Page:Aristotelous peri psuxes.djvu/244

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234 NOTES. [BK. I.

Note 6, p. 41. The most unreasonable by far of all the opinions, &c.] These passages are so associated with the peculiar doctrines of the Pythagoreans[1], that they can hardly, within the compass of a note, be made intelligible to the general reader. These held the unit, it may be said, to be the origin of number, and the point to be the origin of the line; and so they made unit and point to belong to one common genus. But the unit was said to be a point without position, and, therefore, an abstract entity, which, being without parts or distinctions, cannot be either motor or moved, and, therefore, cannot represent the principle of all motion. Thus, the opinion is objected to as making the Vital Principle a number, which deprives it of locality or position, and then as attributing motion to it which, as a number, it is not susceptible of. The following passages, which treat of the division of plants and insects, further prove, by analogy, that the Vital Principle cannot be a number, as, unlike a number, each part seems to have, after division, all the properties which it had while yet conjoined with the whole. The argument is then turned against the doctrine of Democritus, if the corpuscles be regarded as points, there must still be in each point, as quantity, a motor and a moved; and the theory depended for support upon quantity, rather than relations of size. Unless, then, the Vital Principle be both motor and moved, which it evidently cannot be, there must be a motor power for those corpuscles.

  1. Topica, I. 18, 8.