Part 16 of Book 5

Defining Complete, Limit, Privation, etc Icon

“What is called ‘complete’ is

  1. that outside which it is not possible to find any, even one, of its parts; e.g. the complete time of each thing is that outside which it is not possible to find any time which is a part proper to it.

  2. That which in respect of excellence and goodness cannot be excelled in its kind; e.g. we have a complete doctor or a complete flute-player, when they lack nothing in respect of the form of their proper excellence. And thus, transferring the word to bad things, we speak of a complete scandal-monger and a complete thief; indeed we even call them good, i.e. a good thief and a good scandal-monger. And excellence is a completion; for each thing is complete and every substance is complete, when in respect of the form of its proper excellence it lacks no part of its natural magnitude.

  3. The things which have attained their end, this being good, are called complete; for things are complete in virtue of having attained their end. Therefore, since the end is something ultimate, we transfer the word to bad things and say a thing has been completely spoilt, and completely destroyed, when it in no wise falls short of destruction and badness, but is at its last point. This is why death, too, is by a figure of speech called the end, because both are last things.

But the ultimate purpose is also an end.

Things that are called complete in virtue of their own nature are so called in all these senses, some because in respect of goodness they lack nothing and cannot be excelled and no part proper to them can be found outside them, others in general because they cannot be exceeded in their several classes and no part proper to them is outside them; the others presuppose these first two kinds, and are called complete because they either make or have something of the sort or are adapted to it or in some way or other involve a reference to the things that are called complete in the primary sense.

Part 17

‘Limit’ means:

  • the last point of each thing, i.e. the first point beyond which it is not possible to find any part, and the first point within which every part is
  • the form, whatever it may be, of a spatial magnitude or of a thing that has magnitude
  • the end of each thing (and of this nature is that towards which the movement and the action are, not that from which they are-though sometimes it is both, that from which and that to which the movement is, i.e. the final cause
  • the substance of each thing, and the essence of each; for this is the limit of knowledge; and if of knowledge, of the object also. Evidently, therefore, ’limit’ has as many senses as ‘beginning’, and yet more; for the beginning is a limit, but not every limit is a beginning.

Part 18

‘That in virtue of which’ has several meanings:

  • the form or substance of each thing, e.g. that in virtue of which a man is good is the good itself
  • the proximate subject in which it is the nature of an attribute to be found, e.g. colour in a surface.

‘That in virtue of which’, then, in the primary sense is the form, and in a secondary sense the matter of each thing and the proximate substratum of each.

In general ’that in virtue of which’ will found in the same number of senses as ‘cause’; for we say indifferently (3) in virtue of what has he come?’ or ‘for what end has he come?’; and (4) in virtue of what has he inferred wrongly, or inferred?’ or ‘what is the cause of the inference, or of the wrong inference?’-Further (5) Kath’ d is used in reference to position, e.g. ‘at which he stands’ or ‘along which he walks; for all such phrases indicate place and position.

‘In virtue of itself’ also has several meanings. The following belong to a thing in virtue of itself:

  • the essence of each thing, e.g. Callias is in virtue of himself Callias and what it was to be Callias
  • whatever is present in the ‘what’, e.g. Callias is in virtue of himself an animal. For ‘animal’ is present in his definition; Callias is a particular animal
  • Whatever attribute a thing receives in itself directly or in one of its parts; e.g. a surface is white in virtue of itself, and a man is alive in virtue of himself; for the soul, in which life directly resides, is a part of the man.
  • That which has no cause other than itself; man has more than one cause–animal, two-footed–but yet man is man in virtue of himself
  • Whatever attributes belong to a thing alone, and in so far as they belong to it merely by virtue of itself considered apart by itself.

Part 19

‘Disposition’ means the arrangement of that which has parts, in respect either of place or of potency or of kind; for there must be a certain position, as even the word ‘disposition’ shows.

Part 20

‘Having’ means:

  • a kind of activity of the haver and of what he has-something like an action or movement. For when one thing makes and one is made, between them there is a making; so too between him who has a garment and the garment which he has there is a having. This sort of having, then, evidently we cannot have; for the process will go on to infinity, if it is to be possible to have the having of what we have.
  • ‘Having’ or ‘habit’ means a disposition according to which that which is disposed is either well or ill disposed, and either in itself or with reference to something else; e.g. health is a ‘habit’; for it is such a disposition.
  • We speak of a ‘habit’ if there is a portion of such a disposition; and so even the excellence of the parts is a ‘habit’ of the whole thing.

Part 21

“‘Affection’ means:

  • a quality in respect of which a thing can be altered, e.g. white and black, sweet and bitter, heaviness and lightness, and all others of the kind.
  • The actualization of these-the already accomplished alterations.-(3) Especially, injurious alterations and movements, and, above all painful injuries.-(4) Misfortunes and painful experiences when on a large scale are called affections.

Part 22

“We speak of ‘privation’

  • if something has not one of the attributes which a thing might naturally have, even if this thing itself would not naturally have it; e.g. a plant is said to be ‘deprived’ of eyes.-(2) If, though either the thing itself or its genus would naturally have an attribute, it has it not; e.g. a blind man and a mole are in different senses ‘deprived’ of sight; the latter in contrast with its genus, the former in contrast with his own normal nature.-(3) If, though it would naturally have the attribute, and when it would naturally have it, it has it not; for blindness is a privation, but one is not ‘blind’ at any and every age, but only if one has not sight at the age at which one would naturally have it. Similarly a thing is called blind if it has not sight in the medium in which, and in respect of the organ in respect of which, and with reference to the object with reference to which, and in the circumstances in which, it would naturally have it.-(4) The violent taking away of anything is called privation.

There are just as many kinds of privations as there are of words with negative prefixes; for a thing is called unequal because it has not equality though it would naturally have it, and invisible either because it has no colour at all or because it has a poor colour, and apodous either because it has no feet at all or because it has imperfect feet. Again, a privative term may be used because the thing has little of the attribute (and this means having it in a sense imperfectly),

e.g. ‘kernel-less’; or because it has it not easily or not well (e.g. we call a thing uncuttable not only if it cannot be cut but also if it cannot be cut easily or well); or because it has not the attribute at all; for it is not the one-eyed man but he who is sightless in both eyes that is called blind. This is why not every man is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘just’ or ‘unjust’, but there is also an intermediate state.

Part 23

To ‘have’ or ‘hold’ means many things:

  • to treat a thing according to one’s own nature or according to one’s own impulse; so that fever is said to have a man, and tyrants to have their cities, and people to have the clothes they wear.
  • That in which a thing is present as in something receptive of it is said to have the thing; e.g. the bronze has the form of the statue, and the body has the disease.
  • As that which contains holds the things contained; for a thing is said to be held by that in which it is as in a container; e.g. we say that the vessel holds the liquid and the city holds men and the ship sailors; and so too that the whole holds the parts
  • That which hinders a thing from moving or acting according to its own impulse is said to hold it, as pillars hold the incumbent weights, and as the poets make Atlas hold the heavens, implying that otherwise they would collapse on the earth, as some of the natural philosophers also say.

In this way also that which holds things together is said to hold the things it holds together, since they would otherwise separate, each according to its own impulse.

“‘Being in something’ has similar and corresponding meanings to ‘holding’ or ‘having’.

Part 24

“‘To come from something’ means

  • to come from something as from matter, and this in two senses, either in respect of the highest genus or in respect of the lowest species; e.g. in a sense all things that can be melted come from water, but in a sense the statue comes from bronze.
  • As from the first moving principle; e.g. ‘what did the fight come from?’ From abusive language, because this was the origin of the fight
  • From the compound of matter and shape, as the parts come from the whole, and the verse from the Iliad, and the stones from the house; (in every such case the whole is a compound of matter and shape,) for the shape is the end, and only that which attains an end is complete.
  • As the form from its part, e.g. man from ’two-footed’and syllable from ’letter’; for this is a different sense from that in which the statue comes from bronze; for the composite substance comes from the sensible matter, but the form also comes from the matter of the form.-Some things, then, are said to come from something else in these senses; but
  • others are so described if one of these senses is applicable to a part of that other thing; e.g. the child comes from its father and mother, and plants come from the earth, because they come from a part of those things.
  • It means coming after a thing in time, e.g. night comes from day and storm from fine weather, because the one comes after the other.

Of these things some are so described because they admit of change into one another, as in the cases now mentioned; some merely because they are successive in time, e.g. the voyage took place ‘from’ the equinox, because it took place after the equinox, and the festival of the Thargelia comes ‘from’ the Dionysia, because after the Dionysia.