Aristotle, On Interpretation

I. Of Interpretation Generally Accepted

Chapter 1. Introduction

In the first place, it is necessary to determine what Noun and Verb are; and in the next place, what Negation, Affirmation, Enunciation, and a Sentence are.

Those things which are spoken, are symbols of the passions of the soul; and those things which are written are symbols of the passions in the voice.

And as there are not the same letters among all men, so neither are there the same spoken words, or articulate sounds.

The passions of the soul, however, of which these are primarily the signs, are the same among all men; and the things of which these are the similitudes are also the same.

Concerning these, therefore, we have spoken in the treatise “On the Soul”; for these belong to another discussion.

But as in the soul, a conception is at one time without truth or falsehood, but at another time it is that in which one of these is necessarily inherent; thus also it is in speech, or articulate sound. For the false and the true are conversant with composition and division.

Nouns and verbs, therefore, are assimilated to the conception which is without composition and division; such, for instance, as “man”, or “white”, when something is not added; for then it is neither true nor false.

Of which this is an indication, that the word tragelaphos signifies, indeed, something, but not yet any thing true or false, unless “to be” or not “to be” is added, either simply, or according to time.

II. Of Simple Interpretations

Chapter 2. Of the Noun

A Noun is a spoken sound, used to signify something by compact, without time, of which no part taken separately is spoken to signify anything.

Thus, in the Greek noun kallippos, the part ippos is not spoken to signify anything by itself, as it is in the phrase kalos ippos (beautiful horse).

Nor is it in simple nouns as it is in nouns that are conjoined.

For in simple nouns, a part is by no means spoken to signify anything by itself; but in the latter, a part wishes to be significant, yet is not spoken to signify anything by itself.

Thus, in the word epaktrokeles, the part keles is not spoken to signify anything by itself.

I say “according to compact” because no name or noun is provided by nature, but is established (by men) as a symbol.

For illiterate sounds also signify something, such as the sounds of beasts, of which there is no noun.

The expression “not man”, however, is not a noun. Neither is a name instituted by which it ought to be called; for it is neither a sentence, nor a negation.

Let this be called an indefinite noun, because it is similarly inherent in that which exists, as in that which does not.

The words Philonos, Philoni, and such like, are not nouns, but are the cases of a noun.

But the definition of the cases of a noun is the same as the definition of a noun (i.e., the Nominative case).

Because, however, in conjunction with the verb “is” or “was” or “will be”, the case of a noun does not signify anything true or false, while a noun always signifies this, hence it differs from a noun.

For instance, the phrases “Philonos is” and “Philonos is not.” do not signify anything true or false.

Chapter 3. Of the Verb

A Verb is that which, in addition to something else, signifies time; of which no part is significant; and it is always an indication of those things which are asserted of something else.

But I say that “in addition to something else to something else, signifies time”.

Thus, for instance, “health” is a noun; but “is healthy” is a verb; for it signifies in addition to being healthy, that health is inherent at the present time (in the subject).

And it is always an indication of those things which are asserted of something else; as, for instance, of those things which are predicated of a subject, or which are in a subject.

I do not, however, call “is not healthy”, and “is not ill”, verbs. For they signify time in addition to something else, and they are always an indication of something; but a name is not given to this difference. Let them be called indefinite verbs, because they are similarly inherent, both in what exists, and in what does not exist.

In like manner, I do not call, “was well”, and “will be well”, verbs, but cases of a verb. They differ from a verb, because a verb signifies in addition to something else the present time; but the others, that which is outside of the present time.

Verbs, when spoken by themselves as words, are names, and they signify something; for he who pronounces a verb stops the reasoning power of the hearer, and he who hears rests, but they do not yet signify whether a thing is or is not.

For neither is the verb “is”, or “is not”, an enunciation by itself.

Nor would it be a sign of the being or non-being of a thing if you were to say it alone, for it is nothing.

They signify, however, in addition to something else, a certain composition, without which it is not possible to understand composites.

III. Of Compound Interpretations

Ch. 4. Of the Sentence

Speech, however, is voice significant according to compact, of which a certain part is significant considered separately–as a word, but not as affirmation or negation.

But I say, as for instance, the Greek word anthropos is spoken to signify something, but not that it is, or is not.

It will be, however, affirmation or negation, if something is added to it.

But one syllable of the word anthropos is not spoken to signify anything by itself. For neither in the word mus (a mouse) is the sound us spoken to signify anything, but it is only an articulate sound. In double words, however, a part is indeed spoken to signify something, but not by itself, as we have before observed. But all speech is, indeed, significant, not as an instrument (organon), but as we have said, according to human compact.

Not all speech, however, is enunciative, but that in which truth or falsehood is inherent; but truth and falsehood are not inherent in all kinds of speech.

Thus, for instance, a prayer, is, indeed, speech, but is neither true nor false.

The consideration, therefore, of other kinds of speech must be omitted; because they belong to rhetoric or poetry.

But enunciative speech belongs to the present study.

Ch. 5. Of Enunciation

First affirmation, then negation, is one enunciative speech. All the rest are considered one by conjunction.

It is necessary, however, that all enunciative speech should be from a verb, or from a case of a verb.

For the definition of “man” is not yet enunciative speech, until “is” or “was”, or “will be”, or something of this kind is added.

Why, therefore, is the spoken phrase “a terrestrial biped animal” said to signify one thing, and not a number of things?

For it will not be considered one expression simply because the words are spoken together–to speak of this, however, pertains to another subject of study.

But enunciative speech is one either when spoken to signify a single thing, or when it is considered one through conjunction; but the are multiple enunciative sentences which signify many things (and not one thing), or which are without conjunction.

Let therefore, a noun or a verb be understood to be a word only; since it cannot be said that he who signifies anything by articulate sound, enunciates, either when he is interrogated by someone or speaks from deliberate intention.

But of these, one, indeed, is a simple enunciation, as, for instance, something is affirmed of a subject, or something is denied of a subject; but another is composed from these, as a certain sentence which is now composite enunciation.

Simple enunciation is sound significant about something being inherent, or not being inherent, according as times are divided.

Ch. 6. Of Affirmation, Negation and Contradiction

Affirmation is the enunciation of something concerning something, and negation is the enunciation of something from something.

Since, however, it is possible–

  1. to speak of what is inherent as if it was not inherent;
  2. to speak of what is not inherent as if it was inherent;
  3. to speak of what is inherent as if it was inherent; and
  4. speak of what is not inherent as if it was not inherent;

and in a similar manner about the times which are external to the present; then it is possible that whatever any one affirms may be denied, and that whatever any denies may be affirmed.

Hence it is evident, that:

There is a negation opposite to every affirmation, and an affirmation opposite to every negation–and let this be called “contradiction”; affirmation and negation being opposites.

But I say, that the enunciation of the same thing is opposed synonymously, and not homonymously, or such other particulars of this kind, as we have concluded against the annoyances of the sophists.

IV. Of Enunciations “sine Modo”

Ch. 7. Of Universal, Particular, Indefinite and Singular Enunciations

Since, however, some things are universals, but others are particulars, I call that thing “universal” which is adapted by its nature to be predicated of a multitude (or class) of things, but that “particular” (or individual) which is not adapted to be so predicated; as “man” is a universal, but “Callias”[ref]”Callias” is the proper name of an individual man.[/ref] a particular (or individual) thing.

It is necessary to enunciate that something is inherent or is not inherent, at one time in something universal, but at another in something particular.

If, therefore, any one enunciates in a universal way (i.e., universally) of that which is universal, that something is inherent, or is not inherent, these enunciations will be contrary.[ref] The term “contrary” is important here because it names a certain kind of opposition– all of a class vs. none of a class.[/ref]

But I say, to enunciate universally of that which is universal; as, for instance:

Every man is white.[ref]The noun “man” is a universal, naming a class that contains a multitude of individuals, and the enunciation speaks universally of this universal noun–first affirmatively, then negatively.[/ref]
No man is white.

But when he enunciates of universal subjects not in a universal way, these enunciations are not contrary.

The things signified, may, however, sometimes be contrary.

But I say, to enunciate not universally of universal things; as, for instance:

Man is white.[ref]Here, the noun “man” is a universal, but the enunciation does not speak universally of this universal noun.[/ref]
Man is not white.

For “man” being a universal (i.e., a genus), is not used as a universal in the enunciation; since the word “every” does not signify a universal, but shows that the subject is universally assumed.

Of that, however, which is universally predicated, the universal predicate is not true.

For no affirmation will be true, in which the universal is predicated of that which is universally predicated; as for instance:

Every man is every animal.

I say, therefore, that affirmation is opposed to negation contradictorily; the affirmation which signifies a universal, to that which signifies that the same is not to be universally assumed; as:

Every man is white. vs. Not every man is white.
No man is white. vs. Some man is white.

But the affirmation of a universal, and the negation of a universal, are opposed contrarily; as:

Every man is white. vs. No man is white.
Every man is just. vs. No man is just.

Hence it is impossible that these should be at one and the same time true.

It may sometimes, however, happen, that the opposites to these are co-verified in the same thing: as:

Not every man is white.
Some man is white.

Of such contradictions, therefore, of universals are universally made, it is necessary that one of them should be true of false; and also such as are of particulars; as:

Socrates is white.
Socrates is not white.

But with respect to such contradictions as are of universals, indeed, yet are not universally made, the one is not always true, but the other false.

For at one and the same time it may be truly said, man is white, and man is not white; and man is beautiful, and man is not beautiful; for if he is deformed he is not beautiful; and if any thing is becoming to be, it is not.

This, however, may immediately appear to be absurd, because this assertion, man is not white, seems at the same time to signify the same thing, as no man is white.

It neither, however, necessarily signifies the same thing, nor at the same time.

But it is evident, that there is one negation of one affirmation; for it is necessary that the same thing (i. e. the attribute) should deny the negation which affirmation affirmed; and also from the same, (i. e. subject) viz. either from some particular, or some universal, either as universal, or as not universal.

I say, as, for instance:

Socrates is white.
Socrates is not white.

But if there is something else from the same, or the same thing from something else, that enunciation will not be opposite, but different from it.

To this enunciation, however,

Every man is white.

the enunciation,

Not every man is white.

is opposed.

But to this:

A certain man is white.

the enunciation is opposed:

No man is white.

And thus we have shown that one affirmation is contradictorily opposed to one negation, and also what these are.

We have likewise shown there are other contraries, and what they are; and that not every contradiction is true or false, and why it is not, and when it is true or false.

Ch. 8. Of Enunciation: One or Many

The affirmation, however, and also the negation is one, which signifies one thing of one, either universal, if it is as universal, or similarly, if it is not.

For instance,

Every man is white.
Not every man is white.
Man is white.
Man is not white.
No man is white.
Some man is white.

if that which is white signifies one thing.

But if one name is given to two things, from which there is not one thing; there is not one affirmation, nor one negation.

Thus, if any one should give the name of “garment” to a horse and to a man, the affirmation will not be one, that

The garment is white.

nor will the negation of it be one.

For this in no respect differs from saying

A man is white.

and

A horse is white.

If therefore these enunciations signify many things, and are many, it is evident that the first enunciation also either signifies many things, or nothing; for some man is not a horse.

Hence, neither in these is it necessary that one should be a true, but the other a false contradiction.

Ch. 9. De Enunciationibus Singularibus in Futurum Collatis

In those things, therefore, which are, and in those which are becoming to be, or passing into existence, it is necessary that affirmation or negation should be true or false; and in universals, indeed, as universals, that always the one should be true, but the other false; and also in particulars, as we have shown.

But in universals not universally pronounced this is not necessary; concerning which also we have spoken.

This, however, is not similarly the case in things particular and future.

For if every affirmation or negation is true or false, it is also necessary that every thing should exist, or should not exist.

For if one person says that something will be, but another says it will not be; it is evident that one of them necessarily speaks truly, if every affirmation or negation is true or false; since both will not subsist at one and the same time in things of this kind.

Thus, if it is true to say that a thing is white, or that it is not white, it is necessary that it should be white, or not white.

And if it is white, or not white, it was true to affirm or deny [that it is white, or not white].

Also if it is not, it is falsely said to be so; and if it is falsely said to be so, it is not.

Hence it is necessary, that either affirmation or negation should be true or false.

Nothing, therefore, either is, or is generated (i, e. is becoming to be) either fortuitously, or casually, nor will it be or not be, but all things are from necessity, and not casually, or in any manner whatever.

For either he who affirms says truly, or he who denies; since otherwise, it might similarly be generated or not generated.

For that which subsists casually, does not more subsist, or will not more subsist in this way than in that.

Again, if a thing is now white, it was true to say before, that it will be white so that it was always true to say, of any thing which is generation or becoming to be, that it is, or will be; and it is not possible that this is not or will not be.

But with respect to that which it is impossible should not pass into existence, it is impossible that it should not be generated.

And with respect to that which cannot not be generated, it is necessary that it should be generated.

And hence nothing will be casual, nor subsist fortuitously; for if fortuitously, it will not be from necessity.

Nor can it be said that neither of them is true; as, for instance, that it neither will be, nor will not be.

For in the first place, the affirmation being false, the negation will not be true.

And, besides, if it was true to say, that a thing is white and at the same time great, it is necessary that both should exist.

But [if it was true to say] it will be to-morrow, it is necessary that it should be to-morrow.

And if [it was true to say] it neither will be, nor will not be to-morrow, it will not be that which may happen casually, or in any way; as, for instance, a naval engagement.

For it would be requisite that a naval engagement should neither take place, nor should not take place.

These, therefore, and other such like absurdities will happen if of every affirmation and negation, either in things universal considered as universal, or in particulars, it is necessary that the one of opposites should be true, and the other false; viz. that nothing in things generated will be casual, but that all things will be, and will be generated from necessity.

Hence it will neither be requisite to consult, nor to be busily employed; so as that if we do this particular thing, some thing definite will take place; but if not, it will not take place.

For nothing hinders, but that one person may for ten thousand years assert that this will take place, and that another person may assert that it will not; so that from necessity it will come to pass, that it was then true to assert either of them.

Nor is it of any consequence whether some person should utter a contradiction, or should not.

For it is evident that the things thus subsist, although the one should not affirm any thing, but the other should deny it.

For not because a thing is affirmed or denied, will it, therefore, be or not be; nor will it more be or not be for ten thousand years, than for any time whatever.

Hence if a thing will thus subsist in every time, that it will be true to assert the one of these, it was necessary that this should take place; and every thing generated will always so subsist, as that it will be generated from necessity.

For when any one truly says that it will be, it is not possible that it should not be generated; and with respect to that which is generated, it was always true to say, that it will be.

But these things are impossible.

For we see that there is a beginning of things which will be, from our deliberating and acting; and, in short, we see in things which do not always energize, that there is a power of similarly being and not being, in which both may happen, viz. to be and not to be; so that also they may be generated, and may not be generated.

And many things are manifest to us which thus subsist.

Thus, for instance, it is possible that this garment may be cut in pieces, and it may not be cut in pieces, but prior to this may be worn out.

In like manner also, it is possible that it may not be cut in pieces; for it would not prior to this have been worn out, unless it had been possible that it might not be cut in pieces.

The same thing, therefore, must also be said in other generations, which are spoken of according to a power of this kind.

Hence it is evident, that all things neither are, nor are generated, or becoming to be, from necessity; but that some things have a casual subsistence, and that affirmation respecting them is not more true than negation; and that there are other things in which one of these subsists more frequently, and for the most part, and yet it may happen that the one of these may take place, but the other not.

It is necessary, therefore, that being should be when it is, and that non being should not be, when it is not.

It is not, however, necessary either that every being should be, or that non-being should not be.

For it is not the same thing for every being to be from necessity, when it is, and simply to be from necessity.

And the like must be asserted of non-being.

There is also the same reasoning in contradiction.

For it is necessary that every thing should either be or not be, and also that it will be, or will not be.

Yet it is not necessary to speak of one of them separately.

I say, for instance, it is necessary, indeed, that there will be or will not be a naval engagement to-morrow, yet it is not necessary that there should be a naval engagement nor, nor that there should not be.

It is necessary, however, that it should either be or not be.

Hence, since assertions and things are similarly true, it is evident that in things which so subsist, that in whatever manner they may happen to be, contraries may also happen, it is necessary that contradiction should likewise subsist in a similar manner; which happens to be the case, in things which are not always, or which not always are not.

For of these it is necessary that one part of the contradiction should be true or false; not, however, this thing or that, but just as it may happen, It is also necessary that the other part should be more true; yet it is not necessary that it should now be true or false.

Hence it evidently is not necessary that of every affirmation and negation of opposites, the one should be true, but the other false.

For the like does not take place in things which are not indeed, but which either may be, or may not be, as in things which are; but it happens as we have said.

Chapter 10. De Enunciationibus Secundi vel Tertii Adiacentis, Finitis aut Infinitis

Since, however, affirmation signifies something of something, and this is either a noun, or anonymous; but it is necessary that what is in affirmation should be one thing, and of one thing; all affirmation and negation, will be either from a noun and a verb, or from an indefinite noun and verb.

But what a noun is, and what the anonymous, has been shown by us before.

For I do not call not-man a noun, but an indefinite noun; since an indefinite noun in a certain respect signifies one thing; just as is not well, is not a verb, but an indefinite verb.

But without a verb there is no affirmation nor negation.

For it is, or it will be, or it was, or it is becoming to be, and other things of the like kind are verbs, [as is evident] from what has been before asserted; since in addition to something else they signify time.

Hence the first affirmation and negation will be, man is, man is not; and afterwards, non-man is, non-man is not.

Again, every man is, every man is not, every non-man is, every non-man is not; and there is the same reasoning in external times.

But when [the verb] is is additionally predicated as the third thing, then the oppositions are said to subsist doubly.

I say, for instance, a man is just: for here the word is, is, I say, composed as the third thing in this affirmation, whether it be [called] a noun or a verb.

Hence, on this account, these will be four, of which two, indeed, will subsist with reference to affirmation and negation, according to the order of consecution, as privations, but two will not.

But I say that [the verb] is either is added to the just, or to the non-just; and, therefore negation also is added.

Hence there will be four.

We shall understand, however, what is said from the underwritten [examples]: a man is just; the negation of this is, a man is not just.

He is not a just man; of this the negation is, he is not not a just man.

For here the [verb] is and is not are added to the just, and the not just.

These, therefore, as we have shown in our Analytics are thus arranged.

The like also will take place if the affirmation is of a noun universally considered.

For instance, every man is just: of this the negation is, not every man is just.

Every man is not just, not every man is not just; except that it does not similarly happen that those which are diametrically opposed are co-verified.

Sometimes, however, this happens to be the case.

These two, therefore, are opposed to each other.

But the other two [are similarly opposed to each other], with respect to non-man, as to a certain added subject.

Thus, for instance, non-man is just, non-man is not just.

That is not just which is not man, that is not not just which is not man.

There are not, however, more oppositions than these. But these separate from those, will be themselves by themselves, as using the noun not-man.

But in those in which [the verb] is is not adapted, as in [the verbs] to be well and to walk, in these it effects the same when thus posited, as if [the verb] is were added.

Thus, for instance, every man is well, every man is not well, every non-man is well, every non-man is not well.

For it must not be said, not every man, but the negation not must be added to man.

For every does not signify the universal, but that [a thing is assumed universally].

But this is evident from what follows: a man is well, a man is not well; non-man is well, non-man is not well.

For these differ from those, because they are not universally [assumed].

Hence every, or no one signifies nothing else than that affirmation or negation is of a noun universally [assumed].

It is necessary, therefore, to add other things in the same manner.

But because to this [affirmation] every animal is just, the negation is contrary, signifying that no animal is just, it is evident that these will never be at the same time true, nor in the same; but the opposites to these will be sometime or other [at one and the same time] true.

Thus, for instance, not every animal is just, and some animal is just.

But these follow: This indeed, no man is just follows that every man is not just; but the opposite, viz.

Some man is just, follows this, not every man is not just; for it is necessary that some man should be just.

It is evident, however in particulars, that if any one being interrogated truly denies, [that which he denies] is also truly affirmed.

For instance, is Socrates a wise man?

No.

Socrates, therefore, is not a wise man.

But in universals [the affirmation] is not true, which similarly asserted; but the negation is true.

For instance, is every man wise?

No.

Every man, therefore, is not wise.

For this is false.

But this, not every man, therefore, is wise, is true.

And this is opposite, but that contrary.

But the opposites according to indefinite nouns and verbs, such as non-man, and non-just, may appear to be as it were negations without a noun and verb.

They are not, however.

For it is always necessary that negation should be either true or false.

But he who says non-man does not speak more truly or falsely, but less so, unless something is added.

This assertion, however, every non-man is just, does not signify the same thing as some one of those [former enunciations]; nor the opposite to this, viz. not every non-man is just.

But this assertion, every one not just is not a man, is the same with this, no one is just who is not a man.

Nouns and verbs, however, when transposed signify the same thing.

For instance, he is a white man, he is a man white.

For unless it is so, there will be many negations of the same thing.

It has been shown, however, that there is one negation of one thing.

For the negation of this assertion, he is a white man, is, he is not a white man.

But of this assertion, he is a man white, unless it is the same with the enunciation he is a white man, the negation will either be, he is not not a man white, or he is not a man white.

But the one is a negation of this, he is not a man white, and the other of this, he is a white man.

It is evident, therefore, that a noun and verb being transposed, there will be the same affirmation and negation.

Chapter 11. De Enunciationibus Conjunctione ac Divisione

To affirm and deny, however, one thing of many things, or many things of one thing, unless that is one certain thing which is manifested from the many, is not one affirmation, nor one negation.

But I say one, not if one name is given to many things, nor if one thing is produced from them.

Thus, for instance, man is perhaps an animal, a biped, and mild; but one thing is produced from these.

But from white, man, and to walk, one thing is not produced.

Hence, neither if any one affirms one certain thing of these, is there one affirmation; but there is one articulate sound, indeed, and many affirmations: nor if [he should affirm] these of one thing, [is there one affirmation] but there are similarly many [affirmations].

If, therefore, dialectic interrogation, is the request of an answer, either of a proposition, or of the other part of a contradiction; but a proposition is a part of one contradiction; there will not be to these things one answer, for neither is there one interrogation, not even if it is true.

About these things, however, we have spoken in the Topics.

But it is at the same time evident, that the question what is it, is not a dialectic interrogation.

For it is necessary that a choice should be given from the interrogation of enunciating this or that part of the contradiction; but it is requisite that the interrogation should first define whether this particular thing is a man, or not this particular thing.

Since, however, of things which are separately predicated, some are predicated as composites, so that the whole that is predicated becomes one thing, but others are not, what is the difference?

For of man it is true to assert separately animal, and separately biped; and these as one thing: and also man and white, and these as one thing.

But if he is a shoemaker and a good man, he is not also a good shoemaker.

For if, because each of them [separately] is true, it is also necessary that both should be at the same time true, many absurdities will follow.

For of a man, man and white are truly asserted, so that the whole also is truly asserted.

Again, if the same thing is white, the whole also is white; so that it will be a man white white, and this to infinity.

And again, a musician white walking; and these frequently conjoined to infinity.

Farther still, if Socrates is Socrates and man; Socrates also is Socrates man.

And if he is man and biped, he is also man biped.

It is evident, therefore, that if any one says conjunctions are simply produced, many absurdities must be said to happen.

Let us, however, now show how they are to be placed.

Of things, therefore, which are predicated, and of those things to which it happens to be predicated, such things are said from accident, either of the same, or the one of the other, these will not be one; as, for instance, man is white, and a musician.

But whiteness and music are not the same thing; for both are accidents to the same thing.

Nor though it should be true to say that what is white is a musician, yet at the same time, musical white will not be one thing; for that which is white is a musician from accident; so that white musical will not be one thing.

Hence neither [if a man is a shoemaker and a good man] is he simply a good shoemaker; but [if he is an animal and a biped, he is rightly called] a biped animal, because [these] are not [predicated] from accident.

Again, neither are such things as are inherent in another [to be added]; and hence neither is whiteness to be frequently [adduced]. Nor is a man a man animal, or [a man] biped; for animal and biped are inherent in man.

It may, however, but truly asserted and simply of some one; as, for instance, that a certain man is a man; or that a certain white man is a white man; but this cannot always be asserted.

But when in the adjunct, something of opposites is inherent, from which contradiction follows, then it is not true but false; as if, for instance, a dead man should be said to be a man.

When, however, [something repugnant] is inherent, it is always not true?

But when it is not inherent, it is not always true?

As Homer is something, for instance, a poet, but is not predicated per se, or essentially.

Hence in those categories in which contrariety is not inherent, if definitions are asserted instead of nouns, and are predicated essentially, and not from accident; in these, that which is some particular thing, may also be truly said to be simply such.

But non-being because it is an object of opinion, cannot be truly said to be a certain being; for the opinion of it is, not that it is, but that it is not.

V. De Enunciationibus Modificatis

Chapter 12. De Oppositione Enunciationum Modificatarum

These things, however, being determined, let us consider how the affirmations and negations of that which is possible to be and not possible subsist with reference to each other; and let us also consider the contingent and non-contingent, the impossible and the necessary.

For [this consideration] is attended with certain doubts.

For if among things connected those contradictions are opposed to each other, which are arranged according to the verb to be, and not to be; (as, for instance, the negation of this, to be a man, is, not to be a man, and not this, to be not a man; and the negation of this, to be a white man, is not to be a white man, and not this, to be not a white man; for if of every thing affirmation or negation is true, it will be true to say that wood is not a white man)–if this be the case, in those things in which the verb to be is not added, that which is asserted instead of the verb to be, will effect the same thing.

Thus, for instance, of this affirmation a man walks, the negation will not be, that which is not a man walks, but a man does not walk.

For it makes no difference to say a man walks, or a man is walking.

Hence, if this is every where the case, the negation also of this, it is possible to be, will be, it is possible not to be, and not this, it is not possible to be.

But it appears that it is possible for the same thing both to be and not to be.

For every thing which may be cut, or which may walk, may also not be cut, and may not walk.

But the reason is, because every thing which is thus possible, does not always energize; so that negation also pertains to it.

For that which is capable of walking may not walk, and that which is visible may not be seen.

It is, however, impossible that opposite affirmations and negations should be verified of the same thing.

Hence the negation of this, it is possible to be, is not this, it is possible not to be.

For it happens from these things, either that we at the same time affirm and deny the same thing of the same, or that the affirmations and negations are not made according to those additions to be, and not to be.

If, therefore, that is impossible, this will be eligible.

Hence, the negation of this, it is possible to be, is, it is not possible to be, and not this, it is possible not to be.

There is also the same reasoning about the being contingent; for the negation of this is, not to be contingent.

In a similar manner also in other things; as, for instance, in the necessary and impossible.

For as in those, to be, and not to be are additions, but whiteness and man are subject things; so here, to be and not to be, become as a subject; but to be possible and to be contingent are additions, which in these [enunciations] indeed, to be possible, and to be not possible, so determine the true and the false, as in those to be, and not to be.

But of this, it is possible not to be, the negation is not this, it is not possible to be, but this, it is not possible not to be.

And of this, it is possible to be, the negation is not this, it is possible not to be, but this, it is not possible to be.

Hence, these will appear to follow each other, viz. it is possible to be, and it is possible not to be.

For it is the same thing to be possible to be, and not to be; since things of this kind are not contradictions of each other, viz. it is possible to be, and it is possible not to be.

But it is possible to be, and it is not possible to be, are never at one and the same time verified of the same thing; for they are opposed.

Neither are these, it is possible not to be, and it is not possible not to be, ever verified at one and the same time of the same thing.

In a similar manner of this [enunciation] it is necessary to be, the negation is not this, it is necessary not to be, [the negation] is this, it is not necessary not to be.

And of this, it is impossible to be, the [negation] is not this, it is impossible not to be but this, it is not impossible to be.

But of this, it is impossible not to be, [the negation] is this, it is not impossible not to be.

And universally, as we have said, it is necessary that to be and not to be should be considered as subjects, but that affirmation and negation, which produce these, should be co-arranged with to be, and not to be.

It is also requisite to think that these are opposite affirmations and negations; viz. possible, not possible; contingent, not contingent; impossible, not impossible; necessary, not necessary; true, not true.

Chapter 13. De Consecutione Enunciationum Modificatarum

The consecutions, however, when properly made are disposed as follows: The (enunciation), it may happen to be, follows this, it is possible to be, and this reciprocates with that; and also this, it is not impossible to be, and this, it is not necessary to be.

But this, it is not necessary not to be, and it is not impossible not to be, follow that, it is possible not to be, and it may happen not to be; and thus, it is necessary not to be, and it is possible to be, follow that, it is not possible to be, and does not happen to be.

But this, it is necessary to be, and also this, it is impossible not to be, follow this, it is not possible not to be, and it is not contingent not to be.

What we say, however, may be surveyed from the following description.

It is possible to be.
It may happen to be.
It is not impossible to be.
It is not necessary to be.

It is not possible to be.
It may not happen to be.
It is impossible to be.
It is necessary not to be.

It is possible not to be.
It may happen not to be.
It is not impossible not to be.
It is not necessary not to be.

It is not possible not to be.
It may happen not to be.
It is impossible not to be.
It is necessary to be.

The impossible, therefore, and the not impossible, follow contradictorily the contingent and the possible, and the not contingent and the not possible, but vice versa.

For the negation of the impossible, viz. it is not impossible to be, follows the enunciation it is possible to be; but affirmation follows negation.

For the enunciation, it is impossible to be, follows this, it is not possible to be; since, it is impossible to be, is affirmation, but, it is not impossible to be, is negation.

Let us also see how the necessary subsists.

It is evident, therefore, that it does not subsist in this manner, but contraries follow; and contradictions [are placed] separately.

For, the enunciation, it is not necessary to be, is not the negation of it is necessary not to be; since it may happen that both may be verified in the same thing.

For that which necessarily is not, has not a necessary existence.

But the reason why the necessary does not similarly follow the other enunciations is this, that the impossible being enunciated in a way contrary to the necessary signifies the same thing.

For with respect to that which it is impossible should exist, it is necessary not that it should be, but that it should not be; and with respect to that which it is impossible should not be, it is necessary that it should be.

Hence, if those similarly follow the possible and the not possible, these follow in a contrary mode; because the necessary and the impossible do not signify the same thing, but, as we have said, vice versa.

Or is it impossible that the contradictions of the necessary should be thus arranged?

For that is possible to be which necessarily is.

For if not, negation would follow; since it is necessary either to affirm or deny; so that if it is not possible to be, it is impossible to be.

Hence it is impossible for that to be which necessarily is, which is absurd.

But the enunciation, it is not impossible to be, follows this, it is possible to be, and this again is followed by, it is not necessary to be.

Hence it happens that what necessarily exists, does not necessarily exist, which is absurd.

Moreover, neither does the enunciation, it is necessary to be, nor the enunciation, it is necessary not to be, follow this, it is possible to be; for to that both may happen; but whichever of these is true, those will be no longer true.

For at one and the same time [these are true] it is possible to be, and it is possible not to be.

But if it is necessary to be or not to be, both will not be possible.

It remains, therefore, that this enunciation, it is not necessary not to be, should follow, it is possible to be.

For this also is truly asserted of that which has a necessary existence.

For this becomes the contradiction of the enunciation which follows it, viz. it is not possible to be; since it is impossible to be, and it is necessary not to be, follow that; of which the negation is this, it is not necessary not to be.

These contradictions, therefore, follow according to the above-mentioned mode; and no absurdity happens when they are thus arranged.

Some one, however, may doubt whether the enunciation, it is possible to be, follows this, it is necessary to be.

For if it does not follow, the contradiction, it is not possible to be, will follow.

And if any one should say that this is not a contradiction, it is necessary to call this a contradiction, viz. it is possible not to be; both which are false of that which necessarily exists.

Again, however, it may appear to be possible, that the same thing may be cut and may not be cut, may be and may not be; so that which necessarily is, may happen not to be.

This however, is false.

But it is evident that not every thing which can be, or can walk, has also the power of effecting the opposites; but there are some things in which this is not true.

In the first place, in those things which have power without reason; as, for instance, fire is calorific, and has an irrational power.

The powers, therefore, which subsist in conjunction with reason, are the powers of many things and of such as are contrary.

Not all irrational powers, however, are capable of this; but as we have said, fire has not the power of heating, and not heating; nor such other things as always energize.

Yet some things among those which possess irrational powers can at one and the same time receive opposites.

This, however, has been said by us, because not every power is susceptive of contraries, not even such as are predicated according to the same species.

But some powers are homonymous; for the possible is not simply predicated; but one thing is said to be possible, because it is true, as being in energy.

Thus, it is possible for a man to walk, because he walks; and, in short, a thing is possible to be, because that is now in energy which is said to be possible.

But another thing is said to be possible, because it can be in energy.

Thus, it is possible for a man to walk because he has the power of walking.

And this power alone exists in moveable natures; but that in such as are immoveable.

But with respect to both it is true to say, that it is possible to walk, or to be, and that a man now walks and energizes, and that he has the power of walking.

Hence, that which is thus possible, is not truly asserted of that which is simply necessary; but the other is truly asserted.

Hence too, the universal follows that which is in a part; and to be able to be, though not all ability of this kind, follows that which exists from necessity.

And perhaps, indeed, the necessary and the not necessary are the principle of the existence, or non-existence of all things; and it is necessary to consider of other things as consequent to these.

From what has been said, therefore, it is evident, that a thing which is from necessity, is in energy.

Hence, if eternal natures have a prior subsistence, energy also is prior to power (i. e. to capacity).

And some things, indeed, are energies without capacity, as, for instance, the first essences; but others are energies together with capacity; and these are, indeed, prior by nature, but posterior in time; and others are never energies, but are capacities only.

VI. Quaenam Sint Enunciationes Contrariae

Chapter 14.

But whether is affirmation contrary to negation, or affirmation to affirmation?

And is the sentence which says every man is just, contrary to the sentence, no man is just?

Or is this sentence, every man is just, contrary to the sentence every man is unjust?

For instance, Callias is just, Callias is not just, Callias is unjust.

Which of these is contrary?

For if those things which are in voice follow those which are in the dianoetic power, but there the opinion of a contrary is contrary, as, for instance, that every man is just, is contrary to the opinion that every man is unjust;–if this be the case, in the affirmations also enunciated by the voice, it is necessary that the like should take place.

But if there, the opinion of a contrary is not contrary, neither will affirmation be contrary to affirmation, but the above-mentioned negation.

Hence, it must be considered which false opinion is contrary to the true opinion, whether that of negation, or that which opines it to be the contrary.

But I say as follows: There is a certain true opinion of good, that it is good; there is another false opinion that it is not good; and there is another opinion, that it is evil.

Which, therefore, of these is contrary to the true opinion?

And if there is one [contrary] according to which is it contrary?

If then any one should fancy that contrary opinions are defined by this, that they are of contraries, [his opinion will be] false.

For of good that it is good, and of evil, that it is evil, there is perhaps the same opinion, and it is true whether [you should say that this is] one opinion, or many.

And these [i. e. good and evil] are contraries.

They are not, however, contraries, because they are of contraries, but rather because they have a contrary mode of subsistence.

If, therefore, there is an opinion of good that it is good, but another opinion that it is not good; and there is also something else, which is neither inherent, nor can be inherent in good;–if this be the case, no one [contrary] of other things is to be admitted, nor such opinions as fancy that to be inherent which is not, nor that not to be inherent which is.

For both the former and the latter of these are infinite.

But in those things in which there is deception [contraries are to be admitted]; and these are things from which there are generations.

Generations, however, are from opposites; and, therefore, deceptions also.

If, therefore, good is good and not evil, and the one is essential, but the other accidental; (for it happens to it not to be evil) but of every thing, the opinion which is essential is more true, and [also the opinion which is essential is more] false since the [more true] is thus assumed;–if this be the case, the opinion that good is not good, is false of what which is essentially inherent; but the opinion that it is evil [is false] of that which is from accident.

Hence, the opinion of the negation of good is more false than the opinion of the contrary.

But he is especially deceived about every thing, who has a contrary opinion; for contraries pertain to things which very much differ about the same thing.

If, therefore, one of these is contrary, but the opinion of negation is more contary, it is evident that this will be [truly] contrary.

But the opinion that evil is good is complex; for, perhaps, it is necessary that the same person [who entertains this opinion] should conceive [that good] is not good.

Farther still, if it is requisite that the like should take place in other things, here also it may appear to have been well said.

For [the opinion] of negation is either every where, or no where [contrary].

But of those things to which there are not contraries, of these, [the opinion] also is false which is opposed to the true opinion.

Thus he who fancies that man is not man is deceived.

If, therefore, these negations are contrary, the other [opinions] also of negation [are contrary].

Again, the opinion of good that it is good, and the opinion of that which is not good, that it is not good, have a similar subsistence; and besides these, the opinion of good that it is not good, and the opinion of that which is not good that it is good.

To the true opinion, therefore, that what is not good is not good, what opinion will be contrary?

For it will not be the opinion which says that it is evil, since it may at one and the same time be true.

But truth is never contrary to truth.

For something which is not good is evil; so that it will happen that these opinions are at one and the same time true.

Nor again, will [the opinion] that [what is not good] is not evil be [the contrary to the opinion that what is not good is not good], for at one and the same time these may be true.

It remains, therefore, that the contrary to the opinion that what is not good is not good, is the opinion of what is not good that it is good; for this is false.

Hence the opinion of good that it is not good, will be contrary to the opinion of good that it is good.

But it is evident that it makes no difference though we should propose universal affirmation; for universal negation will be the contrary.

Thus, for instance, to the opinion which opines that whatever is good is good, the opinion that nothing among the number of good things is good, [will be contrary].

For the opinion of good that it is good, if good is universally [assumed], is the same with the opinion that what is good is good.

And this differs in no respect from the opinion that every thing which is good is good.

The like also takes place in that which is not good.

Hence, if this is the case in opinion, and the affirmations and negations in voice are the symbols of [conceptions] in the soul, it is evident that the universal negation which is about the same thing, is contrary to affirmation.

Thus, for instance, to the affirmation that every thing good is good, or that every man is good, this negation is contrary, no good is good, or no man is good.

But this assertion that not every thing good is good, or that not every man is good, is opposed contradictorily.

It is evident, however, that neither true opinion can be contrary to true opinion, nor true negation to true negation.

For those are contraries which are about opposites; and about these it happens that the same thing is verified.

But it cannot happen that contraries can at one and the same time be inherent in the same thing.

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