On the Kinds of Being (1).
1. Philosophy at a very early stage investigated the number and character of the Existents. Various theories resulted: some declared for one Existent, others for a finite number, others again for an infinite number, while as regards the nature of the Existents — one, numerically finite, or numerically infinite — there was a similar disagreement. These theories, in so far as they have been adequately examined by later workers, may be passed over here; our attention must be directed upon the results of those whose examination has led them to posit on their awn account certain well-defined genera.
These thinkers rejected pure unity on the ground of the plurality observed even in the Intellectual world; they rejected an infinite number as not reconcilable with the facts and as defying knowledge: considering the foundations of being to be “genera” rather than elements strictly so called, they concluded for a finite number. Of these “genera” some found ten, others less, others no doubt more.
But here again there is a divergence of views. To some the genera are first-principles; to others they indicate only a generic classification of the Existents themselves.
Let us begin with the well-known tenfold division of the Existents, and consider whether we are to understand ten genera ranged under the common name of Being, or ten categories. That the term Being has not the same sense in all ten is rightly maintained.
But a graver problem confronts us at the outset: Are the ten found alike in the Intellectual and in the Sensible realms? Or are all found in the Sensible and some only in the Intellectual? All in the Intellectual and some in the Sensible is manifestly impossible.
At this point it would be natural to investigate which of the ten belong to both spheres, and whether the Existents of the Intellectual are to be ranged under one and the same genus with the Existents in the Sensible, or whether the term “Existence” [or Substance] is equivocal as applied to both realms. If the equivocation exists, the number of genera will be increased: if there is no equivocation, it is strange to find the one same “Existence” applying to the primary and to the derivative Existents when there is no common genus embracing both primal and secondary.
These thinkers are however not considering the Intellectual realm in their division, which was not intended to cover all the Existents; the Supreme they overlooked.
2. But are we really obliged to posit the existence of such genera?
Take Substance, for Substance must certainly be our starting-point: what are the grounds for regarding Substance as one single genus?
It has been remarked that Substance cannot be a single entity common to both the Intellectual and the Sensible worlds. We may add that such community would entail the existence of something prior to Intellectual and Sensible Substances alike, something distinct from both as predicated of both; and this prior would be neither body nor unembodied; for it were one or the other, body would be unembodied, or the unembodied would be the body.
This conclusion must not however prevent our seeking in the actual substance of the Sensible world an element held in common by Matter, by Form and by their Composite, all of which are designated as substances, though it is not maintained that they are Substance in an equal degree; Form is usually held to be Substance in a higher degree than Matter, and rightly so, in spite of those who would have Matter to be the more truly real.
There is further the distinction drawn between what are known as First and Second Substances. But what is their common basis, seeing that the First are the source from which the Second derive their right to be called substances?
But, in sum, it is impossible to define Substance: determine its property, and still you have not attained to its essence. Even the definition, “That which, numerically one and the same, is receptive of contraries,” will hardly be applicable to all substances alike.
3. But perhaps we should rather speak of some single category, embracing Intellectual Substance, Matter, Form, and the Composite of Matter and Form. One might refer to the family of the Heraclids as a unity in the sense, not of a common element in all its members, but of a common origin: similarly, Intellectual Substance would be Substance in the first degree, the others being substances by derivation and in a lower degree.
But what is the objection to including everything in a single category, all else of which existence is predicated being derived from that one thing, Existence or Substance? Because, granted that things be no more than modifications of Substance, there is a distinct grading of substances themselves. Moreover, the single category does not put us in a position to build on Substance, or to grasp it in its very truth as the plausible source of the other substances.
Supposing we grant that all things known as substances are homogeneous as possessing something denied to the other genera, what precisely is this something, this individuality, this subject which is never a predicate, this thing not present in any thing as in a subject, this thing which does not owe its essential character to any other thing, as a quality takes character from a body and a quantity from a substance, as time is related to motion and motion to the moved?
The Second Substance is, it is true, a predicate. But predication in this case signifies a different relation from that just considered; it reveals the genus inherent in the subject and the subject’s essential character, whereas whiteness is predicated of a thing in the sense of being present in the thing.
The properties adduced may indeed be allowed to distinguish Substance from the other Existents. They afford a means of grouping substances together and calling them by a common name. They do not however establish the unity of a genus, and they do not bring to light the concept and the nature of Substance.
These considerations are sufficient for our purpose: let us now proceed to investigate the nature of Quantity.
4. We are told that number is Quantity in the primary sense, number together with all continuous magnitude, space and time: these are the standards to which all else that is considered as Quantity is referred, including motion which is Quantity because its time is quantitative — though perhaps, conversely, the time takes its continuity from the motion.
If it is maintained that the continuous is a Quantity by the fact of its continuity, then the discrete will not be a Quantity. If, on the contrary, the continuous possesses Quantity as an accident, what is there common to both continuous and discrete to make them quantities?
Suppose we concede that numbers are quantities: we are merely allowing them the name of quantity; the principle which gives them this name remains obscure.
On the other hand, line and surface and body are not called quantities; they are called magnitudes: they become known as quantities only when they are rated by number-two yards, three yards. Even the natural body becomes a quantity when measured, as does the space which it occupies; but this is quantity accidental, not quantity essential; what we seek to grasp is not accidental quantity but Quantity independent and essential, Quantity-Absolute. Three oxen is not a quantity; it is their number, the three, that is Quantity; for in three oxen we are dealing with two categories. So too with a line of a stated length, a surface of a given area; the area will be a quantity but not the surface, which only comes under that category when it constitutes a definite geometric figure.
Are we then to consider numbers, and numbers only, as constituting the category of Quantity? If we mean numbers in themselves, they are substances, for the very good reason that they exist independently. If we mean numbers displayed in the objects participant in number, the numbers which give the count of the objects — ten horses or ten oxen, and not ten units — then we have a paradoxical result: first, the numbers in themselves, it would appear, are substances but the numbers in objects are not; and secondly, the numbers inhere in the objects as measures [of extension or weight], yet as standing outside the objects they have no measuring power, as do rulers and scales. If however their existence is independent, and they do not inhere in the objects, but are simply called in for the purpose of measurement, the objects will be quantities only to the extent of participating in Quantity.
So with the numbers themselves: how can they constitute the category of Quantity? They are measures; but how do measures come to be quantities or Quantity? Doubtless in that, existing as they do among the Existents and not being adapted to any of the other categories, they find their place under the influence of verbal suggestion and so are referred to the so-called category of Quantity. We see the unit mark off one measurement and then proceed to another; and number thus reveals the amount of a thing, and the mind measures by availing itself of the total figure.
It follows that in measuring it is not measuring essence; it pronounces its “one” or “two,” whatever the character of the objects, even summing contraries. It does not take count of condition — hot, handsome; it simply notes how many.
Number then, whether regarded in itself or in the participant objects, belongs to the category of Quantity, but the participant objects do not. “Three yards long” does not fall under the category of Quantity, but only the three.
Why then are magnitudes classed as quantities? Not because they are so in the strict sense, but because they approximate to Quantity, and because objects in which magnitudes inhere are themselves designated as quantities. We call a thing great or small from its participation in a high number or a low. True, greatness and smallness are not claimed to be quantities, but relations: but it is by their apparent possession of quantity that they are thought of as relations. All this, however, needs more careful examination.
In sum, we hold that there is no single genus of Quantity. Only number is Quantity, the rest [magnitudes, space, time, motion] quantities only in a secondary degree. We have therefore not strictly one genus, but one category grouping the approximate with the primary and the secondary.
We have however to enquire in what sense the abstract numbers are substances. Can it be that they are also in a manner quantitative? Into whatever category they fall, the other numbers [those inherent in objects] can have nothing in common with them but the name. 5. Speech, time, motion — in what sense are these quantities?
Let us begin with speech. It is subject to measurement, but only in so far as it is sound; it is not a quantity in its essential nature, which nature is that it be significant, as noun and verb are significant. The air is its Matter, as it is Matter to verb and noun, the components of speech.
To be more precise, we may define speech as an impact [made upon the outer air by the breath], though it is not so much the impact as the impression which the impact produces and which, as it were, imposes Form [upon the air]. Speech, thus, is rather an action than a quantity — an action with a significance. Though perhaps it would be truer to say that while this motion, this impact, is an action, the counter-motion is an experience [or Passion]; or each may be from different points of view either an action or an experience: or we may think of speech as action upon a substrate [air] and experience within that substrate.
If however voice is not characteristically impact, but is simply air, two categories will be involved: voice is significant, and the one category will not be sufficient to account for this significance without associating with a second.
With regard to time, if it is to be thought of as a measure, we must determine what it is that applies this measure. It must clearly be either Soul or the Present Moment. If on the contrary we take time to be something measured and regard it as being of such and such extension — a year, for example — then we may consider it as a quantity: essentially however time is of a different nature; the very fact that we can attribute this or that length to it shows us that it is not length: in other words, time is not Quantity. Quantity in the strict sense is the Quantity not inbound with things; if things became quantities by mere participation in Quantity, then Substance itself would be identical with Quantity.
Equality and inequality must be regarded as properties of Quantity-Absolute, not of the participants, or of them not essentially but only accidentally: such participants as “three yards’ length,” which becomes a quantity, not as belonging to a single genus of Quantity, but by being subsumed under the one head, the one category.
6. In considering Relation we must enquire whether it possesses the community of a genus, or whether it may on other grounds be treated as a unity.
Above all, has Relation — for example, that of right and left, double and half — any actuality? Has it, perhaps, actuality in some cases only, as for instance in what is termed “posterior” but not in what is termed “prior”? Or is its actuality in no case conceivable?
What meaning, then, are we to attach to double and half and all other cases of less and more; to habit and disposition, reclining, sitting, standing; to father, son, master, slave; to like, unlike, equal, unequal; to active and passive, measure and measured; or again to knowledge and sensation, as related respectively to the knowable and the sensible?
Knowledge, indeed, may be supposed to entail in relation to the known object some actual entity corresponding to that object’s Ideal Form, and similarly with sensation as related to the sense-object. The active will perform some constant function in relation to the passive, as will the measure in relation to the measured.
But what will emerge from the relation of like to like? Nothing will emerge. Likeness is the inherence of qualitative identity; its entire content is the quality present in the two objects.
From equality, similarly, nothing emerges. The relation merely presupposes the existence of a quantitative identity; — is nothing but our judgement comparing objects essentially independent and concluding, “This and that have the same magnitude, the same quality; this has produced that; this is superior to that.”
Again, what meaning can sitting and standing have apart from sitter and stander? The term “habit” either implies a having, in which case it signifies possession, or else it arises from something had, and so denotes quality; and similarly with disposition.
What then in these instances can be the meaning of correlatives apart from our conception of their juxtaposition? “Greater” may refer to very different magnitudes; “different” to all sorts of objects: the comparison is ours; it does not lie in the things themselves.
Right and left, before and behind, would seem to belong less to the category of Relation than to that of Situation. Right means “situated at one point,” left means “situated at another.” But the right and left are in our conception, nothing of them in the things themselves.
Before and after are merely two times; the relation is again of our making.
7. Now if we do not mean anything by Relation but are victims of words, none of the relations mentioned can exist: Relation will be a notion void of content.
Suppose however that we do possess ourselves of objective truth when in comparing two points of time we pronounce one prior, or posterior, to the other, that priority does entail something distinct from the objects to which it refers; admit an objective truth behind the relation of left and right: does this apply also to magnitudes, and is the relation exhibiting excess and deficiency also something distinct from the quantities involved?
Now one thing is double of another quite apart from our speech or thought; one thing possesses and another is possessed before we notice the fact; equals do not await our comparison but — and this applies to Quality as well as Quantity — rest upon an identity existing between the objects compared: in all the conditions in which we assert Relation the mutual relation exists over and above the objects; we perceive it as already existent; our knowledge is directed upon a thing, there to be known — a clear testimony to the reality of Relation.
In these circumstances we can no longer put the question of its existence. We have simply to distinguish: sometimes the relation subsists while the objects remain unaltered and even apart; sometimes it depends upon their combination; sometimes, while they remain unchanged, the relation utterly ceases, or, as happens with right and near, becomes different. These are the facts which chiefly account for the notion that Relation has no reality in such circumstances.
Our task, thus, is to give full value to this elusive character of Relation, and, then to enquire what there is that is constant in all these particular cases and whether this constant is generic or accidental; and having found this constant, we must discover what sort of actuality it possesses.
It need hardly be said that we are not to affirm Relation where one thing is simply an attribute of another, as a habit is an attribute of a soul or of a body; it is not Relation when a soul belongs to this individual or dwells in that body. Relation enters only when the actuality of the relationships is derived from no other source than Relation itself; the actuality must be, not that which is characteristic of the substances in question, but that which is specifically called relative. Thus double with its correlative, half gives actuality neither to two yards’ length or the number two, nor to one yard’s length or the number one; what happens is that, when these quantities are viewed in their relation, they are found to be not merely two and one respectively, but to produce the assertion and to exhibit the fact of standing one to the other in the condition of double and half. Out of the objects in a certain conjunction this condition of being double and half has issued as something distinct from either; double and half have emerged as correlatives, and their being is precisely this of mutual dependence; the double exists by its superiority over the half, and the half by its inferiority; there is no priority to distinguish double from half; they arise simultaneously.
It is another question whether they endure simultaneously. Take the case of father and son, and such relationships; the father dies, but the other is still his son, and so with brothers. Moreover, we see likeness where one of the like people is dead.
8. But we are digressing: we must resume our enquiry into the cause of dissimilarity among relations. Yet we must first be informed what reality, common to all cases, is possessed by this Existence derived from mutual conditions.
Now the common principle in question cannot be a body. The only alternative is that, if it does exist, it be something bodiless, either in the objects thus brought together or outside of them.
Further, if Relation always takes the same form, the term is univocal [and specific differentiation is impossible]; if not, that is if it differs from case to case, the term is equivocal, and the same reality will not necessarily be implied by the mere use of the term Relation.
How then shall we distinguish relations? We may observe that some things have an inactive or dormant relation, with which their actuality is entirely simultaneous; others, combining power and function with their relation, have the relation in some mode always even though the mode be merely that of potentiality, but attain to actual being only in contact with their correlatives. Or perhaps all distinctions may be reduced to that between producer and product, where the product merely gives a name to the producer of its actuality: an example of this is the relation of father to son, though here both producer and product have a sort of actuality, which we call life.
Are we thus, then, to divide Relation, and thereby reject the notion of an identical common element in the different kinds of Relation, making it a universal rule that the relation takes a different character in either correlative? We must in this case recognise that in our distinction between productive and non-productive relations we are overlooking the equivocation involved in making the terms cover both action and passion, as though these two were one, and ignoring the fact that production takes a different form in the two correlatives. Take the case of equality, producing equals: nothing is equal without equality, nothing identical without identity. Greatness and smallness both entail a presence — the presence of greatness and smallness respectively. When we come to greater and smaller, the participants in these relations are greater and smaller only when greatness and smallness are actually observed in them.
9. It follows that in the cases specified above — agent, knowledge and the rest — the relation must be considered as in actual operation, and the Act and the Reason-Principle in the Act must be assumed to be real: in all other cases there will be simply participation in an Ideal-Form, in a Reason-Principle.
If Reality implied embodiment, we should indeed be forced to deny Reality to these conditions called relative; if however we accord the pre-eminent place to the unembodied and to the Reason-Principles, and at the same time maintain that relations are Reason-Principles and participate in Ideal-Forms, we are bound to seek their causes in that higher sphere. Doubleness, it is clear, is the cause of a thing being double, and from it is derived halfness.
Some correlatives owe their designations to the same Form, others to opposite Forms; it is thus that two objects are simultaneously double and half of each other, and one great and the other small. It may happen that both correlatives exist in one object-likeness and unlikeness, and, in general, identity and difference, so that the same thing will be at once like and unlike, identical and different.
The question arises here whether sharing in the same Form could make one man depraved and another more depraved. In the case of total depravity, clearly the two are made equal by the absence of a Form. Where there is a difference of degree, the one has participated in a Form which has failed to predominate, the other in a Form which has failed still more: or, if we choose the negative aspect, we may think of them both as failing to participate in a Form which naturally belonged to them.
Sensation may be regarded as a Form of double origin [determined both by the sense-organ and by the sensible object]; and similarly with knowledge.
Habit is an Act directed upon something had [some experience produced by habit] and binding it as it were with the subject having [experiencing], as the Act of production binds producer and product.
Measurement is an Act of the measurer upon the measured object: it too is therefore a kind of Reason-Principle.
Now if the condition of being related is regarded as a Form having a generic unity, Relation must be allowed to be a single genus owing its reality to a Reason-Principle involved in all instances. If however the Reason-Principles [governing the correlatives] stand opposed and have the differences to which we have referred, there may perhaps not be a single genus, but this will not prevent all relatives being expressed in terms of a certain likeness and falling under a single category.
But even if the cases of which we have spoken can be subsumed under a single head, it is nevertheless impossible to include in a single genus all that goes with them in the one common category: for the category includes negations and derivatives — not only, for example, double but also its negative, the resultant doubleness and the act of doubling. But we cannot include in one genus both the thing and its negative — double and not-double, relative and not-relative — any more than in dealing with the genus animal we can insert in it the nonanimal. Moreover, doubleness and doubling have only the relation to double that whiteness has to white; they cannot be classed as identical with it.
10. As regards Quality, the source of what we call a “quale,” we must in the first place consider what nature it possesses in accordance with which it produces the “qualia,” and whether, remaining one and the same in virtue of that common ground, it has also differences whereby it produces the variety of species. If there is no common ground and the term Quality involves many connotations, there cannot be a single genus of Quality.
What then will be the common ground in habit, disposition, passive quality, figure, shape? In light, thick and lean?
If we hold this common ground to be a power adapting itself to the forms of habits, dispositions and physical capacities, a power which gives the possessor whatever capacities he has, we have no plausible explanation of incapacities. Besides, how are figure and the shape of a given thing to be regarded as a power?
Moreover, at this, Being will have no power qua Being but only when Quality has been added to it; and the activities of those substances which are activities in the highest degree, will be traceable to Quality, although they are autonomous and owe their essential character to powers wholly their own!
Perhaps, however, qualities are conditioned by powers which are posterior to the substances as such [and so do not interfere with their essential activities]. Boxing, for example, is not a power of man qua man; reasoning is: therefore reasoning, on this hypothesis, is not quality but a natural possession of the mature human being; it therefore is called a quality only by analogy. Thus, Quality is a power which adds the property of being qualia to substances already existent.
The differences distinguishing substances from each other are called qualities only by analogy; they are, more strictly, Acts and Reason-Principles, or parts of Reason-Principles, and though they may appear merely to qualify the substance, they in fact indicate its essence.
Qualities in the true sense — those, that is, which determine qualia — being in accordance with our definition powers, will in virtue of this common ground be a kind of Reason-Principle; they will also be in a sense Forms, that is, excellences and imperfections whether of soul or of body.
But how can they all be powers? Beauty or health of soul or body, very well: but surely not ugliness, disease, weakness, incapacity. In a word, is powerlessness a power?
It may be urged that these are qualities in so far as qualia are also named after them: but may not the qualia be so called by analogy, and not in the strict sense of the single principle? Not only may the term be understood in the four ways [of Aristotle], but each of the four may have at least a twofold significance.
In the first place, Quality is not merely a question of action and passion, involving a simple distinction between the potentially active [quality] and the passive: health, disposition and habit, disease, strength and weakness are also classed as qualities. It follows that the common ground is not power, but something we have still to seek.
Again, not all qualities can be regarded as Reason-Principles: chronic disease cannot be a Reason-Principle. Perhaps, however, we must speak in such cases of privations, restricting the term “Quantities” to Ideal-Forms and powers. Thus we shall have, not a single genus, but reference only to the unity of a category. Knowledge will be regarded as a Form and a power, ignorance as a privation and powerlessness.
On the other hand, powerlessness and disease are a kind of Form; disease and vice have many powers though looking to evil.
But how can a mere failure be a power? Doubtless the truth is that every quality performs its own function independently of a standard; for in no case could it produce an effect outside of its power.
Even beauty would seem to have a power of its own. Does this apply to triangularity?
Perhaps, after all, it is not a power we must consider, but a disposition. Thus, qualities will be determined by the forms and characteristics of the object qualified: their common element, then, will be Form and ideal type, imposed upon Substance and posterior to it.
But then, how do we account for the powers? We may doubtless remark that even the natural boxer is so by being constituted in a particular way; similarly, with the man unable to box: to generalize, the quality is a characteristic non-essential. Whatever is seen to apply alike to Being and to non-Being, as do heat and whiteness and colours generally, is either different from Being — is, for example, an Act of Being — or else is some secondary of Being, derived from it, contained in it, its image and likeness.
But if Quality is determined by formation and characteristic and Reason-Principle, how explain the various cases of powerlessness and deformity? Doubtless we must think of Principles imperfectly present, as in the case of deformity. And disease — how does that imply a Reason-Principle? Here, no doubt, we must think of a principle disturbed, the Principle of health.
But it is not necessary that all qualities involve a Reason-Principle; it suffices that over and above the various kinds of disposition there exist a common element distinct from Substance, and it is what comes after the substance that constitutes Quality in an object.
But triangularity is a quality of that in which it is present; it is however no longer triangularity as such, but the triangularity present in that definite object and modified in proportion to its success in shaping that object.
11. But if these considerations are sound, why has Quality more than one species? What is the ground for distinguishing between habit and disposition, seeing that no differentia of Quality is involved in permanence and non-permanence? A disposition of any kind is sufficient to constitute a quality; permanence is a mere external addition. It might however be urged that dispositions are but incomplete “forms”— if the term may pass — habits being complete ones. But incomplete, they are not qualities; if already qualities, the permanence is an external addition.
How do physical powers form a distinct species? If they are classed as qualities in virtue of being powers, power, we have seen, is not a necessary concomitant of qualities. If, however, we hold that the natural boxer owes his quality to a particular disposition, power is something added and does not contribute to the quality, since power is found in habits also.
Another point: why is natural ability to be distinguished from that acquired by learning? Surely, if both are qualities, they cannot be differentiae of Quality: gained by practice or given in nature, it is the same ability; the differentia will be external to Quality; it cannot be deduced from the Ideal Form of boxing. Whether some qualities as distinguished from others are derived from experience is immaterial; the source of the quality makes no difference — none, I mean, pointing to variations and differences of Quality.
A further question would seem to be involved: If certain qualities are derived from experience but here is a discrepancy in the manner and source of the experience, how are they to be included in the same species? And again, if some create the experience, others are created by it, the term Quality as applied to both classes will be equivocal.
And what part is played by the individual form? If it constitutes the individual’s specific character, it is not a quality; if, however, it is what makes an object beautiful or ugly after the specific form has been determined, then it involves a Reason-Principle.
Rough and smooth, tenuous and dense may rightly be classed as qualities. It is true that they are not determined by distances and approximations, or in general by even or uneven dispositions, of parts; though, were they so determined, they might well even then be qualities.
Knowledge of the meaning of “light” and “heavy” will reveal their place in the classification. An ambiguity will however be latent in the term “light,” unless it be determined by comparative weight: it would then implicate leanness and fineness, and involve another species distinct from the four [of Aristotle].
12. If then we do not propose to divide Quality in this [fourfold] manner, what basis of division have we?
We must examine whether qualities may not prove to be divisible on the principle that some belong to the body and others to the soul. Those of the body would be subdivided according to the senses, some being attributed to sight, others to hearing and taste, others to smell and touch. Those of the soul would presumably be allotted to appetite, emotion, reason; though, again, they may be distinguished by the differences of the activities they condition, in so far as activities are engendered by these qualities; or according as they are beneficial or injurious, the benefits and injuries being duly classified. This last is applicable also to the classification of bodily qualities, which also produce differences of benefit and injury: these differences must be regarded as distinctively qualitative; for either the benefit and injury are held to be derived from Quality and the quale, or else some other explanation must be found for them.
A point for consideration is how the quale, as conditioned by Quality, can belong to the same category: obviously there can be no single genus embracing both.
Further, if “boxer” is in the category of Quality, why not “agent” as well? And with agent goes “active.” Thus “active” need not go into the category of Relation; nor again need “passive,” if “patient” is a quale. Moreover, agent” is perhaps better assigned to the category of Quality for the reason that the term implies power, and power is Quality. But if power as such were determined by Substance [and not by Quality], the agent, though ceasing to be a quale, would not necessarily become a relative. Besides, “active” is not like “greater”: the greater, to be the greater, demands a less, whereas “active” stands complete by the mere possession of its specific character.
It may however be urged that while the possession of that character makes it a quale, it is a relative in so far as it directs upon an external object the power indicated by its name. Why, then, is not “boxer” a relative, and “boxing” as well? Boxing is entirely related to an external object; its whole theory pre-supposes this external. And in the case of the other arts — or most of them — investigation would probably warrant the assertion that in so far as they affect the soul they are qualities, while in so far as they look outward they are active and as being directed to an external object are relatives. They are relatives in the other sense also that they are thought of as habits.
Can it then be held that there is any distinct reality implied in activity, seeing that the active is something distinct only according as it is a quale? It may perhaps be held that the tendency towards action of living beings, and especially of those having freewill, implies a reality of activity [as well as a reality of Quality].
But what is the function of the active in connection with those non-living powers which we have classed as qualities? Doubtless to recruit any object it encounters, making the object a participant in its content.
But if one same object both acts and is acted upon, how do we then explain the active? Observe also that the greater — in itself perhaps a fixed three yards’ length — will present itself as both greater and less according to its external contacts.
It will be objected that greater and less are due to participation in greatness and smallness; and it might be inferred that a thing is active or passive by participation in activity or passivity.
This is the place for enquiring also whether the qualities of the Sensible and Intellectual realms can be included under one head — a question intended only for those who ascribe qualities to the higher realm as well as the lower. And even if Ideal Forms of qualities are not posited, yet once the term “habit” is used in reference to Intellect, the question arises whether there is anything common to that habit and the habit we know in the lower.
Wisdom too is generally admitted to exist There. Obviously, if it shares only its name with our wisdom, it is not to be reckoned among things of this sphere; if, however, the import is in both cases the same, then Quality is common to both realms — unless, of course, it be maintained that everything There, including even intellection, is Substance.
This question, however, applies to all the categories: are the two spheres irreconcilable, or can they be co-ordinated with a unity?
13. With regard to Date:
If “yesterday,” “to-morrow,” “last year” and similar terms denote parts of time, why should they not be included in the same genus as time? It would seem only reasonable to range under time the past, present and future, which are its species. But time is referred to Quantity; what then is the need for a separate category of Date?
If we are told that past and future — including under past such definite dates as yesterday and last year which must clearly be subordinate to past time — and even the present “now” are not merely time but time — when, we reply, in the first place, that the notion of time — when involves time; that, further, if “yesterday” is time-gone-by, it will be a composite, since time and gone-by are distinct notions: we have two categories instead of the single one required.
But suppose that Date is defined not as time but as that which is in time; if by that which is in time is meant the subject — Socrates in the proposition “Socrates existed last year”— that subject is external to the notion of time, and we have again a duality.
Consider, however, the proposition “Socrates — or some action — exists at this time”; what can be the meaning here other than “in a part of time”? But if, admitted that Date is “a part of time,” it be felt that the part requires definition and involves something more than mere time, that we must say the part of time gone by, several notions are massed in the proposition: we have the part which qua part is a relative; and we have “gone-by” which, if it is to have any import at all, must mean the past: but this “past,” we have shown, is a species of time.
It may be urged that “the past” is in its nature indefinite, while “yesterday” and “last year” are definite. We reply, first, that we demand some place in our classification for the past: secondly, that “yesterday,” as definite past, is necessarily definite time. But definite time implies a certain quantity of time: therefore, if time is quantitative, each of the terms in question must signify a definite quantity.
Again, if by “yesterday” we are expected to understand that this or that event has taken Place at a definite time gone by, we have more notions than ever. Besides, if we must introduce fresh categories because one thing acts in another — as in this case something acts in time — we have more again from its acting upon another in another. This point will be made plain by what follows in our discussion of Place.
14. The Academy and the Lyceum are places, and parts of Place, just as “above,” “below,” “here” are species or parts of Place; the difference is of minuter delimitation.
If then “above,” “below,” “the middle” are places — Delphi, for example, is the middle [of the earth]— and “near-the-middle” is also a place — Athens, and of course the Lyceum and the other places usually cited, are near the middle — what need have we to go further and seek beyond Place, admitting as we do that we refer in every instance to a place?
If, however, we have in mind the presence of one thing in another, we are not speaking of a single entity, we are not expressing a single notion.
Another consideration: when we say that a man is here, we present a relation of the man to that in which he is, a relation of the container to the contained. Why then do we not class as a relative whatever may be produced from this relation?
Besides, how does “here” differ from “at Athens”? The demonstrative “here” admittedly signifies place; so, then, does “at Athens”: “at Athens” therefore belongs to the category of Place.
Again, if “at Athens” means “is at Athens,” then the “is” as well as the place belongs to the predicate; but this cannot be right: we do not regard “is a quality” as predicate, but “a quality.”
Furthermore, if “in time,” “in place” are to be ranged under a category other than that applying to time and place, why not a separate category for “in a vessel”? Why not distinct categories for “in Matter,” “in a subject,” “a part in a whole,” “a whole in its parts,” “a genus in its species,” “a species in a genus”? We are certainly on the way to a goodly number of categories.
15. The “category of Action”:
The quantum has been regarded as a single genus on the ground that Quantity and Number are attributes of Substance and posterior to it; the quale has been regarded as another genus because Quality is an attribute of Substance: on the same principle it is maintained that since activity is an attribute of Substance, Action constitutes yet another genus.
Does then the action constitute the genus, or the activity from which the action springs, in the same way as Quality is the genus from which the quale is derived? Perhaps activity, action and agent should all be embraced under a single head? But, on the one hand, the action — unlike activity — tends to comport the agent; and on the other, it signifies being in some activity and therefore Being-in-Act [actual as distinct from potential Being]. Consequently the category will be one of Act rather than of Action.
Act moreover incontestably manifests itself in Substance, as was found to be the case with Quality: it is connected with Substance as being a form of motion. But Motion is a distinct genus: for, seeing that Quality is a distinct attribute of Substance, and Quality a distinct attribute, and Relative takes its being from the relation of one substance to another, there can be no reason why Motion, also an attribute of Substance, should not also constitute a distinct genus.
16. If it be urged that Motion is but imperfect Act, there would be no objection to giving priority to Act and subordinating to it Motion with its imperfection as a species: Act would thus be predicated of Motion, but with the qualification “imperfect.”
Motion is thought of as imperfect, not because it is not an Act, but because, entirely an Act, it yet entails repetition [lacks finality]. It repeats, not in order that it may achieve actuality — it is already actual — but that it may attain a goal distinct from itself and posterior: it is not the motion itself that is then consummated but the result at which it aims. Walking is walking from the outset; when one should traverse a racecourse but has not yet done so, the deficiency lies not in the walking — not in the motion — but in the amount of walking accomplished; no matter what the amount, it is walking and motion already: a moving man has motion and a cutter cuts before there is any question of Quantity. And just as we can speak of Act without implying time, so we can of Motion, except in the sense of motion over a defined area; Act is timeless, and so is Motion pure and simple.
Are we told that Motion is necessarily in time, inasmuch as it involves continuity? But, at this, sight, never ceasing to see, will also be continuous and in time. Our critic, it is true, may find support in that principle of proportion which states that you may make a division of no matter what motion, and find that neither the motion nor its duration has any beginning but that the division may be continued indefinitely in the direction of the motion’s origin: this would mean that a motion just begun has been in progress from an infinity of time, that it is infinite as regards its beginning.
Such then is the result of separating Act from Motion: Act, we aver, is timeless; yet we are forced to maintain not only that time is necessary to quantitative motion, but, unreservedly, that Motion is quantitative in its very nature; though indeed, if it were a case of motion occupying a day or some other quantity of time, the exponents of this view would be the first to admit that Quantity is present to Motion only by way of accident.
In sum, just as Act is timeless, so there is no reason why Motion also should not primarily be timeless, time attaching to it only in so far as it happens to have such and such an extension.
Timeless change is sanctioned in the expression, “as if change could not take place all at once”; if then change is timeless, why not Motion also? — Change, be it noted, is here distinguished from the result of change, the result being unnecessary to establish the change itself.
17. We may be told that neither Act nor Motion requires a genus for itself, but that both revert to Relation, Act belonging to the potentially active, Motion to the potentially motive. Our reply is that Relation produces relatives as such, and not the mere reference to an external standard; given the existence of a thing, whether attributive or relative, it holds its essential character prior to any relationship: so then must Act and Motion, and even such an attribute as habit; they are not prevented from being prior to any relationship they may occupy, or from being conceivable in themselves. Otherwise, everything will be relative; for anything you think of — even Soul — bears some relationship to something else.
But, to return to activity proper and the action, is there any reason why these should be referred to Relation? They must in every instance be either Motion or Act.
If however activity is referred to Relation and the action made a distinct genus, why is not Motion referred to Relation and the movement made a distinct genus? Why not bisect the unity, Motion, and so make Action and Passion two species of the one thing, ceasing to consider Action and Passion as two genera?
18. There are other questions calling for consideration:
First: Are both Acts and motions to be included in the category of Action, with the distinction that Acts are momentary while Motions, such as cutting, are in time? Or will both be regarded as motions or as involving Motion?
Secondly: Will all activities be related to passivity, or will some — for example, walking and speaking — be considered as independent of it?
Thirdly: Will all those related to passivity be classed as motions and the independent as Acts, or will the two classes overlap? Walking, for instance, which is an independent, would, one supposes, be a motion; thinking, which also does not essentially involve “passivity,” an Act: otherwise we must hold that thinking and walking are not even actions. But if they are not in the category of Action, where then in our classification must they fall?
It may perhaps be urged that the act of thinking, together with the faculty of thought, should be regarded as relative to the thought object; for is not the faculty of sensation treated as relative to the sensible object? If then, we may ask, in the analogue the faculty of sensation is treated as relative to the sensible object, why not the sensory act as well? The fact is that even sensation, though related to an external object, has something besides that relation: it has, namely, its own status of being either an Act or a Passion. Now the Passion is separable from the condition of being attached to some object and caused by some object: so, then, is the Act a distinct entity. Walking is similarly attached and caused, and yet has besides the status of being a motion. It follows that thought, in addition to its relationship, will have the status of being either a motion or an Act.
19. We have to ask ourselves whether there are not certain Acts which without the addition of a time-element will be thought of as imperfect and therefore classed with motions. Take for instance living and life. The life of a definite person implies a certain adequate period, just as his happiness is no merely instantaneous thing. Life and happiness are, in other words, of the nature ascribed to Motion: both therefore must be treated as motions, and Motion must be regarded as a unity, a single genus; besides the quantity and quality belonging to Substance we must take count of the motion manifested in it.
We may further find desirable to distinguish bodily from psychic motions or spontaneous motions from those induced by external forces, or the original from the derivative, the original motions being activities, whether externally related or independent, while the derivative will be Passions.
But surely the motions having external tendency are actually identical with those of external derivation: the cutting issuing from the cutter and that effected in the object are one, though to cut is not the same as to be cut.
Perhaps however the cutting issuing from the cutter and that which takes place in the cut object are in fact not one, but “to cut” implies that from a particular Act and motion there results a different motion in the object cut. Or perhaps the difference [between Action and Passion] lies not in the fact of being cut, but in the distinct emotion supervening, pain for example: passivity has this connotation also.
But when there is no pain, what occurs? Nothing, surely, but the Act of the agent upon the patient object: this is all that is meant in such cases by Action. Action, thus, becomes twofold: there is that which occurs in the external, and that which does not. The duality of Action and Passion, suggested by the notion that Action [always] takes place in an external, is abandoned.
Even writing, though taking place upon an external object, does not call for passivity, since no effect is produced, upon the tablet beyond the Act of the writer, nothing like pain; we may be told that the tablet has been inscribed, but this does not suffice for passivity.
Again, in the case of walking there is the earth trodden upon, but no one thinks of it as having experienced Passion [or suffering]. Treading on a living body, we think of suffering, because we reflect not upon the walking but upon the ensuing pain: otherwise we should think of suffering in the case of the tablet as well.
It is so in every case of Action: we cannot but think of it as knit into a unity with its opposite, Passion. Not that this later “Passion” is the opposite of Action in the way in which being burned is the opposite of burning: by Passion in this sense we mean the effect supervening upon the combined facts of the burning and the being burned, whether this effect be pain or some such process as withering.
Suppose this Passion to be treated as of itself producing pain: have we not still the duality of agent and patient, two results from the one Act? The Act may no longer include the will to cause pain; but it produces something distinct from itself, a pain-causing medium which enters into the object about to experience pain: this medium, while retaining its individuality, produces something yet different, the feeling of pain.
What does this suggest? Surely that the very medium — the act of hearing, for instance — is, even before it produces pain or without producing pain at all, a Passion of that into which it enters.
But hearing, with sensation in general, is in fact not a Passion. Yet to feel pain is to experience a Passion — a Passion however which is not opposed to Action.
20. But though not opposed, it is still different from Action and cannot belong to the same genus as activity; though if they are both Motion, it will so belong, on the principle that alteration must be regarded as qualitative motion.
Does it follow that whenever alteration proceeds from Quality, it will be activity and Action, the quale remaining impassive? It may be that if the quale remains impassive, the alteration will be in the category of Action; whereas if, while its energy is directed outwards, it also suffers — as in beating — it will cease to belong to that category: or perhaps there is nothing to prevent its being in both categories at one and the same moment.
If then an alteration be conditioned by Passivity alone, as is the case with rubbing, on what ground is it assigned to Action rather than to Passivity? Perhaps the Passivity arises from the fact that a counter-rubbing is involved. But are we, in view of this counter-motion, to recognize the presence of two distinct motions? No: one only.
How then can this one motion be both Action and Passion? We must suppose it to be Action in proceeding from an object, and Passion in being directly upon another — though it remains the same motion throughout.
Suppose however Passion to be a different motion from Action: how then does its modification of the patient object change that patient’s character without the agent being affected by the patient? For obviously an agent cannot be passive to the operation it performs upon another. Can it be that the fact of motion existing elsewhere creates the Passion, which was not Passion in the agent?
If the whiteness of the swan, produced by its Reason-Principle, is given at its birth, are we to affirm Passion of the swan on its passing into being? If, on the contrary, the swan grows white after birth, and if there is a cause of that growth and the corresponding result, are we to say that the growth is a Passion? Or must we confine Passion to purely qualitative change?
One thing confers beauty and another takes it: is that which takes beauty to be regarded as patient? If then the source of beauty — tin, suppose — should deteriorate or actually disappear, while the recipient — copper — improves, are we to think of the copper as passive and the tin active?
Take the learner: how can he be regarded as passive, seeing that the Act of the agent passes into him [and becomes his Act]? How can the Act, necessarily a simple entity, be both Act and Passion? No doubt the Act is not in itself a Passion; nonetheless, the learner coming to possess it will be a patient by the fact of his appropriation of an experience from outside: he will not, of course, be a patient in the sense of having himself performed no Act; learning — like seeing — is not analogous to being struck, since it involves the acts of apprehension and recognition.
21. How, then, are we to recognise Passivity, since clearly it is not to be found in the Act from outside which the recipient in turn makes his own? Surely we must look for it in cases where the patient remains without Act, the passivity pure.
Imagine a case where an agent improves, though its Act tends towards deterioration. Or, say, a a man’s activity is guided by evil and is allowed to dominate another’s without restraint. In these cases the Act is clearly wrong, the Passion blameless.
What then is the real distinction between Action and Passion? Is it that Action starts from within and is directed upon an outside object, while Passion is derived from without and fulfilled within? What, then, are we to say of such cases as thought and opinion which originate within but are not directed outwards? Again, the Passion “being heated” rises within the self, when that self is provoked by an opinion to reflection or to anger, without the intervention of any external. Still it remains true that Action, whether self-centred or with external tendency, is a motion rising in the self.
How then do we explain desire and other forms of aspiration? Aspiration must be a motion having its origin in the object aspired to, though some might disallow “origin” and be content with saying that the motion aroused is subsequent to the object; in what respect, then, does aspiring differ from taking a blow or being borne down by a thrust?
Perhaps, however, we should divide aspirations into two classes, those which follow intellect being described as Actions, the merely impulsive being Passions. Passivity now will not turn on origin, without or within — within there can only be deficiency; but whenever a thing, without itself assisting in the process, undergoes an alteration not directed to the creation of Being but changing the thing for the worse or not for the better, such an alteration will be regarded as a Passion and as entailing passivity.
If however “being heated” means “acquiring heat,” and is sometimes found to contribute to the production of Being and sometimes not, passivity will be identical with impassivity: besides, “being heated” must then have a double significance [according as it does or does not contribute to Being].
The fact is, however, that “being heated,” even when it contributes to Being, involves the presence of a patient [distinct from the being produced]. Take the case of the bronze which has to be heated and so is a patient; the being is a statue, which is not heated except accidentally [by the accident of being contained in the bronze]. If then the bronze becomes more beautiful as a result of being heated and in the same proportion, it certainly becomes so by passivity; for passivity must, clearly, take two forms: there is the passivity which tends to alteration for better or for worse, and there is the passivity which has neither tendency.
22. Passivity, thus, implies the existence within of a motion functioning somehow or other in the direction of alteration. Action too implies motion within, whether the motion be aimless or whether it be driven by the impulse comported by the term “Action” to find its goal in an external object. There is Motion in both Action and Passion, but the differentia distinguishing Action from Passion keeps Action impassive, while Passion is recognised by the fact that a new state replaces the old, though nothing is added to the essential character of the patient; whenever Being [essential Being] is produced, the patient remains distinct.
Thus, what is Action in one relation may be Passion in another. One same motion will be Action from the point of view of A, Passion from that of B; for the two are so disposed that they might well be consigned to the category of Relation — at any rate in the cases where the Action entails a corresponding Passion: neither correlative is found in isolation; each involves both Action and Passion, though A acts as mover and B is moved: each then involves two categories.
Again, A gives motion to B, B receives it, so that we have a giving and a receiving — in a word, a relation.
But a recipient must possess what it has received. A thing is admitted to possess its natural colour: why not its motion also? Besides, independent motions such as walking and thought do, in fact, involve the possession of the powers respectively to walk and to think.
We are reminded to enquire whether thought in the form of providence constitutes Action; to be subject to providence is apparently Passion, for such thought is directed to an external, the object of the providential arrangement. But it may well be that neither is the exercise of providence an action, even though the thought is concerned with an external, nor subjection to it a Passion. Thought itself need not be an action, for it does not go outward towards its object but remains self-gathered. It is not always an activity; all Acts need not be definable as activities, for they need not produce an effect; activity belongs to Act only accidentally.
Does it follow that if a man as he walks produces footprints, he cannot be considered to have performed an action? Certainly as a result of his existing something distinct from himself has come into being. Yet perhaps we should regard both action and Act as merely accidental, because he did not aim at this result: it would be as we speak of Action even in things inanimate —“fire heats,” “the drug worked.”
So much for Action and Passion.
23. As for Possession, if the term is used comprehensively, why are not all its modes to be brought under one category? Possession, thus, would include the quantum as possessing magnitude, the quale as possessing colour; it would include fatherhood and the complementary relationships, since the father possesses the son and the son possesses the father: in short, it would include all belongings.
If, on the contrary, the category of Possession comprises only the things of the body, such as weapons and shoes, we first ask why this should be so, and why their possession produces a single category, while burning, cutting, burying or casting them out do not give another or others. If it is because these things are carried on the person, then one’s mantle lying on a couch will come under a different category from that of the mantle covering the person. If the ownership of possession suffices, then clearly one must refer to the one category of Possession all objects identified by being possessed, every case in which possession can be established; the character of the possessed object will make no difference.
If however Possession is not to be predicated of Quality because Quality stands recognised as a category, nor of Quantity because the category of Quantity has been received, nor of parts because they have been assigned to the category of Substance, why should we predicate Possession of weapons, when they too are comprised in the accepted category of Substance? Shoes and weapons are clearly substances.
How, further, is “He possesses weapons,” signifying as it does that the action of arming has been performed by a subject, to be regarded as an entirely simple notion, assignable to a single category?
Again, is Possession to be restricted to an animate possessor, or does it hold good even of a statue as possessing the objects above mentioned? The animate and inanimate seem to possess in different ways, and the term is perhaps equivocal. Similarly, “standing” has not the same connotation as applied to the animate and the inanimate.
Besides, how can it be reasonable for what is found only in a limited number of cases to form a distinct generic category?
24. There remains Situation, which like Possession is confined to a few instances such as reclining and sitting.
Even so, the term is not used without qualification: we say “they are placed in such and such a manner,” “he is situated in such and such a position.” The position is added from outside the genus.
In short, Situation signifies “being in a place”; there are two things involved, the position and the place: why then must two categories be combined into one?
Moreover, if sitting signifies an Act, it must be classed among Acts; if a Passion, it goes under the category to which belong Passions complete and incomplete.
Reclining is surely nothing but “lying up,” and tallies with “lying down” and “lying midway.” But if the reclining belongs thus to the category of Relation, why not the recliner also? For as “on the right” belongs to the Relations, so does “the thing on the right”; and similarly with “the thing on the left.”
25. There are those who lay down four categories and make a fourfold division into Substrates, Qualities, States, and Relative States, and find in these a common Something, and so include everything in one genus.
Against this theory there is much to be urged, but particularly against this posing of a common Something and a single all-embracing genus. This Something, it may be submitted, is unintelligible to themselves, is indefinable, and does not account either for bodies or for the bodiless. Moreover, no room is left for a differentia by which this Something may be distinguished. Besides, this common Something is either existent or non-existent: if existent, it must be one or other of its [four] species; — if non-existent, the existent is classed under the non-existent. But the objections are countless; we must leave them for the present and consider the several heads of the division.
To the first genus are assigned Substrates, including Matter, to which is given a priority over the others; so that what is ranked as the first principle comes under the same head with things which must be posterior to it since it is their principle.
First, then: the prior is made homogeneous with the subsequent. Now this is impossible: in this relation the subsequent owes its existence to the prior, whereas among things belonging to one same genus each must have, essentially, the equality implied by the genus; for the very meaning of genus is to be predicated of the species in respect of their essential character. And that Matter is the basic source of all the rest of things, this school, we may suppose, would hardly deny.
Secondly: since they treat the Substrate as one thing, they do not enumerate the Existents; they look instead for principles of the Existents. There is however a difference between speaking of the actual Existents and of their principles.
If Matter is taken to be the only Existent, and all other things as modifications of Matter, it is not legitimate to set up a single genus to embrace both the Existent and the other things; consistency requires that Being [Substance] be distinguished from its modifications and that these modifications be duly classified.
Even the distinction which this theory makes between Substrates and the rest of things is questionable. The Substrate is [necessarily] one thing and admits of no differentia — except perhaps in so far as it is split up like one mass into its various parts; and yet not even so, since the notion of Being implies continuity: it would be better, therefore, to speak of the Substrate, in the singular.
26. But the error in this theory is fundamental. To set Matter the potential above everything, instead of recognising the primacy of actuality, is in the highest degree perverse. If the potential holds the primacy among the Existents, its actualization becomes impossible; it certainly cannot bring itself into actuality: either the actual exists previously, and so the potential is not the first-principle, or, if the two are to be regarded as existing simultaneously, the first-principles must be attributed to hazard. Besides, if they are simultaneous, why is not actuality given the primacy? Why is the potential more truly real than the actual?
Supposing however that the actual does come later than the potential, how must the theory proceed? Obviously Matter does not produce Form: the unqualified does not produce Quality, nor does actuality take its origin in the potential; for that would mean that the actual was inherent in the potential, which at once becomes a dual thing.
Furthermore, God becomes a secondary to Matter, inasmuch as even he is regarded as a body composed of Matter and Form — though how he acquires the Form is not revealed. If however he be admitted to exist apart from Matter in virtue of his character as a principle and a rational law [logos], God will be bodiless, the Creative Power bodiless. If we are told that he is without Matter but is composite in essence by the fact of being a body, this amounts to introducing another Matter, the Matter of God.
Again, how can Matter be a first-principle, seeing that it is body? Body must necessarily be a plurality, since all bodies are composite of Matter and Quality. If however body in this case is to be understood in some different way, then Matter is identified with body only by an equivocation.
If the possession of three dimensions is given as the characteristic of body, then we are dealing simply with mathematical body. If resistance is added, we are no longer considering a unity: besides, resistance is a quality or at least derived from Quality.
And whence is this resistance supposed to come? Whence the three dimensions? What is the source of their existence? Matter is not comprised in the concept of the three-dimensional, nor the three-dimensional in the concept of Matter; if Matter partakes thus of extension, it can no longer be a simplex.
Again, whence does Matter derive its unifying power? It is assuredly not the Absolute Unity, but has only that of participation in Unity.
We inevitably conclude that Mass or Extension cannot be ranked as the first of things; Non-Extension and Unity must be prior. We must begin with the One and conclude with the Many, proceed to magnitude from that which is free from magnitude: a One is necessary to the existence of a Many, Non-Magnitude to that of Magnitude. Magnitude is a unity not by being Unity-Absolute, but by participation and in an accidental mode: there must be a primary and absolute preceding the accidental, or the accidental relation is left unexplained.
The manner of this relation demands investigation. Had this been undertaken, the thinkers of this school would probably have lighted upon that Unity which is not accidental but essential and underived.
27. On other grounds also, it is indefensible not to have reserved the high place for the true first-principle of things but to have set up in its stead the formless, passive and lifeless, the irrational, dark and indeterminate, and to have made this the source of Being. In this theory God is introduced merely for the sake of appearance: deriving existence from Matter he is a composite, a derivative, or, worse, a mere state of Matter.
Another consideration is that, if Matter is a substrate, there must be something outside it, which, acting on it and distinct from it, makes it the substrate of what is poured into it. But if God is lodged in Matter and by being involved in Matter is himself no more than a substrate, he will no longer make Matter a substrate nor be himself a substrate in conjunction with Matter. For of what will they be substrates, when that which could make them substrates is eliminated? This so-called substrate turns out to have swallowed up all that is; but a substrate must be relative, and relative not to its content but to something which acts upon it as upon a datum.
Again, the substrate comports a relation to that which is not substrate; hence, to something external to it: there must, then, be something apart from the substrate. If nothing distinct and external is considered necessary, but the substrate itself can become everything and adopt every character, like the versatile dancer in the pantomime, it ceases to be a substrate: it is, essentially, everything. The mime is not a substrate of the characters he puts on; these are in fact the realisation of his own personality: similarly, if the Matter with which this theory presents us comports in its own being all the realities, it is no longer the substrate of all: on the contrary, the other things can have no reality whatever, if they are no more than states of Matter in the sense that the poses of the mime are states through which he passes.
Then, those other things not existing, Matter will not be a substrate, nor will it have a place among the Existents; it will be Matter bare, and for that reason not even Matter, since Matter is a relative. The relative is relative to something else: it must, further, be homogeneous with that something else: double is relative to half, but not Substance to double.
How then can an Existent be relative to a Non-existent, except accidentally? But the True-Existent, or Matter, is related (to what emerges from it) as Existent to Non-Existent. For if potentiality is that which holds the promise of existence and that promise does not constitute Reality, the potentiality cannot be a Reality. In sum, these very teachers who deprecate the production of Realities from Nonrealities, themselves produce Non-reality from Reality; for to them the universe as such is not a Reality.
But is it not a paradox that, while Matter, the Substrate, is to them an existence, bodies should not have more claim to existence, the universe yet more, and not merely a claim grounded on the reality of one of its parts?
It is no less paradoxical that the living form should owe existence not to its soul but to its Matter only, the soul being but an affection of Matter and posterior to it. From what source then did Matter receive ensoulment? Whence, in short, is soul’s entity derived? How does it occur that Matter sometimes turns into bodies, while another part of it turns into Soul? Even supposing that Form might come to it from elsewhere, that accession of Quality to Matter would account not for Soul, but simply for organized body soulless. If, on the contrary, there is something which both moulds Matter and produces Soul, then prior to the produced there must be Soul the producer.
28. Many as are the objections to this theory, we pass on for fear of the ridicule we might incur by arguing against a position itself so manifestly ridiculous. We may be content with pointing out that it assigns the primacy to the Non-existent and treats it as the very summit of Existence: in short, it places the last thing first. The reason for this procedure lies in the acceptance of sense-perception as a trustworthy guide to first-principles and to all other entities.
This philosophy began by identifying the Real with body; then, viewing with apprehension the transmutations of bodies, decided that Reality was that which is permanent beneath the superficial changes — which is much as if one regarded space as having more title to Reality than the bodies within it, on the principle that space does not perish with them. They found a permanent in space, but it was a fault to take mere permanence as in itself a sufficient definition of the Real; the right method would have been to consider what properties must characterize Reality, by the presence of which properties it has also that of unfailing permanence. Thus if a shadow had permanence, accompanying an object through every change, that would not make it more real than the object itself. The sensible universe, as including the Substrate and a multitude of attributes, will thus have more claim to be Reality entire than has any one of its component entities (such as Matter): and if the sensible were in very truth the whole of Reality, Matter, the mere base and not the total, could not be that whole.
Most surprising of all is that, while they make sense-perception their guarantee of everything, they hold that the Real cannot be grasped by sensation; — for they have no right to assign to Matter even so much as resistance, since resistance is a quality. If however they profess to grasp Reality by Intellect, is it not a strange Intellect which ranks Matter above itself, giving Reality to Matter and not to itself? And as their “Intellect” has, thus, no Real-Existence, how can it be trustworthy when it speaks of things higher than itself, things to which it has no affinity whatever?
But an adequate treatment of this entity [Matter] and of substrates will be found elsewhere.
29. Qualities must be for this school distinct from Substrates. This in fact they acknowledge by counting them as the second category. If then they form a distinct category, they must be simplex; that is to say they are not composite; that is to say that as qualities, pure and simple, they are devoid of Matter: hence they are bodiless and active, since Matter is their substrate — a relation of passivity.
If however they hold Qualities to be composite, that is a strange classification which first contrasts simple and composite qualities, then proceeds to include them in one genus, and finally includes one of the two species [simple] in the other [composite]; it is like dividing knowledge into two species, the first comprising grammatical knowledge, the second made up of grammatical and other knowledge.
Again, if they identify Qualities with qualifications of Matter, then in the first place even their Seminal Principles [Logoi] will be material and will not have to reside in Matter to produce a composite, but prior to the composite thus produced they will themselves be composed of Matter and Form: in other words, they will not be Forms or Principles. Further, if they maintain that the Seminal Principles are nothing but Matter in a certain state, they evidently identify Qualities with States, and should accordingly classify them in their fourth genus. If this is a state of some peculiar kind, what precisely is its differentia? Clearly the state by its association with Matter receives an accession of Reality: yet if that means that when divorced from Matter it is not a Reality, how can State be treated as a single genus or species? Certainly one genus cannot embrace the Existent and the Non-existent.
And what is this state implanted in Matter? It is either real, or unreal: if real, absolutely bodiless: if unreal, it is introduced to no purpose; Matter is all there is; Quality therefore is nothing. The same is true of State, for that is even more unreal; the alleged Fourth Category more so.
Matter then is the sole Reality. But how do we come to know this? Certainly not from Matter itself. How, then? From Intellect? But Intellect is merely a state of Matter, and even the “state” is an empty qualification. We are left after all with Matter alone competent to make these assertions, to fathom these problems. And if its assertions were intelligent, we must wonder how it thinks and performs the functions of Soul without possessing either Intellect or Soul. If, then, it were to make foolish assertions, affirming itself to be what it is not and cannot be, to what should we ascribe this folly? Doubtless to Matter, if it was in truth Matter that spoke. But Matter does not speak; anyone who says that it does proclaims the predominance of Matter in himself; he may have a soul, but he is utterly devoid of Intellect, and lives in ignorance of himself and of the faculty alone capable of uttering the truth in these things.
30. With regard to States:
It may seem strange that States should be set up as a third class — or whatever class it is — since all States are referable to Matter. We shall be told that there is a difference among States, and that a State as in Matter has definite characteristics distinguishing it from all other States and further that, whereas Qualities are States of Matter, States properly so-called belong to Qualities. But if Qualities are nothing but States of Matter, States [in the strict sense of the term] are ultimately reducible to Matter, and under Matter they must be classed.
Further, how can States constitute a single genus, when there is such manifold diversity among them? How can we group together three yards long” and “white”— Quantity and Quality respectively? Or again Time and Place? How can “yesterday,” “last year,” “in the Lyceum,” “in the Academy,” be States at all? How can Time be in any sense a State? Neither is Time a State nor the events in Time, neither the objects in Space nor Space itself.
And how can Action be a State? One acting is not in a state of being but in a state of Action, or rather in Action simply: no state is involved. Similarly, what is predicated of the patient is not a state of being but a state of Passion, or strictly, Passion unqualified by state.
But it would seem that State was the right category at least for cases of Situation and Possession: yet Possession does not imply possession of some particular state, but is Possession absolute.
As for the Relative State, if the theory does not include it in the same genus as the other States, another question arises: we must enquire whether any actuality is attributed to this particular type of relation, for to many types actuality is denied.
It is, moreover, absurd that an entity which depends upon the prior existence of other entities should be classed in the same genus with those priors: one and two must, clearly, exist, before half and double can.
The various speculations on the subject of the Existents and the principles of the Existents, whether they have entailed an infinite or a finite number, bodily or bodiless, or even supposed the Composite to be the Authentic Existent, may well be considered separately with the help of the criticisms made by the ancients upon them.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:53