Topics, by Aristotle

Book V

1

THE question whether the attribute stated is or is not a property, should be examined by the following methods:

Any ‘property’ rendered is always either essential and permanent or relative and temporary: e.g. it is an ‘essential property’ of man to be ‘by nature a civilized animal’: a ‘relative property’ is one like that of the soul in relation to the body, viz. that the one is fitted to command, and the other to obey: a ‘permanent property’ is one like the property which belongs to God, of being an ‘immortal living being’: a ‘temporary property’ is one like the property which belongs to any particular man of walking in the gymnasium.

[The rendering of a property ‘relatively’ gives rise either to two problems or to four. For if he at the same time render this property of one thing and deny it of another, only two problems arise, as in the case of a statement that it is a property of a man, in relation to a horse, to be a biped. For one might try both to show that a man is not a biped, and also that a horse is a biped: in both ways the property would be upset. If on the other hand he render one apiece of two attributes to each of two things, and deny it in each case of the other, there will then be four problems; as in the case of a statement that it is a property of a man in relation to a horse for the former to be a biped and the latter a quadruped. For then it is possible to try to show both that a man is not naturally a biped, and that he is a quadruped, and also that the horse both is a biped, and is not a quadruped. If you show any of these at all, the intended attribute is demolished.]

An ‘essential’ property is one which is rendered of a thing in comparison with everything else and distinguishes the said thing from everything else, as does ‘a mortal living being capable of receiving knowledge’ in the case of man. A ‘relative’ property is one which separates its subject off not from everything else but only from a particular definite thing, as does the property which virtue possesses, in comparison with knowledge, viz. that the former is naturally produced in more than one faculty, whereas the latter is produced in that of reason alone, and in those who have a reasoning faculty. A ‘permanent’ property is one which is true at every time, and never fails, like being’ compounded of soul and body’, in the case of a living creature. A ‘temporary’ property is one which is true at some particular time, and does not of necessity always follow; as, of some particular man, that he walks in the market-place.

To render a property ‘relatively’ to something else means to state the difference between them as it is found either universally and always, or generally and in most cases: thus a difference that is found universally and always, is one such as man possesses in comparison with a horse, viz. being a biped: for a man is always and in every case a biped, whereas a horse is never a biped at any time. On the other hand, a difference that is found generally and in most cases, is one such as the faculty of reason possesses in comparison with that of desire and spirit, in that the former commands, while the latter obeys: for the reasoning faculty does not always command, but sometimes also is under command, nor is that of desire and spirit always under command, but also on occasion assumes the command, whenever the soul of a man is vicious.

Of ‘properties’ the most ‘arguable’ are the essential and permanent and the relative. For a relative property gives rise, as we said before, to several questions: for of necessity the questions arising are either two or four, or that arguments in regard to these are several. An essential and a permanent property you can discuss in relation to many things, or can observe in relation to many periods of time: if essential’, discuss it in comparison with many things: for the property ought to belong to its subject in comparison with every single thing that is, so that if the subject be not distinguished by it in comparison with everything else, the property could not have been rendered correctly. So a permanent property you should observe in relation to many periods of time; for if it does not or did not, or is not going to, belong, it will not be a property. On the other hand, about a temporary property we do not inquire further than in regard to the time called ‘the present’; and so arguments in regard to it are not many; whereas an arguable’ question is one in regard to which it is possible for arguments both numerous and good to arise.

The so-called ‘relative’ property, then, should be examined by means of the commonplace arguments relating to Accident, to see whether it belongs to the one thing and not to the other: on the other hand, permanent and essential properties should be considered by the following methods.

2

First, see whether the property has or has not been rendered correctly. Of a rendering being incorrect or correct, one test is to see whether the terms in which the property is stated are not or are more intelligible-for destructive purposes, whether they are not so, and for constructive purposes, whether they are so. Of the terms not being more intelligible, one test is to see whether the property which he renders is altogether more unintelligible than the subject whose property he has stated: for, if so, the property will not have been stated correctly. For the object of getting a property constituted is to be intelligible: the terms therefore in which it is rendered should be more intelligible: for in that case it will be possible to conceive it more adequately, e.g. any one who has stated that it is a property of ‘fire’ to ‘bear a very close resemblance to the soul’, uses the term ‘soul’, which is less intelligible than ‘fire’-for we know better what fire is than what soul is-, and therefore a ‘very close resemblance to the soul’ could not be correctly stated to be a property of fire. Another test is to see whether the attribution of A (property) to B (subject) fails to be more intelligible. For not only should the property be more intelligible than its subject, but also it should be something whose attribution to the particular subject is a more intelligible attribution. For he who does not know whether it is an attribute of the particular subject at all, will not know either whether it belongs to it alone, so that whichever of these results happens, its character as a property becomes obscure. Thus (e.g.) a man who has stated that it is a property of fire to be ‘the primary element wherein the soul is naturally found’, has introduced a subject which is less intelligible than ‘fire’, viz. whether the soul is found in it, and whether it is found there primarily; and therefore to be ‘the primary element in which the soul is naturally found’ could not be correctly stated to be a property of ‘fire’. On the other hand, for constructive purposes, see whether the terms in which the property is stated are more intelligible, and if they are more intelligible in each of the aforesaid ways. For then the property will have been correctly stated in this respect: for of constructive arguments, showing the correctness of a rendering, some will show the correctness merely in this respect, while others will show it without qualification. Thus (e.g.) a man who has said that the ‘possession of sensation’ is a property of ‘animal’ has both used more intelligible terms and has rendered the property more intelligible in each of the aforesaid senses; so that to ‘possess sensation’ would in this respect have been correctly rendered as a property of ‘animal’.

Next, for destructive purposes, see whether any of the terms rendered in the property is used in more than one sense, or whether the whole expression too signifies more than one thing. For then the property will not have been correctly stated. Thus (e.g.) seeing that to ‘being natural sentient’ signifies more than one thing, viz. (1) to possess sensation, (2) to use one’s sensation, being naturally sentient’ could not be a correct statement of a property of ‘animal’. The reason why the term you use, or the whole expression signifying the property, should not bear more than one meaning is this, that an expression bearing more than one meaning makes the object described obscure, because the man who is about to attempt an argument is in doubt which of the various senses the expression bears: and this will not do, for the object of rendering the property is that he may understand. Moreover, in addition to this, it is inevitable that those who render a property after this fashion should be somehow refuted whenever any one addresses his syllogism to that one of the term’s several meanings which does not agree. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see whether both all the terms and also the expression as a whole avoid bearing more than one sense: for then the property will have been correctly stated in this respect. Thus (e.g.) seeing that ‘body’ does not bear several meanings, nor quickest to move upwards in space’, nor yet the whole expression made by putting them together, it would be correct in this respect to say that it is a property of fire to be the ‘body quickest to move upwards in space’.

Next, for destructive purposes, see if the term of which he renders the property is used in more than one sense, and no distinction has been drawn as to which of them it is whose property he is stating: for then the property will not have been correctly rendered. The reasons why this is so are quite clear from what has been said above: for the same results are bound to follow. Thus (e.g.) seeing that ‘the knowledge of this’ signifies many things for it means (1) the possession of knowledge by it, (2) the use of its knowledge by it, (3) the existence of knowledge about it, (4) the use of knowledge about it-no property of the ‘knowledge of this’ could be rendered correctly unless he draw a distinction as to which of these it is whose property he is rendering. For constructive purposes, a man should see if the term of which he is rendering the property avoids bearing many senses and is one and simple: for then the property will have been correctly stated in this respect. Thus (e.g.) seeing that ‘man’ is used in a single sense, ‘naturally civilized animal’ would be correctly stated as a property of man.

Next, for destructive purposes, see whether the same term has been repeated in the property. For people often do this undetected in rendering ‘properties’ also, just as they do in their ‘definitions’ as well: but a property to which this has happened will not have been correctly stated: for the repetition of it confuses the hearer; thus inevitably the meaning becomes obscure, and further, such people are thought to babble. Repetition of the same term is likely to happen in two ways; one is, when a man repeatedly uses the same word, as would happen if any one were to render, as a property of fire, ‘the body which is the most rarefied of bodies’ (for he has repeated the word ‘body’); the second is, if a man replaces words by their definitions, as would happen if any one were to render, as a property of earth, ‘the substance which is by its nature most easily of all bodies borne downwards in space’, and were then to substitute ‘substances of such and such a kind’ for the word ‘bodies’: for ‘body’ and ‘a substance of such and such a kind’ mean one and the same thing. For he will have repeated the word ‘substance’, and accordingly neither of the properties would be correctly stated. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see whether he avoids ever repeating the same term; for then the property will in this respect have been correctly rendered. Thus (e.g.) seeing that he who has stated ‘animal capable of acquiring knowledge’ as a property of man has avoided repeating the same term several times, the property would in this respect have been correctly rendered of man.

Next, for destructive purposes, see whether he has rendered in the property any such term as is a universal attribute. For one which does not distinguish its subject from other things is useless, and it is the business of the language Of ‘properties’, as also of the language of definitions, to distinguish. In the case contemplated, therefore, the property will not have been correctly rendered. Thus (e.g.) a man who has stated that it is a property of knowledge to be a ‘conception incontrovertible by argument, because of its unity’, has used in the property a term of that kind, viz. ‘unity’, which is a universal attribute; and therefore the property of knowledge could not have been correctly stated. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see whether he has avoided all terms that are common to everything and used a term that distinguishes the subject from something: for then the property will in this respect have been correctly stated. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as he who has said that it is a property of a ‘living creature’ to ‘have a soul’ has used no term that is common to everything, it would in this respect have been correctly stated to be a property of a ‘living creature’ to ‘have a soul’.

Next, for destructive purposes see whether he renders more than one property of the same thing, without a definite proviso that he is stating more than one: for then the property will not have been correctly stated. For just as in the case of definitions too there should be no further addition beside the expression which shows the essence, so too in the case of properties nothing further should be rendered beside the expression that constitutes the property mentioned: for such an addition is made to no purpose. Thus (e.g.) a man who has said that it is a property of fire to be ‘the most rarefied and lightest body’ has rendered more than one property (for each term is a true predicate of fire alone); and so it could not be a correctly stated property of fire to be ‘the most rarefied and lightest body’. On the other hand, for constructive purposes, see whether he has avoided rendering more than one property of the same thing, and has rendered one only: for then the property will in this respect have been correctly stated. Thus (e.g.) a man who has said that it is a property of a liquid to be a ‘body adaptable to every shape’ has rendered as its property a single character and not several, and so the property of ‘liquid’ would in this respect have been correctly stated.

3

Next, for destructive purposes, see whether he has employed either the actual subject whose property he is rendering, or any of its species: for then the property will not have been correctly stated. For the object of rendering the property is that people may understand: now the subject itself is just as unintelligible as it was to start with, while any one of its species is posterior to it, and so is no more intelligible. Accordingly it is impossible to understand anything further by the use of these terms. Thus (e.g.) any one who has said that it is property of ‘animal’ to be ‘the substance to which “man” belongs as a species’ has employed one of its species, and therefore the property could not have been correctly stated. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see whether he avoids introducing either the subject itself or any of its species: for then the property will in this respect have been correctly stated. Thus (e.g.) a man who has stated that it is a property of a living creature to be ‘compounded of soul and body’ has avoided introducing among the rest either the subject itself or any of its species, and therefore in this respect the property of a ‘living creature’ would have been correctly rendered.

You should inquire in the same way also in the case of other terms that do or do not make the subject more intelligible: thus, for destructive purposes, see whether he has employed anything either opposite to the subject or, in general, anything simultaneous by nature with it or posterior to it: for then the property will not have been correctly stated. For an opposite is simultaneous by nature with its opposite, and what is simultaneous by nature or is posterior to it does not make its subject more intelligible. Thus (e.g.) any one who has said that it is a property of good to be ‘the most direct opposite of evil’, has employed the opposite of good, and so the property of good could not have been correctly rendered. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see whether he has avoided employing anything either opposite to, or, in general, simultaneous by nature with the subject, or posterior to it: for then the property will in this respect have been correctly rendered. Thus (e.g.) a man who has stated that it is a property of knowledge to be ‘the most convincing conception’ has avoided employing anything either opposite to, or simultaneous by nature with, or posterior to, the subject; and so the property of knowledge would in this respect have been correctly stated.

Next, for destructive purposes, see whether he has rendered as property something that does not always follow the subject but sometimes ceases to be its property: for then the property will not have been correctly described. For there is no necessity either that the name of the subject must also be true of anything to which we find such an attribute belonging; nor yet that the name of the subject will be untrue of anything to which such an attribute is found not to belong. Moreover, in addition to this, even after he has rendered the property it will not be clear whether it belongs, seeing that it is the kind of attribute that may fall: and so the property will not be clear. Thus (e.g.) a man who has stated that it is a property of animal ‘sometimes to move and sometimes to stand still’ rendered the kind of property which sometimes is not a property, and so the property could not have been correctly stated. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see whether he has rendered something that of necessity must always be a property: for then the property will have been in this respect correctly stated. Thus (e.g.) a man who has stated that it is a property of virtue to be ‘what makes its possessor good’ has rendered as property something that always follows, and so the property of virtue would in this respect have been correctly rendered.

Next, for destructive purposes, see whether in rendering the property of the present time he has omitted to make a definite proviso that it is the property of the present time which he is rendering: for else the property will not have been correctly stated. For in the first place, any unusual procedure always needs a definite proviso: and it is the usual procedure for everybody to render as property some attribute that always follows. In the second place, a man who omits to provide definitely whether it was the property of the present time which he intended to state, is obscure: and one should not give any occasion for adverse criticism. Thus (e.g.) a man who has stated it as the property of a particular man ‘to be sitting with a particular man’, states the property of the present time, and so he cannot have rendered the property correctly, seeing that he has described it without any definite proviso. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see whether, in rendering the property of the present time, he has, in stating it, made a definite proviso that it is the property of the present time that he is stating: for then the property will in this respect have been correctly stated. Thus (e.g.) a man who has said that it is the property of a particular man ‘to be walking now’, has made this distinction in his statement, and so the property would have been correctly stated.

Next, for destructive purposes, see whether he has rendered a property of the kind whose appropriateness is not obvious except by sensation: for then the property will not have been correctly stated. For every sensible attribute, once it is taken beyond the sphere of sensation, becomes uncertain. For it is not clear whether it still belongs, because it is evidenced only by sensation. This principle will be true in the case of any attributes that do not always and necessarily follow. Thus (e.g.) any one who has stated that it is a property of the sun to be ‘the brightest star that moves over the earth’, has used in describing the property an expression of that kind, viz. ‘to move over the earth’, which is evidenced by sensation; and so the sun’s property could not have been correctly rendered: for it will be uncertain, whenever the sun sets, whether it continues to move over the earth, because sensation then fails us. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see whether he has rendered the property of a kind that is not obvious to sensation, or, if it be sensible, must clearly belong of necessity: for then the property will in this respect have been correctly stated. Thus (e.g.) a man who has stated that it is a property of a surface to be ‘the primary thing that is coloured’, has introduced amongst the rest a sensible quality, ‘to be coloured’, but still a quality such as manifestly always belongs, and so the property of ‘surface’ would in this respect have been correctly rendered.

Next, for destructive purposes, see whether he has rendered the definition as a property: for then the property will not have been correctly stated: for the property of a thing ought not to show its essence. Thus (e.g.) a man who has said that it is the property of man to be ‘a walking, biped animal’ has rendered a property of man so as to signify his essence, and so the property of man could not have been correctly rendered. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see whether the property which he has rendered forms a predicate convertible with its subject, without, however, signifying its essence: for then the property will in this respect have been correctly rendered. Thus (e.g.) he who has stated that it is a property of man to be a ‘naturally civilized animal’ has rendered the property so as to be convertible with its subject, without, however, showing its essence, and so the property of man’ would in this respect have been correctly rendered.

Next, for destructive purposes, see whether he has rendered the property without having placed the subject within its essence. For of properties, as also of definitions, the first term to be rendered should be the genus, and then the rest of it should be appended immediately afterwards, and should distinguish its subject from other things. Hence a property which is not stated in this way could not have been correctly rendered. Thus (e.g.) a man who has said that it is a property of a living creature to ‘have a soul’ has not placed ‘living creature’ within its essence, and so the property of a living creature could not have been correctly stated. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see whether a man first places within its essence the subject whose property he is rendering, and then appends the rest: for then the property will in this respect have been correctly rendered. Thus (e.g.) he who has stated that is a property of man to be an ‘animal capable of receiving knowledge’, has rendered the property after placing the subject within its essence, and so the property of ‘man’ would in this respect have been correctly rendered.

4

The inquiry, then, whether the property has been correctly rendered or no, should be made by these means. The question, on the other hand, whether what is stated is or is not a property at all, you should examine from the following points of view. For the commonplace arguments which establish absolutely that the property is accurately stated will be the same as those that constitute it a property at all: accordingly they will be described in the course of them.

Firstly, then, for destructive purposes, take a look at each subject of which he has rendered the property, and see (e.g.) if it fails to belong to any of them at all, or to be true of them in that particular respect, or to be a property of each of them in respect of that character of which he has rendered the property: for then what is stated to be a property will not be a property. Thus, for example, inasmuch as it is not true of the geometrician that he ‘cannot be deceived by an argument’ (for a geometrician is deceived when his figure is misdrawn), it could not be a property of the man of science that he is not deceived by an argument. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see whether the property rendered be true of every instance, and true in that particular respect: for then what is stated not to be a property will be a property. Thus, for example, in as much as the description ‘an animal capable of receiving knowledge’ is true of every man, and true of him qua man, it would be a property of man to be ‘an animal capable of receiving knowledge’. commonplace rule means-for destructive purposes, see if the description fails to be true of that of which the name is true; and if the name fails to be true of that of which the description is true: for constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the description too is predicated of that of which the name is predicated, and if the name too is predicated of that of which the description is predicated.]

Next, for destructive purposes, see if the description fails to apply to that to which the name applies, and if the name fails to apply to that to which the description applies: for then what is stated to be a property will not be a property. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as the description ‘a living being that partakes of knowledge’ is true of God, while ‘man’ is not predicated of God, to be a living being that partakes of knowledge’ could not be a property of man. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the name as well be predicated of that of which the description is predicated, and if the description as well be predicated of that of which the name is predicated. For then what is stated not to be a property will be a property. Thus (e.g.) the predicate ‘living creature’ is true of that of which ‘having a soul’ is true, and ‘having a soul’ is true of that of which the predicate ‘living creature’ is true; and so ‘having a soul would be a property of ‘living creature’.

Next, for destructive purposes, see if he has rendered a subject as a property of that which is described as ‘in the subject’: for then what has been stated to be a property will not be a property. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as he who has rendered ‘fire’ as the property of ‘the body with the most rarefied particles’, has rendered the subject as the property of its predicate, ‘fire’ could not be a property of ‘the body with the most rarefied particles’. The reason why the subject will not be a property of that which is found in the subject is this, that then the same thing will be the property of a number of things that are specifically different. For the same thing has quite a number of specifically different predicates that belong to it alone, and the subject will be a property of all of these, if any one states the property in this way. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if he has rendered what is found in the subject as a property of the subject: for then what has been stated not to be a property will be a property, if it be predicated only of the things of which it has been stated to be the property. Thus (e.g.) he who has said that it is a property of ‘earth’ to be ‘specifically the heaviest body’ has rendered of the subject as its property something that is said of the thing in question alone, and is said of it in the manner in which a property is predicated, and so the property of earth would have been rightly stated.

Next, for destructive purposes, see if he has rendered the property as partaken of: for then what is stated to be a property will not be a property. For an attribute of which the subject partakes is a constituent part of its essence: and an attribute of that kind would be a differentia applying to some one species. E.g. inasmuch as he who has said that ‘walking on two feet’ is property of man has rendered the property as partaken of, ‘walking on two feet’ could not be a property of ‘man’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if he has avoided rendering the property as partaken of, or as showing the essence, though the subject is predicated convertibly with it: for then what is stated not to be a property will be a property. Thus (e.g.) he who has stated that to be ‘naturally sentient’ is a property of ‘animal’ has rendered the property neither as partaken of nor as showing the essence, though the subject is predicated convertibly with it; and so to be ‘naturally sentient’ would be a property of ‘animal’.

Next, for destructive purposes, see if the property cannot possibly belong simultaneously, but must belong either as posterior or as prior to the attribute described in the name: for then what is stated to be a property will not be a property either never, or not always. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as it is possible for the attribute ‘walking through the market-place’ to belong to an object as prior and as posterior to the attribute ‘man’, ‘walking through the market-place’ could not be a property of ‘man’ either never, or not always. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if it always and of necessity belongs simultaneously, without being either a definition or a differentia: for then what is stated not to be a property will be a property. Thus (e.g.) the attribute ‘an animal capable of receiving knowledge’ always and of necessity belongs simultaneously with the attribute ‘man’, and is neither differentia nor definition of its subject, and so ‘an animal capable of receiving knowledge’ would be a property of ‘man’.

Next, for destructive purposes, see if the same thing fails to be a property of things that are the same as the subject, so far as they are the same: for then what is stated to be a property will not be a property. Thus, for example, inasmuch as it is no property of a ‘proper object of pursuit’ to ‘appear good to certain persons’, it could not be a property of the ‘desirable’ either to ‘appear good to certain persons’: for ‘proper object of pursuit’ and ‘desirable’ mean the same. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the same thing be a property of something that is the same as the subject, in so far as it is the same. For then is stated not to be a property will be a property. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as it is called a property of a man, in so far as he is a man, ‘to have a tripartite soul’, it would also be a property of a mortal, in so far as he is a mortal, to have a tripartite soul. This commonplace rule is useful also in dealing with Accident: for the same attributes ought either to belong or not belong to the same things, in so far as they are the same.

Next, for destructive purposes, see if the property of things that are the same in kind as the subject fails to be always the same in kind as the alleged property: for then neither will what is stated to be the property of the subject in question. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as a man and a horse are the same in kind, and it is not always a property of a horse to stand by its own initiative, it could not be a property of a man to move by his own initiative; for to stand and to move by his own initiative are the same in kind, because they belong to each of them in so far as each is an ‘animal’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if of things that are the same in kind as the subject the property that is the same as the alleged property is always true: for then what is stated not to be a property will be a property. Thus (e.g.) since it is a property of man to be a ‘walking biped,’ it would also be a property of a bird to be a ‘flying biped’: for each of these is the same in kind, in so far as the one pair have the sameness of species that fall under the same genus, being under the genus ‘animal’, while the other pair have that of differentiae of the genus, viz. of ‘animal’. This commonplace rule is deceptive whenever one of the properties mentioned belongs to some one species only while the other belongs to many, as does ‘walking quadruped’.

Inasmuch as ‘same’ and ‘different’ are terms used in several senses, it is a job to render to a sophistical questioner a property that belongs to one thing and that only. For an attribute that belongs to something qualified by an accident will also belong to the accident taken along with the subject which it qualifies; e.g. an attribute that belongs to ‘man’ will belong also to ‘white man’, if there be a white man, and one that belongs to ‘white man’ will belong also to ‘man’. One might, then, bring captious criticism against the majority of properties, by representing the subject as being one thing in itself, and another thing when combined with its accident, saying, for example, that ‘man’ is one thing, and white man’ another, and moreover by representing as different a certain state and what is called after that state. For an attribute that belongs to the state will belong also to what is called after that state, and one that belongs to what is called after a state will belong also to the state: e.g. inasmuch as the condition of the scientist is called after his science, it could not be a property of ‘science’ that it is ‘incontrovertible by argument’; for then the scientist also will be incontrovertible by argument. For constructive purposes, however, you should say that the subject of an accident is not absolutely different from the accident taken along with its subject; though it is called ‘another’ thing because the mode of being of the two is different: for it is not the same thing for a man to be a man and for a white man to be a white man. Moreover, you should take a look along at the inflections, and say that the description of the man of science is wrong: one should say not ‘it’ but ‘he is incontrovertible by argument’; while the description of Science is wrong too: one should say not ‘it’ but ‘she is incontrovertible by argument’. For against an objector who sticks at nothing the defence should stick at nothing.

5

Next, for destructive purposes, see if, while intending to render an attribute that naturally belongs, he states it in his language in such a way as to indicate one that invariably belongs: for then it would be generally agreed that what has been stated to be a property is upset. Thus (e.g.) the man who has said that ‘biped’ is a property of man intends to render the attribute that naturally belongs, but his expression actually indicates one that invariably belongs: accordingly, ‘biped’ could not be a property of man: for not every man is possessed of two feet. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if he intends to render the property that naturally belongs, and indicates it in that way in his language: for then the property will not be upset in this respect. Thus (e.g.) he who renders as a property of ‘man’ the phrase ‘an animal capable of receiving knowledge’ both intends, and by his language indicates, the property that belongs by nature, and so ‘an animal capable of receiving knowledge’ would not be upset or shown in that respect not to be a property of man.

Moreover, as regards all the things that are called as they are primarily after something else, or primarily in themselves, it is a job to render the property of such things. For if you render a property as belonging to the subject that is so called after something else, then it will be true of its primary subject as well; whereas if you state it of its primary subject, then it will be predicated also of the thing that is so called after this other. Thus (e.g.) if any one renders, coloured’ as the property of ‘surface’, ‘coloured’ will be true of body as well; whereas if he render it of ‘body’, it will be predicated also of ‘surface’. Hence the name as well will not be true of that of which the description is true.

In the case of some properties it mostly happens that some error is incurred because of a failure to define how as well as to what things the property is stated to belong. For every one tries to render as the property of a thing something that belongs to it either naturally, as ‘biped’ belongs to ‘man’, or actually, as ‘having four fingers’ belongs to a particular man, or specifically, as ‘consisting of most rarefied particles’ belongs to ‘fire’, or absolutely, as ‘life’ to ‘living being’, or one that belongs to a thing only as called after something else, as ‘wisdom’ to the ‘soul’, or on the other hand primarily, as ‘wisdom’ to the ‘rational faculty’, or because the thing is in a certain state, as ‘incontrovertible by argument’ belongs to a ‘scientist’ (for simply and solely by reason of his being in a certain state will he be ‘incontrovertible by argument’), or because it is the state possessed by something, as ‘incontrovertible by argument’ belongs to ‘science’, or because it is partaken of, as ‘sensation’ belongs to ‘animal’ (for other things as well have sensation, e.g. man, but they have it because they already partake of ‘animal’), or because it partakes of something else, as ‘life’ belongs to a particular kind of ‘living being’. Accordingly he makes a mistake if he has failed to add the word ‘naturally’, because what belongs naturally may fail to belong to the thing to which it naturally belongs, as (e.g.) it belongs to a man to have two feet: so too he errs if he does not make a definite proviso that he is rendering what actually belongs, because one day that attribute will not be what it now is, e.g. the man’s possession of four fingers. So he errs if he has not shown that he states a thing to be such and such primarily, or that he calls it so after something else, because then its name too will not be true of that of which the description is true, as is the case with ‘coloured’, whether rendered as a property of ‘surface’ or of ‘body’. So he errs if he has not said beforehand that he has rendered a property to a thing either because that thing possesses a state, or because it is a state possessed by something; because then it will not be a property. For, supposing he renders the property to something as being a state possessed, it will belong to what possesses that state; while supposing he renders it to what possesses the state, it will belong to the state possessed, as did ‘incontrovertible by argument’ when stated as a property of ‘science’ or of the ‘scientist’. So he errs if he has not indicated beforehand that the property belongs because the thing partakes of, or is partaken of by, something; because then the property will belong to certain other things as well. For if he renders it because its subject is partaken of, it will belong to the things which partake of it; whereas if he renders it because its subject partakes of something else, it will belong to the things partaken of, as (e.g.) if he were to state ‘life’ to be a property of a ‘particular kind of living being’, or just of ‘living being. So he errs if he has not expressly distinguished the property that belongs specifically, because then it will belong only to one of the things that fall under the term of which he states the property: for the superlative belongs only to one of them, e.g. ‘lightest’ as applied to ‘fire’. Sometimes, too, a man may even add the word ‘specifically’, and still make a mistake. For the things in question should all be of one species, whenever the word ‘specifically’ is added: and in some cases this does not occur, as it does not, in fact, in the case of fire. For fire is not all of one species; for live coals and flame and light are each of them ‘fire’, but are of different species. The reason why, whenever ‘specifically’ is added, there should not be any species other than the one mentioned, is this, that if there be, then the property in question will belong to some of them in a greater and to others in a less degree, as happens with ‘consisting of most rarefied particles’ in the case of fire: for ‘light’ consists of more rarefied particles than live coals and flame. And this should not happen unless the name too be predicated in a greater degree of that of which the description is truer; otherwise the rule that where the description is truer the name too should be truer is not fulfilled. Moreover, in addition to this, the same attribute will be the property both of the term which has it absolutely and of that element therein which has it in the highest degree, as is the condition of the property ‘consisting of most rarefied particles’ in the case of ‘fire’: for this same attribute will be the property of ‘light’ as well: for it is ‘light’ that ‘consists of the most rarefied particles’. If, then, any one else renders a property in this way one should attack it; for oneself, one should not give occasion for this objection, but should define in what manner one states the property at the actual time of making the statement.

Next, for destructive purposes, see if he has stated a thing as a property of itself: for then what has been stated to be a property will not be a property. For a thing itself always shows its own essence, and what shows the essence is not a property but a definition. Thus (e.g.) he who has said that ‘becoming’ is a property of ‘beautiful’ has rendered the term as a property of itself (for ‘beautiful’ and ‘becoming’ are the same); and so ‘becoming’ could not be a property of ‘beautiful’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if he has avoided rendering a thing as a property of itself, but has yet stated a convertible predicate: for then what is stated not to be a property will be a property. Thus he who has stated ‘animate substance’ as a property of ‘living-creature’ has not stated ‘living-creature’ as a property of itself, but has rendered a convertible predicate, so that ‘animate substance’ would be a property of ‘living-creature’.

Next, in the case of things consisting of like parts, you should look and see, for destructive purposes, if the property of the whole be not true of the part, or if that of the part be not predicated of the whole: for then what has been stated to be the property will not be a property. In some cases it happens that this is so: for sometimes in rendering a property in the case of things that consist of like parts a man may have his eye on the whole, while sometimes he may address himself to what is predicated of the part: and then in neither case will it have been rightly rendered. Take an instance referring to the whole: the man who has said that it is a property of the ‘sea’ to be ‘the largest volume of salt water’, has stated the property of something that consists of like parts, but has rendered an attribute of such a kind as is not true of the part (for a particular sea is not ‘the largest volume of salt water’); and so the largest volume of salt water’ could not be a property of the ‘sea’. Now take one referring to the part: the man who has stated that it is a property of ‘air’ to be ‘breathable’ has stated the property of something that consists of like parts, but he has stated an attribute such as, though true of some air, is still not predicable of the whole (for the whole of the air is not breathable); and so ‘breathable’ could not be a property of ‘air’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see whether, while it is true of each of the things with similar parts, it is on the other hand a property of them taken as a collective whole: for then what has been stated not to be a property will be a property. Thus (e.g.) while it is true of earth everywhere that it naturally falls downwards, it is a property of the various particular pieces of earth taken as ‘the Earth’, so that it would be a property of ‘earth’ ‘naturally to fall downwards’.

6

Next, look from the point of view of the respective opposites, and first (a) from that of the contraries, and see, for destructive purposes, if the contrary of the term rendered fails to be a property of the contrary subject. For then neither will the contrary of the first be a property of the contrary of the second. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as injustice is contrary to justice, and the lowest evil to the highest good, but ‘to be the highest good’ is not a property of ‘justice’, therefore ‘to be the lowest evil’ could not be a property of ‘injustice’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the contrary is the property of the contrary: for then also the contrary of the first will be the property of the contrary of the second. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as evil is contrary to good, and objectionable to desirable, and ‘desirable’ is a property of ‘good’, ‘objectionable’ would be a property of ‘evil’.

Secondly (h) look from the point of view of relative opposites and see, for destructive purposes, if the correlative of the term rendered fails to be a property of the correlative of the subject: for then neither will the correlative of the first be a property of the correlative of the second. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘double’ is relative to ‘half’, and ‘in excess’ to ‘exceeded’, while ‘in excess’ is not a property of ‘double’, exceeded’ could not be a property of ‘half’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the correlative of the alleged property is a property of the subject’s correlative: for then also the correlative of the first will be a property of the correlative of the second: e.g. inasmuch as ‘double’ is relative to ‘half’, and the proportion 1:2 is relative to the proportion 2:1, while it is a property of ‘double’ to be ‘in the proportion of 2 to 1’, it would be a property of ‘half’ to be ‘in the proportion of 1 to 2’.

Thirdly (c) for destructive purposes, see if an attribute described in terms of a state (X) fails to be a property of the given state (Y): for then neither will the attribute described in terms of the privation (of X) be a property of the privation (of Y). Also if, on the other hand, an attribute described in terms of the privation (of X) be not a property of the given privation (of Y), neither will the attribute described in terms of the state (X) be a property of the state (Y). Thus, for example, inasmuch as it is not predicated as a property of ‘deafness’ to be a ‘lack of sensation’, neither could it be a property of ‘hearing’ to be a ‘sensation’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if an attribute described in terms of a state (X) is a property of the given state (Y): for then also the attribute that is described in terms of the privation (of X) will be a property of the privation (of Y). Also, if an attribute described in terms of a privation (of X) be a property of the privation (of Y), then also the attribute that is described in terms of the state (X) will be a property of the state (Y). Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘to see’ is a property of ‘sight’, inasmuch as we have sight, ‘failure to see’ would be a property of ‘blindness’, inasmuch as we have not got the sight we should naturally have.

Next, look from the point of view of positive and negative terms; and first (a) from the point of view of the predicates taken by themselves. This common-place rule is useful only for a destructive purpose. Thus (e.g.) see if the positive term or the attribute described in terms of it is a property of the subject: for then the negative term or the attribute described in terms of it will not be a property of the subject. Also if, on the other hand, the negative term or the attribute described in terms of it is a property of the subject, then the positive term or the attribute described in terms of it will not be a property of the subject: e.g. inasmuch as ‘animate’ is a property of ‘living creature’, ‘inanimate’ could not be a property of ‘living creature’.

Secondly (b) look from the point of view of the predicates, positive or negative, and their respective subjects; and see, for destructive purposes, if the positive term falls to be a property of the positive subject: for then neither will the negative term be a property of the negative subject. Also, if the negative term fails to be a property of the negative subject, neither will the positive term be a property of the positive subject. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘animal’ is not a property of ‘man’, neither could ‘not-animal’ be a property of ‘not-man’. Also if ‘not-animal’ seems not to be a property of ‘not-man’, neither will ‘animal’ be a property of ‘man’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the positive term is a property of the positive subject: for then the negative term will be a property of the negative subject as well. Also if the negative term be a property of the negative subject, the positive will be a property of the positive as well. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as it is a property of ‘not-living being’ ‘not to live’, it would be a property of ‘living being’ ‘to live’: also if it seems to be a property of ‘living being’ ‘to live’, it will also seem to be a property of ‘not-living being’ ‘not to live’.

Thirdly (c) look from the point of view of the subjects taken by themselves, and see, for destructive purposes, if the property rendered is a property of the positive subject: for then the same term will not be a property of the negative subject as well. Also, if the term rendered be a property of the negative subject, it will not be a property of the positive. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘animate’ is a property of ‘living creature’, ‘animate’ could not be a property of ‘not-living creature’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, if the term rendered fails to be a property of the affirmative subject it would be a property of the negative. This commonplace rule is, however, deceptive: for a positive term is not a property of a negative, or a negative of a positive. For a positive term does not belong at all to a negative, while a negative term, though it belongs to a positive, does not belong as a property.

Next, look from the point of view of the coordinate members of a division, and see, for destructive purposes, if none of the co-ordinate members (parallel with the property rendered) be a property of any of the remaining set of co-ordinate members (parallel with the subject): for then neither will the term stated be a property of that of which it is stated to be a property. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘sensible living being’ is not a property of any of the other living beings, ‘intelligible living being’ could not be a property of God. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if some one or other of the remaining co-ordinate members (parallel with the property rendered) be a property of each of these co-ordinate members (parallel with the subject): for then the remaining one too will be a property of that of which it has been stated not to be a property. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as it is a property of ‘wisdom’ to be essentially ‘the natural virtue of the rational faculty’, then, taking each of the other virtues as well in this way, it would be a property of ‘temperance’ to be essentially ‘the natural virtue of the faculty of desire’.

Next, look from the point of view of the inflexions, and see, for destructive purposes, if the inflexion of the property rendered fails to be a property of the inflexion of the subject: for then neither will the other inflexion be a property of the other inflexion. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘beautifully’ is not a property of ‘justly’, neither could ‘beautiful’ be a property of ‘just’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the inflexion of the property rendered is a property of the inflexion of the subject: for then also the other inflexion will be a property of the other inflexion. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘walking biped’ is a property of man, it would also be any one’s property ‘as a man’ to be described ‘as a walking biped’. Not only in the case of the actual term mentioned should one look at the inflexions, but also in the case of its opposites, just as has been laid down in the case of the former commonplace rules as well.’ Thus, for destructive purposes, see if the inflexion of the opposite of the property rendered fails to be the property of the inflexion of the opposite of the subject: for then neither will the inflexion of the other opposite be a property of the inflexion of the other opposite. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘well’ is not a property of ‘justly’, neither could ‘badly’ be a property of ‘unjustly’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the inflexion of the opposite of the property originally suggested is a property of the inflexion of the opposite of the original subject: for then also the inflexion of the other opposite will be a property of the inflexion of the other opposite. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘best’ is a property of ‘the good’, ‘worst’ also will be a property of ‘the evil’.

7

Next, look from the point of view of things that are in a like relation, and see, for destructive purposes, if what is in a relation like that of the property rendered fails to be a property of what is in a relation like that of the subject: for then neither will what is in a relation like that of the first be a property of what is in a relation like that of the second. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as the relation of the builder towards the production of a house is like that of the doctor towards the production of health, and it is not a property of a doctor to produce health, it could not be a property of a builder to produce a house. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if what is in a relation like that of the property rendered is a property of what is in a relation like that of the subject: for then also what is in a relation like that of the first will be a property of what is in a relation like that of the second. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as the relation of a doctor towards the possession of ability to produce health is like that of a trainer towards the possession of ability to produce vigour, and it is a property of a trainer to possess the ability to produce vigour, it would be a property of a doctor to possess the ability to produce health.

Next look from the point of view of things that are identically related, and see, for destructive purposes, if the predicate that is identically related towards two subjects fails to be a property of the subject which is identically related to it as the subject in question; for then neither will the predicate that is identically related to both subjects be a property of the subject which is identically related to it as the first. If, on the other hand, the predicate which is identically related to two subjects is the property of the subject which is identically related to it as the subject in question, then it will not be a property of that of which it has been stated to be a property. (e.g.) inasmuch as prudence is identically related to both the noble and the base, since it is knowledge of each of them, and it is not a property of prudence to be knowledge of the noble, it could not be a property of prudence to be knowledge of the base. If, on the other hand, it is a property of prudence to be the knowledge of the noble, it could not be a property of it to be the knowledge of the base.] For it is impossible for the same thing to be a property of more than one subject. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, this commonplace rule is of no use: for what is ‘identically related’ is a single predicate in process of comparison with more than one subject.

Next, for destructive purposes, see if the predicate qualified by the verb ‘to be’ fails to be a property of the subject qualified by the verb ‘to be’: for then neither will the destruction of the one be a property of the other qualified by the verb ‘to be destroyed’, nor will the ‘becoming’the one be a property of the other qualified by the verb ‘to become’. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as it is not a property of ‘man’ to be an animal, neither could it be a property of becoming a man to become an animal; nor could the destruction of an animal be a property of the destruction of a man. In the same way one should derive arguments also from ‘becoming’ to ‘being’ and ‘being destroyed’, and from ‘being destroyed’ to ‘being’ and to ‘becoming’ exactly as they have just been given from ‘being’ to ‘becoming’ and ‘being destroyed’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the subject set down as qualified by the verb ‘to be’ has the predicate set down as so qualified, as its property: for then also the subject qualified by the very ‘to become’ will have the predicate qualified by ‘to become’ as its property, and the subject qualified by the verb to be destroyed’ will have as its property the predicate rendered with this qualification. Thus, for example, inasmuch as it is a property of man to be a mortal, it would be a property of becoming a man to become a mortal, and the destruction of a mortal would be a property of the destruction of a man. In the same way one should derive arguments also from ‘becoming’ and ‘being destroyed’ both to ‘being’ and to the conclusions that follow from them, exactly as was directed also for the purpose of destruction.

Next take a look at the ‘idea’ of the subject stated, and see, for destructive purposes, if the suggested property fails to belong to the ‘idea’ in question, or fails to belong to it in virtue of that character which causes it to bear the description of which the property was rendered: for then what has been stated to be a property will not be a property. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘being motionless’ does not belong to ‘man-himself’ qua ‘man’, but qua ‘idea’, it could not be a property of ‘man’ to be motionless. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the property in question belongs to the idea, and belongs to it in that respect in virtue of which there is predicated of it that character of which the predicate in question has been stated not to be a property: for then what has been stated not to be a property will be a property. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as it belongs to ‘living-creature-itself’ to be compounded of soul and body, and further this belongs to it qua ‘living-creature’, it would be a property of ‘living-creature’ to be compounded of soul and body.

8

Next look from the point of view of greater and less degrees, and first (a) for destructive purposes, see if what is more-P fails to be a property of what is more-S: for then neither will what is less-P be a property of what is less-S, nor least-P of least-S, nor most-P of most-S, nor P simply of S simply. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as being more highly coloured is not a property of what is more a body, neither could being less highly coloured be a property of what is less a body, nor being coloured be a property of body at all. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if what is more-P is a property of what is more-S: for then also what is less-P will be a property of what is less S, and least-P of least-S, and most-P of most-S, and P simply of S simply. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as a higher degree of sensation is a property of a higher degree of life, a lower degree of sensation also would be a property of a lower degree of life, and the highest of the highest and the lowest of the lowest degree, and sensation simply of life simply.

Also you should look at the argument from a simple predication to the same qualified types of predication, and see, for destructive purposes, if P simply fails to be a property of S simply; for then neither will more-P be a property of more-S, nor less-P of less-S, nor most-P of most-S, nor least-P of least-S. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘virtuous’ is not a property of ‘man’, neither could ‘more virtuous’ be a property of what is ‘more human’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if P simply is a property of S simply: for then more P also will be a property of more-S, and less-P of less-S, and least-P of least-S, and most-P of most-S. Thus (e.g.) a tendency to move upwards by nature is a property of fire, and so also a greater tendency to move upwards by nature would be a property of what is more fiery. In the same way too one should look at all these matters from the point of view of the others as well.

Secondly (b) for destructive purposes, see if the more likely property fails to be a property of the more likely subject: for then neither will the less likely property be a property of the less likely subject. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘perceiving’ is more likely to be a property of ‘animal’ than ‘knowing’ of ‘man’, and ‘perceiving’ is not a property of ‘animal’, ‘knowing’ could not be a property of ‘man’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if the less likely property is a property of the less likely subject; for then too the more likely property will be a property of the more likely subject. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘to be naturally civilized’ is less likely to be a property of man than ‘to live’ of an animal, and it is a property of man to be naturally civilized, it would be a property of animal to live.

Thirdly (c) for destructive purposes, see if the predicate fails to be a property of that of which it is more likely to be a property: for then neither will it be a property of that of which it is less likely to be a property: while if it is a property of the former, it will not be a property of the latter. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘to be coloured’ is more likely to be a property of a ‘surface’ than of a ‘body’, and it is not a property of a surface, ‘to be coloured’ could not be a property of ‘body’; while if it is a property of a ‘surface’, it could not be a property of a ‘body’. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, this commonplace rule is not of any use: for it is impossible for the same thing to be a property of more than one thing.

Fourthly (d) for destructive purposes, see if what is more likely to be a property of a given subject fails to be its property: for then neither will what is less likely to be a property of it be its property. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘sensible’ is more likely than ‘divisible’ to be a property of ‘animal’, and ‘sensible’ is not a property of animal, ‘divisible’ could not be a property of animal. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if what is less likely to be a property of it is a property; for then what is more likely to be a property of it will be a property as well. Thus, for example, inasmuch as ‘sensation’ is less likely to be a property of ‘animal’ than life’, and ‘sensation’ is a property of animal, ‘life’ would be a property of animal.

Next, look from the point of view of the attributes that belong in a like manner, and first (a) for destructive purposes, see if what is as much a property fails to be a property of that of which it is as much a property: for then neither will that which is as much a property as it be a property of that of which it is as much a property. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘desiring’ is as much a property of the faculty of desire as reasoning’ is a property of the faculty of reason, and desiring is not a property of the faculty of desire, reasoning could not be a property of the faculty of reason. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if what is as much a property is a property of that of which it is as much a property: for then also what is as much a property as it will be a property of that of which it is as much a property. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as it is as much a property of ‘the faculty of reason’ to be ‘the primary seat of wisdom’ as it is of ‘the faculty of desire’ to be ‘the primary seat of temperance’, and it is a property of the faculty of reason to be the primary seat of wisdom, it would be a property of the faculty of desire to be the primary seat of temperance.

Secondly (b) for destructive purposes, see if what is as much a property of anything fails to be a property of it: for then neither will what is as much a property be a property of it. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘seeing’ is as much a property of man as ‘hearing’, and ‘seeing’ is not a property of man, ‘hearing’ could not be a property of man. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if what is as much a property of it is its property: for then what is as much a property of it as the former will be its property as well. Thus (e.g.) it is as much a property of the soul to be the primary possessor of a part that desires as of a part that reasons, and it is a property of the soul to be the primary possessor of a part that desires, and so it be a property of the soul to be the primary possessor of a part that reasons.

Thirdly (c) for destructive purposes, see if it fails to be a property of that of which it is as much a property: for then neither will it be a property of that of which it is as much a property as of the former, while if it be a property of the former, it will not be a property of the other. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as ‘to burn’ is as much a property of ‘flame’ as of ‘live coals’, and ‘to burn’ is not a property of flame, ‘to burn’ could not be a property of live coals: while if it is a property of flame, it could not be a property of live coals. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, this commonplace rule is of no use.

The rule based on things that are in a like relation’ differs from the rule based on attributes that belong in a like manner,’ because the former point is secured by analogy, not from reflection on the belonging of any attribute, while the latter is judged by a comparison based on the fact that an attribute belongs.

Next, for destructive purposes, see if in rendering the property potentially, he has also through that potentiality rendered the property relatively to something that does not exist, when the potentiality in question cannot belong to what does not exist: for then what is stated to be a property will not be a property. Thus (e.g.) he who has said that ‘breathable’ is a property of ‘air’ has, on the one hand, rendered the property potentially (for that is ‘breathable’ which is such as can be breathed), and on the other hand has also rendered the property relatively to what does not exist:-for while air may exist, even though there exist no animal so constituted as to breathe the air, it is not possible to breathe it if no animal exist: so that it will not, either, be a property of air to be such as can be breathed at a time when there exists no animal such as to breathe it and so it follows that ‘breathable’ could not be a property of air.

For constructive purposes, see if in rendering the property potentially he renders the property either relatively to something that exists, or to something that does not exist, when the potentiality in question can belong to what does not exist: for then what has been stated not to be a property will be a property. Thus e.g.) he who renders it as a property of ‘being’ to be ‘capable of being acted upon or of acting’, in rendering the property potentially, has rendered the property relatively to something that exists: for when ‘being’ exists, it will also be capable of being acted upon or of acting in a certain way: so that to be ‘capable of being acted upon or of acting’ would be a property of ‘being’.

Next, for destructive purposes, see if he has stated the property in the superlative: for then what has been stated to be a property will not be a property. For people who render the property in that way find that of the object of which the description is true, the name is not true as well: for though the object perish the description will continue in being none the less; for it belongs most nearly to something that is in being. An example would be supposing any one were to render ‘the lightest body’ as a property of ‘fire’: for, though fire perish, there eh re will still be some form of body that is the lightest, so that ‘the lightest body’ could not be a property of fire. For constructive purposes, on the other hand, see if he has avoided rendering the property in the superlative: for then the property will in this respect have been property of man has not rendered the property correctly stated. Thus (e.g.) inasmuch as he in the superlative, the property would in who states ‘a naturally civilized animal’ as a this respect have been correctly stated.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/a/aristotle/a8t/book5.html

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