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[1070a] [1] The agent is the immediate mover; the subject is the matter; and the object is the form. Thus the process will go on to infinity if not only the bronze comes to be round, but also roundness or bronze comes to be; there must, then, be some stopping-point.

We must next observe that every substance is generated from something which has the same name ("substances" including not only natural but all other products). Things are generated either by art or by nature or by chance or spontaneously. Art is a generative principle in something else; nature is a generative principle in the subject itself1(for man begets man); the other causes are privations of these.2

There are three kinds of substance: (1.) matter, which exists individually in virtue of being apparent3(for everything which is characterized by contact and so not by coalescence is matter and substrate; e.g. fire, flesh and head; [20] these are all matter, and the last is the matter of a substance in the strictest sense); (2.) the "nature"4(existing individually)—i.e. a kind of positive state which is the terminus of motion; and (3.) the particular combination of these, e.g. Socrates or Callias. In some cases the individuality does not exist apart from the composite substance (e.g., the form of a house does not exist separately, except as the art of building;nor are these forms liable to generation and destruction; there is a distinct sense in which "house" and "health" and every artificial product, considered in the abstract, do or do not exist5); if it does so at all, it does so in the case of natural objects. Hence Plato was not far wrong in saying6 that there are as many Forms as there are kinds of natural objects; that is if there are Forms distinct from the things of our world.

Moving causes are causes in the sense of pre-existent things, but formal causes coexist with their effects. For it is when the man becomes healthy that health exists, and the shape of the bronze sphere comes into being simultaneously with the bronze sphere.Whether any form remains also afterwards is another question. In some cases there is nothing to prevent this, e.g. the soul may be of this nature (not all of it, but the intelligent part; for presumably all of it cannot be). Clearly then there is no need on these grounds for the Ideas to exist; for man begets man, the individual begetting the particular person. And the same is true of the arts, for the art of medicine is the formula of health.

In one sense the causes and principles are different for different things; but in another, if one speaks generally and analogically, they are the same for all. For the question might be raised whether the principles and elements of substances and of relations are the same or different; and similarly with respect to each of the other categories. But it is absurd that they should be the same for all; for then relations and substance would have the same constituents.

1 In natural reproduction the generative principle is obviously in the parent. But the offspring is in a sense a part of the parent, and so Aristotle identifies the two.

2 Cf. Aristot. Met. 11.8.12 n.

3 Aristotle is contrasting proximate with primary matter. Fire, the primary matter of a man, is a simple undifferentiated element which cannot be perceived as such, and has no individuality. The head, and the other parts of the body, considered merely as in contact and not as forming an organic unity, are the proximate matter of a man; they are perceptible and individual. Flesh (in general) represents the matter in an intermediate stage.

4 i.e., form.

5 i.e., in the mind of the architect or doctor.

6 See Introduction.

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