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‘And if it is possible for the latter, the posterior, the subsequent, of two things, either in substance and essence, or generation, to be brought into being, then also the prior, the antecedent; for instance, if a man can be generated, then a child; for that (the child) is prior in generation (every man must have been first a boy; this is ἐν γενέσει, in the order of growth, in the succession of the natural series of generation or propagation): and if a child, then a man; because this (the child, ἐκείνη being made to agree with ἀρχή instead of παῖς,) is a beginning or origin’. This latter example is by the rule that every end necessarily implies a beginning; a child stands in the relation to mature man of beginning to end: and therefore every grown man must have passed through the period of childhood; which is also reducible to the other rule, that the possibility of subsequent implies that of antecedent, of which the preceding example is an illustration.

τὸ ὕστερον, τὸ πρότερον] The two principal passages on the various senses in which πρότερον and ὕστερον, before and after, earlier and later, antecedent and subsequent, prior and posterior, can be applied, are Categ. c. 12, in which five varieties are distinguished, and Met. Δ 11, in which there are four. On the former passage Waitz says in his Comm. p. 316, “non premendam esse divisionem quam nostro loco tradidit: apparet enim non id agi in his ut ipsa rerum natura exploretur et pervestigetur, sed ut quae usus ferat sermonis quotidiani distinguantur alterum ab altero et explicentur.’

In the Metaphysics, the divisions are four. In the first, prior and posterior refer us to a series and an order, established either by nature or by the human will, under which the τῇ γενέσει of the Rhetoric will naturally fall. Of this there are five varieties, (1) κατὰ τόπον, local (comp. Phys. IV 11, 219 a 14, seq.); (2) κατὰ χρόνον, chronological, the order of time (Phys. IV 14, 223 a 4, seq.); (3) κατὰ κίνησιν; (4) κατὰ δύναμιν, capacity or power; capacity a natural order, power either of nature or human choice; (5) κατὰ τάξιν.

In the second the order of knowledge is referred to: only in two different applications the meaning of the two terms is inverted: in the order of growth the particular is prior to the universal, sense and observation to generalisation or induction: in the order of dignity, the universal is prior to the particular, as the whole to the individual parts. The one is πρότερον πρὸς ἡμᾶς, the other, πρότερον ἁπλῶς.

The third, πρότερα λέγεται τὰ τῶν προτέρων πάθη, the priority of the attributes of the prior (in some series), as straightness is prior to smoothness, because the line is prior to the plane or surface—the notion is that the plane is generated from, and so, in growth and origin, posterior to the line; and therefore the attribute of the latter is prior to that of the former—is not, as Bonitz remarks, coordinate with the three others, “pendet enim a reliquis, quae suapte natura sunt priora, tamquam accidens a subiecto suo qui inhaeret.”

The fourth, the οὐσία of the Rhetoric, priority and posteriority in essence or substance, τὰ κατὰ φύσιν καὶ οὐσίαν; priority in this sense belongs to things ὅσα ἐνδέχεται εἶναι ἄνευ ἄλλων: that is, things which are independent of others, whereas the others (the posterior) are dependent on them: the latter imply the former, the former do not necessarily imply the latter. Such is the relation of one and two; two always imply one, one does not necessarily imply two. Similarly the first category, οὐσία substance, is prior to all the others, which express only properties and attributes of the first. This priority is οὐσία, which is evidently inserted merely because it was suggested by the opposite γένεσις, and being utterly useless in Rhetoric, from which all nice distinctions and subtleties of all kinds are alien, is accordingly passed over in the illustration. This division of οὐσία also includes priority of δύναμις and ἐνέργεια, where again the order of growth and of dignity inverts the relation of the two: δύναμις, the capacity, being of course prior in growth or time, the ἐνέργεια, actus, the realization, or active and perfect condition, being superior in the order of dignity and importance, or in conception, λόγῳ.

Another division is that of οὐσίᾳ substance, λόγῳ conception, and χρόνῳ. Metaph. Θ 8, 1049 b 11, seq.

See further on this subject, Bonitz ad Met. Δ 11, Comm. p. 249—252; Waitz ad Organ. p. 14 a 26 (Categ. c. 12). Trendelenburg, Categorienlehre p. 38, seq., 72, seq.

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