Page:Metaphysics by Aristotle Ross 1908 (deannotated).djvu/64

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of articulate sound, not the common genus—articulate sound; and we give the name of 'elements' to those geometrical propositions, the proofs of which are implied in the proofs of the others, either of all or of most. Further, both those who say there are several elements of corporeal things and those who say there is one, say the parts of which bodies consist and are compounded are principles, e.g. Empedocles says fire and water and the intermediates between these are the constituent elements of things, but does not describe these as genera of existing things. Besides this, if we want to examine the nature of anything else, we examine the parts of which, e.g., a bed consists and how they are put together, and then we know its nature. To judge from these arguments, then, the principles of things would not be the genera; but in so far as we know each thing by its definition, and the genera are the principles or starting-points of definitions, the genera must also be the principles of definable things. And if to get the knowledge of things is to get the knowledge of the species according to which they are named, the genera are at least starting-points of the species. And some also of those who say unity and being, or the great and the small, are elements of things, seem to treat them as genera.—But, again, it is not possible to describe the principles in both ways. For the formula of the essence is one; but definition by genera will be different from that which states the constituent parts of a thing.[1]

Besides this, even if the genera are in the highest degree principles, whether should one regard the first of the genera as principles, or those which are predicated directly of the individuals? This also admits of dispute. For if the universal is always more of a principle, evidently the uppermost of the genera are the principles; for these are predicated of all things. There will, then, be as many principles of things as there are primary genera, so that both being and unity will be principles and substances; for these are most of all predicated of all things. But it is not possible that either unity or being

  1. With 998a20-b14 cf. 995b27-9. For the answer cf. ζ. 10, 13.