As it is my intention in the notes to this my translation of Aristotle's works, to extract from the Commentaries of the best of his Greek interpreters, whatever appears to me to be most important, and best calculated to restore his philosophy, it is necessary to give the reader the following information respecting the Commentaries which are extant under the name of Ammonius, On this Introduction of Porphyry, and On the Categories of Aristotle. Though Fabricius then in the account which he has given us of Philoponus in the 9th volume of his Bibliotheca Græca, observes from Gesner, and also from the authority of certain manuscripts, that the above-mentioned Commentaries were partly collected by Philoponus from Ammonius, and partly consist of Scholia by Philoponus himself, - yet independent of this information, there is sufficient internal evidence in the Commentaries themselves to convince any one who is conversant with the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, that they are not throughout the progeny of an adept in that philosophy, and especially of one so eminent as Ammonius. Of the truth of this remark, some instances will be adduced in the course of these notes. In my extracts therefore, I shall be careful to preserve what I conceive to be the genuine elucidations of Ammonius, unmingled with the erroneous and futile conceptions of Philoponus; and shall also endeavour to supply what the ignorance of Philoponus has rendered deficient.
Philosophy then is the knowledge of beings so far as they are beings. Philosophers therefore investigate after what manner they may possess a scientific knowledge of beings: and in consequence of perceiving that particulars are generable and corruptible, and besides this that they are infinite, but science is the knowledge of things perpetual and finite, they betake themselves from things partial to things universal, which are perpetual and finite. For as Plato says science receives its appellation from leading us to a certain state and boundary of things; and we obtain this through recurring to universals. Philosophers therefore recur from particular men, or the individuals of the human species to universal man. For their object is not to know how many men there are in the world, but what is the nature of man, that he is a rational mortal animal; since he who knows this will also know all the men that the world contains, all that have been, and all that will be. Thus then from particular men, they betake themselves to a certain common nature of man. Again from particular horses, they ascend to a certain common nature of horse, which comprehends all individual or particular horses, and define a horse to be a quadruped capable of neighing. For the philosopher does not wish to know particular horses, such for instance as what Xanthus and Balias are (the horses of Achilles mentioned by Homer) but what universal horse is. For universals possess a perpetual and invariable sameness of subsistence, and are not different at different times like particulars. Thus the particular nature of the horse Balias is different from that of Xanthus, and the particular nature of Plato is different from that of Alcibiades. But universal man and universal horse subsist always after the same manner; and this is also the case with every other species of animal. Philosophers therefore perceiving that the number of these forms though it is finite, yet cannot be ascertained by the human intellect; for it is by no means wonderful that there should be many animals unknown to us; betook themselves to a certain common nature of animal, which comprehends all particular animals. For man, horse, and dog, so far as they are animals have no difference, each of them being an animated, sensitive essence. He therefore who knows what animal is, will know all animals. Again, from the fig, the plane-tree, and the vine, they betook themselves to the universal fig, plane-tree, and vine; and in a similar manner in other plants. Again they referred these and other plants to the common genus plant, which comprehends in itself all particular or partial plants. Having therefore, two common natures, that of animal and that of plant, they again referred animal and plant to that which is animated. For a plant also is animated; since it is increased and nourished, and generates that which is similar to itself. Since however the inanimate is opposed to the animated, but the inanimate is that which does not participate of soul, such as a stone, a piece of wood, and the like, and these are many and infinite in particulars, on this account from particular stones, they again betook themselves to universal stone; from particular pieces of wood to wood universal; and in a similar manner from the rest of things of this kind. From universal stone, from universal wood, and the like, they also ascended to the common genus inanimate, which contains in itself all these. Hence they obtained two common natures, the animated, and the inanimate. But these again they referred to the common genus body, which possesses three dimensions; for stones, wood, man, and in short, all such things as are bodies, have three dimensions. Again, ascending from these to natures truly incorporeal, such as the rational soul, intellect, and deity, and the forms which they essentially contain, they surveyed that which is common in all incorporeal natures, and which has a subsistence contrary to that of bodies. For body is triply extended, and every way divisible; but that which is incorporeal is unextended and indivisible. They investigated therefore what that is which is common in both these, and they found that each is an essence. They elevated themselves therefore to the common genus essence, the name essence manifesting a self-subsisting thing. But we may learn the truth of what is said from the contrary. There are certain things which cannot subsist from themselves, but have their being in others, which also are called accidents; such as whiteness, blackness, sweetness, and the like. For these are not able to subsist by themselves; but whiteness is either in ceruse, or in milk, which are bodies; and the rest in a similar manner. Such things therefore as are capable of subsisting by themselves, and which do not require any thing else to their subsistence, are called essences; such as men, souls, stones, and the like. And hence, as we have said, they ascended to a certain common nature essence.
As Philoponus however in his extracts from Ammonius takes no notice of the universal which has an essential subsistence in the soul (nor is this wonderful considering as Simplicius justly says of him, that the eyes of his soul were injured) it will be necessary to give the reader the following information on this most important subject. The whole of it is extracted from the Manuscript Commentary of Proclus on the Parmenides of Plato; and though perfectly Platonical, will nevertheless be found to accord with the doctrine of Aristotle, as will appear from our notes on his Posterior Analytics.
Forms then, must not be admitted to be the progeny and blossoms of matter, as they were said to be by the Stoics; nor must it be granted that they consist from a commixture of simple elements; nor that they have the same essence with spermatic reasons. For all these things evince their subsistence to be corporeal, imperfect, and divisible. Whence then on such a hypothesis is perfection derived to things imperfect? Whence union to things every way dissipated? Whence is a never-failing essence present with things perpetually generated, unless the incorporeal and all-perfect order of forms has a subsistence prior to these? Others again of the ancients, assigned that which is common in particulars as the cause of the permanency in forms: for man generates man, and the similar is produced from the similar. They ought however to have directed their attention to that which gives subsistence to what is common in particulars; for true causes are exempt from their effects. That which is common therefore in particulars may be assimilated to one and the same seal which is impressed in many pieces of wax, and which remains the same without failing, while the pieces of wax are changed. What then is it which proximately impresses this seal in the wax? For matter is analogous to the wax, the sensible man to the type, and that which is common in particulars, and verges to things, to the seal itself. What else then can we assign as the cause of this, than nature proceeding through matter, and thus giving form to that which is sensible, by her own inherent reasons? Soul therefore will thus be analogous to the hand which uses the ring, since soul is the leader of nature; that which ranks as a whole (i.e. the soul of the world) of the whole of nature, and that which is partial of a partial nature. But intellect will be analogous to the soul which impresses the wax through the hand and the ring; which intellect fills a sensible essence through soul and the nature of forms, and is itself the true Porus [see the speech of Diotima in the Banquet of Plato 203b ff, TTS vol. XI], generative of the reasons which flow, as far as to matter. It is not necessary therefore to stop at things common in particulars, but we should investigate the causes of them. For why do men participate of this common nature, but another animal of a different common nature, except through unapparent reasons, or in other words productive principles? For nature is the one mother of all things; but what are the causes of definite similitudes? And why do we say the generation is according to nature when man is from man, unless there is a producing principle of men in nature, according to which all sensible men subsist? For it is not because that which is produced is an animal, since if it were a lion that was produced from a man, it would be a natural animal indeed, but would no longer be according to nature, because it would not be generated according to a proper reason, or producing cause. And hence it is necessary to recur from the things common in particulars to the one cause which proximately gives subsistence to sensibles.
After the forms or universals which subsist in nature, and are participated by sensibles, some of the followers of Aristotle directed their attention to those νοηματα or conceptions which are ingenerated in the soul by an abstraction from sensible particulars. They also contended that no forms of an higher order than these had any subsistence. A form of this kind however which is of posterior origin (το υστερογενες ειδος) and is the subject of logical predication is entirely different from that reason or form which abides essentially in souls, and does not derive its subsistence from an abstraction from sensibles. Looking to this essential reason we say, that the soul is all forms, and is the place of forms, not in capacity only, but in that kind of energy, through which we call one skilled in geometry a geometrician in energy, even when he does not geometrize, and which Aristotle accurately calls the prior form of existing in energy. The conception therefore of posterior origin, or the universal produced by an abstraction from sensibles, is very properly said to be different from the essential reason of the soul: for it is more obscure than the many in sensibles, as being posterior, and not prior to them. But the essential reason or form of the soul is more perfect, because the conception of posterior origin, or in modern language, abstract idea, has a less essence than the many, but the essential form more.
That it is not however proper to stop at conceptions of posterior origin, i.e. notions gained by an abstraction from sensible particulars, but that we should proceed to those essential reasons which are allotted a perpetual subsistence in the soul, is evident to those who are able to survey the nature of things. For whence is man able to collect into one by reasoning the perceptions of many sensibles, and to consider one and the same unapparent form prior to things apparent, and separated from each other; but no other animal, that we are acquainted with, surveys this something common, for neither does it possess a rational essence, but always employs sense, and appetite, and imagination? Whence then do rational souls generate these universals, and recur from the senses to that which is the object of opinion? It is because they essentially possess the gnostically productive principles of things. For as nature possesses a power productive of sensibles, by containing reasons, or productive principles, and fashions, and connects sensibles, so as by the inward eye to form the external, and in a similar manner the finger, and every other particular; so he who has a common conception of these, by previously possessing the reasons of things, beholds that which each possesses in common. For he does not receive this common something from sensibles; since that which is received from sensibles is a phantasm, and not the object of opinion. [Note: Opinion is the last of the rational powers of the soul; is that which sees the universal in sensible particulars; and knows that a thing is, but not why it is.] It likewise remains within such as it was received from the beginning, that it may not be false, and a non-entity, but does not become more perfect and venerable, nor does it originate from any thing else than the soul. Indeed, it must not be admitted that nature in generating generates by natural reasons and measures, but that soul in generating does not generate by reasons and measures which partake of the nature of the soul. But if matter possesses that which is common in the many, and this something common is essential, and more essence than individuals; for this is perpetual, but each of those is corruptible, and they derive their very being from this, since it is through form that every thing partakes of essence, - if this be the case, and soul alone possesses things common which are of posterior origin, do we not make the soul more ignoble than matter? For the form which is merged in matter will be more perfect and more essence than that which resides in the soul; since the latter is of posterior origin, but the former is perpetual; and the one is after, but the other generative and connective of the many. To which we may add, that a common phantasm in the soul derives its subsistence from a survey of that which is common in particulars. Hence it tends to this; for every thing adheres to its principle; and is said to be nothing else than a predicate, so that its very essence is to be predicated of the many.
Farther still, the universal in the many is less than each of the many; for by certain additions and accidents it is surpassed by every individual. But that which is of posterior origin, or universal abstracted from particulars, comprehends each of the many. Hence it is predicated of each of these; and that which is particular is contained in the whole of this universal. For this something common, or abstract idea, is not only predicated of that something common in an individual, but likewise of the whole subject. How then can it thence derive its subsistence, and be completed from that which is common in the many? For, if from the many themselves, where do we see infinite men, of all which we predicate the same thing? And if it derives its subsistence from that which is common in the many, whence is it that this abstract idea is more comprehensive than its cause? Hence it has a different origin, and receives from another form this power which is comprehensive of every individual; and of this form the abstract idea which subsists in opinion is the image, the inward cause being excited from things apparent. To which we may add, that all demonstration, as Aristotle has shown in his Posterior Analytics, is from things prior, more honourable, and more universal. How, therefore, is universal more honourable, if it is of posterior origin? For, in things of posterior origin, that which is more universal is more unessential; whence species is more essence than genus. The rules therefore concerning the most true demonstration must be subverted, if we alone place in the soul universals of posterior origin; for these are not more excellent than, nor are the causes of, nor are naturally prior to, particulars. Hence, if these things are absurd, it is necessary that essential reasons should subsist in the soul prior to the universals which are produced by an abstraction from sensibles. And these reasons, or productive powers, are indeed always exerted, and are always efficacious in divine souls, and in the more excellent orders of beings; but in us they are sometimes dormant, and sometimes in energy.
But to return from this digression, the importance of which must be the apology for its length: Does therefore essence comprehend all things? By no means. For we say there are two things, ten things, and twenty things, which philosophers refer to a certain common genus number. Again, they found that some things were great, and others small, which they call continuous. Since therefore number and the continued communicate with each other so far as they are quantities, for each is quantity, they referred these to universal quantity. They had therefore, two common natures comprehensive of many things, viz. essence and quantity. Farther still, there is something white, and many particular whitenesses; for whiteness is either in ceruse, or in snow, or in a swan. All these therefore, they referred to that which is simply white. In a similar manner, they referred the black, the dark brown, and things of this kind, to colour. Again, there are the sweet, the bitter, the hot, the cold. All therefore that we have now enumerated they referred to the common genus quality. Farther still, there is something on the right hand, and something on the left; something which is double, and something which is half. All these therefore, they referred to the common genus relation, which is the habitude of one thing to another. Again, something is in the lyceum, or the forum, and things of this kind, which they referred to where, and which is significant of place. Something also was yesterday, is today, and will be tomorrow, was in the last year, and the like, all which they referred to when, which is significant of time. Again, there is something which lies, something which stands, and something which sits, which they referred to situation, and which signifies a certain position of the body. Farther still, to be clothed is something, to be armed, to wear a ring, and things of this kind, which they referred to habit, and which signifies the investiture of essence about essence. Again, to strike, to heat, to refrigerate, and things of this kind, they referred to action. And lastly, perceiving certain things which are whitened, heated, refrigerated, etc. they referred all these to passion, which is to be changed in quality by something else; but action is to operate about something. Hence they obtained these common natures, viz. essence, quantity, quality, relation, where, when, situation, habit, action, and passion. Every thing therefore that exists, is comprehended under one of these common natures, which are called categories, as being asserted of some one of the things contained under them. Concerning these ten categories Aristotle has written a treatise, in which he makes mention of the five words genus, species, difference, peculiarity, and accident. Hence Porphyry acting both philanthropically and philosophically wrote this Introduction, in which he instructs us in the signification of each of these words, in order that we may be able to understand with greater facility what Aristotle has said about the categories.
But Porphyry entitles his treatise an Introduction, because it is a path to all philosophy. For the categories precede all philosophic writings, and these are preceded by the Introduction of Porphyry. That however which philosophers have done with respect to the universality of things, for they have reduced all things under ten common natures, this also grammarians have done with respect to eight words. For desiring to comprehend the infinity of words, but at the same time being unable, they referred certain words to the common nature of a noun, and others to the common nature of a verb; and thus formed their eight parts of speech. In like manner, Porphyry has reduced every significant word, except such as are significant of individuals, under five terms, which comprehend all particular significant words.
This Introduction also is useful to the whole of philosophy: for it instructs us in things which essentially accede to forms, and which are the causes of their composition. But from the causes of composition we obtain demonstration, through which we know the end of all philosophy. This Introduction also is inscribed to Chrysaorius, for the following reason: Porphyry was the preceptor of Chrysaorius, by whom, after he had instructed him in the mathematical disciplines, he was requested to write a history of the fire of Ætna. Porphyry in compliance with the request of his pupil went to Ætna, and in the intermediate time, Chrysaorius met with the categories of Aristotle. Not being able however to understand them, he wrote to Porphyry, and informed him of this circumstance, entreating him if he had finished his history of the fire to return; but if he had not finished it, to write an Introduction through which he might be able to understand that treatise of Aristotle. As Porphyry, therefore, could not at that time return, he composed this Introduction for him, the whole of which nearly is collected from the writings of Plato, and the composition of it is almost in the very words of that philosopher.
THE INTRODUCTION OF PORPHYRY
1 Since it is necessary, Chrysaorius, both to the doctrine of the Categories of Aristotle, and to the formation of definitions, and in short, to those things which pertain to division and demonstration,[note a] to know what genus and difference, species, peculiarity, and accident are; and since also the theory of these is useful, in a summary way, I will briefly endeavour to discuss for you, in the form, as it were, of an Introduction, which has been delivered on this subject by the ancients, abstaining from more profound investigations, but appropriately directing my attention to such as are more simple. My meaning is, that I shall omit to speak about genera and species, whether they have a subsistence in the nature of things or have an existence alone in the mere conceptions of the soul; and if they have a subsistence in the nature of things whether they are bodies or incorporeal, and whether they are separate from sensibles, or in sensibles, and about these have their subsistence [note b]. For a discussion of this kind is most profound, and requires another, and a greater investigation. [Note: Viz. This discussion properly belongs to Metaphysics.] In what manner, however, the ancients, and especially the Peripatetics discussed these, and the other proposed objects of enquiry, in a more logical manner, I will now endeavour to show you.
2 It seems indeed, that neither genus, nor species is simply denominated. For a collection of certain things, subsisting in a certain respect with reference to one thing, and to each other, is called genus; according to which signification the genus of the Heraclidæ is denominated from the habitude from one thing, I mean from Hercules, and the multitude of those who derive in a certain respect alliance from him; being thus denominated, according to abscission from other genera. After another manner also the principle of the generation of every one is again denominated genus, whether from the generator, or from the place in which some one is born. Thus we say that Orestes derived his genus from Tantalus, but Hyllus from Hercules. And again we say, that Pindar was by genus a Theban; but Plato an Athenian: for country is a certain principle of the generation of every one, in the same manner as a father. This signification however appears to be one that may be easily adopted [note c]. For those are called Heraclidæ who derive their origin from the genus of Hercules; and Cecropidæ who derive it from Cecrops; and also those who have an affinity to these. And the first genus is denominated that whence the principle of the generation of any one is derived; but afterwards, the multitude of those who originate from one principle, as for instance, from Hercules; which genus defining and separating from others, we call the whole collected multitude, the genus of the Heraclidæ.
Again, after another manner, genus is denominated that, to which species is subjected, being thus called perhaps according to the similitude of these. For a genus of this kind is a certain principle of the things which are under it, and appears also to comprehend all the multitude which is under it. Since therefore genus is denominated in a threefold manner, the third is that which is considered by philosophers; which also describing they explain, when they say that genus is that which is predicated of many things, differing in species, in answer to the question what a thing is; as for instance, animal. For of things which are predicated, some are predicated of one thing only, as individuals, as for instance Socrates, and this man, and that thing; but others are predicated of many things, as genera and species, differences, peculiarities and accidents, which are predicated in common, and are not peculiar to any one thing. But genus is indeed, such as animal; and species, such as man; difference is such as rational; peculiarity, such as risible; and accident, such as the white, the black, and to sit. Genera therefore differ from things which are predicated of one thing only in this, that they are predicated of many things; but they differ from those which are predicated of many things, and in the first place from species, because though species are predicated of many things, yet not of things differing in species, but in number. Thus man, being a species, is predicated of Socrates and Plato, who do not differ from each other in species, but in number. But animal being a genus, is predicated of man and ox, and horse, which differ also in species from each other, and not in number only. Again, genus differs from peculiarity in this, that peculiarity is predicated of one species alone, of which it is the peculiarity, and of the individuals under that species. Thus risibility is predicated of man alone, and of the individuals of the human species; but genus is not predicated of one species, but of many things, and which differ in species. Farther still, genus differs from differences, and from accidents which are common, because though differences and accidents which are common, are predicated of many things, and which differ in species, yet they are not predicated in answer to the question, what a thing is, but in answer to the question, what kind of a thing it is. For certain persons enquiring what that is, of which these things are predicated, we answer, that it is genus; but we do not answer that it is differences and accidents; since these are not predicated of a subject in answer to the question what a thing is, but rather in answer to the question what kind of a thing it is. For when any one asks what kind of a thing man is, we say that he is a rational being; and in answer to the question what kind of a thing a crow is, we say that it is black. Rational however is difference; but black is accident. But when we ask what man is, we answer an animal; and animal is the genus of man. Hence, because genus is predicated of many things, it is separated from individuals which are predicated of one thing only. But because it is predicated of things differing in species, it is distinguished from things which are predicated as species, or as peculiarities. And because it is predicated in answer to the question, what a thing is, it is separated from differences, and from common accidents, each of which is predicated of those things of which it is predicated, not in answer to the question what a thing is, but in answer to the question, what kind of a thing it is, or in what manner it subsists. The above-mentioned description therefore of the conception of genus, contains nothing superfluous, nothing deficient.
Species, however, is predicated indeed of every form, according to which signification it is said,
Form is first worthy of imperial sway. [Eripedes]
That also is called species, which is placed under the genus already explained, according to which signification we are accustomed to say that man is a species of animal, animal being a genus; that the white is a species of colour; and that triangle is a species of figure. If however in explaining genus we make mention of species, and say that genus is that which is predicated of many things differing in species, in answer to the question what a thing is, and that species is that which is under the aforesaid genus; - it is requisite to know that since genus is the genus of something, and species the species of something, each of each, it is necessary to use both in the definitions of both. They unfold therefore the meaning of species as follows: Species is that which is arranged under genus, and of which genus is predicated in answer to the question what a thing is. They also explain it thus: Species is that which is predicated of many things differing in number, in answer to the question what a thing is. This explanation however pertains to the most special species, and which is species only, but no longer genus also; but the other explanations will pertain to species which are not most special. What we have said however will be evident after this manner: In each category, there are certain things which are most general, and again others which are most special; and between things the most general and the most special there are others, which are called both genera and species. But the genus which is most general, is that above which there will no longer be another superior genus; and the most special species is that after which there will not be another inferior species. Between the most general genus, and the most special species also, there are other things which are both genera and species, when referred however to different things [note d]. But what has been said will become evident in one category. Essence or substance, is indeed itself a genus. Under this is body. And under body is animated body; under which is animal. Under animal is rational animal; under which is man. And under man are Socrates and Plato, and the individuals of the human species. Of these however essence is the most general, and that which is alone genus; and man is most special, and that which is alone species. But body is a species of essence, and the genus of animated body. Animated body also is a species of body, but the genus of animal. Again, animal is a species indeed of animated body, but the genus of rational animal. And rational animal, is a species indeed of animal, but the genus of man. And man is a species indeed of rational animal, but is no longer the genus also of particular men, but is species alone. Every thing also prior to individuals which is proximately predicated of them, will be species only, and no longer genus also. Hence as essence which is in the highest place is most general, because there is no genus prior to it; thus also man being a species, after which there is no other species, nor any thing which is capable of being divided into species, but individuals, (for Socrates, Plato, and Alcibiades, and this particular white thing, are individuals) will be species alone, and the last species, and as we have said, the most special species. But the media will be the species of the things prior to them; and the genera of things posterior to them. Hence these have two habitudes, one to things prior to them, according to which they are said to be the species of them, but the other, to things posterior to them, according to which they are said to be the genera of them. But the extremes have one habitude. For that which is most general, has indeed a habitude as to the things which are under it, since it is the highest genus of all things; but has no longer a habitude as to things prior to it, being supreme, and the first principle, and, as we have said, that above which there will not be another superior genus. The most special species also has one habitude, as towards things prior to it, of which it is the species; yet it has not a different habitude, as towards things posterior to it; but it is said to be the species of individuals, as comprehending them, and again, the species of things prior to it, as being comprehended by them. The most general genus therefore is defined to be that which being genus is not species. And again, it is that above which there will not be another superior genus. But the most special species, is defined to be that, which being species is not genus; and that which being species we cannot divide into species. Farther still, it is that also which is predicated of many things differing in number, in answer to the question what a thing is. But the media of the extremes, are called subaltern species and genera, and each of them is admitted to be genus and species, with reference however to different things. For the things prior to the most special species, in an ascent as far as to the most general genus, are called subaltern genera and species. Thus Agamemnon is Atrides, Pelopides, Tantalides, and in the last place, of Jupiter. In genealogies however, they refer, for the most part, to one principle, for instance to Jupiter; but in genera and species this is not the case; for being is not the common genus of all things, nor, as Aristotle says, are all things homogeneous, according to one supreme genus. But the first ten genera are arranged, as in the Categories, as the first ten principles. And though some one should call all things beings, yet, says he, he will call them so homonymously, and not synonymously. For if being were the common genus of all things, all things would be synonymously denominated beings. But the first principles being ten, the communion is in the name only, and not also in the definition pertaining to the name. The most general genera therefore are ten; but the most special species are indeed contained in a certain number, yet not in an infinite number. Individuals however, which are after the most special species are infinite. Hence, when we have descended as far as to the most special species from the most general genera, Plato orders us to rest; [note: see the Philebus of Plato; who justly observes, that a philosopher ought not to descend below wholes, and common natures] but advises us to descend through those things which are in the middle, dividing by specific differences. But infinites, says he, are to be dismissed; for of these there cannot be any science. In descending therefore to the most special species, it is necessary by dividing to proceed through multitude; but in ascending to the most general genera, it is necessary to collect multitude into one. For species is collective of the many into one nature, and genus possesses this power in a still greater degree. On the contrary, things which subsist according to a part, and particulars, always divide the one into multitude. For by the participation of species, the multitude of men is one man; but in things which subsist according to a part, and in particulars, that which is one and common to many is contained. For that which is particular has always a divisive power; but that which is common has the power of collecting and uniting.
With respect to genus and species therefore, having explained what each of them is, and since genus is one thing, but species many things, (for the division of genus is always into many species) genus indeed is always predicated of species, and all the superiors of all the inferiors; but species is neither predicated of the genus proximate to it, nor of the superior genera; for neither does it reciprocate. For it is necessary, either that things equal should be predicated of things equal, as the ability of neighing is predicated of a horse; or that greater things should be predicated of lesser, as animal of man; but lesser can no longer be predicated of greater things. For you can no longer say that animal is man, as you can say that man is an animal. For of those things of which species is predicated, of those, the genus of species are also necessarily predicated, and likewise the genus of genus, as far as to the most general genus. For, if it is true to say that Socrates is a man, but man is an animal, and an animal is essence or substance: it is also true to say that Socrates is an animal and an essence. For since superiors are always predicated of inferiors, species indeed is predicated of an individual; but genus is predicated both of species and an individual; and the most general genus is predicated of genus, or genera, if the media and subalterns are many, and also of species, and an individual. For the most general genus is predicated of all the genera, species, and individuals contained under it; but the genus which is prior to the most special species is predicated of all the most special species and individuals. And that which is species alone is predicated of all the individuals [of that species]; but an individual is predicated of one particular thing alone. An individual, however, is such as Socrates, this white substance, and this man who approaches, viz. the son of Sophroniscus, if Socrates is the son of Sophroniscus. But things of this kind are called individuals, because each of them consists of peculiarities, of which the collection can never belong to any other thing. For the same peculiarities as those of Socrates, cannot subsist in any other person. The same peculiarities however of man, I mean of man considered as common, can be inherent in many, or rather in all particular men, so far as they are men. Hence the individual is contained by species, but species by genus. For genus is a certain whole; but the individual is a part; and species is both whole and part. It is a part indeed of something else, but not a whole of any thing else, but subsists in other things; for the whole is in its parts. Concerning genus and species therefore, we have shown what they are, and also what that which is most general, and that which is most special are, what things are both genera and species, what are individuals, and in how many ways genus and species are assumed.
3 Difference however is predicated in common, peculiarly, and most peculiarly. For one thing is said to differ from another in common, in consequence of differing in some respect or other, either from itself, or from something else. For Socrates differs from Plato, in being another person, and he differs from himself when a boy, and when he becomes a man, and when he does any thing, or ceases to do it. And difference is always perceived in the various ways in which a thing is after a certain manner affected. But one thing is said to differ peculiarly from another, when one thing differs from another by an inseparable accident. And an inseparable accident is such as an azure colour of the eye, crookedness of the nose, or a scar from a wound when it becomes scirrhous. One thing also is said to differ most peculiarly from another, when it varies from it by a specific difference. Thus man differs from horse by a specific difference, viz. by the quality of rational. Universally, therefore, every difference, when connected with any thing, causes that thing to be altered. But differences which subsist in common and peculiarly, cause a thing to be different in quality; and differences which are most peculiar, cause it to be another thing. Hence those differences which cause it to be another thing, are called specific; but those which cause it to be changed in quality, are simply differences. For the difference of rational acceding to animal, causes it to be another thing, and makes it to be a species of animal; but the difference of being moved makes it to differ in quality alone from that which is at rest. Hence the one makes it to be another thing, but the other only makes it to be different in quality.
According to those differences therefore, which cause a thing to be another thing, the divisions of genera into species are produced, and the definitions are assigned, which consist from genus and differences of this kind. But according to those differences which alone cause a thing to be different in quality, alterations alone are constituted, and the mutations of that which subsists after a certain manner. Beginning therefore again, we must say, that of differences some are separable, but others inseparable. For to be moved, and to be at rest, to be ill, and to be well, and such things as are similar to these, are separable differences; but to have a crooked, or a flat nose, to be rational or irrational, are inseparable differences. Of inseparable differences too, some subsist essentially, but others from accident. Thus rational, mortal, and to be capable of receiving science, are essentially inherent in man; but to have a crooked or a flat nose, are inherent from accident, and not essentially. The differences therefore, which are essentially present, are assumed in the definition of essence, and make a thing to be another thing; but those which are from accident, are neither assumed in the definition of essence, nor make a thing to be another thing, but cause it to be different in quality. And those differences indeed, which are essential, do not admit of the more and the less; but those which are from accident, though they should be inseparable, admit of intension and remission. For neither is genus more and less predicated of that of which it is the genus, nor the differences of genus according to which it is divided. For these are the things which give completion to the definition of every thing. But the essence of every thing is one and the same, and neither admits of intension nor remission. To have a crooked or a flat nose however, or to be after a certain manner coloured, admit of intension and remission. Since therefore, three species of difference are beheld; and some indeed are separable, but others inseparable; and, of the inseparable some are essential, but others from accident; again, of essential differences, some are those according to which we divide genera into species; but others are those according to which the things divided become specific. Thus with respect to such differences of animal as the following; viz. animated and sensitive, rational and irrational, mortal and immortal; the difference of animated and sensitive is constitutive of the essence of animal; but the difference of mortal and immortal, and also of rational and irrational, are the divisive differences of animal; for through these we divide genera into species. These divisive differences however of genera, give completion to, and constitute species. For animal is divided by the difference of rational and irrational, and again, by the difference of mortal and immortal; but the differences of rational and mortal, become constitutive of man; those of rational and immortal, of a God; and those of mortal and irrational, of irrational animals. Thus also, since the differences, animated and inanimate, sensitive and deprived of sense, divide essence or substance, which is arranged in the highest place; animated and sensitive added to essence, form animal; but animated and deprived of sense, form plant. Since, therefore, the same differences assumed in a certain respect, become constitutive; and in a certain respect become divisive; all of them are called specific. And these are especially useful in the divisions of genera, and in definitions; but this is not the case with differences which are inseparable from accident, and much less with those that are separable. These also defining, they say difference is that by which species is more abundant than genus. Thus man has more than animal in consequence of being rational and mortal. For animal is neither any one of these; (since if it were, whence would species have differences?) nor has it all opposite differences; (because if it had, the same thing would at the same time have opposites) but as they conceive, it contains in capacity all the differences which are under it, but possesses no one of them in energy. And thus, neither is any thing generated from non-entities, nor will opposites subsist at once about the same thing.
They also define difference as follows: Difference is that which is predicated of many things differing in species, in answer to the question what kind of a thing is it. Thus rational and mortal, when predicated of man, are predicated in answer to the question, what kind of a thing is man, and not in answer to the question, what is he. For being asked what is man, we appropriately answer, an animal; but when we are asked, what kind of an animal is he, we properly reply, that he is a rational and mortal animal. For since things consist from matter and form, or from things which are analogous to matter and form, as a statue is composed from brass, as matter, but from figure, as form; thus also man, both the common and specific consists from genus which is analogous to matter, and from difference which is analogous to form. This whole however, viz. animal rational mortal, is man, in the same manner as the statue there. They also describe it as follows: Difference is that which is naturally adapted to separate things which are arranged under the same genus. Thus rational and irrational, separate man and horse, which are under the same genus, viz. animal. They likewise explain it thus: Difference is that by which every thing differs. For man and horse, do not indeed differ according to genus; for both we and horses are animals; but the addition of rational separates us from them. We also and angels are rational, but the addition of mortal separates us from them. Those however who more elegantly discuss what pertains to difference, do not say that difference is any thing casual which separates things under the same genus, but they assert it to be that which contributes to the essence and the very nature of a thing, and which is a part of a thing. Thus to be naturally adapted to sail is not the difference of man, though it is the peculiarity of man. For we may say, that of animals some are naturally adapted to sail, and others are not; separating man from other animals. But a natural ability of sailing, does not give completion to the essence of man, nor is a part of his essence, but is alone an aptitude of it; because it is not such a difference, as those are which are called specific differences. Hence specific differences will be those, which produce another species, and which are assumed in explaining in what the very nature of a thing consists. And thus much may suffice concerning difference.
4 With respect to peculiarity , they give it a fourfold division. For peculiarity is that which is an accident to a certain species alone, though not to every individual of that species. Thus it happens to a man to heal, or to geometrize. It is also that which is an accident to the whole of a species, though not to that species alone. Thus it happens to man to be a biped. It is likewise that which is an accident to a certain species alone, and to every individual of that species, and at a certain time. Thus it happens to every man to have grey hairs in old age. And in the fourth place, it is that in which what is accidental to one species alone, to every individual of that species, and always, concur; as risibility to man. For though he does not always laugh, yet he is said to be risible, not from laughing always, but from being naturally adapted to laugh. And this peculiarity is always connascent with him, in the same manner as an aptitude to neighing is connascent with a horse. They say also, that these are properly peculiarities, because they reciprocate. For if any thing is a horse, it has an aptitude to neighing; and if any thing has an aptitude to neighing, it is a horse.
5 Accident is that which may be present and absent, without the corruption of its subject. But it receives a twofold division; for one kind of it is separable, but another inseparable. Thus to sleep is a separable accident; but to be black happens inseparably to a crow and an Æthiop. It is possible however to conceive a white crow, and an Æthiopian casting off his colour, without the corruption of the subject.
They also define it as follows: accident is that which may be present and not present to the same thing. Likewise that which is neither genus nor difference, which is neither species, nor peculiarity, but is always inexistent in a subject.
6 Having separately discussed all that was proposed, I mean genus, species, difference, peculiarity, and accident, we must show what things are common to them, and what are peculiar. It is common therefore to all of them to be predicated, as we have said, of many things. But genus is predicated of the species and individuals which are under it; and in a similar manner difference. Species is predicated of the individuals which are under it; but peculiarity is predicated of the species of which it is the peculiarity, and of the individuals which are under that species. And accident is predicated both of species and individuals. For animal is predicated of horse and ox which are species; and also of this particular horse, and that particular ox, which are individuals. But the irrational is predicated of horse and ox, and of particular horses and oxen. Species however, such as man, is alone predicated of particulars. But peculiarity, is predicated of the species of which it is the peculiarity, and of the individuals under that species. Thus risibility is predicated of man, and of particular men. But blackness is predicated of the species of crows, and of particular crows, since it is an inseparable accident. To be moved likewise, which is a separable accident, is predicated of man and horse. Precedaneously however, it is predicated of individuals; but secondarily, of those things which comprehend individuals.
7 But to be comprehensive of species is common to genus and difference; for difference also comprehends species, though not all such as genus comprehends. For rational though it does not comprehend irrational natures, as animal does, yet it comprehends angel and man which are species. Such things too, as are predicated of genus as genus, are also predicated of the species under it. And such things as are predicated of difference as difference, are also predicated of the species formed from it. For animal being a genus, essence is predicated of it as of a genus, and also animated and sensible. But these are predicated of all the species under animal, as far as to individuals. Since also rational is difference, the use of reason is predicated of it as of difference. The use of reason however, is not only predicated of rational, but also of the species under rational. This likewise is common, that genus or difference being subverted, the things which are under them are also subverted. For as if animal is not, horse is not, nor man; thus also rational not existing, there will be no animal which uses reason. But it is the property of genus to be predicated of more things than difference, species, peculiarity, and accident are predicated. For animal is predicated of man and horse, of bird and snake; but quadruped is alone predicated of animals which have four feet. Man is alone predicated of individuals; and an ability of neighing, is predicated of horse alone, and of particular horses. In a similar manner accident is predicated of still fewer things. It is necessary however to assume the differences by which genus is divided, and not those which give completion to, but those which divide the essence of genus.
Farther still, genus comprehends difference in capacity. For of animal one kind is rational, and another irrational; but differences do not comprehend genera. Again, genera are prior to the differences which are under them. Hence they subvert differences, but are not co-subverted with them. For animal being subverted, rational and irrational are at the same time subverted. But differences do not any longer co-subvert with themselves genus; for though all of them should be subverted yet we may form a conception of animated sensible essence, which is animal. Farther still, genus is predicated in answer to the question what a thing is; but difference is predicated in answer to the question what kind of a thing is it, as we have before observed. Again, there is one genus according to every species, as for instance, animal is the genus of man; but there are many differences, as, rational, mortal, capable of intellect and science, by which man differs from other animals. And genus indeed is similar to matter, but difference to form. Since however, there are other things, which are common and peculiar to genus and difference, those which we have enumerated are sufficient.
8 Genus and species possess in common, as we have said, the being predicated of many things. Species however must be assumed as species only, and not also as genus, if the same thing should be both genus and species. It is likewise common to them to be prior to the things of which they are predicated; and also that each of them is a certain whole. They differ however, because genus indeed comprehends species, but species are comprehended, and do not comprehend genera. For genus is predicated to a greater extent than species. Again, it is necessary that genera should be pre-supposed, and when invested with form by specific differences, that they should give consummation to species. Whence also genera are prior by nature. They also subvert other things together with themselves, but are not co-subverted with other things. Thus species existing, genus also entirely exists; but genus existing, it does not entirely follow that species exists. And genera indeed, are synonymously predicated of the species which are under them; but species are not thus predicated of genera. Farther still, genera are more copious than species, in consequence of comprehending the species which are under them; but species are more copious than genera by their proper differences. Again, neither species can become most general, nor genus most specific.
9 It is common to genus and peculiarity to follow species. For if any thing is man it is animal; and if any thing is man it is risible. It is likewise common to genus to be equally predicated of species, and to peculiarity to be equally predicated of the individuals which participate it. Thus man and ox are equally animals; and Anytus and Melitus are equally risible. It is also common to genus to be synonymously predicated of its proper species, and to peculiarity to be synonymously predicated of the things of which it is the peculiarity. They differ however, because genus indeed is prior, but peculiarity posterior. For it is first necessary that animal should exist, and afterwards that it should be divided by differences and peculiarities. And genus indeed is predicated of many species; but peculiarity is predicated of one certain species, of which it is the peculiarity. Farther still, peculiarity is reciprocally predicated of that of which it is the peculiarity; but genus is not reciprocally predicated of any thing. For neither does it follow if any thing is an animal, that it is a man; nor if any thing is an animal that it is risible. But if any thing is a man, it follows that it is risible; and if any thing is risible, it follows that it is a man. Again, peculiarity is inherent in the whole species of which it is the peculiarity, and is alone and always inherent; but genus is inherent in the whole species of which it is the genus, and is always inherent yet not alone. Farther still, peculiarities being subverted, genera are not subverted together with them; but genera being subverted the species also are subverted together with them, to which the peculiarities belong. Hence those things of which there are peculiarities being subverted, the peculiarities themselves are at the same time subverted.
10 It is common to genus and accident to be predicated, as we have said, of many things; whether the accidents be separable or inseparable. For to be moved is predicated of many things; and blackness is predicated of crows, of Æthiopians, and of certain inanimate things. But genus differs from accident in this; that genus is prior to species, but accidents are posterior to species. For though inseparable accident should be assumed, yet that of which it is the accident is prior to the accident. And those things indeed which participate of genus equally participate it; but the participants of accident do not equally participate it. For the participation of accidents receives intension and remission; but this is not the case with the participation of genera. And accidents indeed precedaneously subsist in individuals; but genera and species are by nature prior to individual essences. Genera also are predicated of the things under them, in answer to the question what a thing is; but accidents in answer to the question, what kind of a thing it is, or how it subsists. For on being asked what kind of a thing an Æthiopian is, you reply that he is black; or how Socrates is, you reply that he is sick or well.
11 And thus we have shown in what genus differs from the other four. It happens also that each of the four differs from the rest; so that since there are five, and each of the four differs from the others, [it would seem that] all the differences which are produced will be twenty. This however is not the case, but always those which are successive are con-numerated. And the second is deficient by one difference, because it has been already assumed; the third is deficient by two differences; the fourth by three; and the fifth by four. Hence all the differences will be ten; viz. four, three, two, and one. For we have shown in what respect genus differs from difference, species, peculiarity, and accident. There are therefore four differences. We also showed in what respect difference differs from genus, when we explained in what respect genus differs from it. It remained therefore to say in what respect it differs from species, peculiarity, and accident; and three differences are produced. Again, it was said by us in what respect species differs from difference, when we explained in what respect difference differs from species. And it was shown by us in what respect species differs from genus, when we explained in what genus differ from species. It remained therefore to say, in what respect species differs from peculiarity and accident. These therefore are two differences. At length, it remained to be explained, in what respect peculiarity differs from accident; for in what respect it differs from species, difference and genus, was before explained by us, in the difference of those from these. Hence as four differences of genus with respect to the rest are assumed, but three of difference, two of species, and one of peculiarity with respect to accident, all the differences will be ten; four of which, viz. the differences of genus with respect to the rest, we have already shown.
12 It is common therefore to difference and species, to be participated equally; for the individuals of mankind participate equally of man, and the difference of rational. It is likewise common to them to be always present to their participants; for Socrates is always rational, and Socrates is always a man. But it is the peculiarity of difference indeed, to be predicated in answer to the question what kind of a thing a thing is; and of species to be predicated in answer to the question, what a thing is. For though man should be assumed as a certain kind of a thing, yet he will not be simply so, but so far as differences acceding to genus give subsistence to him. Again, difference is frequently seen in many species, as quadruped in many animals which differ in species; but species is in the individuals alone which are under species. Farther still, difference is prior to the species which subsists according to it. For rational being subverted co-subverts man with itself; but man being subverted, does not subvert rational, since angel will still exist. Again, difference is conjoined with another difference; for rational and mortal are conjoined in order to the subsistence of man; but species is not conjoined with species, so as that a certain other species is generated. For a certain horse is conjoined with a certain ass, in order to the generation of a mule; but horse simply conjoined with ass, will not produce a mule.
13 Difference also and peculiarity have this in common, that they are equally participated by their participants; for rational are equally rational animals, and risible are equally risible animals. It is likewise common to both, to be always present, and to every one. For though a biped should be mutilated, yet the term always is predicated with reference to that which is naturally adapted; since that which is risible has the always from natural adaptation, and not from always laughing. But it is the peculiarity of difference, that it is frequently predicated of many species; as rational, is predicated of angel and man; but peculiarity is predicated of one species, of which it is the peculiarity. And difference indeed, follows those things of which it is the difference, yet it does not also reciprocate; but peculiarities are reciprocally predicated of those things of which they are the peculiarities, in consequence of reciprocating.
14 It is likewise common to difference and accident to be predicated of many things. But it is common to difference, with inseparable accidents, to be always present, and to every one; for biped is always present to man; and in a similar manner blackness is present to all crows. They differ however; because difference indeed comprehends species, but is not comprehended by them; for rational comprehends angel and man; but accidents after a certain manner comprehend, because they are in many things; and after a certain manner are comprehended, because the subjects are not the recipients of one accident, but of many. And difference indeed, does not admit of intension and remission; but accidents receive the more and the less. Contrary differences likewise cannot be mingled, but contrary accidents sometimes can be mingled. And so many are the things which difference, and the other four possess in common, and peculiarly.
15 With reference to species however, we have before shown in what respect it differs from genus and difference, when we explained in what respect genus, and also in what respect difference, differs from the rest. It now remains that we should show in what respect species differs from peculiarity and accident. It is common therefore to species and peculiarity to be reciprocally predicated of each other. For if any thing is a man it is risible; and if any thing is risible, it is a man. It has however been frequently asserted by us that risibility must be assumed according to a natural aptitude to laughter. It is also common to species and peculiarity to be equally present. For species are equally present to their participants; and peculiarities to the things of which they are peculiarities. But species differs from peculiarity in this, that species indeed may be the genus of other things; but peculiarity can never be the peculiarity of other things. And species indeed subsists prior to peculiarity; but peculiarity accedes to species. For the existence of man is necessary to the existence of risibility. Again, species indeed, is always present in energy with its subject; but peculiarity is sometimes present in capacity. For Socrates is always Socrates in energy, but he does not always laugh, though he is always naturally adapted to be risible. Farther still, those things of which the definitions are different, are also themselves different; but the definition of species is, to be under genus, to be predicated of many things, and which differ in number, in answer to the question what a thing is, and things of this kind. The definition however of peculiarity is to be present to a thing alone, to every individual of a species, and always.
16 To species and accident also it is common, to be predicated of many things. But other common properties are rare, because accident, and that to which it happens, very much differ from each other. The peculiarities however of each are these: of species indeed, to be predicated of the things of which it is the species, in answer to the question what a thing is; but of accident to be predicated, in answer to the question what kind of a thing it is, or how it subsists. Likewise that every essence or substance participates of one species, but of many accidents, both separable and inseparable. And species indeed are conceived prior to accidents, though they should be inseparable accidents; (for it is necessary that there should be a subject, in order that something may happen to it) but accidents are naturally adapted to be of posterior origin, and have a nature which consists in being an adjunct to essence. And of species indeed the participation is equal; but of accident, though it should be inseparable it is not equal. For an Æthiopian may have a colour which has intension or remission according to blackness with reference to another Æthiopian.
17 It now remains to speak concerning peculiarity and accident; for we have already said in what respect peculiarity differs from species, difference and genus. It is common therefore to peculiarity and inseparable accident, not to subsist without those things in which they are beheld. For as man does not subsist without risibility, so neither can an Æthiopian subsist without blackness. And as peculiarity is present to every individual of a species and always, thus also inseparable accident. They differ however, because peculiarity is present to one species only, as risibility to man; but inseparable accident, as blackness, is not only present to an Æthiopian, but also to a crow, to a coal, to ebony, and to certain other things. Again, peculiarity is reciprocally predicated of that of which it is the peculiarity, and is equally present; but inseparable accident is not reciprocally predicated. The participation also of peculiarities is equal, one indeed more but another less. There are indeed other things which are common and peculiar to the above-mentioned five terms, but these are sufficient for the purpose of showing their distinction and agreement.
ADDITIONAL NOTES TO THE INTRODUCTION OF PORPHYRY
a. Dialectic according to Plato consists of four parts, viz. division, definition, demonstration, and analysis. A treatise therefore, which is useful to the formation of definitions, and to those things which pertain to division and demonstration, will evidently be useful to the dialectic of Plato. It is necessary to observe however (for Philoponus in his extracts from Ammonius gives us no information on this subject) that the dialectic of Plato is very different from what Aristotle calls dialectic, and which is the subject of his Topics. For the latter looks to opinion, but the former despises the opinion of the multitude. Hence to the many it appears to be nothing but words, and is on this account denominated by them garrulity. The dialectic indeed of Aristotle, delivers many arguments about one problem; but the dialectic of Plato delivers the same method about many and different problems; so that the one is very different from the other.
But the dialectic method of Plato, says Proclus in his manuscript commentary On the Parmenides, is irreprehensible and most expeditious; for it is connate with things themselves, and employs a multitude of powers in order to the attainment of truth. It likewise imitates intellect, from which it receives its principles, and ascends through well ordered gradations to being itself. It also terminates the wandering of the soul about sensibles; and explores every thing by methods which cannot be confuted, till it arrives at the ineffable principle of things. There are also three energies of this most scientific method. The first of these is adapted to youth, and is useful for the purpose of rousing their intellect, which is as it were, in a dormant state; for it is a true exercise of the eye of the soul in the speculation of things, leading forth, through opposite positions, the essential impression of ideas which it contains, and considering not only the divine path as it were, which conducts to truth, but exploring whether the deviations from it contain any thing worthy of belief; and lastly stimulating the all-various conceptions of the soul. But the second energy takes place, when intellect rests from its former investigations, as becoming most familiar with the speculation of beings, and beholds truth itself firmly established upon a pure and holy foundation. And this energy, according to Socrates, by a progression through ideas evolves the whole of an intelligible nature, till it arrives at that which is first; and thus by analyzing, defining, demonstrating, and dividing, proceeding upward and downward, till having entirely investigated the nature of intelligibles, it raises itself to a nature superior to beings. But the soul being perfectly established in this nature, as in her paternal part, no longer tends to a more excellent object of desire, as she has now arrived at the end of her search. And the third energy, which is exhibitive according to truth, purifies from twofold ignorance, which is the disease of the multitude, and takes place when a man is ignorant that he is ignorant. And from this ignorance it purifies, when its reasons are employed upon men full of opinion. It is also necessary to observe, that demonstrations are from the causes of the things demonstrated, which are prior to them according to nature, and not with relation to us, and which are more honourable than the conclusions unfolded from them. And the things from which demonstrations are formed, are universals, and not particulars. But definition proceeds through the essential reason of the soul, of which mention has been already made in the Preface. For we first define that which is common in particulars, possessing within, that form, of which the something common in these is the image. Definition therefore is the principle of demonstration. But the whole employment of division is to separate the many from the one, and to distribute things pre-subsisting unitedly in the whole, into their proper differences, not adding the differences externally, but contemplating them as inherent in the genera themselves, and as dividing the species from each other. And the analytic is opposed to the demonstrative method, as resolving from things caused to causes, but to the definitive as proceeding from composites to things more simple, and to the divisive, as ascending from things more partial, to such as are more universal.
b. Genera and species, and in short, all forms have a triple subsistence; for they are either prior to the many, or in the many, or posterior to the many. This is illustrated by Ammonius, or rather by Philoponus in his extracts from Ammonius as follows: Let there be conceived to be a seal-ring, which has the image of some one, for instance, of Achilles, engraved in it. Let there be also many pieces of wax, all which are impressed by the seal. Afterwards, let some one, approaching, and perceiving the pieces of wax, and that all of them have the impression of one seal, retain the impression in his mind. The seal therefore in the ring, is said to be prior to the many; but the impression in the wax, is said to be in the many; and the image which remains in the conception of the spectator, is said to be after the many, and of posterior origin. Let this therefore be conceived to take place in genera and species. For the Demiurgus, or fabricator of the universe, producing all things, contains in himself the paradigms of all things. Thus, in producing men, he contains in himself the form of man, looking to which he produces all men. If however some one in opposition to this should say that there are not forms in the Demiurgus, let him consider, that the Demiurgus fabricates, either knowing, or not knowing the things which are fabricated by him. But if he does not know, he will not fabricate them. For who that intends to do any thing, can be ignorant of that which he intends to do? Since he does not like nature produce by irrational power; whence also nature fabricates, without gnostically perceiving her productions. But if he produces any thing according to a rational habit, he will perfectly know that which is generated by him. Hence if divinity does not produce in a manner inferior to man, he will know that which is produced by him. But if he knows that which he makes, it is immediately evident that forms subsist in the Demiurgus. Form however, in the Demiurgus, is as the impression in the seal; and this is said to be the form prior to the many, and separate from matter. But the form of man is in particular men, or the individuals of the human species, as the impressions in the pieces of wax; and things of this kind are said to be in the many, and inseparable from matter. And when we perceive the individuals of the human species, and that all of them have the same form of man, we fashion this form in our mind; (just as in the instance of him who beheld the same impression in many pieces of wax,) and this form is said to be after the many, and of posterior origin.
In this extract Philoponus takes no notice of that form which essentially resides in our soul, and is not produced by an abstraction from sensible particulars, of which so much has been said in the Preface. This form however, with reference to that which is contained in sensible particulars, is also prior to the many.
c. It is worth while, says Ammonius, to doubt why Porphyry says that the first signification of genus appears to be one that may be easily adopted, and not the second signification which is the habitude of one thing to one; since this nature first knows. For she first produces one thing from one, and thus many from many. In answer to this it must be said, that the second signification of genus, which is second as with reference to us, is first to nature. For from Hercules one man is first produced, and thus afterwards the multitude of the Heraclidæ. But the signification, which is first to nature, is second to us; and that which is second to nature is first to us. And universally, whatever is first to nature, is second to us, and whatever is second to nature, is first to us. Thus for instance, matter and form are first to nature; afterwards, the four elements; then flesh and bone, and the rest of things consisting of similar parts; and last of all man. And nature indeed thus tends from the superior to the subordinate; but we as verging downward, beholding things in a supine position, and desirous to arrive at things more remote from such as are more proximate, and at such as are more simple from such as are more material, first indeed, we know man; afterwards we know that he is composed from bones and flesh; in the next place, that these are composed from the four elements; and in the last place, that these are composed from matter and form. Hence things prior to nature are posterior to our knowledge; and things posterior to nature, have with respect to our knowledge a prior subsistence. The first signification therefore is more clear, but the second more obscure. And it is necessary that doctrine should be delivered from things which are of a more perspicuous nature.
d. That description of species, says Porphyry, which asserts it to be that which is predicated of many things, differing in number in answer to the question what a thing is, is not adapted to every species, but to the most special species alone. In order however that we may learn what are the most special species, he uses the following division: Of essence one kind is body, but another incorporeal. And of body one kind is animated, but another inanimate. Of animated body also, one kind is animal, but another a zoophyte, and another a plant. For a plant has these three powers alone, viz. the nutritive, the augmentative, and the generative. But an animal in addition to these, has also a sensitive power, and a power of passing from one place to another. A zoophyte therefore is the middle of both; for it has besides the three powers of a plant the sense of touching, but cannot pass from one place to another; and such are oysters and sponges. For they adhere to rocks, but contract themselves on the approach of any resisting substance. Again, of animal one kind is rational, but another irrational. And of rational animal, one kind is angel, but another man. Again, of men one is Socrates another Plato, and particular men. Philosophers however do not speak of individuals. In this division therefore, essence is first, and afterwards man. But those things which are said to be under each other are media, which are both genera and species, with reference to different things. Hence essence is said to be the most general genus; but man the most special species; and the rest are both genera and species with reference to different things. For body is indeed a species of essence, but the genus of animated. The animated is a species of body, but is the genus of animal. And animal is a species indeed of the animated, but is the genus of man. But man is a species indeed of animal, yet is not a genus also; for it is predicated, not of things differing in species, but in number, such as of Socrates, Alcibiades, and the like. It is not therefore a genus, nor is it an individual, since it comprehends individuals in itself. It remains therefore, that man is a more special species. Hence Porphyry says, that the last description of species, is not adapted to every species; for it is not adapted to animal and animated, but only to the most special species, such as man, horse, and dog, which are species alone.
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