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[1033b] [1] E.g., we make a bronze sphere; we do this in the sense that from A, i.e. bronze, we make B, i.e. a sphere.If, then, we make the spherical form itself, clearly we shall have to make it in the same way; and the processes of generation will continue to infinity.

It is therefore obvious that the form (or whatever we should call the shape in the sensible thing) is not generated—generation does not apply to it— nor is the essence generated; for this is that which is induced in something else either by art or by nature or by potency.But we do cause a bronze sphere to be, for we produce it from bronze and a sphere; we induce the form into this particular matter, and the result is a bronze sphere. But if the essence of sphere in general is generated, something must be generated from something; for that which is generated will always have to be divisible, and be partly one thing and partly another; I mean partly matter and partly form.If then a sphere is the figure whose circumference is everywhere equidistant from the center, part of this will be the medium in which that which we produce will be contained, and part will be in that medium; and the whole will be the thing generated, as in the case of the bronze sphere. It is obvious, then, from what we have said, that the thing in the sense of form or essence is not generated, whereas the concrete whole which is called after it is generated; and that in everything that is generated matter is present, and one part is matter and the other form.

[20] Is there then some sphere besides the particular spheres, or some house besides the bricks? Surely no individual thing would ever have been generated if form had existed thus independently.1 Form means "of such a kind"; it is not a definite individual, but we produce or generate from the individual something "of such a kind"; and when it is generated it is an individual "of such a kind."The whole individual, Callias or Socrates, corresponds to "this bronze sphere," but "man" and "animal" correspond to bronze sphere in general.

Obviously therefore the cause which consists of the Forms (in the sense in which some speak of them, assuming that there are certain entities besides particulars), in respect at least of generation and destruction, is useless; nor, for this reason at any rate, should they be regarded as self-subsistent substances.Indeed in some cases it is even obvious that that which generates is of the same kind as that which is generated—not however identical with it, nor numerically one with it, but formally one—e.g. in natural productions (for man begets man), unless something happens contrary to nature, as when a horse sires a mule. And even these cases are similar; for that which would be common to both horse and ass, the genus immediately above them, has no name; but it would probably be both, just as the mule is both.2

1 If forms are self-subsistent substances, individual substances cannot be generated from them; for the individual contains the form, but one substance cannot contain another actually existing substance (Aristot. Met. 7.8.8). Form, however, is not a substance but a characteristic.

2 Normally the sire communicates his form to the offspring. In the case of a mule, the material element contributed by the dam, which is an ass, limits the effect of the formal element contributed bu the sire, which is a horse; but even so the form of the sire is generically the same as that of the offspring.

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