obscure unless it includes the efficient cause.E.g., what is an eclipse? A privation of light; and if we add "caused by the earth's intervention," this is the definition which includes the <efficient> cause. In the case of sleep it is not clear what it is that is proximately affected. Is it the animal? Yes; but in respect of what, and of what proximately? The heart, or some other part. Again, by what is it affected? Again, what is the affection which affects that part, and not the whole animal? A particular kind of immobility? [20] Yes; but in virtue of what affection of the proximate subject is it this?

Since some things both are and are not, without being liable to generation and destruction2—e.g. points,3 if they exist at all; and in general the forms and shapes of things (because white does not come to be, but the wood becomes white, since everything which comes into being comes from something and becomes something)—not all the contraries4 can be generated from each other. White is not generated from black in the same way as a white man is generated from a black man; nor does everything contain matter, but only such things as admit of generation and transformation into each other.And such things as, without undergoing a process of change, both are and are not, have no matter.

There is a difficulty in the question how the matter of the individual is related to the contraries. E.g., if the body is potentially healthy, and the contrary of health is disease, is the body potentially both healthy and diseased? And is water potentially wine and vinegar? Probably in the one case it is the matter in respect of the positive state and form, and in the other case in respect of privation and degeneration which is contrary to its proper nature.

There is also a difficulty as to why wine is not the matter of vinegar, nor potentially vinegar (though vinegar comes from it), and why the living man is not potentially dead. In point of fact they are not; their degeneration is accidental,

1 Cf. Aristot. Met. 8.1.8 n.

2 Cf. Aristot. Met. 6.3.1, Aristot. Met. 7.8.3.

3 Cf. Aristot. Met. 3.5.8, 9.

4 i.e., we must distinguish "contraries" in the sense of "contrary qualities" from "contraries" in the sense of "things characterized by contrary qualities."

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