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Metaphysics 1035 B 15: TOVTO [jf/7, $oxfj] "W 0*""° Tl"> W"'xou and Plato, Laws 959 A-B) Many of the examples of theses against which the various topics aie recommended as serviceable weapons recall the phraseology of the Platonic dialogues, although freIWA'LI* 4 uCnt 'y * e s e definitions are strung together with Prcsociatic doctrines and popular opinions. One must, for example, object to statements which make the subject of an affection the genus ot that affection; such aie the definitions of wmd as " air in motion" (ct Cratylus 410 B), of snow as " frozen water" (Tiinaeus 59 E), o£ mud as " earth mixed with moisture" (Theaetetus 147 C), and limpedocles' definition of wine Nevertheless, Aristotle admits that such definitions may sometimes be correct; the value of the topic is diminished by the remark that in cases such as these only those definitions are to be accepted in which the asserted genus is the ptoper genus (cf.

The extent of the possible application of this topic to Platonic definitions is obvious; the implications of the topic arc indicated by Aristotle himself in a later reference to it. This topic was introduced with the words: ~%itw*iv $1 nai hrl T V tbeav eJ tyappocrti b A«x&« Spos. <£apjK$TT«. A Atfyo*), for the species is univocal. This topic, he says with a backward reference, is useful against those who posit the existence of ideas. In other words, the method rests upon an identification of the idea with the notion of species or class (the precise technical meaning of «W

Cut. Pres. , p. 246, n. 118). Since the genus as the material to be specified is itself the same with or without the affection (so that, if the above definition of wind were correct, there would be -wind even without motion of the air), the determining factor to Aristotle's mind in the correct attribution of the genus is really whether or not the material substrate remains unaltered. Conversely, terms defined as affections of certain subjects can be shown not to inhere in these subjects as theic substrates, and so the definition is overthrown.

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Aristotle's Criticism of Plato and the Academy by Harold Cherniss


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