137 Aristotle Confronts the Eleatics: Two Arguments on 'The One' 1 DANIEL E. GERSHENSON Dept. of Greek and Latin, Columbia University DANIEL A. GREENBERG Dept. of Physics, Columbia University i. ARISTOTLE'S physical lectures formed an ordered course of study. First to be ntrioduced was the investigation of the basic constituents to which the physicists' description of nature is ultimately reducible: The basic constituents must either be one or more than one. If one, it must either be static, as Parmenides and Melissus hold, or dynamic, as the physicists say. (Some of the latter assert that the one dynamic fundamental constituent is a gaseous substance, others, that it is liquid.) But if the number is greater than one, then it must either be finite or infinite. So, then, if the number is finite and larger than one, it must be some definite number, such as two, or three, or four, or any other number.2 But if the number is infinite, then the infinite constituents must either be all of one kind, but of different shapes, as Democritus would have it, or else different or even contrary in nature. ( i 84B This passage at the beginning of the first
Phronesis – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1962
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