previous next
[1000b] [1] for if there had not been Strife in things, all things would have been one, he says; for when they came together "then Strife came to stand outermost."1 Hence it follows on his theory that God, the most blessed being, is less wise than the others, since He does not know all the elements; for He has no Strife in Him, and knowledge is of like by like:

By earth (he says) we earth perceive, by water water,

By air bright air, by fire consuming fire,

Love too by love, and strife by grievous strife.2

But—and this is the point from which we started—thus much is clear: that it follows on his theory that Strife is no more the cause of destruction than it is of Being. Nor, similarly, is Love the cause of Being; for in combining things into one it destroys everything else.3Moreover, of the actual process of change he gives no explanation, except that it is so by nature:

But when Strife waxing great among the members4

Sprang up to honor as the time came round

Appointed them in turn by a mighty oath,5

as though change were a necessity; but he exhibits no cause for the necessity.However, thus much of his theory is consistent: he does not represent some things to be perishable and others imperishable, but makes everything [20] perishable except the elements. But the difficulty now being stated is why some things are perishable and others not, assuming that they are derived from the same principles.

The foregoing remarks may suffice to show that the principles cannot be the same.If however they are different, one difficulty is whether they too are to be regarded as imperishable or as perishable. For if they are perishable, it is clearly necessary that they too must be derived from something else, since everything passes upon dissolution into that from which it is derived. Hence it follows that there are other principles prior to the first principles;but this is impossible, whether the series stops or proceeds to infinity. And further, how can perishable things exist if their principles are abolished? On the other hand if the principles are imperishable, why should some imperishable principles produce perishable things, and others imperishable things? This is not reasonable; either it is impossible or it requires much explanation.Further, no one has so much as attempted to maintain different principles; they maintain the same principles for everything.

1 Empedocles, Fr. 36. 7.

2 Empedocles, Fr. 109.

3 Cf. Aristot. Met. 1.4.6.

4 i.e., of the Sphere.

5 Empedocles, Fr. 30.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1924)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1.985a
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: