Topics, by Aristotle

Book IV

1

NEXT we must go on to examine questions relating to Genus and Property. These are elements in the questions that relate to definitions, but dialecticians seldom address their inquiries to these by themselves. If, then, a genus be suggested for something that is, first take a look at all objects which belong to the same genus as the thing mentioned, and see whether the genus suggested is not predicated of one of them, as happens in the case of an accident: e.g. if ‘good’ be laid down to be the genus of ‘pleasure’, see whether some particular pleasure be not good: for, if so, clearly good’ is not the genus of pleasure: for the genus is predicated of all the members of the same species. Secondly, see whether it be predicated not in the category of essence, but as an accident, as ‘white’ is predicated of ‘snow’, or ‘self-moved’ of the soul. For ‘snow’ is not a kind of ‘white’, and therefore ‘white’ is not the genus of snow, nor is the soul a kind of ‘moving object’: its motion is an accident of it, as it often is of an animal to walk or to be walking. Moreover, ‘moving’ does not seem to indicate the essence, but rather a state of doing or of having something done to it. Likewise, also, ‘white’: for it indicates not the essence of snow, but a certain quality of it. So that neither of them is predicated in the category of ‘essence’.

Especially you should take a look at the definition of Accident, and see whether it fits the genus mentioned, as (e.g.) is also the case in the instances just given. For it is possible for a thing to be and not to be self-moved, and likewise, also, for it to be and not to be white. So that neither of these attributes is the genus but an accident, since we were saying that an accident is an attribute which can belong to a thing and also not belong.

Moreover, see whether the genus and the species be not found in the same division, but the one be a substance while the other is a quality, or the one be a relative while the other is a quality, as (e.g.) ‘slow’ and ‘swan’ are each a substance, while ‘white’ is not a substance but a quality, so that ‘white’ is not the genus either of ‘snow’ or of ‘swan’. Again, knowledge’ is a relative, while ‘good’ and ‘noble’ are each a quality, so that good, or noble, is not the genus of knowledge. For the genera of relatives ought themselves also to be relatives, as is the case with ‘double’: for multiple’, which is the genus of ‘double’, is itself also a relative. To speak generally, the genus ought to fall under the same division as the species: for if the species be a substance, so too should be the genus, and if the species be a quality, so too the genus should be a quality; e.g. if white be a quality, so too should colour be. Likewise, also, in other cases.

Again, see whether it be necessary or possible for the genus to partake of the object which has been placed in the genus. ‘To partake’ is defined as ‘to admit the definition of that which is partaken. Clearly, therefore, the species partake of the genera, but not the genera of the species: for the species admits the definition of the genus, whereas the genus does not admit that of the species. You must look, therefore, and see whether the genus rendered partakes or can possibly partake of the species, e.g. if any one were to render anything as genus of ‘being’ or of ‘unity’: for then the result will be that the genus partakes of the species: for of everything that is, ‘being’ and ‘unity’ are predicated, and therefore their definition as well.

Moreover, see if there be anything of which the species rendered is true, while the genus is not so, e.g. supposing ‘being’ or ‘object of knowledge’ were stated to be the genus of ‘object of opinion’. For ‘object of opinion’ will be a predicate of what does not exist; for many things which do not exist are objects of opinion; whereas that ‘being’ or ‘object of knowledge’ is not predicated of what does not exist is clear. So that neither ‘being’ nor ‘object of knowledge’ is the genus of ‘object of opinion’: for of the objects of which the species is predicated, the genus ought to be predicated as well.

Again, see whether the object placed in the genus be quite unable to partake of any of its species: for it is impossible that it should partake of the genus if it do not partake of any of its species, except it be one of the species reached by the first division: these do partake of the genus alone. If, therefore, ‘Motion’ be stated as the genus of pleasure, you should look and see if pleasure be neither locomotion nor alteration, nor any of the rest of the given modes of motion: for clearly you may then take it that it does not partake of any of the species, and therefore not of the genus either, since what partakes of the genus must necessarily partake of one of the species as well: so that pleasure could not be a species of Motion, nor yet be one of the individual phenomena comprised under the term ‘motion’. For individuals as well partake in the genus and the species, as (e.g.) an individual man partakes of both ‘man’ and ‘animal’.

Moreover, see if the term placed in the genus has a wider denotation than the genus, as (e.g.) ‘object of opinion’ has, as compared with ‘being’: for both what is and what is not are objects of opinion, so that ‘object of opinion’ could not be a species of being: for the genus is always of wider denotation than the species. Again, see if the species and its genus have an equal denotation; suppose, for instance, that of the attributes which go with everything, one were to be stated as a species and the other as its genus, as for example Being and Unity: for everything has being and unity, so that neither is the genus of the other, since their denotation is equal. Likewise, also, if the ‘first’ of a series and the ‘beginning’ were to be placed one under the other: for the beginning is first and the first is the beginning, so that either both expressions are identical or at any rate neither is the genus of the other. The elementary principle in regard to all such cases is that the genus has a wider denotation than the species and its differentia: for the differentia as well has a narrower denotation than the genus.

See also whether the genus mentioned fails, or might be generally thought to fail, to apply to some object which is not specifically different from the thing in question; or, if your argument be constructive, whether it does so apply. For all things that are not specifically different have the same genus. If, therefore, it be shown to apply to one, then clearly it applies to all, and if it fails to apply to one, clearly it fails to apply to any; e.g. if any one who assumes ‘indivisible lines’ were to say that the ‘indivisible’ is their genus. For the aforesaid term is not the genus of divisible lines, and these do not differ as regards their species from indivisible: for straight lines are never different from each other as regards their species.

2

Look and see, also, if there be any other genus of the given species which neither embraces the genus rendered nor yet falls under it, e.g. suppose any one were to lay down that ‘knowledge’ is the genus of justice. For virtue is its genus as well, and neither of these genera embraces the remaining one, so that knowledge could not be the genus of justice: for it is generally accepted that whenever one species falls under two genera, the one is embraced by the other. Yet a principle of this kind gives rise to a difficulty in some cases. For some people hold that prudence is both virtue and knowledge, and that neither of its genera is embraced by the other: although certainly not everybody admits that prudence is knowledge. If, however, any one were to admit the truth of this assertion, yet it would still be generally agreed to be necessary that the genera of the same object must at any rate be subordinate either the one to the other or both to the same, as actually is the case with virtue and knowledge. For both fall under the same genus; for each of them is a state and a disposition. You should look, therefore, and see whether neither of these things is true of the genus rendered; for if the genera be subordinate neither the one to the other nor both to the same, then what is rendered could not be the true genus.

Look, also, at the genus of the genus rendered, and so continually at the next higher genus, and see whether all are predicated of the species, and predicated in the category of essence: for all the higher genera should be predicated of the species in the category of essence. If, then, there be anywhere a discrepancy, clearly what is rendered is not the true genus. [Again, see whether either the genus itself, or one of its higher genera, partakes of the species: for the higher genus does not partake of any of the lower.] If, then, you are overthrowing a view, follow the rule as given: if establishing one, then-suppose that what has been named as genus be admitted to belong to the species, only it be disputed whether it belongs as genus-it is enough to show that one of its higher genera is predicated of the species in the category of essence. For if one of them be predicated in the category of essence, all of them, both higher and lower than this one, if predicated at all of the species, will be predicated of it in the category of essence: so that what has been rendered as genus is also predicated in the category of essence. The premiss that when one genus is predicated in the category of essence, all the rest, if predicated at all, will be predicated in the category of essence, should be secured by induction. Supposing, however, that it be disputed whether what has been rendered as genus belongs at all, it is not enough to show that one of the higher genera is predicated of the species in the category of essence: e.g. if any one has rendered ‘locomotion’ as the genus of walking, it is not enough to show that walking is ‘motion’ in order to show that it is ‘locomotion’, seeing that there are other forms of motion as well; but one must show in addition that walking does not partake of any of the species of motion produced by the same division except locomotion. For of necessity what partakes of the genus partakes also of one of the species produced by the first division of the genus. If, therefore, walking does not partake either of increase or decrease or of the other kinds of motion, clearly it would partake of locomotion, so that locomotion would be the genus of walking.

Again, look among the things of which the given species is predicated as genus, and see if what is rendered as its genus be also predicated in the category of essence of the very things of which the species is so predicated, and likewise if all the genera higher than this genus are so predicated as well. For if there be anywhere a discrepancy, clearly what has been rendered is not the true genus: for had it been the genus, then both the genera higher than it, and it itself, would all have been predicated in the category of essence of those objects of which the species too is predicated in the category of essence. If, then, you are overthrowing a view, it is useful to see whether the genus fails to be predicated in the category of essence of those things of which the species too is predicated. If establishing a view, it is useful to see whether it is predicated in the category of essence: for if so, the result will be that the genus and the species will be predicated of the same object in the category of essence, so that the same object falls under two genera: the genera must therefore of necessity be subordinate one to the other, and therefore if it be shown that the one we wish to establish as genus is not subordinate to the species, clearly the species would be subordinate to it, so that you may take it as shown that it is the genus.

Look, also, at the definitions of the genera, and see whether they apply both to the given species and to the objects which partake of the species. For of necessity the definitions of its genera must be predicated of the species and of the objects which partake of the species: if, then, there be anywhere a discrepancy, clearly what has been rendered is not the genus.

Again, see if he has rendered the differentia as the genus, e.g. ‘immortal’ as the genus of ‘God’. For ‘immortal’ is a differentia of ‘living being’, seeing that of living beings some are mortal and others immortal. Clearly, then, a bad mistake has been made; for the differentia of a thing is never its genus. And that this is true is clear: for a thing’s differentia never signifies its essence, but rather some quality, as do ‘walking’ and ‘biped’.

Also, see whether he has placed the differentia inside the genus, e.g. by taking ‘odd’ as a number’. For ‘odd’ is a differentia of number, not a species. Nor is the differentia generally thought to partake of the genus: for what partakes of the genus is always either a species or an individual, whereas the differentia is neither a species nor an individual. Clearly, therefore, the differentia does not partake of the genus, so that ‘odd’ too is no species but a differentia, seeing that it does not partake of the genus.

Moreover, see whether he has placed the genus inside the species, e.g. by taking ‘contact’ to be a ‘juncture’, or ‘mixture’ a ‘fusion’, or, as in Plato’s definition,’ ‘locomotion’ to be the same as ‘carriage’. For there is no necessity that contact should be juncture: rather, conversely, juncture must be contact: for what is in contact is not always joined, though what is joined is always in contact. Likewise, also, in the remaining instances: for mixture is not always a ‘fusion’ (for to mix dry things does not fuse them), nor is locomotion always ‘carriage’. For walking is not generally thought to be carriage: for ‘carriage’ is mostly used of things that change one place for another involuntarily, as happens in the case of inanimate things. Clearly, also, the species, in the instances given, has a wider denotation than the genus, whereas it ought to be vice versa.

Again, see whether he has placed the differentia inside the species, by taking (e.g.) ‘immortal’ to be ‘a god’. For the result will be that the species has an equal or wider denotation: and this cannot be, for always the differentia has an equal or a wider denotation than the species. Moreover, see whether he has placed the genus inside the differentia, by making ‘colour’ (e.g.) to be a thing that ‘pierces’, or ‘number’ a thing that is ‘odd’. Also, see if he has mentioned the genus as differentia: for it is possible for a man to bring forward a statement of this kind as well, e.g. that ‘mixture’ is the differentia of ‘fusion’, or that change of place’ is the differentia of ‘carriage’. All such cases should be examined by means of the same principles: for they depend upon common rules: for the genus should have a wider denotation that its differentia, and also should not partake of its differentia; whereas, if it be rendered in this manner, neither of the aforesaid requirements can be satisfied: for the genus will both have a narrower denotation than its differentia, and will partake of it.

Again, if no differentia belonging to the genus be predicated of the given species, neither will the genus be predicated of it; e.g. of ‘soul’ neither ‘odd’ nor ‘even’ is predicated: neither therefore is ‘number’. Moreover, see whether the species is naturally prior and abolishes the genus along with itself: for the contrary is the general view. Moreover, if it be possible for the genus stated, or for its differentia, to be absent from the alleged species, e.g. for ‘movement’ to be absent from the ‘soul’, or ‘truth and falsehood’ from ‘opinion’, then neither of the terms stated could be its genus or its differentia: for the general view is that the genus and the differentia accompany the species, as long as it exists.

3

Look and see, also, if what is placed in the genus partakes or could possibly partake of any contrary of the genus: for in that case the same thing will at the same time partake of contrary things, seeing that the genus is never absent from it, while it partakes, or can possibly partake, of the contrary genus as well. Moreover, see whether the species shares in any character which it is utterly impossible for any member of the genus to have. Thus (e.g.) if the soul has a share in life, while it is impossible for any number to live, then the soul could not be a species of number.

You should look and see, also, if the species be a homonym of the genus, and employ as your elementary principles those already stated for dealing with homonymity: for the genus and the species are synonymous.

Seeing that of every genus there is more than one species, look and see if it be impossible that there should be another species than the given one belonging to the genus stated: for if there should be none, then clearly what has been stated could not be a genus at all.

Look and see, also, if he has rendered as genus a metaphorical expression, describing (e.g. ‘temperance’ as a ‘harmony’: a ‘harmony’: for a genus is always predicated of its species in its literal sense, whereas ‘harmony’ is predicated of temperance not in a literal sense but metaphorically: for a harmony always consists in notes.

Moreover, if there be any contrary of the species, examine it. The examination may take different forms; first of all see if the contrary as well be found in the same genus as the species, supposing the genus to have no contrary; for contraries ought to be found in the same genus, if there be no contrary to the genus. Supposing, on the other hand, that there is a contrary to the genus, see if the contrary of the species be found in the contrary genus: for of necessity the contrary species must be in the contrary genus, if there be any contrary to the genus. Each of these points is made plain by means of induction. Again, see whether the contrary of the species be not found in any genus at all, but be itself a genus, e.g. ‘good’: for if this be not found in any genus, neither will its contrary be found in any genus, but will itself be a genus, as happens in the case of ‘good’ and ‘evil’: for neither of these is found in a genus, but each of them is a genus. Moreover, see if both genus and species be contrary to something, and one pair of contraries have an intermediary, but not the other. For if the genera have an intermediary, so should their species as well, and if the species have, so should their genera as well, as is the case with (1) virtue and vice and (2) justice and injustice: for each pair has an intermediary. An objection to this is that there is no intermediary between health and disease, although there is one between evil and good. Or see whether, though there be indeed an intermediary between both pairs, i.e. both between the species and between the genera, yet it be not similarly related, but in one case be a mere negation of the extremes, whereas in the other case it is a subject. For the general view is that the relation should be similar in both cases, as it is in the cases of virtue and vice and of justice and injustice: for the intermediaries between both are mere negations. Moreover, whenever the genus has no contrary, look and see not merely whether the contrary of the species be found in the same genus, but the intermediate as well: for the genus containing the extremes contains the intermediates as well, as (e.g.) in the case of white and black: for ‘colour’ is the genus both of these and of all the intermediate colours as well. An objection may be raised that ‘defect’ and ‘excess’ are found in the same genus (for both are in the genus ‘evil’), whereas moderate amount’, the intermediate between them, is found not in ‘evil’ but in ‘good’. Look and see also whether, while the genus has a contrary, the species has none; for if the genus be contrary to anything, so too is the species, as virtue to vice and justice to injustice.

Likewise. also, if one were to look at other instances, one would come to see clearly a fact like this. An objection may be raised in the case of health and disease: for health in general is the contrary of disease, whereas a particular disease, being a species of disease, e.g. fever and ophthalmia and any other particular disease, has no contrary.

If, therefore, you are demolishing a view, there are all these ways in which you should make your examination: for if the aforesaid characters do not belong to it, clearly what has been rendered is not the genus. If, on the other hand, you are establishing a view, there are three ways: in the first place, see whether the contrary of the species be found in the genus stated, suppose the genus have no contrary: for if the contrary be found in it, clearly the species in question is found in it as well. Moreover, see if the intermediate species is found in the genus stated: for whatever genus contains the intermediate contains the extremes as well. Again, if the genus have a contrary, look and see whether also the contrary species is found in the contrary genus: for if so, clearly also the species in question is found in the genus in question.

Again, consider in the case of the inflexions and the co-ordinates of species and genus, and see whether they follow likewise, both in demolishing and in establishing a view. For whatever attribute belongs or does not belong to one belongs or does not belong at the same time to all; e.g. if justice be a particular form of knowledge, then also ‘justly’ is ‘knowingly’ and the just man is a man of knowledge: whereas if any of these things be not so, then neither is any of the rest of them.

4

Again, consider the case of things that bear a like relation to one another. Thus (e.g.) the relation of the pleasant to pleasure is like that of the useful to the good: for in each case the one produces the other. If therefore pleasure be a kind of ‘good’, then also the pleasant will be a kind of ‘useful’: for clearly it may be taken to be productive of good, seeing that pleasure is good. In the same way also consider the case of processes of generation and destruction; if (e.g.) to build be to be active, then to have built is to have been active, and if to learn be to recollect, then also to have learnt is to have recollected, and if to be decomposed be to be destroyed, then to have been decomposed is to have been destroyed, and decomposition is a kind of destruction. Consider also in the same way the case of things that generate or destroy, and of the capacities and uses of things; and in general, both in demolishing and in establishing an argument, you should examine things in the light of any resemblance of whatever description, as we were saying in the case of generation and destruction. For if what tends to destroy tends to decompose, then also to be destroyed is to be decomposed: and if what tends to generate tends to produce, then to be generated is to be produced, and generation is production. Likewise, also, in the case of the capacities and uses of things: for if a capacity be a disposition, then also to be capable of something is to be disposed to it, and if the use of anything be an activity, then to use it is to be active, and to have used it is to have been active.

If the opposite of the species be a privation, there are two ways of demolishing an argument, first of all by looking to see if the opposite be found in the genus rendered: for either the privation is to be found absolutely nowhere in the same genus, or at least not in the same ultimate genus: e.g. if the ultimate genus containing sight be sensation, then blindness will not be a sensation. Secondly, if there be a sensation. Secondly, if there be a privation opposed to both genus and species, but the opposite of the species be not found in the opposite of the genus, then neither could the species rendered be in the genus rendered. If, then, you are demolishing a view, you should follow the rule as stated; but if establishing one there is but one way: for if the opposite species be found in the opposite genus, then also the species in question would be found in the genus in question: e.g. if ‘blindness’ be a form of ‘insensibility’, then ‘sight’ is a form of ‘sensation’.

Again, look at the negations of the genus and species and convert the order of terms, according to the method described in the case of Accident: e.g. if the pleasant be a kind of good, what is not good is not pleasant. For were this no something not good as well would then be pleasant. That, however, cannot be, for it is impossible, if ‘good’ be the genus of pleasant, that anything not good should be pleasant: for of things of which the genus is not predicated, none of the species is predicated either. Also, in establishing a view, you should adopt the same method of examination: for if what is not good be not pleasant, then what is pleasant is good, so that ‘good’ is the genus of ‘pleasant’.

If the species be a relative term, see whether the genus be a relative term as well: for if the species be a relative term, so too is the genus, as is the case with ‘double’ and ‘multiple’: for each is a relative term. If, on the other hand, the genus be a relative term, there is no necessity that the species should be so as well: for ‘knowledge’is a relative term, but not so ‘grammar’. Or possibly not even the first statement would be generally considered true: for virtue is a kind of ‘noble’ and a kind of ‘good’ thing, and yet, while ‘virtue’ is a relative term, ‘good’ and ‘noble’ are not relatives but qualities. Again, see whether the species fails to be used in the same relation when called by its own name, and when called by the name of its genus: e.g. if the term ‘double’ be used to mean the double of a ‘half’, then also the term ‘multiple’ ought to be used to mean multiple of a ‘half’. Otherwise ‘multiple’ could not be the genus of ‘double’.

Moreover, see whether the term fail to be used in the same relation both when called by the name of its genus, and also when called by those of all the genera of its genus. For if the double be a multiple of a half, then ‘in excess of ‘will also be used in relation to a ‘half’: and, in general, the double will be called by the names of all the higher genera in relation to a ‘half’. An objection may be raised that there is no necessity for a term to be used in the same relation when called by its own name and when called by that of its genus: for ‘knowledge’ is called knowledge ‘of an object’, whereas it is called a ‘state’ and ‘disposition’ not of an ‘object’ but of the ‘soul’.

Again, see whether the genus and the species be used in the same way in respect of the inflexions they take, e.g. datives and genitives and all the rest. For as the species is used, so should the genus be as well, as in the case of ‘double’ and its higher genera: for we say both ‘double of’ and ‘multiple of’ a thing. Likewise, also, in the case of ‘knowledge’: for both knowledge’ itself and its genera, e.g. ‘disposition’ and ‘state’, are said to be ‘of’ something. An objection may be raised that in some cases it is not so: for we say ‘superior to’ and ‘contrary to’ so and so, whereas ‘other’, which is the genus of these terms, demands not ‘to’ but ‘than’: for the expression is ‘other than’ so and so.

Again, see whether terms used in like case relationships fail to yield a like construction when converted, as do ‘double’ and ‘multiple’. For each of these terms takes a genitive both in itself and in its converted form: for we say both a half of’ and ‘a fraction of’ something. The case is the same also as regards both ‘knowledge’ and ‘conception’: for these take a genitive, and by conversion an ‘object of knowledge’ and an ‘object of conception’ are both alike used with a dative. If, then, in any cases the constructions after conversion be not alike, clearly the one term is not the genus of the other.

Again, see whether the species and the genus fail to be used in relation to an equal number of things: for the general view is that the uses of both are alike and equal in number, as is the case with ‘present’ and ‘grant’. For a present’ is of something or to some one, and also a ‘grant’ is of something and to some one: and ‘grant’ is the genus of ‘present’, for a ‘present’ is a ‘grant that need not be returned’. In some cases, however, the number of relations in which the terms are used happens not to be equal, for while ‘double’ is double of something, we speak of ‘in excess’ or ‘greater’ in something, as well as of or than something: for what is in excess or greater is always in excess in something, as well as in excess of something. Hence the terms in question are not the genera of ‘double’, inasmuch as they are not used in relation to an equal number of things with the species. Or possibly it is not universally true that species and genus are used in relation to an equal number of things.

See, also, if the opposite of the species have the opposite of the genus as its genus, e.g. whether, if ‘multiple’ be the genus of ‘double’, ‘fraction’ be also the genus of ‘half’. For the opposite of the genus should always be the genus of the opposite species. If, then, any one were to assert that knowledge is a kind of sensation, then also the object of knowledge will have to be a kind of object of sensation, whereas it is not: for an object of knowledge is not always an object of sensation: for objects of knowledge include some of the objects of intuition as well. Hence ‘object of sensation’ is not the genus of ‘object of knowledge’: and if this be so, neither is ‘sensation’ the genus of ‘knowledge’.

Seeing that of relative terms some are of necessity found in, or used of, the things in relation to which they happen at any time to be used (e.g. ‘disposition’ and ‘state’ and ‘balance’; for in nothing else can the aforesaid terms possibly be found except in the things in relation to which they are used), while others need not be found in the things in relation to which they are used at any time, though they still may be (e.g. if the term ‘object of knowledge’ be applied to the soul: for it is quite possible that the knowledge of itself should be possessed by the soul itself, but it is not necessary, for it is possible for this same knowledge to be found in some one else), while for others, again, it is absolutely impossible that they should be found in the things in relation to which they happen at any time to be used (as e.g. that the contrary should be found in the contrary or knowledge in the object of knowledge, unless the object of knowledge happen to be a soul or a man)-you should look, therefore, and see whether he places a term of one kind inside a genus that is not of that kind, e.g. suppose he has said that ‘memory’ is the ‘abiding of knowledge’. For ‘abiding’ is always found in that which abides, and is used of that, so that the abiding of knowledge also will be found in knowledge. Memory, then, is found in knowledge, seeing that it is the abiding of knowledge. But this is impossible, for memory is always found in the soul. The aforesaid commonplace rule is common to the subject of Accident as well: for it is all the same to say that ‘abiding’ is the genus of memory, or to allege that it is an accident of it. For if in any way whatever memory be the abiding of knowledge, the same argument in regard to it will apply.

5

Again, see if he has placed what is a ‘state’ inside the genus ‘activity’, or an activity inside the genus ‘state’, e.g. by defining ‘sensation’ as ‘movement communicated through the body’: for sensation is a ‘state’, whereas movement is an ‘activity’. Likewise, also, if he has said that memory is a ‘state that is retentive of a conception’, for memory is never a state, but rather an activity.

They also make a bad mistake who rank a ‘state’ within the ‘capacity’ that attends it, e.g. by defining ‘good temper’ as the ‘control of anger’, and ‘courage’ and ‘justice’ as ‘control of fears’ and of ‘gains’: for the terms ‘courageous’ and ‘good-tempered’ are applied to a man who is immune from passion, whereas ‘self-controlled’ describes the man who is exposed to passion and not led by it. Quite possibly, indeed, each of the former is attended by a capacity such that, if he were exposed to passion, he would control it and not be led by it: but, for all that, this is not what is meant by being ‘courageous’ in the one case, and ‘good tempered’ in the other; what is meant is an absolute immunity from any passions of that kind at all.

Sometimes, also, people state any kind of attendant feature as the genus, e.g. ‘pain’ as the genus of ‘anger’ and ‘conception’ as that of conviction’. For both of the things in question follow in a certain sense upon the given species, but neither of them is genus to it. For when the angry man feels pain, the pain bas appeared in him earlier than the anger: for his anger is not the cause of his pain, but his pain of his anger, so that anger emphatically is not pain. By the same reasoning, neither is conviction conception: for it is possible to have the same conception even without being convinced of it, whereas this is impossible if conviction be a species of conception: for it is impossible for a thing still to remain the same if it be entirely transferred out of its species, just as neither could the same animal at one time be, and at another not be, a man. If, on the other hand, any one says that a man who has a conception must of necessity be also convinced of it, then ‘conception’ and ‘conviction’ will be used with an equal denotation, so that not even so could the former be the genus of the latter: for the denotation of the genus should be wider.

See, also, whether both naturally come to be anywhere in the same thing: for what contains the species contains the genus as well: e.g. what contains ‘white’ contains ‘colour’ as well, and what contains ‘knowledge of grammar’ contains ‘knowledge’ as well. If, therefore, any one says that ‘shame’ is ‘fear’, or that ‘anger’ is ‘pain’, the result will be that genus and species are not found in the same thing: for shame is found in the ‘reasoning’ faculty, whereas fear is in the ‘spirited’ faculty, and ‘pain’ is found in the faculty of ‘desires’. (for in this pleasure also is found), whereas ‘anger’ is found in the ‘spirited’ faculty. Hence the terms rendered are not the genera, seeing that they do not naturally come to be in the same faculty as the species. Likewise, also, if ‘friendship’ be found in the faculty of desires, you may take it that it is not a form of ‘wishing’: for wishing is always found in the ‘reasoning’ faculty. This commonplace rule is useful also in dealing with Accident: for the accident and that of which it is an accident are both found in the same thing, so that if they do not appear in the same thing, clearly it is not an accident.

Again, see if the species partakes of the genus attributed only in some particular respect: for it is the general view that the genus is not thus imparted only in some particular respect: for a man is not an animal in a particular respect, nor is grammar knowledge in a particular respect only. Likewise also in other instances. Look, therefore, and see if in the case of any of its species the genus be imparted only in a certain respect; e.g. if ‘animal’ has been described as an ‘object of perception’ or of ‘sight’. For an animal is an object of perception or of sight in a particular respect only; for it is in respect of its body that it is perceived and seen, not in respect of its soul, so that-’object of sight’ and ‘object of perception’ could not be the genus of ‘animal’.

Sometimes also people place the whole inside the part without detection, defining (e.g.) ‘animal’ as an ‘animate body’; whereas the part is not predicated in any sense of the whole, so that ‘body’ could not be the genus of animal, seeing that it is a part.

See also if he has put anything that is blameworthy or objectionable into the class ‘capacity’ or ‘capable’, e.g. by defining a ‘sophist’ or a ‘slanderer’, or a ‘thief’ as ‘one who is capable of secretly thieving other people’s property’. For none of the aforesaid characters is so called because he is ‘capable’ in one of these respects: for even God and the good man are capable of doing bad things, but that is not their character: for it is always in respect of their choice that bad men are so called. Moreover, a capacity is always a desirable thing: for even the capacities for doing bad things are desirable, and therefore it is we say that even God and the good man possess them; for they are capable (we say) of doing evil. So then ‘capacity’ can never be the genus of anything blameworthy. Else, the result will be that what is blameworthy is sometimes desirable: for there will be a certain form of capacity that is blameworthy.

Also, see if he has put anything that is precious or desirable for its own sake into the class ‘capacity’ or ‘capable’ or ‘productive’ of anything. For capacity, and what is capable or productive of anything, is always desirable for the sake of something else.

Or see if he has put anything that exists in two genera or more into one of them only. For some things it is impossible to place in a single genus, e.g. the ‘cheat’ and the ‘slanderer’: for neither he who has the will without the capacity, nor he who has the capacity without the will, is a slanderer or cheat, but he who has both of them. Hence he must be put not into one genus, but into both the aforesaid genera.

Moreover, people sometimes in converse order render genus as differentia, and differentia as genus, defining (e.g.) astonishment as ‘excess of wonderment’ and conviction as ‘vehemence of conception’. For neither ‘excess’ nor ‘vehemence’ is the genus, but the differentia: for astonishment is usually taken to be an ‘excessive wonderment’, and conviction to be a ‘vehement conception’, so that ‘wonderment’ and ‘conception’ are the genus, while ‘excess’ and ‘vehemence’ are the differentia. Moreover, if any one renders ‘excess’ and ‘vehemence’ as genera, then inanimate things will be convinced and astonished. For ‘vehemence’ and ‘excess’ of a thing are found in a thing which is thus vehement and in excess. If, therefore, astonishment be excess of wonderment the astonishment will be found in the wonderment, so that ‘wonderment’ will be astonished! Likewise, also, conviction will be found in the conception, if it be ‘vehemence of conception’, so that the conception will be convinced. Moreover, a man who renders an answer in this style will in consequence find himself calling vehemence vehement and excess excessive: for there is such a thing as a vehement conviction: if then conviction be ‘vehemence’, there would be a ‘vehement vehemence’. Likewise, also, there is such a thing as excessive astonishment: if then astonishment be an excess, there would be an ‘excessive excess’. Whereas neither of these things is generally believed, any more than that knowledge is a knower or motion a moving thing.

Sometimes, too, people make the bad mistake of putting an affection into that which is affected, as its genus, e.g. those who say that immortality is everlasting life: for immortality seems to be a certain affection or accidental feature of life. That this saying is true would appear clear if any one were to admit that a man can pass from being mortal and become immortal: for no one will assert that he takes another life, but that a certain accidental feature or affection enters into this one as it is. So then ‘life’ is not the genus of immortality.

Again, see if to an affection he has ascribed as genus the object of which it is an affection, by defining (e.g.) wind as ‘air in motion’. Rather, wind is ‘a movement of air’: for the same air persists both when it is in motion and when it is still. Hence wind is not ‘air’ at all: for then there would also have been wind when the air was not in motion, seeing that the same air which formed the wind persists. Likewise, also, in other cases of the kind. Even, then, if we ought in this instance to admit the point that wind is ‘air in motion’, yet we should accept a definition of the kind, not about all those things of which the genus is not true, but only in cases where the genus rendered is a true predicate. For in some cases, e.g. ‘mud’ or ‘snow’, it is not generally held to be true. For people tell you that snow is ‘frozen water’ and mud is earth mixed with moisture’, whereas snow is not water, nor mud earth, so that neither of the terms rendered could be the genus: for the genus should be true of all its species. Likewise neither is wine ‘fermented water’, as Empedocles speaks of ‘water fermented in wood’;’ for it simply is not water at all.

6

Moreover, see whether the term rendered fail to be the genus of anything at all; for then clearly it also fails to be the genus of the species mentioned. Examine the point by seeing whether the objects that partake of the genus fail to be specifically different from one another, e.g. white objects: for these do not differ specifically from one another, whereas of a genus the species are always different, so that ‘white’ could not be the genus of anything.

Again, see whether he has named as genus or differentia some feature that goes with everything: for the number of attributes that follow everything is comparatively large: thus (e.g.) ‘Being’ and ‘Unity’ are among the number of attributes that follow everything. If, therefore, he has rendered ‘Being’ as a genus, clearly it would be the genus of everything, seeing that it is predicated of everything; for the genus is never predicated of anything except of its species. Hence Unity, inter alia, will be a species of Being. The result, therefore, is that of all things of which the genus is predicated, the species is predicated as well, seeing that Being and Unity are predicates of absolutely everything, whereas the predication of the species ought to be of narrower range. If, on the other hand, he has named as differentia some attribute that follows everything, clearly the denotation of the differentia will be equal to, or wider than, that of the genus. For if the genus, too, be some attribute that follows everything, the denotation of the differentia will be equal to its denotation, while if the genus do not follow everything, it will be still wider.

Moreover, see if the description ‘inherent in S’ be used of the genus rendered in relation to its species, as it is used of ‘white’ in the case of snow, thus showing clearly that it could not be the genus: for ‘true of S’ is the only description used of the genus in relation to its species. Look and see also if the genus fails to be synonymous with its species. For the genus is always predicated of its species synonymously.

Moreover, beware, whenever both species and genus have a contrary, and he places the better of the contraries inside the worse genus: for the result will be that the remaining species will be found in the remaining genus, seeing that contraries are found in contrary genera, so that the better species will be found in the worse genus and the worse in the better: whereas the usual view is that of the better species the genus too is better. Also see if he has placed the species inside the worse and not inside the better genus, when it is at the same time related in like manner to both, as (e.g.) if he has defined the ‘soul’ as a ‘form of motion’ or ‘a form of moving thing’. For the same soul is usually thought to be a principle alike of rest and of motion, so that, if rest is the better of the two, this is the genus into which the soul should have been put.

Moreover, judge by means of greater and less degrees: if overthrowing a view, see whether the genus admits of a greater degree, whereas neither the species itself does so, nor any term that is called after it: e.g. if virtue admits of a greater degree, so too does justice and the just man: for one man is called ‘more just than another’. If, therefore, the genus rendered admits of a greater degree, whereas neither the species does so itself nor yet any term called after it, then what has been rendered could not be the genus.

Again, if what is more generally, or as generally, thought to be the genus be not so, clearly neither is the genus rendered. The commonplace rule in question is useful especially in cases where the species appears to have several predicates in the category of essence, and where no distinction has been drawn between them, and we cannot say which of them is genus; e.g. both ‘pain’ and the ‘conception of a slight’ are usually thought to be predicates of ‘anger in the category of essence: for the angry man is both in pain and also conceives that he is slighted. The same mode of inquiry may be applied also to the case of the species, by comparing it with some other species: for if the one which is more generally, or as generally, thought to be found in the genus rendered be not found therein, then clearly neither could the species rendered be found therein.

In demolishing a view, therefore, you should follow the rule as stated. In establishing one, on the other hand, the commonplace rule that you should see if both the genus rendered and the species admit of a greater degree will not serve: for even though both admit it, it is still possible for one not to be the genus of the other. For both ‘beautiful’ and ‘white’ admit of a greater degree, and neither is the genus of the other. On the other hand, the comparison of the genera and of the species one with another is of use: e.g. supposing A and B to have a like claim to be genus, then if one be a genus, so also is the other. Likewise, also, if what has less claim be a genus, so also is what has more claim: e.g. if ‘capacity’ have more claim than ‘virtue’ to be the genus of self-control, and virtue be the genus, so also is capacity. The same observations will apply also in the case of the species. For instance, supposing A and B to have a like claim to be a species of the genus in question, then if the one be a species, so also is the other: and if that which is less generally thought to be so be a species, so also is that which is more generally thought to be so.

Moreover, to establish a view, you should look and see if the genus is predicated in the category of essence of those things of which it has been rendered as the genus, supposing the species rendered to be not one single species but several different ones: for then clearly it will be the genus. If, on the other, the species rendered be single, look and see whether the genus be predicated in the category of essence of other species as well: for then, again, the result will be that it is predicated of several different species.

Since some people think that the differentia, too, is a predicate of the various species in the category of essence, you should distinguish the genus from the differentia by employing the aforesaid elementary principles-(a) that the genus has a wider denotation than the differentia; (b) that in rendering the essence of a thing it is more fitting to state the genus than the differentia: for any one who says that ‘man’ is an ‘animal’ shows what man is better than he who describes him as ‘walking’; also (c) that the differentia always signifies a quality of the genus, whereas the genus does not do this of the differentia: for he who says ‘walking’ describes an animal of a certain quality, whereas he who says ‘animal’ describes an animal of a certain quality, whereas he who says ‘animal’ does not describe a walking thing of a certain quality.

The differentia, then, should be distinguished from the genus in this manner. Now seeing it is generally held that if what is musical, in being musical, possesses knowledge in some respect, then also ‘music’ is a particular kind of ‘knowledge’; and also that if what walks is moved in walking, then ‘walking’ is a particular kind of ‘movement’; you should therefore examine in the aforesaid manner any genus in which you want to establish the existence of something; e.g. if you wish to prove that ‘knowledge’ is a form of ‘conviction’, see whether the knower in knowing is convinced: for then clearly knowledge would be a particular kind of conviction. You should proceed in the same way also in regard to the other cases of this kind.

Moreover, seeing that it is difficult to distinguish whatever always follows along with a thing, and is not convertible with it, from its genus, if A follows B universally, whereas B does not follow A universally-as e.g. ‘rest’ always follows a ‘calm’ and ‘divisibility’ follows ‘number’, but not conversely (for the divisible is not always a number, nor rest a calm)-you may yourself assume in your treatment of them that the one which always follows is the genus, whenever the other is not convertible with it: if, on the other hand, some one else puts forward the proposition, do not accept it universally. An objection to it is that ‘not-being’ always follows what is ‘coming to be’ (for what is coming to be is not) and is not convertible with it (for what is not is not always coming to be), and that still ‘not-being’ is not the genus of ‘coming to be’: for ‘not-being’ has not any species at all. Questions, then, in regard to Genus should be investigated in the ways described.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 12:59