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[1042b] [1] Similarly, if the change is in respect of being , there is something which is now in course of generation, and subsequently in course of destruction, and which is the underlying substrate, now as this individual thing, and subsequently as deprived of its individuality. In this last process of change the others are involved, but in either one or two1 of the others it is not involved; for it does not necessarily follow that if a thing contains matter that admits of change of place, it also contains matter that is generable and destructible.2 The difference between absolute and qualified generation has been explained in the Physics.3

Since substance in the sense of substrate or matter is admittedly substance, and this is potential substance, it remains to explain the nature of the actual substance of sensible things. Now Democritus4 apparently assumes three differences in substance; for he says that the underlying body is one and the same in material, but differs in figure, i.e. shape; or inclination, i.e. position; or intercontact, i.e. arrangement.But evidently there are many differences; e.g. some things are defined by the way in which their materials are combined, as, for example, things which are unified by mixture, as honey-water; or by ligature, as a faggot; or by glue, as a book; or by clamping, as a chest; or by more than one of these methods. Other things are defined by their position, e.g. threshold and lintel (for these differ in being situated in a particular way); [20] and others by place <or direction>, e.g. the winds; others by time, e.g. dinner and breakfast; and others by the attributes peculiar to sensible things, e.g. hardness and softness, density and rarity, dryness and humidity. Some are distinguished by some of these differences, and others by all of them; and in general some by excess and some by defect.

Hence it is clear that "is" has the same number of senses; for a thing "is" a threshold because it is situated in a particular way, and "to be a threshold" means to be situated in this particular way, and "to be ice" means to be condensed in this particular way. Some things have their being defined in all these ways: by being partly mixed, partly blended, partly bound, partly condensed, and partly subjected to all the other different processes; as, for example, a hand or a foot.We must therefore comprehend the various kinds of differences—for these will be principles of being—i.e. the differences in degree, or in density and rarity, and in other such modifications, for they are all instances of excess and defect.And if anything differs in shape or in smoothness or roughness, all these are differences in straightness and curvature. For some things mixture will constitute being,

1 i.e., locomotion does not involve substantial change; alteration may or may not involve it (in Aristot. Met. 9.8.17 we find that it does not); increase or decrease does involve it.

2 e.g., the heavenly bodies, though imperishable, can move in space (Aristot. Met. 8.4.7, Aristot. Met. 12.2.4).

3 Aristot. Phys. 225a 12-20; cf. Aristot. De Gen. et Corr. 317a 17-31.

4 Cf. Aristot. Met. 1.4.11.

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