Page:Aristotelous peri psuxes.djvu/74

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CHAPTER II.

Since that which is evident and, when abstractedly considered, more apprehensible may be derived from particulars which are by their nature obscure, although to us more apparent, let us again attempt, bearing this in mind, to attain to a comprehensive view of Vital Principle. It is not only correct that the wording of a definition should shew, as do most definitions, what a thing is, but it ought also to embody and make apparent the cause of its being what it is. But the terms usually employed make definitions to be kinds of conclusions; as if, for instance, to the question "what is a quadrature?" it be answered, that it is to find an equilateral rectangular figure equal to another figure with unequal sides, such a definition is the statement of the con-
clusion;
if it be said that the quadrature is "the discovery of a mean proportional," this conveys the cause of the thing.

We say, then, resuming our inquiry at its outset, that the animate is distinguished from the inanimate by having life. Now the term life has many accepta-