any such thing to exist alongside of the individual, except that it is predicated universally and of all? But if this is the reason, the more universal must be supposed to be more of a principle; so that the highest genera would be the principles.
There is a difficulty connected with these, the hardest of all and the most necessary to examine, and to this our argument has now brought us. If, on the one hand, there is nothing apart from individual things, and the individuals are infinite in number, how is it possible to get knowledge of the infinite individuals? For all things that we know, we know in so far as they have some unity and identity, and in so far as some attribute belongs to them universally.—But if this is necessary, and there must be something apart from the individuals, it will be necessary that the classes exist apart from the individuals,—either the lowest or the highest classes; but we found by discussion just now that this is impossible.—Further, if we admit in the fullest sense that something exists apart from the concrete thing, whenever something is predicated of the matter, must there, if there is something apart, be something corresponding to each set of individuals, or to some and not to others, or to none? (1) If there is nothing apart from individuals, there will be no object of thought, but all things will be objects of sense, and there will not be knowledge of anything, unless we say that sensation is knowledge. Further, nothing will be eternal or unmovable; for all perceptible things perish and are in movement. But if there is nothing eternal, neither can there be a process of coming to be; for that which comes to be, and that from which it comes to be, must be something, and the ultimate term in this series cannot have come to be, since the series has a limit and nothing can come to be out of that which is not.—Further, if generation and movement exist there
- With 998b14-999a23 cf. 995b29-31. For the answer cf. z. 12. 1038a19, and 13.
- The question which individuals have something apart corresponding to them suggests to Aristotle the further question whether any have. Thus the end of the sentence takes a form inconsistent with the beginning.