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Aristotle bilious when suffering from burning fever) is a matter of art. METAPHYSICS
[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
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."1
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 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 Aristotle – Metaphysics ! 2
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.2
The difference between art and science and the other kindred mental activities has been stated in the Ethics3; the reason for our present discussion is
that it is generally assumed that what is called Wisdom4 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. 2
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 pos- sesses 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 Aristotle – Metaphysics ! 3
do not involve motion; not so ‘ﬂesh’ and ‘bone’ and ‘man’-these are deﬁned like ‘snub nose’, not like ‘curved’.
Similar evidence is supplied by the more physical of the branches of
mathematics, such as optics, harmonics, and astronomy. These are in a
way the converse of geometry. While geometry investigates physical lines
but not qua physical, optics investigates mathematical lines, but qua
physical, not qua mathematical.
Since ‘nature’ has two senses, the form and the matter, we must investigate
its objects as we would the essence of snubness. That is, such things are
neither independent of matter nor can be deﬁned in terms of matter only.
Here too indeed one might raise a difﬁculty. Since there are two natures,
with which is the physicist concerned? Or should he investigate the combination of the two? But if the combination of the two, then also each severally. Does it belong then to the same or to different sciences to know each
If we look at the ancients, physics would to be concerned with the matter.
(It was only very slightly that Empedocles and Democritus touched on the
forms and the essence.)
But if on the other hand art imitates nature, and it is the part of the same
discipline to know the form and the matter up to a point (e.g. the doctor
has a knowledge of health and also of bile and phlegm, in which health is
realized, and the builder both of the form of the house and of the matter,
namely that it is bricks and beams, and so forth): if this is so, it would be
the part of physics also to know nature in both its senses.
Again, ‘that for the sake of which’, or the end, belongs to the same department of knowledge as the means. But the nature is the end or ‘that for
the sake of which’. For if a thing undergoes a continuous change and there
is a stage which is last, this stage is the end or ‘that for the sake of which’.
(That is why the poet was carried away into making an absurd statement
when he said ‘he has the end for the sake of which he was born’. For not
every stage that is last claims to be an end, but only that which is best.) For the arts make their material (some simply ‘make’ it, others make it
serviceable), and we use everything as if it was there for our sake. (We also
are in a sense an end. ‘That for the sake of which’ has two senses: the distinction is made in our work On Philosophy.) The arts, therefore, which
govern the matter and have knowledge are two, namely the art which uses
the product and the art which directs the production of it. That is why the
using art also is in a sense directive; but it differs in that it knows the form,
whereas the art which is directive as being concerned with production
knows the matter. For the helmsman knows and prescribes what sort of
form a helm should have, the other from what wood it should be made
and by means of what operations. In the products of art, however, we
make the material with a view to the function, whereas in the products of
nature the matter is there all along.
Again, matter is a relative term: to each form there corresponds a special
matter. How far then must the physicist know the form or essence? Up to a
point, perhaps, as the doctor must know sinew or the smith bronze (i.e.
until he understands the purpose of each): and the physicist is concerned
only with things whose forms are separable indeed, but do not exist apart
from matter. Man is begotten by man and by the sun as well. The mode of
existence and essence of the separable it is the business of the primary type
of philosophy to deﬁne. 3
Now that we have established these distinctions, we must proceed to consider causes, their character and number. Knowledge is the object of our
inquiry, and men do not think they know a thing till they have grasped the
‘why’ of (which is to grasp its primary cause). So clearly we too must do
this as regards both coming to be and passing away and every kind of
physical change, in order that, knowing their principles, we may try to
refer to these principles each of our problems. Aristotle – Physics, Book ! 4
In one sense, then, (1) that out of which a thing comes to be and which
persists, is called ‘cause’, e.g. the bronze of the statue, the silver of the
bowl, and the genera of which the bronze and the silver are species.
In another sense (2) the form or the archetype, i.e. the statement of the essence, and its genera, are called ‘causes’ (e.g. of the octave the relation of
2:1, and generally number), and the parts in the deﬁnition.
Again (3) the primary source of the change or coming to rest; e.g. the man
who gave advice is a cause, the father is cause of the child, and generally
what makes of what is made and what causes change of what is changed.
Again (4) in the sense of end or ‘that for the sake of which’ a thing is done,
e.g. health is the cause of walking about. (’Why is he walking about?’ we
say. ‘To be healthy’, and, having said that, we think we have assigned the
cause.) The same is true also of all the intermediate steps which are
brought about through the action of something else as means towards the
end, e.g. reduction of ﬂesh, purging, drugs, or surgical instruments are
means towards health. All these things are ‘for the sake of ’ the end, though
they differ from one another in that some are activities, others instruments.
This then perhaps exhausts the number of ways in which the term ‘cause’
As the word has several senses, it follows that there are several causes of
the same thing not merely in virtue of a concomitant attribute), e.g. both
the art of the sculptor and the bronze are causes of the statue. These are
causes of the statue qua statue, not in virtue of anything else that it may
be-only not in the same way, the one being the material cause, the other
the cause whence the motion comes. Some things cause each other reciprocally, e.g. hard work causes ﬁtness and vice versa, but again not in the
same way, but the one as end, the other as the origin of change. Further the
same thing is the cause of contrary results. For that which by its presence
brings about one result is sometimes blamed for bringing about the contrary by its absence. Thus we ascribe the wreck of a ship to the absence of
the pilot whose presence was the cause of its safety. All the causes now mentioned fall into four familiar divisions. The letters
are the causes of syllables, the material of artiﬁcial products, ﬁre, &c., of
bodies, the parts of the whole, and the premisses of the conclusion, in the
sense of ‘that from which’. Of these pairs the one set are causes in the sense
of substratum, e.g. the parts, the other set in the sense of essence-the whole
and the combination and the form. But the seed and the doctor and the
adviser, and generally the maker, are all sources whence the change or stationariness originates, while the others are causes in the sense of the end or
the good of the rest; for ‘that for the sake of which’ means what is best and
the end of the things that lead up to it. (Whether we say the ‘good itself or
the ‘apparent good’ makes no difference.)
Such then is the number and nature of the kinds of cause.
Now the modes of causation are many, though when brought under heads
they too can be reduced in number. For ‘cause’ is used in many senses and
even within the same kind one may be prior to another (e.g. the doctor and
the expert are causes of health, the relation 2:1 and number of the octave),
and always what is inclusive to what is particular. Another mode of causation is the incidental and its genera, e.g. in one way ‘Polyclitus’, in another
‘sculptor ’ is the cause of a statue, because ‘being Polyclitus’ and ‘sculptor ’
are incidentally conjoined. Also the classes in which the incidental attribute is included; thus ‘a man’ could be said to be the cause of a statue or,
generally, ‘a living creature’. An incidental attribute too may be more or
less remote, e.g. suppose that ‘a pale man’ or ‘a musical man’ were said to
be the cause of the statue.
All causes, both proper and incidental, may be spoken of either as potential or as actual; e.g. the cause of a house being built is either ‘housebuilder ’ or ‘house-builder building’.
Similar distinctions can be made in the things of which the causes are
causes, e.g. of ‘this statue’ or of ‘statue’ or of ‘image’ generally, of ‘this
bronze’ or of ‘bronze’ or of ‘material’ generally. So too with the incidental
attributes. Again we may use a complex expression for either and say, e.g.
neither ‘Polyclitus’ nor ‘sculptor ’ but ‘Polyclitus, sculptor ’. Aristotle – Physics, Book ! 7
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 Italian67 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.68 This much, then, can
be learned from other and earlier schools of thought. 6
The philosophies described above were succeeded by the system of Plato,69
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 Cratylus70 and the Heraclitean doctrines—that
the whole sensible world is always in a state of flux,71 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,"72 and held that all sensible things are named after73
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
Further, he states that besides sensible things and the Forms there exists an
intermediate class, the objects of mathematics,74 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)75; his conception of the other principle as a duality to the belief that numbers other than
primes76 can be readily generated from it, as from a matrix.77 [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,78 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 Aristotle – Metaphysics ! 8
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 causes79: 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 good80 and of evil; a problem which, as we have
said,81 had also been considered by some of the earlier philosophers, e.g.
Empedocles and Anaxagoras. 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.85 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. 7
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.82 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 Italians83
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"84 (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 8
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. Aristotle – Metaphysics ! 1
Aristotle CATEGORIES Of things themselves some are predicable of a subject, and are never present
in a subject. Thus 'man' is predicable of the individual man, and is never present in a subject. _____________________________________________________________________ By being 'present in a subject' I do not mean present as parts are present in a
whole, but being incapable of existence apart from the said subject. Part 1 Some things, again, are present in a subject, but are never predicable of a subject. For instance, a certain point of grammatical knowledge is present in the
mind, but is not predicable of any subject; or again, a certain whiteness may
be present in the body (for colour requires a material basis), yet it is never
predicable of anything. Things are said to be named 'equivocally' when, though they have a common
name, the deﬁnition corresponding with the name differs for each. Thus, a
real man and a ﬁgure in a picture can both lay claim to the name 'animal'; yet
these are equivocally so named, for, though they have a common name, the
deﬁnition corresponding with the name differs for each. For should any one
deﬁne in what sense each is an animal, his deﬁnition in the one case will be
appropriate to that case only. Other things, again, are both predicable of a subject and present in a subject.
Thus while knowledge is present in the human mind, it is predicable of
grammar. On the other hand, things are said to be named 'univocally' which have both
the name and the deﬁnition answering to the name in common. A man and an
ox are both 'animal', and these are univocally so named, inasmuch as not only
the name, but also the deﬁnition, is the same in both cases: for if a man should
state in what sense each is an animal, the statement in the one case would be
identical with that in the other. There is, lastly, a class of things which are neither present in a subject nor
predicable of a subject, such as the individual man or the individual horse.
But, to speak more generally, that which is individual and has the character of
a unit is never predicable of a subject. Yet in some cases there is nothing to
prevent such being present in a subject. Thus a certain point of grammatical
knowledge is present in a subject. Things are said to be named 'derivatively', which derive their name from
some other name, but differ from it in termination. Thus the grammarian derives his name from the word 'grammar', and the courageous man from the
word 'courage'. Part 3 Part 2
Forms of speech are either simple or composite. Examples of the latter are
such expressions as 'the man runs', 'the man wins'; of the former 'man', 'ox',
'runs', 'wins'. Aristotle – Categories When one thing is predicated of another, all that which is predicable of the
predicate will be predicable also of the subject. Thus, 'man' is predicated of
the individual man; but 'animal' is predicated of 'man'; it will, therefore, be
predicable of the individual man also: for the individual man is both 'man'
If genera are different and co-ordinate, their differentiae are themselves different in kind. Take as an instance the genus 'animal' and the genus 'knowledge'.
'With feet', 'two-footed', 'winged', 'aquatic', are differentiae of 'animal'; the 2
species of knowledge are not distinguished by the same differentiae. One species of knowledge does not differ from another in being 'two-footed'. cies belongs is 'animal'; these, therefore-that is to say, the species 'man' and the
genus 'animal,-are termed secondary substances. But where one genus is subordinate to another, there is nothing to prevent
their having the same differentiae: for the greater class is predicated of the
lesser, so that all the differentiae of the predicate will be differentiae also of
the subject. It is plain from what has been said that both the name and the deﬁnition of
the predicate must be predicable of the subject. For instance, 'man' is predicted of the individual man. Now in this case the name of the species man' is
applied to the individual, for we use the term 'man' in describing the individual; and the deﬁnition of 'man' will also be predicated of the individual man,
for the individual man is both man and animal. Thus, both the name and the
deﬁnition of the species are predicable of the individual. Part 4
Expressions which are in no way composite signify substance, quantity, quality, relation, place, time, position, state, action, or affection. To sketch my
meaning roughly, examples of substance are 'man' or 'the horse', of quantity,
such terms as 'two cubits long' or 'three cubits long', of quality, such attributes
as 'white', 'grammatical'. 'Double', 'half', 'greater', fall under the category of
relation; 'in a the market place', 'in the Lyceum', under that of place; 'yesterday', 'last year', under that of time. 'Lying', 'sitting', are terms indicating position, 'shod', 'armed', state; 'to lance', 'to cauterize', action; 'to be lanced', 'to be
No one of these terms, in and by itself, involves an afﬁrmation; it is by the
combination of such terms that positive or negative statements arise. For
every assertion must, as is admitted, be either true or false, whereas expressions which are not in any way composite such as 'man', 'white', 'runs', 'wins',
cannot be either true or false.
Substance, in the truest and primary and most deﬁnite sense of the word, is
that which is neither predicable of a subject nor present in a subject; for instance, the individual man or horse. But in a secondary sense those things are
called substances within which, as species, the primary substances are included; also those which, as genera, include the species. For instance, the individual man is included in the species 'man', and the genus to which the spe- Aristotle – Categories With regard, on the other hand, to those things which are present in a subject,
it is generally the case that neither their name nor their deﬁnition is predicable
of that in which they are present. Though, however, the deﬁnition is never
predicable, there is nothing in certain cases to prevent the name being used.
For instance, 'white' being present in a body is predicated of that in which it is
present, for a body is called white: the deﬁnition, however, of the colour
white' is never predicable of the body.
Everything except primary substances is either predicable of a primary substance or present in a primary substance. This becomes evident by reference to
particular instances which occur. 'Animal' is predicated of the species 'man',
therefore of the individual man, for if there were no individual man of whom
it could be predicated, it could not be predicated of the species 'man' at all.
Again, colour is present in body, therefore in individual bodies, for if there
were no individual body in which it was present, it could not be present in
body at all. Thus everything except primary substances is either predicated of
primary substances, or is present in them, and if these last did not exist, it
would be impossible for anything else to exist.
Of secondary substances, the species is more truly substance than the genus,
being more nearly related to primary substance. For if any one should render
an account of what a primary substance is, he would render a more instructive account, and one more proper to the subject, by stating the species than
by stating the genus. Thus, he would give a more instructive account of an 3
individual man by stating that he was man than by stating that he was animal, for the former description is peculiar to the individual in a greater degree, while the latter is too general. Again, the man who gives an account of
the nature of an individual tree will give a more instructive account by mentioning the species 'tree' than by mentioning the genus 'plant'.
Moreover, primary substances are most properly called substances in virtue of
the fact that they are the entities which underlie every. else, and that everything else is either predicated of them or present in them. Now the same relation which subsists between primary substance and everything else subsists
also between the species and the genus: for the species is to the genus as subject is to predicate, since the genus is predicated of the species, whereas the
species cannot be predicated of the genus. Thus we have a second ground for
asserting that the species is more truly substance than the genus.
Of species themselves, except in the case of such as are genera, no one is more
truly substance than another. We should not give a more appropriate account
of the individual man by stating the species to which he belonged, than we
should of an individual horse by adopting the same method of deﬁnition. In
the same way, of primary substances, no one is more truly substance than another; an individual man is not more truly substance than an individual ox.
It is, then, with good reason that of all that remains, when we exclude primary
substances, we concede to species and genera alone the name 'secondary substance', for these alone of all the predicates convey a knowledge of primary
substance. For it is by stating the species or the genus that we appropriately
deﬁne any individual man; and we shall make our deﬁnition more exact by
stating the former than by stating the latter. All other things that we state,
such as that he is white, that he runs, and so on, are irrelevant to the deﬁnition. Thus it is just that these alone, apart from primary substances, should be
Further, primary substances are most properly so called, because they underlie and are the subjects of everything else. Now the same relation that subsists
between primary substance and everything else subsists also between the
species and the genus to which the primary substance belongs, on the one Aristotle – Categories hand, and every attribute which is not included within these, on the other. For
these are the subjects of all such. If we call an individual man 'skilled in
grammar', the predicate is applicable also to the species and to the genus to
which he belongs. This law holds good in all cases.
It is a common characteristic of all sub. stance that it is never present in a subject. For primary substance is neither present in a subject nor predicated of a
subject; while, with regard to secondary substances, it is clear from the following arguments (apart from others) that they are not present in a subject. For
'man' is predicated of the individual man, but is not present in any subject: for
manhood is not present in the individual man. In the same way, 'animal' is
also predicated of the individual man, but is not present in him. Again, when
a thing is present in a subject, though the name may quite well be applied to
that in which it is present, the deﬁnition cannot be applied. Yet of secondary
substances, not only the name, but also the deﬁnition, applies to the subject:
we should use both the deﬁnition of the species and that of the genus with
reference to the individual man. Thus substance cannot be present in a subject.
Yet this is not peculiar to substance, for it is also the case that differentiae cannot be present in subjects. The characteristics 'terrestrial' and 'two-footed' are
predicated of the species 'man', but not present in it. For they are not in man.
Moreover, the deﬁnition of the differentia may be predicated of that of which
the differentia itself is predicated. For instance, if the characteristic 'terrestrial'
is predicated of the species 'man', the deﬁnition also of that characteristic may
be used to form the predicate of the species 'man': for 'man' is terrestrial.
The fact that the parts of substances appear to be present in the whole, as in a
subject, should not make us apprehensive lest we should have to admit that
such parts are not substances: for in explaining the phrase 'being present in a
subject', we stated' that we meant 'otherwise than as parts in a whole'.
It is the mark of substances and of differentiae that, in all propositions of
which they form the predicate, they are predicated univocally. For all such
propositions have for their subject either the individual or the species. It is 4
true that, inasmuch as primary substance is not predicable of anything, it can
never form the predicate of any proposition. But of secondary substances, the
species is predicated of the individual, the genus both of the species and of
the individual. Similarly the differentiae are predicated of the species and of
the individuals. Moreover, the deﬁnition of the species and that of the genus
are applicable to the primary substance, and that of the genus to the species.
For all that is predicated of the predicate will be predicated also of the subject.
Similarly, the deﬁnition of the differentiae will be applicable to the species and
to the individuals. But it was stated above that the word 'univocal' was applied to those things which had both name and deﬁnition in common. It is,
therefore, established that in every proposition, of which either substance or a
differentia forms the predicate, these are predicated univocally.
All substance appears to signify that which is individual. In the case of primary substance this is indisputably true, for the thing is a unit. In the case of
secondary substances, when we speak, for instance, of 'man' or 'animal', our
form of speech gives the impression that we are here also indicating that
which is individual, but the impression is not strictly true; for a secondary
substance is not an individual, but a class with a certain qualiﬁcation; for it is
not one and single as a primary substance is; the words 'man', 'animal', are
predicable of more than one subject.
Yet species and genus do not merely indicate quality, like the term 'white';
'white' indicates quality and nothing further, but species and genus determine
the quality with reference to a substance: they signify substance qualitatively
differentiated. The determinate qualiﬁcation covers a larger ﬁeld in the case of
the genus that in that of the species: he who uses the word 'animal' is herein
using a word of wider extension than he who uses the word 'man'.
Another mark of substance is that it has no contrary. What could be the contrary of any primary substance, such as the individual man or animal? It has
none. Nor can the species or the genus have a contrary. Yet this characteristic
is not peculiar to substance, but is true of many other things, such as quantity.
There is nothing that forms the contrary of 'two cubits long' or of 'three cubits
long', or of 'ten', or of any such term. A man may contend that 'much' is the Aristotle – Categories contrary of 'little', or 'great' of 'small', but of deﬁnite quantitative terms no
Substance, again, does not appear to admit of variation of degree. I do not
mean by this that one substance cannot be more or less truly substance than
another, for it has already been stated' that this is the case; but that no single
substance admits of varying degrees within itself. For instance, one particular
substance, 'man', cannot be more or less man either than himself at some other
time or than some other man. One man cannot be more man than another, as
that which is white may be more or less white than some other white object,
or as that which is beautiful may be more or less beautiful than some other
beautiful object. The same quality, moreover, is said to subsist in a thing in
varying degrees at different times. A body, being white, is said to be whiter at
one time than it was before, or, being warm, is said to be warmer or less warm
than at some other time. But substance is not said to be more or less that
which it is: a man is not more truly a man at one time than he was before, nor
is anything, if it is substance, more or less what it is. Substance, then, does not
admit of variation of degree.
The most distinctive mark of substance appears to be that, while remaining
numerically one and the same, it is capable of admitting contrary qualities.
From among things other than substance, we should ﬁnd ourselves unable to
bring forward any which possessed this mark. Thus, one and the same colour
cannot be white and black. Nor can the same one action be good and bad: this
law holds good with everything that is not substance. But one and the selfsame substance, while retaining its identity, is yet capable of admitting contrary qualities. The same individual person is at one time white, at another
black, at one time warm, at another cold, at one time good, at another bad.
This capacity is found nowhere else, though it might be maintained that a
statement or opinion was an exception to the rule. The same statement, it is
agreed, can be both true and false. For if the statement 'he is sitting' is true,
yet, when the person in question has risen, the same statement will be false.
The same applies to opinions. For if any one thinks truly that a person is sitting, yet, when that person has risen, this same opinion, if still held, will be
false. Yet although this exception may be allowed, there is, nevertheless, a dif- 5
ference in the manner in which the thing takes place. It is by themselves
changing that substances admit contrary qualities. It is thus that that which
was hot becomes cold, for it has entered into a different state. Similarly that
which was white becomes black, and that which was bad good, by a process
of change; and in the same way in all other cases it is by changing that substances are capable of admitting contrary qualities. But statements and opinions themselves remain unaltered in all respects: it is by the alteration in the
facts of the case that the contrary quality comes to be theirs. The statement 'he
is sitting' remains unaltered, but it is at one time true, at another false, according to circumstances. What has been said of statements applies also to opinions. Thus, in respect of the manner in which the thing takes place, it is the
peculiar mark of substance that it should be capable of admitting contrary
qualities; for it is by itself changing that it does so.
If, then, a man should make this exception and contend that statements and
opinions are capable of admitting contrary qualities, his contention is unsound. For statements and opinions are said to have this capacity, not because
they themselves undergo modiﬁcation, but because this modiﬁcation occurs
in the case of something else. The truth or falsity of a statement depends on
facts, and not on any power on the part of the statement itself of admitting
contrary qualities. In short, there is nothing which can alter the nature of
statements and opinions. As, then, no change takes place in themselves, these
cannot be said to be capable of admitting contrary qualities.
But it is by reason of the modiﬁcation which takes place within the substance
itself that a substance is said to be capable of admitting contrary qualities; for
a substance admits within itself either disease or health, whiteness or blackness. It is in this sense that it is said to be capable of admitting contrary qualities.
To sum up, it is a distinctive mark of substance, that, while remaining numerically one and the same, it is capable of admitting contrary qualities, the
modiﬁcation taking place through a change in the substance itself.
Let these remarks sufﬁce on the subject of substance. Aristotle – Categories Part 6
Quantity is either discrete or continuous. Moreover, some quantities are such
that each part of the whole has a relative position to the other parts: others
have within them no such relation of part to part.
Instances of discrete quantities are number and speech; of continuous, lines,
surfaces, solids, and, besides these, time and place.
In the case of the parts of a number, there is no common boundary at which
they join. For example: two ﬁves make ten, but the two ﬁves have no common
boundary, but are separate; the parts three and seven also do not join at any
boundary. Nor, to generalize, would it ever be possible in the case of number
that there should be a common boundary among the parts; they are always
separate. Number, therefore, is a discrete quantity.
The same is true of speech. That speech is a quantity is evident: for it is measured in long and short syllables. I mean here that speech which is vocal.
Moreover, it is a discrete quantity for its parts have no common boundary.
There is no common boundary at which the syllables join, but each is separate
and distinct from the rest.
A line, on the other hand, is a continuous quantity, for it is possible to ﬁnd a
common boundary at which its parts join. In the case of the line, this common
boundary is the point; in the case of the plane, it is the line: for the parts of the
plane have also a common boundary. Similarly you can ﬁnd a common
boundary in the case of the parts of a solid, namely either a line or a plane.
Space and time also belong to this class of quantities. Time, past, present, and
future, forms a continuous whole. Space, likewise, is a continuous quantity;
for the parts of a solid occupy a certain space, and these have a common
boundary; it follows that the parts of space also, which are occupied by the
parts of the solid, have the same common boundary as the parts of the solid.
Thus, not only time, but space also, is a continuous quantity, for its parts have
a common boundary. ...
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