previous next
[995b] [1] To such a man the end is not clear; but it is clear to one who has already faced the difficulties.Further, one who has heard all the conflicting theories, like one who has heard both sides in a lawsuit, is necessarily more competent to judge.

The first difficulty is concerned with the subjects1 which we discussed in our prefatory remarks. (1.) Does the study of the causes belong to one science or to more than one?2(2.) Has that science only to contemplate the first principles of substance, or is it also concerned with the principles which all use for demonstration—e.g. whether it is possible at the same time to assert and deny one and the same thing, and other similar principles?3And if it is concerned with substance, (3.) is there one science which deals with all substances, or more than one; and if more than one, are they all cognate, or should we call some of them "kinds of Wisdom" and others something different?4This too is a question which demands inquiry: (iv.) should we hold that only sensible substances exist, or that there are other besides? And should we hold that there is only one class of non-sensible substances, or more than one (as do those who posit the Forms and the mathematical objects as intermediate between the Forms and sensible things)?5These questions, then, as I say, must be considered; and also (v.) whether our study is concerned only with substances, [20] or also with the essential attributes of substance;and further, with regard to Same and Other, and Like and Unlike and Contrariety, and Prior and Posterior, and all other such terms which dialecticians try to investigate, basing their inquiry merely upon popular opinions; we must consider whose province it is to study all of these.Further, we must consider all the essential attributes of these same things, and not merely what each one of them is, but also whether each one has one opposite6; and (vi.) whether the first principles and elements of things are the genera under which they fall or the pre-existent parts into which each thing is divided; and if the genera, whether they are those which are predicated ultimately of individuals, or the primary genera—e.g., whether "animal" or "man" is the first principle and the more independent of the individual.7

Above all we must consider and apply ourselves to the question (7.) whether there is any other cause per se besides matter, and if so whether it is dissociable from matter, and whether it is numerically one or several; and whether there is anything apart from the concrete thing (by the concrete thing I mean matter together with whatever is predicated of it) or nothing; or whether there is in some cases but not in others; and what these cases are.8

1 The principles and causes referred to in Book I.

2 The problem is discussed Aristot. Met. 3.2.1-10, and answered Aristot. Met. 4.1.

3 Discussed Aristot. Met. 3.2.10-15; answered Aristot. Met. 4.2.

4 Discussed Aristot. Met. 3.2.15-17; answered Aristot. Met. 4.2.9-10, Aristot. Met. 6.1.

5 Discussed Aristot. Met. 3.2.20-30 answered Aristot. Met. 12.6-10, and also by the refutation of the Platonic Ideas and Intermediates in Books 13 and 14.

6 Discussed Aristot. Met. 3.2.18-19; answered Aristot. Met. 4.2.8-25.

7 DiscussedAristot. Met. 3.3; answered Aristot. Met. 7.10, 12-13

8 Discussed iv. 1-8. For answers to these questions see Aristot. Met. 7.8, 13-14; Aristot. Met. 12.6-10; Aristot. Met. 13.10.

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.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (17 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: