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‘The possibility of anything, in respect of being or coming to be, implies the possibility of the contrary: as, for example, if it be possible for a man to be cured, it is possible for him also to fall ill: for there is the same power, faculty, potentiality, i.e. possibility of affecting a subject, in the two contraries, in so far as they are contrary one to another’.

ἐναντία] i.e. solely in respect of their being contraries, and excluding all other considerations. As in the instance given, a man is equally liable to be affected by health and sickness in so far as they are contraries, without regard to any properties or qualities in himself, which may render him more or less liable to one or the other. This is Schrader's explanation.

τἀναντία] ‘contraries’ is one of the four varieties of ἀντικείμενα, ‘opposites’. These are (1) ἀντίφασις, ‘contradiction’ (or contradictories), κατάφασις and ἀπόφασις, affirmation and negation, affirmative and negative, to be and not to be, yes and no. (2) τὰ ἐναντία, ‘contraries’ which are defined as the extreme opposites under the same genus—good and bad, black and white, long and short, quick and slow, &c.—which cannot reside in the same subject together. (3) Relative opposites, τὰ πρός τι, as double and half, master and servant, father and son, &c. And (4) opposites of state and privation, ἕξις and στέρησις, the possession of something and the privation, absence, want, of it; as sight and blindness. (This last term, however, privation, is properly applied only to cases in which the opposite, possession or state, is natural to the possessor; in which consequently that which wants it, is deprived—defrauded, as it were—of something to which it has a natural claim: blindness can only be called a στέρησις when the individual affected by it belongs to a class

of animals which have the faculty of vision: τυφλὸν λέγομεν οὐ τὸ μὴ ἔχον ὄψιν, ἀλλὰ τὸ μὴ ἔχον ὅτε πέφυκεν ἔχειν. Categ. c. 10, 12 a 26 seq.) On ‘opposites’, see Categ. cc. 10, 11. Top. B 2, 109 b 17—23. Ib. c. 8, 113 b 15 seq. Ib. E 6. Metaph. Δ 10, 1018 a 20 seq. (where two more kinds are added, unnecessarily, see Bonitz ad loc.) and I 4, 1055 a 38, where the usual four are alone mentioned. Cicero, Topic. XI 47—49, enumerates and illustrates the same four. Of ἐναντία he says, Haec, quae ex eodem genere contraria sunt appellantur adversa. Contrarium with him is Aristotle's ἀντικείμενον, the genus, or general notion of opposite.

The argument from contraries, as employed here, is this: the possibility of anything being or becoming the one, implies that of being or becoming the other; only not both at once: a virtuous man may always become (has the capacity, δύναμις, of becoming) vicious, and the converse; but ἐνεργείᾳ, when the one state is actually present, and realised in the subject, it excludes the other. This reciprocal possibility in contraries arises from the fact that the two contraries belong to the same genus or class. Black and white both fall under the genus colour, of which they are the extremes; they pass from one into the other by insensible gradations of infinite variety, from which we may infer that any surface that admits of colour at all, will admit either of them indifferently apart, but not together; two different colours cannot be shewn on the same surface and at the same time.

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