Page:Metaphysics by Aristotle Ross 1908 (deannotated).djvu/45

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991a
A. BOOK I

Above all one might discuss the question what on earth the Forms contribute to sensible things, either to those that are eternal or to those that come into being and cease to be. For they cause neither movement nor any change in them. But again they help in no wise towards the knowledge of the other things (for they are not even the substance of these, else they would have been in them), nor towards their being, if they are not in the particulars which share in them; though if they were, they might be thought to be causes, as white causes whiteness in that with which it is mixed. But this argument, which first Anaxagoras and later Eudoxus and certain others used, is too easily upset; for it is not difficult to collect many insuperable objections to such a view.

But further all other things cannot come from the Forms in any of the usual senses of 'from'. And to say that they are patterns and the other things share them is to use empty words and poetical metaphors. For what is it that works, looking to the Ideas? Anything can either be, or become, like another without being copied from it, so that whether Socrates exists or not a man might come to be like Socrates; and evidently this might be so even if Socrates were eternal. And according to the Platonist's principles there will be several patterns of the same thing, and therefore several Forms, e.g. 'animal' and 'two-footed' and also 'man himself' will be Forms of man. Again, the Forms are patterns not only of sensible things, but of things-in-themselves also, i. e. the genus as genus is the pattern of the species; therefore the same thing will be pattern and copy.

Again it must be held to be impossible that the substance and that of which it is the substance should exist apart; how, therefore, can the Ideas, being the substances of things, exist apart?

In the Phaedo[1] the case is stated in this way—that the Forms are causes both of being and of becoming; yet when the Forms exist, still the things that share in them do not come into being, unless there is some efficient cause; and many other things come into being (e. g. a house or a ring), of which we say there are no Forms. Clearly, therefore,

  1. 100d.