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[1026a] [1] Now if all physical terms are used in the same sense as "snub"—e.g. nose, eye, face, flesh, bone, and in general animal; leaf, root, bark, and in general vegetable (for not one of these has a definition without motion; the definition invariably includes matter)—it is clear how we should look for and define the essence in physical things, and why it is the province of the physicist to study even some aspects of the soul, so far as it is not independent of matter.

It is obvious, then, from these considerations, that physics is a form of speculative science. And mathematics is also speculative; but it is not clear at present whether its objects are immutable and separable from matter; it is clear, however, that some branches of mathematics study their objects qua immutable and qua separable from matter. Obviously it is the province of a speculative science to discover whether a thing is eternal and immutable and separable from matter;not, however, of physics (since physics deals with mutable objects) nor of mathematics, but of a science prior to both. For physics deals with things which exist separately but are not immutable; and some branches of mathematics deal with things which are immutable, but presumably not separable, but present in matter; but the primary science treats of things which are both separable and immutable.Now all causes must be eternal, but these especially; since they are the causes of what is visible of things divine. Hence there will be three speculative philosophies: mathematics, physics, and theology— [20] since it is obvious that if the divine is present anywhere, it is present in this kind of entity; and also the most honorable science must deal with the most honorable class of subject.

The speculative sciences, then, are to be preferred to the other sciences, and "theology" to the other speculative sciences. One might indeed raise the question whether the primary philosophy is universal or deals with some one genus or entity; because even the mathematical sciences differ in this respect—geometry and astronomy deal with a particular kind of entity, whereas universal mathematics applies to all kinds alike.Then if there is not some other substance besides those which are naturally composed, physics will be the primary science; but if there is a substance which is immutable, the science which studies this will be prior to physics, and will be primary philosophy, and universal in this sense, that it is primary. And it will be the province of this science to study Being qua Being; what it is, and what the attributes are which belong to it qua Being.

But since the simple term "being" is used in various senses, of which we saw that one was accidental , and another true (not-being being used in the sense of "false"); and since besides these there are the categories, e.g. the "what," quality, quantity, place, time, and any other similar meanings;

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