Page:Metaphysics by Aristotle Ross 1908 (deannotated).djvu/73

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1002a
B. BOOK III

beings. But if this is admitted, that lines and points are substance more than bodies, but we do not see to what sort of bodies these could belong (for they cannot be in perceptible bodies), there can be no substance.—Further, these are all evidently divisions of the body,—one a division in breadth, another in depth, another in length.—Besides this, no sort of shape is present in the solid more than any other; so that if the Hermes is not in the stone, neither is the half of the cube in the cube as something determinate; therefore the surface is not in it either; for if any sort of surface were in it, the surface which marks off the half of the cube would be in it too. And the same account applies to the line and to the point and the unit. Therefore, if on the one hand the body is in the highest degree substance, and on the other hand these things are so more than the body, but these are not even instances of substance,[1]

it baffles us to say what being is and what the substance of things is.—For besides what has been said, the questions of generation and destruction confront us with further paradoxes. For if substance, not having existed before, now exists, or having existed before, afterwards does not exist, this change is thought to be accompanied by a process of becoming or perishing; but points and lines and surfaces cannot be in process of becoming nor of perishing, though they at one time exist and at another do not. For when bodies come into contact or are separated, their boundaries instantaneously become one at one time—when they touch, and two at another time—when they are separated; so that when they have been put together one boundary does not exist but has perished, and when they have been separated the boundaries exist which before did not exist. For it cannot be said that the point (which is indivisible) was divided into two. And if the boundaries come into being and cease to be, from what do they come into being? A similar account may also be given of the 'now' in time; for this also cannot be in process of coming into being or of ceasing to be, but yet seems to be always

  1. Sc. not to speak of their being the whole of substance.