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[1081a] [1] and if inaddible, in which of the two ways which we have distinguished.1 For it is possible either (a) that any one unit is inaddible to any other, or (b) that the units in the Ideal 2 are inaddible to those in the Ideal 3, and thus that the units in each Ideal number are inaddible to those in the other Ideal numbers.

Now if all units are addible and do not differ in kind, we get one type of number only, the mathematical, and the Ideas cannot be the numbers thus produced;for how can we regard the Idea of Man or Animal, or any other Form, as a number? There is one Idea of each kind of thing: e.g. one of Humanity and another one of Animality; but the numbers which are similar and do not differ in kind are infinitely many, so that this is no more the Idea of Man than any other 3 is. But if the Ideas are not numbers, they cannot exist at all;for from what principles can the Ideas be derived? Number is derived from Unity and the indeterminate dyad, and the principles and elements are said to be the principles and elements of number, and the Ideas cannot be placed either as prior or as posterior to numbers.2

But if the units are inaddible in the sense that any one unit is inaddible to any other, the number so composed can be neither mathematical number (since mathematical number consists of units which do not differ, [20] and the facts demonstrated of it fit in with this character) nor Ideal number. For on this view 2 will not be the first number generated from Unity and the indeterminate dyad, and then the other numbers in succession, as they3 say 2, 3, because the units in the primary 2 are generated at the same time,4 whether, as the originator of the theory held, from unequals5(coming into being when these were equalized), or otherwise— since if we regard the one unit as prior to the other,6 it will be prior also to the 2 which is composed of them; because whenever one thing is prior and another posterior, their compound will be prior to the latter and posterior to the former.7

Further, since the Ideal 1 is first, and then comes a particular 1 which is first of the other 1's but second after the Ideal 1, and then a third 1 which is next

after the second but third after the first 1, it follows that the units will be prior to the numbers after which they are called; e.g., there will be a third unit in 2 before 3 exists, and a fourth and fifth in 3 before these numbers exist.8

It is true that nobody has represented the units of numbers as inaddible in this way; but according to the principles held by these thinkers even this view is quite reasonable,

1 Aristot. Met. 13.6.2, 3.

2 Since the only principles which Plato recognizes are Unity and the Dyad, which are numerical (Aristotle insists on regarding them as a kind of 1 and 2), and therefore clearly principles of number; and the Ideas can only be derived from these principles if they (the Ideas) are (a) numbers (which has been proved impossible) or (b) prior or posterior to numbers (i.e., causes or effects of numbers, which they cannot be if they are composed of a different kind of units); then the Ideas are not derived from any principle at all, and therefore do not exist.

3 The Platonists.

4 This was the orthodox Platonist view of the generation of ideal numbers; or at least Aristotle is intending to describe the orthodox view. Plato should not have regarded the Ideal numbers as composed of units at all, and there is no real reason to suppose that he did (see Introduction). But Aristotle infers from the fact that the Ideal 2 is the first number generated (and then the other Ideal numbers in the natural order) that the units of the Ideal 2 are generated simultaneously, and then goes on to show that this is incompatible with the theory of inaddible units.

5 i.e., the Great-and-Small, which Aristotle wrongly understands as two unequal things. It is practically certain that Plato used the term (as he did that of "Indeterminate Dyad") to describe indeterminate quantity. See Introduction.

6 This is a necessary implication of the theory of inaddible units (cf. Aristot. Met. 13.6.1, 2).

7 So the order of generation will be: (i) Unity (ungenerated); (2) first unit in 2; (3) second unit in 2; and the Ideal 2 will come between (2) and (3).

8 This is a corollary to the previous argument, and depends upon an identification of "ones" (including the Ideal One or Unity) with units.

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