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Since about all methods of which there are principles, or causes, or elements, it happens that we obtain knowledge and science from the knowledge of these (for we then think that we know any thing, when we know the first causes and the first principles of it, and as far as to the elements from which it is composed); this being the case, it is evident, that we should first endeavor to define these things which pertain to the principles of the science concerning nature.
But the natural path in which we should proceed, is from things more known and manifest to us, to things which are more manifest and known to nature: for that which is known to us, is not the same with that which is simply known. Hence it is necessary to proceed, after this manner, from things more obscure to nature, but which are more manifest to us, to things more manifest and known to nature. To us, however, things which are more confused, are at first evident and clear; but afterwards from these, to those who divide them, the elements and principles become known. On this account it is necessary to proceed from universals to particulars; for the whole is more known according to sense; and that which is universal is a certain whole, since it comprehends many things as parts. Names also, are after a certain manner thus affected with respect to definition: for they signify a certain whole, and this indefinitely; as for instance, a circle: but definition divides it into its several parts. Children also, at first, call all men fathers, and all women mothers; but afterwards they distinguish each of these.