for some non-existent things exist
potentially; yet they do not exist, because they do not exist in
complete reality.Now if, as we have said, that is
possible which does not involve an impossibility, obviously it cannot
be true to say that so-and-so is possible, but will not be, this view
entirely loses sight of the instances of impossibility.If it is true to say that a
thing which is possible will not be, anything may be possible,
and nothing impossible. I mean, suppose that
someone—i.e. the sort of man who does not take the
impossible into account—were to say that it is possible to
measure the diagonal of a square, but that it will not be measured,
because there is nothing to prevent a thing which is capable of being
or coming to be from neither being nor being likely ever to
be.But from our
premisses this necessarily follows: that if we are to assume that
which is not, but is possible, to be or to have come to be, nothing
impossible must be involved. But in this case something impossible
will take place; for the measuring of the diagonal is
impossible.The false is of course
not the same as the impossible; for although it is false that you are
now standing, it is not impossible.At the same time it is also clear that if B
must be real if A is, then if it is possible for A to be real, it must
also be possible for B to be real; for even if B is not necessarily
possible, there is nothing to prevent its being possible. Let A, then,
be possible. Then when A was possible, if A was assumed to be real,
nothing impossible was involved; but B was necessarily real
too.But ex hypothesi
B was impossible. Let B be impossible.Then if B is impossible, A must also be
impossible. But A was by definition possible. Therefore so is
B.If, therefore, A is possible, B
will also be possible; that is if their relation was such that if A is
real, B must be real.Then
if, A and B being thus related, B is not possible on this condition, A
and B will not be related as we assumed; and if when A is possible B
is necessarily possible, then if A is real B must be real too. For to
say that B must be possible if A is possible means that if A is real
at the time when and in the way in which it was assumed that it was
possible for it to be real, then B must be real at that time and in
that way.Since all potencies are either innate, like
the senses, or acquired by practice, like flute-playing, or by study,
as in the arts, some—such as are acquired by practice or a
rational formula—we can only possess when we have first
exercised themCf. Aristot. Met. 9.8.6, 7.; in the case of
others which are not of this kind and which imply passivity, this is
not necessary.