On Interpretation

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Organon by Aristotle, translated by Octavius Freire Owen
On Interpretation
(1853) Translator's annotations not included.

Chapter 1[edit]

We must first determine what a noun, and what a verb, are; next, what are negation, affirmation, enunciation, and a sentence.

Those things therefore which are in the voice, are symbols of the passions of the soul, and when written, are symbols of the (passions) in the voice, and as there are not the same letters among all men, so neither have all the same voices, yet those passions of the soul, of which these are primarily the signs, are the same among all, the things also, of which these are the similitudes, are the same. About these latter, we have spoken in the treatise "Of the Soul," for they are parts belonging to another discussion, but as in the soul, there is sometimes a conception, without truth or falsehood, and at another time, it is such, as necessarily to have one of these, inherent in it, so also is it with the voice, for falsehood and truth are involved in composition and division. Nouns therefore and verbs of themselves resemble conception, without composition and division, as "man," or "white," when something is not added, for as yet it is neither true nor false, an instance of which is that the word τραγέλαφος [goat-stag] signifies something indeed, but not yet any thing true or false, unless to be, or not to be, is added, either simply, or according to time.

Chapter 2[edit]

A noun therefore is a sound significant by compact without time, of which no part is separately significant; thus in the noun κάλλιππος [fair-horse], the ἵππος signifies nothing by itself, as it does in the sentence καλὸς ἵππος; neither does it happen with simple nouns as it does with composite, for in the former there is by no means the part significant, but in the latter a part would be, yet signifies nothing separately, as in the word ἐπακτροκέλης [piratical ship], the κέλης signifies nothing by itself. But it is according to compact, because naturally there is no noun; but when it becomes a symbol, since illiterate sounds also signify something, as the sounds of beasts, of which there is no noun.

"Not man," however, is not a noun, neither is a name instituted by which we ought to call it, since it is neither a sentence, nor a negation; but let it be an indefinite noun because it exists in respect of every thing alike, both of that which is, and of that which is not. Φίλωνος indeed, or Φίλωνι, and such like words are not nouns, but cases of a noun, but the definition of it (that is, of the case) is the same as to other things (with the definition of a noun), but (it differs in) that, with (the verb) "is" or "was" or "will be," it does not signify what is true or false, but the noun always (signifies this), as "Philonus is," or "is not," for as yet, this neither signifies what is true, nor what is false.

Chapter 3[edit]

A verb, is that which, besides something else, signifies time; of which no part is separately significant, and it is always indicative of those things which are asserted of something else. But I say that it signifies time, besides something else, as for instance, "health" is a noun, but "is well" is a verb; for it signifies, besides being well, that such is the case now: it is always also significant of things asserted of something else, as of those which are predicated of a subject, or which are in a subject.

Nevertheless I do not call, "is not well," and, "is not ill"—verbs; for indeed they signify time, besides something else, and are always (significant) of something, yet a name is not given to this difference, let either be therefore an indefinite verb, because it is similarly inherent both in whatever does, and does not exist. So also "was well" or "will be well" are not verbs, but they are cases of a verb, and differ from a verb, because the latter, besides something else, signifies present time; but the others, that which is about the present time.

Verbs therefore so called, by themselves, are nouns, and have a certain signification, for the speaker establishes conception, and the hearer acquiesces, but they do not yet signify whether a thing "is" or "is not," for neither is "to be" or "not to be" a sign of a thing, nor if you should say merely, "being," for that is nothing; they signify however, besides something else, a certain composition, which without the composing members it is impossible to understand.

Chapter 4[edit]

A sentence is voice significant by compact, of which any part separately possesses signification, as indeed a word, yet not as affirmation or negation; now I say for example "man" is significant, but does not imply that it "is" or "is not;" it will however be affirmation or negation, if any thing be added to it. One syllable of the word ἄνθρωπος, is not however (significant), neither the "ῦς" in "μῦς," but it is now merely sound; still in compound words a part is significant, but not by itself, as we have observed.

Now every sentence is significant, not as an instrument, but, as we have said, by compact, still not every sentence is enunciative, but that in which truth or falsehood is inherent, which things do not exist in all sentences, as prayer is a sentence, but it is neither true nor false. Let therefore the other sentences be dismissed, their consideration belongs more properly to Rhetoric or Poetry; but the enunciative sentence to our present theory.

Chapter 5[edit]

One first enunciative sentence is affirmation; afterwards negation, and all the rest are one by conjunction. It is necessary however that every enunciative sentence should be from a verb, or from the case of a verb, for the definition of "man," unless "is," or "was," or "will be," or something of this kind, be added, is not yet an enunciative sentence. Why indeed is the sentence "a terrestrial biped animal" one thing, and not many things? for it will not be one, because it is consecutively pronounced: this however belongs to another discussion. One enunciative sentence, moreover, is either that which signifies one thing, or which is one by conjunction, and many (such sentences) are either those which signify many things and not one thing, or which are without conjunction. Let therefore a noun or a verb be only a word, since we cannot say that he enunciates who thus expresses any thing by his voice whether he is interrogated by any one or not, but that he speaks from deliberate intention. Now of these enunciations one is simple, for instance something of something, or from something, but another is composed of these, as a certain sentence which is already a composite; simple enunciation, then, is voice significant about something being inherent, or non-inherent, according as times are divided.

Chapter 6[edit]

Affirmation is the enunciation of something concerning something, but negation is the enunciation of something from something. Since, however, a man may enunciate what is inherent as though it were not, and what is not as though it were; that which is, as if it were, and that which is not, as if it were not, and in like manner about times external to the present; it is possible that whatever any one affirms may be denied, and that whatever any one denies may be affirmed, whence it is evident that to every affirmation there is an opposite negation, and to every negation an opposite affirmation. Let this be contradiction, affirmation and negation being opposites, but I call that opposition which is of the same respecting the same, not equivocally, and such other particulars of the kind as we have concluded against sophistical importunities.

Chapter 7[edit]

Of things, since some are universal, but others singular, (and by universal I mean whatever may naturally be predicated of many things, but by singular, that which may not: as "man" is universal, but "Callias" singular,) it is necessary to enunciate that something is, or is not, inherent, at one time, in an universal, at another in a singular thing. Now, if any one universally enunciates of an universal, that something is or is not inherent, these enunciations will be contrary: I mean universally enunciates of an universal, as that "every man is white," "no man is white." When on the other hand he enunciates of universals, not universally, these are not contraries, though the things signified may sometimes be contrary; but I mean by not universally enunciating of universals, as that "man is white," "man is not white:" for man being universal, is not employed as an universal in the enunciation, since the word "every" does not signify the universal, but (shows that the subject is) universally (taken). Now to predicate universally of what is universally predicated is not true, for no affirmation will be true in which the universal is predicated of an universal predicate, as for instance, "every man" is "every animal." Wherefore I say affirmation is opposed to negation contradictorily, the affirmation which signifies the universal to that which is not universal, as "every man is white," "not every man is white," "no man is white," "some man is white." But contrarily is between universal affirmative and universal negative, as "every man is white," "no man is white," "every man is just," "no man is just." Wherefore it is impossible that these should at one and the same time be true, but the opposites to these may sometimes possibly be co-verified about the same thing, as that "not every man is white," and "some man is white." Of such contradictions then of universals, as are universally made, one must necessarily be true or false, and also such as are of singulars, as "Socrates is white," "Socrates is not white;" but of such contradictions as are indeed of universals, yet are not universally made, one is not always true, but the other false. For at one and the same time we may truly say that "man is white," and that "man is not white," and "man is handsome," and "man is not handsome," for if he is deformed he is not handsome, and if any thing is becoming to be, it is, not. This however may at once appear absurd, because the assertion "man is not white," seems at the same time to signify the same thing, as "no man is white," but it neither necessarily signifies the same thing, nor at the same time.

Notwithstanding it is evident that of one affirmation there is one negation, for it is necessary that the negation should deny the same thing which the affirmation affirmed, and also from the same, (i. e.) either from some singular or some universal, universally or not universally; I say, for instance, that "Socrates is white," "Socrates is not white." If however there is something else from the same thing, or the same thing from something else, that (enunciation) will not be opposite, but different from it; to the one, "every man is white," the other (is opposed) "not every man is white," and to the one, "a certain man is white," the other, "no man is white;" and to the one, "man is white," the other, "man is not white."

That there is then one affirmation contradictorily opposed to one negation, and what these are, has been shown, also that there are other contraries, and what they are, and that not every contradiction is true or false, and why and when it is true or false.

Chapter 8[edit]

The affirmation and negation are one, which indicate one thing of one, either of an universal, being taken universally, or in like manner if it is not, as "every man is white," "not every man is white," "man is white," "man is not white," "no man is white," "some man is white," if that which is white signifies one thing. But it one name be given to two things, from which one thing does not arise, there is not one affirmation nor one negation; as if any one gave the name "garment" to a "horse," and to "a man;" that "the garment is white," this will not be one affirmation, nor one negation, since it in no respect differs from saying "man" and "horse" are "white," and this is equivalent to "man is white," and "horse is white." If therefore these signify many things, and are many, it is evident that the first enunciation either signifies many things or nothing, for "some man is not a horse," wherefore neither in these is it necessary that one should be a true, but the other a false contradiction.

Chapter 9[edit]

In those things which are, and have been, the affirmation and negation must of necessity be true or false; in universals, as universals, always one true but the other false, and also in singulars, as we have shown; but in the case of universals not universally enunciated, there is no such necessity, and concerning these we have also spoken, but as to singulars and futures, this is not the case. For if every affirmation or negation be true or false, it is also necessary that every thing should exist or should not exist, for if one man says that a thing will be, but another denies the same, one of them must evidently of necessity speak truth, if every affirmation or negation be true or false, for both will not subsist in such things at one and the same time. Thus if it is true to say that "a thing is white," or that "it is not white," it must of necessity be "white" or not "white," and if it is white or not white, it was true to affirm or to deny it: also if it is not, it is falsely said to be, and if it is falsely said to be, it is not; so that it is necessary that either the affirmation or the negation should be true or false. Indeed there is nothing which either is, or is generated fortuitously, nor casually, nor will be, or not be, but all things are from necessity, and not casually, for either he who affirms speaks truth, or he who denies, for in like manner it might either have been or not have been, for that which subsists casually neither does nor will subsist more in this way than in that. Moreover if a thing is now "white," it was true to say before that it will be "white," so that it was always true to say of any thing generated that it either is, or that it will be; but if it was always true to say that it is, or will be, it is impossible that this is not, nor should be; and whatever must of necessity be, it is impossible that it should not have been generated, and what it is impossible should not have been generated must of necessity have been generated; wherefore all things that will be, it is necessary should be generated, and hence there will be nothing casual nor fortuitous, for if it were fortuitous it would not be of necessity. Nor is it possible to say, that neither of them is true, as that it will neither be, nor will not be, for in the first place the affirmation being false, the negation will not be true, and this being false, it results that the affirmation is not true. And besides, if it were true to say that a thing is at the same time "white" and "great," both must of necessity be, but if it shall be to-morrow, it must necessarily be to-morrow, and if it will neither be nor will not be to-morrow, it will not be a casual thing, for example, a naval engagement, for it would be requisite that the engagement should neither occur nor not occur.

These and similar absurdities then will happen, if of every affirmation and negation, whether in respect of universals enunciated universally, or of singulars, it is necessary that one of the opposites be true and the other false, but that nothing happens casually in those things which subsist, but that all are, and are generated of necessity; so that it will neither be necessary to deliberate nor to trouble ourselves, as if we shall do this thing, something definite will occur, but if we do not, it will not occur. For there is nothing to prevent a person for ten thousand years asserting that this will happen, and another person denying it, so that of necessity it will have been then true to assert either of them. And it makes no difference whether any persons have uttered a contradiction or not, for it is evident that the things are so, although the one should not have affirmed any thing, or the other have denied it, since it is not, because it has been affirmed or denied, that therefore a thing will or will not be, neither will it be more so for ten thousand years than for any time whatever. Hence if a thing so subsisted in every time that one of these is truly asserted of it, it was necessary that this should take place; and each thing generated, always so subsisted, as to have been generated from necessity, for when any one truly said that it will be, it was not possible not to have been generated, and of that which is generated, it was always true to say that it will be.

But if these things are impossible—(for we see that there is a beginning of future things, both from our deliberation and practice, and briefly in things which do not always energize, there is equally a power of being and of not being, in which both to be and not to be occurs, as well as to have been generated and not to have been generated; and, indeed, we have many things which evidently subsist in this manner, for example, it is possible for this garment to have been cut in pieces, and it may not be cut in pieces, but be worn out beforehand, so also it is possible that it may not be cut in pieces, for it would not have been worn out before, unless it had been possible that it might not be cut in pieces, and so also in respect of other productions, which are spoken of according to a power of this kind—) then it is evident that all things neither are, nor are generated of necessity, but that some things subsist casually, and that their affirmation is not more true than their negation, and that there are others in which one of these subsists more frequently, and for the most part, yet so, that either might possibly have occurred, but the other not.

Wherefore, being, must of necessity be when it is, and non-being, not be, when it is not; but it is not necessary that every being should be, nor that non-being should not be, since it is not the same thing for every being to be from necessity, when it is, and simply to be from necessity, and in like manner as to non-being. There is the same reasoning also in the case or contradiction; to be or not to be is necessary for every thing, also that it shall, or shall not be, yet it is not requisite to speak of each separately, but I say, for instance, that it is necessary for a naval action to occur or not occur to-morrow, yet it is not necessary that there should be a naval action to-morrow, nor that there should not be; it is necessary, however, that it should either be or not be. Wherefore, since assertions and things are similarly true, it is evident that things which so subsist, as that whatever have happened, the contraries also were possible, it is necessary that contradiction should subsist in the same manner, which happens to those things which are not always, or which not always, are not. For of these, one part of the contradiction must necessarily be true or false, not indeed this or that, but just as it may happen, and one must be the rather true, yet not already true nor false; so that it is evidently not necessary that of every affirmation and negation of opposites, one should be true, but the other false; for it does not happen in the same manner with things which are not, but which either may or may not be, as with things which are, but it happens as we have said.

Chapter 10[edit]

Since affirmation signifies something of something, and this is either a noun, or anonymous, (i. e. indefinite,) but what is in affirmation must be one and of one thing, all affirmation and negation will be either from a noun and a verb, or from an indefinite noun and verb. (But what a noun is, and what the anonymous, has been shown before, for I do not reckon "not man" a noun, but an indefinite noun, for an indefinite noun signifies in a certain respect one thing, just as "is not well" is not a verb, but an indefinite verb.) Still without a verb there is neither an affirmation nor negation, for "is," or "will be," or "was," or "is going to be," and so forth, are verbs, from what has been already laid down, since in addition to something else they signify time. Hence the first affirmation and negation (will be), "man is," "man is not," afterwards "non-man is," "non-man is not." Again, "every man is," "every man is not," "every non-man is," "every non-man is not," and the same reasoning holds in times beyond (the present). But when "is," is additionally predicated as the third thing, then the oppositions are enunciated doubly; I say for instance, "a man is just;" here the word "is," I say, is placed as a third thing, whether noun or verb, in the affirmation, so that on this account, these will be four, of which two will subsist with respect to affirmation and negation, according to the order of consequence, as privations, but two will not. But I say that the word "is," will be added to "just" or to "not just," so that also negation is added, wherefore there will be four. We shall understand, however, what is said from the under-written examples: "A man is just," the negation of this is, "a man is not just;" "he is not a just man," the negative of this is, "he is not not a just man," for here the word "is," and "is not," will be added to the "just" and the "not just," wherefore these things, as we have shown in the Analytics, are thus arranged. The same thing will happen if the affirmation be of a noun taken universally, as for instance, "every man is just;" of this the negation is, "not every man is just," "every man is not just," "not every man is not just," except that it does not similarly happen that those which are diametrically opposed are co-verified; sometimes, however, this does pen, these two therefore are opposed to each other. But the other two (are opposed) in respect to "non-man," as to a certain added subject, as "non-man is just," "non-man is not just," "the non-just is not man," "the not non-just is not man:" there are not, however, more oppositions than these, but these without those, will be by themselves, as using the noun, "non-man." In those, however, wherein, "is," is not adapted,—as in "he enjoys health," and "he walks,"—here it produces the same when thus placed, as if "is" were added; as "every man enjoys health," "every man does not enjoy health," "every non-man enjoys health," "every non-man does not enjoy health." For it must not be said, "not every man," but the negation, "not," must be added to "man;" for "every" does not signify universal, but that (the thing is taken) universally. This is however evident, from "a man enjoys health," "a man does not enjoy health," "non-man is well," "non-man is not well," these differ from those, in not being universally (taken). Hence "every," or "no one," signifies nothing else, than that affirmation or negation is of a noun universally (assumed); wherefore it is necessary to add other things of the same kind.

But because the contrary negation to this, "every animal is just," is that which signifies that "no animal is just," it is evident that these will never be either true at the same time, nor in respect to the same subject, but the opposites to these will sometimes be so, as "not every animal is just," and "some animal is just." But these follow; the one, "no man is just," follows "every man is not just," but the opposite, "some man is just," follows "not every man is not just," for it is necessary that some man should be just. In the case also of singulars, it is evident that if a man being questioned denies truly, he asserts also truly, as, "Is Socrates wise? No!" Socrates therefore is not a wise man. But in the case of universals, what is similarly asserted is not true, but the negation is true, as, "Is every man wise? No!" Every man therefore is not wise; for this is false, but this, "not every man then is wise," is true, and this is opposite, but that is contrary.

Opposites, however, as to indefinite nouns and verbs, as "non-man" and "non-just," may seem to be negations without a noun and verb, but they are not so, for the negation must always of necessity be either true or false, but he who says "non-man" does not speak more truly or falsely, but rather less, than he who says "man," except something be added. Still the assertion, "every non-man is just", does not signify the same as any one of those (propositions), nor the opposite to this, namely, "not every non-man is just;" but the assertion, "every one not just is not a man," means the same with, "no one is just who is not a man."

Nouns and verbs indeed, when transposed, have the same signification, as, "he is a white man," "he is a man white," for unless it be so, there will be many negations of the same thing, but it has been shown that there is one of one; of this, "he is a white man," there is the negation "he is not a white man," and of the other, "he is a man white," (except this be the same with "he is a white man,") the negation will either be "he is not, not a man white," or "he is not a man white." But the one is a negation of this, "he is not a man white," and the other of this, "he is a white man" (so that there will be two negations of one affirmation); wherefore it is evident that when a noun and verb are transposed, the same affirmation and negation result.

Chapter 11[edit]

To affirm, and deny, one thing of many, or many of one, is not one affirmation nor one negation, except that is some one thing which is manifested from the many; I mean by one, not if one name be given to many things, nor if one thing result from them, as "man" is perhaps "animal," and "biped," and "mild," yet one thing results from these; but from "white" and "man," and "to walk," one thing does not result, so that neither if a person affirm one certain thing of these is it one affirmation, but there is one articulate sound indeed, yet many affirmations, nor if he affirmed these things of one, (would there be one affirmation,) but in like manner, many. If, then, dialectic interrogation be the seeking of an answer, either of a proposition, or of either part of a contradiction, (but a proposition is a part of one contradiction,) there would not be one answer to these, for neither is there one interrogation, not even if it be true: we have, however, spoken of these in the Topics, at the same time it is evident that, What is it? is not a dialectic interrogation, for a choice should be given from the interrogation to enunciate this or that part of the contradiction; but tne interrogator must besides define, whether this particular thing, or not this, be a man.

As, however, there are some things predicated as composites, so that there is one whole predicable, of those which are predicated separately, but others are not so, what is the difference? For in respect of "man," we may truly and separately predicate "animal" and "biped," and these as one thing; also "man" and "white," and these as one thing; but not if he is "a shoemaker" and "a good man," is he therefore also a good shoemaker. For if, because each of these is true, both, conjointly, should be of necessity true, many absurdities would follow, for "man" and "white" are truly predicated of a man, so that the whole together may be; again, if the thing "is white," the whole conjointly "is white," wherefore, it will be "a man white, white," even to infinity; again, "a musician white walking," and these frequently involved to infinity. Once more, if "Socrates" is "Socrates" and "man," "Socrates" is also "Socrates man," and if he is "man" and "biped," he is also "man biped;" wherefore it is evident, if a man says conjunctions are simply produced, the result will be that he will utter many absurdities.

Let us now show how they are to be placed. Of things predicated, and of those of which it happens to be predicated, whatever are accidentally enunciated, either in respect of the same, or the one of the other, these will not be one; as "man is white," and "a musician;" but "whiteness" and "music" are not one thing, for both are accidents to the same thing. Neither if it be true to call what is white musical, yet at the same time will "musical" "white" be one thing, for what is "white" is "musical" per accidens, so that "white musical" will not be one thing, wherefore neither is a man said to be "a good shoemaker" singly, but also "a biped animal," because these are not predicated of him per accidens. Moreover, neither are such things which are inherent in another (to be added), hence, neither is "whiteness" (to be predicated) repeatedly, nor is "a man" "a man animal," nor (a man) "biped," since both animal and biped are inherent in man; still it is true to assert it singly of some one, as that "a certain man is a man," or that "a certain white man is a white man," but this is not the case always. But when some opposition is in the adjunct which a contradiction follows, it is not true, but false, as to call a dead man a man, but when such is not inherent, it is true. Or when something (contradictory) is inherent, it is always not true; but when it is not inherent, it is not always true, as "Homer" is something, "a poet," for instance, "is" he therefore, or "is" he not? for "is" is predicated of Homer accidentally, since "is" is predicated of Homer because he is a poet, but not per se (or essentially). Wherefore, in whatever categories, contrariety is not inherent, if definitions are asserted instead of nouns, and are essentially predicated, and not accidentally, of these a particular thing may be truly and singly asserted; but non-being, because it is a matter of opinion, cannot truly be called a certain being, for the opinion of it is, not that it is, but that it is not.

Chapter 12[edit]

These things then being determined, let us consider how the affirmations, and negations of the possible and impossible to be, subsist with reference to each other, also of the contingent and the non-contingent, and of the impossible and necessary, since this has some doubtful points. For if among the complex, those contradictions are mutually opposed, which are arranged according to the verb "to be," and "not to be," (as for instance the negation "to be a man," is "not to be man," not this, "to be not a man," and the negation of "to be a white man" is "not to be a white man," and not this "to be not a white man," since if affirmation or negation be true of every thing, it will be true to say "that wood is not a white man,")—if this be so, in those things to which the verb "to be" is not added, that which is asserted instead of the verb "to be," will produce the same thing. For example, the negation of "a man walks," will not be "non-man walks," but, "a man does not walk," for there is no difference in saying that "a man walks," or that "a man is walking," so that if this is every where the case, the negation of "it is possible to be," will be "it is possible not to be," and not "it is not possible to be." But it appears that it is possible for the same thing both to be, and not to be, for every thing which may possibly be cut, or may possibly walk, may also possibly not be cut, and not walk, and the reason is that every thing which is thus possible, does not always energize, so that negation will also belong to it, for that which is capable of walking, may not walk, and the visible may not be seen. Still however it is impossible that opposite affirmations and negations should be true of the same thing, wherefore the negation of "it is possible to be," is not "it is possible not to be." Now it results from this that we either at the same time affirm and deny the same thing of the same, or that the affirmations and negations are not made according to the additions, "to be" or "not to be;" if therefore, that, be impossible, this, will be to be taken, wherefore the negation of "it is possible to be," is "it is not possible to be," (but not it is possible not to be). Now there is the same reasoning also about the being contingent, for the negation of this is, not to be contingent, and in like manner as to the rest, for example the necessary and impossible, since as in those it happens that, "to be," and, "not to be," are additions, but "whiteness" and "man" are subjects, so here "to be" and "not to be," become as subjects, but "to be possible," and "to be contingent," are additions which determine the true and false in the (enunciations) "to be possible" and "to be not possible," similarly as in those, "to be," and "not to be." But of "it is possible not to be," the negation is not, "it is not possible to be," but "it is not possible not to be" and of "it is possible to be," the negation is not, " it is possible not to be," but, "it is not possible to be;" wherefore, "it is possible to be," and, "it is possible not to be," will appear to follow each other; for it is the same thing, "to be possible to be," and "not to be," since such things are not contradictories of each other, namely, "it is possible to be," and, "it is possible not to be." But "it is sible to be," and "it is not possible to be," are never true of the same thing at the same time, for they are opposed, neither at least are, "it is possible not to be," and "it is not possible not to be," ever true at the same time of the same thing. Likewise of, "it is necessary to be," the negation is not, "it is necessary not to be," but this, "it is not necessary to be," and of, "it is necessary not to be," (the negation) is this, "it is not necessary not to be." Again, of, "it is impossible to be," the negation is not "it is impossible not to be," but "it is not impossible to be," and of, "it is impossible not to be," (the negation) is, "it is not impossible not to be." In fact, universally, as we have said, "to be" and "not to be," we must necessarily regard as subjects, but those things which produce affirmation and negation we must connect with "to be" and "not to be:" we ought also to consider these as opposite affirmations and negations; possible, impossible, contingent, non-contingent, impossible, not impossible, necessary, not necessary, true, not true.

Chapter 13[edit]

The consequences are rightly placed thus: "it happens to be," follows, "it is possible to be," and this reciprocates with that; also, "it is not impossible to be" and "it is not necessary to be." But, "it is not necessary not to be," and, "it is not impossible not to be;" follow, "it is possible not to be," and, "it may happen not to be;" and, "it is necessary not to be," and, "it is impossible to be," follow, "it is not possible to be," and, "it does not happen to be;" but, "it is necessary to be," and also, "it is impossible not to be," follow, "it is not possible not to be," and, "it is not contingent not to be:" what we say however may be seen from the following description:

1 3
It is possible to be It is not possible to be
It may happen to be It may not happen to be
It is not impossible to be It is impossible to be
It is not necessary to be. It is necessary not to be.
2 4
It is possible not to be It is not possible not to be
It may happen not to be It may happen not to be
It is not impossible not to be It is impossible not to be
It is not necessary not to be. It is necessary to be.

Therefore the impossible, and the not impossible, follow contradictorily the contingent, and the possible, and the non-contingent, and the not possible, and vice versâ; for the negation of the impossible, namely, "it is not impossible to be," follows, "it is possible to be," but affirmation follows negation, for, "it is impossible to be" follows " it is not possible to be," since "it is impossible to be," is affirmation, but, "it is not impossible to be," is negation.

Let us next see how it is with necessary matter, now it is evident that it does not subsist thus, but contraries follow, and contradictories (are placed) separately, for, "it is not necessary to be," is not the negation of "it is necessary not to be," since both, may possibly be true of the same thing, as that which necessarily, is not, need not of necessity, be. But the reason why the necessary follows not, in like manner, other propositions, is that the impossible being enunciated contrarily to the necessary, signifies the same thing; for what it is impossible should exist, must not of necessity be, but not be, and what is impossible should not be, this must of necessity be; so that if these similarly follow the possible and the not possible, these (do so) in a contrary mode, since the necessary and the impossible do not signify the same thing, but, as we have said, vice versâ. Or is it impossible that the contradictories of the necessary should be thus disposed? for, what, "is necessary to be" is "possible to be," since if not, negation would follow, as it is necessary either to affirm or deny, so that, if it is not possible to be, it is impossible to be, wherefore it would be impossible for that to be, which necessarily is, which is absurd, but the enunciation, "it is not impossible to be" follows the other, "it is possible to be," which again is followed by, "it is not necessary to be," whence it happens that what necessarily exists does not necessarily exist, which is absurd. But again neither does, "it is necessary to be" follow "it is possible to be," nor does the proposition, "it is necessary not to be," for to that, both, may occur, but whichever of these is true, those will be no longer true, for at one and the same time, it is possible to be, and not to be, but if it is necessary either to be or not to be, both, will not be possible. It remains therefore, that "it is not necessary not to be," follows "it is possible to be;" for this is also true in respect of what is necessary to be, since this becomes the contradiction of that proposition which follows, viz. "it is not possible to be;" as "it is impossible to be," and "it is necessary not to be," follow that, of which the negation is, "it is not necessary not to be." Wherefore these contradictions follow according to the above-mentioned mode, and nothing absurd results, when they are thus disposed.

Still it may be doubted whether "it is possible to be," follows "it is necessary to be," for if it does not follow, the contradiction will be consequent, namely, "it is not possible to be," and if a man should deny this to be a contradiction, it will be necessary to call, "it is possible not to be," a contradiction, both which are false in respect of necessary matter. Nay, on the contrary, it appears to be possible that the same thing should "be cut" and "not be cut," should "be" and "not be," so that what necessarily "is," may happen "not to be," which is false. Nevertheless it is evident that not every thing which can "be," and can "walk," is capable also of the opposites, for in some cases this is not true. In the first place, in those things which are potent irrationally, as fire is calorific, and has irrational power; rational powers then are those of many things, and of the contraries; but not all irrational powers, for, as we have said, fire cannot heat, and not heat, nor such other things as always energize. Yet even some irrational powers can at the same time receive opposites; but this has been stated by us, because not every power is susceptible of contraries, not even such as are predicated, according to the same species. Moreover, some powers are equivocal, for the possible is not predicated, simply; but one thing is (called so), because it is true, as being in an energy, as it is possible for a man to walk, because he walks, and in short, a thing is possible to be, because that is already in energy which is said to be possible; on the other hand, another thing (is said to be possible), because it may be in energy; as it is possible to walk, because a man may walk. Now this power exists in movable natures only, but that in immovable; but with respect to both, it is true to say, that it is not impossible to walk or to be, and that a man is now walking and energizing, and has the power to walk, hence it is not true to predicate that which is thus possible, in respect of necessary matter, simply, but the other is true. Wherefore since the universal follows the particular, to be able to be, but not all ability, follows that which is of necessity, and indeed the necessary and the non-necessary may perhaps be the principle of the existence, or of the non-existence of all things, and we should consider other things as consequent upon these. Hence from what we have stated, it is clear that whatever exists of necessity, is in energy, so that if eternal natures are prior in existence, energy also is prior to power, and some things, as the first substances, are energies without power, but others with power, namely, those which are prior by nature, but posterior in time: lastly, there are some which are never energies, but are capacities only.

Chapter 14[edit]

But whether is affirmation contrary to negation, or affirmation to affirmation? and is the sentence which says, "every man is just," contrary to the one, "no man is just," or the sentence "every man is just," to, "every man is unjust," as "Callias is just," "Callias is not just," "Callias is unjust,"—which of these are contraries? For if things in the voice, follow those which exist in the intellect, but there the opinion of a contrary is contrary, as for instance, that "every man is just," is contrary to, "every man is unjust," it is necessary that affirmations also in the voice should subsist in the same manner, but if there, the opinion of a contrary be not contrary, neither will affirmation be contrary to affirmation, but the before-named negation. Hence it must be considered what false opinion is contrary to the true opinion, whether that of negation or that which opines it to be the contrary. I mean in this way, there is a certain true opinion of good that it is good, but another false opinion that it is not good, lastly, a third, that it is evil, which of these therefore is contrary to the true opinion? and if there is one, according to which is it contrary? If then a man should fancy contrary opinions to be defined by this, that they are of contraries, it would be erroneous, for of good that it is good, and of evil that it is evil, there is perhaps the same opinion, and it is true whether there be many (opinions) or one: but these are contraries, yet not from their being of contraries are they contraries, but rather from their subsisting in a contrary manner. If then there is an opinion of good that it is good, but another that it is not good, and there is also something else, which is neither inherent, nor can be, in good, we cannot admit any contrary of the rest, neither such opinions as imagine the non-inherent to be inherent, nor the inherent to be non-inherent, (for both are infinite, both as many as imagine the non-inherent to be inherent, and the inherent to be non-inherent); but in those things in which there is deception, (therein we admit contraries,) and these are from which there are generations; generations however are from opposltes, wherefore deceptions also. If then good is good and not evil, and the one is essential, but the other accidental—(for it is accidental to it not to be evil) and of every thing the opinion is more true and false which is essential, if the true (be assumed)—the opinion that good is not good, is false in respect of that which is essentially inherent, but the opinion that it is evil is false of that which is from accident, so that the opinion of the negation of good would be more false than the opinion of the contrary. He is however especially deceived about every thing who holds a contrary opinion, for contraries belong to things which are the most diverse about the same thing. If then one of these is contrary, but the opinion of the negation is more contrary, it is evident that this itself will be (truly) contrary; but the opinion that the good is evil is complex, for it is necessary perhaps, that the same man should suppose (good) not good. Once more, if it is requisite for the like to occur in other things, it may seem to have been well said in this case also; for the (opposition) of negation is either every where or no where; but whatever things have no contraries, of these, the opposite to the true opinion is false, as he is mistaken who fancies "a man" "not a man," if then these (negations) are contrary the other (opinions) also, of negation, are. Besides, it is the same as to the opinion of good that it is good, and of what is not good, that it is not good; and also the opinion of good, that it is not good, and of what is not good that it is good; to the opinion then of the not good that it is not good, which is true, what will be the contrary? Certainly not that which says that it is evil, since it may at one and the same time be true; but truth is never contrary to truth, for whatever is not good is evil, so that it will happen that these opinions, shall be at one and the same time, true. Nor again will that (opinion) that it is not evil, be (the contrary), for that is also true, and these may exist at the same time, wherefore (the opinion) of what is not good, that it is good, remains as a contrary to the opinion of what is not good, that it is not good, and this will be false, so that the opinion of good that it is not good, will be the contrary to that of what is good, that it is good. That there will be no difference though we should propose universal affirmation is evident, for universal negation will be the contrary; as for instance, to the opinion which supposes every thing good to be good, that nothing of good things is good (will be the contrary opinion), for the opinion of good that it is good, if good be universal, is the same with that which opines that whatever is good is good, and this differs in no respect from the opinion that every thing which is good is good, and the like takes place as to that which is not good. So that if this be the case in opinion, and affirmations and negations in the voice are symbols of (conceptions) in the soul, it is clear that the universal negation which is about the same thing, is contrary to affirmation. For instance, to "every thing good is good," or that "every man is good," (the negation is contrary,) that "nothing or no man is good;" but this, that "not every thing, or not every man," (is good, is opposed) contradictorily. It is however evident, that true opinion can neither possibly be contrary to true opinion, nor true negation (to true negation), for those are contraries which subsist about opposites; but about the same things the same may be verified, but contraries cannot possibly be inherent in the same thing, at one and the same time.