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κἂν ᾖ ἀρχή] supply τὸ μέν, and with αἴτιον in the following topic. On the omission, see Matth. Gr. Gr. § 288, Obs. 4. ἀρχή] in this topic, is used in its most general and popular sense, an ‘origin’, or ‘beginning’, or ‘source’. In this sense it may be regarded as the fountain of all good. ἔοικε δ᾽ οὕτως ἔχειν (ἡ εὐδαιμονία) καὶ διὰ τὸ εἶναι ἀρχή: ταύτης γὰρ χάριν τὰ λοιπὰ πάντα πάντες πράττομεν, τὴν ἀρχὴν δὲ καὶ τὸ αἴτιον τῶν ἀγαθῶν τίμιόν τι καὶ θεῖον ἐτίθεμεν (Eth. N. I. 13 ult.). God himself is an ἀρχή (Metaph. A 2, 983 a 8, ὁ γὰρ θεὸς ἀρχή τις). The free will, one of the ὀρέξεις or impulsive faculties, the origin of motion in the human subject, and of moral action, the ἀρχὴ πράξεως, is an ἀρχή: the importance of this, as the origin of human action and the ground of moral responsibility, in moral philosophy and practical life, may be estimated by the perusal of the first seven chapters of the third book of the Nicom. Ethics. It is more comprehensive than αἴτιον; ἀρχαί are not all causes, (see in the following note), and therefore the two may be distinguished, as they are in these two topics. An origin or beginning necessarily implies that something follows, a consequence; it leads to something: in this respect it is ‘greater’, more important, superior to, anything that is not a beginning or origin, which leads to nothing. Plat. Rep. II 377 A, οὐκοῦν οἶσθ̓ ὅτι ἀρχὴ παντὸς ἔργου μέγιστον; μεγάλην γὰρ εχουσιν (αἱ ἀρχαὶ) ῥοπὴν πρὸς τὰ ἑπόμενα, Eth. Nic. I 7, sub fin. And the same applies to αἴτιον in the following topic. These two topics are well illustrated in Rhet. ad Alex. c. 3 (4), 10, 11. The importance of an ἀρχή for good or for evil is recognized by several proverbs. On the one side we have ἀρχὴ ἥμισυ παντός, (quoted in Demetr. περὶ ἑρμηνείας § 122, ἀρχὴ δέ τοι ἥμισυ παντός,) Arist. Eth. N. I 7 ult. δοκεῖ γὰρ πλ̓εῖον ἢ ἥμισυ παντὸς εἶναι ἡ ἀρχή, Pol. VIII (V) 4, 1303 b 29, ἡ δ᾽ ἀρχὴ λέγεται ἥμισυ εἶναι παντός, de Soph. El. c. 34, 183 b 22, μέγιστον γὰρ ἴσως ἀρχὴ παντὸς ὥσπερ λέγεται. Erasm., Adag. 29, quotes Soph. Fr. Inc. (715, Dind.) ap. Plut. Mor. p. 16 A, ἔργον δὲ παντὸς ἤν τις ἄρχηται καλῶς, καὶ τὰς τελευτὰς εἰκός ἐσθ᾽ οὕτως ἔχειν, Anglice ‘Well begun is half done’. Dimidium facti qui coepit habet, Hor. Ep. I 2, 40. The first step: Ce n'est que le premier pas qui coute, see Rhet. II 19, 5, and note. On the other side, the importance of the ἀρχή in respect of the tendency to evil, we have Ovid's well-known line, become proverbial, Rem. Am. 91, Principiis obsta, sero medicina paratur. Fast. I 178, Omina principiis, inquit (Phoebus), inesse solent. (This is indifferent as to the issue.) Herodotus, after mention of the twenty ships which the Athenians on the solicitation of Aristagoras sent in aid of the Ionians, concludes the chapter, V 97, with the emphatic words, αὗται δὲ αἱ νεές, ἀρχὴ κακῶν ἐγένοντο Ἕλλησί τε καὶ βαρβάροισι. This phrase became proverbial, see Rhet. III 11, 7 bis, and Isocr. Paneg. § 119, there quoted. On the different senses of ἀρχή in the Aristotelian philosophy consult Metaph Δ I, where they are enumerated and distinguished; and Bonitz's Commentary. They are thus summed up; πασῶν μὲν οὖν κοινὸν τῶν ἀρχῶν τὸ πρῶτον εἶναι ὅθεν ἢ εστιν ἢ γίγνεται ἢ γιγνώσκεται: τούτων δὲ αἱ μὲν ἐνυπάρχουσαί εἰσιν αἱ δὲ ἐκτός, 1013 a 17. Ἀρχαί are ‘origins’, heads or starting-points, of a series, of three kinds; (1) of being, οὐσία1, (2) of generation or growth, γένεσις, and (3) of knowledge, γνῶσις. ἄνευ γὰρ αἰτίου καὶ ἀρχῆς ἀδύνατον εἶναι ἢ γενέσθαι, Rhet. I 7, 12. The six senses in which ἀρχή may be employed are all reducible to these three. Of these some are inherent (as the στοιχεῖον, the mathematical point, the origin of the line, or the starting-point of anything, that out of which it grows and is developed2; the keel of a vessel, the foundation of a house; in animals the heart or the brain, or any other part which has been assumed to be the original seat of life); some external, the origin of motion or change, (as father and mother, of child; abusive language3, of a fight; or again the human will or deliberate purpose, and intellect, προαίρεσις and διάνοια4, in the case of ‘governments’ [ἀρχαί] and arts, all of which set things in motion and produce change). The origin or starting-point of knowledge is illustrated by the ὑποθέσεις, the assumed first principles of a demonstration, as the major premiss of a syllogism. Another ‘external origin’ is the οὗ ἕνεκα, or τέλος, the final cause, πολλῶν γὰρ καὶ τοῦ γνῶναι καὶ τῆς κινήσεως ἀρχὴ τἀγαθὸν καὶ τὸ καλόν, a 21. Comp. de Anima Γ 10, 433 a 15, καὶ ἡ ὄρεξις ἕνεκά του πᾶσα: οὗ γὰρ ἡ ὄρεξις, αὕτη ἀρχὴ τοῦ πρακτικοῦ νοῦ: τὸ δ᾽ ἔσχατον ἀρχὴ τῆς πράξεως. ἀρχή is not identical with αἴτιον, though, as all αἴτια (all the four causes) are ἀρχαί, the two terms are frequently identified (Bonitz, Comm. p. 219; Waitz, Org. p. 458): but the converse is not true; as is shewn by some of the examples given above: the assertion therefore that ἰσαχῶς (ταῖς ἀρχαῖς) καὶ τὰ αἴτια λέγεται: πάντα γὰρ τὰ αἴτια ἀρχαί (a 16) must be limited to what is directly stated, the converse is not included. On the point of difference between the two, and also the identification with στοιχεῖον, see Waitz, Organ. p. 458. Another definition of ἀρχή occurs in de Gen. Anim. V 7, 23, 788 a 14, τοῦτο γάρ ἐστι τὸ ἀρχὴν εἶναι, τὸ αὐτὴν μὲν αἰτίαν εἶναι πολλῶν, ταύτης δ᾽ ἄλλο ἄνωθεν μηδέν. See also Trendel. on de Anima p. 187. On scientific and logical ἀρχαί or first principles, ultimate axioms, κοιναί and ἰδίαι, see note in Introd. p. 73. In the Eudemian Ethics, II 6, three kinds of ἀρχαί, general, moral, and mathematical, are distinguished, and some account given of them. [See also Index Aristotelicus, s. v. S.] κἂν ᾖ αἴτιον κ τ.λ.] Top. Γ, 116 b 1, καὶ τὸ αἴτιον ἀγαθοῦ καθ᾽ αὑτὸ τοῦ κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς αἰτίου, καθάπερ ἡ ἀρετὴ τῆς τύχης: ἡ μὲν γὰρ καθ̓ αὑτὴν ἡ δὲ κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς αἰτία τῶν ἀγαθῶν, καὶ εἴ τι ἄλλο τοιοῦτον. ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ ἐναντίου (τοῦ κακοῦ) κ.τ.λ. τὸ δ᾽ οὐκ αἴτιον] On οὐκ after ἄν, understood from the preceding clause, see Appendix (C) on εἰ οὐ, c. 15, 23. καὶ δυοῖν ἀρχαῖν κ.τ.λ.] and again, of two origins or causes, the consequence and effect of the superior is greater. The following passage of the Topics will illustrate the preceding as well as the present topic. Γ 3, 118 a 29, ἔτι εἰ τὸ μὲν ποιεῖ ἀγαθὸν ἐκεῖνο ᾧ ἂν παρῇ, τὸ δὲ μὴ ποιεῖ, τὸ ποιοῦν αἱρετώτερον, καθάπερ καὶ θερμότερον τὸ θερμαῖνον τοῦ μή. εἰ δὲ ἄμφω ποιεῖ, τὸ μᾶλλον ποιοῦν: ἢ εἰ τὸ βέλτιον καὶ κυριώτερον ποιεῖ ἀγαθόν, οἷον εἰ τὸ μὲν τὴν ψυχήν, τὸ δὲ τὸ σῶμα: c. 5, 119 a 17, καὶ εἰ τὸ μὲν ποιεῖ τὸ δὲ μὴ ποιεῖ τὸ ἔχον τοιόνδε, μᾶλλον τοιοῦτο ὅ ποτε ποιεῖ ἢ ὃ μὴ ποιεῖ. εἰ δ᾽ ἄμφω ποιεῖ, τὸ μᾶλλον ποιοῦν τοιοῦτο. καὶ ἀνάπαλιν] ‘and conversely, of two origins; the origin of the greater consequence is greater...’.
2 στοιχεῖον “hoc loco eum (Aristotelem) non tam elementi naturam cogitasse, quam principem illam rei alicuius partem, in qua primum continetur et destinata est ipsa rei natura, ex exemplis allatis facile cognoscas.” Bon. Comm. p. 218.
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