[980a] πάντες ἄνθρωποι τοῦ εἰδέναι ὀρέγονται φύσει. σημεῖον δ' ἡ τῶν αἰσθήσεων ἀγάπησις: καὶ γὰρ χωρὶς τῆς χρείας ἀγαπῶνται δι' αὑτάς, καὶ μάλιστα τῶν ἄλλων ἡ διὰ τῶν ὀμμάτων. οὐ γὰρ μόνον ἵνα πράττωμεν ἀλλὰ καὶ μηθὲν  μέλλοντες πράττειν τὸ ὁρᾶν αἱρούμεθα ἀντὶ πάντων ὡς εἰπεῖν τῶν ἄλλων. αἴτιον δ' ὅτι μάλιστα ποιεῖ γνωρίζειν ἡμᾶς αὕτη τῶν αἰσθήσεων καὶ πολλὰς δηλοῖ διαφοράς. φύσει μὲν οὖν αἴσθησιν ἔχοντα γίγνεται τὰ ζῷα, ἐκ δὲ ταύτης τοῖς μὲν αὐτῶν οὐκ ἐγγίγνεται μνήμη, τοῖς δ' ἐγγίγνεται.
[980b]καὶ διὰ τοῦτο ταῦτα φρονιμώτερα καὶ μαθητικώτερα τῶν μὴ δυναμένων μνημονεύειν ἐστί, φρόνιμα μὲν ἄνευ τοῦ μανθάνειν ὅσα μὴ δύναται τῶν ψόφων ἀκούειν ̔οἷον μέλιττα κἂν εἴ τι τοιοῦτον ἄλλο γένος ζῴων ἔστἰ, μανθάνει  δ' ὅσα πρὸς τῇ μνήμῃ καὶ ταύτην ἔχει τὴν αἴσθησιν. τὰ μὲν οὖν ἄλλα ταῖς φαντασίαις ζῇ καὶ ταῖς μνήμαις, ἐμπειρίας δὲ μετέχει μικρόν: τὸ δὲ τῶν ἀνθρώπων γένος καὶ τέχνῃ καὶ λογισμοῖς. γίγνεται δ' ἐκ τῆς μνήμης ἐμπειρία τοῖς ἀνθρώποις: αἱ γὰρ πολλαὶ μνῆμαι τοῦ αὐτοῦ πράγματος μιᾶς ἐμπειρίας δύναμιν ἀποτελοῦσιν.
[981a] καὶ δοκεῖ σχεδὸν ἐπιστήμῃ καὶ τέχνῃ ὅμοιον εἶναι καὶ ἐμπειρία, ἀποβαίνει δ' ἐπιστήμη καὶ τέχνη διὰ τῆς ἐμπειρίας τοῖς ἀνθρώποις: ἡ μὲν γὰρ ἐμπειρία τέχνην ἐποίησεν, ὡς φησὶ Πῶλος, ἡ  δ' ἀπειρία τύχην. γίγνεται δὲ τέχνη ὅταν ἐκ πολλῶν τῆς ἐμπειρίας ἐννοημάτων μία καθόλου γένηται περὶ τῶν ὁμοίων ὑπόληψις. τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἔχειν ὑπόληψιν ὅτι Καλλίᾳ κάμνοντι τηνδὶ τὴν νόσον τοδὶ συνήνεγκε καὶ Σωκράτει καὶ καθ' ἕκαστον οὕτω πολλοῖς, ἐμπειρίας ἐστίν:  τὸ δ' ὅτι πᾶσι τοῖς τοιοῖσδε κατ' εἶδος ἓν ἀφορισθεῖσι, κάμνουσι τηνδὶ τὴν νόσον, συνήνεγκεν, οἷον τοῖς φλεγματώδεσιν ἢ χολώδεσι [ἢ] πυρέττουσι καύσῳ, τέχνης.
πρὸς μὲν οὖν τὸ πράττειν ἐμπειρία τέχνης οὐδὲν δοκεῖ διαφέρειν, ἀλλὰ καὶ μᾶλλον ἐπιτυγχάνουσιν οἱ ἔμπειροι τῶν ἄνευ τῆς ἐμπειρίας  λόγον ἐχόντων ̔αἴτιον δ' ὅτι ἡ μὲν ἐμπειρία τῶν καθ' ἕκαστόν ἐστι γνῶσις ἡ δὲ τέχνη τῶν καθόλου, αἱ δὲ πράξεις καὶ αἱ γενέσεις πᾶσαι περὶ τὸ καθ' ἕκαστόν εἰσιν: οὐ γὰρ ἄνθρωπον ὑγιάζει ὁ ἰατρεύων ἀλλ' ἢ κατὰ συμβεβηκός, ἀλλὰ Καλλίαν ἢ Σωκράτην ἢ τῶν ἄλλων τινὰ  τῶν οὕτω λεγομένων ᾧ συμβέβηκεν ἀνθρώπῳ εἶναι: ἐὰν οὖν ἄνευ τῆς ἐμπειρίας ἔχῃ τις τὸν λόγον, καὶ τὸ καθόλου μὲν γνωρίζῃ τὸ δ' ἐν τούτῳ καθ' ἕκαστον ἀγνοῇ, πολλάκις διαμαρτήσεται τῆς θεραπείας: θεραπευτὸν γὰρ τὸ καθ' ἕκαστον̓: ἀλλ' ὅμως τό γε εἰδέναι καὶ τὸ ἐπαί̈ειν τῇ  τέχνῃ τῆς ἐμπειρίας ὑπάρχειν οἰόμεθα μᾶλλον, καὶ σοφωτέρους τοὺς τεχνίτας τῶν ἐμπείρων ὑπολαμβάνομεν, ὡς κατὰ τὸ εἰδέναι μᾶλλον ἀκολουθοῦσαν τὴν σοφίαν πᾶσι: τοῦτο δ' ὅτι οἱ μὲν τὴν αἰτίαν ἴσασιν οἱ δ' οὔ. οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἔμπειροι τὸ ὅτι μὲν ἴσασι, διότι δ' οὐκ ἴσασιν: οἱ δὲ τὸ διότι  καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν γνωρίζουσιν. διὸ καὶ τοὺς ἀρχιτέκτονας περὶ ἕκαστον τιμιωτέρους καὶ μᾶλλον εἰδέναι νομίζομεν τῶν χειροτεχνῶν καὶ σοφωτέρους,
[981b] ὅτι τὰς αἰτίας τῶν ποιουμένων ἴσασιν ̔τοὺς δ', ὥσπερ καὶ τῶν ἀψύχων ἔνια ποιεῖ μέν, οὐκ εἰδότα δὲ ποιεῖ ἃ ποιεῖ, οἷον καίει τὸ πῦρ: τὰ μὲν οὖν ἄψυχα φύσει τινὶ ποιεῖν τούτων ἕκαστον τοὺς δὲ χειροτέχνας  δι' ἔθοσ̓, ὡς οὐ κατὰ τὸ πρακτικοὺς εἶναι σοφωτέρους ὄντας ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ λόγον ἔχειν αὐτοὺς καὶ τὰς αἰτίας γνωρίζειν. ὅλως τε σημεῖον τοῦ εἰδότος καὶ μὴ εἰδότος τὸ δύνασθαι διδάσκειν ἐστίν, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο τὴν τέχνην τῆς ἐμπειρίας ἡγούμεθα μᾶλλον ἐπιστήμην εἶναι: δύνανται γάρ, οἱ δὲ οὐ δύνανται διδάσκειν.  ἔτι δὲ τῶν αἰσθήσεων οὐδεμίαν ἡγούμεθα εἶναι σοφίαν: καίτοι κυριώταταί γ' εἰσὶν αὗται τῶν καθ' ἕκαστα γνώσεις: ἀλλ' οὐ λέγουσι τὸ διὰ τί περὶ οὐδενός, οἷον διὰ τί θερμὸν τὸ πῦρ, ἀλλὰ μόνον ὅτι θερμόν. τὸ μὲν οὖν πρῶτον εἰκὸς τὸν ὁποιανοῦν εὑρόντα τέχνην παρὰ τὰς κοινὰς αἰσθήσεις θαυμάζεσθαι  ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων μὴ μόνον διὰ τὸ χρήσιμον εἶναί τι τῶν εὑρεθέντων ἀλλ' ὡς σοφὸν καὶ διαφέροντα τῶν ἄλλων: πλειόνων δ' εὑρισκομένων τεχνῶν καὶ τῶν μὲν πρὸς τἀναγκαῖα τῶν δὲ πρὸς διαγωγὴν οὐσῶν, ἀεὶ σοφωτέρους τοὺς τοιούτους ἐκείνων ὑπολαμβάνεσθαι διὰ τὸ μὴ πρὸς  χρῆσιν εἶναι τὰς ἐπιστήμας αὐτῶν. ὅθεν ἤδη πάντων τῶν τοιούτων κατεσκευασμένων αἱ μὴ πρὸς ἡδονὴν μηδὲ πρὸς τἀναγκαῖα τῶν ἐπιστημῶν εὑρέθησαν, καὶ πρῶτον ἐν τούτοις τοῖς τόποις οὗ πρῶτον ἐσχόλασαν: διὸ περὶ Αἴγυπτον αἱ μαθηματικαὶ πρῶτον τέχναι συνέστησαν, ἐκεῖ γὰρ ἀφείθη σχολάζειν  τὸ τῶν ἱερέων ἔθνος. εἴρηται μὲν οὖν ἐν τοῖς ἠθικοῖς τίς διαφορὰ τέχνης καὶ ἐπιστήμης καὶ τῶν ἄλλων τῶν ὁμογενῶν: οὗ δ' ἕνεκα νῦν ποιούμεθα τὸν λόγον τοῦτ' ἐστίν, ὅτι τὴν ὀνομαζομένην σοφίαν περὶ τὰ πρῶτα αἴτια καὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς ὑπολαμβάνουσι πάντες: ὥστε, καθάπερ εἴρηται πρότερον,  ὁ μὲν ἔμπειρος τῶν ὁποιανοῦν ἐχόντων αἴσθησιν εἶναι δοκεῖ σοφώτερος, ὁ δὲ τεχνίτης τῶν ἐμπείρων, χειροτέχνου δὲ ἀρχιτέκτων, αἱ δὲ θεωρητικαὶ τῶν ποιητικῶν μᾶλλον.
[982a] ὅτι μὲν οὖν ἡ σοφία περί τινας ἀρχὰς καὶ αἰτίας ἐστὶν ἐπιστήμη, δῆλον.
ἐπεὶ δὲ ταύτην τὴν ἐπιστήμην ζητοῦμεν, τοῦτ' ἂν εἴη  σκεπτέον, ἡ περὶ ποίας αἰτίας καὶ περὶ ποίας ἀρχὰς ἐπιστήμη σοφία ἐστίν. εἰ δὴ λάβοι τις τὰς ὑπολήψεις ἃς ἔχομεν περὶ τοῦ σοφοῦ, τάχ' ἂν ἐκ τούτου φανερὸν γένοιτο μᾶλλον. ὑπολαμβάνομεν δὴ πρῶτον μὲν ἐπίστασθαι πάντα τὸν σοφὸν ὡς ἐνδέχεται, μὴ καθ' ἕκαστον ἔχοντα ἐπιστήμην  αὐτῶν: εἶτα τὸν τὰ χαλεπὰ γνῶναι δυνάμενον καὶ μὴ ῥᾴδια ἀνθρώπῳ γιγνώσκειν, τοῦτον σοφόν ̔τὸ γὰρ αἰσθάνεσθαι πάντων κοινόν, διὸ ῥᾴδιον καὶ οὐδὲν σοφόν̓: ἔτι τὸν ἀκριβέστερον καὶ τὸν διδασκαλικώτερον τῶν αἰτιῶν σοφώτερον εἶναι περὶ πᾶσαν ἐπιστήμην: καὶ τῶν ἐπιστημῶν δὲ τὴν  αὑτῆς ἕνεκεν καὶ τοῦ εἰδέναι χάριν αἱρετὴν οὖσαν μᾶλλον εἶναι σοφίαν ἢ τὴν τῶν ἀποβαινόντων ἕνεκεν, καὶ τὴν ἀρχικωτέραν τῆς ὑπηρετούσης μᾶλλον σοφίαν: οὐ γὰρ δεῖν ἐπιτάττεσθαι τὸν σοφὸν ἀλλ' ἐπιτάττειν, καὶ οὐ τοῦτον ἑτέρῳ πείθεσθαι, ἀλλὰ τούτῳ τὸν ἧττον σοφόν.
τὰς μὲν οὖν  ὑπολήψεις τοιαύτας καὶ τοσαύτας ἔχομεν περὶ τῆς σοφίας καὶ τῶν σοφῶν: τούτων δὲ τὸ μὲν πάντα ἐπίστασθαι τῷ μάλιστα ἔχοντι τὴν καθόλου ἐπιστήμην ἀναγκαῖον ὑπάρχειν ̔οὗτος γὰρ οἶδέ πως πάντα τὰ ὑποκείμενἀ, σχεδὸν δὲ καὶ χαλεπώτατα ταῦτα γνωρίζειν τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, τὰ μάλιστα  καθόλου ̔ποῤῥωτάτω γὰρ τῶν αἰσθήσεών ἐστιν̓, ἀκριβέσταται δὲ τῶν ἐπιστημῶν αἳ μάλιστα τῶν πρώτων εἰσίν ̔αἱ γὰρ ἐξ ἐλαττόνων ἀκριβέστεραι τῶν ἐκ προσθέσεως λεγομένων, οἷον ἀριθμητικὴ γεωμετρίασ̓: ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ διδασκαλική γε ἡ τῶν αἰτιῶν θεωρητικὴ μᾶλλον ̔οὗτοι γὰρ διδάσκουσιν, οἱ τὰς  αἰτίας λέγοντες περὶ ἑκάστοὐ, τὸ δ' εἰδέναι καὶ τὸ ἐπίστασθαι αὐτῶν ἕνεκα μάλισθ' ὑπάρχει τῇ τοῦ μάλιστα ἐπιστητοῦ ἐπιστήμῃ ̔ὁ γὰρ τὸ ἐπίστασθαι δι' αὑτὸ αἱρούμενος τὴν μάλιστα ἐπιστήμην μάλιστα αἱρήσεται,
[982b] τοιαύτη δ' ἐστὶν ἡ τοῦ μάλιστα ἐπιστητοῦ̓, μάλιστα δ' ἐπιστητὰ τὰ πρῶτα καὶ τὰ αἴτια ̔διὰ γὰρ ταῦτα καὶ ἐκ τούτων τἆλλα γνωρίζεται ἀλλ' οὐ ταῦτα διὰ τῶν ὑποκειμένων̓, ἀρχικωτάτη δὲ τῶν ἐπιστημῶν, καὶ  μᾶλλον ἀρχικὴ τῆς ὑπηρετούσης, ἡ γνωρίζουσα τίνος ἕνεκέν ἐστι πρακτέον ἕκαστον: τοῦτο δ' ἐστὶ τἀγαθὸν ἑκάστου, ὅλως δὲ τὸ ἄριστον ἐν τῇ φύσει πάσῃ. ἐξ ἁπάντων οὖν τῶν εἰρημένων ἐπὶ τὴν αὐτὴν ἐπιστήμην πίπτει τὸ ζητούμενον ὄνομα: δεῖ γὰρ ταύτην τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν καὶ αἰτιῶν εἶναι θεωρητικήν:  καὶ γὰρ τἀγαθὸν καὶ τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα ἓν τῶν αἰτίων ἐστίν. ὅτι δ' οὐ ποιητική, δῆλον καὶ ἐκ τῶν πρώτων φιλοσοφησάντων: διὰ γὰρ τὸ θαυμάζειν οἱ ἄνθρωποι καὶ νῦν καὶ τὸ πρῶτον ἤρξαντο φιλοσοφεῖν, ἐξ ἀρχῆς μὲν τὰ πρόχειρα τῶν ἀτόπων θαυμάσαντες, εἶτα κατὰ μικρὸν οὕτω προϊόντες  καὶ περὶ τῶν μειζόνων διαπορήσαντες, οἷον περί τε τῶν τῆς σελήνης παθημάτων καὶ τῶν περὶ τὸν ἥλιον καὶ ἄστρα καὶ περὶ τῆς τοῦ παντὸς γενέσεως. ὁ δ' ἀπορῶν καὶ θαυμάζων οἴεται ἀγνοεῖν ̔διὸ καὶ ὁ φιλόμυθος φιλόσοφός πώς ἐστιν: ὁ γὰρ μῦθος σύγκειται ἐκ θαυμασίων̓: ὥστ' εἴπερ διὰ  τὸ φεύγειν τὴν ἄγνοιαν ἐφιλοσόφησαν, φανερὸν ὅτι διὰ τὸ εἰδέναι τὸ ἐπίστασθαι ἐδίωκον καὶ οὐ χρήσεώς τινος ἕνεκεν. μαρτυρεῖ δὲ αὐτὸ τὸ συμβεβηκός: σχεδὸν γὰρ πάντων ὑπαρχόντων τῶν ἀναγκαίων καὶ πρὸς ῥᾳστώνην καὶ διαγωγὴν ἡ τοιαύτη φρόνησις ἤρξατο ζητεῖσθαι. δῆλον οὖν ὡς δι'  οὐδεμίαν αὐτὴν ζητοῦμεν χρείαν ἑτέραν, ἀλλ' ὥσπερ ἄνθρωπος, φαμέν, ἐλεύθερος ὁ αὑτοῦ ἕνεκα καὶ μὴ ἄλλου ὤν, οὕτω καὶ αὐτὴν ὡς μόνην οὖσαν ἐλευθέραν τῶν ἐπιστημῶν: μόνη γὰρ αὕτη αὑτῆς ἕνεκέν ἐστιν. διὸ καὶ δικαίως ἂν οὐκ ἀνθρωπίνη νομίζοιτο αὐτῆς ἡ κτῆσις: πολλαχῇ γὰρ ἡ φύσις δούλη τῶν  ἀνθρώπων ἐστίν, ὥστε κατὰ Σιμωνίδην "θεὸς ἂν μόνος τοῦτ' ἔχοι γέρας", ἄνδρα δ' οὐκ ἄξιον μὴ οὐ ζητεῖν τὴν καθ' αὑτὸν ἐπιστήμην. εἰ δὴ λέγουσί τι οἱ ποιηταὶ καὶ πέφυκε φθονεῖν τὸ θεῖον,
[983a] ἐπὶ τούτου συμβῆναι μάλιστα εἰκὸς καὶ δυστυχεῖς  εἶναι πάντας τοὺς περιττούς. ἀλλ' οὔτε τὸ θεῖον φθονερὸν ἐνδέχεται εἶναι, ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὴν παροιμίαν πολλὰ ψεύδονται ἀοιδοί, οὔτε τῆς τοιαύτης ἄλλην χρὴ νομίζειν τιμιωτέραν.  ἡ γὰρ θειοτάτη καὶ τιμιωτάτη: τοιαύτη δὲ διχῶς ἂν εἴη μόνη: ἥν τε γὰρ μάλιστ' ἂν ὁ θεὸς ἔχοι, θεία τῶν ἐπιστημῶν ἐστί, κἂν εἴ τις τῶν θείων εἴη. μόνη δ' αὕτη τούτων ἀμφοτέρων τετύχηκεν: ὅ τε γὰρ θεὸς δοκεῖ τῶν αἰτίων πᾶσιν εἶναι καὶ ἀρχή τις, καὶ τὴν τοιαύτην ἢ μόνος ἢ μάλιστ'  ἂν ἔχοι ὁ θεός. ἀναγκαιότεραι μὲν οὖν πᾶσαι ταύτης, ἀμείνων δ' οὐδεμία.
δεῖ μέντοι πως καταστῆναι τὴν κτῆσιν αὐτῆς εἰς τοὐναντίον ἡμῖν τῶν ἐξ ἀρχῆς ζητήσεων. ἄρχονται μὲν γάρ, ὥσπερ εἴπομεν, ἀπὸ τοῦ θαυμάζειν πάντες εἰ οὕτως ἔχει, καθάπερ τῶν θαυμάτων ταὐτόματα [τοῖς μήπω τεθεωρηκόσι  τὴν αἰτίαν] ἢ περὶ τὰς τοῦ ἡλίου τροπὰς ἢ τὴν τῆς διαμέτρου ἀσυμμετρίαν ̔θαυμαστὸν γὰρ εἶναι δοκεῖ πᾶσι εἴ τι τῷ ἐλαχίστῳ μὴ μετρεῖταἰ: δεῖ δὲ εἰς τοὐναντίον καὶ τὸ ἄμεινον κατὰ τὴν παροιμίαν ἀποτελευτῆσαι, καθάπερ καὶ ἐν τούτοις ὅταν μάθωσιν: οὐθὲν γὰρ  ἂν οὕτως θαυμάσειεν ἀνὴρ γεωμετρικὸς ὡς εἰ γένοιτο ἡ διάμετρος μετρητή. τίς μὲν οὖν ἡ φύσις τῆς ἐπιστήμης τῆς ζητουμένης, εἴρηται, καὶ τίς ὁ σκοπὸς οὗ δεῖ τυγχάνειν τὴν ζήτησιν καὶ τὴν ὅλην μέθοδον.
ἐπεὶ δὲ φανερὸν ὅτι τῶν ἐξ ἀρχῆς αἰτίων δεῖ λαβεῖν  ἐπιστήμην ̔τότε γὰρ εἰδέναι φαμὲν ἕκαστον, ὅταν τὴν πρώτην αἰτίαν οἰώμεθα γνωρίζειν̓, τὰ δ' αἴτια λέγεται τετραχῶς, ὧν μίαν μὲν αἰτίαν φαμὲν εἶναι τὴν οὐσίαν καὶ τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι ̔ἀνάγεται γὰρ τὸ διὰ τί εἰς τὸν λόγον ἔσχατον, αἴτιον δὲ καὶ ἀρχὴ τὸ διὰ τί πρῶτον̓, ἑτέραν δὲ τὴν ὕλην  καὶ τὸ ὑποκείμενον, τρίτην δὲ ὅθεν ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κινήσεως, τετάρτην δὲ τὴν ἀντικειμένην αἰτίαν ταύτῃ, τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα καὶ τἀγαθόν ̔τέλος γὰρ γενέσεως καὶ κινήσεως πάσης τοῦτ' ἐστίν̓, τεθεώρηται μὲν οὖν ἱκανῶς περὶ αὐτῶν ἡμῖν ἐν τοῖς περὶ φύσεως,
[983b] ὅμως δὲ παραλάβωμεν καὶ τοὺς πρότερον ἡμῶν εἰς ἐπίσκεψιν τῶν ὄντων ἐλθόντας καὶ φιλοσοφήσαντας περὶ τῆς ἀληθείας. δῆλον γὰρ ὅτι κἀκεῖνοι λέγουσιν ἀρχάς τινας καὶ αἰτίας: ἐπελθοῦσιν οὖν ἔσται τι προὔργου τῇ μεθόδῳ τῇ νῦν:  ἢ γὰρ ἕτερόν τι γένος εὑρήσομεν αἰτίας ἢ ταῖς νῦν λεγομέναις μᾶλλον πιστεύσομεν.
τῶν δὴ πρώτων φιλοσοφησάντων οἱ πλεῖστοι τὰς ἐν ὕλης εἴδει μόνας ᾠήθησαν ἀρχὰς εἶναι πάντων: ἐξ οὗ γὰρ ἔστιν ἅπαντα τὰ ὄντα καὶ ἐξ οὗ γίγνεται πρώτου καὶ εἰς ὃ φθείρεται τελευταῖον, τῆς μὲν  οὐσίας ὑπομενούσης τοῖς δὲ πάθεσι μεταβαλλούσης, τοῦτο στοιχεῖον καὶ ταύτην ἀρχήν φασιν εἶναι τῶν ὄντων, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο οὔτε γίγνεσθαι οὐθὲν οἴονται οὔτε ἀπόλλυσθαι, ὡς τῆς τοιαύτης φύσεως ἀεὶ σωζομένης, ὥσπερ οὐδὲ τὸν Σωκράτην φαμὲν οὔτε γίγνεσθαι ἁπλῶς ὅταν γίγνηται καλὸς ἢ μουσικὸς  οὔτε ἀπόλλυσθαι ὅταν ἀποβάλλῃ ταύτας τὰς ἕξεις, διὰ τὸ ὑπομένειν τὸ ὑποκείμενον τὸν Σωκράτην αὐτόν, οὕτως οὐδὲ τῶν ἄλλων οὐδέν: ἀεὶ γὰρ εἶναί τινα φύσιν ἢ μίαν ἢ πλείους μιᾶς ἐξ ὧν γίγνεται τἆλλα σωζομένης ἐκείνης. τὸ μέντοι πλῆθος καὶ τὸ εἶδος τῆς τοιαύτης ἀρχῆς οὐ τὸ αὐτὸ  πάντες λέγουσιν, ἀλλὰ Θαλῆς μὲν ὁ τῆς τοιαύτης ἀρχηγὸς φιλοσοφίας ὕδωρ φησὶν εἶναι ̔διὸ καὶ τὴν γῆν ἐφ' ὕδατος ἀπεφήνατο εἶναἰ, λαβὼν ἴσως τὴν ὑπόληψιν ταύτην ἐκ τοῦ πάντων ὁρᾶν τὴν τροφὴν ὑγρὰν οὖσαν καὶ αὐτὸ τὸ θερμὸν ἐκ τούτου γιγνόμενον καὶ τούτῳ ζῶν ̔τὸ δ' ἐξ οὗ γίγνεται, τοῦτ' ἐστὶν  ἀρχὴ πάντων̓--διά τε δὴ τοῦτο τὴν ὑπόληψιν λαβὼν ταύτην καὶ διὰ τὸ πάντων τὰ σπέρματα τὴν φύσιν ὑγρὰν ἔχειν, τὸ δ' ὕδωρ ἀρχὴν τῆς φύσεως εἶναι τοῖς ὑγροῖς. εἰσὶ δέ τινες οἳ καὶ τοὺς παμπαλαίους καὶ πολὺ πρὸ τῆς νῦν γενέσεως καὶ πρώτους θεολογήσαντας οὕτως οἴονται περὶ τῆς φύσεως  ὑπολαβεῖν: Ὠκεανόν τε γὰρ καὶ Τηθὺν ἐποίησαν τῆς γενέσεως πατέρας, καὶ τὸν ὅρκον τῶν θεῶν ὕδωρ, τὴν καλουμένην ὑπ' αὐτῶν Στύγα [τῶν ποιητῶν]: τιμιώτατον μὲν γὰρ τὸ πρεσβύτατον, ὅρκος δὲ τὸ τιμιώτατόν ἐστιν.
[984a] εἰ μὲν οὖν ἀρχαία τις αὕτη καὶ παλαιὰ τετύχηκεν οὖσα περὶ τῆς φύσεως  ἡ δόξα, τάχ' ἂν ἄδηλον εἴη, Θαλῆς μέντοι λέγεται οὕτως ἀποφήνασθαι περὶ τῆς πρώτης αἰτίας ̔Ἵππωνα γὰρ οὐκ ἄν τις ἀξιώσειε θεῖναι μετὰ τούτων διὰ τὴν εὐτέλειαν  αὐτοῦ τῆς διανοίασ̓: Ἀναξιμένης δὲ ἀέρα καὶ Διογένης πρότερον ὕδατος καὶ μάλιστ' ἀρχὴν τιθέασι τῶν ἁπλῶν σωμάτων, Ἵππασος δὲ πῦρ ὁ Μεταποντῖνος καὶ Ἡράκλειτος ὁ Ἐφέσιος, Ἐμπεδοκλῆς δὲ τὰ τέτταρα, πρὸς τοῖς εἰρημένοις γῆν προστιθεὶς τέταρτον ̔ταῦτα γὰρ ἀεὶ διαμένειν καὶ οὐ  γίγνεσθαι ἀλλ' ἢ πλήθει καὶ ὀλιγότητι, συγκρινόμενα καὶ διακρινόμενα εἰς ἕν τε καὶ ἐξ ἑνόσ̓: Ἀναξαγόρας δὲ ὁ Κλαζομένιος τῇ μὲν ἡλικίᾳ πρότερος ὢν τούτου τοῖς δ' ἔργοις ὕστερος ἀπείρους εἶναί φησι τὰς ἀρχάς: σχεδὸν γὰρ ἅπαντα τὰ ὁμοιομερῆ καθάπερ ὕδωρ ἢ πῦρ οὕτω γίγνεσθαι καὶ  ἀπόλλυσθαί φησι, συγκρίσει καὶ διακρίσει μόνον, ἄλλως δ' οὔτε γίγνεσθαι οὔτ' ἀπόλλυσθαι ἀλλὰ διαμένειν ἀί̈δια.
ἐκ μὲν οὖν τούτων μόνην τις αἰτίαν νομίσειεν ἂν τὴν ἐν ὕλης εἴδει λεγομένην: προϊόντων δ' οὕτως, αὐτὸ τὸ πρᾶγμα ὡδοποίησεν αὐτοῖς καὶ συνηνάγκασε ζητεῖν: εἰ γὰρ ὅτι μάλιστα  πᾶσα γένεσις καὶ φθορὰ ἔκ τινος ἑνὸς ἢ καὶ πλειόνων ἐστίν, διὰ τί τοῦτο συμβαίνει καὶ τί τὸ αἴτιον; οὐ γὰρ δὴ τό γε ὑποκείμενον αὐτὸ ποιεῖ μεταβάλλειν ἑαυτό: λέγω δ' οἷον οὔτε τὸ ξύλον οὔτε ὁ χαλκὸς αἴτιος τοῦ μεταβάλλειν ἑκάτερον αὐτῶν, οὐδὲ ποιεῖ τὸ μὲν ξύλον κλίνην ὁ δὲ χαλκὸς ἀνδριάντα,  ἀλλ' ἕτερόν τι τῆς μεταβολῆς αἴτιον. τὸ δὲ τοῦτο ζητεῖν ἐστὶ τὸ τὴν ἑτέραν ἀρχὴν ζητεῖν, ὡς ἂν ἡμεῖς φαίημεν, ὅθεν ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κινήσεως. οἱ μὲν οὖν πάμπαν ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἁψάμενοι τῆς μεθόδου τῆς τοιαύτης καὶ ἓν φάσκοντες εἶναι τὸ ὑποκείμενον οὐθὲν ἐδυσχέραναν ἑαυτοῖς, ἀλλ' ἔνιοί  γε τῶν ἓν λεγόντων, ὥσπερ ἡττηθέντες ὑπὸ ταύτης τῆς ζητήσεως, τὸ ἓν ἀκίνητόν φασιν εἶναι καὶ τὴν φύσιν ὅλην οὐ μόνον κατὰ γένεσιν καὶ φθοράν ̔τοῦτο μὲν γὰρ ἀρχαῖόν τε καὶ πάντες ὡμολόγησαν̓ ἀλλὰ καὶ κατὰ τὴν ἄλλην μεταβολὴν πᾶσαν: καὶ τοῦτο αὐτῶν ἴδιόν ἐστιν.
[984b] τῶν μὲν οὖν ἓν φασκόντων εἶναι τὸ πᾶν οὐθενὶ συνέβη τὴν τοιαύτην συνιδεῖν αἰτίαν πλὴν εἰ ἄρα Παρμενίδῃ, καὶ τούτῳ κατὰ τοσοῦτον ὅσον οὐ μόνον ἓν ἀλλὰ καὶ δύο πως τίθησιν αἰτίας εἶναι:  τοῖς δὲ δὴ πλείω ποιοῦσι μᾶλλον ἐνδέχεται λέγειν, οἷον τοῖς θερμὸν καὶ ψυχρὸν ἢ πῦρ καὶ γῆν: χρῶνται γὰρ ὡς κινητικὴν ἔχοντι τῷ πυρὶ τὴν φύσιν, ὕδατι δὲ καὶ γῇ καὶ τοῖς τοιούτοις τοὐναντίον.
μετὰ δὲ τούτους καὶ τὰς τοιαύτας ἀρχάς, ὡς οὐχ ἱκανῶν οὐσῶν γεννῆσαι τὴν τῶν ὄντων φύσιν, πάλιν  ὑπ' αὐτῆς τῆς ἀληθείας, ὥσπερ εἴπομεν, ἀναγκαζόμενοι τὴν ἐχομένην ἐζήτησαν ἀρχήν. τοῦ γὰρ εὖ καὶ καλῶς τὰ μὲν ἔχειν τὰ δὲ γίγνεσθαι τῶν ὄντων ἴσως οὔτε πῦρ οὔτε γῆν οὔτ' ἄλλο τῶν τοιούτων οὐθὲν οὔτ' εἰκὸς αἴτιον εἶναι οὔτ' ἐκείνους οἰηθῆναι: οὐδ' αὖ τῷ αὐτομάτῳ καὶ τύχῃ τοσοῦτον ἐπιτρέψαι  πρᾶγμα καλῶς εἶχεν. νοῦν δή τις εἰπὼν ἐνεῖναι, καθάπερ ἐν τοῖς ζῴοις, καὶ ἐν τῇ φύσει τὸν αἴτιον τοῦ κόσμου καὶ τῆς τάξεως πάσης οἷον νήφων ἐφάνη παρ' εἰκῇ λέγοντας  τοὺς πρότερον. φανερῶς μὲν οὖν Ἀναξαγόραν ἴσμεν ἁψάμενον τούτων τῶν λόγων, αἰτίαν δ' ἔχει πρότερον Ἑρμότιμος  ὁ Κλαζομένιος εἰπεῖν. οἱ μὲν οὖν οὕτως ὑπολαμβάνοντες ἅμα τοῦ καλῶς τὴν αἰτίαν ἀρχὴν εἶναι τῶν ὄντων ἔθεσαν, καὶ τὴν τοιαύτην ὅθεν ἡ κίνησις ὑπάρχει τοῖς οὖσιν.
ὑποπτεύσειε δ' ἄν τις Ἡσίοδον πρῶτον ζητῆσαι τὸ τοιοῦτον, κἂν εἴ τις ἄλλος ἔρωτα ἢ ἐπιθυμίαν ἐν τοῖς οὖσιν ἔθηκεν  ὡς ἀρχήν, οἷον καὶ Παρμενίδης: καὶ γὰρ οὗτος κατασκευάζων τὴν τοῦ παντὸς γένεσιν
πρώτιστον μέν ̔φησιν̓ ἔρωτα θεῶν μητίσατο πάντων
παρμενιδες φρ. 13 ̔διελσ̓, Ἡσίοδος δὲ
πάντων μὲν πρώτιστα χάος γένετ', αὐτὰρ ἔπειτα γαῖ' εὐρύστερνος . . . ἠδ' ἔρος, ὃς πάντεσσι μεταπρέπει ἀθανάτοισιν,
ηες. τη. 116-20 ὡς δέον ἐν τοῖς  οὖσιν ὑπάρχειν τιν' αἰτίαν ἥτις κινήσει καὶ συνάξει τὰ πράγματα. τούτους μὲν οὖν πῶς χρὴ διανεῖμαι περὶ τοῦ τίς πρῶτος, ἐξέστω κρίνειν ὕστερον: ἐπεὶ δὲ καὶ τἀναντία τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς ἐνόντα ἐφαίνετο ἐν τῇ φύσει, καὶ οὐ μόνον τάξις καὶ τὸ καλὸν ἀλλὰ καὶ ἀταξία καὶ τὸ αἰσχρόν,
[985a] καὶ πλείω τὰ κακὰ τῶν ἀγαθῶν καὶ τὰ φαῦλα τῶν καλῶν, οὕτως ἄλλος τις φιλίαν εἰσήνεγκε καὶ νεῖκος, ἑκάτερον ἑκατέρων αἴτιον τούτων. εἰ γάρ τις ἀκολουθοίη καὶ λαμβάνοι πρὸς τὴν διάνοιαν  καὶ μὴ πρὸς ἃ ψελλίζεται λέγων Ἐμπεδοκλῆς, εὑρήσει τὴν μὲν φιλίαν αἰτίαν οὖσαν τῶν ἀγαθῶν τὸ δὲ νεῖκος τῶν κακῶν: ὥστ' εἴ τις φαίη τρόπον τινὰ καὶ λέγειν καὶ πρῶτον λέγειν τὸ κακὸν καὶ τὸ ἀγαθὸν ἀρχὰς Ἐμπεδοκλέα, τάχ' ἂν λέγοι καλῶς, εἴπερ τὸ τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἁπάντων αἴτιον  αὐτὸ τἀγαθόν ἐστι [καὶ τῶν κακῶν τὸ κακόν].
οὗτοι μὲν οὖν, ὥσπερ λέγομεν, καὶ μέχρι τούτου δυοῖν αἰτίαιν ὧν ἡμεῖς διωρίσαμεν ἐν τοῖς περὶ φύσεως ἡμμένοι φαίνονται, τῆς τε ὕλης καὶ τοῦ ὅθεν ἡ κίνησις, ἀμυδρῶς μέντοι καὶ οὐθὲν σαφῶς ἀλλ' οἷον ἐν ταῖς μάχαις οἱ ἀγύμναστοι ποιοῦσιν: καὶ γὰρ ἐκεῖνοι περιφερόμενοι  τύπτουσι πολλάκις καλὰς πληγάς, ἀλλ' οὔτε ἐκεῖνοι ἀπὸ ἐπιστήμης οὔτε οὗτοι ἐοίκασιν εἰδέναι ὅ τι λέγουσιν: σχεδὸν γὰρ οὐθὲν χρώμενοι φαίνονται τούτοις ἀλλ' ἢ κατὰ μικρόν. Ἀναξαγόρας τε γὰρ μηχανῇ χρῆται τῷ νῷ πρὸς τὴν κοσμοποιίαν, καὶ ὅταν ἀπορήσῃ διὰ τίν' αἰτίαν  ἐξ ἀνάγκης ἐστί, τότε παρέλκει αὐτόν, ἐν δὲ τοῖς ἄλλοις πάντα μᾶλλον αἰτιᾶται τῶν γιγνομένων ἢ νοῦν, καὶ Ἐμπεδοκλῆς ἐπὶ πλέον μὲν τούτου χρῆται τοῖς αἰτίοις, οὐ μὴν οὔθ' ἱκανῶς, οὔτ' ἐν τούτοις εὑρίσκει τὸ ὁμολογούμενον. πολλαχοῦ γοῦν αὐτῷ ἡ μὲν φιλία διακρίνει τὸ δὲ νεῖκος συγκρίνει.  ὅταν μὲν γὰρ εἰς τὰ στοιχεῖα διίστηται τὸ πᾶν ὑπὸ τοῦ νείκους, τότε τὸ πῦρ εἰς ἓν συγκρίνεται καὶ τῶν ἄλλων στοιχείων ἕκαστον: ὅταν δὲ πάλιν ὑπὸ τῆς φιλίας συνίωσιν εἰς τὸ ἕν, ἀναγκαῖον ἐξ ἑκάστου τὰ μόρια διακρίνεσθαι πάλιν.
Ἐμπεδοκλῆς μὲν οὖν παρὰ τοὺς πρότερον πρῶτος  τὸ τὴν αἰτίαν διελεῖν εἰσήνεγκεν, οὐ μίαν ποιήσας τὴν τῆς κινήσεως ἀρχὴν ἀλλ' ἑτέρας τε καὶ ἐναντίας, ἔτι δὲ τὰ ὡς ἐν ὕλης εἴδει λεγόμενα στοιχεῖα τέτταρα πρῶτος εἶπεν ̔οὐ μὴν χρῆταί γε τέτταρσιν ἀλλ' ὡς δυσὶν οὖσι μόνοις,
[985b] πυρὶ μὲν καθ' αὑτὸ τοῖς δ' ἀντικειμένοις ὡς μιᾷ φύσει, γῇ τε καὶ ἀέρι καὶ ὕδατι: λάβοι δ' ἄν τις αὐτὸ θεωρῶν ἐκ τῶν ἐπῶν̓:
οὗτος μὲν οὖν, ὥσπερ λέγομεν, οὕτω τε καὶ τοσαύτας εἴρηκε τὰς ἀρχάς: Λεύκιππος δὲ καὶ ὁ ἑταῖρος  αὐτοῦ Δημόκριτος στοιχεῖα μὲν τὸ πλῆρες καὶ τὸ κενὸν εἶναί φασι, λέγοντες τὸ μὲν ὂν τὸ δὲ μὴ ὄν, τούτων δὲ τὸ μὲν πλῆρες καὶ στερεὸν τὸ ὄν, τὸ δὲ κενὸν τὸ μὴ ὄν ̔διὸ καὶ οὐθὲν μᾶλλον τὸ ὂν τοῦ μὴ ὄντος εἶναί φασιν, ὅτι οὐδὲ τοῦ κενοῦ τὸ σῶμἀ, αἴτια δὲ τῶν ὄντων ταῦτα ὡς  ὕλην. καὶ καθάπερ οἱ ἓν ποιοῦντες τὴν ὑποκειμένην οὐσίαν τἆλλα τοῖς πάθεσιν αὐτῆς γεννῶσι, τὸ μανὸν καὶ τὸ πυκνὸν ἀρχὰς τιθέμενοι τῶν παθημάτων, τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον καὶ οὗτοι τὰς διαφορὰς αἰτίας τῶν ἄλλων εἶναί φασιν. ταύτας μέντοι τρεῖς εἶναι λέγουσι, σχῆμά τε καὶ τάξιν καὶ  θέσιν: διαφέρειν γάρ φασι τὸ ὂν ῥυσμῷ καὶ διαθιγῇ καὶ τροπῇ μόνον: τούτων δὲ ὁ μὲν ῥυσμὸς σχῆμά ἐστιν ἡ δὲ διαθιγὴ τάξις ἡ δὲ τροπὴ θέσις: διαφέρει γὰρ τὸ μὲν Α τοῦ Ν σχήματι τὸ δὲ ΑΝ τοῦ ΝΑ τάξει τὸ δὲ Ζ τοῦ Η θέσει. περὶ δὲ κινήσεως, ὅθεν ἢ πῶς ὑπάρξει τοῖς οὖσι, καὶ  οὗτοι παραπλησίως τοῖς ἄλλοις ῥᾳθύμως ἀφεῖσαν. περὶ μὲν οὖν τῶν δύο αἰτιῶν, ὥσπερ λέγομεν, ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον ἔοικεν ἐζητῆσθαι παρὰ τῶν πρότερον.
ἐν δὲ τούτοις καὶ πρὸ τούτων οἱ καλούμενοι Πυθαγόρειοι τῶν μαθημάτων ἁψάμενοι πρῶτοι ταῦτά τε προήγαγον, καὶ  ἐντραφέντες ἐν αὐτοῖς τὰς τούτων ἀρχὰς τῶν ὄντων ἀρχὰς ᾠήθησαν εἶναι πάντων. ἐπεὶ δὲ τούτων οἱ ἀριθμοὶ φύσει πρῶτοι, ἐν δὲ τούτοις ἐδόκουν θεωρεῖν ὁμοιώματα πολλὰ τοῖς οὖσι καὶ γιγνομένοις, μᾶλλον ἢ ἐν πυρὶ καὶ γῇ καὶ ὕδατι, ὅτι τὸ μὲν τοιονδὶ τῶν ἀριθμῶν πάθος δικαιοσύνη  τὸ δὲ τοιονδὶ ψυχή τε καὶ νοῦς ἕτερον δὲ καιρὸς καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ὡς εἰπεῖν ἕκαστον ὁμοίως, ἔτι δὲ τῶν ἁρμονιῶν ἐν ἀριθμοῖς ὁρῶντες τὰ πάθη καὶ τοὺς λόγους, ἐπεὶ δὴ τὰ μὲν ἄλλα τοῖς ἀριθμοῖς ἐφαίνοντο τὴν φύσιν ἀφωμοιῶσθαι πᾶσαν, οἱ δ' ἀριθμοὶ πάσης τῆς φύσεως πρῶτοι,
[986a] τὰ τῶν ἀριθμῶν στοιχεῖα τῶν ὄντων στοιχεῖα πάντων ὑπέλαβον εἶναι, καὶ τὸν ὅλον οὐρανὸν ἁρμονίαν εἶναι καὶ ἀριθμόν: καὶ ὅσα εἶχον ὁμολογούμενα ἔν τε τοῖς ἀριθμοῖς καὶ ταῖς ἁρμονίαις πρὸς  τὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πάθη καὶ μέρη καὶ πρὸς τὴν ὅλην διακόσμησιν, ταῦτα συνάγοντες ἐφήρμοττον. κἂν εἴ τί που διέλειπε, προσεγλίχοντο τοῦ συνειρομένην πᾶσαν αὐτοῖς εἶναι τὴν πραγματείαν: λέγω δ' οἷον, ἐπειδὴ τέλειον ἡ δεκὰς εἶναι δοκεῖ καὶ πᾶσαν περιειληφέναι τὴν τῶν ἀριθμῶν φύσιν,  καὶ τὰ φερόμενα κατὰ τὸν οὐρανὸν δέκα μὲν εἶναί φασιν, ὄντων δὲ ἐννέα μόνον τῶν φανερῶν διὰ τοῦτο δεκάτην τὴν ἀντίχθονα ποιοῦσιν. διώρισται δὲ περὶ τούτων ἐν ἑτέροις ἡμῖν ἀκριβέστερον. ἀλλ' οὗ δὴ χάριν ἐπερχόμεθα, τοῦτό ἐστιν ὅπως λάβωμεν καὶ παρὰ τούτων τίνας εἶναι τιθέασι τὰς  ἀρχὰς καὶ πῶς εἰς τὰς εἰρημένας ἐμπίπτουσιν αἰτίας. φαίνονται δὴ καὶ οὗτοι τὸν ἀριθμὸν νομίζοντες ἀρχὴν εἶναι καὶ ὡς ὕλην τοῖς οὖσι καὶ ὡς πάθη τε καὶ ἕξεις, τοῦ δὲ ἀριθμοῦ στοιχεῖα τό τε ἄρτιον καὶ τὸ περιττόν, τούτων δὲ τὸ μὲν πεπερασμένον τὸ δὲ ἄπειρον, τὸ δ' ἓν ἐξ ἀμφοτέρων εἶναι τούτων  ̔καὶ γὰρ ἄρτιον εἶναι καὶ περιττόν̓, τὸν δ' ἀριθμὸν ἐκ τοῦ ἑνός, ἀριθμοὺς δέ, καθάπερ εἴρηται, τὸν ὅλον οὐρανόν.
ἕτεροι δὲ τῶν αὐτῶν τούτων τὰς ἀρχὰς δέκα λέγουσιν εἶναι τὰς κατὰ συστοιχίαν λεγομένας,
πέρας [καὶ] ἄπειρον, περιττὸν [καὶ] ἄρτιον, ἓν [καὶ] πλῆθος, δεξιὸν [καὶ] ἀριστερόν, ἄῤῥεν  [καὶ] θῆλυ, ἠρεμοῦν [καὶ] κινούμενον, εὐθὺ [καὶ] καμπύλον, φῶς [καὶ] σκότος, ἀγαθὸν [καὶ] κακόν, τετράγωνον [καὶ] ἑτερόμηκες: ὅνπερ τρόπον ἔοικε καὶ Ἀλκμαίων ὁ Κροτωνιάτης ὑπολαβεῖν, καὶ ἤτοι οὗτος παρ' ἐκείνων ἢ ἐκεῖνοι παρὰ τούτου παρέλαβον τὸν λόγον τοῦτον: καὶ γὰρ [ἐγένετο τὴν ἡλικίαν] Ἀλκμαίων  [ἐπὶ γέροντι Πυθαγόρᾳ,] ἀπεφήνατο [δὲ] παραπλησίως τούτοις: φησὶ γὰρ εἶναι δύο τὰ πολλὰ τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων, λέγων τὰς ἐναντιότητας οὐχ ὥσπερ οὗτοι διωρισμένας ἀλλὰ τὰς τυχούσας, οἷον λευκὸν μέλαν, γλυκὺ πικρόν, ἀγαθὸν κακόν, μέγα μικρόν. οὗτος μὲν οὖν ἀδιορίστως ἀπέῤῥιψε περὶ τῶν λοιπῶν,
[986b] οἱ δὲ Πυθαγόρειοι καὶ πόσαι καὶ τίνες αἱ ἐναντιώσεις  ἀπεφήναντο. παρὰ μὲν οὖν τούτων ἀμφοῖν τοσοῦτον ἔστι λαβεῖν, ὅτι τἀναντία ἀρχαὶ τῶν ὄντων: τὸ δ' ὅσαι παρὰ τῶν ἑτέρων, καὶ τίνες αὗταί εἰσιν. πῶς μέντοι πρὸς  τὰς εἰρημένας αἰτίας ἐνδέχεται συνάγειν, σαφῶς μὲν οὐ διήρθρωται παρ' ἐκείνων, ἐοίκασι δ' ὡς ἐν ὕλης εἴδει τὰ στοιχεῖα τάττειν: ἐκ τούτων γὰρ ὡς ἐνυπαρχόντων συνεστάναι καὶ πεπλάσθαι φασὶ τὴν οὐσίαν.
τῶν μὲν οὖν παλαιῶν καὶ πλείω λεγόντων τὰ στοιχεῖα τῆς φύσεως ἐκ τούτων ἱκανόν  ἐστι θεωρῆσαι τὴν διάνοιαν: εἰσὶ δέ τινες οἳ περὶ τοῦ παντὸς ὡς μιᾶς οὔσης φύσεως ἀπεφήναντο, τρόπον δὲ οὐ τὸν αὐτὸν πάντες οὔτε τοῦ καλῶς οὔτε τοῦ κατὰ τὴν φύσιν. εἰς μὲν οὖν τὴν νῦν σκέψιν τῶν αἰτίων οὐδαμῶς συναρμόττει περὶ αὐτῶν ὁ λόγος ̔οὐ γὰρ ὥσπερ ἔνιοι τῶν φυσιολόγων ἓν ὑποθέμενοι  τὸ ὂν ὅμως γεννῶσιν ὡς ἐξ ὕλης τοῦ ἑνός, ἀλλ' ἕτερον τρόπον οὗτοι λέγουσιν: ἐκεῖνοι μὲν γὰρ προστιθέασι κίνησιν, γεννῶντές γε τὸ πᾶν, οὗτοι δὲ ἀκίνητον εἶναί φασιν̓: οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ τοσοῦτόν γε οἰκεῖόν ἐστι τῇ νῦν σκέψει. Παρμενίδης μὲν γὰρ ἔοικε τοῦ κατὰ τὸν λόγον ἑνὸς ἅπτεσθαι, Μέλισσος  δὲ τοῦ κατὰ τὴν ὕλην ̔διὸ καὶ ὁ μὲν πεπερασμένον ὁ δ' ἄπειρόν φησιν εἶναι αὐτό̓: Ξενοφάνης δὲ πρῶτος τούτων ἑνίσας ̔ὁ γὰρ Παρμενίδης τούτου λέγεται γενέσθαι μαθητήσ̓ οὐθὲν διεσαφήνισεν, οὐδὲ τῆς φύσεως τούτων οὐδετέρας ἔοικε θιγεῖν, ἀλλ' εἰς τὸν ὅλον οὐρανὸν ἀποβλέψας τὸ ἓν εἶναί φησι τὸν  θεόν. οὗτοι μὲν οὖν, καθάπερ εἴπομεν, ἀφετέοι πρὸς τὴν νῦν ζήτησιν, οἱ μὲν δύο καὶ πάμπαν ὡς ὄντες μικρὸν ἀγροικότεροι, Ξενοφάνης καὶ Μέλισσος: Παρμενίδης δὲ μᾶλλον βλέπων ἔοικέ που λέγειν: παρὰ γὰρ τὸ ὂν τὸ μὴ ὂν οὐθὲν ἀξιῶν εἶναι, ἐξ ἀνάγκης ἓν οἴεται εἶναι, τὸ ὄν, καὶ  ἄλλο οὐθέν ̔περὶ οὗ σαφέστερον ἐν τοῖς περὶ φύσεως εἰρήκαμεν̓, ἀναγκαζόμενος δ' ἀκολουθεῖν τοῖς φαινομένοις, καὶ τὸ ἓν μὲν κατὰ τὸν λόγον πλείω δὲ κατὰ τὴν αἴσθησιν ὑπολαμβάνων εἶναι, δύο τὰς αἰτίας καὶ δύο τὰς ἀρχὰς πάλιν τίθησι, θερμὸν καὶ ψυχρόν, οἷον πῦρ καὶ γῆν λέγων:
[987a] τούτων δὲ κατὰ μὲν τὸ ὂν τὸ θερμὸν τάττει θάτερον δὲ κατὰ τὸ μὴ ὄν.
ἐκ μὲν οὖν τῶν εἰρημένων καὶ παρὰ τῶν συνηδρευκότων ἤδη τῷ λόγῳ σοφῶν ταῦτα παρειλήφαμεν, παρὰ μὲν τῶν πρώτων σωματικήν τε τὴν ἀρχήν ̔ὕδωρ γὰρ καὶ  πῦρ καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα σώματά ἐστιν̓, καὶ τῶν μὲν μίαν τῶν δὲ πλείους τὰς ἀρχὰς τὰς σωματικάς, ἀμφοτέρων μέντοι ταύτας ὡς ἐν ὕλης εἴδει τιθέντων, παρὰ δέ τινων ταύτην τε τὴν αἰτίαν τιθέντων καὶ πρὸς ταύτῃ τὴν ὅθεν ἡ κίνησις, καὶ ταύτην παρὰ τῶν μὲν μίαν παρὰ τῶν δὲ δύο. μέχρι μὲν  οὖν τῶν Ἰταλικῶν καὶ χωρὶς ἐκείνων μορυχώτερον εἰρήκασιν οἱ ἄλλοι περὶ αὐτῶν, πλὴν ὥσπερ εἴπομεν δυοῖν τε αἰτίαιν τυγχάνουσι κεχρημένοι, καὶ τούτων τὴν ἑτέραν οἱ μὲν μίαν οἱ δὲ δύο ποιοῦσι, τὴν ὅθεν ἡ κίνησις: οἱ δὲ Πυθαγόρειοι δύο μὲν τὰς ἀρχὰς κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν εἰρήκασι τρόπον, τοσοῦτον  δὲ προσεπέθεσαν ὃ καὶ ἴδιόν ἐστιν αὐτῶν, ὅτι τὸ πεπερασμένον καὶ τὸ ἄπειρον [καὶ τὸ ἓν] οὐχ ἑτέρας τινὰς ᾠήθησαν εἶναι φύσεις, οἷον πῦρ ἢ γῆν ἤ τι τοιοῦτον ἕτερον, ἀλλ' αὐτὸ τὸ ἄπειρον καὶ αὐτὸ τὸ ἓν οὐσίαν εἶναι τούτων ὧν κατηγοροῦνται, διὸ καὶ ἀριθμὸν εἶναι τὴν οὐσίαν πάντων. περί τε  τούτων οὖν τοῦτον ἀπεφήναντο τὸν τρόπον, καὶ περὶ τοῦ τί ἐστιν ἤρξαντο μὲν λέγειν καὶ ὁρίζεσθαι, λίαν δ' ἁπλῶς ἐπραγματεύθησαν. ὡρίζοντό τε γὰρ ἐπιπολαίως, καὶ ᾧ πρώτῳ ὑπάρξειεν ὁ λεχθεὶς ὅρος, τοῦτ' εἶναι τὴν οὐσίαν τοῦ πράγματος ἐνόμιζον, ὥσπερ εἴ τις οἴοιτο ταὐτὸν εἶναι διπλάσιον καὶ τὴν  δυάδα διότι πρῶτον ὑπάρχει τοῖς δυσὶ τὸ διπλάσιον. ἀλλ' οὐ ταὐτὸν ἴσως ἐστὶ τὸ εἶναι διπλασίῳ καὶ δυάδι: εἰ δὲ μή, πολλὰ τὸ ἓν ἔσται, ὃ κἀκείνοις συνέβαινεν. παρὰ μὲν οὖν τῶν πρότερον καὶ τῶν ἄλλων τοσαῦτα ἔστι λαβεῖν.
μετὰ δὲ τὰς εἰρημένας φιλοσοφίας ἡ Πλάτωνος ἐπεγένετο  πραγματεία, τὰ μὲν πολλὰ τούτοις ἀκολουθοῦσα, τὰ δὲ καὶ ἴδια παρὰ τὴν τῶν Ἰταλικῶν ἔχουσα φιλοσοφίαν. ἐκ νέου τε γὰρ συνήθης γενόμενος πρῶτον Κρατύλῳ καὶ ταῖς Ἡρακλειτείοις δόξαις, ὡς ἁπάντων τῶν αἰσθητῶν ἀεὶ ῥεόντων καὶ ἐπιστήμης περὶ αὐτῶν οὐκ οὔσης, ταῦτα μὲν καὶ ὕστερον οὕτως ὑπέλαβεν:
[987b] Σωκράτους δὲ περὶ μὲν τὰ ἠθικὰ πραγματευομένου περὶ δὲ τῆς ὅλης φύσεως οὐθέν, ἐν μέντοι τούτοις τὸ καθόλου ζητοῦντος καὶ περὶ ὁρισμῶν ἐπιστήσαντος πρώτου τὴν διάνοιαν, ἐκεῖνον ἀποδεξάμενος διὰ τὸ τοιοῦτον  ὑπέλαβεν ὡς περὶ ἑτέρων τοῦτο γιγνόμενον καὶ οὐ τῶν αἰσθητῶν: ἀδύνατον γὰρ εἶναι τὸν κοινὸν ὅρον τῶν αἰσθητῶν τινός, ἀεί γε μεταβαλλόντων. οὗτος οὖν τὰ μὲν τοιαῦτα τῶν ὄντων ἰδέας προσηγόρευσε, τὰ δ' αἰσθητὰ παρὰ ταῦτα καὶ κατὰ ταῦτα λέγεσθαι πάντα: κατὰ μέθεξιν γὰρ εἶναι τὰ  πολλὰ ὁμώνυμα τοῖς εἴδεσιν. τὴν δὲ μέθεξιν τοὔνομα μόνον μετέβαλεν: οἱ μὲν γὰρ Πυθαγόρειοι μιμήσει τὰ ὄντα φασὶν εἶναι τῶν ἀριθμῶν, Πλάτων δὲ μεθέξει, τοὔνομα μεταβαλών. τὴν μέντοι γε μέθεξιν ἢ τὴν μίμησιν ἥτις ἂν εἴη τῶν εἰδῶν ἀφεῖσαν ἐν κοινῷ ζητεῖν. ἔτι δὲ παρὰ τὰ αἰσθητὰ  καὶ τὰ εἴδη τὰ μαθηματικὰ τῶν πραγμάτων εἶναί φησι μεταξύ, διαφέροντα τῶν μὲν αἰσθητῶν τῷ ἀί̈δια καὶ ἀκίνητα εἶναι, τῶν δ' εἰδῶν τῷ τὰ μὲν πόλλ' ἄττα ὅμοια εἶναι τὸ δὲ εἶδος αὐτὸ ἓν ἕκαστον μόνον. ἐπεὶ δ' αἴτια τὰ εἴδη τοῖς ἄλλοις, τἀκείνων στοιχεῖα πάντων ᾠήθη τῶν ὄντων εἶναι  στοιχεῖα. ὡς μὲν οὖν ὕλην τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρὸν εἶναι ἀρχάς, ὡς δ' οὐσίαν τὸ ἕν: ἐξ ἐκείνων γὰρ κατὰ μέθεξιν τοῦ ἑνὸς [τὰ εἴδη] εἶναι τοὺς ἀριθμούς. τὸ μέντοι γε ἓν οὐσίαν εἶναι, καὶ μὴ ἕτερόν γέ τι ὂν λέγεσθαι ἕν, παραπλησίως τοῖς Πυθαγορείοις ἔλεγε, καὶ τὸ τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς αἰτίους εἶναι τοῖς ἄλλοις  τῆς οὐσίας ὡσαύτως ἐκείνοις: τὸ δὲ ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀπείρου ὡς ἑνὸς δυάδα ποιῆσαι, τὸ δ' ἄπειρον ἐκ μεγάλου καὶ μικροῦ, τοῦτ' ἴδιον: καὶ ἔτι ὁ μὲν τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς παρὰ τὰ αἰσθητά, οἱ δ' ἀριθμοὺς εἶναί φασιν αὐτὰ τὰ πράγματα, καὶ τὰ μαθηματικὰ μεταξὺ τούτων οὐ τιθέασιν. τὸ μὲν οὖν τὸ ἓν καὶ τοὺς  ἀριθμοὺς παρὰ τὰ πράγματα ποιῆσαι, καὶ μὴ ὥσπερ οἱ Πυθαγόρειοι, καὶ ἡ τῶν εἰδῶν εἰσαγωγὴ διὰ τὴν ἐν τοῖς λόγοις ἐγένετο σκέψιν ̔οἱ γὰρ πρότεροι διαλεκτικῆς οὐ μετεῖχον̓, τὸ δὲ δυάδα ποιῆσαι τὴν ἑτέραν φύσιν διὰ τὸ τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς ἔξω τῶν πρώτων εὐφυῶς ἐξ αὐτῆς γεννᾶσθαι ὥσπερ ἔκ τινος ἐκμαγείου.
[988a] καίτοι συμβαίνει γ' ἐναντίως: οὐ γὰρ εὔλογον οὕτως. οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς ὕλης πολλὰ ποιοῦσιν, τὸ δ' εἶδος ἅπαξ γεννᾷ μόνον, φαίνεται δ' ἐκ μιᾶς ὕλης μία τράπεζα, ὁ δὲ τὸ εἶδος ἐπιφέρων εἷς ὢν πολλὰς ποιεῖ.  ὁμοίως δ' ἔχει καὶ τὸ ἄῤῥεν πρὸς τὸ θῆλυ: τὸ μὲν γὰρ ὑπὸ μιᾶς πληροῦται ὀχείας, τὸ δ' ἄῤῥεν πολλὰ πληροῖ: καίτοι ταῦτα μιμήματα τῶν ἀρχῶν ἐκείνων ἐστίν. Πλάτων μὲν οὖν περὶ τῶν ζητουμένων οὕτω διώρισεν: φανερὸν δ' ἐκ τῶν εἰρημένων ὅτι δυοῖν αἰτίαιν μόνον κέχρηται, τῇ τε  τοῦ τί ἐστι καὶ τῇ κατὰ τὴν ὕλην ̔τὰ γὰρ εἴδη τοῦ τί ἐστιν αἴτια τοῖς ἄλλοις, τοῖς δ' εἴδεσι τὸ ἕν̓, καὶ τίς ἡ ὕλη ἡ ὑποκειμένη καθ' ἧς τὰ εἴδη μὲν ἐπὶ τῶν αἰσθητῶν τὸ δ' ἓν ἐν τοῖς εἴδεσι λέγεται, ὅτι αὕτη δυάς ἐστι, τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρόν, ἔτι δὲ τὴν τοῦ εὖ καὶ τοῦ κακῶς αἰτίαν τοῖς στοιχείοις  ἀπέδωκεν ἑκατέροις ἑκατέραν, ὥσπερ φαμὲν καὶ τῶν προτέρων ἐπιζητῆσαί τινας φιλοσόφων, οἷον Ἐμπεδοκλέα καὶ Ἀναξαγόραν.
συντόμως μὲν οὖν καὶ κεφαλαιωδῶς ἐπεληλύθαμεν τίνες τε καὶ πῶς τυγχάνουσιν εἰρηκότες περί τε τῶν ἀρχῶν  καὶ τῆς ἀληθείας: ὅμως δὲ τοσοῦτόν γ' ἔχομεν ἐξ αὐτῶν, ὅτι τῶν λεγόντων περὶ ἀρχῆς καὶ αἰτίας οὐθεὶς ἔξω τῶν ἐν τοῖς περὶ φύσεως ἡμῖν διωρισμένων εἴρηκεν, ἀλλὰ πάντες ἀμυδρῶς μὲν ἐκείνων δέ πως φαίνονται θιγγάνοντες. οἱ μὲν γὰρ ὡς ὕλην τὴν ἀρχὴν λέγουσιν, ἄν τε μίαν ἄν τε πλείους  ὑποθῶσι, καὶ ἐάν τε σῶμα ἐάν τε ἀσώματον τοῦτο τιθῶσιν ̔οἷον Πλάτων μὲν τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρὸν λέγων, οἱ δ' Ἰταλικοὶ τὸ ἄπειρον, Ἐμπεδοκλῆς δὲ πῦρ καὶ γῆν καὶ ὕδωρ καὶ ἀέρα, Ἀναξαγόρας δὲ τὴν τῶν ὁμοιομερῶν ἀπειρίαν: οὗτοί τε δὴ πάντες τῆς τοιαύτης αἰτίας ἡμμένοι εἰσί, καὶ ἔτι ὅσοι  ἀέρα ἢ πῦρ ἢ ὕδωρ ἢ πυρὸς μὲν πυκνότερον ἀέρος δὲ λεπτότερον: καὶ γὰρ τοιοῦτόν τινες εἰρήκασιν εἶναι τὸ πρῶτον στοιχεῖον̓:
οὗτοι μὲν οὖν ταύτης τῆς αἰτίας ἥψαντο μόνον, ἕτεροι δέ τινες ὅθεν ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κινήσεως ̔οἷον ὅσοι φιλίαν καὶ νεῖκος ἢ νοῦν ἢ ἔρωτα ποιοῦσιν ἀρχήν̓: τὸ δὲ τί ἦν εἶναι  καὶ τὴν οὐσίαν σαφῶς μὲν οὐθεὶς ἀποδέδωκε,
[988b] μάλιστα δ' οἱ τὰ εἴδη τιθέντες λέγουσιν ̔οὔτε γὰρ ὡς ὕλην τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς τὰ εἴδη καὶ τὸ ἓν τοῖς εἴδεσιν οὔθ' ὡς ἐντεῦθεν τὴν ἀρχὴν τῆς κινήσεως γιγνομένην ὑπολαμβάνουσιν--ἀκινησίας γὰρ αἴτια μᾶλλον καὶ τοῦ ἐν ἠρεμίᾳ εἶναι φασιν--ἀλλὰ τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι  ἑκάστῳ τῶν ἄλλων τὰ εἴδη παρέχονται, τοῖς δ' εἴδεσι τὸ ἕν̓: τὸ δ' οὗ ἕνεκα αἱ πράξεις καὶ αἱ μεταβολαὶ καὶ αἱ κινήσεις τρόπον μέν τινα λέγουσιν αἴτιον, οὕτω δὲ οὐ λέγουσιν οὐδ' ὅνπερ πέφυκεν. οἱ μὲν γὰρ νοῦν λέγοντες ἢ φιλίαν ὡς ἀγαθὸν μὲν ταύτας τὰς αἰτίας τιθέασιν, οὐ μὴν ὡς  ἕνεκά γε τούτων ἢ ὂν ἢ γιγνόμενόν τι τῶν ὄντων ἀλλ' ὡς ἀπὸ τούτων τὰς κινήσεις οὔσας λέγουσιν: ὡς δ' αὔτως καὶ οἱ τὸ ἓν ἢ τὸ ὂν φάσκοντες εἶναι τὴν τοιαύτην φύσιν τῆς μὲν οὐσίας αἴτιόν φασιν εἶναι, οὐ μὴν τούτου γε ἕνεκα ἢ εἶναι ἢ γίγνεσθαι, ὥστε λέγειν τε καὶ μὴ λέγειν πως συμβαίνει αὐτοῖς  τἀγαθὸν αἴτιον: οὐ γὰρ ἁπλῶς ἀλλὰ κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς λέγουσιν.
ὅτι μὲν οὖν ὀρθῶς διώρισται περὶ τῶν αἰτίων καὶ πόσα καὶ ποῖα, μαρτυρεῖν ἐοίκασιν ἡμῖν καὶ οὗτοι πάντες, οὐ δυνάμενοι θιγεῖν ἄλλης αἰτίας, πρὸς δὲ τούτοις ὅτι ζητητέαι αἱ ἀρχαὶ ἢ οὕτως ἅπασαι ἢ τινὰ τρόπον τοιοῦτον, δῆλον:  πῶς δὲ τούτων ἕκαστος εἴρηκε καὶ πῶς ἔχει περὶ τῶν ἀρχῶν, τὰς ἐνδεχομένας ἀπορίας μετὰ τοῦτο διέλθωμεν περὶ αὐτῶν.
ὅσοι μὲν οὖν ἕν τε τὸ πᾶν καὶ μίαν τινὰ φύσιν ὡς ὕλην τιθέασι, καὶ ταύτην σωματικὴν καὶ μέγεθος ἔχουσαν, δῆλον ὅτι πολλαχῶς ἁμαρτάνουσιν. τῶν γὰρ σωμάτων τὰ  στοιχεῖα τιθέασι μόνον, τῶν δ' ἀσωμάτων οὔ, ὄντων καὶ ἀσωμάτων. καὶ περὶ γενέσεως καὶ φθορᾶς ἐπιχειροῦντες τὰς αἰτίας λέγειν, καὶ περὶ πάντων φυσιολογοῦντες, τὸ τῆς κινήσεως αἴτιον ἀναιροῦσιν. ἔτι δὲ τῷ τὴν οὐσίαν μηθενὸς αἰτίαν τιθέναι μηδὲ τὸ τί ἐστι, καὶ πρὸς τούτοις τῷ ῥᾳδίως τῶν  ἁπλῶν σωμάτων λέγειν ἀρχὴν ὁτιοῦν πλὴν γῆς, οὐκ ἐπισκεψάμενοι τὴν ἐξ ἀλλήλων γένεσιν πῶς ποιοῦνται, λέγω δὲ πῦρ καὶ ὕδωρ καὶ γῆν καὶ ἀέρα. τὰ μὲν γὰρ συγκρίσει τὰ δὲ διακρίσει ἐξ ἀλλήλων γίγνεται, τοῦτο δὲ πρὸς τὸ πρότερον εἶναι καὶ ὕστερον διαφέρει πλεῖστον. τῇ μὲν γὰρ ἂν  δόξειε στοιχειωδέστατον εἶναι πάντων ἐξ οὗ γίγνονται συγκρίσει πρώτου,
[989a] τοιοῦτον δὲ τὸ μικρομερέστατον καὶ λεπτότατον ἂν εἴη τῶν σωμάτων ̔διόπερ ὅσοι πῦρ ἀρχὴν τιθέασι, μάλιστα ὁμολογουμένως ἂν τῷ λόγῳ τούτῳ λέγοιεν: τοιοῦτον δὲ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἕκαστος ὁμολογεῖ τὸ στοιχεῖον εἶναι τὸ τῶν σωμάτων:  οὐθεὶς γοῦν ἠξίωσε τῶν ἓν λεγόντων γῆν εἶναι στοιχεῖον, δηλονότι διὰ τὴν μεγαλομέρειαν, τῶν δὲ τριῶν ἕκαστον στοιχείων εἴληφέ τινα κριτήν, οἱ μὲν γὰρ πῦρ οἱ δ' ὕδωρ οἱ δ' ἀέρα τοῦτ' εἶναί φασιν: καίτοι διὰ τί ποτ' οὐ καὶ τὴν γῆν λέγουσιν, ὥσπερ οἱ πολλοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων; πάντα  γὰρ εἶναί φασι γῆν, φησὶ δὲ καὶ Ἡσίοδος τὴν γῆν πρώτην γενέσθαι τῶν σωμάτων: οὕτως ἀρχαίαν καὶ δημοτικὴν συμβέβηκεν εἶναι τὴν ὑπόληψιν̓:
κατὰ μὲν οὖν τοῦτον τὸν λόγον οὔτ' εἴ τις τούτων τι λέγει πλὴν πυρός, οὔτ' εἴ τις ἀέρος μὲν πυκνότερον τοῦτο τίθησιν ὕδατος δὲ  λεπτότερον, οὐκ ὀρθῶς ἂν λέγοι: εἰ δ' ἔστι τὸ τῇ γενέσει ὕστερον τῇ φύσει πρότερον, τὸ δὲ πεπεμμένον καὶ συγκεκριμένον ὕστερον τῇ γενέσει, τοὐναντίον ἂν εἴη τούτων, ὕδωρ μὲν ἀέρος πρότερον γῆ δὲ ὕδατος.
περὶ μὲν οὖν τῶν μίαν τιθεμένων αἰτίαν οἵαν εἴπομεν, ἔστω ταῦτ' εἰρημένα: τὸ δ'  αὐτὸ κἂν εἴ τις ταῦτα πλείω τίθησιν, οἷον Ἐμπεδοκλῆς τέτταρά φησιν εἶναι σώματα τὴν ὕλην. καὶ γὰρ τούτῳ τὰ μὲν ταὐτὰ τὰ δ' ἴδια συμβαίνειν ἀνάγκη. γιγνόμενά τε γὰρ ἐξ ἀλλήλων ὁρῶμεν ὡς οὐκ ἀεὶ διαμένοντος πυρὸς καὶ γῆς τοῦ αὐτοῦ σώματος ̔εἴρηται δὲ ἐν τοῖς περὶ φύσεως περὶ αὐτῶν̓,  καὶ περὶ τῆς τῶν κινουμένων αἰτίας, πότερον ἓν ἢ δύο θετέον, οὔτ' ὀρθῶς οὔτε εὐλόγως οἰητέον εἰρῆσθαι παντελῶς. ὅλως τε ἀλλοίωσιν ἀναιρεῖσθαι ἀνάγκη τοῖς οὕτω λέγουσιν: οὐ γὰρ ἐκ θερμοῦ ψυχρὸν οὐδὲ ἐκ ψυχροῦ θερμὸν ἔσται. τὶ γὰρ αὐτὰ ἂν πάσχοι τἀναντία, καὶ τὶς εἴη ἂν μία φύσις ἡ γιγνομένη  πῦρ καὶ ὕδωρ, ὃ ἐκεῖνος οὔ φησιν. Ἀναξαγόραν δ' εἴ τις ὑπολάβοι δύο λέγειν στοιχεῖα, μάλιστ' ἂν ὑπολάβοι κατὰ λόγον, ὃν ἐκεῖνος αὐτὸς μὲν οὐ διήρθρωσεν, ἠκολούθησε μέντ' ἂν ἐξ ἀνάγκης τοῖς ἐπάγουσιν αὐτόν. ἀτόπου γὰρ ὄντος καὶ ἄλλως τοῦ φάσκειν μεμῖχθαι τὴν ἀρχὴν πάντα,
[989b] καὶ διὰ τὸ συμβαίνειν ἄμικτα δεῖν προϋπάρχειν καὶ διὰ τὸ μὴ πεφυκέναι τῷ τυχόντι μίγνυσθαι τὸ τυχόν, πρὸς δὲ τούτοις ὅτι τὰ πάθη καὶ τὰ συμβεβηκότα χωρίζοιτ' ἂν τῶν οὐσιῶν ̔τῶν γὰρ αὐτῶν μῖξίς ἐστι καὶ χωρισμόσ̓, ὅμως εἴ τις ἀκολουθήσειε  συνδιαρθρῶν ἃ βούλεται λέγειν, ἴσως ἂν φανείη καινοπρεπεστέρως λέγων. ὅτε γὰρ οὐθὲν ἦν ἀποκεκριμένον, δῆλον ὡς οὐθὲν ἦν ἀληθὲς εἰπεῖν κατὰ τῆς οὐσίας ἐκείνης, λέγω δ' οἷον ὅτι οὔτε λευκὸν οὔτε μέλαν ἢ φαιὸν ἢ ἄλλο χρῶμα, ἀλλ' ἄχρων ἦν ἐξ ἀνάγκης: εἶχε γὰρ ἄν τι τούτων  τῶν χρωμάτων: ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἄχυμον τῷ αὐτῷ λόγῳ τούτῳ, οὐδὲ ἄλλο τῶν ὁμοίων οὐθέν: οὔτε γὰρ ποιόν τι οἷόν τε αὐτὸ εἶναι οὔτε ποσὸν οὔτε τί. τῶν γὰρ ἐν μέρει τι λεγομένων εἰδῶν ὑπῆρχεν ἂν αὐτῷ, τοῦτο δὲ ἀδύνατον μεμιγμένων γε πάντων: ἤδη γὰρ ἂν ἀπεκέκριτο, φησὶ δ'  εἶναι μεμιγμένα πάντα πλὴν τοῦ νοῦ, τοῦτον δὲ ἀμιγῆ μόνον καὶ καθαρόν. ἐκ δὴ τούτων συμβαίνει λέγειν αὐτῷ τὰς ἀρχὰς τό τε ἕν ̔τοῦτο γὰρ ἁπλοῦν καὶ ἀμιγέσ̓ καὶ θάτερον, οἷον τίθεμεν τὸ ἀόριστον πρὶν ὁρισθῆναι καὶ μετασχεῖν εἴδους τινός, ὥστε λέγει μὲν οὔτ' ὀρθῶς οὔτε σαφῶς, βούλεται μέντοι  τι παραπλήσιον τοῖς τε ὕστερον λέγουσι καὶ τοῖς νῦν φαινομένοις μᾶλλον.
ἀλλὰ γὰρ οὗτοι μὲν τοῖς περὶ γένεσιν λόγοις καὶ φθορὰν καὶ κίνησιν οἰκεῖοι τυγχάνουσι μόνον ̔σχεδὸν γὰρ περὶ τῆς τοιαύτης οὐσίας καὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὰς αἰτίας ζητοῦσι μόνησ̓: ὅσοι δὲ περὶ μὲν ἁπάντων τῶν ὄντων ποιοῦνται  τὴν θεωρίαν, τῶν δ' ὄντων τὰ μὲν αἰσθητὰ τὰ δ' οὐκ αἰσθητὰ τιθέασι, δῆλον ὡς περὶ ἀμφοτέρων τῶν γενῶν ποιοῦνται τὴν  ἐπίσκεψιν: διὸ μᾶλλον ἄν τις ἐνδιατρίψειε περὶ αὐτῶν, τί καλῶς ἢ μὴ καλῶς λέγουσιν εἰς τὴν τῶν νῦν ἡμῖν προκειμένων σκέψιν. οἱ μὲν οὖν καλούμενοι Πυθαγόρειοι ταῖς μὲν  ἀρχαῖς καὶ τοῖς στοιχείοις ἐκτοπωτέροις χρῶνται τῶν φυσιολόγων ̔τὸ δ' αἴτιον ὅτι παρέλαβον αὐτὰς οὐκ ἐξ αἰσθητῶν: τὰ γὰρ μαθηματικὰ τῶν ὄντων ἄνευ κινήσεώς ἐστιν ἔξω τῶν περὶ τὴν ἀστρολογίαν̓, διαλέγονται μέντοι καὶ πραγματεύονται περὶ φύσεως πάντα: γεννῶσί τε γὰρ τὸν οὐρανόν,
[990a] καὶ περὶ τὰ τούτου μέρη καὶ τὰ πάθη καὶ τὰ ἔργα διατηροῦσι τὸ συμβαῖνον, καὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὰ αἴτια εἰς ταῦτα καταναλίσκουσιν, ὡς ὁμολογοῦντες τοῖς ἄλλοις φυσιολόγοις ὅτι τό γε ὂν τοῦτ' ἐστὶν ὅσον αἰσθητόν ἐστι καὶ περιείληφεν ὁ  καλούμενος οὐρανός. τὰς δ' αἰτίας καὶ τὰς ἀρχάς, ὥσπερ εἴπομεν, ἱκανὰς λέγουσιν ἐπαναβῆναι καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ ἀνωτέρω τῶν ὄντων, καὶ μᾶλλον ἢ τοῖς περὶ φύσεως λόγοις ἁρμοττούσας. ἐκ τίνος μέντοι τρόπου κίνησις ἔσται πέρατος καὶ ἀπείρου μόνων ὑποκειμένων καὶ περιττοῦ καὶ ἀρτίου, οὐθὲν  λέγουσιν, ἢ πῶς δυνατὸν ἄνευ κινήσεως καὶ μεταβολῆς γένεσιν εἶναι καὶ φθορὰν ἢ τὰ τῶν φερομένων ἔργα κατὰ τὸν οὐρανόν. ἔτι δὲ εἴτε δοίη τις αὐτοῖς ἐκ τούτων εἶναι μέγεθος εἴτε δειχθείη τοῦτο, ὅμως τίνα τρόπον ἔσται τὰ μὲν κοῦφα τὰ δὲ βάρος ἔχοντα τῶν σωμάτων; ἐξ ὧν γὰρ ὑποτίθενται  καὶ λέγουσιν, οὐθὲν μᾶλλον περὶ τῶν μαθηματικῶν λέγουσι σωμάτων ἢ τῶν αἰσθητῶν: διὸ περὶ πυρὸς ἢ γῆς ἢ τῶν ἄλλων τῶν τοιούτων σωμάτων οὐδ' ὁτιοῦν εἰρήκασιν, ἅτε οὐθὲν περὶ τῶν αἰσθητῶν οἶμαι λέγοντες ἴδιον. ἔτι δὲ πῶς δεῖ λαβεῖν αἴτια μὲν εἶναι τὰ τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ πάθη καὶ τὸν ἀριθμὸν  τῶν κατὰ τὸν οὐρανὸν ὄντων καὶ γιγνομένων καὶ ἐξ ἀρχῆς καὶ νῦν, ἀριθμὸν δ' ἄλλον μηθένα εἶναι παρὰ τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦτον ἐξ οὗ συνέστηκεν ὁ κόσμος; ὅταν γὰρ ἐν τῳδὶ μὲν τῷ μέρει δόξα καὶ καιρὸς αὐτοῖς ᾖ, μικρὸν δὲ ἄνωθεν ἢ κάτωθεν ἀδικία καὶ κρίσις ἢ μῖξις, ἀπόδειξιν δὲ λέγωσιν ὅτι  τούτων μὲν ἕκαστον ἀριθμός ἐστι, συμβαίνει δὲ κατὰ τὸν τόπον τοῦτον ἤδη πλῆθος εἶναι τῶν συνισταμένων μεγεθῶν διὰ τὸ τὰ πάθη ταῦτα ἀκολουθεῖν τοῖς τόποις ἑκάστοις, πότερον οὗτος ὁ αὐτός ἐστιν ἀριθμός, ὁ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὃν δεῖ λαβεῖν ὅτι τούτων ἕκαστόν ἐστιν, ἢ παρὰ τοῦτον ἄλλος; ὁ μὲν γὰρ  Πλάτων ἕτερον εἶναί φησιν: καίτοι κἀκεῖνος ἀριθμοὺς οἴεται καὶ ταῦτα εἶναι καὶ τὰς τούτων αἰτίας, ἀλλὰ τοὺς μὲν νοητοὺς αἰτίους τούτους δὲ αἰσθητούς.
περὶ μὲν οὖν τῶν Πυθαγορείων ἀφείσθω τὰ νῦν ̔ἱκανὸν γὰρ αὐτῶν ἅψασθαι τοσοῦτον̓:
[990b] οἱ δὲ τὰς ἰδέας αἰτίας τιθέμενοι πρῶτον μὲν ζητοῦντες τωνδὶ τῶν ὄντων λαβεῖν τὰς αἰτίας ἕτερα τούτοις ἴσα τὸν ἀριθμὸν ἐκόμισαν, ὥσπερ εἴ τις ἀριθμῆσαι βουλόμενος ἐλαττόνων μὲν ὄντων οἴοιτο μὴ δυνήσεσθαι, πλείω δὲ ποιήσας ἀριθμοίη ̔σχεδὸν γὰρ ἴσα--ἢ οὐκ  ἐλάττω--ἐστὶ τὰ εἴδη τούτοις περὶ ὧν ζητοῦντες τὰς αἰτίας ἐκ τούτων ἐπ' ἐκεῖνα προῆλθον: καθ' ἕκαστον γὰρ ὁμώνυμόν τι ἔστι καὶ παρὰ τὰς οὐσίας, τῶν τε ἄλλων ἔστιν ἓν ἐπὶ πολλῶν, καὶ ἐπὶ τοῖσδε καὶ ἐπὶ τοῖς ἀϊδίοισ̓: ἔτι δὲ καθ' οὓς τρόπους δείκνυμεν ὅτι ἔστι τὰ εἴδη, κατ' οὐθένα φαίνεται τούτων:  ἐξ ἐνίων μὲν γὰρ οὐκ ἀνάγκη γίγνεσθαι συλλογισμόν, ἐξ ἐνίων δὲ καὶ οὐχ ὧν οἰόμεθα τούτων εἴδη γίγνεται. κατά τε γὰρ τοὺς λόγους τοὺς ἐκ τῶν ἐπιστημῶν εἴδη ἔσται πάντων ὅσων ἐπιστῆμαι εἰσί, καὶ κατὰ τὸ ἓν ἐπὶ πολλῶν καὶ τῶν ἀποφάσεων, κατὰ δὲ τὸ νοεῖν τι φθαρέντος τῶν φθαρτῶν: φάντασμα  γάρ τι τούτων ἔστιν. ἔτι δὲ οἱ ἀκριβέστεροι τῶν λόγων οἱ μὲν τῶν πρός τι ποιοῦσιν ἰδέας, ὧν οὔ φαμεν εἶναι καθ' αὑτὸ γένος, οἱ δὲ τὸν τρίτον ἄνθρωπον λέγουσιν. ὅλως τε ἀναιροῦσιν οἱ περὶ τῶν εἰδῶν λόγοι ἃ μᾶλλον εἶναι βουλόμεθα [οἱ λέγοντες εἴδη] τοῦ τὰς ἰδέας εἶναι: συμβαίνει γὰρ μὴ  εἶναι τὴν δυάδα πρώτην ἀλλὰ τὸν ἀριθμόν, καὶ τὸ πρός τι τοῦ καθ' αὑτό, καὶ πάνθ' ὅσα τινὲς ἀκολουθήσαντες ταῖς περὶ τῶν ἰδεῶν δόξαις ἠναντιώθησαν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς.
ἔτι κατὰ μὲν τὴν ὑπόληψιν καθ' ἣν εἶναί φαμεν τὰς ἰδέας οὐ μόνον τῶν οὐσιῶν ἔσται εἴδη ἀλλὰ πολλῶν καὶ ἑτέρων ̔καὶ γὰρ τὸ  νόημα ἓν οὐ μόνον περὶ τὰς οὐσίας ἀλλὰ καὶ κατὰ τῶν ἄλλων ἐστί, καὶ ἐπιστῆμαι οὐ μόνον τῆς οὐσίας εἰσὶν ἀλλὰ καὶ ἑτέρων, καὶ ἄλλα δὲ μυρία συμβαίνει τοιαῦτἀ: κατὰ δὲ τὸ ἀναγκαῖον καὶ τὰς δόξας τὰς περὶ αὐτῶν, εἰ ἔστι μεθεκτὰ τὰ εἴδη, τῶν οὐσιῶν ἀναγκαῖον ἰδέας εἶναι μόνον. οὐ  γὰρ κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς μετέχονται ἀλλὰ δεῖ ταύτῃ ἑκάστου μετέχειν ᾗ μὴ καθ᾽ ὑποκειμένου λέγεται （λέγω δ᾽ οἷον, εἴ τι αὐτοδιπλασίου μετέχει, τοῦτο καὶ ἀϊδίου μετέχει, ἀλλὰ κατὰ συμβεβηκός: συμβέβηκε γὰρ τῷ διπλασίῳ ἀϊδίῳ εἶναι）, ὥστ᾽ ἔσται οὐσία τὰ εἴδη: ταὐτὰ δὲ ἐνταῦθα οὐσίαν σημαίνει κἀκεῖ:
[991a]  ἢ τί ἔσται τὸ εἶναι τι παρὰ ταῦτα, τὸ ἓν ἐπὶ πολλῶν; καὶ εἰ μὲν ταὐτὸ εἶδος τῶν ἰδεῶν καὶ τῶν μετεχόντων, ἔσται τι κοινόν （τί γὰρ μᾶλλον ἐπὶ τῶν φθαρτῶν δυάδων, καὶ τῶν πολλῶν μὲν ἀϊδίων δέ, τὸ  δυὰς ἓν καὶ ταὐτόν, ἢ ἐπί τ᾽ αὐτῆς καὶ τῆς τινός;）: εἰ δὲ μὴ τὸ αὐτὸ εἶδος, ὁμώνυμα ἂν εἴη, καὶ ὅμοιον ὥσπερ ἂν εἴ τις καλοῖ ἄνθρωπον τόν τε Καλλίαν καὶ τὸ ξύλον, μηδεμίαν κοινωνίαν ἐπιβλέψας αὐτῶν. πάντων δὲ μάλιστα διαπορήσειεν ἄν τις τί ποτε συμβάλλεται τὰ εἴδη τοῖς  ἀϊδίοις τῶν αἰσθητῶν ἢ τοῖς γιγνομένοις καὶ φθειρομένοις: οὔτε γὰρ κινήσεως οὔτε μεταβολῆς οὐδεμιᾶς ἐστὶν αἴτια αὐτοῖς. ἀλλὰ μὴν οὔτε πρὸς τὴν ἐπιστήμην οὐθὲν βοηθεῖ τὴν τῶν ἄλλων （οὐδὲ γὰρ οὐσία ἐκεῖνα τούτων: ἐν τούτοις γὰρ ἂν ἦν）, οὔτε εἰς τὸ εἶναι, μὴ ἐνυπάρχοντά γε τοῖς μετέχουσιν: οὕτω μὲν  γὰρ ἂν ἴσως αἴτια δόξειεν εἶναι ὡς τὸ λευκὸν μεμιγμένον τῷ λευκῷ, ἀλλ᾽ οὗτος μὲν ὁ λόγος λίαν εὐκίνητος, ὃν Ἀναξαγόρας μὲν πρῶτος Εὔδοξος δ᾽ ὕστερον καὶ ἄλλοι τινὲς ἔλεγον （ῥᾴδιον γὰρ συναγαγεῖν πολλὰ καὶ ἀδύνατα πρὸς τὴν τοιαύτην δόξαν）: ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδ᾽ ἐκ τῶν εἰδῶν ἐστὶ τἆλλα  κατ᾽ οὐθένα τρόπον τῶν εἰωθότων λέγεσθαι. τὸ δὲ λέγειν παραδείγματα αὐτὰ εἶναι καὶ μετέχειν αὐτῶν τἆλλα κενολογεῖν ἐστὶ καὶ μεταφορὰς λέγειν ποιητικάς. τί γάρ ἐστι τὸ ἐργαζόμενον πρὸς τὰς ἰδέας ἀποβλέπον; ἐνδέχεταί τε καὶ εἶναι καὶ γίγνεσθαι ὅμοιον ὁτιοῦν καὶ μὴ εἰκαζόμενον  πρὸς ἐκεῖνο, ὥστε καὶ ὄντος Σωκράτους καὶ μὴ ὄντος γένοιτ᾽ ἂν οἷος Σωκράτης: ὁμοίως δὲ δῆλον ὅτι κἂν εἰ ἦν ὁ Σωκράτης ἀΐδιος. ἔσται τε πλείω παραδείγματα τοῦ αὐτοῦ, ὥστε καὶ εἴδη, οἷον τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τὸ ζῷον καὶ τὸ δίπουν, ἅμα δὲ καὶ τὸ αὐτοάνθρωπος. ἔτι οὐ μόνον τῶν αἰσθητῶν  παραδείγματα τὰ εἴδη ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτῶν, οἷον τὸ γένος, ὡς γένος εἰδῶν: ὥστε τὸ αὐτὸ ἔσται παράδειγμα καὶ εἰκών.
[992a]  ἔτι διὰ τί ἓν ὁ ἀριθμὸς συλλαμβανόμενος; ἔτι δὲ πρὸς τοῖς εἰρημένοις, εἴπερ εἰσὶν αἱ μονάδες διάφοροι, ἐχρῆν οὕτω λέγειν ὥσπερ καὶ ὅσοι τὰ στοιχεῖα τέτταρα ἢ δύο λέγουσιν: καὶ γὰρ τούτων ἕκαστος οὐ  τὸ κοινὸν λέγει στοιχεῖον, οἷον τὸ σῶμα, ἀλλὰ πῦρ καὶ γῆν, εἴτ᾽ ἔστι τι κοινόν, τὸ σῶμα, εἴτε μή. νῦν δὲ λέγεται ὡς ὄντος τοῦ ἑνὸς ὥσπερ πυρὸς ἢ ὕδατος ὁμοιομεροῦς: εἰ δ᾽ οὕτως, οὐκ ἔσονται οὐσίαι οἱ ἀριθμοί, ἀλλὰ δῆλον ὅτι, εἴπερ ἐστί τι ἓν αὐτὸ καὶ τοῦτό ἐστιν ἀρχή, πλεοναχῶς λέγεται τὸ ἕν: ἄλλως  γὰρ ἀδύνατον. βουλόμενοι δὲ τὰς οὐσίας ἀνάγειν εἰς τὰς ἀρχὰς μήκη μὲν τίθεμεν ἐκ βραχέος καὶ μακροῦ, ἔκ τινος μικροῦ καὶ μεγάλου, καὶ ἐπίπεδον ἐκ πλατέος καὶ στενοῦ, σῶμα δ᾽ ἐκ βαθέος καὶ ταπεινοῦ. καίτοι πῶς ἕξει ἢ τὸ ἐπίπεδον γραμμὴν ἢ τὸ στερεὸν γραμμὴν καὶ ἐπίπεδον; ἄλλο  γὰρ γένος τὸ πλατὺ καὶ στενὸν καὶ βαθὺ καὶ ταπεινόν: ὥσπερ οὖν οὐδ᾽ ἀριθμὸς ὑπάρχει ἐν αὐτοῖς, ὅτι τὸ πολὺ καὶ ὀλίγον ἕτερον τούτων, δῆλον ὅτι οὐδ᾽ ἄλλο οὐθὲν τῶν ἄνω ὑπάρξει τοῖς κάτω. ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδὲ γένος τὸ πλατὺ τοῦ βαθέος: ἦν γὰρ ἂν ἐπίπεδόν τι τὸ σῶμα. ἔτι αἱ στιγμαὶ ἐκ  τίνος ἐνυπάρξουσιν; τούτῳ μὲν οὖν τῷ γένει καὶ διεμάχετο Πλάτων ὡς ὄντι γεωμετρικῷ δόγματι, ἀλλ᾽ ἐκάλει ἀρχὴν γραμμῆς—τοῦτο δὲ πολλάκις ἐτίθει—τὰς ἀτόμους γραμμάς. καίτοι ἀνάγκη τούτων εἶναί τι πέρας: ὥστ᾽ ἐξ οὗ λόγου γραμμὴ ἔστι, καὶ στιγμὴ ἔστιν.
ὅλως δὲ ζητούσης τῆς σοφίας περὶ  τῶν φανερῶν τὸ αἴτιον, τοῦτο μὲν εἰάκαμεν （οὐθὲν γὰρ λέγομεν περὶ τῆς αἰτίας ὅθεν ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς μεταβολῆς）, τὴν δ᾽ οὐσίαν οἰόμενοι λέγειν αὐτῶν ἑτέρας μὲν οὐσίας εἶναί φαμεν, ὅπως δ᾽ ἐκεῖναι τούτων οὐσίαι, διὰ κενῆς λέγομεν: τὸ γὰρ μετέχειν, ὥσπερ καὶ πρότερον εἴπομεν, οὐθέν ἐστιν. οὐδὲ δὴ ὅπερ ταῖς  ἐπιστήμαις ὁρῶμεν ὂν αἴτιον, δι᾽ ὃ καὶ πᾶς νοῦς καὶ πᾶσα φύσις ποιεῖ, οὐδὲ ταύτης τῆς αἰτίας, ἥν φαμεν εἶναι μίαν τῶν ἀρχῶν, οὐθὲν ἅπτεται τὰ εἴδη, ἀλλὰ γέγονε τὰ μαθήματα τοῖς νῦν ἡ φιλοσοφία, φασκόντων ἄλλων χάριν αὐτὰ δεῖν πραγματεύεσθαι.
[992b]  ἔτι δὲ τὴν ὑποκειμένην οὐσίαν ὡς ὕλην μαθηματικωτέραν ἄν τις ὑπολάβοι, καὶ μᾶλλον κατηγορεῖσθαι καὶ διαφορὰν εἶναι τῆς οὐσίας καὶ τῆς ὕλης ἢ ὕλην, οἷον τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρόν, ὥσπερ καὶ οἱ φυσιολόγοι  φασὶ τὸ μανὸν καὶ τὸ πυκνόν, πρώτας τοῦ ὑποκειμένου φάσκοντες εἶναι διαφορὰς ταύτας: ταῦτα γάρ ἐστιν ὑπεροχή τις καὶ ἔλλειψις. περί τε κινήσεως, εἰ μὲν ἔσται ταῦτα κίνησις, δῆλον ὅτι κινήσεται τὰ εἴδη: εἰ δὲ μή, πόθεν ἦλθεν; ὅλη γὰρ ἡ περὶ φύσεως ἀνῄρηται σκέψις. ὅ τε δοκεῖ ῥᾴδιον  εἶναι, τὸ δεῖξαι ὅτι ἓν ἅπαντα, οὐ γίγνεται: τῇ γὰρ ἐκθέσει οὐ γίγνεται πάντα ἓν ἀλλ᾽ αὐτό τι ἕν, ἂν διδῷ τις πάντα: καὶ οὐδὲ τοῦτο, εἰ μὴ γένος δώσει τὸ καθόλου εἶναι: τοῦτο δ᾽ ἐν ἐνίοις ἀδύνατον. οὐθένα δ᾽ ἔχει λόγον οὐδὲ τὰ μετὰ τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς μήκη τε καὶ ἐπίπεδα καὶ στερεά, οὔτε ὅπως ἔστιν ἢ  ἔσται οὔτε τίνα ἔχει δύναμιν: ταῦτα γὰρ οὔτε εἴδη οἷόν τε εἶναι （οὐ γάρ εἰσιν ἀριθμοί） οὔτε τὰ μεταξύ （μαθηματικὰ γὰρ ἐκεῖνα） οὔτε τὰ φθαρτά, ἀλλὰ πάλιν τέταρτον ἄλλο φαίνεται τοῦτό τι γένος. ὅλως τε τὸ τῶν ὄντων ζητεῖν στοιχεῖα μὴ διελόντας, πολλαχῶς λεγομένων, ἀδύνατον εὑρεῖν, ἄλλως  τε καὶ τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον ζητοῦντας ἐξ οἵων ἐστὶ στοιχείων. ἐκ τίνων γὰρ τὸ ποιεῖν ἢ πάσχειν ἢ τὸ εὐθύ, οὐκ ἔστι δήπου λαβεῖν, ἀλλ᾽ εἴπερ, τῶν οὐσιῶν μόνον ἐνδέχεται: ὥστε τὸ τῶν ὄντων ἁπάντων τὰ στοιχεῖα ἢ ζητεῖν ἢ οἴεσθαι ἔχειν οὐκ ἀληθές. πῶς δ᾽ ἄν τις καὶ μάθοι τὰ τῶν πάντων στοιχεῖα;  δῆλον γὰρ ὡς οὐθὲν οἷόν τε προϋπάρχειν γνωρίζοντα πρότερον. ὥσπερ γὰρ τῷ γεωμετρεῖν μανθάνοντι ἄλλα μὲν ἐνδέχεται προειδέναι, ὧν δὲ ἡ ἐπιστήμη καὶ περὶ ὧν μέλλει μανθάνειν οὐθὲν προγιγνώσκει, οὕτω δὴ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων, ὥστ᾽ εἴ τις τῶν πάντων ἔστιν ἐπιστήμη, οἵαν δή τινές φασιν,  οὐθὲν ἂν προϋπάρχοι γνωρίζων οὗτος. καίτοι πᾶσα μάθησις διὰ προγιγνωσκομένων ἢ πάντων ἢ τινῶν ἐστί, καὶ ἡ δι᾽ ἀποδείξεως καὶ ἡ δι᾽ ὁρισμῶν （δεῖ γὰρ ἐξ ὧν ὁ ὁρισμὸς προειδέναι καὶ εἶναι γνώριμα）: ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἡ δι᾽ ἐπαγωγῆς. ἀλλὰ μὴν εἰ καὶ τυγχάνοι σύμφυτος οὖσα,
[993a]  θαυμαστὸν πῶς λανθάνομεν ἔχοντες τὴν κρατίστην τῶν ἐπιστημῶν. ἔτι πῶς τις γνωριεῖ ἐκ τίνων ἐστί, καὶ πῶς ἔσται δῆλον; καὶ γὰρ τοῦτ᾽ ἔχει ἀπορίαν: ἀμφισβητήσειε γὰρ ἄν τις ὥσπερ καὶ περὶ ἐνίας  συλλαβάς: οἱ μὲν γὰρ τὸ ζα ἐκ τοῦ ς καὶ δ καὶ α φασὶν εἶναι, οἱ δέ τινες ἕτερον φθόγγον φασὶν εἶναι καὶ οὐθένα τῶν γνωρίμων. ἔτι δὲ ὧν ἐστὶν αἴσθησις, ταῦτα πῶς ἄν τις μὴ ἔχων τὴν αἴσθησιν γνοίη; καίτοι ἔδει, εἴγε πάντων ταὐτὰ στοιχεῖά ἐστιν ἐξ ὧν, ὥσπερ αἱ σύνθετοι φωναί εἰσιν ἐκ τῶν  οἰκείων στοιχείων. ὅτι μὲν οὖν τὰς εἰρημένας ἐν τοῖς φυσικοῖς αἰτίας ζητεῖν ἐοίκασι πάντες, καὶ τούτων ἐκτὸς οὐδεμίαν ἔχοιμεν ἂν εἰπεῖν, δῆλον καὶ ἐκ τῶν πρότερον εἰρημένων: ἀλλ᾽ ἀμυδρῶς ταύτας, καὶ τρόπον μέν τινα πᾶσαι πρότερον εἴρηνται τρόπον  δέ τινα οὐδαμῶς. ψελλιζομένῃ γὰρ ἔοικεν ἡ πρώτη φιλοσοφία περὶ πάντων, ἅτε νέα τε καὶ κατ᾽ ἀρχὰς οὖσα καὶ τὸ πρῶτον, ἐπεὶ καὶ Ἐμπεδοκλῆς ὀστοῦν τῷ λόγῳ φησὶν εἶναι, τοῦτο δ᾽ ἐστὶ τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι καὶ ἡ οὐσία τοῦ πράγματες. ἀλλὰ μὴν ὁμοίως ἀναγκαῖον καὶ σάρκας καὶ τῶν ἄλλων  ἕκαστον εἶναι τὸν λόγον, ἢ μηδὲ ἕν: διὰ τοῦτο γὰρ καὶ σὰρξ καὶ ὀστοῦν ἔσται καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἕκαστον καὶ οὐ διὰ τὴν ὕλην, ἣν ἐκεῖνος λέγει, πῦρ καὶ γῆν καὶ ὕδωρ καὶ ἀέρα. ἀλλὰ ταῦτα ἄλλου μὲν λέγοντος συνέφησεν ἂν ἐξ ἀνάγκης, σαφῶς δὲ οὐκ εἴρηκεν. περὶ μὲν οὖν τούτων δεδήλωται καὶ  πρότερον: ὅσα δὲ περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν τούτων ἀπορήσειεν ἄν τις,  ἐπανέλθωμεν πάλιν: τάχα γὰρ ἂν ἐξ αὐτῶν εὐπορήσαιμέν τι πρὸς τὰς ὕστερον ἀπορίας.
[980a]  All men naturally desire knowledge. An indication of this is our esteem for the senses; for apart from their use we esteem them for their own sake, and most of all the sense of sight. Not only with a view to action, but even when no action is contemplated, we prefer sight, generally speaking, to all the other senses.The reason of this is that of all the senses sight best helps us to know things, and reveals many distinctions.
Now animals are by nature born with the power of sensation, and from this some acquire the faculty of memory, whereas others do not.
[980b]  Accordingly the former are more intelligent and capable of learning than those which cannot remember.Such as cannot hear sounds (as the bee, and any other similar type of creature) are intelligent, but cannot learn; those only are capable of learning which possess this sense in addition to the faculty of memory. Thus the other animals live by impressions and memories, and have but a small share of experience; but the human race lives also by art and reasoning.It is from memory that men acquire experience, because the numerous memories of the same thing eventually produce the effect of a single experience.
[981a]  Experience seems very similar to science and art,but actually it is through experience that men acquire science and art; for as Polus rightly says, "experience produces art, but inexperience chance." Art is produced when from many notions of experience a single universal judgement is formed with regard to like objects.To have a judgement that when Callias was suffering from this or that disease this or that benefited him, and similarly with Socrates and various other individuals, is a matter of experience; but to judge that it benefits all persons of a certain type, considered as a class, who suffer from this or that disease (e.g. the phlegmatic or bilious when suffering from burning fever) is a matter of art. It would seem that for practical purposes experience is in no way inferior to art; indeed we see men of experience succeeding more than those who have theory without experience.The reason of this is a that experience is knowledge of particulars, but art of universals; and actions and the effects produced are all concerned with the particular. For it is not man that the physician cures, except incidentally, but Callias or Socrates or some other person similarly named, who is incidentally a man as well.  So if a man has theory without experience, and knows the universal, but does not know the particular contained in it, he will often fail in his treatment; for it is the particular that must be treated.Nevertheless we consider that knowledge and proficiency belong to art rather than to experience, and we assume that artists are wiser than men of mere experience (which implies that in all cases wisdom depends rather upon knowledge);and this is because the former know the cause, whereas the latter do not. For the experienced know the fact, but not the wherefore; but the artists know the wherefore and the cause. For the same reason we consider that the master craftsmen in every profession are more estimable and know more and are wiser than the artisans,
[981b]  because they know the reasons of the things which are done; but we think that the artisans, like certain inanimate objects, do things, but without knowing what they are doing (as, for instance, fire burns);only whereas inanimate objects perform all their actions in virtue of a certain natural quality, artisans perform theirs through habit. Thus the master craftsmen are superior in wisdom, not because they can do things, but because they possess a theory and know the causes. In general the sign of knowledge or ignorance is the ability to teach, and for this reason we hold that art rather than experience is scientific knowledge; for the artists can teach, but the others cannot.Further, we do not consider any of the senses to be Wisdom. They are indeed our chief sources of knowledge about particulars, but they do not tell us the reason for anything, as for example why fire is hot, but only that it is hot.
It is therefore probable that at first the inventor of any art which went further than the ordinary sensations was admired by his fellow-men, not merely because some of his inventions were useful, but as being a wise and superior person.And as more and more arts were discovered, some relating to the necessities and some to the pastimes of life, the inventors of the latter were always considered wiser than those of the former,  because their branches of knowledge did not aim at utility.Hence when all the discoveries of this kind were fully developed, the sciences which relate neither to pleasure nor yet to the necessities of life were invented, and first in those places where men had leisure. Thus the mathematical sciences originated in the neighborhood of Egypt, because there the priestly class was allowed leisure.
The difference between art and science and the other kindred mental activities has been stated in theEthics; the reason for our present discussion is that it is generally assumed that what is called Wisdom is concerned with the primary causes and principles, so that, as has been already stated, the man of experience is held to be wiser than the mere possessors of any power of sensation, the artist than the man of experience, the master craftsman than the artisan; and the speculative sciences to be more learned than the productive.
[982a]  Thus it is clear that Wisdom is knowledge of certain principles and causes. Since we are investigating this kind of knowledge, we must consider what these causes and principles are whose knowledge is Wisdom. Perhaps it will be clearer if we take the opinions which we hold about the wise man. We consider first, then, that the wise man knows all things, so far as it is possible, without having knowledge of every one of them individually; next, that the wise man is he who can comprehend difficult things, such as are not easy for human comprehension (for sense-perception, being common to all, is easy, and has nothing to do with Wisdom); and further that in every branch of knowledge a man is wiser in proportion as he is more accurately informed and better able to expound the causes. Again among the sciences we consider that that science which is desirable in itself and for the sake of knowledge is more nearly Wisdom than that which is desirable for its results, and that the superior is more nearly Wisdom than the subsidiary; for the wise man should give orders, not receive them; nor should he obey others, but the less wise should obey him.
Such in kind  and in number are the opinions which we hold with regard to Wisdom and the wise. Of the qualities there described the knowledge of everything must necessarily belong to him who in the highest degree possesses knowledge of the universal, because he knows in a sense all the particulars which it comprises. These things, viz. the most universal, are perhaps the hardest for man to grasp, because they are furthest removed from the senses.Again, the most exact of the sciences are those which are most concerned with the first principles; for those which are based on fewer principles are more exact than those which include additional principles; e.g., arithmetic is more exact than geometry.Moreover, the science which investigates causes is more instructive than one which does not, for it is those who tell us the causes of any particular thing who instruct us. Moreover, knowledge and understanding which are desirable for their own sake are most attainable in the knowledge of that which is most knowable. For the man who desires knowledge for its own sake will most desire the most perfect knowledge,
[982b]  and this is the knowledge of the most knowable, and the things which are most knowable are first principles and causes; for it is through these and from these that other things come to be known, and not these through the particulars which fall under them.And that science is supreme, and superior to the subsidiary, which knows for what end each action is to be done; i.e. the Good in each particular case, and in general the highest Good in the whole of nature. Thus as a result of all the above considerations the term which we are investigating falls under the same science, which must speculate about first principles and causes; for the Good, i.e. the end , is one of the causes.
That it is not a productive science is clear from a consideration of the first philosophers.It is through wonder that men now begin and originally began to philosophize; wondering in the first place at obvious perplexities, and then by gradual progression raising questions about the greater matters too, e.g. about the changes of the moon and of the sun, about the stars and about the origin of the universe.Now he who wonders and is perplexed feels that he is ignorant (thus the myth-lover is in a sense a philosopher, since myths are composed of wonders);  therefore if it was to escape ignorance that men studied philosophy, it is obvious that they pursued science for the sake of knowledge, and not for any practical utility.The actual course of events bears witness to this; for speculation of this kind began with a view to recreation and pastime, at a time when practically all the necessities of life were already supplied. Clearly then it is for no extrinsic advantage that we seek this knowledge; for just as we call a man independent who exists for himself and not for another, so we call this the only independent science, since it alone exists for itself.
For this reason its acquisition might justly be supposed to be beyond human power, since in many respects human nature is servile; in which case, as Simonides says, "God alone can have this privilege," and man should only seek the knowledge which is within his reach.Indeed if the poets are right and the Deity is by nature jealous,
[983a]  it is probable that in this case He would be particularly jealous, and all those who excel in knowledge unfortunate. But it is impossible for the Deity to be jealous (indeed, as the proverb says, "poets tell many a lie"), nor must we suppose that any other form of knowledge is more precious than this; for what is most divine is most precious.Now there are two ways only in which it can be divine. A science is divine if it is peculiarly the possession of God, or if it is concerned with divine matters. And this science alone fulfils both these conditions; for (a) all believe that God is one of the causes and a kind of principle, and (b) God is the sole or chief possessor of this sort of knowledge. Accordingly, although all other sciences are more necessary than this, none is more excellent. The acquisition of this knowledge, however, must in a sense result in something which is the reverse of the outlook with which we first approached the inquiry. All begin, as we have said, by wondering that things should be as they are, e.g. with regard to marionettes, or the solstices, or the incommensurability of the diagonal of a square; because it seems wonderful to everyone who has not yet perceived the cause that a thing should not be measurable by the smallest unit.But we must end with the contrary and (according to the proverb) the better view, as men do even in these cases when they understand them;  for a geometrician would wonder at nothing so much as if the diagonal were to become measurable.
Thus we have stated what is the nature of the science which we are seeking, and what is the object which our search and our whole investigation must attain.
It is clear that we must obtain knowledge of the primary causes, because it is when we think that we understand its primary cause that we claim to know each particular thing. Now there are four recognized kinds of cause. Of these we hold that one is the essence or essential nature of the thing (since the "reason why" of a thing is ultimately reducible to its formula, and the ultimate "reason why" is a cause and principle); another is the matter or substrate; the third is the source of motion; and the fourth is the cause which is opposite to this, namely the purpose or "good";for this is the end of every generative or motive process. We have investigated these sufficiently in the Physics;
[983b]  however, let us avail ourselves of the evidence of those who have before us approached the investigation of reality and philosophized about Truth. For clearly they too recognize certain principles and causes, and so it will be of some assistance to our present inquiry if we study their teaching; because we shall either discover some other kind of cause, or have more confidence in those which we have just described. Most of the earliest philosophers conceived only of material principles as underlying all things. That of which all things consist, from which they first come and into which on their destruction they are ultimately resolved, of which the essence persists although modified by its affections—this, they say, is an element and principle of existing things. Hence they believe that nothing is either generated or destroyed, since this kind of primary entity always persists. Similarly we do not say that Socrates comes into being absolutely when he becomes handsome or cultured, nor that he is destroyed when he loses these qualities; because the substrate, Socrates himself, persists.In the same way nothing else is generated or destroyed; for there is some one entity (or more than one) which always persists and from which all other things are generated. All are not agreed, however,  as to the number and character of these principles. Thales, the founder of this school of philosophy, says the permanent entity is water (which is why he also propounded that the earth floats on water). Presumably he derived this assumption from seeing that the nutriment of everything is moist, and that heat itself is generated from moisture and depends upon it for its existence (and that from which a thing is generated is always its first principle). He derived his assumption, then, from this; and also from the fact that the seeds of everything have a moist nature, whereas water is the first principle of the nature of moist things.
There are some who think that the men of very ancient times, long before the present era, who first speculated about the gods, also held this same opinion about the primary entity. For they represented Oceanus and Tethys to be the parents of creation, and the oath of the gods to be by water— Styx, as they call it. Now what is most ancient is most revered, and what is most revered is what we swear by.
[984a]  Whether this view of the primary entity is really ancient and time-honored may perhaps be considered uncertain; however, it is said that this was Thales' opinion concerning the first cause. (I say nothing of Hippo, because no one would presume to include him in this company, in view of the paltriness of his intelligence.) Anaximenes and Diogenes held that air is prior to water, and is of all corporeal elements most truly the first principle. Hippasus of Metapontum and Heraclitus of Ephesus hold this of fire; and Empedocles—adding earth as a fourth to those already mentioned—takes all four. These, he says, always persist, and are only generated in respect of multitude and paucity, according as they are combined into unity or differentiated out of unity.
Anaxagoras of Clazomenae—prior to Empedocles in point of age, but posterior in his activities—says that the first principles are infinite in number. For he says that as a general rule all things which are, like fire and water, homoeomerous, are generated and destroyed in this sense only, by combination and differentiation; otherwise they are neither generated nor destroyed, but persist eternally.
From this account it might be supposed that the only cause is of the kind called "material." But as men proceeded in this way, the very circumstances of the case led them on and compelled them to seek further; because if it is really true  that all generation and destruction is out of some one entity or even more than one, why does this happen, and what is the cause?It is surely not the substrate itself which causes itself to change. I mean, e.g., that neither wood nor bronze is responsible for changing itself; wood does not make a bed, nor bronze a statue, but something else is the cause of the change. Now to investigate this is to investigate the second type of cause: the source of motion, as we should say.
Those who were the very first to take up this inquiry, and who maintained that the substrate is one thing, had no misgivings on the subject; but some of those who regard it as one thing, being baffled, as it were, by the inquiry, say that that one thing (and indeed the whole physical world) is immovable in respect not only of generation and destruction (this was a primitive belief and was generally admitted) but of all other change. This belief is peculiar to them.
[984b]  None of those who maintained that the universe is a unity achieved any conception of this type of cause, except perhaps Parmenides; and him only in so far as he admits, in a sense, not one cause only but two.But those who recognize more than one entity, e.g. hot and cold, or fire and earth, are better able to give a systematic explanation, because they avail themselves of fire as being of a kinetic nature, and of water, earth, etc., as being the opposite.
After these thinkers and the discovery of these causes, since they were insufficient to account for the generation of the actual world, men were again compelled (as we have said) by truth itself to investigate the next first principle.For presumably it is unnatural that either fire or earth or any other such element should cause existing things to be or become well and beautifully disposed; or indeed that those thinkers should hold such a view. Nor again was it satisfactory to commit so important a matter to spontaneity and chance.Hence when someone said that there is Mind in nature, just as in animals, and that this is the cause of all order and arrangement, he seemed like a sane man in contrast with the haphazard statements of his predecessors.We know definitely that Anaxagoras adopted this view; but Hermotimus  of Clazomenae is credited with having stated it earlier. Those thinkers, then, who held this view assumed a principle in things which is the cause of beauty, and the sort of cause by which motion is communicated to things.
It might be inferred that the first person to consider this question was Hesiod, or indeed anyone else who assumed Love or Desire as a first principle in things; e.g. Parmenides. For he says, where he is describing the creation of the universe, “ Love she created first of all the gods . . . ”Parmenides Fr. 13 (Diels)And Hesiod says, “ First of all things was Chaos made, and then/Broad-bosomed Earth . . ./And Love, the foremost of immortal beings, ” thus implying that there must be in the world some cause to move things and combine them.
The question of arranging these thinkers in order of priority may be decided later. Now since it was apparent that nature also contains the opposite of what is good, i.e. not only order and beauty, but disorder and ugliness;
[985a]  and that there are more bad and common things than there are good and beautiful: in view of this another thinker introduced Love and Strife as the respective causes of these things—because if one follows up and appreciates the statements of Empedocles with a view to his real meaning and not to his obscure language, it will be found that Love is the cause of good, and Strife of evil. Thus it would perhaps be correct to say that Empedocles in a sense spoke of evil and good as first principles, and was the first to do so—that is, if the cause of all good things is absolute good. These thinkers then, as I say, down to the time of Empedocles, seem to have grasped two of the causes which we have defined in the Physics: the material cause and the source of motion; but only vaguely and indefinitely. They are like untrained soldiers in a battle, who rush about and often strike good blows, but without science; in the same way these thinkers do not seem to understand their own statements, since it is clear that upon the whole they seldom or never apply them.Anaxagoras avails himself of Mind as an artificial device for producing order, and drags it in whenever he is at a loss to explain  some necessary result; but otherwise he makes anything rather than Mind the cause of what happens. Again, Empedocles does indeed use causes to a greater degree than Anaxagoras, but not sufficiently; nor does he attain to consistency in their use.At any rate Love often differentiates and Strife combines: because whenever the universe is differentiated into its elements by Strife, fire and each of the other elements are agglomerated into a unity; and whenever they are all combined together again by Love, the particles of each element are necessarily again differentiated.
Empedocles, then, differed from his predecessors in that he first introduced the division of this cause, making the source of motion not one but two contrary forces.Further, he was the first to maintain that the so-called material elements are four—not that he uses them as four, but as two only,
[985b]  treating fire on the one hand by itself, and the elements opposed to it—earth, air and water—on the other, as a single nature. This can be seen from a study of his writings.Such, then, as I say, is his account of the nature and number of the first principles. Leucippus, however, and his disciple Democritus hold that the elements are the Full and the Void—calling the one "what is" and the other "what is not." Of these they identify the full or solid with "what is," and the void or rare with "what is not" (hence they hold that what is not is no less real than what is, because Void is as real as Body); and they say that these are the material causes of things.And just as those who make the underlying substance a unity generate all other things by means of its modifications, assuming rarity and density as first principles of these modifications, so these thinkers hold that the "differences" are the causes of everything else.These differences, they say, are three: shape, arrangement, and position; because they hold that what is differs only in contour, inter-contact, and inclination .(Of these contour means shape, inter-contact arrangement, and inclination position.) Thus, e.g., A differs from N in shape, AN from NA in arrangement, and Z from N in position.As for motion, whence and how it arises in things,  they casually ignored this point, very much as the other thinkers did. Such, then, as I say, seems to be the extent of the inquiries which the earlier thinkers made into these two kinds of cause.
At the same time, however, and even earlier the so-called Pythagoreans applied themselves to mathematics, and were the first to develop this science; and through studying it they came to believe that its principles are the principles of everything.And since numbers are by nature first among these principles, and they fancied that they could detect in numbers, to a greater extent than in fire and earth and water, many analogues of what is and comes into being—such and such a property of number being justice , and such and such soul or mind , another opportunity , and similarly, more or less, with all the rest—and since they saw further that the properties and ratios of the musical scales are based on numbers, and since it seemed clear that all other things have their whole nature modelled upon numbers, and that numbers are the ultimate things in the whole physical universe,
[986a]  they assumed the elements of numbers to be the elements of everything, and the whole universe to be a proportion or number. Whatever analogues to the processes and parts of the heavens and to the whole order of the universe they could exhibit in numbers and proportions, these they collected and correlated;and if there was any deficiency anywhere, they made haste to supply it, in order to make their system a connected whole. For example, since the decad is considered to be a complete thing and to comprise the whole essential nature of the numerical system, they assert that the bodies which revolve in the heavens are ten; and there being only nine that are visible, they make the "antichthon" the tenth.We have treated this subject in greater detail elsewhere; but the object of our present review is to discover from these thinkers too what causes they assume and how these coincide with our list of causes.Well, it is obvious that these thinkers too consider number to be a first principle, both as the material of things and as constituting their properties and states. The elements of number, according to them, are the Even and the Odd. Of these the former is limited and the latter unlimited; Unity consists of both  (since it is both odd and even); number is derived from Unity; and numbers, as we have said, compose the whole sensible universe.Others of this same school hold that there are ten principles, which they enunciate in a series of corresponding pairs: (1.) Limit and the Unlimited; (2.) Odd and Even; (3.) Unity and Plurality; (4.) Right and Left; (5.) Male and Female; (6.) Rest and Motion; (7.) Straight and Crooked; (8.) Light and Darkness; (9.) Good and Evil; (10.) Square and Oblong.Apparently Alcmaeon of Croton speculated along the same lines, and either he derived the theory from them or they from him; for [Alcmaeon was contemporary with the old age of Pythagoras, and] his doctrines were very similar to theirs. He says that the majority of things in the world of men are in pairs; but the contraries which he mentions are not, as in the case of the Pythagoreans, carefully defined, but are taken at random, e.g. white and black, sweet and bitter, good and bad, great and small.Thus Alcmaeon only threw out vague hints with regard to the other instances of contrariety,
[986b]  but the Pythagoreans pronounced how many and what the contraries are. Thus from both these authorities we can gather thus much, that the contraries are first principles of things; and from the former, how many and what the contraries are.How these can be referred to our list of causes is not definitely expressed by them, but they appear to reckon their elements as material; for they say that these are the original constituents of which Being is fashioned and composed. From this survey we can sufficiently understand the meaning of those ancients who taught that the elements of the natural world are a plurality. Others, however, theorized about the universe as though it were a single entity; but their doctrines are not all alike either in point of soundness or in respect of conformity with the facts of nature.For the purposes of our present inquiry an account of their teaching is quite irrelevant, since they do not, while assuming a unity, at the same time make out that Being is generated from the unity as from matter, as do some physicists, but give a different explanation; for the physicists assume motion also, at any rate when explaining the generation of the universe; but these thinkers hold that it is immovable. Nevertheless thus much is pertinent to our present inquiry.It appears that Parmenides conceived of the Unity as one in definition,  but Melissus as materially one. Hence the former says that it is finite, and the latter that it is infinite. But Xenophanes, the first exponent of the Unity (for Parmenides is said to have been his disciple), gave no definite teaching, nor does he seem to have grasped either of these conceptions of unity; but regarding the whole material universe he stated that the Unity is God.This school then, as we have said, may be disregarded for the purposes of our present inquiry; two of them, Xenophanes and Melissus, may be completely ignored, as being somewhat too crude in their views. Parmenides, however, seems to speak with rather more insight. For holding as he does that Not-being, as contrasted with Being, is nothing, he necessarily supposes that Being is one and that there is nothing else (we have discussed this point in greater detail in the Physics); but being compelled to accord with phenomena, and assuming that Being is one in definition but many in respect of sensation, he posits in his turn two causes, i.e. two first principles, Hot and Cold; or in other words, Fire and Earth.
[987a]  Of these he ranks Hot under Being and the other under Not-being. From the account just given, and from a consideration of those thinkers who have already debated this question, we have acquired the following information. From the earliest philosophers we have learned that the first principle is corporeal (since water and fire and the like are bodies); some of them assume one and others more than one corporeal principle, but both parties agree in making these principles material. Others assume in addition to this cause the source of motion, which some hold to be one and others two.Thus down to and apart from the Italian philosophers the other thinkers have expressed themselves vaguely on the subject, except that, as we have said, they actually employ two causes, and one of these—the source of motion —some regard as one and others as two. The Pythagoreans, while they likewise spoke of two principles, made this further addition, which is peculiar to them: they believed, not that the Limited and the Unlimited are separate entities, like fire or water or some other such thing, but that the Unlimited itself and the One itself are the essence of those things of which they are predicated, and hence that number is the essence of all things.  Such is the nature of their pronouncements on this subject. They also began to discuss and define the "what" of things; but their procedure was far too simple. They defined superficially, and supposed that the essence of a thing is that to which the term under consideration first applies—e.g. as if it were to be thought that "double" and "2" are the same, because 2 is the first number which is double another.But presumably "to be double a number" is not the same as "to be the number 2." Otherwise, one thing will be many—a consequence which actually followed in their system. This much, then, can be learned from other and earlier schools of thought.
The philosophies described above were succeeded by the system of Plato, which in most respects accorded with them, but contained also certain peculiar features distinct from the philosophy of the Italians.In his youth Plato first became acquainted with Cratylus and the Heraclitean doctrines—that the whole sensible world is always in a state of flux, and that there is no scientific knowledge of it—and in after years he still held these opinions.
[987b]  And when Socrates, disregarding the physical universe and confining his study to moral questions, sought in this sphere for the universal and was the first to concentrate upon definition, Plato followed him and assumed that the problem of definition is concerned not with any sensible thing but with entities of another kind; for the reason that there can be no general definition of sensible things which are always changing.These entities he called "Ideas," and held that all sensible things are named after them sensible and in virtue of their relation to them; for the plurality of things which bear the same name as the Forms exist by participation in them. (With regard to the "participation," it was only the term that he changed; for whereas the Pythagoreans say that things exist by imitation of numbers, Plato says that they exist by participation—merely a change of term.As to what this "participation" or "imitation" may be, they left this an open question.) Further, he states that besides sensible things and the Forms there exists an intermediate class, the objects of mathematics, which differ from sensible things in being eternal and immutable, and from the Forms in that there are many similar objects of mathematics, whereas each Form is itself unique.
Now since the Forms are the causes of everything else, he supposed that their elements are the elements of all things.  Accordingly the material principle is the "Great and Small," and the essence <or formal principle> is the One, since the numbers are derived from the "Great and Small" by participation in the the One.In treating the One as a substance instead of a predicate of some other entity, his teaching resembles that of the Pythagoreans, and also agrees with it in stating that the numbers are the causes of Being in everything else; but it is peculiar to him to posit a duality instead of the single Unlimited, and to make the Unlimited consist of the "Great and Small." He is also peculiar in regarding the numbers as distinct from sensible things, whereas they hold that things themselves are numbers, nor do they posit an intermediate class of mathematical objects.His distinction of the One and the numbers from ordinary things (in which he differed from the Pythagoreans) and his introduction of the Forms were due to his investigation of logic (the earlier thinkers were strangers to Dialectic); his conception of the other principle as a duality to the belief that numbers other than primes can be readily generated from it, as from a matrix.
[988a]  The fact, however, is just the reverse, and the theory is illogical; for whereas the Platonists derive multiplicity from matter although their Form generates only once, it is obvious that only one table can be made from one piece of timber, and yet he who imposes the form upon it, although he is but one, can make many tables. Such too is the relation of male to female: the female is impregnated in one coition, but one male can impregnate many females. And these relations are analogues of the principles referred to. This, then, is Plato's verdict upon the question which we are investigating. From this account it is clear that he only employed two causes: that of the essence, and the material cause; for the Forms are the cause of the essence in everything else, and the One is the cause of it in the Forms.He also tells us what the material substrate is of which the Forms are predicated in the case of sensible things, and the One in that of the Forms—that it is this the duality, the "Great and Small." Further, he assigned to these two elements respectively the causation of good and of evil; a problem which, as we have said, had also been considered by some of the earlier philosophers, e.g. Empedocles and Anaxagoras.
We have given only a concise and summary account of those thinkers who have expressed views about the causes  and reality, and of their doctrines. Nevertheless we have learned thus much from them: that not one of those who discuss principle or cause has mentioned any other type than those which we we have distinguished in the Physics. Clearly it is after these types that they are groping, however uncertainly.Some speak of the first principle as material, whether they regard it as one or several, as corporeal or incorporeal: e.g. Plato speaks of the "Great and Small"; the Italians of the Unlimited; Empedocles of Fire, Earth, Water and Air; Anaxagoras of the infinity of homoeomeries.All these have apprehended this type of cause; and all those too who make their first principle air or water or "something denser than fire but rarer than air"(for some have so described the primary element). These, then, apprehended this cause only, but others apprehended the source of motion—e.g. all such as make Love and Strife, or Mind, or Desire a first principle.As for the essence or essential nature, nobody has definitely introduced it;
[988b]  but the inventors of the Forms express it most nearly. For they do not conceive of the Forms as the matter of sensible things (and the One as the matter of the Forms), nor as producing the source of motion (for they hold that they are rather the cause of immobility and tranquillity); but they adduce the Forms as the essential nature of all other things, and the One as that of the Forms.The end towards which actions, changes and motions tend they do in a way treat as a cause, but not in this sense, i.e. not in the sense in which it is naturally a cause. Those who speak of Mind or Love assume these causes as being something good; but nevertheless they do not profess that anything exists or is generated for the sake of them, but only that motions originate from them.Similarly also those who hold that Unity or Being is an entity of this kind state that it is the cause of existence, but not that things exist or are generated for the sake of it. So it follows that in a sense they both assert and deny that the Good is a cause; for they treat it as such not absolutely, but incidentally.It appears, then, that all these thinkers too (being unable to arrive at any other cause) testify that we have classified the causes rightly, as regards both number and nature. Further, it is clear that all the principles must be sought either along these lines or in some similar way.  Let us next examine the possible difficulties arising out of the statements of each of these thinkers, and out of his attitude to the first principles.
All those who regard the universe as a unity, and assume as its matter some one nature, and that corporeal and extended, are clearly mistaken in many respects. They only assume elements of corporeal things, and not of incorporeal ones, which also exist. They attempt to state the causes of generation and destruction, and investigate the nature of everything; and at the same time do away with the cause of motion.Then there is their failure to regard the essence or formula as a cause of anything; and further their readiness to call any one of the simple bodies—except earth—a first principle, without inquiring how their reciprocal generation is effected. I refer to fire, water, earth and air. Of these some are generated from each other by combination and others by differentiation;and this difference is of the greatest importance in deciding their relative priority. In one way it might seem that the most elementary body is that from which first other bodies are produced by combination;
[989a]  and this will be that body which is rarest and composed of the finest particles.Hence all who posit Fire as first principle will be in the closest agreement with this theory. However, even among the other thinkers everyone agrees that the primary corporeal element is of this kind. At any rate none of the Monists thought earth likely to be an element—obviously on account of the size of its particles—but each of the other three has had an advocate; for some name fire as the primary element, others water, and others air. And yet why do they not suggest earth too, as common opinion does? for people say "Everything is earth."And Hesiod too says that earth was generated first of corporeal things—so ancient and popular is the conception found to be. Thus according to this theory anyone who suggests any of these bodies other than fire, or who assumes something "denser than air but rarer than water," will be wrong.On the other hand if what is posterior in generation is prior in nature, and that which is developed and combined is posterior in generation, then the reverse will be the case; water will be prior to air, and earth to water. So much for those who posit one cause such as we have described.  The same will apply too if anyone posits more than one, as e.g. Empedocles says that matter consists of four bodies;objections must occur in his case also, some the same as before, and some peculiar to him. First, we can see things being generated from each other in a way which shows that fire and earth do not persist as the same corporeal entity. (This subject has been treated in my works on Natural Science.) Again with regard to the cause of motion in things, whether one or two should be assumed, it must not be thought that his account is entirely correct or even reasonable.And in general those who hold such views as these must of necessity do away with qualitative alteration; for on such a theory cold will not come from hot nor hot from cold, because to effect this there must be something which actually takes on these contrary qualities: some single element which becomes both fire and water—which Empedocles denies.
If one were to infer that Anaxagoras recognized two elements, the inference would accord closely with a view which, although he did not articulate it himself, he must have accepted as developed by others.To say that originally everything was a mixture is absurd for various reasons,
[989b]  but especially since (a) it follows that things must have existed previously in an unmixed state; (b) it is contrary to nature for anything to mix with anything ; (c) moreover affections and attributes would then be separable from their substances (because what is mixed can also be separated). At the same time, if one were to follow his doctrine carefully and interpret its meaning, perhaps it would be seen to be more up-to-date;because when nothing was yet differentiated, obviously nothing could be truly predicated of that substance—e.g. that it was white or black or buff or any other color. It must necessarily have been colorless, since otherwise it would have had one of these colors.Similarly by the same argument it had no taste or any other such attribute; for it cannot have had any quality or magnitude or individuality. Otherwise some particular form would have belonged to it; but this is impossible on the assumption that everything was mixed together, for then the form would have been already differentiated, whereas he says that everything was mixed together except Mind, which alone was pure and unmixed. It follows from this that he recognizes as principles the One (which is simple and unmixed) and the Other, which is such as we suppose the Indeterminate to be before it is determined and partakes of some form. Thus his account is neither correct nor clear,  but his meaning approximates to more recent theories and what is now more obviously true. However, these thinkers are really concerned only with the theories of generation and destruction and motion (for in general it is only with reference to this aspect of reality that they look for their principles and causes).Those, however, who make their study cover the whole of reality, and who distinguish between sensible and non-sensible objects, clearly give their attention to both kinds; hence in their case we may consider at greater length what contributions, valuable or otherwise, they make to the inquiry which is now before us.
The so-called Pythagoreans employ abstruser principles and elements than the physicists. The reason is that they did not draw them from the sensible world; for mathematical objects, apart from those which are connected with astronomy, are devoid of motion.Nevertheless all their discussions and investigations are concerned with the physical world. They account for the generation of the sensible universe,
[990a]  and observe what happens in respect of its parts and affections and activities, and they use up their principles and causes in this connection, as though they agreed with the others—the physicists—that reality is just so much as is sensible and is contained in the so-called "heavens."All the same, as we have said, the causes and principles which they describe are capable of application to the remoter class of realities as well, and indeed are better fitted to these than to their physical theories.But as to how there is to be motion, if all that is premissed is Limit and the Unlimited, and Odd and Even, they do not even hint; nor how, without motion and change, there can be generation and destruction, or the activities of the bodies which traverse the heavens.And further, assuming that it be granted to them or proved by them that magnitude is composed of these factors, yet how is it to be explained that some bodies are light, and others have weight? For in their premisses and statements they are speaking just as much about sensible as about mathematical objects; and this is why they have made no mention of fire or earth or other similar bodies, because, I presume, they have no separate explanation of sensible things.Again, how are we to understand that number and the modifications of number are the causes  of all being and generation, both in the beginning and now, and at the same time that there is no other number than the number of which the universe is composed? Because when they make out that Opinion and Opportunity are in such and such a region, and a little above or below them Injustice and Separation or Mixture, and when they state as proof of this that each of these abstractions is a number; and that also in this region there is already a plurality of the magnitudes composed of number, inasmuch as these modifications of number correspond to these several regions,—is the number which we must understand each of these abstractions to be the same number which is present in the sensible universe, or another kind of number? Plato at least says that it is another. It is true that he too supposes that numbers are both these magnitudes and their causes; but in his view the causative numbers are intelligible and the others sensible. The Pythagoreans, then, may be dismissed for the present, for it is enough to touch upon them thus briefly.
[990b]  As for those who posit the Forms as causes, in the first place in their attempt to find the causes of things in our sensible world, they introduced an equal number of other entities—as though a man who wishes to count things should suppose that it would be impossible when they are few, and should attempt to count them when he has added to them. For the Forms are as many as, or not fewer than, the things in search of whose causes these thinkers were led to the Forms; because corresponding to each thing there is a synonymous entity apart from the substances (and in the case of non-substantial things there is a One over the Many), both in our everyday world and in the realm of eternal entities. Again, not one of the arguments by which we try to prove that the Forms exist demonstrates our point: from some of them no necessary conclusion follows, and from others it follows that there are Forms of things of which we hold that there are no Forms.For according to the arguments from the sciences there will be Forms of all things of which there are sciences; and according to the "One-over-Many" argument, of negations too; and according to the argument that "we have some conception of what has perished," of perishable things; because we have a mental picture of these things. Again, of Plato's more exact arguments some establish Ideas of relations, which we do not hold to form a separate genus;and others state the "Third Man." And in general the arguments for the Forms do away with things which are more important to us exponents of the Forms than the existence of the Ideas;  for they imply that it is not the Dyad that is primary, but Number; and that the relative is prior to the absolute; and all the other conclusions in respect of which certain persons, by following up the views held about the Ideas, have gone against the principles of the theory.
Again, according to the assumption by which we hold that the Ideas exist, there will be Forms not only of substances but of many other things (since the concept is one not only in the case of substances, but also in the case of all other things; and there are sciences not only of substances but of other things as well; and there are a thousand other similar consequences); but according to logical necessity, and from the views generally held about them, it follows that if the Forms are participated in, then there can only be Ideas of substances. For they are not participated in qua accidents; each Form can only be participated in in so far as it is not predicated of a subject.I mean, e.g., that if anything participates in "absolute Doubleness" it participates also in "eternal," but only accidentally; because it is an accident of Doubleness to be eternal. Thus the Forms must be substance. But the same names denote substance in the sensible as in the Ideal world;
[991a]  otherwise what meaning will there be in saying that something exists beside the particulars, i.e. the unity comprising their multiplicity?If the form of the Ideas and of the things which participate in them is the same, they will have something in common (for why should Duality mean one and the same thing in the case of perishable "twos" and the "twos" which are many but eternal, and not in the case of the Idea of Duality and a particular "two"?); but if the form is not the same, they will simply be homonyms; just as though one were to call both Callias and a piece of wood "man," without remarking any property common to them. Above all we might examine the question what on earth the Forms contribute to sensible things, whether eternal or subject to generation and decay; for they are not the cause of any motion or change in them.Again, they are no help towards the knowledge of other things(for they are not the substance of things, otherwise they would be in things), nor to their existence, since they are not present in the things which partake of them. If they were, it might perhaps seem that they are causes, in the sense in which the admixture of white causes a thing to be white;but this theory, which was first stated by Anaxagoras and later by Eudoxus and others, is very readily refutable, for it is easy to adduce plenty of impossibilities against such a view. Again, other things are not  in any accepted sense derived from the Forms.To say that the Forms are patterns, and that other things participate in them, is to use empty phrases and poetical metaphors; for what is it that fashions things on the model of the Ideas Besides, anything may both be and become like something else without being imitated from it; thus a man may become just like Socrates whether Socrates exists or not,and even if Socrates were eternal, clearly the case would be the same. Also there will be several "patterns," and hence Forms, of the same thing; e.g. "animal" and "two-footed" will be patterns of "man," and so too will the Idea of Man. Further, the Forms will be patterns not only of sensible things but of themselves (e.g. genus in the sense of genus of species), and thus the same thing will be both pattern and copy.
[991b]  Further, it would seem impossible that the substance and the thing of which it is the substance exist in separation; hence how can the Ideas, if they are the substances of things, exist in separation from them? It is stated in the Phaedo that the Forms are the causes both of existence and of generation.Yet, assuming that the Forms exist, still the things which participate in them are not generated unless there is something to impart motion; while many other things are generated (e.g. house, ring) of which we hold that there are no Forms. Thus it is clearly possible that all other things may both exist and be generated for the same causes as the things just mentioned. Further, if the Forms are numbers, in what sense will they be causes? Is it because things are other numbers, e.g. such and such a number Man, such and such another Socrates, such and such another Callias? then why are those numbers the causes of these? Even if the one class is eternal and the other not, it will make no difference.And if it is because the things of our world are ratios of numbers (e.g. a musical concord), clearly there is some one class of things of which they are ratios. Now if there is this something, i.e. their matter , clearly the numbers themselves will be ratios of one thing to another.I mean, e.g., that if Callias is a numerical ratio of fire, earth, water and air, the corresponding Idea too will be a number of certain other things which are its substrate. The Idea of Man, too, whether it is in a sense a number or not, will yet be an arithmetical ratio of certain things,  and not a mere number; nor, on these grounds, will any Idea be a number.
Again, one number can be composed of several numbers, but how can one Form be composed of several Forms? And if the one number is not composed of the other numbers themselves, but of their constituents (e.g. those of the number 10,000), what is the relation of the units? If they are specifically alike, many absurdities will result, and also if they are not (whether (a) the units in a given number are unlike, or (b) the units in each number are unlike those in every other number). For in what can they differ, seeing that they have no qualities? Such a view is neither reasonable nor compatible with our conception of units.
Further, it becomes necessary to set up another kind of number (with which calculation deals), and all the objects which are called "intermediate" by some thinkers. But how or from what principles can these be derived? or on what grounds are they to be considered intermediate between things here and Ideal numbers? Further, each of the units in the number 2 comes from a prior 2; but this is impossible.
[992a]  Further, why should a number <of units>, taken together, be one thing? And further, in addition to the above objections, if the units are unlike, they should be treated as the thinkers who assume two or four elements treat those elements; for not one of them applies the term "element" to the common substrate, e.g. body, but to fire and earth—whether there is a common substrate (i.e. body) or not. As it is, the One is spoken of as though it were homogeneous, like fire or water. But if this is so, the numbers will not be substances. And if there is an absolute One which is a principle, clearly the term "one" is ambiguous; otherwise this is impossible.
When we wish to refer substances to their principles we derive lines from "Long and Short," a kind of "Great and Small"; and the plane from "Wide and Narrow," and the solid body from "Deep and Shallow." But in this case how can the plane contain a line,or the solid a line and a plane? for "Wide and Narrow" and "Deep and Shallow" are different genera. Nor is Number contained in these objects (because "Many and Few" is yet another class); and in the same way it is clear that none of the other higher genera will be contained in the lower. Nor, again, is the Broad the genus of which the Deep is a species; for then body would be a kind of plane.  Further, how will it be possible for figures to contain points? Plato steadily rejected this class of objects as a geometrical fiction, but he recognized "the beginning of a line," and he frequently assumed this latter class, i.e. the " indivisible lines." But these must have some limit; and so by the same argument which proves the existence of the line, the point also exists.
In general, although Wisdom is concerned with the cause of visible things, we have ignored this question (for we have no account to give of the cause from which change arises), and in the belief that we are accounting for their substance we assert the existence of other substances; but as to how the latter are the substances of the former, our explanation is worthless—for "participation," as we have said before, means nothing.And as for that which we can see to be the cause in the sciences, and through which all mind and all nature works—this cause which we hold to be one of the first principles—the Forms have not the slightest bearing upon it either. Philosophy has become mathematics for modern thinkers, although they profess that mathematics is only to be studied as a means to some other end.
[992b]  Further, one might regard the substance which they make the material substrate as too mathematical, and as being a predicate and differentia of substance or matter rather than as matter itself, I mean the "Great and Small," which is like the "Rare and Dense" of which the physicists speak, holding that they are the primary differentiae of the substrate; because these qualities are a species of excess and defect.Also with regard to motion, if the "Great and Small" is to constitute motion, obviously the Forms will be moved; if not, whence did it come? On this view the whole study of physics is abolished. And what is supposed to be easy, to prove that everything is One, does not follow; because from their exposition it does not follow, even if you grant them all their assumptions that everything is One, but only that there is an absolute One—and not even this, unless you grant that the universal is a class; which is impossible in some cases. Nor is there any explanation of the lines, planes and solids which "come after" the Numbers: neither as to how they exist or can exist, nor as to what their importance is. They cannot be Forms (since they are not numbers) or Intermediates (which are the objects of mathematics) or perishables; clearly they form yet another fourth class.
In general, to investigate the elements of existing things without distinguishing the various senses in which things are said to exist is a hopeless task;  especially when one inquires along these lines into the nature of the elements of which things are composed. For (a) we cannot surely conceive of the elements of activity or passivity or straightness; this is possible, if at all, only in the case of substances. Hence to look for, or to suppose that one has found, the elements of everything that exists, is a mistake.(b) How can one apprehend the elements of everything ? Obviously one could not have any previous knowledge of anything; because just as a man who is beginning to learn geometry can have previous knowledge of other facts, but no previous knowledge of the principles of that science or of the things about which he is to learn, so it is in the case of all other branches of knowledge.Hence if there is a science which embraces everything(as some say), the student of it can have no previous knowledge at all. But all learning proceeds, wholly or in part, from what is already known; whether it is through demonstration or through definition—since the parts of the definition must be already known and familiar. The same is true of induction.
[993a]  On the other hand, assuming that this knowledge should turn out to be innate, it is astonishing that we should possess unawares the most important of the sciences. Further, how is one to know of what elements things consist? how is it to be established?Even this presents a difficulty, because the facts might be disputed, as happens in the case of certain syllables—for some say that ZA is composed of S, D and A, while others say that it is a distinct sound and not any one of those which are familiar to us. Further, how can one gain knowledge of the objects of a particular sense-perception without possessing that sense? Yet it should be possible, that if the elements of which all things consist, as composite sounds consist of their peculiar elements, are the same.
Thus it is obvious, from the statements of earlier thinkers also, that all inquiry is apparently directed towards the causes described in the Physics, and that we cannot suggest any other cause apart from these. They were, however, only vaguely conceived; and although in one sense they have all been stated before, in another they have not been stated at all.For the earliest philosophy speaks falteringly, as it were, on all subjects; being new and in its infancy. Even Empedocles says that bone exists by virtue of its ratio, which is the definition or essence of a thing.But by similar reasoning both flesh and every other thing,  or else nothing at all, must be ratio; for it must be because of this, and not because of their matter—which he calls fire, earth, water and air—that flesh and bone and every other thing exists.If anyone else had stated this, he would necessarily have agreed, but his own statement was not clear.
These and similar points have been explained already. We will now return to the difficulties which might be raised about these same questions, for they may throw some light upon subsequent difficulties.
[980a] 인간은 누구나 선천적으로 지식을 원한다. 이것의 징후는 감각에 대한 우리의 존중이다. 감각의 사용과는 별개로, 우리는 감각의 사용을 제외한다면, 그리고 무엇보다도 시각적인 감각을 위시해 그들을 존중한다. 행동에 대한 관점이 있을 뿐만 아니라, 어떤 행동도 고려되지 않을 때에도, 우리는 일반적으로 다른 모든 감각들보다 시각을 더 선호한다.그 이유는 모든 감각들 중에서 이것이 우리가 사물을 알고 많은 차이를 드러내는 데 가장 도움이 되기 때문이다.
동물들은 선천적으로 감각의 힘을 가지고 태어난다. 그리고 이것으로부터 몇몇은 기억력을 습득한다. 반면에 다른 것들은 그렇지 않다.
[980b]따라서 전자는 기억하지 못하는 이들보다 더 똑똑하고 배울 수 있다. (한편)소리를 들을 수 없는 것과 같은 것은 지적인 것이지만 배울 수 없다. (전자에 이어서 몇몇)그것들은 기억력 외에도 이 감각을 소유한 유일한 학습 능력이 있다. 그러므로 다른 동물들은 인상과 기억으로 살고, 적은 경험만을 가지고 있다. 그러나 인류는 또한 기술과 추리에 의해 살아간다.같은 것에 대한 수많은 기억들이 결국 단 하나의 경험의 효과를 낳기 때문에, 사람들은 기억으로부터 경험을 얻는다.
[981a]경험은 지식과 기술과 매우 흡사해 보이지만, 사실 경험을 통해 사람은 지식과 기술을 습득한다. 폴뤼스는 "경험은 기술을 창조하지만 경험이 없다면 운를 만들어낸다"고 말한다. 기술은 많은 경험의 개념으로부터 유사한 물체에 관한 하나의 보편적인 판단이 형성될 때 생산된다.칼리아스가 이것 또는 그와 비슷한 질병을 앓고 있을 때, 그리고 소크라테스가 다른 개인들과 유사하게 다룬다면, 그것은 경험의 문제이지만, 열에 의한 발열에서 이러한 종류의 질병을 가진 모든 사람들에게 이득이 되는 (하나의 보편적으로 형성된)판단을한다면 이것은 기술의 문제이다. 실용적인 목적으로 경험이 기술에 결코 뒤지지 않는 것처럼 보인다. 참으로 우리는 경험이없는 이론을 가진 사람들보다 경험이 많은 사람들이 더 많이 성공한다는 것을 본다. 그 이유는 그 경험이 특정한 것에 대한 지식이지만 이론은 보편에 대한 기술이기 때문이다. 행동과 그 결과는 모두 그 특정한 것에 관련되어 있다. 우연히를 제외하고 의사가 치료하는 사람은 칼리아스 또는 소크라테스 또는 이들처럼 특정된 이름을 가진 사람이다. 따라서 어떤 한 사람이 경험이없는 이론을 가지고 있으며 보편적인 것을 알고 있지만 그 안에 들어있는 특정한 것을 모르는 사람이라면 그는 종종 자신의 치료에 실패 할 것이다. 그럼에도 불구하고 우리는 지식과 배움이 경험이라기보다는 기술에 속한다고 생각하고, 기술자는 경험을 가진 사람들보다 현명하다고 가정한다 (모든 경우에 지혜는 오히려 지식에 딸려 있음을 의미 한다) 왜냐하면 전자는 원인을 알기 때문이며, 후자는 원인을 알지 못하기 때문이다. 경험이있는 사람은 그 사실은 알고 있지만, 그 원리는 아니다. 그러나 기술자들은 그 원인과 원리를 알고 있다. 같은 이유로 우리는 모든 직업의 장인이 그직업의 종사자들 보다 더 많이 알고 현명하다고 생각한다.
[981b]  왜냐하면 그들은 행해지는 일들에 대한 이유를 알고 있기 때문이다. 그러나 우리는 장인이 어떤 (기계적 또는)습관적으로 일을한다고 생각하지만, 그들이 무엇을하고 있는지를 모른 채 (예로 불은 탄다), 무생물이 주어진 특정된 작동에서 모든 행동을 수행하는것처럼 습관을 통해 그들은 수행한다. 장인은 지혜가 뛰어나다. 일을 할 수 있기 때문이 아니라 이론을 소유하고 원인을 알고 있기 때문이다. 일반적으로 '안다'는것과 '알지못한다'의 표지는 가르 칠 수있는 능력으로 구별되며, 이런 이유로 우리는 경험보다는 기술이 더 지식에 가깝다고 생각한다. 기술자는 가르칠 수 있지만 경험자는 (온전히) 가르칠수 없다. 또한 우리는 감각을 지혜라고 생각하지 않는다. 그것들은 참으로 (외부의) 개별자에대한 우리의 주요 정보원이지만, 그들은 우리에게 그 어떠한 이유도 제공하지않는다. 예를들어 (감각은)단지 '불이 뜨겁다'는것을 알게는 해도 왜 불이 뜨거운지를 설명하지는않는다.그러므로 처음에서 일반적인 감각을 뛰어 넘은 기술의 발명자는 그의 동료로부터 존경 받았을것이다.그의 발명중 일부는 유용했겠지만 이점보다는 (기술의 발명이라고 하는것이) 지혜롭고 우월한 사람임을 (증거함을) 알았기 때문일것이다. 그리고 점점 더 많은 기술들이 발견됨에 따라, 일부는 필요적인 것이었고 어떤 것은 삶의 즐거움에 관한 것이었다. 후자의 발명가들은 항상 전자의 발명가보다 현명하다고 여겨졌고,왜냐하면 그들의 지식 분야가 유용성을 목표로 삼지 않았기 때문이다.그 때는 대부분 종류의 발견이 완전히 발달한 때였고, 이후에 처음으로 남성들이 여가를 즐기는 곳에서 즐거움이나 삶의 필수품과 관련이 없는 학문이 발명되었으며, 따라서, 수학의 기술은 이집트 근교에서 유래했으며,성직자 계급이 여가가 허용 되었기 때문으로 여겨진다.
기술과 지식 및 기타 다른 종류의 정신 활동에서의 차이점은 윤리학에서 명시한바 있다.우리의 현재 논의의 이유는 일반적으로 지혜라고 불리는 것이 1차적인 원인과 원리에 관련되어 있다고 가정하기 때문이며, 이미 언급했듯이,경험있는 사람은 감각있는 사람보다, 기술있는 사람은 경험있는자보다, 장인은 그 직업의 종사자 기술자들보다 더 지혜롭다고 한다. 그리고 특정 기술은 생산적인 기술보다 더 많이 배워야한다.
[982a]따라서 지혜는 특정한 원리와 원인에 대한 지식이라는 것이 분명하다. 우리가 이런 종류의 지식을 조사하고 있기 때문에, 우리는 이 원인과 원리가 지혜인지를 고려해야만한다. 우리가 지혜로운 사람에 대해 가지고있는 의견을 듣는다면 아마도 더 분명해질 것이다. 먼저 우리는 지혜로운 사람이 개별적으로는 각각 다 알지 못하지만 가능한 한 모든 것을 알고 있다고 간주한다. 다음으로는 지혜로운 사람은 인간의 이해력으로 쉽지 않은 것과 같은 어려운 일을 이해할 수 있는 사람일것이다. 감각적인 인식은 모든 이에게 공통적인 것으로 또한 쉽고 따라서 이것은 지혜와 더 관련이 없을것이다. 그리고 지식과 인간의 모든 분야에서 더 많이 더 정확하게 정보를 얻고 원인을 더 잘 설명 할 수 있기 때문에 더 지혜롭다고 할수있다. 다시 지식 중에서 우리는 그 자체 또는 앎을 위해서 가치있는것은 그것의 결과에 대해서 가치있는것보다 더 지혜이며, 그 상위의것은 그 하위의 것보다 더 지혜라고 생각한다. 지혜로운것은 명령을 내리고 받지는않는다. 그는 다른 이들에게 순종해서는 안되지만 지혜가없는 이는 그에게 순종해야한다. 이러한 종류와 가짓수는 지혜와 지식에 관한 우리의 견해이다. 그러한 자질 중에서 모든 것에 대한 지식은 필연적으로 보편에 대한 가장 높은 수준의 지식을 소유하고있는 그에게 속해야한다. 이러한 가장 보편적인 것들은 감각에서 가장 멀리 떨어져 있기 때문에 아마도 사람이 파악하기가 가장 힘들것이다. 지식에서 가장 정확한것은 1차적인것에 가장 관련이있는 것이다. 더 적은 수의 원리에 근거한 것들은 추가적인 원리을 포함하는 것들보다 더 정확하다. 예를 들어 산술연산이 기학학적인것보다 더 정확(명료)하다. 또한, 원인을 조사하는 지식은 그렇지 않은 것보다 더 유익하다. 왜냐하면 우리에게 더 지식을 잘 전달한다는것은 특정 사물의 원인을 더 잘 알려주는 것들이기 때문이다. 또한 지식과 이해는 자신이 원하는 것이 무엇인지를 가장 잘 이해할 수 있다. 지식을 위한 지식을 갈망하는 사람은 가장 완전한 지식을 원하는 것이고,
[982b] 그리고 이것은 가장 잘 알고있는 지식이며, 가장 잘 알 수있는 것은 1차적인 원리와 원인인것이다. 이것들을 통해서 그리고 이것들로부터 다른 것들이 알려지게되기 때문이며 그리고 그것들은 그 아래에있는것들을 통해서는 아니다. 그리고 지식은 최고이며, 각 행동이 끝날 때를 알고있는 그 아래에 있는것보다 우월할것이다. 따라서 위의 모든 고려 사항의 결과로 우리가 조사하고있는 용어는 1차적인 원리와 원인에 대해 추측해야하는 동일한 지식에 속하게된다.
그것이 생산적인 지식이 아니라는 것은 최초의 철학하는자들의 고려에서 분명하다.사람들이 지금 시작하건 또는 최초로 시작했건간에 명백한 당혹감에서부터 이를 궁금해하고 철학적으로 생각하기 시작한 것은 놀라운 일이다. 점진적인 진보에의해 더 큰 문제에 대해서도 의문을 제기한다. 달과 태양의 변화, 별들과 우주의 기원에 관하여. 당장 궁금해하고 당황한 사람은 그가 무지하다는 것을 느낀다는것이다. 그러므로 사람들이 무지를 피하기위해 철학적으로 생각하기를시작했다면 이것은 앎을 위해서 지식적인것으로서 추구한 것이지 실제적인 효용이 아니라는것이 분명하다. 실제 사건의 과정은 이것에 대한 증거가 된다. 이런 종류의 추측은 실제적으로 모든 생필품이 충분히 공급되었을때 이후에 여가와 오락을 목적으로 시작되었다는것이다. 분명히 우리가 이 지식을 추구하는 것은 외재적 잇점을위한 것이 아니다. 우리는 다른 사람에의해 존재하는것이아니라 스스로 자기 자신에의해 존재하는 사람을 독립적이라고 부르는것처럼 그래서 우리는 이것을 독립된 지식이라고 부른다. 이것은 다른 지식에의해서 존재하는것이 아니라 스스로가 이미 지식으로 존재하기에 (독립적이고 자유롭다. 그리고 다른 지식을 위해 존재하기에)그렇다.
이런 이유로 그것의 획득은 많은면에서 인간의 본성이 종속성에서 연약하기에 인간의 힘을 초월한 것으로 간주될 수도있다. 시모니데스가 말했듯이, "신만이 이 특권을 누릴 수 있다." 그리고 시인들이 옳고 신(神)이 본질적으로 질투심이 있다면, 인간은 자신이 도달할 수있다고 여겨지는 지식안에 머물러야만할것이다.
[983a]이러한 지식에서 탁월한 모든 사람들은 불행할 것이며 이 경우에 신은 특히 시기심이 많을 것이다. 그러나 신이 질투하기란 불가능하며 실제로 시인들은 많은 것을 비유로 말한다. 우리는 다른 어떤 형태의 지식도 이러한 지식보다 더 소중한 것이라고 생각해서는 안된다. 가장 소중한 것이 가장 신성하기 때문이다. 오직 신적인것이 될 수있는 유일한 두 가지 방법이 있다. 특별하게 신의 소유물로 여겨지거나 지식에서 신적인것으로 여겨지는 (소중한)지식은 신성한 문제에 관련이 있고 그 지식은 신성하다. 그리고 이 지식은 이 두 조건을 모두 충족시킨다. (a) 모든 사람들은 신이 원인과 원리에서 하나라고 믿는다. (b) 신은 이런 종류의 지식을 가진 유일한 또는 가장 최선일것이다. 따라서, 다른 모든 지식은 이것보다 필요할수는있겠지만 더 선(善)할수는 없다. 그러나 이러한 지식의 획득은 어떤면에서 우리가 처음으로 조사에 접근한 전망과 반대가 되는 결과를 가져와야한다. 우리 모두가 말했듯이, 사물이 (스스로 있는것) 그대로 있어야한다고 생각함으로써 당혹감이 시작됐기 때문이다. 태양과 지구의 공전 또는 정사각형의 대각선과 관련하여 아직 그것을 측정할수없었던 원인을 가장 작은 단위이므로 이를 측정할 수 없어야한다고 생각하지않는 그러한 모든 사람들에게 그것은 당혹감이며 그러나 우리는 (속담에 따라) 반대로 끝내야하고 더 우월한 지식을 획득한다. 그들이 그것을 이해할 때 ,  기하학자(들에게 있어서)의 경우는, 이 경우에 대각선을 측정할 수있는 것처럼 (스스로 있는것 그대로 있음으로 인하여 획득된 지식만큼) 더한 당혹감을 보이기는 힘들것이다.
따라서 우리는 우리가 찾고있는 지식의 성격이 무엇인지, 그리고 우리의 탐구와 우리의 전체 조사가 성취해야만하는 대상이 무엇인지를 이렇게 밝히고 있다.
우리가 주요 원인에 대한 지식을 얻어야만한다는 것은 분명하다. 왜냐하면 우리는 우리가 각 특정한 것을 아는 것을 주장한다는것이 그것의 주요한 원인을 이해한다고 생각하기 때문이다. 이제 4가지 종류의 원인이 있다.이 중에서 우리는 그 중 하나가 그 본질 또는 본질의 실체이라고 주장한다. (왜냐하면 그 원인이 궁극적으로 그것의 원리로 축소될 수 있고 (결국 이러한) 궁극적인 원인은 원리에서 하나이다) 다른 것은 물질 또는 기질이다. 세 번째는 동기의 원천이다. 네 번째가 이것과 반대되는 원인, 즉 목적 또는 선(善)한것인데, 이것이 모든 생성 또는 동기 과정의 끝이기 때문이다. 우리는 자연학에서 이것들을 충분히 연구했다.
[983b]  그러나 우리는 진리에 대해 실제로 조사한 철학적인 사람들의 증거를 활용하자. 분명히 그들은 또한 어떤 원리와 원인을 인식한다. 그래서 우리가 그들의 가르침을 연구한다면 현재의 조사에 도움이 될 것이다. 왜냐하면 우리는 이로써 다른 어떤 종류의 원인을 발견하거나 방금 설명한 것에 더 확신하기 때문이다. 가장 초기의 철학자들은 물질적인 원리만이 모든 것들이 근간으로 삼고 있는바라고 생각했다. 그것들로부터 처음이 생겨났고 결국 파괴되고 궁극적으로는 해체되나 그 본질은 그 어떤 영향에의하더라도 변화는 있겠지만 그것은 계속해서 지속된다 - 이것은 말하기를, 기존의 것들의 요소이자 원리이다. 그러므로 그들은 아무 것도 생성되거나 파괴되지 않는다고 여겨진다. 왜냐하면 이러한 종류의 1차적인 존재가 항상 지속되기 때문이다. 유사하게 우리는 소크라테스가 잘 생겨지거나 교양있게 되었을 때 (소크라테스) 자체가 생겨났다고 말하지 않으며, 그가 이러한 자질을 잃었을 때 역시 이를 파괴되었다고 말하지도 않는다. 기질이 소크라테스 자신에 더하여져있기 때문에 (기질이 없어지더라도 소크라테스 자신은)지속된다. 같은 방식으로 다른 것은 생성되거나 파괴되지 않는다. 왜냐하면 항상 지속되고 다른 모든 것들이 생성되는 하나 이상의 본질이 있어야하기 때문이다. 그러나 (아직 이러한) 모든 것은 합의에 도달되지 않았다. 이 원리들의 양과 성질에 관해서, 이 철학 학교의 설립자 탈레스(Thales)는 영원히 존재하는 것은 물이라고 말한다. 그래서 그는 지구가 물 위에 떠있는 것을 주장했다. 아마도 그는 모든 것의 생명력이 수분과 상관있다는 것을 알았을 때 이 가정을 파생시켰고, 그 따뜻한 온기 자체는 수분에서 생성되어 그 존재 (왜냐하면 생성되는 것은 항상 그것의 1차적 원리로부터이다)에 의존한다고 생각할것이다. 그는 이것으로부터 자신의 가정을 파생시켰다. 그리고 모든 것의 근원이 물과 관련있다는 사실에서 물은 생명력있는것들의 본질이며 1차적 원리이다. 고대 시대의 사람들,처음으로 신들에 대해 추측한, 현 시대가 다가오기 훨씬 전에, 이 같은 견해를 가지고 있다고 여겨지는 사람들이 있었다. 그들은 오케아노스와 테튀스를 창조의 부모로, 신의 맹세를 물 스틱스로 표현했다.이제 가장 오래된 것은 가장 존경 받고, 가장 존경받는 것은 우리가 확인한 것이다.
- Plat. Gorgias 448c, Plat. Gorg. 462b-c.
- Cf. Plat. Phaedrus 274, Hdt. 2.109.
- Aristot. Nic. Eth. 6.1139b 14-1141b 8.
- i.e. Metaphysics.
- Simon. Fr. 3 (Hiller)
- Cf. Solon, Fr. 26 (Hiller); Leutsch and Schneidwin, Paroemiographi, 1.371.
- i.e. the fact that the diagonal of a square cannot be rationally expressed in terms of the side.
- i.e. δευτέρον ἀμεινόνων("second thoughts are better"). Leutsch and Schneidwin 1.62.
- Phys. 2.3, Phys. 2.7
- Thales of Miletus, fl. 585 B.C.
- That of the Ionian monists, who sought a single material principle of everything.
- Cf. Plat. Crat. 402b, Plat. Theaet. 152e, Plat. Theaet. 180c,d.
- cf. Hom. Il. 14. 201, Hom. Il. 14.246.
- Cf. Hom. Il. 2.755, Hom. Il. 14.271, Hom. Il.15.37.
- Hippo of Samos, a medical writer and eclectic philosopher who lived in the latter half of the fifth century B.C. Cf.Aristot. De Anima 405b 2.
- The third Milesian monist; fl. circa 545 B.C.
- Diogenes of Apollonia, an eclectic philosopher roughly contemporary with Hippo.
- A Pythagorean, probably slightly junior to Heraclitus.
- Fl. about 500 B.C.
- Of Acragas; fl. 450 B.C.
- Cf. Empedocles, Fr. 17 (Diels), R.P. 166; Burnet, E.G.P. 108-109.
- This is Aristotle's illustration; apparently Anaxagoras did not regard the "elements" as homoeomerous (i.e. composed of parts which are similar to one another and to the whole). Cf. Aristot. De Caelo 302a 28, Aristot. De Gen. et Corr. 314a 24.
- Cf. Anaxagoras Fr. 4 (Diels); and see Burnet, E.G.P. 130.
- i.e. the Eleatic school.
- Founder of the above; fl. about 475.
- i.e. in the Δόξα. Parmenides Fr. 8 (Diels); R.P. 121.
- Aristotle is probably thinking of Empedocles. Cf. Aristot. Met. 4.8.
- Cf. Plat. Phaedo 97b-98b.
- A semi-mythical person supposed to have been a preincarnation of Pythagoras.
- Probably Aphrodite (so Simplicius, Plutarch).
- Hes. Th. 116-20. The quotation is slightly inaccurate.
- Empedocles Fr. 17, 26 (Diels); R.P. 166. Cf. Burnet, E.G.P. 108 ff.
- Aristot. Phys. 2.3, 7.
- Cf. Plat. Phaedo 98b, Plat. Laws 967b; also Aristot. Met. 7.5.
- Cf. 3.14.
- e.g. Empedocles, Fr. 62 (Diels).
- Of Miletus; fl. circa 440 (?) B.C. See Burnet, E.G.P. 171 ff.
- Of Abdera; fl. circa 420 B.C. E.G.P loc. cit.
- For the probable connection between the Atomists and the Eleatics see E.G.P. 173, 175, and cf. De Gen. et Corr. 324b 35-325a 32.
- i.e., of the atoms.
- Cf. R.P. 194.
- These letters will convey Aristotle's point better to the English reader, but see critical note.
- Aristotle seems to have regarded Pythagoras as a legendary person.
- Pythagoras himself (fl. 532 B.C.) is said by Aristoxenus (ap. Stobaeus 1.20.1) to have been the first to make a theoretical study of arithmetic.
- Cf. Aristot. Met. 14.6ff..
- Apparently (cf. infra, Aristot. Met. 1.17） they identified these not only with properties of number but with numbers themselves. Thus justice (properly=squareness)=4, the first square number; soul or mind=1, opportunity=7 (Alexander).
- Pythagoras himself is credited with having discovered the ratios of the octave (2 : 1), the fifth (3 : 2) and the fourth (4 : 3). Burnet, E.G.P. 51.
- Or "harmony." Cf. Aristot. De Caelo 2.9, and E.G.P. 152.
- Earth, sun, moon, five planets, and the sphere of the fixed stars.
- i.e. "counter-earth"; a planet revolving round the "central fire" in such a way as to be always in opposition to the earth.
- In the lost work On the Pythagoreans; but cf. Aristot. De Caelo 2.13.
- See Burnet, E.G.P 143-146.
- i.e., as a formal principle. Cf. Ross ad loc.
- Either because by addition it makes odd numbers even and even odd (Alexander, Theo Smyrnaeus) or because it was regarded as the principle of both odd and even numbers (Heath).
- Zeller attributes the authorship of this theory to Philolaus.
- This statement is probably true, but a later addition.
- He was generally regarded as a Pythagorean.
- The section of Pythagoreans mentioned in 6, and Lacmaeon.
- His argument was "Everything that is is one, if 'what is' has one meaning" (πάντα ῞εν, εἰ τὸ ὂν ῝εν σημαίνει, Aristot. Phys. 187a 1); but he probably believed, no less than Melissus, in the material unity of reality. Cf. Melissus Fr. 8 (Diels). It has been suggested, however (by the Rev. C. F. Angus), that he was simply trying to convey in figurative language a conception of absolute existence.
- Of Samos; defeated the Athenian fleet in 441 B.C.
- Melissus Fr. 8, ll. 32-3, 42-3.
- Melissus Fr. 3.
- Of Colophon, b. 565 (?) B.C. Criticized and ridiculed most of the views of his day, especially the anthropomorphic conception of the gods. Burnet, E.G.P. 55 ff., esp. 61-62. Cf. Xenophanes Fr. 23 (Diels).
- Aristot. Phys. 1.3
- Cf. note on Aristot. Met. 3.13.
- The Pythagoreans; so called because Pythagoras founded his society at Croton.
- i.e., the same number might be the first to which each of several definitions applied; then that number would be each of the concepts so defined.
- Compare Aristot. Met. 12.4.2-5.
- Cf. Aristot. Met. 4.5.18.
- Plat. Crat. 402a (fr. 41 Bywater).
- I have translated ἰδέα by Idea and εἶδος by Form wherever Aristotle uses the words with reference to the Platonic theory. Plato apparently uses them indifferently, and so does Aristotle in this particular connection, but he also uses εἶδος in the sense of form in general. For a discussion of the two words see Taylor, Varia Socratica, 178-267, and Gillespie, Classical Quarterly, 6.179-203.
- For this interpretation of παρὰ ταῦτα see Ross's note ad loc.
- i.e. arithmetical numbers and geometrical figures.
- See Aristot. Met. 4.2.19-20, and cf. Aristot. Met. 8.4.4.
- ἔξω τῶν πρώτων is very difficult, but it can hardly be a gloss, and no convincing emendation has been suggested. Whatever the statement means, it is probably (as the criticism which follows is certainly) based upon a misunderstanding. From Plat. Parm. 143c, it might be inferred that the Great and Small (the Indeterminate Dyad) played no part in the generation of numbers; but there the numbers are not Ideal, as here they must be. In any case Aristotle is obsessed with the notion that the Dyad is a duplicative principle (Aristot. Met. 13.8.14), which if true would imply that it could generate no odd number. Hence Heinze proposed reading περιττῶν(odd) for πρώτων(which may be right, although the corruption is improbable) and Alexander tried to extract the meaning of "odd" from πρώτων by understanding it as "prime to 2." However, as Ross points out (note ad loc.), we may keep πρώτων in the sense of "prime" if we suppose Aristotle to be referring either (a) to the numbers within the decad (Aristot. Met. 13.8.17) and forgetting 9—the other odd numbers being primes; or (b) to numbers in general, and forgetting the entire class of compound odd numbers. Neither of these alternatives is very satisfactory, but it seems better to keep the traditional text.
- For a similar use of the word ἐκμαγεῖον cf. Plat. Tim. 50c.
- Aristotle's objection is that it is unreasonable that a single operation of the formal upon the material principle should result in more than one product; i.e. that the material principle should be in itself duplicative.
- Plato refers several times in the dialogues to an efficient cause (e.g. the Demiurgus,Plat. Soph. 265b-d, Plat. Tim. 28c ff.) and a final cause (e.g. Plat. Phil. 20d, 53e, Plat. Tim. 29d ff.); but Aristotle does not seem to take these allusions seriously.
- Cf. Plat. Phil. 25e-26b.
- Aristot. Met. 3.17; 4.3.
- Aristot. Phys. 2.3
- See note on Aristot. Met. 5.15.
- The various references in Aristotle to material principles intermediate between certain pairs of "elements" have been generally regarded as applying to Anaximander's ἄπειρον or Indeterminate; but the references are so vague (cf. Aristot. Met. 7.6, Aristot. Phys.187a 14, 189b 3, 203a 18) that it seems better to connect them with later and minor members of the Milesian school. Cf. Ross's note ad loc.
- Cf. Aristot. Met. 3.17.
- Cf. Aristot. Met. 3.5, 8.
- Cf. Aristot. Met. 4.1.
- Cf. Aristot. Met. 7.3 n.
- Aristot. De Caelo, 3.7; Aristot. De Gen. et Corr. 2.6.
- Cf. Aristot. Met. 4.6.
- Mind, and the "mixture" of homoeomerous particles.
- Anaxagoras. Fr. 12 (Diels).
- Aristot. Met. 1.8.17.
- Aristotle uses the word μέγεθος both of magnitude in general and of spatial magnitude or extension. Here the meaning seems to be the former. Numbers obviously have magnitude, and might be regarded as causing it; but (except on the Number-Atomism theory,) they are no more the cause of extension than that of gravity.
- i.e., how can number be both reality and the cause of reality?
- The point seems to be this. The Pythagoreans say that Opinion is a number, 3 (or 2, according to another version), and is located in a certain region of the universe because that region is proper to a corporeal magnitude composed of the number 3 (air was so composed according to Syrianus). Are we to understand, says Aristotle, that the abstract number identified with Opinion is the same as the concrete number of which air consists? The difficulty is probably due to an attempt to combine two different Pythagorean views of number.
- For a discussion of the Ideal theory and Aristotle's conception of it see Introduction; and with the whole contents of Aristot. Met. 9.1-15 cf. Aristot. Met. 13.4.6-5.
- An Idea which represents their common denominator.
- The heavenly bodies.
- Aristotle is here speaking as a Platonist. Contrast the language of Aristot. Met. 13.4.7ff., and see Introduction.
- Scientific knowledge must have a permanent object (cf. Aristot. Met. 1.4.2.
- Including artificial products; cf. Aristot. Met. 1.15.
- The fact that several particulars can have a common quality or nature implies a single Idea of which they all partake (Plat. Rep. 596a).
- The theory always admitted Ideas of perishable things, e.g. "man." The objection here is that if the memory of dead men establishes the Idea of "man," the memory of a dead individual establishes an Idea of that (perishable) individual.
- Plat. Phaedo 74a-77a, Plat. Rep. 479a-480a.
- Several arguments bore this name. Here the reference is probably to the following: If X is a man because he resembles the Idea of Man, there must be a third "man" in whom the humanity of these two is united. Cf.Plat. Parm. 132a-133a.
- The Indeterminate Dyad, being to Aristotle a glorified 2, falls under the Idea of Number, which is therefore prior to it.
- This seems to be a development of the same objection. Number, which is relative, becomes prior to the supposedly self-subsistent Dyad.
- Sensible double things are not eternal; therefore they do not, in the proper sense of "participation," participate in the Idea of Doubleness qua having the accidental attribute "eternal." Therefore Ideas, qua participated in, are not attributes but substances.
- i.e. pairs of sensible objects.
- i.e. mathematical 2s.
- The argument of 7-8 is: Ideas are substances. The common name which an idea shares with its particulars must mean the same of both; otherwise "participation" is merely homonymy. But as applied to Ideas it denotes substance; therefore particulars must be substances.
- This objection, like the next, is chiefly directed against the transcendence of the Ideas. It is anticipated by Plato in Plat. Parm. 134d.
- Anaxagoras Fr. 12ad fin.
- See note on Aristot. Met. 12.8.9. Apparently he was a Platonist who regarded the Ideas as immanent in particulars.
- Plato says "the Demiurgus"?Plat. Tim. 28c, Plat. Tim. 29a.
- Why this consequence is objectionable is not quite clear. Perhaps it is on the ground that to "account for appearances" in this way is not economical.
- The species will be the "pattern" of individuals, and the genus of the species.
- Cf. Aristot. Met. 1.10.
- Plat. Phaedo 100d.
- The point, which is not very clearly expressed, is that the Ideas will not be pure numerical expressions or ratios, but will have a substrate just as particulars have.
- That the words in brackets give the approximate sense seems clear from Aristot. Met. 13.6.2-3, Aristot. Met. 13.7.15; but it is difficult to get it out of the Greek.
- Cf. vi. 4.
- i.e., if 2 is derived from a prior 2 (the Indeterminate Dyad; Aristotle always regards this as a number 2), and at the same time consists of two units or 1s, 2 will be prior both to itself and to 1.
- In the Aristot. De Gen. et Corr. 320b 23Aristotle says that there is not.
- This last sentence shows that in what goes before A. has been regarding the Platonic One as a unit. If this is so, he says, substance cannot be composed of it. If on the other hand the One is something different from the unit, they ought to make this clear.
- The lines, planes, and solids here discussed are probably the Ideal lines, etc., which are immediately posterior to the Idea-Numbers. Cf. 30, Aristot. Met. 13.6.10, Aristot. Met. 13.9.2, and see Introduction.
- Lines, planes, and solids are generated from varieties of the Great and Small, but points cannot be, having no magnitude; how, then, can the latter be present in the former?
- That Plato denied the existence of the point and asserted that of indivisible lines is not directly stated elsewhere, but the same views are ascribed to Xenocrates, and were attacked in the treatise Xenocrates De lineis insecabilibus. See Ross ad loc.
- Sc. if the point is the limit of the line.
- Cf. Aristot. Met. 7.5 and Aristot. Met. 1.9.
- Aristot. Met. 1.12.
- The final cause. Cf. Aristot. Met. 1.6.9-10.
- e.g. Speusippus, for whom see Aristot. Met. 7.2.4.
- Cf. Plat. Rep.531c-d
- Cf. iv. 10.
- The word ἔκθεσις has various technical meanings. The process referred to here apparently consisted in taking, e.g., particular men, and reducing them with reference to their common nature to a single unit or universal, "man"; then taking "man," "horse," "dog," etc. and treating them in the same way, until a unit is reached which embraces everything (Alexander).
- Probably those of relative or negative terms. Cf. Aristot. Met. 1.3.
- See note on Aristot. Met. 1.23.
- e.g. Plato's Dialectic.
- Cf. the doctrine of ἀνάμνησις (recollection), Plat. Meno 81c, Plat. Phaedo 72e.
- στοιχεῖον means both "an element" and "a letter of the alphabet"; hence letters are often used as analogues of the material elements. The point here is: Is Z or rather the Greek ζ) a στοιχεῖον, or is it further analyzable? Since this can be disputed, we must expect differences of opinion about the elements in general.
- Peculiar to them as sounds, not as individual sounds. If sights and sounds had the same elements, sight, which knows those elements as composing sights, would know them as composing sounds; i.e., we could see sounds.
- Aristot. Phys. 2.3, 7.
- Empedocles Fr. 96, 98 (Diels), Ritter and Preller 175. Aristotle says that Empedocles had some idea of the essence or formal cause, but did not apply it generally.
- The reference is to Book 3. See Introduction.
- Simonides of Ceos