Translated by E. M. Edghill
Part 9 - Action and Affection of the Other Categories
Action and affection both admit of
contraries and also of variation of degree. Heating is the
contrary of cooling, being heated of being cooled, being glad of
being vexed. Thus they admit of contraries. They also admit of
variation of degree: for it is possible to heat in a greater or
less degree; also to be heated in a greater or less degree. Thus
action and affection also admit of variation of degree. So much,
then, is stated with regard to these categories.
We spoke, moreover, of the category of
position when we were dealing with that of relation, and stated
that such terms derived their names from those of the
As for the rest, time, place, state, since
they are easily intelligible, I say no more about them than was
said at the beginning, that in the category of state are included
such states as 'shod', 'armed', in that of place 'in the Lyceum'
and so on, as was explained before.
Part 10 - Four Classes of Opposites
The proposed categories have, then, been
adequately dealt with. We must next explain the various senses in
which the term 'opposite' is used. Things are said to be opposed
in four senses: (i) as correlatives to one another, (ii) as
contraries to one another, (iii) as privatives to positives, (iv)
as affirmatives to negatives.
Let me sketch my meaning in outline. An
instance of the use of the word 'opposite' with reference to
correlatives is afforded by the expressions 'double' and 'half';
with reference to contraries by 'bad' and 'good'. Opposites in
the sense of 'privatives' and 'positives' are' blindness' and
'sight'; in the sense of affirmatives and negatives, the
propositions 'he sits', 'he does not sit'.
(i) Pairs of opposites which fall under the
category of relation are explained by a reference of the one to
the other, the reference being indicated by the preposition 'of'
or by some other preposition. Thus, double is a relative term,
for that which is double is explained as the double of something.
Knowledge, again, is the opposite of the thing known, in the same
sense; and the thing known also is explained by its relation to
its opposite, knowledge. For the thing known is explained as that
which is known by something, that is, by knowledge. Such things,
then, as are opposite the one to the other in the sense of being
correlatives are explained by a reference of the one to the other.
(ii) Pairs of opposites which are
contraries are not in any way interdependent, but are contrary
the one to the other. The good is not spoken of as the good of
the had, but as the contrary of the bad, nor is white spoken of
as the white of the black, but as the contrary of the black.
These two types of opposition are therefore distinct. Those
contraries which are such that the subjects in which they are
naturally present, or of which they are predicated, must
necessarily contain either the one or the other of them, have no
intermediate, but those in the case of which no such necessity
obtains, always have an intermediate. Thus disease and health are
naturally present in the body of an animal, and it is necessary
that either the one or the other should be present in the body of
an animal. Odd and even, again, are predicated of number, and it
is necessary that the one or the other should be present in
numbers. Now there is no intermediate between the terms of either
of these two pairs. On the other hand, in those contraries with
regard to which no such necessity obtains, we find an
intermediate. Blackness and whiteness are naturally present in
the body, but it is not necessary that either the one or the
other should be present in the body, inasmuch as it is not true
to say that everybody must be white or black. Badness and
goodness, again, are predicated of man, and of many other things,
but it is not necessary that either the one quality or the other
should be present in that of which they are predicated: it is not
true to say that everything that may be good or bad must be
either good or bad. These pairs of contraries have intermediates:
the intermediates between white and black are grey, sallow, and
all the other colours that come between; the intermediate between
good and bad is that which is neither the one nor the other.
Some intermediate qualities have names,
such as grey and sallow and all the other colours that come
between white and black; in other cases, however, it is not easy
to name the intermediate, but we must define it as that which is
not either extreme, as in the case of that which is neither good
nor bad, neither just nor unjust.
(iii) 'privatives' and 'Positives' have
reference to the same subject. Thus, sight and blindness have
reference to the eye. It is a universal rule that each of a pair
of opposites of this type has reference to that to which the
particular 'positive' is natural. We say that that is capable of
some particular faculty or possession has suffered privation when
the faculty or possession in question is in no way present in
that in which, and at the time at which, it should naturally be
present. We do not call that toothless which has not teeth, or
that blind which has not sight, but rather that which has not
teeth or sight at the time when by nature it should. For there
are some creatures which from birth are without sight, or without
teeth, but these are not called toothless or blind.
To be without some faculty or to possess it
is not the same as the corresponding 'privative' or 'positive'.
'Sight' is a 'positive', 'blindness' a 'privative', but 'to
possess sight' is not equivalent to 'sight', 'to be blind' is not
equivalent to 'blindness'. Blindness is a 'privative', to be
blind is to be in a state of privation, but is not a 'privative'.
Moreover, if 'blindness' were equivalent to 'being blind', both
would be predicated of the same subject; but though a man is said
to be blind, he is by no means said to be blindness.
To be in a state of 'possession' is, it
appears, the opposite of being in a state of 'privation', just as
'positives' and 'privatives' themselves are opposite. There is
the same type of antithesis in both cases; for just as blindness
is opposed to sight, so is being blind opposed to having sight.
That which is affirmed or denied is not
itself affirmation or denial. By 'affirmation' we mean an
affirmative proposition, by 'denial' a negative. Now, those facts
which form the matter of the affirmation or denial are not
propositions; yet these two are said to be opposed in the same
sense as the affirmation and denial, for in this case also the
type of antithesis is the same. For as the affirmation is opposed
to the denial, as in the two propositions 'he sits', 'he does not
sit', so also the fact which constitutes the matter of the
proposition in one case is opposed to that in the other, his
sitting, that is to say, to his not sitting.
It is evident that 'positives' and
'privatives' are not opposed each to each in the same sense as
relatives. The one is not explained by reference to the other;
sight is not sight of blindness, nor is any other preposition
used to indicate the relation. Similarly blindness is not said to
be blindness of sight, but rather, privation of sight. Relatives,
moreover, reciprocate; if blindness, therefore, were a relative,
there would be a reciprocity of relation between it and that with
which it was correlative. But this is not the case. Sight is not
called the sight of blindness.
That those terms which fall under the heads
of 'positives' and 'privatives' are not opposed each to each as
contraries, either, is plain from the following facts: Of a pair
of contraries such that they have no intermediate, one or the
other must needs be present in the subject in which they
naturally subsist, or of which they are predicated; for it is
those, as we proved,' in the case of which this necessity
obtains, that have no intermediate. Moreover, we cited health and
disease, odd and even, as instances. But those contraries which
have an intermediate are not subject to any such necessity. It is
not necessary that every substance, receptive of such qualities,
should be either black or white, cold or hot, for something
intermediate between these contraries may very well be present in
the subject. We proved, moreover, that those contraries have an
intermediate in the case of which the said necessity does not
obtain. Yet when one of the two contraries is a constitutive
property of the subject, as it is a constitutive property of fire
to be hot, of snow to be white, it is necessary determinately
that one of the two contraries, not one or the other, should be
present in the subject; for fire cannot be cold, or snow black.
Thus, it is not the case here that one of the two must needs be
present in every subject receptive of these qualities, but only
in that subject of which the one forms a constitutive property.
Moreover, in such cases it is one member of the pair
determinately, and not either the one or the other, which must be
In the case of 'positives' and
'privatives', on the other hand, neither of the aforesaid
statements holds good. For it is not necessary that a subject
receptive of the qualities should always have either the one or
the other; that which has not yet advanced to the state when
sight is natural is not said either to be blind or to see. Thus
'positives' and 'privatives' do not belong to that class of
contraries which consists of those which have no intermediate. On
the other hand, they do not belong either to that class which
consists of contraries which have an intermediate. For under
certain conditions it is necessary that either the one or the
other should form part of the constitution of every appropriate
subject. For when a thing has reached the stage when it is by
nature capable of sight, it will be said either to see or to be
blind, and that in an indeterminate sense, signifying that the
capacity may be either present or absent; for it is not necessary
either that it should see or that it should be blind, but that it
should be either in the one state or in the other. Yet in the
case of those contraries which have an intermediate we found that
it was never necessary that either the one or the other should be
present in every appropriate subject, but only that in certain
subjects one of the pair should be present, and that in a
determinate sense. It is, therefore, plain that 'positives' and
'privatives' are not opposed each to each in either of the senses
in which contraries are opposed.
Again, in the case of contraries, it is
possible that there should be changes from either into the other,
while the subject retains its identity, unless indeed one of the
contraries is a constitutive property of that subject, as heat is
of fire. For it is possible that that that which is healthy
should become diseased, that which is white, black, that which is
cold, hot, that which is good, bad, that which is bad, good. The
bad man, if he is being brought into a better way of life and
thought, may make some advance, however slight, and if he should
once improve, even ever so little, it is plain that he might
change completely, or at any rate make very great progress; for a
man becomes more and more easily moved to virtue, however small
the improvement was at first. It is, therefore, natural to
suppose that he will make yet greater progress than he has made
in the past; and as this process goes on, it will change him
completely and establish him in the contrary state, provided he
is not hindered by lack of time. In the case of 'positives' and
'privatives', however, change in both directions is impossible.
There may be a change from possession to privation, but not from
privation to possession. The man who has become blind does not
regain his sight; the man who has become bald does not regain his
hair; the man who has lost his teeth does not grow his grow a new
set. (iv) Statements opposed as affirmation and negation belong
manifestly to a class which is distinct, for in this case, and in
this case only, it is necessary for the one opposite to be true
and the other false.
Neither in the case of contraries, nor in
the case of correlatives, nor in the case of 'positives' and
'privatives', is it necessary for one to be true and the other
false. Health and disease are contraries: neither of them is true
or false. 'Double' and 'half' are opposed to each other as
correlatives: neither of them is true or false. The case is the
same, of course, with regard to 'positives' and 'privatives' such
as 'sight' and 'blindness'. In short, where there is no sort of
combination of words, truth and falsity have no place, and all
the opposites we have mentioned so far consist of simple words.
At the same time, when the words which
enter into opposed statements are contraries, these, more than
any other set of opposites, would seem to claim this
characteristic. 'Socrates is ill' is the contrary of 'Socrates is
well', but not even of such composite expressions is it true to
say that one of the pair must always be true and the other false.
For if Socrates exists, one will be true and the other false, but
if he does not exist, both will be false; for neither 'Socrates
is ill' nor 'Socrates is well' is true, if Socrates does not
exist at all.
In the case of 'positives' and
'privatives', if the subject does not exist at all, neither
proposition is true, but even if the subject exists, it is not
always the fact that one is true and the other false. For
'Socrates has sight' is the opposite of 'Socrates is blind' in
the sense of the word 'opposite' which applies to possession and
privation. Now if Socrates exists, it is not necessary that one
should be true and the other false, for when he is not yet able
to acquire the power of vision, both are false, as also if
Socrates is altogether non-existent.
But in the case of affirmation and
negation, whether the subject exists or not, one is always false
and the other true. For manifestly, if Socrates exists, one of
the two propositions 'Socrates is ill', 'Socrates is not ill', is
true, and the other false. This is likewise the case if he does
not exist; for if he does not exist, to say that he is ill is
false, to say that he is not ill is true. Thus it is in the case
of those opposites only, which are opposite in the sense in which
the term is used with reference to affirmation and negation, that
the rule holds good, that one of the pair must be true and the
Part 11 - Contraries Further Discussed
That the contrary of a good is an evil is
shown by induction: the contrary of health is disease, of
courage, cowardice, and so on. But the contrary of an evil is
sometimes a good, sometimes an evil. For defect, which is an
evil, has excess for its contrary, this also being an evil, and
the mean. which is a good, is equally the contrary of the one and
of the other. It is only in a few cases, however, that we see
instances of this: in most, the contrary of an evil is a good.
In the case of contraries, it is not always
necessary that if one exists the other should also exist: for if
all become healthy there will be health and no disease, and
again, if everything turns white, there will be white, but no
black. Again, since the fact that Socrates is ill is the contrary
of the fact that Socrates is well, and two contrary conditions
cannot both obtain in one and the same individual at the same
time, both these contraries could not exist at once: for if that
Socrates was well was a fact, then that Socrates was ill could
not possibly be one.
It is plain that contrary attributes must
needs be present in subjects which belong to the same species or
genus. Disease and health require as their subject the body of an
animal; white and black require a body, without further
qualification; justice and injustice require as their subject the
Moreover, it is necessary that pairs of
contraries should in all cases either belong to the same genus or
belong to contrary genera or be themselves genera. White and
black belong to the same genus, colour; justice and injustice, to
contrary genera, virtue and vice; while good and evil do not
belong to genera, but are themselves actual genera, with terms
Part 12 - Uses of the Term "Prior"
There are four senses in which one thing
can be said to be 'prior' to another. Primarily and most properly
the term has reference to time: in this sense the word is used to
indicate that one thing is older or more ancient than another,
for the expressions 'older' and 'more ancient' imply greater
length of time.
Secondly, one thing is said to be 'prior'
to another when the sequence of their being cannot be reversed.
In this sense 'one' is 'prior' to 'two'. For if 'two' exists, it
follows directly that 'one' must exist, but if 'one' exists, it
does not follow necessarily that 'two' exists: thus the sequence
subsisting cannot be reversed. It is agreed, then, that when the
sequence of two things cannot be reversed, then that one on which
the other depends is called 'prior' to that other.
In the third place, the term 'prior' is
used with reference to any order, as in the case of science and
of oratory. For in sciences which use demonstration there is that
which is prior and that which is posterior in order; in geometry,
the elements are prior to the propositions; in reading and
writing, the letters of the alphabet are prior to the syllables.
Similarly, in the case of speeches, the exordium is prior in
order to the narrative.
Besides these senses of the word, there is
a fourth. That which is better and more honourable is said to
have a natural priority. In common parlance men speak of those
whom they honour and love as 'coming first' with them. This sense
of the word is perhaps the most far-fetched.
Such, then, are the different senses in
which the term 'prior' is used.
Yet it would seem that besides those
mentioned there is yet another. For in those things, the being of
each of which implies that of the other, that which is in any way
the cause may reasonably be said to be by nature 'prior' to the
effect. It is plain that there are instances of this. The fact of
the being of a man carries with it the truth of the proposition
that he is, and the implication is reciprocal: for if a man is,
the proposition wherein we allege that he is true, and
conversely, if the proposition wherein we allege that he is true,
then he is. The true proposition, however, is in no way the cause
of the being of the man, but the fact of the man's being does
seem somehow to be the cause of the truth of the proposition, for
the truth or falsity of the proposition depends on the fact of
the man's being or not being.
Thus the word 'prior' may be used in five
Part 13 - Uses of the Term "Simultaneous"
The term 'simultaneous' is primarily and
most appropriately applied to those things the genesis of the one
of which is simultaneous with that of the other; for in such
cases neither is prior or posterior to the other. Such things are
said to be simultaneous in point of time. Those things, again,
are 'simultaneous' in point of nature, the being of each of which
involves that of the other, while at the same time neither is the
cause of the other's being. This is the case with regard to the
double and the half, for these are reciprocally dependent, since,
if there is a double, there is also a half, and if there is a
half, there is also a double, while at the same time neither is
the cause of the being of the other.
Again, those species which are
distinguished one from another and opposed one to another within
the same genus are said to be 'simultaneous' in nature. I mean
those species which are distinguished each from each by one and
the same method of division. Thus the 'winged' species is
simultaneous with the 'terrestrial' and the 'water' species.
These are distinguished within the same genus, and are opposed
each to each, for the genus 'animal' has the 'winged', the
'terrestrial', and the 'water' species, and no one of these is
prior or posterior to another; on the contrary, all such things
appear to be 'simultaneous' in nature. Each of these also, the
terrestrial, the winged, and the water species, can be divided
again into subspecies. Those species, then, also will be
'simultaneous' point of nature, which, belonging to the same
genus, are distinguished each from each by one and the same
method of differentiation.
But genera are prior to species, for the
sequence of their being cannot be reversed. If there is the
species 'water-animal', there will be the genus 'animal', but
granted the being of the genus 'animal', it does not follow
necessarily that there will be the species 'water-animal'.
Those things, therefore, are said to be
'simultaneous' in nature, the being of each of which involves
that of the other, while at the same time neither is in any way
the cause of the other's being; those species, also, which are
distinguished each from each and opposed within the same genus.
Those things, moreover, are 'simultaneous' in the unqualified
sense of the word which come into being at the same time.
Part 14 - Six Kinds of Motion
There are six sorts of movement:
generation, destruction, increase, diminution, alteration, and
change of place.
It is evident in all but one case that all
these sorts of movement are distinct each from each. Generation
is distinct from destruction, increase and change of place from
diminution, and so on. But in the case of alteration it may be
argued that the process necessarily implies one or other of the
other five sorts of motion. This is not true, for we may say that
all affections, or nearly all, produce in us an alteration which
is distinct from all other sorts of motion, for that which is
affected need not suffer either increase or diminution or any of
the other sorts of motion. Thus alteration is a distinct sort of
motion; for, if it were not, the thing altered would not only be
altered, but would forthwith necessarily suffer increase or
diminution or some one of the other sorts of motion in addition;
which as a matter of fact is not the case. Similarly that which
was undergoing the process of increase or was subject to some
other sort of motion would, if alteration were not a distinct
form of motion, necessarily be subject to alteration also. But
there are some things which undergo increase but yet not
alteration. The square, for instance, if a gnomon is applied to
it, undergoes increase but not alteration, and so it is with all
other figures of this sort. Alteration and increase, therefore,
Speaking generally, rest is the contrary of
motion. But the different forms of motion have their own
contraries in other forms; thus destruction is the contrary of
generation, diminution of increase, rest in a place, of change of
place. As for this last, change in the reverse direction would
seem to be most truly its contrary; thus motion upwards is the
contrary of motion downwards and vice versa.
In the case of that sort of motion which
yet remains, of those that have been enumerated, it is not easy
to state what is its contrary. It appears to have no contrary,
unless one should define the contrary here also either as 'rest
in its quality' or as 'change in the direction of the contrary
quality', just as we defined the contrary of change of place
either as rest in a place or as change in the reverse direction.
For a thing is altered when change of quality takes place;
therefore either rest in its quality or change in the direction
of the contrary may be called the contrary of this qualitative
form of motion. In this way becoming white is the contrary of
becoming black; there is alteration in the contrary direction,
since a change of a qualitative nature takes place.
Part 15 - The Meanings of the Term "To Have"
The term 'to have' is used in various
senses. In the first place it is used with reference to habit or
disposition or any other quality, for we are said to 'have' a
piece of knowledge or a virtue. Then, again, it has reference to
quantity, as, for instance, in the case of a man's height; for he
is said to 'have' a height of three or four cubits. It is used,
moreover, with regard to apparel, a man being said to 'have' a
coat or tunic; or in respect of something which we have on a part
of ourselves, as a ring on the hand: or in respect of something
which is a part of us, as hand or foot. The term refers also to
content, as in the case of a vessel and wheat, or of a jar and
wine; a jar is said to 'have' wine, and a corn-measure wheat. The
expression in such cases has reference to content. Or it refers
to that which has been acquired; we are said to 'have' a house or
a field. A man is also said to 'have' a wife, and a wife a
husband, and this appears to be the most remote meaning of the
term, for by the use of it we mean simply that the husband lives
with the wife.
Other senses of the word might perhaps be
found, but the most ordinary ones have all been enumerated.
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