ΤΩΝ ΜΕΤΑ ΤΑ ΦΥΣΙΚΑ
translated by W. D. Ross
1 1 [1076α]  περὶ μὲν οὖν τῆς τῶν αἰσθητῶν οὐσίας εἴρηται τίς ἐστιν, ἐν μὲν τῇ μεθόδῳ τῇ τῶν φυσικῶν περὶ τῆς ὕλης, ὕστερον  δὲ περὶ τῆς κατ᾽ ἐνέργειαν: ἐπεὶ δ᾽ ἡ σκέψις ἐστὶ πότερον ἔστι τις παρὰ τὰς αἰσθητὰς οὐσίας ἀκίνητος καὶ ἀΐδιος ἢ οὐκ ἔστι, καὶ εἰ ἔστι τίς ἐστι, πρῶτον τὰ παρὰ τῶν ἄλλων λεγόμενα θεωρητέον, ὅπως εἴτε τι μὴ καλῶς λέγουσι, μὴ τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἔνοχοι ὦμεν, καὶ εἴ τι δόγμα κοινὸν ἡμῖν κἀκείνοις,  τοῦτ᾽ ἰδίᾳ μὴ καθ᾽ ἡμῶν δυσχεραίνωμεν: ἀγαπητὸν γὰρ εἴ τις τὰ μὲν κάλλιον λέγοι τὰ δὲ μὴ χεῖρον. δύο δ᾽ εἰσὶ δόξαι περὶ τούτων: τά τε γὰρ μαθηματικά φασιν οὐσίας εἶναί τινες, οἷον ἀριθμοὺς καὶ γραμμὰς καὶ τὰ συγγενῆ τούτοις, καὶ πάλιν τὰς ἰδέας. ἐπεὶ δὲ οἱ μὲν δύο ταῦτα γένη  ποιοῦσι, τάς τε ἰδέας καὶ τοὺς μαθηματικοὺς ἀριθμούς, οἱ δὲ μίαν φύσιν ἀμφοτέρων, ἕτεροι δέ τινες τὰς μαθηματικὰς μόνον οὐσίας εἶναί φασι, σκεπτέον πρῶτον μὲν περὶ τῶν μαθηματικῶν, μηδεμίαν προστιθέντας φύσιν ἄλλην αὐτοῖς, οἷον πότερον ἰδέαι τυγχάνουσιν οὖσαι ἢ οὔ, καὶ πότερον ἀρχαὶ  καὶ οὐσίαι τῶν ὄντων ἢ οὔ, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς περὶ μαθηματικῶν μόνον εἴτ᾽ εἰσὶν εἴτε μὴ εἰσί, καὶ εἰ εἰσὶ πῶς εἰσίν: ἔπειτα μετὰ ταῦτα χωρὶς περὶ τῶν ἰδεῶν αὐτῶν ἁπλῶς καὶ ὅσον νόμου χάριν: τεθρύληται γὰρ τὰ πολλὰ καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν ἐξωτερικῶν λόγων, ἔτι δὲ πρὸς ἐκείνην δεῖ τὴν σκέψιν ἀπαντᾶν  τὸν πλείω λόγον, ὅταν ἐπισκοπῶμεν εἰ αἱ οὐσίαι καὶ αἱ ἀρχαὶ τῶν ὄντων ἀριθμοὶ καὶ ἰδέαι εἰσίν: μετὰ γὰρ τὰς ἰδέας αὕτη λείπεται τρίτη σκέψις. We have stated what is the substance of sensible things, dealing in the treatise on physics with matter, and later with the substance which has actual existence. Now since our inquiry is whether there is or is not besides the sensible substances any which is immovable and eternal, and, if there is, what it is, we must first consider what is said by others, so that, if there is anything which they say wrongly, we may not be liable to the same objections, while, if there is any opinion common to them and us, we shall have no private grievance against ourselves on that account; for one must be content to state some points better than one's predecessors, and others no worse.
Two opinions are held on this subject; it is said that the objects of mathematics — i.e. numbers and lines and the like — are substances, and again that the Ideas are substances. And (1) since some recognize these as two different classes — the Ideas and the mathematical numbers, and (2) some recognize both as having one nature, while (3) some others say that the mathematical substances are the only substances, we must consider first the objects of mathematics, not qualifying them by any other characteristic — not asking, for instance, whether they are in fact Ideas or not, or whether they are the principles and substances of existing things or not, but only whether as objects of mathematics they exist or not, and if they exist, how they exist. Then after this we must separately consider the Ideas themselves in a general way, and only as far as the accepted mode of treatment demands; for most of the points have been repeatedly made even by the discussions outside our school, and, further, the greater part of our account must finish by throwing light on that inquiry, viz. when we examine whether the substances and the principles of existing things are numbers and Ideas; for after the discussion of the Ideas this remans as a third inquiry.
ἀνάγκη δ᾽, εἴπερ ἔστι τὰ μαθηματικά, ἢ ἐν τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς εἶναι αὐτὰ καθάπερ λέγουσί τινες, ἢ κεχωρισμένα τῶν αἰσθητῶν (λέγουσι δὲ καὶ  οὕτω τινές): ἢ εἰ μηδετέρως, ἢ οὐκ εἰσὶν ἢ ἄλλον τρόπον εἰσίν: ὥσθ᾽ ἡ ἀμφισβήτησις ἡμῖν ἔσται οὐ περὶ τοῦ εἶναι ἀλλὰ περὶ τοῦ τρόπου. If the objects of mathematics exist, they must exist either in sensible objects, as some say, or separate from sensible objects (and this also is said by some); or if they exist in neither of these ways, either they do not exist, or they exist only in some special sense. So that the subject of our discussion will be not whether they exist but how they exist. 2 2 ὅτι μὲν τοίνυν ἔν γε τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς ἀδύνατον εἶναι καὶ ἅμα πλασματίας ὁ λόγος, εἴρηται μὲν καὶ ἐν τοῖς διαπορήμασιν ὅτι δύο ἅμα στερεὰ εἶναι ἀδύνατον, [1076β]  ἔτι δὲ καὶ ὅτι τοῦ αὐτοῦ λόγου καὶ τὰς ἄλλας δυνάμεις καὶ φύσεις ἐν τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς εἶναι καὶ μηδεμίαν κεχωρισμένην: That it is impossible for mathematical objects to exist in sensible things, and at the same time that the doctrine in question is an artificial one, has been said already in our discussion of difficulties we have pointed out that it is impossible for two solids to be in the same place, and also that according to the same argument the other powers and characteristics also should exist in sensible things and none of them separately. ταῦτα μὲν οὖν εἴρηται πρότερον, ἀλλὰ πρὸς τούτοις φανερὸν ὅτι  ἀδύνατον διαιρεθῆναι ὁτιοῦν σῶμα: κατ᾽ ἐπίπεδον γὰρ διαιρεθήσεται, καὶ τοῦτο κατὰ γραμμὴν καὶ αὕτη κατὰ στιγμήν, ὥστ᾽ εἰ τὴν στιγμὴν διελεῖν ἀδύνατον, καὶ τὴν γραμμήν, εἰ δὲ ταύτην, καὶ τἆλλα. τί οὖν διαφέρει ἢ ταύτας εἶναι τοιαύτας φύσεις, ἢ αὐτὰς μὲν μή, εἶναι δ᾽ ἐν αὐταῖς τοιαύτας  φύσεις; τὸ αὐτὸ γὰρ συμβήσεται: διαιρουμένων γὰρ τῶν αἰσθητῶν διαιρεθήσονται, ἢ οὐδὲ αἱ αἰσθηταί. ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδὲ κεχωρισμένας γ᾽ εἶναι φύσεις τοιαύτας δυνατόν. εἰ γὰρ ἔσται στερεὰ παρὰ τὰ αἰσθητὰ κεχωρισμένα τούτων ἕτερα καὶ πρότερα τῶν αἰσθητῶν, δῆλον ὅτι καὶ παρὰ τὰ ἐπίπεδα  ἕτερα ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι ἐπίπεδα κεχωρισμένα καὶ στιγμὰς καὶ γραμμάς (τοῦ γὰρ αὐτοῦ λόγου): εἰ δὲ ταῦτα, πάλιν παρὰ τὰ τοῦ στερεοῦ τοῦ μαθηματικοῦ ἐπίπεδα καὶ γραμμὰς καὶ στιγμὰς ἕτερα κεχωρισμένα (πρότερα γὰρ τῶν συγκειμένων ἐστὶ τὰ ἀσύνθετα: καὶ εἴπερ τῶν αἰσθητῶν πρότερα  σώματα μὴ αἰσθητά, τῷ αὐτῷ λόγῳ καὶ τῶν ἐπιπέδων τῶν ἐν τοῖς ἀκινήτοις στερεοῖς τὰ αὐτὰ καθ᾽ αὑτά, ὥστε ἕτερα ταῦτα ἐπίπεδα καὶ γραμμαὶ τῶν ἅμα τοῖς στερεοῖς τοῖς κεχωρισμένοις: τὰ μὲν γὰρ ἅμα τοῖς μαθηματικοῖς στερεοῖς τὰ δὲ πρότερα τῶν μαθηματικῶν στερεῶν). πάλιν  τοίνυν τούτων τῶν ἐπιπέδων ἔσονται γραμμαί, ὧν πρότερον δεήσει ἑτέρας γραμμὰς καὶ στιγμὰς εἶναι διὰ τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον: καὶ τούτων <�τῶν> ἐκ ταῖς προτέραις γραμμαῖς ἑτέρας προτέρας στιγμάς, ὧν οὐκέτι πρότεραι ἕτεραι. ἄτοπός τε δὴ γίγνεται ἡ σώρευσις (συμβαίνει γὰρ στερεὰ μὲν μοναχὰ  παρὰ τὰ αἰσθητά, ἐπίπεδα δὲ τριττὰ παρὰ τὰ αἰσθητά—τά τε παρὰ τὰ αἰσθητὰ καὶ τὰ ἐν τοῖς μαθηματικοῖς στερεοῖς καὶ <�τὰ> παρὰ τὰ ἐν τούτοις—γραμμαὶ δὲ τετραξαί, στιγμαὶ δὲ πενταξαί: ὥστε περὶ ποῖα αἱ ἐπιστῆμαι ἔσονται αἱ μαθηματικαὶ τούτων; οὐ γὰρ δὴ περὶ τὰ ἐν τῷ στερεῷ τῷ ἀκινήτῳ  ἐπίπεδα καὶ γραμμὰς καὶ στιγμάς: ἀεὶ γὰρ περὶ τὰ πρότερα ἡ ἐπιστήμη): ὁ δ᾽ αὐτὸς λόγος καὶ περὶ τῶν ἀριθμῶν: παρ᾽ ἑκάστας γὰρ τὰς στιγμὰς ἕτεραι ἔσονται μονάδες, καὶ παρ᾽ ἕκαστα τὰ ὄντα, <�τὰ> αἰσθητά, εἶτα τὰ νοητά, ὥστ᾽ ἔσται γένη τῶν μαθηματικῶν ἀριθμῶν. ἔτι ἅπερ καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἀπορήμασιν ἐπήλθομεν πῶς ἐνδέχεται λύειν; [1077α]  περὶ ἃ γὰρ  ἡ ἀστρολογία ἐστίν, ὁμοίως ἔσται παρὰ τὰ αἰσθητὰ καὶ περὶ ἃ ἡ γεωμετρία: εἶναι δ᾽ οὐρανὸν καὶ τὰ μόρια αὐτοῦ πῶς δυνατόν, ἢ ἄλλο ὁτιοῦν ἔχον κίνησιν; ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὰ  ὀπτικὰ καὶ τὰ ἁρμονικά: ἔσται γὰρ φωνή τε καὶ ὄψις παρὰ τὰ αἰσθητὰ καὶ τὰ καθ᾽ ἕκαστα, ὥστε δῆλον ὅτι καὶ αἱ ἄλλαι αἰσθήσεις καὶ τὰ ἄλλα αἰσθητά: τί γὰρ μᾶλλον τάδε ἢ τάδε; εἰ δὲ ταῦτα, καὶ ζῷα ἔσονται, εἴπερ καὶ αἰσθήσεις. ἔτι γράφεται ἔνια καθόλου ὑπὸ τῶν μαθηματικῶν  παρὰ ταύτας τὰς οὐσίας. ἔσται οὖν καὶ αὕτη τις ἄλλη οὐσία μεταξὺ κεχωρισμένη τῶν τ᾽ ἰδεῶν καὶ τῶν μεταξύ, ἣ οὔτε ἀριθμός ἐστιν οὔτε στιγμαὶ οὔτε μέγεθος οὔτε χρόνος. εἰ δὲ τοῦτο ἀδύνατον, δῆλον ὅτι κἀκεῖνα ἀδύνατον εἶναι κεχωρισμένα τῶν αἰσθητῶν. ὅλως δὲ τοὐναντίον συμβαίνει καὶ τοῦ  ἀληθοῦς καὶ τοῦ εἰωθότος ὑπολαμβάνεσθαι, εἴ τις θήσει οὕτως εἶναι τὰ μαθηματικὰ ὡς κεχωρισμένας τινὰς φύσεις. ἀνάγκη γὰρ διὰ τὸ μὲν οὕτως εἶναι αὐτὰς προτέρας εἶναι τῶν αἰσθητῶν μεγεθῶν, κατὰ τὸ ἀληθὲς δὲ ὑστέρας: τὸ γὰρ ἀτελὲς μέγεθος γενέσει μὲν πρότερόν ἐστι, τῇ οὐσίᾳ δ᾽  ὕστερον, οἷον ἄψυχον ἐμψύχου. ἔτι τίνι καὶ πότ᾽ ἔσται ἓν τὰ μαθηματικὰ μεγέθη; τὰ μὲν γὰρ ἐνταῦθα ψυχῇ ἢ μέρει ψυχῆς ἢ ἄλλῳ τινί, εὐλόγως (εἰ δὲ μή, πολλά, καὶ διαλύεται), ἐκείνοις δὲ διαιρετοῖς καὶ ποσοῖς οὖσι τί αἴτιον τοῦ ἓν εἶναι καὶ συμμένειν; ἔτι αἱ γενέσεις δηλοῦσιν. πρῶτον  μὲν γὰρ ἐπὶ μῆκος γίγνεται, εἶτα ἐπὶ πλάτος, τελευταῖον δ᾽ εἰς βάθος, καὶ τέλος ἔσχεν. εἰ οὖν τὸ τῇ γενέσει ὕστερον τῇ οὐσίᾳ πρότερον, τὸ σῶμα πρότερον ἂν εἴη ἐπιπέδου καὶ μήκους: καὶ ταύτῃ καὶ τέλειον καὶ ὅλον μᾶλλον, ὅτι ἔμψυχον γίγνεται: γραμμὴ δὲ ἔμψυχος ἢ ἐπίπεδον πῶς  ἂν εἴη; ὑπὲρ γὰρ τὰς αἰσθήσεις τὰς ἡμετέρας ἂν εἴη τὸ ἀξίωμα. ἔτι τὸ μὲν σῶμα οὐσία τις (ἤδη γὰρ ἔχει πως τὸ τέλειον), αἱ δὲ γραμμαὶ πῶς οὐσίαι; οὔτε γὰρ ὡς εἶδος καὶ μορφή τις, οἷον εἰ ἄρα ἡ ψυχὴ τοιοῦτον, οὔτε ὡς ἡ ὕλη, οἷον τὸ σῶμα: οὐθὲν γὰρ ἐκ γραμμῶν οὐδ᾽ ἐπιπέδων  οὐδὲ στιγμῶν φαίνεται συνίστασθαι δυνάμενον, εἰ δ᾽ ἦν οὐσία τις ὑλική, τοῦτ᾽ ἂν ἐφαίνετο δυνάμενα πάσχειν. τῷ μὲν οὖν λόγῳ ἔστω πρότερα, [1077β]  ἀλλ᾽ οὐ πάντα ὅσα τῷ λόγῳ πρότερα καὶ τῇ οὐσίᾳ πρότερα. τῇ μὲν γὰρ οὐσίᾳ πρότερα ὅσα χωριζόμενα τῷ εἶναι ὑπερβάλλει, τῷ λόγῳ δὲ ὅσων οἱ λόγοι ἐκ τῶν λόγων: ταῦτα δὲ οὐχ ἅμα ὑπάρχει. εἰ γὰρ  μὴ ἔστι τὰ πάθη παρὰ τὰς οὐσίας, οἷον κινούμενόν τι ἢ λευκόν, τοῦ λευκοῦ ἀνθρώπου τὸ λευκὸν πρότερον κατὰ τὸν λόγον ἀλλ᾽ οὐ κατὰ τὴν οὐσίαν: οὐ γὰρ ἐνδέχεται εἶναι κεχωρισμένον ἀλλ᾽ ἀεὶ ἅμα τῷ συνόλῳ ἐστίν (σύνολον δὲ λέγω τὸν ἄνθρωπον τὸν λευκόν), ὥστε φανερὸν ὅτι οὔτε τὸ ἐξ  ἀφαιρέσεως πρότερον οὔτε τὸ ἐκ προσθέσεως ὕστερον: ἐκ προσθέσεως γὰρ τῷ λευκῷ ὁ λευκὸς ἄνθρωπος λέγεται. ὅτι μὲν οὖν οὔτε οὐσίαι μᾶλλον τῶν σωμάτων εἰσὶν οὔτε πρότερα τῷ εἶναι τῶν αἰσθητῶν ἀλλὰ τῷ λόγῳ μόνον, οὔτε κεχωρισμένα που εἶναι δυνατόν, εἴρηται ἱκανῶς: ἐπεὶ δ᾽ οὐδ᾽  ἐν τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς ἐνεδέχετο αὐτὰ εἶναι, φανερὸν ὅτι ἢ ὅλως οὐκ ἔστιν ἢ τρόπον τινὰ ἔστι καὶ διὰ τοῦτο οὐχ ἁπλῶς ἔστιν: πολλαχῶς γὰρ τὸ εἶναι λέγομεν. This we have said already. But, further, it is obvious that on this theory it is impossible for any body whatever to be divided; for it would have to be divided at a plane, and the plane at a line, and the line at a point, so that if the point cannot be divided, neither can the line, and if the line cannot, neither can the plane nor the solid. What difference, then, does it make whether sensible things are such indivisible entities, or, without being so themselves, have indivisible entities in them? The result will be the same; if the sensible entities are divided the others will be divided too, or else not even the sensible entities can be divided. But, again, it is not possible that such entities should exist separately. For if besides the sensible solids there are to be other solids which are separate from them and prior to the sensible solids, it is plain that besides the planes also there must be other and separate planes and points and lines; for consistency requires this. But if these exist, again besides the planes and lines and points of the mathematical solid there must be others which are separate. (For incomposites are prior to compounds; and if there are, prior to the sensible bodies, bodies which are not sensible, by the same argument the planes which exist by themselves must be prior to those which are in the motionless solids. Therefore these will be planes and lines other than those that exist along with the mathematical solids to which these thinkers assign separate existence; for the latter exist along with the mathematical solids, while the others are prior to the mathematical solids.) Again, therefore, there will be, belonging to these planes, lines, and prior to them there will have to be, by the same argument, other lines and points; and prior to these points in the prior lines there will have to be other points, though there will be no others prior to these. Now (1) the accumulation becomes absurd; for we find ourselves with one set of solids apart from the sensible solids; three sets of planes apart from the sensible planes — those which exist apart from the sensible planes, and those in the mathematical solids, and those which exist apart from those in the mathematical solids; four sets of lines, and five sets of points. With which of these, then, will the mathematical sciences deal? Certainly not with the planes and lines and points in the motionless solid; for science always deals with what is prior. And (the same account will apply also to numbers; for there will be a different set of units apart from each set of points, and also apart from each set of realities, from the objects of sense and again from those of thought; so that there will be various classes of mathematical numbers.
Again, how is it possible to solve the questions which we have already enumerated in our discussion of difficulties? For the objects of astronomy will exist apart from sensible things just as the objects of geometry will; but how is it possible that a heaven and its parts — or anything else which has movement — should exist apart? Similarly also the objects of optics and of harmonics will exist apart; for there will be both voice and sight besides the sensible or individual voices and sights. Therefore it is plain that the other senses as well, and the other objects of sense, will exist apart; for why should one set of them do so and another not? And if this is so, there will also be animals existing apart, since there will be senses. Again, there are certain mathematical theorems that are universal, extending beyond these substances. Here then we shall have another intermediate substance separate both from the Ideas and from the intermediates, — a substance which is neither number nor points nor spatial magnitude nor time. And if this is impossible, plainly it is also impossible that the former entities should exist separate from sensible things.
And, in general, conclusion contrary alike to the truth and to the usual views follow, if one is to suppose the objects of mathematics to exist thus as separate entities. For because they exist thus they must be prior to sensible spatial magnitudes, but in truth they must be posterior; for the incomplete spatial magnitude is in the order of generation prior, but in the order of substance posterior, as the lifeless is to the living.
Again, by virtue of what, and when, will mathematical magnitudes be one? For things in our perceptible world are one in virtue of soul, or of a part of soul, or of something else that is reasonable enough; when these are not present, the thing is a plurality, and splits up into parts. But in the case of the subjects of mathematics, which are divisible and are quantities, what is the cause of their being one and holding together?
Again, the modes of generation of the objects of mathematics show that we are right. For the dimension first generated is length, then comes breadth, lastly depth, and the process is complete. If, then, that which is posterior in the order of generation is prior in the order of substantiality, the solid will be prior to the plane and the line. And in this way also it is both more complete and more whole, because it can become animate. How, on the other hand, could a line or a plane be animate? The supposition passes the power of our senses. Again, the solid is a sort of substance; for it already has in a sense completeness. But how can lines be substances? Neither as a form or shape, as the soul perhaps is, nor as matter, like the solid; for we have no experience of anything that can be put together out of lines or planes or points, while if these had been a sort of material substance, we should have observed things which could be put together out of them.
Grant, then, that they are prior in definition. Still not all things that are prior in definition are also prior in substantiality. For those things are prior in substantiality which when separated from other things surpass them in the power of independent existence, but things are prior in definition to those whose definitions are compounded out of their definitions; and these two properties are not coextensive. For if attributes do not exist apart from the substances (e.g. a 'mobile' or a pale'), pale is prior to the pale man in definition, but not in substantiality. For it cannot exist separately, but is always along with the concrete thing; and by the concrete thing I mean the pale man. Therefore it is plain that neither is the result of abstraction prior nor that which is produced by adding determinants posterior; for it is by adding a determinant to pale that we speak of the pale man.
It has, then, been sufficiently pointed out that the objects of mathematics are not substances in a higher degree than bodies are, and that they are not prior to sensibles in being, but only in definition, and that they cannot exist somewhere apart. But since it was not possible for them to exist in sensibles either, it is plain that they either do not exist at all or exist in a special sense and therefore do not 'exist' without qualification. For 'exist' has many senses.
3 3 ὥσπερ γὰρ καὶ τὰ καθόλου ἐν τοῖς μαθήμασιν οὐ περὶ κεχωρισμένων ἐστὶ παρὰ τὰ μεγέθη καὶ τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς ἀλλὰ περὶ τούτων μέν, οὐχ ᾗ  δὲ τοιαῦτα οἷα ἔχειν μέγεθος ἢ εἶναι διαιρετά, δῆλον ὅτι ἐνδέχεται καὶ περὶ τῶν αἰσθητῶν μεγεθῶν εἶναι καὶ λόγους καὶ ἀποδείξεις, μὴ ᾗ δὲ αἰσθητὰ ἀλλ᾽ ᾗ τοιαδί. ὥσπερ γὰρ καὶ ᾗ κινούμενα μόνον πολλοὶ λόγοι εἰσί, χωρὶς τοῦ τί ἕκαστόν ἐστι τῶν τοιούτων καὶ τῶν συμβεβηκότων αὐτοῖς,  καὶ οὐκ ἀνάγκη διὰ ταῦτα ἢ κεχωρισμένον τι εἶναι κινούμενον τῶν αἰσθητῶν ἢ ἐν τούτοις τινὰ φύσιν εἶναι ἀφωρισμένην, οὕτω καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν κινουμένων ἔσονται λόγοι καὶ ἐπιστῆμαι, οὐχ ᾗ κινούμενα δὲ ἀλλ᾽ ᾗ σώματα μόνον, καὶ πάλιν ᾗ ἐπίπεδα μόνον καὶ ᾗ μήκη μόνον, καὶ ᾗ διαιρετὰ  καὶ ᾗ ἀδιαίρετα ἔχοντα δὲ θέσιν καὶ ᾗ ἀδιαίρετα μόνον, ὥστ᾽ ἐπεὶ ἁπλῶς λέγειν ἀληθὲς μὴ μόνον τὰ χωριστὰ εἶναι ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ μὴ χωριστά (οἷον κινούμενα εἶναι), καὶ τὰ μαθηματικὰ ὅτι ἔστιν ἁπλῶς ἀληθὲς εἰπεῖν, καὶ τοιαῦτά γε οἷα λέγουσιν. καὶ ὥσπερ καὶ τὰς ἄλλας ἐπιστήμας ἁπλῶς  ἀληθὲς εἰπεῖν τούτου εἶναι, οὐχὶ τοῦ συμβεβηκότος (οἷον ὅτι λευκοῦ, εἰ τὸ ὑγιεινὸν λευκόν, ἡ δ᾽ ἔστιν ὑγιεινοῦ) ἀλλ᾽ ἐκείνου οὗ ἐστὶν ἑκάστη, [1078α]  εἰ <�ᾗ> ὑγιεινὸν ὑγιεινοῦ, εἰ δ᾽ ᾗ ἄνθρωπος ἀνθρώπου, οὕτω καὶ τὴν γεωμετρίαν: οὐκ εἰ συμβέβηκεν αἰσθητὰ εἶναι ὧν ἐστί, μὴ ἔστι δὲ ᾗ αἰσθητά, οὐ τῶν αἰσθητῶν ἔσονται αἱ μαθηματικαὶ ἐπιστῆμαι, οὐ μέντοι οὐσὲ παρὰ ταῦτα ἄλλων  κεχωρισμένων. πολλὰ δὲ συμβέβηκε καθ᾽ αὑτὰ τοῖς πράγμασιν ᾗ ἕκαστον ὑπάρχει τῶν τοιούτων, ἐπεὶ καὶ ᾗ θῆλυ τὸ ζῷον καὶ ᾗ ἄρρεν, ἴδια πάθη ἔστιν (καίτοι οὐκ ἔστι τι θῆλυ οὐδ᾽ ἄρρεν κεχωρισμένον τῶν ζῴων): ὥστε καὶ ᾗ μήκη μόνον καὶ ᾗ ἐπίπεδα. καὶ ὅσῳ δὴ ἂν περὶ προτέρων τῷ  λόγῳ καὶ ἁπλουστέρων, τοσούτῳ μᾶλλον ἔχει τὸ ἀκριβές (τοῦτο δὲ τὸ ἁπλοῦν ἐστίν), ὥστε ἄνευ τε μεγέθους μᾶλλον ἢ μετὰ μεγέθους, καὶ μάλιστα ἄνευ κινήσεως, ἐὰν δὲ κίνησιν, μάλιστα τὴν πρώτην: ἁπλουστάτη γάρ, καὶ ταύτης ἡ ὁμαλή. ὁ δ᾽ αὐτὸς λόγος καὶ περὶ ἁρμονικῆς καὶ ὀπτικῆς: οὐδετέρα  γὰρ ᾗ ὄψις ἢ ᾗ φωνὴ θεωρεῖ, ἀλλ᾽ ᾗ γραμμαὶ καὶ ἀριθμοί (οἰκεῖα μέντοι ταῦτα πάθη ἐκείνων), καὶ ἡ μηχανικὴ δὲ ὡσαύτως, ὥστ᾽ εἴ τις θέμενος κεχωρισμένα τῶν συμβεβηκότων σκοπεῖ τι περὶ τούτων ᾗ τοιαῦτα, οὐθὲν διὰ τοῦτο ψεῦδος ψεύσεται, ὥσπερ οὐδ᾽ ὅταν ἐν τῇ γῇ γράφῃ καὶ  ποδιαίαν φῇ τὴν μὴ ποδιαίαν: οὐ γὰρ ἐν ταῖς προτάσεσι τὸ ψεῦδος. ἄριστα δ᾽ ἂν οὕτω θεωρηθείη ἕκαστον, εἴ τις τὸ μὴ κεχωρισμένον θείη χωρίσας, ὅπερ ὁ ἀριθμητικὸς ποιεῖ καὶ ὁ γεωμέτρης. ἓν μὲν γὰρ καὶ ἀδιαίρετον ὁ ἄνθρωπος ᾗ ἄνθρωπος: ὁ δ᾽ ἔθετο ἓν ἀδιαίρετον, εἶτ᾽ ἐθεώρησεν εἴ τι  τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ συμβέβηκεν ᾗ ἀδιαίρετος. ὁ δὲ γεωμέτρης οὔθ᾽ ᾗ ἄνθρωπος οὔθ᾽ ᾗ ἀδιαίρετος ἀλλ᾽ ᾗ στερεόν. ἃ γὰρ κἂν εἰ μή που ἦν ἀδιαίρετος ὑπῆρχεν αὐτῷ, δῆλον ὅτι καὶ ἄνευ τούτων ἐνδέχεται αὐτῷ ὑπάρχειν [τὸ δυνατόν], ὥστε διὰ τοῦτο ὀρθῶς οἱ γεωμέτραι λέγουσι, καὶ περὶ ὄντων διαλέγονται,  καὶ ὄντα ἐστίν: διττὸν γὰρ τὸ ὄν, τὸ μὲν ἐντελεχείᾳ τὸ δ᾽ ὑλικῶς. ἐπεὶ δὲ τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν ἕτερον (τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἀεὶ ἐν πράξει, τὸ δὲ καλὸν καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἀκινήτοις), οἱ φάσκοντες οὐδὲν λέγειν τὰς μαθηματικὰς ἐπιστήμας περὶ καλοῦ ἢ ἀγαθοῦ ψεύδονται. λέγουσι γὰρ καὶ δεικνύουσι μάλιστα:  οὐ γὰρ εἰ μὴ ὀνομάζουσι τὰ δ᾽ ἔργα καὶ τοὺς λόγους δεικνύουσιν, οὐ λέγουσι περὶ αὐτῶν. τοῦ δὲ καλοῦ μέγιστα εἴδη τάξις καὶ συμμετρία καὶ τὸ ὡρισμένον, [1078β]  ἃ μάλιστα δεικνύουσιν αἱ μαθηματικαὶ ἐπιστῆμαι. καὶ ἐπεί γε πολλῶν αἴτια φαίνεται ταῦτα (λέγω δ᾽ οἷον ἡ τάξις καὶ τὸ ὡρισμένον), δῆλον ὅτι λέγοιεν ἂν καὶ τὴν τοιαύτην αἰτίαν τὴν  ὡς τὸ καλὸν αἴτιον τρόπον τινά. μᾶλλον δὲ γνωρίμως ἐν ἄλλοις περὶ αὐτῶν ἐροῦμεν. For just as the universal propositions of mathematics deal not with objects which exist separately, apart from extended magnitudes and from numbers, but with magnitudes and numbers, not however qua such as to have magnitude or to be divisible, clearly it is possible that there should also be both propositions and demonstrations about sensible magnitudes, not however qua sensible but qua possessed of certain definite qualities. For as there are many propositions about things merely considered as in motion, apart from what each such thing is and from their accidents, and as it is not therefore necessary that there should be either a mobile separate from sensibles, or a distinct mobile entity in the sensibles, so too in the case of mobiles there will be propositions and sciences, which treat them however not qua mobile but only qua bodies, or again only qua planes, or only qua lines, or qua divisibles, or qua indivisibles having position, or only qua indivisibles. Thus since it is true to say without qualification that not only things which are separable but also things which are inseparable exist (for instance, that mobiles exist), it is true also to say without qualification that the objects of mathematics exist, and with the character ascribed to them by mathematicians. And as it is true to say of the other sciences too, without qualification, that they deal with such and such a subject — not with what is accidental to it (e.g. not with the pale, if the healthy thing is pale, and the science has the healthy as its subject), but with that which is the subject of each science — with the healthy if it treats its object qua healthy, with man if qua man: — so too is it with geometry; if its subjects happen to be sensible, though it does not treat them qua sensible, the mathematical sciences will not for that reason be sciences of sensibles — nor, on the other hand, of other things separate from sensibles. Many properties attach to things in virtue of their own nature as possessed of each such character; e.g. there are attributes peculiar to the animal qua female or qua male (yet there is no 'female' nor 'male' separate from animals); so that there are also attributes which belong to things merely as lengths or as planes. And in proportion as we are dealing with things which are prior in definition and simpler, our knowledge has more accuracy, i.e. simplicity. Therefore a science which abstracts from spatial magnitude is more precise than one which takes it into account; and a science is most precise if it abstracts from movement, but if it takes account of movement, it is most precise if it deals with the primary movement, for this is the simplest; and of this again uniform movement is the simplest form. The same account may be given of harmonics and optics; for neither considers its objects qua sight or qua voice, but qua lines and numbers; but the latter are attributes proper to the former. And mechanics too proceeds in the same way. Therefore if we suppose attributes separated from their fellow attributes and make any inquiry concerning them as such, we shall not for this reason be in error, any more than when one draws a line on the ground and calls it a foot long when it is not; for the error is not included in the premisses.
Each question will be best investigated in this way — by setting up by an act of separation what is not separate, as the arithmetician and the geometer do. For a man qua man is one indivisible thing; and the arithmetician supposed one indivisible thing, and then considered whether any attribute belongs to a man qua indivisible. But the geometer treats him neither qua man nor qua indivisible, but as a solid. For evidently the properties which would have belonged to him even if perchance he had not been indivisible, can belong to him even apart from these attributes. Thus, then, geometers speak correctly; they talk about existing things, and their subjects do exist; for being has two forms — it exists not only in complete reality but also materially. Now since the good and the beautiful are different (for the former always implies conduct as its subject, while the beautiful is found also in motionless things), those who assert that the mathematical sciences say nothing of the beautiful or the good are in error. For these sciences say and prove a great deal about them; if they do not expressly mention them, but prove attributes which are their results or their definitions, it is not true to say that they tell us nothing about them. The chief forms of beauty are order and symmetry and definiteness, which the mathematical sciences demonstrate in a special degree. And since these (e.g. order and definiteness) are obviously causes of many things, evidently these sciences must treat this sort of causative principle also (i.e. the beautiful) as in some sense a cause. But we shall speak more plainly elsewhere about these matters.
περὶ μὲν οὖν τῶν μαθηματικῶν, ὅτι τε ὄντα ἐστὶ καὶ πῶς ὄντα, καὶ πῶς πρότερα καὶ πῶς οὐ πρότερα, τοσαῦτα εἰρήσθω: περὶ δὲ τῶν ἰδεῶν πρῶτον αὐτὴν τὴν κατὰ τὴν  ἰδέαν δόξαν ἐπισκεπτέον, μηθὲν συνάπτοντας πρὸς τὴν τῶν ἀριθμῶν φύσιν, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς ὑπέλαβον ἐξ ἀρχῆς οἱ πρῶτοι τὰς ἰδέας φήσαντες εἶναι. συνέβη δ᾽ ἡ περὶ τῶν εἰδῶν δόξα τοῖς εἰποῦσι διὰ τὸ πεισθῆναι περὶ τῆς ἀληθείας τοῖς Ἡρακλειτείοις λόγοις ὡς πάντων τῶν αἰσθητῶν ἀεὶ ῥεόντων,  ὥστ᾽ εἴπερ ἐπιστήμη τινὸς ἔσται καὶ φρόνησις, ἑτέρας δεῖν τινὰς φύσεις εἶναι παρὰ τὰς αἰσθητὰς μενούσας: οὐ γὰρ εἶναι τῶν ῥεόντων ἐπιστήμην. Σωκράτους δὲ περὶ τὰς ἠθικὰς ἀρετὰς πραγματευομένου καὶ περὶ τούτων ὁρίζεσθαι καθόλου ζητοῦντος πρώτου (τῶν μὲν γὰρ φυσικῶν ἐπὶ μικρὸν  Δημόκριτος ἥψατο μόνον καὶ ὡρίσατό πως τὸ θερμὸν καὶ τὸ ψυχρόν: οἱ δὲ Πυθαγόρειοι πρότερον περί τινων ὀλίγων, ὧν τοὺς λόγους εἰς τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς ἀνῆπτον, οἷον τί ἐστι καιρὸς ἢ τὸ δίκαιον ἢ γάμος: ἐκεῖνος δ᾽ εὐλόγως ἐζήτει τὸ τί ἐστιν: συλλογίζεσθαι γὰρ ἐζήτει, ἀρχὴ δὲ τῶν συλλογισμῶν τὸ  τί ἐστιν: διαλεκτικὴ γὰρ ἰσχὺς οὔπω τότ᾽ ἦν ὥστε δύνασθαι καὶ χωρὶς τοῦ τί ἐστι τἀναντία ἐπισκοπεῖν, καὶ τῶν ἐναντίων εἰ ἡ αὐτὴ ἐπιστήμη: δύο γάρ ἐστιν ἅ τις ἂν ἀποδοίη Σωκράτει δικαίως, τούς τ᾽ ἐπακτικοὺς λόγους καὶ τὸ ὁρίζεσθαι καθόλου: ταῦτα γάρ ἐστιν ἄμφω περὶ ἀρχὴν ἐπιστήμης ): So much then for the objects of mathematics; we have said that they exist and in what sense they exist, and in what sense they are prior and in what sense not prior. Now, regarding the Ideas, we must first examine the ideal theory itself, not connecting it in any way with the nature of numbers, but treating it in the form in which it was originally understood by those who first maintained the existence of the Ideas. The supporters of the ideal theory were led to it because on the question about the truth of things they accepted the Heraclitean sayings which describe all sensible things as ever passing away, so that if knowledge or thought is to have an object, there must be some other and permanent entities, apart from those which are sensible; for there could be no knowledge of things which were in a state of flux. But when Socrates was occupying himself with the excellences of character, and in connexion with them became the first to raise the problem of universal definition (for of the physicists Democritus only touched on the subject to a small extent, and defined, after a fashion, the hot and the cold; while the Pythagoreans had before this treated of a few things, whose definitions — e.g. those of opportunity, justice, or marriage — they connected with numbers; but it was natural that Socrates should be seeking the essence, for he was seeking to syllogize, and 'what a thing is' is the starting-point of syllogisms; for there was as yet none of the dialectical power which enables people even without knowledge of the essence to speculate about contraries and inquire whether the same science deals with contraries; for two things may be fairly ascribed to Socrates — inductive arguments and universal definition, both of which are concerned with the starting-point of science): ἀλλ᾽ ὁ μὲν Σωκράτης τὰ καθόλου οὐ χωριστὰ ἐποίει οὐδὲ τοὺς ὁρισμούς: οἱ δ᾽ ἐχώρισαν, καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα τῶν ὄντων ἰδέας προσηγόρευσαν, ὥστε συνέβαινεν αὐτοῖς σχεδὸν τῷ αὐτῷ λόγῳ πάντων ἰδέας εἶναι τῶν καθόλου λεγομένων, καὶ παραπλήσιον ὥσπερ ἂν εἴ τις ἀριθμῆσαι βουλόμενος  ἐλαττόνων μὲν ὄντων οἴοιτο μὴ δυνήσεσθαι, πλείω δὲ ποιήσας ἀριθμοίη: πλείω γάρ ἐστι τῶν καθ᾽ ἕκαστα αἰσθητῶν ὡς εἰπεῖν τὰ εἴδη, [1079α]  περὶ ὧν ζητοῦντες τὰς αἰτίας ἐκ τούτων ἐκεῖ προῆλθον: καθ᾽ ἕκαστόν τε γὰρ ὁμώνυμόν <�τι> ἔστι καὶ παρὰ τὰς οὐσίας, τῶν τε ἄλλων ἓν ἔστιν ἐπὶ πολλῶν, καὶ ἐπὶ τοῖσδε καὶ ἐπὶ τοῖς ἀϊδίοις. ἔτι καθ᾽ οὓς τρόπους  δείκνυται ὅτι ἔστι τὰ εἴδη, κατ᾽ οὐθένα φαίνεται τούτων: ἐξ ἐνίων μὲν γὰρ οὐκ ἀνάγκη γίγνεσθαι συλλογισμόν, ἐξ ἐνίων δὲ καὶ οὐχ ὧν οἴονται τούτων εἴδη γίγνεται. κατά τε γὰρ τοὺς λόγους τοὺς ἐκ τῶν ἐπιστημῶν ἔσται εἴδη πάντων ὅσων ἐπιστῆμαι εἰσίν, καὶ κατὰ τὸ ἓν ἐπὶ πολλῶν καὶ τῶν  ἀποφάσεων, κατὰ δὲ τὸ νοεῖν τι φθαρέντος τῶν φθαρτῶν: φάντασμα γάρ τι τούτων ἔστιν. ἔτι δὲ οἱ ἀκριβέστατοι τῶν λόγων οἱ μὲν τῶν πρός τι ποιοῦσιν ἰδέας, ὧν οὔ φασιν εἶναι καθ᾽ αὑτὸ γένος, οἱ δὲ τὸν τρίτον ἄνθρωπον λέγουσιν. ὅλως τε ἀναιροῦσιν οἱ περὶ τῶν εἰδῶν λόγοι ἃ μᾶλλον βούλονται  εἶναι οἱ λέγοντες εἴδη τοῦ τὰς ἰδέας εἶναι: συμβαίνει γὰρ μὴ εἶναι πρῶτον τὴν δυάδα ἀλλὰ τὸν ἀριθμόν, καὶ τούτου τὸ πρός τι καὶ τοῦτο τοῦ καθ᾽ αὑτό, καὶ πάνθ᾽ ὅσα τινὲς ἀκολουθήσαντες ταῖς περὶ τῶν εἰδῶν δόξαις ἠναντιώθησαν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς. ἔτι κατὰ μὲν τὴν ὑπόληψιν καθ᾽  ἥν φασιν εἶναι τὰς ἰδέας οὐ μόνον τῶν οὐσιῶν ἔσονται εἴδη ἀλλὰ καὶ ἄλλων πολλῶν (τὸ γὰρ νόημα ἓν οὐ μόνον περὶ τὰς οὐσίας ἀλλὰ καὶ κατὰ μὴ οὐσιῶν ἐστί, καὶ ἐπιστῆμαι οὐ μόνον τῆς οὐσίας εἰσί: συμβαίνει δὲ καὶ ἄλλα μυρία τοιαῦτα): κατὰ δὲ τὸ ἀναγκαῖον καὶ τὰς  δόξας τὰς περὶ αὐτῶν, εἰ ἔστι μεθεκτὰ τὰ εἴδη, τῶν οὐσιῶν ἀναγκαῖον ἰδέας εἶναι μόνον: οὐ γὰρ κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς μετέχονται ἀλλὰ δεῖ ταύτῃ ἑκάστου μετέχειν ᾗ μὴ καθ᾽ ὑποκειμένου λέγονται (λέγω δ᾽ οἷον, εἴ τι αὐτοῦ διπλασίου μετέχει, τοῦτο καὶ ἀϊδίου μετέχει, ἀλλὰ κατὰ συμβεβηκός:  συμβέβηκε γὰρ τῷ διπλασίῳ ἀϊδίῳ εἶναι), ὥστε ἔσται οὐσία τὰ εἴδη: ταὐτὰ δ᾽ ἐνταῦθα οὐσίαν σημαίνει κἀκεῖ: ἢ τί ἔσται τὸ εἶναι φάναι τι παρὰ ταῦτα, τὸ ἓν ἐπὶ πολλῶν; καὶ εἰ μὲν ταὐτὸ εἶδος τῶν ἰδεῶν καὶ τῶν μετεχόντων, ἔσται τι κοινόν (τί γὰρ μᾶλλον ἐπὶ τῶν φθαρτῶν  δυάδων, καὶ τῶν δυάδων τῶν πολλῶν μὲν ἀϊδίων δέ, τὸ δυὰς ἓν καὶ ταὐτόν, ἢ ἐπ᾽ αὐτῆς καὶ τῆς τινός;): εἰ δὲ μὴ τὸ αὐτὸ εἶδος, [1079β]  ὁμώνυμα ἂν εἴη, καὶ ὅμοιον ὥσπερ ἂν εἴ τις καλοῖ ἄνθρωπον τόν τε Καλλίαν καὶ τὸ ξύλον, μηδεμίαν κοινωνίαν ἐπιβλέψας αὐτῶν. εἰ δὲ τὰ μὲν ἄλλα τοὺς κοινοὺς λόγους ἐφαρμόττειν θήσομεν τοῖς εἴδεσιν, οἷον  ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν τὸν κύκλον σχῆμα ἐπίπεδον καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ μέρη τοῦ λόγου, τὸ δ᾽ ὃ ἔστι προστεθήσεται, σκοπεῖν δεῖ μὴ κενὸν ᾖ τοῦτο παντελῶς. τίνι τε γὰρ προστεθήσεται; τῷ μέσῳ ἢ τῷ ἐπιπέδῳ ἢ πᾶσιν; πάντα γὰρ τὰ ἐν τῇ οὐσίᾳ ἰδέαι, οἷον τὸ ζῷον καὶ τὸ δίπουν. ἔτι δῆλον ὅτι ἀνάγκη αὐτὸ  εἶναί τι, ὥσπερ τὸ ἐπίπεδον, φύσιν τινὰ ἣ πᾶσιν ἐνυπάρξει τοῖς εἴδεσιν ὡς γένος. — but Socrates did not make the universals or the definitions exist apart: they, however, gave them separate existence, and this was the kind of thing they called Ideas. Therefore it followed for them, almost by the same argument, that there must be Ideas of all things that are spoken of universally, and it was almost as if a man wished to count certain things, and while they were few thought he would not be able to count them, but made more of them and then counted them; for the Forms are, one may say, more numerous than the particular sensible things, yet it was in seeking the causes of these that they proceeded from them to the Forms. For to each thing there answers an entity which has the same name and exists apart from the substances, and so also in the case of all other groups there is a one over many, whether these be of this world or eternal.
Again, of the ways in which it is proved that the Forms exist, none is convincing; for from some no inference necessarily follows, and from some arise Forms even of things of which they think there are no Forms. For according to the arguments from the sciences there will be Forms of all things of which there are sciences, and according to the argument of the 'one over many' there will be Forms even of negations, and according to the argument that thought has an object when the individual object has perished, there will be Forms of perishable things; for we have an image of these. Again, of the most accurate arguments, some lead to Ideas of relations, of which they say there is no independent class, and others introduce the 'third man'.
And in general the arguments for the Forms destroy things for whose existence the believers in Forms are more zealous than for the existence of the Ideas; for it follows that not the dyad but number is first, and that prior to number is the relative, and that this is prior to the absolute — besides all the other points on which certain people, by following out the opinions held about the Forms, came into conflict with the principles of the theory.
Again, according to the assumption on the belief in the Ideas rests, there will be Forms not only of substances but also of many other things; for the concept is single not only in the case of substances, but also in that of non-substances, and there are sciences of other things than substance; and a thousand other such difficulties confront them. But according to the necessities of the case and the opinions about the Forms, if they can be shared in there must be Ideas of substances only. For they are not shared in incidentally, but each Form must be shared in as something not predicated of a subject. (By 'being shared in incidentally' I mean that if a thing shares in 'double itself', it shares also in 'eternal', but incidentally; for 'the double' happens to be eternal.) Therefore the Forms will be substance. But the same names indicate substance in this and in the ideal world (or what will be the meaning of saying that there is something apart from the particulars — the one over many?). And if the Ideas and the things that share in them have the same form, there will be something common: for why should '2' be one and the same in the perishable 2's, or in the 2's which are many but eternal, and not the same in the '2 itself' as in the individual 2? But if they have not the same form, they will have only the name in common, and it is as if one were to call both Callias and a piece of wood a 'man', without observing any community between them.
But if we are to suppose that in other respects the common definitions apply to the Forms, e.g. that 'plane figure' and the other parts of the definition apply to the circle itself, but 'what really is' has to be added, we must inquire whether this is not absolutely meaningless. For to what is this to be added? To 'centre' or to 'plane' or to all the parts of the definition? For all the elements in the essence are Ideas, e.g. 'animal' and 'two-footed'. Further, there must be some Ideal answering to 'plane' above, some nature which will be present in all the Forms as their genus.
5 5 πάντων δὲ μάλιστα διαπορήσειεν ἄν τις τί ποτε συμβάλλονται τὰ εἴδη ἢ τοῖς ἀϊδίοις τῶν αἰσθητῶν ἢ τοῖς γιγνομένοις καὶ [τοῖς] φθειρομένοις: οὔτε γὰρ κινήσεώς ἐστιν  οὔτε μεταβολῆς οὐδεμιᾶς αἴτια αὐτοῖς. ἀλλὰ μὴν οὔτε πρὸς τὴν ἐπιστήμην οὐθὲν βοηθεῖ τὴν τῶν ἄλλων (οὐδὲ γὰρ οὐσία ἐκεῖνα τούτων: ἐν τούτοις γὰρ ἂν ἦν), οὔτ᾽ εἰς τὸ εἶναι, μὴ ἐνυπάρχοντά γε τοῖς μετέχουσιν: οὕτω μὲν γὰρ ἴσως αἴτια δόξειεν ἂν εἶναι ὡς τὸ λευκὸν μεμιγμένον τῷ λευκῷ,  ἀλλ᾽ οὗτος μὲν ὁ λόγος λίαν εὐκίνητος, ὃν Ἀναξαγόρας μὲν πρότερος Εὔδοξος δὲ ὕστερος ἔλεγε διαπορῶν καὶ ἕτεροί τινες (ῥᾴδιον γὰρ πολλὰ συναγαγεῖν καὶ ἀδύνατα πρὸς τὴν τοιαύτην δόξαν): ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδὲ ἐκ τῶν εἰδῶν ἐστὶ τἆλλα κατ᾽ οὐθένα τρόπον τῶν εἰωθότων λέγεσθαι. τὸ  δὲ λέγειν παραδείγματα εἶναι καὶ μετέχειν αὐτῶν τὰ ἄλλα κενολογεῖν ἐστὶ καὶ μεταφορὰς λέγειν ποιητικάς. τί γάρ ἐστι τὸ ἐργαζόμενον πρὸς τὰς ἰδέας ἀποβλέπον; ἐνδέχεταί τε καὶ εἶναι καὶ γίγνεσθαι ὁτιοῦν καὶ μὴ εἰκαζόμενον, ὥστε καὶ ὄντος Σωκράτους καὶ μὴ ὄντος γένοιτ᾽ ἂν οἷος Σωκράτης:  ὁμοίως δὲ δῆλον ὅτι κἂν εἰ ἦν ὁ Σωκράτης ἀΐδιος. ἔσται τε πλείω παραδείγματα τοῦ αὐτοῦ, ὥστε καὶ εἴδη, οἷον τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τὸ ζῷον καὶ τὸ δίπουν, ἅμα δὲ καὶ αὐτοάνθρωπος. ἔτι οὐ μόνον τῶν αἰσθητῶν παραδείγματα τὰ εἴδη ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐτῶν, οἷον τὸ γένος τῶν ὡς γένους  εἰδῶν: ὥστε τὸ αὐτὸ ἔσται παράδειγμα καὶ εἰκών. ἔτι δόξειεν ἂν ἀδύνατον χωρὶς εἶναι τὴν οὐσίαν καὶ οὗ ἡ οὐσία: [1080α]  ὥστε πῶς ἂν αἱ ἰδέαι οὐσίαι τῶν πραγμάτων οὖσαι χωρὶς εἶεν; ἐν δὲ τῷ Φαίδωνι τοῦτον λέγεται τὸν τρόπον, ὡς καὶ τοῦ εἶναι καὶ τοῦ γίγνεσθαι αἴτια τὰ εἴδη ἐστίν: καίτοι τῶν εἰδῶν ὄντων ὅμως οὐ γίγνεται ἂν μὴ ᾖ τὸ κινῆσον, καὶ  πολλὰ γίγνεται ἕτερα, οἷον οἰκία καὶ δακτύλιος, ὧν οὔ φασιν εἶναι εἴδη: ὥστε δῆλον ὅτι ἐνδέχεται κἀκεῖνα, ὧν φασὶν ἰδέας εἶναι, καὶ εἶναι καὶ γίγνεσθαι διὰ τοιαύτας αἰτίας οἵας καὶ τὰ ῥηθέντα νῦν, ἀλλ᾽ οὐ διὰ τὰ εἴδη. ἀλλὰ περὶ μὲν τῶν ἰδεῶν καὶ τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον καὶ διὰ  λογικωτέρων καὶ ἀκριβεστέρων λόγων ἔστι πολλὰ συναγαγεῖν ὅμοια τοῖς τεθεωρημένοις. Above all one might discuss the question what in the world the Forms contribute to sensible things, either to those that are eternal or to those that come into being and cease to be; for they cause neither movement nor any change in them. But again they help in no wise either towards the knowledge of other things (for they are not even the substance of these, else they would have been in them), or towards their being, if they are not in the individuals which share in them; though if they were, they might be thought to be causes, as white causes whiteness in a white object by entering into its composition. But this argument, which was used first by Anaxagoras, and later by Eudoxus in his discussion of difficulties and by certain others, is very easily upset; for it is easy to collect many and insuperable objections to such a view.
But, further, all other things cannot come from the Forms in any of the usual senses of 'from'. And to say that they are patterns and the other things share in them is to use empty words and poetical metaphors. For what is it that works, looking to the Ideas? And any thing can both be and come into being without being copied from something else, so that, whether Socrates exists or not, a man like Socrates might come to be. And evidently this might be so even if Socrates were eternal. And there will be several patterns of the same thing, and therefore several Forms; e.g. 'animal' and 'two-footed', and also 'man-himself', will be Forms of man. Again, the Forms are patterns not only of sensible things, but of Forms themselves also; i.e. the genus is the pattern of the various forms-of-a-genus; therefore the same thing will be pattern and copy. Again, it would seem impossible that substance and that whose substance it is should exist apart; how, therefore, could the Ideas, being the substances of things, exist apart?
In the Phaedo the case is stated in this way — that the Forms are causes both of being and of becoming. Yet though the Forms exist, still things do not come into being, unless there is something to originate movement; and many other things come into being (e.g. a house or a ring) of which they say there are no Forms. Clearly therefore even the things of which they say there are Ideas can both be and come into being owing to such causes as produce the things just mentioned, and not owing to the Forms. But regarding the Ideas it is possible, both in this way and by more abstract and accurate arguments, to collect many objections like those we have considered.
6 6 ἐπεὶ δὲ διώρισται περὶ τούτων, καλῶς ἔχει πάλιν θεωρῆσαι τὰ περὶ τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς συμβαίνοντα τοῖς λέγουσιν οὐσίας αὐτοὺς εἶναι χωριστὰς καὶ τῶν ὄντων αἰτίας πρώτας.  ἀνάγκη δ᾽, εἴπερ ἐστὶν ὁ ἀριθμὸς φύσις τις καὶ μὴ ἄλλη τίς ἐστιν αὐτοῦ ἡ οὐσία ἀλλὰ τοῦτ᾽ αὐτό, ὥσπερ φασί τινες, ἤτοι εἶναι τὸ μὲν πρῶτόν τι αὐτοῦ τὸ δ᾽ ἐχόμενον, ἕτερον ὂν τῷ εἴδει ἕκαστον, καὶ τοῦτο ἢ ἐπὶ τῶν μονάδων εὐθὺς  ὑπάρχει καὶ ἔστιν ἀσύμβλητος ὁποιαοῦν μονὰς ὁποιᾳοῦν  μονάδι, ἢ εὐθὺς ἐφεξῆς πᾶσαι καὶ συμβληταὶ ὁποιαιοῦν ὁποιαισοῦν, οἷον λέγουσιν εἶναι τὸν μαθηματικὸν ἀριθμόν (ἐν γὰρ τῷ μαθηματικῷ οὐδὲν διαφέρει οὐδεμία μονὰς ἑτέρα ἑτέρας): ἢ τὰς μὲν συμβλητὰς τὰς δὲ μή (οἷον εἰ ἔστι μετὰ τὸ ἓν πρώτη ἡ δυάς, ἔπειτα ἡ τριὰς καὶ οὕτω δὴ ὁ  ἄλλος ἀριθμός, εἰσὶ δὲ συμβληταὶ αἱ ἐν ἑκάστῳ ἀριθμῷ μονάδες, οἷον αἱ ἐν τῇ δυάδι τῇ πρώτῃ αὑταῖς, καὶ αἱ ἐν τῇ τριάδι τῇ πρώτῃ αὑταῖς, καὶ οὕτω δὴ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἀριθμῶν: αἱ δ᾽ ἐν τῇ δυάδι αὐτῇ πρὸς τὰς ἐν τῇ τριάδι αὐτῇ ἀσύμβλητοι, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἄλλων τῶν  ἐφεξῆς ἀριθμῶν: διὸ καὶ ὁ μὲν μαθηματικὸς ἀριθμεῖται μετὰ τὸ ἓν δύο, πρὸς τῷ ἔμπροσθεν ἑνὶ ἄλλο ἕν, καὶ τὰ τρία πρὸς τοῖς δυσὶ τούτοις ἄλλο ἕν, καὶ ὁ λοιπὸς δὲ ὡσαύτως: οὗτος δὲ μετὰ τὸ ἓν δύο ἕτερα ἄνευ τοῦ ἑνὸς τοῦ πρώτου, καὶ ἡ τριὰς ἄνευ τῆς δυάδος, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ὁ  ἄλλος ἀριθμός): ἢ τὸν μὲν εἶναι τῶν ἀριθμῶν οἷος ὁ πρῶτος ἐλέχθη, τὸν δ᾽ οἷον οἱ μαθηματικοὶ λέγουσι, τρίτον δὲ τὸν ῥηθέντα τελευταῖον: ἔτι τούτους ἢ χωριστοὺς εἶναι τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς τῶν πραγμάτων, [1080β]  ἢ οὐ χωριστοὺς ἀλλ᾽ ἐν τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς (οὐχ οὕτως δ᾽ ὡς τὸ πρῶτον ἐπεσκοποῦμεν, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς ἐκ τῶν ἀριθμῶν ἐνυπαρχόντων ὄντα τὰ αἰσθητά) ἢ τὸν μὲν αὐτῶν εἶναι τὸν δὲ μή, ἢ πάντας εἶναι. Since we have discussed these points, it is well to consider again the results regarding numbers which confront those who say that numbers are separable substances and first causes of things. If number is an entity and its substance is nothing other than just number, as some say, it follows that either (1) there is a first in it and a second, each being different in species, — and either (a) this is true of the units without exception, and any unit is inassociable with any unit, or (b) they are all without exception successive, and any of them are associable with any, as they say is the case with mathematical number; for in mathematical number no one unit is in any way different from another. Or (c) some units must be associable and some not; e.g. suppose that 2 is first after 1, and then comes 3 and then the rest of the number series, and the units in each number are associable, e.g. those in the first 2 are associable with one another, and those in the first 3 with one another, and so with the other numbers; but the units in the '2—itself' are inassociable with those in the '3-itself'; and similarly in the case of the other successive numbers. And so while mathematical number is counted thus — after 1, 2 (which consists of another 1 besides the former 1), and 3 which consists of another 1 besides these two), and the other numbers similarly, ideal number is counted thus — after 1, a distinct 2 which does not include the first 1, and a 3 which does not include the 2 and the rest of the number series similarly. Or (2) one kind of number must be like the first that was named, one like that which the mathematicians speak of, and that which we have named last must be a third kind. Again, these kinds of numbers must either be separable from things, or not separable but in objects of perception (not however in the way which we first considered, in the sense that objects of perception consists of numbers which are present in them) — either one kind and not another, or all of them. οἱ μὲν οὖν τρόποι  καθ᾽ οὓς ἐνδέχεται αὐτοὺς εἶναι οὗτοί εἰσιν ἐξ ἀνάγκης μόνοι, σχεδὸν δὲ καὶ οἱ λέγοντες τὸ ἓν ἀρχὴν εἶναι καὶ οὐσίαν καὶ στοιχεῖον πάντων, καὶ ἐκ τούτου καὶ ἄλλου τινὸς εἶναι τὸν ἀριθμόν, ἕκαστος τούτων τινὰ τῶν τρόπων εἴρηκε, πλὴν τοῦ πάσας τὰς μονάδας εἶναι ἀσυμβλήτους. καὶ τοῦτο συμβέβηκεν  εὐλόγως: οὐ γὰρ ἐνδέχεται ἔτι ἄλλον τρόπον εἶναι παρὰ τοὺς εἰρημένους. οἱ μὲν οὖν ἀμφοτέρους φασὶν εἶναι τοὺς ἀριθμούς, τὸν μὲν ἔχοντα τὸ πρότερον καὶ ὕστερον τὰς ἰδέας, τὸν δὲ μαθηματικὸν παρὰ τὰς ἰδέας καὶ τὰ αἰσθητά, καὶ χωριστοὺς ἀμφοτέρους τῶν αἰσθητῶν: οἱ δὲ τὸν μαθηματικὸν  μόνον ἀριθμὸν εἶναι, τὸν πρῶτον τῶν ὄντων, κεχωρισμένον τῶν αἰσθητῶν. καὶ οἱ Πυθαγόρειοι δ᾽ ἕνα, τὸν μαθηματικόν, πλὴν οὐ κεχωρισμένον ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ τούτου τὰς αἰσθητὰς οὐσίας συνεστάναι φασίν: τὸν γὰρ ὅλον οὐρανὸν κατασκευάζουσιν ἐξ ἀριθμῶν, πλὴν οὐ μοναδικῶν, ἀλλὰ τὰς μονάδας  ὑπολαμβάνουσιν ἔχειν μέγεθος: ὅπως δὲ τὸ πρῶτον ἓν συνέστη ἔχον μέγεθος, ἀπορεῖν ἐοίκασιν. ἄλλος δέ τις τὸν πρῶτον ἀριθμὸν τὸν τῶν εἰδῶν ἕνα εἶναι, ἔνιοι δὲ καὶ τὸν μαθηματικὸν τὸν αὐτὸν τοῦτον εἶναι. ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ περὶ τὰ μήκη καὶ περὶ τὰ ἐπίπεδα καὶ περὶ τὰ στερεά. οἱ μὲν  γὰρ ἕτερα τὰ μαθηματικὰ καὶ τὰ μετὰ τὰς ἰδέας: τῶν δὲ ἄλλως λεγόντων οἱ μὲν τὰ μαθηματικὰ καὶ μαθηματικῶς λέγουσιν, ὅσοι μὴ ποιοῦσι τὰς ἰδέας ἀριθμοὺς μηδὲ εἶναί φασιν ἰδέας, οἱ δὲ τὰ μαθηματικά, οὐ μαθηματικῶς δέ: οὐ γὰρ τέμνεσθαι οὔτε μέγεθος πᾶν εἰς μεγέθη, οὔθ᾽  ὁποιασοῦν μονάδας δυάδα εἶναι. μοναδικοὺς δὲ τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς εἶναι πάντες τιθέασι, πλὴν τῶν Πυθαγορείων, ὅσοι τὸ ἓν στοιχεῖον καὶ ἀρχήν φασιν εἶναι τῶν ὄντων: ἐκεῖνοι δ᾽ ἔχοντας μέγεθος, καθάπερ εἴηρται πρότερον. ὁσαχῶς μὲν οὖν ἐνδέχεται λεχθῆναι περὶ αὐτῶν, καὶ ὅτι πάντες εἰσὶν  εἰρημένοι οἱ τρόποι, φανερὸν ἐκ τούτων: ἔστι δὲ πάντα μὲν ἀδύνατα, μᾶλλον δ᾽ ἴσως θάτερα τῶν ἑτέρων. These are of necessity the only ways in which the numbers can exist. And of those who say that the 1 is the beginning and substance and element of all things, and that number is formed from the 1 and something else, almost every one has described number in one of these ways; only no one has said all the units are inassociable. And this has happened reasonably enough; for there can be no way besides those mentioned. Some say both kinds of number exist, that which has a before and after being identical with the Ideas, and mathematical number being different from the Ideas and from sensible things, and both being separable from sensible things; and others say mathematical number alone exists, as the first of realities, separate from sensible things. And the Pythagoreans, also, believe in one kind of number — the mathematical; only they say it is not separate but sensible substances are formed out of it. For they construct the whole universe out of numbers — only not numbers consisting of abstract units; they suppose the units to have spatial magnitude. But how the first 1 was constructed so as to have magnitude, they seem unable to say.
Another thinker says the first kind of number, that of the Forms, alone exists, and some say mathematical number is identical with this.
The case of lines, planes, and solids is similar. For some think that those which are the objects of mathematics are different from those which come after the Ideas; and of those who express themselves otherwise some speak of the objects of mathematics and in a mathematical way — viz. those who do not make the Ideas numbers nor say that Ideas exist; and others speak of the objects of mathematics, but not mathematically; for they say that neither is every spatial magnitude divisible into magnitudes, nor do any two units taken at random make 2. All who say the 1 is an element and principle of things suppose numbers to consist of abstract units, except the Pythagoreans; but they suppose the numbers to have magnitude, as has been said before. It is clear from this statement, then, in how many ways numbers may be described, and that all the ways have been mentioned; and all these views are impossible, but some perhaps more than others.
7 7 πρῶτον μὲν οὖν σκεπτέον εἰ συμβληταὶ αἱ μονάδες ἢ ἀσύμβλητοι, καὶ εἰ ἀσύμβλητοι, ποτέρως ὧνπερ διείλομεν. [1081α]  ἔστι μὲν γὰρ ὁποιανοῦν εἶναι ὁποιᾳοῦν μονάδι ἀσύμβλητον, ἔστι δὲ τὰς ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ δυάδι πρὸς τὰς ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ τριάδι, καὶ οὕτως δὴ ἀσυμβλήτους εἶναι τὰς ἐν ἑκάστῳ τῷ πρώτῳ  ἀριθμῷ πρὸς ἀλλήλας. εἰ μὲν οὖν πᾶσαι συμβληταὶ καὶ ἀδιάφοροι αἱ μονάδες, ὁ μαθηματικὸς γίγνεται ἀριθμὸς καὶ εἷς μόνος, καὶ τὰς ἰδέας οὐκ ἐνδέχεται εἶναι τοὺς ἀριθμούς (ποῖος γὰρ ἔσται ἀριθμὸς αὐτὸ ἄνθρωπος ἢ ζῷον ἢ ἄλλο ὁτιοῦν τῶν εἰδῶν; ἰδέα μὲν γὰρ μία ἑκάστου, οἷον αὐτοῦ ἀνθρώπου  μία καὶ αὐτοῦ ζῴου ἄλλη μία: οἱ δ᾽ ὅμοιοι καὶ ἀδιάφοροι ἄπειροι, ὥστ᾽ οὐθὲν μᾶλλον ἥδε ἡ τριὰς αὐτοάνθρωπος ἢ ὁποιαοῦν), εἰ δὲ μὴ εἰσὶν ἀριθμοὶ αἱ ἰδέαι, οὐδ᾽ ὅλως οἷόν τε αὐτὰς εἶναι (ἐκ τίνων γὰρ ἔσονται ἀρχῶν αἱ ἰδέαι; ὁ γὰρ ἀριθμός ἐστιν ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς καὶ τῆς δυάδος τῆς  ἀορίστου, καὶ αἱ ἀρχαὶ καὶ τὰ στοιχεῖα λέγονται τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ εἶναι, τάξαι τε οὔτε προτέρας ἐνδέχεται τῶν ἀριθμῶν αὐτὰς οὔθ᾽ ὑστέρας): εἰ δ᾽ ἀσύμβλητοι αἱ μονάδες, καὶ οὕτως ἀσύμβλητοι ὥστε ἡτισοῦν ᾑτινιοῦν, οὔτε τὸν μαθηματικὸν ἐνδέχεται εἶναι τοῦτον τὸν ἀριθμόν (ὁ μὲν γὰρ μαθηματικὸς ἐξ ἀδιαφόρων,  καὶ τὰ δεικνύμενα κατ᾽ αὐτοῦ ὡς ἐπὶ τοιούτου ἁρμόττει) οὔτε τὸν τῶν εἰδῶν. οὐ γὰρ ἔσται ἡ δυὰς πρώτη ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς καὶ τῆς ἀορίστου δυάδος, ἔπειτα οἱ ἑξῆς ἀριθμοί, ὡς λέγεται δυάς, τριάς, τετράς—ἅμα γὰρ αἱ ἐν τῇ δυάδι τῇ πρώτῃ μονάδες γεννῶνται, εἴτε ὥσπερ ὁ πρῶτος εἰπὼν ἐξ  ἀνίσων (ἰσασθέντων γὰρ ἐγένοντο) εἴτε ἄλλως—, ἐπεὶ εἰ ἔσται ἡ ἑτέρα μονὰς τῆς ἑτέρας προτέρα, καὶ τῆς δυάδος τῆς ἐκ τούτων ἔσται προτέρα: ὅταν γὰρ ᾖ τι τὸ μὲν πρότερον τὸ δὲ ὕστερον, καὶ τὸ ἐκ τούτων τοῦ μὲν ἔσται πρότερον τοῦ δ᾽ ὕστερον. First, then, let us inquire if the units are associable or inassociable, and if inassociable, in which of the two ways we distinguished. For it is possible that any unity is inassociable with any, and it is possible that those in the 'itself' are inassociable with those in the 'itself', and, generally, that those in each ideal number are inassociable with those in other ideal numbers. Now (1) all units are associable and without difference, we get mathematical number — only one kind of number, and the Ideas cannot be the numbers. For what sort of number will man-himself or animal-itself or any other Form be? There is one Idea of each thing e.g. one of man-himself and another one of animal-itself; but the similar and undifferentiated numbers are infinitely many, so that any particular 3 is no more man-himself than any other 3. But if the Ideas are not numbers, neither can they exist at all. For from what principles will the Ideas come? It is number that comes from the 1 and the indefinite dyad, and the principles or elements are said to be principles and elements of number, and the Ideas cannot be ranked as either prior or posterior to the numbers.
But (2) if the units are inassociable, and inassociable in the sense that any is inassociable with any other, number of this sort cannot be mathematical number; for mathematical number consists of undifferentiated units, and the truths proved of it suit this character. Nor can it be ideal number. For 2 will not proceed immediately from 1 and the indefinite dyad, and be followed by the successive numbers, as they say '2,3,4' for the units in the ideal are generated at the same time, whether, as the first holder of the theory said, from unequals (coming into being when these were equalized) or in some other way — since, if one unit is to be prior to the other, it will be prior also to 2 the composed of these; for when there is one thing prior and another posterior, the resultant of these will be prior to one and posterior to the other.
ἔτι ἐπειδὴ ἔστι πρῶτον μὲν αὐτὸ τὸ ἕν,  ἔπειτα τῶν ἄλλων ἔστι τι πρῶτον ἓν δεύτερον δὲ μετ᾽ ἐκεῖνο, καὶ πάλιν τρίτον τὸ δεύτερον μὲν μετὰ τὸ δεύτερον τρίτον δὲ μετὰ τὸ πρῶτον ἕν, ὥστε πρότεραι ἂν εἶεν αἱ μονάδες ἢ οἱ ἀριθμοὶ ἐξ ὧν λέγονται, οἷον ἐν τῇ δυάδι τρίτη μονὰς ἔσται πρὶν τὰ τρία εἶναι, καὶ ἐν τῇ τριάδι τετάρτη  καὶ [ἡ] πέμπτη πρὶν τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς τούτους. οὐδεὶς μὲν οὖν τὸν τρόπον τοῦτον εἴρηκεν αὐτῶν τὰς μονάδας ἀσυμβλήτους, ἔστι δὲ κατὰ μὲν τὰς ἐκείνων ἀρχὰς εὔλογον καὶ οὕτως, κατὰ μέντοι τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἀδύνατον. [1081β]  τάς τε γὰρ μονάδας προτέρας καὶ ὑστέρας εἶναι εὔλογον, εἴπερ καὶ πρώτη τις ἔστι μονὰς καὶ ἓν πρῶτον, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ δυάδας, εἴπερ καὶ δυὰς πρώτη ἔστιν: μετὰ γὰρ τὸ πρῶτον εὔλογον καὶ  ἀναγκαῖον δεύτερόν τι εἶναι, καὶ εἰ δεύτερον, τρίτον, καὶ οὕτω δὴ τὰ ἄλλα ἐφεξῆς (ἅμα δ᾽ ἀμφότερα λέγειν, μονάδα τε μετὰ τὸ ἓν πρώτην εἶναι καὶ δευτέραν, καὶ δυάδα πρώτην, ἀδύνατον). οἱ δὲ ποιοῦσι μονάδα μὲν καὶ ἓν πρῶτον, δεύτερον δὲ καὶ τρίτον οὐκέτι, καὶ δυάδα πρώτην, δευτέραν  δὲ καὶ τρίτην οὐκέτι. φανερὸν δὲ καὶ ὅτι οὐκ ἐνδέχεται, εἰ ἀσύμβλητοι πᾶσαι αἱ μονάδες, δυάδα εἶναι αὐτὴν καὶ τριάδα καὶ οὕτω τοὺς ἄλλους ἀριθμούς. ἄν τε γὰρ ὦσιν ἀδιάφοροι αἱ μονάδες ἄν τε διαφέρουσαι ἑκάστη ἑκάστης, ἀνάγκη ἀριθμεῖσθαι τὸν ἀριθμὸν κατὰ πρόσθεσιν, οἷον τὴν  δυάδα πρὸς τῷ ἑνὶ ἄλλου ἑνὸς προστεθέντος, καὶ τὴν τριάδα ἄλλου ἑνὸς πρὸς τοῖς δυσὶ προστεθέντος, καὶ τὴν τετράδα ὡσαύτως: τούτων δὲ ὄντων ἀδύνατον τὴν γένεσιν εἶναι τῶν ἀριθμῶν ὡς γεννῶσιν ἐκ τῆς δυάδος καὶ τοῦ ἑνός. μόριον γὰρ γίγνεται ἡ δυὰς τῆς τριάδος καὶ αὕτη τῆς τετράδος,  τὸν αὐτὸν δὲ τρόπον συμβαίνει καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἐχομένων. ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ τῆς δυάδος τῆς πρώτης καὶ τῆς ἀορίστου δυάδος ἐγίγνετο ἡ τετράς, δύο δυάδες παρ᾽ αὐτὴν τὴν δυάδα: εἰ δὲ μή, μόριον ἔσται αὐτὴ ἡ δυάς, ἑτέρα δὲ προσέσται μία  δυάς. καὶ ἡ δυὰς ἔσται ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἄλλου ἑνός:  εἰ δὲ τοῦτο, οὐχ οἷόν τ᾽ εἶναι τὸ ἕτερον στοιχεῖον δυάδα ἀόριστον: μονάδα γὰρ μίαν γεννᾷ ἀλλ᾽ οὐ δυάδα ὡρισμένην. Again, since the 1-itself is first, and then there is a particular 1 which is first among the others and next after the 1-itself, and again a third which is next after the second and next but one after the first 1, — so the units must be prior to the numbers after which they are named when we count them; e.g. there will be a third unit in 2 before 3 exists, and a fourth and a fifth in 3 before the numbers 4 and 5 exist. — Now none of these thinkers has said the units are inassociable in this way, but according to their principles it is reasonable that they should be so even in this way, though in truth it is impossible. For it is reasonable both that the units should have priority and posteriority if there is a first unit or first 1, and also that the 2's should if there is a first 2; for after the first it is reasonable and necessary that there should be a second, and if a second, a third, and so with the others successively. (And to say both things at the same time, that a unit is first and another unit is second after the ideal 1, and that a 2 is first after it, is impossible.) But they make a first unit or 1, but not also a second and a third, and a first 2, but not also a second and a third. Clearly, also, it is not possible, if all the units are inassociable, that there should be a 2-itself and a 3-itself; and so with the other numbers. For whether the units are undifferentiated or different each from each, number must be counted by addition, e.g. 2 by adding another 1 to the one, 3 by adding another 1 to the two, and similarly. This being so, numbers cannot be generated as they generate them, from the 2 and the 1; for 2 becomes part of 3 and 3 of 4 and the same happens in the case of the succeeding numbers, but they say 4 came from the first 2 and the indefinite which makes it two 2's other than the 2-itself; if not, the 2-itself will be a part of 4 and one other 2 will be added. And similarly 2 will consist of the 1-itself and another 1; but if this is so, the other element cannot be an indefinite 2; for it generates one unit, not, as the indefinite 2 does, a definite 2.
Again, besides the 3-itself and the 2-itself how can there be other 3's and 2's? And how do they consist of prior and posterior units? All this is absurd and fictitious, and there cannot be a first 2 and then a 3-itself. Yet there must, if the 1 and the indefinite dyad are to be the elements. But if the results are impossible, it is also impossible that these are the generating principles.
εἰ μὲν οὖν διάφοροι αἱ μονάδες ὁποιαιοῦν ὁποιαισοῦν, ταῦτα καὶ τοιαῦθ᾽  ἕτερα συμβαίνει ἐξ ἀνάγκης: εἰ δ᾽ αἱ μὲν ἐν ἄλλῳ διάφοροι αἱ δ᾽ ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ ἀριθμῷ ἀδιάφοροι ἀλλήλαις μόναι, καὶ οὕτως οὐθὲν ἐλάττω συμβαίνει τὰ δυσχερῆ. [1082α]  οἷον γὰρ ἐν τῇ δεκάδι αὐτῇ ἔνεισι δέκα μονάδες, σύγκειται δὲ καὶ ἐκ τούτων καὶ ἐκ δύο πεντάδων ἡ δεκάς. ἐπεὶ δ᾽ οὐχ ὁ τυχὼν ἀριθμὸς αὐτὴ ἡ δεκὰς οὐδὲ σύγκειται ἐκ τῶν τυχουσῶν πεντάδων, ὥσπερ οὐδὲ μονάδων, ἀνάγκη διαφέρειν  τὰς μονάδας τὰς ἐν τῇ δεκάδι ταύτῃ. ἂν γὰρ μὴ διαφέρωσιν, οὐδ᾽ αἱ πεντάδες διοίσουσιν ἐξ ὧν ἐστὶν ἡ δεκάς: ἐπεὶ δὲ διαφέρουσι, καὶ αἱ μονάδες διοίσουσιν. εἰ δὲ διαφέρουσι, πότερον οὐκ ἐνέσονται πεντάδες ἄλλαι ἀλλὰ μόνον αὗται αἱ δύο, ἢ ἔσονται; εἴτε δὲ μὴ ἐνέσονται, ἄτοπον:  εἴτ᾽ ἐνέσονται, ποία ἔσται δεκὰς ἐξ ἐκείνων; οὐ γὰρ ἔστιν ἑτέρα δεκὰς ἐν τῇ δεκάδι παρ᾽ αὐτήν. ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ ἀνάγκη γε μὴ ἐκ τῶν τυχουσῶν δυάδων τὴν τετράδα συγκεῖσθαι: ἡ γὰρ ἀόριστος δυάς, ὥς φασι, λαβοῦσα τὴν ὡρισμένην δυάδα δύο δυάδας ἐποίησεν: τοῦ γὰρ ληφθέντος  ἦν δυοποιός. If the units, then, are differentiated, each from each, these results and others similar to these follow of necessity. But (3) if those in different numbers are differentiated, but those in the same number are alone undifferentiated from one another, even so the difficulties that follow are no less. E.g. in the 10-itself their are ten units, and the 10 is composed both of them and of two 5's. But since the 10-itself is not any chance number nor composed of any chance 5's — or, for that matter, units — the units in this 10 must differ. For if they do not differ, neither will the 5's of which the 10 consists differ; but since these differ, the units also will differ.
But if they differ, will there be no other 5's in the 10 but only these two, or will there be others? If there are not, this is paradoxical; and if there are, what sort of 10 will consist of them? For there is no other in the 10 but the 10 itself. But it is actually necessary on their view that the 4 should not consist of any chance 2's; for the indefinite as they say, received the definite 2 and made two 2's; for its nature was to double what it received.
ἔτι τὸ εἶναι παρὰ τὰς δύο μονάδας τὴν δυάδα φύσιν τινά, καὶ τὴν τριάδα παρὰ τὰς τρεῖς μονάδας, πῶς ἐνδέχεται; ἢ γὰρ μεθέξει θατέρου θατέρου, ὥσπερ λευκὸς ἄνθρωπος παρὰ λευκὸν καὶ ἄνθρωπον (μετέχει γὰρ τούτων), ἢ ὅταν ᾖ θατέρου θάτερον διαφορά τις, ὥσπερ ὁ ἄνθρωπος  παρὰ ζῷον καὶ δίπουν. ἔτι τὰ μὲν ἁφῇ ἐστὶν ἓν τὰ δὲ μίξει τὰ δὲ θέσει: ὧν οὐδὲν ἐνδέχεται ὑπάρχειν ταῖς μονάσιν ἐξ ὧν ἡ δυὰς καὶ ἡ τριάς: ἀλλ᾽ ὥσπερ οἱ δύο ἄνθρωποι οὐχ ἕν τι παρ᾽ ἀμφοτέρους, οὕτως ἀνάγκη καὶ τὰς μονάδας. καὶ οὐχ ὅτι ἀδιαίρετοι, διοίσουσι διὰ τοῦτο: καὶ  γὰρ αἱ στιγμαὶ ἀδιαίρετοι, ἀλλ᾽ ὅμως παρὰ τὰς δύο οὐθὲν ἕτερον ἡ δυὰς αὐτῶν. Again, as to the 2 being an entity apart from its two units, and the 3 an entity apart from its three units, how is this possible? Either by one's sharing in the other, as 'pale man' is different from 'pale' and 'man' (for it shares in these), or when one is a differentia of the other, as 'man' is different from 'animal' and 'two-footed'.
Again, some things are one by contact, some by intermixture, some by position; none of which can belong to the units of which the 2 or the 3 consists; but as two men are not a unity apart from both, so must it be with the units. And their being indivisible will make no difference to them; for points too are indivisible, but yet a pair of them is nothing apart from the two.
ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδὲ τοῦτο δεῖ λανθάνειν, ὅτι συμβαίνει προτέρας καὶ ὑστέρας εἶναι δυάδας, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους ἀριθμούς. αἱ μὲν γὰρ ἐν τῇ τετράδι δυάδες ἔστωσαν ἀλλήλαις ἅμα: ἀλλ᾽ αὗται τῶν ἐν τῇ  ὀκτάδι πρότεραί εἰσι, καὶ ἐγέννησαν, ὥσπερ ἡ δυὰς ταύτας, αὗται τὰς τετράδας τὰς ἐν τῇ ὀκτάδι αὐτῇ, ὥστε εἰ καὶ ἡ πρώτη δυὰς ἰδέα, καὶ αὗται ἰδέαι τινὲς ἔσονται. ὁ δ᾽ αὐτὸς λόγος καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν μονάδων: αἱ γὰρ ἐν τῇ δυάδι τῇ πρώτῃ μονάδες γεννῶσι τὰς τέτταρας τὰς ἐν τῇ τετράδι,  ὥστε πᾶσαι αἱ μονάδες ἰδέαι γίγνονται καὶ συγκείσεται ἰδέα ἐξ ἰδεῶν: ὥστε δῆλον ὅτι κἀκεῖνα ὧν ἰδέαι αὗται τυγχάνουσιν οὖσαι συγκείμενα ἔσται, οἷον εἰ τὰ ζῷα φαίη τις συγκεῖσθαι ἐκ ζῴων, εἰ τούτων ἰδέαι εἰσίν. [1082β]  —ὅλως δὲ τὸ ποιεῖν τὰς μονάδας διαφόρους ὁπωσοῦν ἄτοπον καὶ πλασματῶδες (λέγω δὲ πλασματῶδες τὸ πρὸς ὑπόθεσιν βεβιασμένον): οὔτε γὰρ κατὰ τὸ ποσὸν οὔτε κατὰ τὸ ποιὸν  ὁρῶμεν διαφέρουσαν μονάδα μονάδος, ἀνάγκη τε ἢ ἴσον ἢ ἄνισον εἶναι ἀριθμόν, πάντα μὲν ἀλλὰ μάλιστα τὸν μοναδικόν, ὥστ᾽ εἰ μήτε πλείων μήτ᾽ ἐλάττων, ἴσος: τὰ δὲ ἴσα καὶ ὅλως ἀδιάφορα ταὐτὰ ὑπολαμβάνομεν ἐν τοῖς ἀριθμοῖς. εἰ δὲ μή, οὐδ᾽ αἱ ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ δεκάδι δυάδες  ἀδιάφοροι ἔσονται ἴσαι οὖσαι: τίνα γὰρ αἰτίαν ἕξει λέγειν ὁ φάσκων ἀδιαφόρους εἶναι; ἔτι εἰ ἅπασα μονὰς καὶ μονὰς ἄλλη δύο, ἡ ἐκ τῆς δυάδος αὐτῆς μονὰς καὶ ἡ ἐκ τῆς τριάδος αὐτῆς δυὰς ἔσται ἐκ διαφερουσῶν τε, καὶ πότερον προτέρα τῆς τριάδος ἢ ὑστέρα; μᾶλλον γὰρ ἔοικε  προτέραν ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι: ἡ μὲν γὰρ ἅμα τῇ τριάδι ἡ δ᾽ ἅμα τῇ δυάδι τῶν μονάδων. καὶ ἡμεῖς μὲν ὑπολαμβάνομεν ὅλως ἓν καὶ ἕν, καὶ ἐὰν ᾖ ἴσα ἢ ἄνισα, δύο εἶναι, οἷον τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ τὸ κακόν, καὶ ἄνθρωπον καὶ ἵππον: οἱ δ᾽ οὕτως λέγοντες οὐδὲ τὰς μονάδας. εἴτε δὲ μὴ  ἔστι πλείων ἀριθμὸς ὁ τῆς τριάδος αὐτῆς ἢ ὁ τῆς δυάδος, θαυμαστόν: εἴτε ἐστὶ πλείων, δῆλον ὅτι καὶ ἴσος ἔνεστι τῇ δυάδι, ὥστε οὗτος ἀδιάφορος αὐτῇ τῇ δυάδι. ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἐνδέχεται, εἰ πρῶτός τις ἔστιν ἀριθμὸς καὶ δεύτερος. οὐδὲ ἔσονται αἱ ἰδέαι ἀριθμοί. τοῦτο μὲν γὰρ αὐτὸ ὀρθῶς λέγουσιν  οἱ διαφόρους τὰς μονάδας ἀξιοῦντες εἶναι, εἴπερ ἰδέαι ἔσονται, ὥσπερ εἴρηται πρότερον: ἓν γὰρ τὸ εἶδος, αἱ δὲ μονάδες εἰ ἀδιάφοροι, καὶ αἱ δυάδες καὶ αἱ τριάδες ἔσονται ἀδιάφοροι. διὸ καὶ τὸ ἀριθμεῖσθαι οὕτως, ἓν δύο, μὴ προσλαμβανομένου πρὸς τῷ ὑπάρχοντι ἀναγκαῖον αὐτοῖς  λέγειν (οὔτε γὰρ ἡ γένεσις ἔσται ἐκ τῆς ἀορίστου δυάδος, οὔτ᾽ ἰδέαν ἐνδέχεται εἶναι: ἐνυπάρξει γὰρ ἑτέρα ἰδέα ἐν ἑτέρᾳ, καὶ πάντα τὰ εἴδη ἑνὸς μέρη): διὸ πρὸς μὲν τὴν ὑπόθεσιν ὀρθῶς λέγουσιν, ὅλως δ᾽ οὐκ ὀρθῶς: πολλὰ γὰρ ἀναιροῦσιν, ἐπεὶ τοῦτό γ᾽ αὐτὸ ἔχειν τινὰ φήσουσιν ἀπορίαν, πότερον,  ὅταν ἀριθμῶμεν καὶ εἴπωμεν ἓν δύο τρία, προσλαμβάνοντες ἀριθμοῦμεν ἢ κατὰ μερίδας. ποιοῦμεν δὲ ἀμφοτέρως: διὸ γελοῖον ταύτην εἰς τηλικαύτην τῆς οὐσίας ἀνάγειν διαφοράν. But this consequence also we must not forget, that it follows that there are prior and posterior 2 and similarly with the other numbers. For let the 2's in the 4 be simultaneous; yet these are prior to those in the 8 and as the 2 generated them, they generated the 4's in the 8-itself. Therefore if the first 2 is an Idea, these 2's also will be Ideas of some kind. And the same account applies to the units; for the units in the first 2 generate the four in 4, so that all the units come to be Ideas and an Idea will be composed of Ideas. Clearly therefore those things also of which these happen to be the Ideas will be composite, e.g. one might say that animals are composed of animals, if there are Ideas of them.
In general, to differentiate the units in any way is an absurdity and a fiction; and by a fiction I mean a forced statement made to suit a hypothesis. For neither in quantity nor in quality do we see unit differing from unit, and number must be either equal or unequal — all number but especially that which consists of abstract units — so that if one number is neither greater nor less than another, it is equal to it; but things that are equal and in no wise differentiated we take to be the same when we are speaking of numbers. If not, not even the 2 in the 10-itself will be undifferentiated, though they are equal; for what reason will the man who alleges that they are not differentiated be able to give?
Again, if every unit + another unit makes two, a unit from the 2-itself and one from the 3-itself will make a 2. Now (a) this will consist of differentiated units; and will it be prior to the 3 or posterior? It rather seems that it must be prior; for one of the units is simultaneous with the 3 and the other is simultaneous with the 2. And we, for our part, suppose that in general 1 and 1, whether the things are equal or unequal, is 2, e.g. the good and the bad, or a man and a horse; but those who hold these views say that not even two units are 2.
If the number of the 3-itself is not greater than that of the 2, this is surprising; and if it is greater, clearly there is also a number in it equal to the 2, so that this is not different from the 2-itself. But this is not possible, if there is a first and a second number.
Nor will the Ideas be numbers. For in this particular point they are right who claim that the units must be different, if there are to be Ideas; as has been said before. For the Form is unique; but if the units are not different, the 2's and the 3's also will not be different. This is also the reason why they must say that when we count thus — '1,2' — we do not proceed by adding to the given number; for if we do, neither will the numbers be generated from the indefinite dyad, nor can a number be an Idea; for then one Idea will be in another, and all Forms will be parts of one Form. And so with a view to their hypothesis their statements are right, but as a whole they are wrong; for their view is very destructive, since they will admit that this question itself affords some difficulty — whether, when we count and say — 1,2,3 — we count by addition or by separate portions. But we do both; and so it is absurd to reason back from this problem to so great a difference of essence.
8 8 [1083α]  πάντων δὲ πρῶτον καλῶς ἔχει διορίσασθαι τίς ἀριθμοῦ διαφορά, καὶ μονάδος, εἰ ἔστιν. ἀνάγκη δ᾽ ἢ κατὰ τὸ ποσὸν ἢ κατὰ τὸ ποιὸν διαφέρειν: τούτων δ᾽ οὐδέτερον φαίνεται ἐνδέχεσθαι ὑπάρχειν. ἀλλ᾽ ᾗ ἀριθμός, κατὰ τὸ ποσόν. εἰ  δὲ δὴ καὶ αἱ μονάδες τῷ ποσῷ διέφερον, κἂν ἀριθμὸς ἀριθμοῦ διέφερεν ὁ ἴσος τῷ πλήθει τῶν μονάδων. ἔτι πότερον αἱ πρῶται μείζους ἢ ἐλάττους, καὶ αἱ ὕστερον ἐπιδιδόασιν ἢ τοὐναντίον; πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα ἄλογα. ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδὲ κατὰ τὸ ποιὸν διαφέρειν ἐνδέχεται. οὐθὲν γὰρ  αὐταῖς οἷόν τε ὑπάρχειν πάθος: ὕστερον γὰρ καὶ τοῖς ἀριθμοῖς φασὶν ὑπάρχειν τὸ ποιὸν τοῦ ποσοῦ. ἔτι οὔτ᾽ ἂν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἑνὸς τοῦτ᾽ αὐταῖς γένοιτο οὔτ᾽ ἂν ἀπὸ τῆς δυάδος: τὸ μὲν γὰρ οὐ ποιὸν ἡ δὲ ποσοποιόν: τοῦ γὰρ πολλὰ τὰ ὄντα εἶναι αἰτία αὕτη ἡ φύσις. εἰ δ᾽ ἄρα ἔχει πως  ἄλλως, λεκτέον ἐν ἀρχῇ μάλιστα τοῦτο καὶ διοριστέον περὶ μονάδος διαφορᾶς, μάλιστα μὲν καὶ διότι ἀνάγκη ὑπάρχειν: εἰ δὲ μή, τίνα λέγουσιν; First of all it is well to determine what is the differentia of a number — and of a unit, if it has a differentia. Units must differ either in quantity or in quality; and neither of these seems to be possible. But number qua number differs in quantity. And if the units also did differ in quantity, number would differ from number, though equal in number of units. Again, are the first units greater or smaller, and do the later ones increase or diminish? All these are irrational suppositions. But neither can they differ in quality. For no attribute can attach to them; for even to numbers quality is said to belong after quantity. Again, quality could not come to them either from the 1 or the dyad; for the former has no quality, and the latter gives quantity; for this entity is what makes things to be many. If the facts are really otherwise, they should state this quite at the beginning and determine if possible, regarding the differentia of the unit, why it must exist, and, failing this, what differentia they mean. ὅτι μὲν οὖν, εἴπερ εἰσὶν ἀριθμοὶ αἱ ἰδέαι, οὔτε συμβλητὰς τὰς μονάδας ἁπάσας ἐνδέχεται εἶναι, φανερόν, οὔτε ἀσυμβλήτους ἀλλήλαις οὐδέτερον  τῶν τρόπων: ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδ᾽ ὡς ἕτεροί τινες λέγουσι περὶ τῶν ἀριθμῶν λέγεται καλῶς. εἰσὶ δ᾽ οὗτοι ὅσοι ἰδέας μὲν οὐκ οἴονται εἶναι οὔτε ἁπλῶς οὔτε ὡς ἀριθμούς τινας οὔσας, τὰ δὲ μαθηματικὰ εἶναι καὶ τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς πρώτους τῶν ὄντων, καὶ ἀρχὴν αὐτῶν εἶναι αὐτὸ τὸ ἕν. ἄτοπον γὰρ τὸ  ἓν μὲν εἶναί τι πρῶτον τῶν ἑνῶν, ὥσπερ ἐκεῖνοί φασι, δυάδα δὲ τῶν δυάδων μή, μηδὲ τριάδα τῶν τριάδων: τοῦ γὰρ αὐτοῦ λόγου πάντα ἐστίν. εἰ μὲν οὖν οὕτως ἔχει τὰ περὶ τὸν ἀριθμὸν καὶ θήσει τις εἶναι τὸν μαθηματικὸν μόνον, οὐκ ἔστι τὸ ἓν ἀρχή (ἀνάγκη γὰρ διαφέρειν τὸ ἓν τὸ τοιοῦτο τῶν  ἄλλων μονάδων: εἰ δὲ τοῦτο, καὶ δυάδα τινὰ πρώτην τῶν δυάδων, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους ἀριθμοὺς τοὺς ἐφεξῆς): εἰ δέ ἐστι τὸ ἓν ἀρχή, ἀνάγκη μᾶλλον ὥσπερ Πλάτων ἔλεγεν ἔχειν τὰ περὶ τοὺς ἀριθμούς, καὶ εἶναι δυάδα πρώτην καὶ τριάδα, καὶ οὐ συμβλητοὺς εἶναι τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς πρὸς  ἀλλήλους. ἂν δ᾽ αὖ πάλιν τις τιθῇ ταῦτα, εἴρηται ὅτι ἀδύνατα πολλὰ συμβαίνει. ἀλλὰ μὴν ἀνάγκη γε ἢ οὕτως ἢ ἐκείνως ἔχειν, ὥστ᾽ εἰ μηδετέρως, οὐκ ἂν ἐνδέχοιτο εἶναι τὸν ἀριθμὸν χωριστόν. [1083β]  —φανερὸν δ᾽ ἐκ τούτων καὶ ὅτι χείριστα λέγεται ὁ τρίτος τρόπος, τὸ εἶναι τὸν αὐτὸν ἀριθμὸν τὸν τῶν εἰδῶν καὶ τὸν μαθηματικόν. ἀνάγκη γὰρ εἰς μίαν δόξαν συμβαίνειν δύο ἁμαρτίας: οὔτε γὰρ μαθηματικὸν  ἀριθμὸν ἐνδέχεται τοῦτον εἶναι τὸν τρόπον, ἀλλ᾽ ἰδίας ὑποθέσεις ὑποθέμενον ἀνάγκη μηκύνειν, ὅσα τε τοῖς ὡς εἴδη τὸν ἀριθμὸν λέγουσι συμβαίνει, καὶ ταῦτα ἀναγκαῖον λέγειν. Evidently then, if the Ideas are numbers, the units cannot all be associable, nor can they be inassociable in either of the two ways. But neither is the way in which some others speak about numbers correct. These are those who do not think there are Ideas, either without qualification or as identified with certain numbers, but think the objects of mathematics exist and the numbers are the first of existing things, and the 1-itself is the starting-point of them. It is paradoxical that there should be a 1 which is first of 1's, as they say, but not a 2 which is first of 2's, nor a 3 of 3's; for the same reasoning applies to all. If, then, the facts with regard to number are so, and one supposes mathematical number alone to exist, the 1 is not the starting-point (for this sort of 1 must differ from the other units; and if this is so, there must also be a 2 which is first of 2's, and similarly with the other successive numbers). But if the 1 is the starting-point, the truth about the numbers must rather be what Plato used to say, and there must be a first 2 and 3 and numbers must not be associable with one another. But if on the other hand one supposes this, many impossible results, as we have said, follow. But either this or the other must be the case, so that if neither is, number cannot exist separately. It is evident, also, from this that the third version is the worst, — the view ideal and mathematical number is the same. For two mistakes must then meet in the one opinion. (1) Mathematical number cannot be of this sort, but the holder of this view has to spin it out by making suppositions peculiar to himself. And (2) he must also admit all the consequences that confront those who speak of number in the sense of 'Forms'. ὁ δὲ τῶν Πυθαγορείων τρόπος τῇ μὲν ἐλάττους ἔχει δυσχερείας τῶν πρότερον εἰρημένων, τῇ δὲ ἰδίας ἑτέρας.  τὸ μὲν γὰρ μὴ χωριστὸν ποιεῖν τὸν ἀριθμὸν ἀφαιρεῖται πολλὰ τῶν ἀδυνάτων: τὸ δὲ τὰ σώματα ἐξ ἀριθμῶν εἶναι συγκείμενα, καὶ τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦτον εἶναι μαθηματικόν, ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν. οὔτε γὰρ ἄτομα μεγέθη λέγειν ἀληθές, εἴ θ᾽ ὅτι μάλιστα τοῦτον ἔχει τὸν τρόπον, οὐχ αἵ γε  μονάδες μέγεθος ἔχουσιν: μέγεθος δὲ ἐξ ἀδιαιρέτων συγκεῖσθαι πῶς δυνατόν; ἀλλὰ μὴν ὅ γ᾽ ἀριθμητικὸς ἀριθμὸς μοναδικός ἐστιν. ἐκεῖνοι δὲ τὸν ἀριθμὸν τὰ ὄντα λέγουσιν: τὰ γοῦν θεωρήματα προσάπτουσι τοῖς σώμασιν ὡς ἐξ ἐκείνων ὄντων τῶν ἀριθμῶν. The Pythagorean version in one way affords fewer difficulties than those before named, but in another way has others peculiar to itself. For not thinking of number as capable of existing separately removes many of the impossible consequences; but that bodies should be composed of numbers, and that this should be mathematical number, is impossible. For it is not true to speak of indivisible spatial magnitudes; and however much there might be magnitudes of this sort, units at least have not magnitude; and how can a magnitude be composed of indivisibles? But arithmetical number, at least, consists of units, while these thinkers identify number with real things; at any rate they apply their propositions to bodies as if they consisted of those numbers. εἰ τοίνυν ἀνάγκη μέν, εἴπερ ἐστὶν  ἀριθμὸς τῶν ὄντων τι καθ᾽ αὑτό, τούτων εἶναί τινα τῶν εἰρημένων τρόπων, οὐθένα δὲ τούτων ἐνδέχεται, φανερὸν ὡς οὐκ ἔστιν ἀριθμοῦ τις τοιαύτη φύσις οἵαν κατασκευάζουσιν οἱ χωριστὸν ποιοῦντες αὐτόν. If, then, it is necessary, if number is a self-subsistent real thing, that it should exist in one of these ways which have been mentioned, and if it cannot exist in any of these, evidently number has no such nature as those who make it separable set up for it. ἔτι πότερον ἑκάστη μονὰς ἐκ τοῦ μεγάλου καὶ μικροῦ ἰσασθέντων ἐστίν, ἢ ἡ μὲν ἐκ τοῦ μικροῦ  ἡ δ᾽ ἐκ τοῦ μεγάλου; εἰ μὲν δὴ οὕτως, οὔτε ἐκ πάντων τῶν στοιχείων ἕκαστον οὔτε ἀδιάφοροι αἱ μονάδες (ἐν τῇ μὲν γὰρ τὸ μέγα ἐν τῇ δὲ τὸ μικρὸν ὑπάρχει, ἐναντίον τῇ φύσει ὄν): ἔτι αἱ ἐν τῇ τριάδι αὐτῇ πῶς; μία γὰρ περιττή: ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτο ἴσως αὐτὸ τὸ ἓν ποιοῦσιν ἐν τῷ  περιττῷ μέσον. εἰ δ᾽ ἑκατέρα τῶν μονάδων ἐξ ἀμφοτέρων ἐστὶν ἰσασθέντων, ἡ δυὰς πῶς ἔσται μία τις οὖσα φύσις ἐκ τοῦ μεγάλου καὶ μικροῦ; ἢ τί διοίσει τῆς μονάδος; ἔτι προτέρα ἡ μονὰς τῆς δυάδος (ἀναιρουμένης γὰρ ἀναιρεῖται ἡ δυάς): ἰδέαν οὖν ἰδέας ἀναγκαῖον αὐτὴν εἶναι, προτέραν γ᾽  οὖσαν ἰδέας, καὶ γεγονέναι προτέραν. ἐκ τίνος οὖν; ἡ γὰρ ἀόριστος δυὰς δυοποιὸς ἦν. Again, does each unit come from the great and the small, equalized, or one from the small, another from the great? (a) If the latter, neither does each thing contain all the elements, nor are the units without difference; for in one there is the great and in another the small, which is contrary in its nature to the great. Again, how is it with the units in the 3-itself? One of them is an odd unit. But perhaps it is for this reason that they give 1-itself the middle place in odd numbers. (b) But if each of the two units consists of both the great and the small, equalized, how will the 2 which is a single thing, consist of the great and the small? Or how will it differ from the unit? Again, the unit is prior to the 2; for when it is destroyed the 2 is destroyed. It must, then, be the Idea of an Idea since it is prior to an Idea, and it must have come into being before it. From what, then? Not from the indefinite dyad, for its function was to double. ἔτι ἀνάγκη ἤτοι ἄπειρον τὸν ἀριθμὸν εἶναι ἢ πεπερασμένον: χωριστὸν γὰρ ποιοῦσι τὸν ἀριθμόν, ὥστε οὐχ οἷόν τε μὴ οὐχὶ τούτων θάτερον ὑπάρχειν. [1084α]  ὅτι μὲν τοίνυν ἄπειρον οὐκ ἐνδέχεται, δῆλον (οὔτε γὰρ περιττὸς ὁ ἄπειρός ἐστιν οὔτ᾽ ἄρτιος, ἡ δὲ γένεσις τῶν ἀριθμῶν ἢ περιττοῦ ἀριθμοῦ ἢ ἀρτίου ἀεί ἐστιν: ὡδὶ μὲν τοῦ ἑνὸς εἰς  τὸν ἄρτιον πίπτοντος περιττός, ὡδὶ δὲ τῆς μὲν δυάδος ἐμπιπτούσης ὁ ἀφ᾽ ἑνὸς διπλασιαζόμενος, ὡδὶ δὲ τῶν περιττῶν ὁ ἄλλος ἄρτιος: ἔτι εἰ πᾶσα ἰδέα τινὸς οἱ δὲ ἀριθμοὶ ἰδέαι, καὶ ὁ ἄπειρος ἔσται ἰδέα τινός, ἢ τῶν αἰσθητῶν ἢ ἄλλου τινός: καίτοι οὔτε κατὰ τὴν θέσιν ἐνδέχεται οὔτε κατὰ  λόγον, τάττουσί γ᾽ οὕτω τὰς ἰδέας): εἰ δὲ πεπερασμένος, μέχρι πόσου; τοῦτο γὰρ δεῖ λέγεσθαι οὐ μόνον ὅτι ἀλλὰ καὶ διότι. ἀλλὰ μὴν εἰ μέχρι τῆς δεκάδος ὁ ἀριθμός, ὥσπερ τινές φασιν, πρῶτον μὲν ταχὺ ἐπιλείψει τὰ εἴδη—οἷον εἰ ἔστιν ἡ τριὰς αὐτοάνθρωπος, τίς ἔσται ἀριθμὸς αὐτόιππος;  αὐτὸ γὰρ ἕκαστος ἀριθμὸς μέχρι δεκάδος: ἀνάγκη δὴ τῶν ἐν τούτοις ἀριθμῶν τινὰ εἶναι (οὐσίαι γὰρ καὶ ἰδέαι οὗτοι): ἀλλ᾽ ὅμως ἐπιλείψει (τὰ τοῦ ζῴου γὰρ εἴδη ὑπερέξει)—. ἅμα δὲ δῆλον ὅτι εἰ οὕτως ἡ τριὰς αὐτοάνθρωπος, καὶ αἱ ἄλλαι τριάδες (ὅμοιαι γὰρ αἱ ἐν τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἀριθμοῖς),  ὥστ᾽ ἄπειροι ἔσονται ἄνθρωποι, εἰ μὲν ἰδέα ἑκάστη τριάς, αὐτὸ ἕκαστος ἄνθρωπος, εἰ δὲ μή, ἀλλ᾽ ἄνθρωποί γε. καὶ εἰ μέρος ὁ ἐλάττων τοῦ μείζονος, ὁ ἐκ τῶν συμβλητῶν μονάδων τῶν ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ ἀριθμῷ, εἰ δὴ ἡ τετρὰς αὐτὴ ἰδέα τινός ἐστιν, οἷον ἵππου ἢ λευκοῦ, ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἔσται μέρος  ἵππου, εἰ δυὰς ὁ ἄνθρωπος. ἄτοπον δὲ καὶ τὸ τῆς μὲν δεκάδος εἶναι ἰδέαν ἑνδεκάδος δὲ μή, μηδὲ τῶν ἐχομένων ἀριθμῶν. ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἔστι καὶ γίγνεται ἔνια καὶ ὧν εἴδη οὐκ ἔστιν, ὥστε διὰ τί οὐ κἀκείνων εἴδη ἔστιν; οὐκ ἄρα αἴτια τὰ εἴδη ἐστίν. ἔτι ἄτοπον εἰ ὁ ἀριθμὸς ὁ μέχρι τῆς δεκάδος  μᾶλλόν τι ὂν καὶ εἶδος αὐτῆς τῆς δεκάδος, καίτοι τοῦ μὲν οὐκ ἔστι γένεσις ὡς ἑνός, τῆς δ᾽ ἔστιν. πειρῶνται δ᾽ ὡς τοῦ μέχρι τῆς δεκάδος τελείου ὄντος ἀριθμοῦ. γεννῶσι γοῦν τὰ ἑπόμενα, οἷον τὸ κενόν, ἀναλογίαν, τὸ περιττόν, τὰ ἄλλα τὰ τοιαῦτα, ἐντὸς τῆς δεκάδος: τὰ μὲν γὰρ ταῖς ἀρχαῖς  ἀποδιδόασιν, οἷον κίνησιν στάσιν, ἀγαθὸν κακόν, τὰ δ᾽ ἄλλα τοῖς ἀριθμοῖς: διὸ τὸ ἓν τὸ περιττόν: εἰ γὰρ ἐν τῇ τριάδι, πῶς ἡ πεντὰς περιττόν; ἔτι τὰ μεγέθη καὶ ὅσα τοιαῦτα μέχρι ποσοῦ, [1084β]  οἷον ἡ πρώτη γραμμή, <�ἡ> ἄτομος, εἶτα δυάς, εἶτα καὶ ταῦτα μέχρι δεκάδος. Again, number must be either infinite or finite; for these thinkers think of number as capable of existing separately, so that it is not possible that neither of those alternatives should be true. Clearly it cannot be infinite; for infinite number is neither odd nor even, but the generation of numbers is always the generation either of an odd or of an even number; in one way, when 1 operates on an even number, an odd number is produced; in another way, when 2 operates, the numbers got from 1 by doubling are produced; in another way, when the odd numbers operate, the other even numbers are produced. Again, if every Idea is an Idea of something, and the numbers are Ideas, infinite number itself will be an Idea of something, either of some sensible thing or of something else. Yet this is not possible in view of their thesis any more than it is reasonable in itself, at least if they arrange the Ideas as they do.
But if number is finite, how far does it go? With regard to this not only the fact but the reason should be stated. But if number goes only up to 10 as some say, firstly the Forms will soon run short; e.g. if 3 is man-himself, what number will be the horse-itself? The series of the numbers which are the several things-themselves goes up to 10. It must, then, be one of the numbers within these limits; for it is these that are substances and Ideas. Yet they will run short; for the various forms of animal will outnumber them. At the same time it is clear that if in this way the 3 is man-himself, the other 3's are so also (for those in identical numbers are similar), so that there will be an infinite number of men; if each 3 is an Idea, each of the numbers will be man-himself, and if not, they will at least be men. And if the smaller number is part of the greater (being number of such a sort that the units in the same number are associable), then if the 4-itself is an Idea of something, e.g. of 'horse' or of 'white', man will be a part of horse, if man is It is paradoxical also that there should be an Idea of 10 but not of 11, nor of the succeeding numbers. Again, there both are and come to be certain things of which there are no Forms; why, then, are there not Forms of them also? We infer that the Forms are not causes. Again, it is paradoxical — if the number series up to 10 is more of a real thing and a Form than 10 itself. There is no generation of the former as one thing, and there is of the latter. But they try to work on the assumption that the series of numbers up to 10 is a complete series. At least they generate the derivatives — e.g. the void, proportion, the odd, and the others of this kind — within the decade. For some things, e.g. movement and rest, good and bad, they assign to the originative principles, and the others to the numbers. This is why they identify the odd with 1; for if the odd implied 3 how would 5 be odd? Again, spatial magnitudes and all such things are explained without going beyond a definite number; e.g. the first, the indivisible, line, then the 2 &c.; these entities also extend only up to 10.
ἔτι εἰ ἔστι χωριστὸς ὁ ἀριθμός, ἀπορήσειεν ἄν τις πότερον πρότερον τὸ ἓν ἢ ἡ τριὰς καὶ ἡ δυάς. ᾗ μὲν δὴ σύνθετος ὁ ἀριθμός, τὸ ἕν,  ᾗ δὲ τὸ καθόλου πρότερον καὶ τὸ εἶδος, ὁ ἀριθμός: ἑκάστη γὰρ τῶν μονάδων μόριον τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ ὡς ὕλη, ὁ δ᾽ ὡς εἶδος. καὶ ἔστι μὲν ὡς ἡ ὀρθὴ προτέρα τῆς ὀξείας, ὅτι ὥρισται καὶ τῷ λόγῳ: ἔστι δ᾽ ὡς ἡ ὀξεῖα, ὅτι μέρος καὶ εἰς ταύτην διαιρεῖται. ὡς μὲν δὴ ὕλη ἡ ὀξεῖα καὶ τὸ στοιχεῖον καὶ  ἡ μονὰς πρότερον, ὡς δὲ κατὰ τὸ εἶδος καὶ τὴν οὐσίαν τὴν κατὰ τὸν λόγον ἡ ὀρθὴ καὶ τὸ ὅλον τὸ ἐκ τῆς ὕλης καὶ τοῦ εἴδους: ἐγγύτερον γὰρ τοῦ εἴδους καὶ οὗ ὁ λόγος τὸ ἄμφω, γενέσει δ᾽ ὕστερον. πῶς οὖν ἀρχὴ τὸ ἕν; ὅτι οὐ διαιρετόν, φασίν: ἀλλ᾽ ἀδιαίρετον καὶ τὸ καθόλου καὶ τὸ ἐπὶ μέρους  καὶ τὸ στοιχεῖον. ἀλλὰ τρόπον ἄλλον, τὸ μὲν κατὰ λόγον τὸ δὲ κατὰ χρόνον. ποτέρως οὖν τὸ ἓν ἀρχή; ὥσπερ γὰρ εἴρηται, καὶ ἡ ὀρθὴ τῆς ὀξείας καὶ αὕτη ἐκείνης δοκεῖ προτέρα εἶναι, καὶ ἑκατέρα μία. ἀμφοτέρως δὴ ποιοῦσι τὸ ἓν ἀρχήν. ἔστι δὲ ἀδύνατον: τὸ μὲν γὰρ ὡς εἶδος καὶ ἡ οὐσία  τὸ δ᾽ ὡς μέρος καὶ ὡς ὕλη. ἔστι γάρ πως ἓν ἑκάτερον—τῇ μὲν ἀληθείᾳ δυνάμει (εἴ γε ὁ ἀριθμὸς ἕν τι καὶ μὴ ὡς σωρὸς ἀλλ᾽ ἕτερος ἐξ ἑτέρων μονάδων, ὥσπερ φασίν), ἐντελεχείᾳ δ᾽ οὔ, ἔστι μονὰς ἑκατέρα: αἴτιον δὲ τῆς συμβαινούσης ἁμαρτίας ὅτι ἅμα ἐκ τῶν μαθημάτων ἐθήρευον  καὶ ἐκ τῶν λόγων τῶν καθόλου, ὥστ᾽ ἐξ ἐκείνων μὲν ὡς στιγμὴν τὸ ἓν καὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν ἔθηκαν (ἡ γὰρ μονὰς στιγμὴ ἄθετός ἐστιν: καθάπερ οὖν καὶ ἕτεροί τινες ἐκ τοῦ ἐλαχίστου τὰ ὄντα συνετίθεσαν, καὶ οὗτοι, ὥστε γίγνεται ἡ μονὰς ὕλη τῶν ἀριθμῶν, καὶ ἅμα προτέρα τῆς δυάδος, πάλιν δ᾽ ὑστέρα  ὡς ὅλου τινὸς καὶ ἑνὸς καὶ εἴδους τῆς δυάδος οὔσης): διὰ δὲ τὸ καθόλου ζητεῖν τὸ κατηγορούμενον ἓν καὶ οὕτως ὡς μέρος ἔλεγον. ταῦτα δ᾽ ἅμα τῷ αὐτῷ ἀδύνατον ὑπάρχειν. εἰ δὲ τὸ ἓν αὐτὸ δεῖ μόνον ἄθετον εἶναι (οὐθενὶ γὰρ διαφέρει  ἢ ὅτι ἀρχή), καὶ ἡ μὲν δυὰς διαιρετὴ ἡ δὲ μονὰς οὔ, ὁμοιοτέρα  ἂν εἴη τῷ ἑνὶ αὐτῷ ἡ μονάς. εἰ δ᾽ ἡ μονάς, κἀκεῖνο τῇ μονάδι ἢ τῇ δυάδι: ὥστε προτέρα ἂν εἴη ἑκατέρα ἡ μονὰς τῆς δυάδος. οὔ φασι δέ: γεννῶσι γοῦν τὴν δυάδα πρῶτον. [1085α]  ἔτι εἰ ἔστιν ἡ δυὰς ἕν τι αὐτὴ καὶ ἡ τριὰς αὐτή, ἄμφω δυάς. ἐκ τίνος οὖν αὕτη ἡ δυάς; Again, if number can exist separately, one might ask which is prior —1, or 3 or 2? Inasmuch as the number is composite, 1 is prior, but inasmuch as the universal and the form is prior, the number is prior; for each of the units is part of the number as its matter, and the number acts as form. And in a sense the right angle is prior to the acute, because it is determinate and in virtue of its definition; but in a sense the acute is prior, because it is a part and the right angle is divided into acute angles. As matter, then, the acute angle and the element and the unit are prior, but in respect of the form and of the substance as expressed in the definition, the right angle, and the whole consisting of the matter and the form, are prior; for the concrete thing is nearer to the form and to what is expressed in the definition, though in generation it is later. How then is 1 the starting-point? Because it is not divisiable, they say; but both the universal, and the particular or the element, are indivisible. But they are starting-points in different ways, one in definition and the other in time. In which way, then, is 1 the starting-point? As has been said, the right angle is thought to be prior to the acute, and the acute to the right, and each is one. Accordingly they make 1 the starting-point in both ways. But this is impossible. For the universal is one as form or substance, while the element is one as a part or as matter. For each of the two is in a sense one — in truth each of the two units exists potentially (at least if the number is a unity and not like a heap, i.e. if different numbers consist of differentiated units, as they say), but not in complete reality; and the cause of the error they fell into is that they were conducting their inquiry at the same time from the standpoint of mathematics and from that of universal definitions, so that (1) from the former standpoint they treated unity, their first principle, as a point; for the unit is a point without position. They put things together out of the smallest parts, as some others also have done. Therefore the unit becomes the matter of numbers and at the same time prior to 2; and again posterior, 2 being treated as a whole, a unity, and a form. But (2) because they were seeking the universal they treated the unity which can be predicated of a number, as in this sense also a part of the number. But these characteristics cannot belong at the same time to the same thing. If the 1-itself must be unitary (for it differs in nothing from other 1's except that it is the starting-point), and the 2 is divisible but the unit is not, the unit must be liker the 1-itself than the 2 is. But if the unit is liker it, it must be liker to the unit than to the 2; therefore each of the units in 2 must be prior to the 2. But they deny this; at least they generate the 2 first. Again, if the 2-itself is a unity and the 3-itself is one also, both form a 2. From what, then, is this 2 produced? 9 9 ἀπορήσειε δ᾽ ἄν τις καὶ ἐπεὶ ἁφὴ μὲν οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν τοῖς ἀριθμοῖς, τὸ δ᾽ ἐφεξῆς, ὅσων μὴ ἔστι μεταξὺ μονάδων (οἷον  τῶν ἐν τῇ δυάδι ἢ τῇ τριάδι), πότερον ἐφεξῆς τῷ ἑνὶ αὐτῷ ἢ οὔ, καὶ πότερον ἡ δυὰς προτέρα τῶν ἐφεξῆς ἢ τῶν μονάδων ὁποτεραοῦν. Since there is not contact in numbers, but succession, viz. between the units between which there is nothing, e.g. between those in 2 or in 3 one might ask whether these succeed the 1-itself or not, and whether, of the terms that succeed it, 2 or either of the units in 2 is prior. ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ περὶ τῶν ὕστερον γενῶν τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ συμβαίνει τὰ δυσχερῆ, γραμμῆς τε καὶ ἐπιπέδου καὶ σώματος. οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἐκ τῶν εἰδῶν τοῦ μεγάλου καὶ  τοῦ μικροῦ ποιοῦσιν, οἷον ἐκ μακροῦ μὲν καὶ βραχέος τὰ μήκη, πλατέος δὲ καὶ στενοῦ τὰ ἐπίπεδα, ἐκ βαθέος δὲ καὶ ταπεινοῦ τοὺς ὄγκους: ταῦτα δέ ἐστιν εἴδη τοῦ μεγάλου καὶ μικροῦ. τὴν δὲ κατὰ τὸ ἓν ἀρχὴν ἄλλοι ἄλλως τιθέασι τῶν τοιούτων. καὶ ἐν τούτοις δὲ μυρία φαίνεται τά τε ἀδύνατα καὶ  τὰ πλασματώδη καὶ τὰ ὑπεναντία πᾶσι τοῖς εὐλόγοις. ἀπολελυμένα τε γὰρ ἀλλήλων συμβαίνει, εἰ μὴ συνακολουθοῦσι καὶ αἱ ἀρχαὶ ὥστ᾽ εἶναι τὸ πλατὺ καὶ στενὸν καὶ μακρὸν καὶ βραχύ (εἰ δὲ τοῦτο, ἔσται τὸ ἐπίπεδον γραμμὴ καὶ τὸ στερεὸν ἐπίπεδον: ἔτι δὲ γωνίαι καὶ σχήματα καὶ  τὰ τοιαῦτα πῶς ἀποδοθήσεται;), ταὐτό τε συμβαίνει τοῖς περὶ τὸν ἀριθμόν: ταῦτα γὰρ πάθη μεγέθους ἐστίν, ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἐκ τούτων τὸ μέγεθος, ὥσπερ οὐδ᾽ ἐξ εὐθέος καὶ καμπύλου τὸ μῆκος οὐδ᾽ ἐκ λείου καὶ τραχέος τὰ στερεά. Similar difficulties occur with regard to the classes of things posterior to number, — the line, the plane, and the solid. For some construct these out of the species of the 'great and small'; e.g. lines from the 'long and short', planes from the 'broad and narrow', masses from the 'deep and shallow'; which are species of the 'great and small'. And the originative principle of such things which answers to the 1 different thinkers describe in different ways, And in these also the impossibilities, the fictions, and the contradictions of all probability are seen to be innumerable. For (i) geometrical classes are severed from one another, unless the principles of these are implied in one another in such a way that the 'broad and narrow' is also 'long and short' (but if this is so, the plane will be line and the solid a plane; again, how will angles and figures and such things be explained?). And (ii) the same happens as in regard to number; for 'long and short', &c., are attributes of magnitude, but magnitude does not consist of these, any more than the line consists of 'straight and curved', or solids of 'smooth and rough'. πάντων δὲ κοινὸν τούτων ὅπερ ἐπὶ τῶν εἰδῶν τῶν ὡς γένους  συμβαίνει διαπορεῖν, ὅταν τις θῇ τὰ καθόλου, πότερον τὸ ζῷον αὐτὸ ἐν τῷ ζῴῳ ἢ ἕτερον αὐτοῦ ζῴου. τοῦτο γὰρ μὴ χωριστοῦ μὲν ὄντος οὐδεμίαν ποιήσει ἀπορίαν: χωριστοῦ δέ, ὥσπερ οἱ ταῦτα λέγοντές φασι, τοῦ ἑνὸς καὶ τῶν ἀριθμῶν οὐ ῥᾴδιον λῦσαι, εἰ μὴ ῥᾴδιον δεῖ λέγειν τὸ ἀδύνατον. ὅταν  γὰρ νοῇ τις ἐν τῇ δυάδι τὸ ἓν καὶ ὅλως ἐν ἀριθμῷ, πότερον αὐτὸ νοεῖ τι ἢ ἕτερον; (All these views share a difficulty which occurs with regard to species-of-a-genus, when one posits the universals, viz. whether it is animal-itself or something other than animal-itself that is in the particular animal. True, if the universal is not separable from sensible things, this will present no difficulty; but if the 1 and the numbers are separable, as those who express these views say, it is not easy to solve the difficulty, if one may apply the words 'not easy' to the impossible. For when we apprehend the unity in 2, or in general in a number, do we apprehend a thing-itself or something else?). οἱ μὲν οὖν τὰ μεγέθη γεννῶσιν ἐκ τοιαύτης ὕλης, ἕτεροι δὲ ἐκ τῆς στιγμῆς (ἡ δὲ στιγμὴ αὐτοῖς δοκεῖ εἶναι οὐχ ἓν ἀλλ᾽ οἷον τὸ ἕν) καὶ ἄλλης ὕλης οἵας τὸ πλῆθος, ἀλλ᾽ οὐ πλήθους: περὶ ὧν οὐδὲν ἧττον συμβαίνει τὰ  αὐτὰ ἀπορεῖν. εἰ μὲν γὰρ μία ἡ ὕλη, ταὐτὸ γραμμὴ καὶ ἐπίπεδον καὶ στερεόν (ἐκ γὰρ τῶν αὐτῶν τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ ἓν ἔσται): [1085β]  εἰ δὲ πλείους αἱ ὗλαι καὶ ἑτέρα μὲν γραμμῆς ἑτέρα δὲ τοῦ ἐπιπέδου καὶ ἄλλη τοῦ στερεοῦ, ἤτοι ἀκολουθοῦσιν ἀλλήλαις ἢ οὔ, ὥστε ταὐτὰ συμβήσεται καὶ οὕτως: ἢ γὰρ οὐχ ἕξει τὸ ἐπίπεδον γραμμὴν ἢ ἔσται γραμμή. Some, then, generate spatial magnitudes from matter of this sort, others from the point — and the point is thought by them to be not 1 but something like 1 — and from other matter like plurality, but not identical with it; about which principles none the less the same difficulties occur. For if the matter is one, line and plane — and soli will be the same; for from the same elements will come one and the same thing. But if the matters are more than one, and there is one for the line and a second for the plane and another for the solid, they either are implied in one another or not, so that the same results will follow even so; for either the plane will not contain a line or it will he a line. ἔτι πῶς μὲν  ἐνδέχεται εἶναι ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς καὶ πλήθους τὸν ἀριθμὸν οὐθὲν ἐπιχειρεῖται: ὅπως δ᾽ οὖν λέγουσι ταὐτὰ συμβαίνει δυσχερῆ ἅπερ καὶ τοῖς ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς καὶ ἐκ τῆς δυάδος τῆς ἀορίστου. ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ κατηγορουμένου καθόλου γεννᾷ τὸν ἀριθμὸν καὶ οὐ τινὸς πλήθους, ὁ δ᾽ ἐκ τινὸς πλήθους, τοῦ πρώτου δέ  (τὴν γὰρ δυάδα πρῶτόν τι εἶναι πλῆθος), ὥστε διαφέρει οὐθὲν ὡς εἰπεῖν, ἀλλ᾽ αἱ ἀπορίαι αἱ αὐταὶ ἀκολουθήσουσι, μῖξις ἢ θέσις ἢ κρᾶσις ἢ γένεσις καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα τοιαῦτα. μάλιστα δ᾽ ἄν τις ἐπιζητήσειεν, εἰ μία ἑκάστη μονάς, ἐκ τίνος ἐστίν: οὐ γὰρ δὴ αὐτό γε τὸ ἓν ἑκάστη. ἀνάγκη δὴ ἐκ τοῦ ἑνὸς  αὐτοῦ εἶναι καὶ πλήθους ἢ μορίου τοῦ πλήθους. τὸ μὲν οὖν πλῆθός τι εἶναι φάναι τὴν μονάδα ἀδύνατον, ἀδιαίρετόν γ᾽ οὖσαν: τὸ δ᾽ ἐκ μορίου ἄλλας ἔχει πολλὰς δυσχερείας: ἀδιαίρετόν τε γὰρ ἕκαστον ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι τῶν μορίων (ἢ πλῆθος εἶναι καὶ τὴν μονάδα διαιρετήν) καὶ μὴ στοιχεῖον  εἶναι τὸ ἓν καὶ τὸ πλῆθος (ἡ γὰρ μονὰς ἑκάστη οὐκ ἐκ πλήθους καὶ ἑνός): ἔτι οὐθὲν ἄλλο ποιεῖ ὁ τοῦτο λέγων ἀλλ᾽ ἢ ἀριθμὸν ἕτερον: τὸ γὰρ πλῆθος ἀδιαιρέτων ἐστὶν ἀριθμός. ἔτι ζητητέον καὶ περὶ τοὺς οὕτω λέγοντας πότερον ἄπειρος ὁ ἀριθμὸς ἢ πεπερασμένος. ὑπῆρχε γάρ, ὡς ἔοικε, καὶ πεπερασμένον  πλῆθος, ἐξ οὗ αἱ πεπερασμέναι μονάδες καὶ τοῦ ἑνός: ἔστι τε ἕτερον αὐτὸ πλῆθος καὶ πλῆθος ἄπειρον: ποῖον οὖν πλῆθος στοιχεῖόν ἐστι καὶ τὸ ἕν; ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ περὶ στιγμῆς ἄν τις ζητήσειε καὶ τοῦ στοιχείου ἐξ οὗ ποιοῦσι τὰ μεγέθη. οὐ γὰρ μία γε μόνον στιγμή ἐστιν αὕτη: τῶν γοῦν  ἄλλων στιγμῶν ἑκάστη ἐκ τίνος; οὐ γὰρ δὴ ἔκ γε διαστήματός τινος καὶ αὐτῆς στιγμῆς. ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδὲ μόρια ἀδιαίρετα ἐνδέχεται τοῦ διαστήματος εἶναι [μόρια], ὥσπερ τοῦ πλήθους ἐξ ὧν αἱ μονάδες: ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἀριθμὸς ἐξ ἀδιαιρέτων σύγκειται τὰ δὲ μεγέθη οὔ. Again, how number can consist of the one and plurality, they make no attempt to explain; but however they express themselves, the same objections arise as confront those who construct number out of the one and the indefinite dyad. For the one view generates number from the universally predicated plurality, and not from a particular plurality; and the other generates it from a particular plurality, but the first; for 2 is said to be a 'first plurality'. Therefore there is practically no difference, but the same difficulties will follow, — is it intermixture or position or blending or generation? and so on. Above all one might press the question 'if each unit is one, what does it come from?' Certainly each is not the one-itself. It must, then, come from the one itself and plurality, or a part of plurality. To say that the unit is a plurality is impossible, for it is indivisible; and to generate it from a part of plurality involves many other objections; for (a) each of the parts must be indivisible (or it will be a plurality and the unit will be divisible) and the elements will not be the one and plurality; for the single units do not come from plurality and the one. Again, (,the holder of this view does nothing but presuppose another number; for his plurality of indivisibles is a number. Again, we must inquire, in view of this theory also, whether the number is infinite or finite. For there was at first, as it seems, a plurality that was itself finite, from which and from the one comes the finite number of units. And there is another plurality that is plurality-itself and infinite plurality; which sort of plurality, then, is the element which co-operates with the one? One might inquire similarly about the point, i.e. the element out of which they make spatial magnitudes. For surely this is not the one and only point; at any rate, then, let them say out of what each of the points is formed. Certainly not of some distance + the point-itself. Nor again can there be indivisible parts of a distance, as the elements out of which the units are said to be made are indivisible parts of plurality; for number consists of indivisibles, but spatial magnitudes do not. πάντα δὴ ταῦτα καὶ ἄλλα  τοιαῦτα φανερὸν ποιεῖ ὅτι ἀδύνατον εἶναι τὸν ἀριθμὸν καὶ τὰ μεγέθη χωριστά, [1086α]  ἔτι δὲ τὸ διαφωνεῖν τοὺς τρόπους περὶ τῶν ἀριθμῶν σημεῖον ὅτι τὰ πράγματα αὐτὰ οὐκ ὄντα ἀληθῆ παρέχει τὴν ταραχὴν αὐτοῖς. οἱ μὲν γὰρ τὰ μαθηματικὰ μόνον ποιοῦντες παρὰ τὰ αἰσθητά, ὁρῶντες τὴν περὶ τὰ εἴδη δυσχέρειαν καὶ πλάσιν, ἀπέστησαν ἀπὸ τοῦ  εἰδητικοῦ ἀριθμοῦ καὶ τὸν μαθηματικὸν ἐποίησαν: οἱ δὲ τὰ εἴδη βουλόμενοι ἅμα καὶ ἀριθμοὺς ποιεῖν, οὐχ ὁρῶντες δέ, εἰ τὰς ἀρχάς τις ταύτας θήσεται, πῶς ἔσται ὁ μαθηματικὸς ἀριθμὸς παρὰ τὸν εἰδητικόν, τὸν αὐτὸν εἰδητικὸν καὶ μαθηματικὸν ἐποίησαν ἀριθμὸν τῷ λόγῳ, ἐπεὶ ἔργῳ γε  ἀνῄρηται ὁ μαθηματικός (ἰδίας γὰρ καὶ οὐ μαθηματικὰς ὑποθέσεις λέγουσιν): ὁ δὲ πρῶτος θέμενος τὰ εἴδη εἶναι καὶ ἀριθμοὺς τὰ εἴδη καὶ τὰ μαθηματικὰ εἶναι εὐλόγως ἐχώρισεν: ὥστε πάντας συμβαίνει κατὰ μέν τι λέγειν ὀρθῶς, ὅλως δ᾽ οὐκ ὀρθῶς. καὶ αὐτοὶ δὲ ὁμολογοῦσιν οὐ ταὐτὰ λέγοντες  ἀλλὰ τὰ ἐναντία. αἴτιον δ᾽ ὅτι αἱ ὑποθέσεις καὶ αἱ ἀρχαὶ ψευδεῖς. χαλεπὸν δ᾽ ἐκ μὴ καλῶς ἐχόντων λέγειν καλῶς, κατ᾽ Ἐπίχαρμον: ἀρτίως τε γὰρ λέλεκται, καὶ εὐθέως φαίνεται οὐ καλῶς ἔχον. All these objections, then, and others of the sort make it evident that number and spatial magnitudes cannot exist apart from things. Again, the discord about numbers between the various versions is a sign that it is the incorrectness of the alleged facts themselves that brings confusion into the theories. For those who make the objects of mathematics alone exist apart from sensible things, seeing the difficulty about the Forms and their fictitiousness, abandoned ideal number and posited mathematical. But those who wished to make the Forms at the same time also numbers, but did not see, if one assumed these principles, how mathematical number was to exist apart from ideal, made ideal and mathematical number the same in words, since in fact mathematical number has been destroyed; for they state hypotheses peculiar to themselves and not those of mathematics. And he who first supposed that the Forms exist and that the Forms are numbers and that the objects of mathematics exist, naturally separated the two. Therefore it turns out that all of them are right in some respect, but on the whole not right. And they themselves confirm this, for their statements do not agree but conflict. The cause is that their hypotheses and their principles are false. And it is hard to make a good case out of bad materials, according to Epicharmus: 'as soon as 'tis said, 'tis seen to be wrong.' ἀλλὰ περὶ μὲν τῶν ἀριθμῶν ἱκανὰ τὰ διηπορημένα καὶ διωρισμένα (μᾶλλον γὰρ ἐκ πλειόνων ἂν  ἔτι πεισθείη τις πεπεισμένος, πρὸς δὲ τὸ πεισθῆναι μὴ πεπεισμένος οὐθὲν μᾶλλον): περὶ δὲ τῶν πρώτων ἀρχῶν καὶ τῶν πρώτων αἰτίων καὶ στοιχείων ὅσα μὲν λέγουσιν οἱ περὶ μόνης τῆς αἰσθητῆς οὐσίας διορίζοντες, τὰ μὲν ἐν τοῖς περὶ φύσεως εἴρηται, τὰ δ᾽ οὐκ ἔστι τῆς μεθόδου τῆς νῦν: ὅσα δὲ  οἱ φάσκοντες εἶναι παρὰ τὰς αἰσθητὰς ἑτέρας οὐσίας, ἐχόμενόν ἐστι θεωρῆσαι τῶν εἰρημένων. ἐπεὶ οὖν λέγουσί τινες τοιαύτας εἶναι τὰς ἰδέας καὶ τοὺς ἀριθμούς, καὶ τὰ τούτων στοιχεῖα τῶν ὄντων εἶναι στοιχεῖα καὶ ἀρχάς, σκεπτέον περὶ τούτων τί λέγουσι καὶ πῶς λέγουσιν. οἱ μὲν οὖν ἀριθμοὺς  ποιοῦντες μόνον καὶ τούτους μαθηματικοὺς ὕστερον ἐπισκεπτέοι: τῶν δὲ τὰς ἰδέας λεγόντων ἅμα τόν τε τρόπον θεάσαιτ᾽ ἄν τις καὶ τὴν ἀπορίαν τὴν περὶ αὐτῶν. ἅμα γὰρ καθόλου τε [ὡς οὐσίας] ποιοῦσι τὰς ἰδέας καὶ πάλιν ὡς χωριστὰς καὶ τῶν καθ᾽ ἕκαστον. ταῦτα δ᾽ ὅτι οὐκ ἐνδέχεται διηπόρηται  πρότερον. αἴτιον δὲ τοῦ συνάψαι ταῦτα εἰς ταὐτὸν τοῖς λέγουσι τὰς οὐσίας καθόλου, ὅτι τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς οὐ τὰς αὐτὰς [οὐσίας] ἐποίουν: τὰ μὲν οὖν ἐν τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς καθ᾽ ἕκαστα ῥεῖν ἐνόμιζον καὶ μένειν οὐθὲν αὐτῶν, [1086β]  τὸ δὲ καθόλου παρὰ ταῦτα εἶναί τε καὶ ἕτερόν τι εἶναι. τοῦτο δ᾽, ὥσπερ ἐν τοῖς ἔμπροσθεν  ἐλέγομεν, ἐκίνησε μὲν Σωκράτης διὰ τοὺς ὁρισμούς, οὐ μὴν ἐχώρισέ γε τῶν καθ᾽ ἕκαστον: καὶ τοῦτο ὀρθῶς ἐνόησεν  οὐ χωρίσας. δηλοῖ δὲ ἐκ τῶν ἔργων: ἄνευ μὲν γὰρ τοῦ καθόλου οὐκ ἔστιν ἐπιστήμην λαβεῖν, τὸ δὲ χωρίζειν αἴτιον τῶν συμβαινόντων δυσχερῶν περὶ τὰς ἰδέας ἐστίν. οἱ δ᾽ ὡς ἀναγκαῖον, εἴπερ ἔσονταί τινες οὐσίαι παρὰ τὰς αἰσθητὰς καὶ ῥεούσας, χωριστὰς εἶναι, ἄλλας μὲν οὐκ εἶχον ταύτας δὲ  τὰς καθόλου λεγομένας ἐξέθεσαν, ὥστε συμβαίνειν σχεδὸν τὰς αὐτὰς φύσεις εἶναι τὰς καθόλου καὶ τὰς καθ᾽ ἕκαστον. αὕτη μὲν οὖν αὐτὴ καθ᾽ αὑτὴν εἴη τις ἂν δυσχέρεια τῶν εἰρημένων. But regarding numbers the questions we have raised and the conclusions we have reached are sufficient (for while he who is already convinced might be further convinced by a longer discussion, one not yet convinced would not come any nearer to conviction); regarding the first principles and the first causes and elements, the views expressed by those who discuss only sensible substance have been partly stated in our works on nature, and partly do not belong to the present inquiry; but the views of those who assert that there are other substances besides the sensible must be considered next after those we have been mentioning. Since, then, some say that the Ideas and the numbers are such substances, and that the elements of these are elements and principles of real things, we must inquire regarding these what they say and in what sense they say it.
Those who posit numbers only, and these mathematical, must be considered later; but as regards those who believe in the Ideas one might survey at the same time their way of thinking and the difficulty into which they fall. For they at the same time make the Ideas universal and again treat them as separable and as individuals. That this is not possible has been argued before. The reason why those who described their substances as universal combined these two characteristics in one thing, is that they did not make substances identical with sensible things. They thought that the particulars in the sensible world were a state of flux and none of them remained, but that the universal was apart from these and something different. And Socrates gave the impulse to this theory, as we said in our earlier discussion, by reason of his definitions, but he did not separate universals from individuals; and in this he thought rightly, in not separating them. This is plain from the results; for without the universal it is not possible to get knowledge, but the separation is the cause of the objections that arise with regard to the Ideas. His successors, however, treating it as necessary, if there are to be any substances besides the sensible and transient substances, that they must be separable, had no others, but gave separate existence to these universally predicated substances, so that it followed that universals and individuals were almost the same sort of thing. This in itself, then, would be one difficulty in the view we have mentioned.
10 10 ὃ δὲ καὶ τοῖς λέγουσι τὰς ἰδέας ἔχει τινὰ ἀπορίαν  καὶ τοῖς μὴ λέγουσιν, καὶ κατ᾽ ἀρχὰς ἐν τοῖς διαπορήμασιν ἐλέχθη πρότερον, λέγωμεν νῦν. εἰ μὲν γάρ τις μὴ θήσει τὰς οὐσίας εἶναι κεχωρισμένας, καὶ τὸν τρόπον τοῦτον ὡς λέγεται τὰ καθ᾽ ἕκαστα τῶν ὄντων, ἀναιρήσει τὴν οὐσίαν ὡς βουλόμεθα λέγειν: ἂν δέ τις θῇ τὰς οὐσίας χωριστάς,  πῶς θήσει τὰ στοιχεῖα καὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς αὐτῶν; εἰ μὲν γὰρ καθ᾽ ἕκαστον καὶ μὴ καθόλου, τοσαῦτ᾽ ἔσται τὰ ὄντα ὅσαπερ τὰ στοιχεῖα, καὶ οὐκ ἐπιστητὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα (ἔστωσαν γὰρ αἱ μὲν ἐν τῇ φωνῇ συλλαβαὶ οὐσίαι τὰ δὲ στοιχεῖα αὐτῶν στοιχεῖα τῶν οὐσιῶν: ἀνάγκη δὴ τὸ ΒΑ ἓν εἶναι καὶ ἑκάστην  τῶν συλλαβῶν μίαν, εἴπερ μὴ καθόλου καὶ τῷ εἴδει αἱ αὐταὶ ἀλλὰ μία ἑκάστη τῷ ἀριθμῷ καὶ τόδε τι καὶ μὴ ὁμώνυμον: ἔτι δ᾽ αὐτὸ ὃ ἔστιν ἓν ἕκαστον τιθέασιν: εἰ δ᾽ αἱ συλλαβαί, οὕτω καὶ ἐξ ὧν εἰσίν: οὐκ ἔσται ἄρα πλείω ἄλφα ἑνός, οὐδὲ τῶν ἄλλων στοιχείων οὐθὲν κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον  ὅνπερ οὐδὲ τῶν [ἄλλων] συλλαβῶν ἡ αὐτὴ ἄλλη καὶ ἄλλη: ἀλλὰ μὴν εἰ τοῦτο, οὐκ ἔσται παρὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα ἕτερα ὄντα, ἀλλὰ μόνον τὰ στοιχεῖα: ἔτι δὲ οὐδ᾽ ἐπιστητὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα: οὐ γὰρ καθόλου, ἡ δ᾽ ἐπιστήμη τῶν καθόλου: δῆλον δ᾽ ἐκ τῶν ἀποδείξεων καὶ τῶν ὁρισμῶν, οὐ γὰρ γίγνεται συλλογισμὸς  ὅτι τόδε τὸ τρίγωνον δύο ὀρθαῖς, εἰ μὴ πᾶν τρίγωνον δύο ὀρθαί, οὐδ᾽ ὅτι ὁδὶ ὁ ἄνθρωπος ζῷον, εἰ μὴ πᾶς ἄνθρωπος ζῷον): [1087α]  ἀλλὰ μὴν εἴγε καθόλου αἱ ἀρχαί, ἢ καὶ αἱ ἐκ τούτων οὐσίαι καθόλου <�ἢ> ἔσται μὴ οὐσία πρότερον οὐσίας: τὸ μὲν γὰρ καθόλου οὐκ οὐσία, τὸ δὲ στοιχεῖον καὶ ἡ ἀρχὴ καθόλου, πρότερον δὲ τὸ στοιχεῖον καὶ ἡ ἀρχὴ ὧν ἀρχὴ καὶ στοιχεῖόν ἐστιν. ταῦτά τε δὴ πάντα συμβαίνει εὐλόγως,  ὅταν ἐκ στοιχείων τε ποιῶσι τὰς ἰδέας καὶ παρὰ τὰς τὸ αὐτὸ εἶδος ἐχούσας οὐσίας [καὶ ἰδέας] ἕν τι ἀξιῶσιν εἶναι καχωρισμένον: εἰ δὲ μηθὲν κωλύει ὥσπερ ἐπὶ τῶν τῆς φωνῆς στοιχείων πολλὰ εἶναι τὰ ἄλφα καὶ τὰ βῆτα καὶ μηθὲν εἶναι παρὰ τὰ πολλὰ αὐτὸ ἄλφα καὶ αὐτὸ βῆτα, ἔσονται  ἕνεκά γε τούτου ἄπειροι αἱ ὅμοιαι συλλαβαί. τὸ δὲ τὴν ἐπιστήμην εἶναι καθόλου πᾶσαν, ὥστε ἀναγκαῖον εἶναι καὶ τὰς τῶν ὄντων ἀρχὰς καθόλου εἶναι καὶ μὴ οὐσίας κεχωρισμένας, ἔχει μὲν μάλιστ᾽ ἀπορίαν τῶν λεχθέντων, οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ ἔστι μὲν ὡς ἀληθὲς τὸ λεγόμενον, ἔστι δ᾽ ὡς οὐκ ἀληθές.  ἡ γὰρ ἐπιστήμη, ὥσπερ καὶ τὸ ἐπίστασθαι, διττόν, ὧν τὸ μὲν δυνάμει τὸ δὲ ἐνεργείᾳ. ἡ μὲν οὖν δύναμις ὡς ὕλη [τοῦ] καθόλου οὖσα καὶ ἀόριστος τοῦ καθόλου καὶ ἀορίστου ἐστίν, ἡ δ᾽ ἐνέργεια ὡρισμένη καὶ ὡρισμένου, τόδε τι οὖσα τοῦδέ τινος, ἀλλὰ κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς ἡ ὄψις τὸ καθόλου χρῶμα ὁρᾷ  ὅτι τόδε τὸ χρῶμα ὃ ὁρᾷ χρῶμά ἐστιν, καὶ ὃ θεωρεῖ ὁ γραμματικός, τόδε τὸ ἄλφα ἄλφα: ἐπεὶ εἰ ἀνάγκη τὰς ἀρχὰς καθόλου εἶναι, ἀνάγκη καὶ τὰ ἐκ τούτων καθόλου, ὥσπερ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀποδείξεων: εἰ δὲ τοῦτο, οὐκ ἔσται χωριστὸν οὐθὲν οὐδ᾽ οὐσία. ἀλλὰ δῆλον ὅτι ἔστι μὲν ὡς ἡ ἐπιστήμη καθόλου, ἔστι  δ᾽ ὡς οὔ. Let us now mention a point which presents a certain difficulty both to those who believe in the Ideas and to those who do not, and which was stated before, at the beginning, among the problems. If we do not suppose substances to be separate, and in the way in which individual things are said to be separate, we shall destroy substance in the sense in which we understand 'substance'; but if we conceive substances to be separable, how are we to conceive their elements and their principles?
If they are individual and not universal, (a) real things will be just of the same number as the elements, and (b) the elements will not be knowable. For (a) let the syllables in speech be substances, and their elements elements of substances; then there must be only one 'ba' and one of each of the syllables, since they are not universal and the same in form but each is one in number and a 'this' and not a kind possessed of a common name (and again they suppose that the 'just what a thing is' is in each case one). And if the syllables are unique, so too are the parts of which they consist; there will not, then, be more a's than one, nor more than one of any of the other elements, on the same principle on which an identical syllable cannot exist in the plural number. But if this is so, there will not be other things existing besides the elements, but only the elements.
(b) Again, the elements will not be even knowable; for they are not universal, and knowledge is of universals. This is clear from demonstrations and from definitions; for we do not conclude that this triangle has its angles equal to two right angles, unless every triangle has its angles equal to two right angles, nor that this man is an animal, unless every man is an animal. But if the principles are universal, either the substances composed of them are also universal, or non-substance will be prior to substance; for the universal is not a substance, but the element or principle is universal, and the element or principle is prior to the things of which it is the principle or element.
All these difficulties follow naturally, when they make the Ideas out of elements and at the same time claim that apart from the substances which have the same form there are Ideas, a single separate entity. But if, e.g. in the case of the elements of speech, the a's and the b's may quite well be many and there need be no a-itself and b-itself besides the many, there may be, so far as this goes, an infinite number of similar syllables. The statement that an knowledge is universal, so that the principles of things must also be universal and not separate substances, presents indeed, of all the points we have mentioned, the greatest difficulty, but yet the statement is in a sense true, although in a sense it is not. For knowledge, like the verb 'to know', means two things, of which one is potential and one actual. The potency, being, as matter, universal and indefinite, deals with the universal and indefinite; but the actuality, being definite, deals with a definite object, being a 'this', it deals with a 'this'. But per accidens sight sees universal colour, because this individual colour which it sees is colour; and this individual a which the grammarian investigates is an a. For if the principles must be universal, what is derived from them must also be universal, as in demonstrations; and if this is so, there will be nothing capable of separate existence — i.e. no substance. But evidently in a sense knowledge is universal, and in a sense it is not.
1 1  περὶ μὲν οὖν τῆς οὐσίας ταύτης εἰρήσθω τοσαῦτα, πάντες  δὲ ποιοῦσι τὰς ἀρχὰς ἐναντίας, ὥσπερ ἐν τοῖς φυσικοῖς, καὶ περὶ τὰς ἀκινήτους οὐσίας ὁμοίως. εἰ δὲ τῆς τῶν ἁπάντων ἀρχῆς μὴ ἐνδέχεται πρότερόν τι εἶναι, ἀδύνατον ἂν εἴη τὴν ἀρχὴν ἕτερόν τι οὖσαν εἶναι ἀρχήν, οἷον εἴ τις λέγοι τὸ λευκὸν ἀρχὴν εἶναι οὐχ ᾗ ἕτερον ἀλλ᾽ ᾗ λευκόν, εἶναι μέντοι  καθ᾽ ὑποκειμένου καὶ ἕτερόν τι ὂν λευκὸν εἶναι: ἐκεῖνο γὰρ πρότερον ἔσται. ἀλλὰ μὴν γίγνεται πάντα ἐξ ἐναντίων ὡς ὑποκειμένου τινός: ἀνάγκη ἄρα μάλιστα τοῖς ἐναντίοις τοῦθ᾽ ὑπάρχειν. [1087β]  ἀεὶ ἄρα πάντα τὰ ἐναντία καθ᾽ ὑποκειμένου καὶ οὐθὲν χωριστόν, ἀλλ᾽ ὥσπερ καὶ φαίνεται οὐθὲν οὐσίᾳ ἐναντίον, καὶ ὁ λόγος μαρτυρεῖ. οὐθὲν ἄρα τῶν ἐναντίων κυρίως ἀρχὴ πάντων ἀλλ᾽ ἑτέρα. Regarding this kind of substance, what we have said must be taken as sufficient. All philosophers make the first principles contraries: as in natural things, so also in the case of unchangeable substances. But since there cannot be anything prior to the first principle of all things, the principle cannot be the principle and yet be an attribute of something else. To suggest this is like saying that the white is a first principle, not qua anything else but qua white, but yet that it is predicable of a subject, i.e. that its being white presupposes its being something else; this is absurd, for then that subject will be prior. But all things which are generated from their contraries involve an underlying subject; a subject, then, must be present in the case of contraries, if anywhere. All contraries, then, are always predicable of a subject, and none can exist apart, but just as appearances suggest that there is nothing contrary to substance, argument confirms this. No contrary, then, is the first principle of all things in the full sense; the first principle is something different. οἱ δὲ τὸ ἕτερον τῶν ἐναντίων  ὕλην ποιοῦσιν, οἱ μὲν τῷ ἑνὶ [τῷ ἴσῳ] τὸ ἄνισον, ὡς τοῦτο τὴν τοῦ πλήθους οὖσαν φύσιν, οἱ δὲ τῷ ἑνὶ τὸ πλῆθος (γεννῶνται γὰρ οἱ ἀριθμοὶ τοῖς μὲν ἐκ τῆς τοῦ ἀνίσου δυάδος, τοῦ μεγάλου καὶ μικροῦ, τῷ δ᾽ ἐκ τοῦ πλήθους, ὑπὸ τῆς τοῦ ἑνὸς δὲ οὐσίας ἀμφοῖν): καὶ γὰρ ὁ τὸ ἄνισον καὶ ἓν λέγων  τὰ στοιχεῖα, τὸ δ᾽ ἄνισον ἐκ μεγάλου καὶ μικροῦ δυάδα, ὡς ἓν ὄντα τὸ ἄνισον καὶ τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρὸν λέγει, καὶ οὐ διορίζει ὅτι λόγῳ ἀριθμῷ δ᾽ οὔ. ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς ἃς στοιχεῖα καλοῦσιν οὐ καλῶς ἀποδιδόασιν, οἱ μὲν τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρὸν λέγοντες μετὰ τοῦ ἑνός, τρία ταῦτα  στοιχεῖα τῶν ἀριθμῶν, τὰ μὲν δύο ὕλην τὸ δ᾽ ἓν τὴν μορφήν, οἱ δὲ τὸ πολὺ καὶ ὀλίγον, ὅτι τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρὸν μεγέθους οἰκειότερα τὴν φύσιν, οἱ δὲ τὸ καθόλου μᾶλλον ἐπὶ τούτων, τὸ ὑπερέχον καὶ τὸ ὑπερεχόμενον. διαφέρει δὲ τούτων οὐθὲν ὡς εἰπεῖν πρὸς ἔνια τῶν συμβαινόντων, ἀλλὰ  πρὸς τὰς λογικὰς μόνον δυσχερείας, ἃς φυλάττονται διὰ τὸ καὶ αὐτοὶ λογικὰς φέρειν τὰς ἀποδείξεις. πλὴν τοῦ αὐτοῦ γε λόγου ἐστὶ τὸ ὑπερέχον καὶ ὑπερεχόμενον εἶναι ἀρχὰς ἀλλὰ μὴ τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρόν, καὶ τὸν ἀριθμὸν πρότερον τῆς δυάδος ἐκ τῶν στοιχείων: καθόλου γὰρ ἀμφότερα  μᾶλλόν ἐστιν. νῦν δὲ τὸ μὲν λέγουσι τὸ δ᾽ οὐ λέγουσιν. οἱ δὲ τὸ ἕτερον καὶ τὸ ἄλλο πρὸς τὸ ἓν ἀντιτιθέασιν, οἱ δὲ πλῆθος καὶ τὸ ἕν. εἰ δέ ἐστιν, ὥσπερ βούλονται, τὰ ὄντα ἐξ ἐναντίων, τῷ δὲ ἑνὶ ἢ οὐθὲν ἐναντίον ἢ εἴπερ ἄρα μέλλει, τὸ πλῆθος, τὸ δ᾽ ἄνισον τῷ ἴσῳ καὶ τὸ ἕτερον τῷ  ταὐτῷ καὶ τὸ ἄλλο αὐτῷ, μάλιστα μὲν οἱ τὸ ἓν τῷ πλήθει ἀντιτιθέντες ἔχονταί τινος δόξης, οὐ μὴν οὐδ᾽ οὗτοι ἱκανῶς: ἔσται γὰρ τὸ ἓν ὀλίγον: πλῆθος μὲν γὰρ ὀλιγότητι τὸ δὲ πολὺ τῷ ὀλίγῳ ἀντίκειται. But these thinkers make one of the contraries matter, some making the unequal which they take to be the essence of plurality-matter for the One, and others making plurality matter for the One. (The former generate numbers out of the dyad of the unequal, i.e. of the great and small, and the other thinker we have referred to generates them out of plurality, while according to both it is generated by the essence of the One.) For even the philosopher who says the unequal and the One are the elements, and the unequal is a dyad composed of the great and small, treats the unequal, or the great and the small, as being one, and does not draw the distinction that they are one in definition, but not in number. But they do not describe rightly even the principles which they call elements, for some name the great and the small with the One and treat these three as elements of numbers, two being matter, one the form; while others name the many and few, because the great and the small are more appropriate in their nature to magnitude than to number; and others name rather the universal character common to these — 'that which exceeds and that which is exceeded'. None of these varieties of opinion makes any difference to speak of, in view of some of the consequences; they affect only the abstract objections, which these thinkers take care to avoid because the demonstrations they themselves offer are abstract, — with this exception, that if the exceeding and the exceeded are the principles, and not the great and the small, consistency requires that number should come from the elements before does; for number is more universal than as the exceeding and the exceeded are more universal than the great and the small. But as it is, they say one of these things but do not say the other. Others oppose the different and the other to the One, and others oppose plurality to the One. But if, as they claim, things consist of contraries, and to the One either there is nothing contrary, or if there is to be anything it is plurality, and the unequal is contrary to the equal, and the different to the same, and the other to the thing itself, those who oppose the One to plurality have most claim to plausibility, but even their view is inadequate, for the One would on their view be a few; for plurality is opposed to fewness, and the many to the few. τὸ δ᾽ ἓν ὅτι μέτρον σημαίνει, φανερόν. καὶ ἐν παντὶ ἔστι τι ἕτερον ὑποκείμενον, οἷον ἐν  ἁρμονίᾳ δίεσις, ἐν δὲ μεγέθει δάκτυλος ἢ ποὺς ἤ τι τοιοῦτον, ἐν δὲ ῥυθμοῖς βάσις ἢ συλλαβή: ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἐν βάρει σταθμός τις ὡρισμένος ἐστίν: καὶ κατὰ πάντων δὲ τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον, [1088α]  ἐν μὲν τοῖς ποιοῖς ποιόν τι, ἐν δὲ τοῖς ποσοῖς ποσόν τι, καὶ ἀδιαίρετον τὸ μέτρον, τὸ μὲν κατὰ τὸ εἶδος τὸ δὲ πρὸς τὴν αἴσθησιν, ὡς οὐκ ὄντος τινὸς τοῦ ἑνὸς καθ᾽ αὑτὸ οὐσίας. καὶ τοῦτο κατὰ λόγον: σημαίνει γὰρ τὸ ἓν ὅτι μέτρον  πλήθους τινός, καὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς ὅτι πλῆθος μεμετρημένον καὶ πλῆθος μέτρων (διὸ καὶ εὐλόγως οὐκ ἔστι τὸ ἓν ἀριθμός: οὐδὲ γὰρ τὸ μέτρον μέτρα, ἀλλ᾽ ἀρχὴ καὶ τὸ μέτρον καὶ τὸ ἕν). δεῖ δὲ ἀεὶ τὸ αὐτό τι ὑπάρχειν πᾶσι τὸ μέτρον, οἷον εἰ ἵπποι, τὸ μέτρον ἵππος, καὶ εἰ ἄνθρωποι, ἄνθρωπος.  εἰ δ᾽ ἄνθρωπος καὶ ἵππος καὶ θεός, ζῷον ἴσως, καὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτῶν ἔσται ζῷα. εἰ δ᾽ ἄνθρωπος καὶ λευκὸν καὶ βαδίζον, ἥκιστα μὲν ἀριθμὸς τούτων διὰ τὸ ταὐτῷ πάντα ὑπάρχειν καὶ ἑνὶ κατὰ ἀριθμόν, ὅμως δὲ γενῶν ἔσται ὁ ἀριθμὸς ὁ τούτων, ἤ τινος ἄλλης τοιαύτης προσηγορίας.  οἱ δὲ τὸ ἄνισον ὡς ἕν τι, τὴν δυάδα δὲ ἀόριστον ποιοῦντες μεγάλου καὶ μικροῦ, πόρρω λίαν τῶν δοκούντων καὶ δυνατῶν λέγουσιν: πάθη τε γὰρ ταῦτα καὶ συμβεβηκότα μᾶλλον ἢ ὑποκείμενα τοῖς ἀριθμοῖς καὶ τοῖς μεγέθεσίν ἐστι, τὸ πολὺ καὶ ὀλίγον ἀριθμοῦ, καὶ μέγα καὶ μικρὸν μεγέθους, ὥσπερ  ἄρτιον καὶ περιττόν, καὶ λεῖον καὶ τραχύ, καὶ εὐθὺ καὶ καμπύλον: ἔτι δὲ πρὸς ταύτῃ τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ καὶ πρός τι ἀνάγκη εἶναι τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρὸν καὶ ὅσα τοιαῦτα: τὸ δὲ πρός τι πάντων ἥκιστα φύσις τις ἢ οὐσία [τῶν κατηγοριῶν] ἐστι, καὶ ὑστέρα τοῦ ποιοῦ καὶ ποσοῦ: καὶ πάθος τι τοῦ ποσοῦ  τὸ πρός τι, ὥσπερ ἐλέχθη, ἀλλ᾽ οὐχ ὕλη, εἴ τι ἕτερον καὶ τῷ ὅλως κοινῷ πρός τι καὶ τοῖς μέρεσιν αὐτοῦ καὶ εἴδεσιν. οὐθὲν γάρ ἐστιν οὔτε μέγα οὔτε μικρόν, οὔτε πολὺ οὔτε ὀλίγον, οὔτε ὅλως πρός τι, ὃ οὐχ ἕτερόν τι ὂν πολὺ ἢ ὀλίγον ἢ μέγα ἢ μικρὸν ἢ πρός τί ἐστιν. σημεῖον δ᾽ ὅτι ἥκιστα οὐσί  τις καὶ ὄν τι τὸ πρός τι τὸ μόνου μὴ εἶναι γένεσιν αὐτοῦ μηδὲ φθορὰν μηδὲ κίνησιν ὥσπερ κατὰ τὸ ποσὸν αὔξησις καὶ φθίσις, κατὰ τὸ ποιὸν ἀλλοίωσις, κατὰ τόπον φορά, κατὰ τὴν οὐσίαν ἡ ἁπλῆ γένεσις καὶ φθορά, ἀλλ᾽ οὐ κατὰ τὸ πρός τι: ἄνευ γὰρ τοῦ κινηθῆναι ὁτὲ μὲν μεῖζον ὁτὲ δὲ  ἔλαττον ἢ ἴσον ἔσται θατέρου κινηθέντος κατὰ τὸ ποσόν. [1088β]  ἀνάγκη τε ἑκάστου ὕλην εἶναι τὸ δυνάμει τοιοῦτον, ὥστε καὶ οὐσίας: τὸ δὲ πρός τι οὔτε δυνάμει οὐσία οὔτε ἐνεργείᾳ. ἄτοπον οὖν, μᾶλλον δὲ ἀδύνατον, τὸ οὐσίας μὴ οὐσίαν ποιεῖν στοιχεῖον καὶ πρότερον: ὕστερον γὰρ πᾶσαι αἱ κατηγορίαι. ἔτι δὲ τὰ  στοιχεῖα οὐ κατηγορεῖται καθ᾽ ὧν στοιχεῖα, τὸ δὲ πολὺ καὶ ὀλίγον καὶ χωρὶς καὶ ἅμα κατηγορεῖται ἀριθμοῦ, καὶ τὸ μακρὸν καὶ τὸ βραχὺ γραμμῆς, καὶ ἐπίπεδόν ἐστι καὶ πλατὺ καὶ στενόν. εἰ δὲ δὴ καὶ ἔστι τι πλῆθος οὗ τὸ μὲν ἀεί, <�τὸ> ὀλίγον, οἷον ἡ δυάς (εἰ γὰρ πολύ, τὸ ἓν ἂν ὀλίγον εἴη),  κἂν πολὺ ἁπλῶς εἴη, οἷον ἡ δεκὰς πολύ, [καὶ] εἰ ταύτης μή ἐστι πλεῖον, ἢ τὰ μύρια. πῶς οὖν ἔσται οὕτως ἐξ ὀλίγου καὶ πολλοῦ ὁ ἀριθμός; ἢ γὰρ ἄμφω ἔδει κατηγορεῖσθαι ἢ μηδέτερον: νῦν δὲ τὸ ἕτερον μόνον κατηγορεῖται. 'The one' evidently means a measure. And in every case there is some underlying thing with a distinct nature of its own, e.g. in the scale a quarter-tone, in spatial magnitude a finger or a foot or something of the sort, in rhythms a beat or a syllable; and similarly in gravity it is a definite weight; and in the same way in all cases, in qualities a quality, in quantities a quantity (and the measure is indivisible, in the former case in kind, and in the latter to the sense); which implies that the one is not in itself the substance of anything. And this is reasonable; for 'the one' means the measure of some plurality, and 'number' means a measured plurality and a plurality of measures. (Thus it is natural that one is not a number; for the measure is not measures, but both the measure and the one are starting-points.) The measure must always be some identical thing predicable of all the things it measures, e.g. if the things are horses, the measure is 'horse', and if they are men, 'man'. If they are a man, a horse, and a god, the measure is perhaps 'living being', and the number of them will be a number of living beings. If the things are 'man' and 'pale' and 'walking', these will scarcely have a number, because all belong to a subject which is one and the same in number, yet the number of these will be a number of 'kinds' or of some such term.
Those who treat the unequal as one thing, and the dyad as an indefinite compound of great and small, say what is very far from being probable or possible. For (a) these are modifications and accidents, rather than substrata, of numbers and magnitudes — the many and few of number, and the great and small of magnitude — like even and odd, smooth and rough, straight and curved. Again, (b) apart from this mistake, the great and the small, and so on, must be relative to something; but what is relative is least of all things a kind of entity or substance, and is posterior to quality and quantity; and the relative is an accident of quantity, as was said, not its matter, since something with a distinct nature of its own must serve as matter both to the relative in general and to its parts and kinds. For there is nothing either great or small, many or few, or, in general, relative to something else, which without having a nature of its own is many or few, great or small, or relative to something else. A sign that the relative is least of all a substance and a real thing is the fact that it alone has no proper generation or destruction or movement, as in respect of quantity there is increase and diminution, in respect of quality alteration, in respect of place locomotion, in respect of substance simple generation and destruction. In respect of relation there is no proper change; for, without changing, a thing will be now greater and now less or equal, if that with which it is compared has changed in quantity. And (c) the matter of each thing, and therefore of substance, must be that which is potentially of the nature in question; but the relative is neither potentially nor actually substance. It is strange, then, or rather impossible, to make not-substance an element in, and prior to, substance; for all the categories are posterior to substance. Again, (d) elements are not predicated of the things of which they are elements, but many and few are predicated both apart and together of number, and long and short of the line, and both broad and narrow apply to the plane. If there is a plurality, then, of which the one term, viz. few, is always predicated, e.g. 2 (which cannot be many, for if it were many, 1 would be few), there must be also one which is absolutely many, e.g. 10 is many (if there is no number which is greater than 10), or 10,000. How then, in view of this, can number consist of few and many? Either both ought to be predicated of it, or neither; but in fact only the one or the other is predicated.
2 2 ἁπλῶς δὲ δεῖ σκοπεῖν, ἆρα δυνατὸν τὰ ἀΐδια ἐκ  στοιχείων συγκεῖσθαι; ὕλην γὰρ ἕξει: σύνθετον γὰρ πᾶν τὸ ἐκ στοιχείων. εἰ τοίνυν ἀνάγκη, ἐξ οὗ ἐστιν, εἰ καὶ ἀεὶ ἔστι, κἄν, εἰ ἐγένετο, ἐκ τούτου γίγνεσθαι, γίγνεται δὲ πᾶν ἐκ τοῦ δυνάμει ὄντος τοῦτο ὃ γίγνεται (οὐ γὰρ ἂν ἐγένετο ἐκ τοῦ ἀδυνάτου οὐδὲ ἦν), τὸ δὲ δυνατὸν ἐνδέχεται καὶ ἐνεργεῖν  καὶ μή, εἰ καὶ ὅτι μάλιστα ἀεὶ ἔστιν ὁ ἀριθμὸς ἢ ὁτιοῦν ἄλλο ὕλην ἔχον, ἐνδέχοιτ᾽ ἂν μὴ εἶναι, ὥσπερ καὶ τὸ μίαν ἡμέραν ἔχον καὶ τὸ ὁποσαοῦν ἔτη: εἰ δ᾽ οὕτω, καὶ τὸ τοσοῦτον χρόνον οὗ μὴ ἔστι πέρας. οὐκ ἂν τοίνυν εἴη ἀΐδια, εἴπερ μὴ ἀΐδιον τὸ ἐνδεχόμενον μὴ εἶναι, καθάπερ ἐν ἄλλοις λόγοις  συνέβη πραγματευθῆναι. εἰ δέ ἐστι τὸ λεγόμενον νῦν ἀληθὲς καθόλου, ὅτι οὐδεμία ἐστὶν ἀΐδιος οὐσία ἐὰν μὴ ᾖ ἐνέργεια, τὰ δὲ στοιχεῖα ὕλη τῆς οὐσίας, οὐδεμιᾶς ἂν εἴη ἀϊδίου οὐσίας στοιχεῖα ἐξ ὧν ἐστιν ἐνυπαρχόντων. εἰσὶ δέ τινες οἳ δυάδα μὲν ἀόριστον ποιοῦσι τὸ μετὰ τοῦ ἑνὸς στοιχεῖον, τὸ δ᾽ ἄνισον  δυσχεραίνουσιν εὐλόγως διὰ τὰ συμβαίνοντα ἀδύνατα: οἷς τοσαῦτα μόνον ἀφῄρηται τῶν δυσχερῶν ὅσα διὰ τὸ ποιεῖν τὸ ἄνισον καὶ τὸ πρός τι στοιχεῖον ἀναγκαῖα συμβαίνει τοῖς λέγουσιν: ὅσα δὲ χωρὶς ταύτης τῆς δόξης, ταῦτα κἀκείνοις ὑπάρχειν ἀναγκαῖον, ἐάν τε τὸν εἰδητικὸν ἀριθμὸν ἐξ αὐτῶν  ποιῶσιν ἐάν τε τὸν μαθηματικόν. We must inquire generally, whether eternal things can consist of elements. If they do, they will have matter; for everything that consists of elements is composite. Since, then, even if a thing exists for ever, out of that of which it consists it would necessarily also, if it had come into being, have come into being, and since everything comes to be what it comes to be out of that which is it potentially (for it could not have come to be out of that which had not this capacity, nor could it consist of such elements), and since the potential can be either actual or not, — this being so, however everlasting number or anything else that has matter is, it must be capable of not existing, just as that which is any number of years old is as capable of not existing as that which is a day old; if this is capable of not existing, so is that which has lasted for a time so long that it has no limit. They cannot, then, be eternal, since that which is capable of not existing is not eternal, as we had occasion to show in another context. If that which we are now saying is true universally — that no substance is eternal unless it is actuality — and if the elements are matter that underlies substance, no eternal substance can have elements present in it, of which it consists.
There are some who describe the element which acts with the One as an indefinite dyad, and object to 'the unequal', reasonably enough, because of the ensuing difficulties; but they have got rid only of those objections which inevitably arise from the treatment of the unequal, i.e. the relative, as an element; those which arise apart from this opinion must confront even these thinkers, whether it is ideal number, or mathematical, that they construct out of those elements.
πολλὰ μὲν οὖν τὰ αἴτια τῆς ἐπὶ ταύτας τὰς αἰτίας ἐκτροπῆς, [1089α]  μάλιστα δὲ τὸ ἀπορῆσαι ἀρχαϊκῶς. ἔδοξε γὰρ αὐτοῖς πάντ᾽ ἔσεσθαι ἓν τὰ ὄντα, αὐτὸ τὸ ὄν, εἰ μή τις λύσει καὶ ὁμόσε βαδιεῖται τῷ Παρμενίδου λόγῳ "οὐ γὰρ μήποτε τοῦτο δαμῇ, εἶναι μὴ ἐόντα," ἀλλ᾽ ἀνάγκη εἶναι τὸ μὴ ὂν δεῖξαι ὅτι ἔστιν: οὕτω γάρ, ἐκ τοῦ ὄντος καὶ ἄλλου τινός, τὰ ὄντα ἔσεσθαι, εἰ πολλά ἐστιν. καίτοι πρῶτον μέν, εἰ τὸ ὂν πολλαχῶς (τὸ μὲν γὰρ [ὅτι] οὐσίαν σημαίνει, τὸ δ᾽ ὅτι ποιόν, τὸ δ᾽ ὅτι ποσόν, καὶ τὰς ἄλλας δὴ κατηγορίας), ποῖον οὖν τὰ ὄντα πάντα ἕν, εἰ μὴ  τὸ μὴ ὂν ἔσται; πότερον αἱ οὐσίαι, ἢ τὰ πάθη καὶ τὰ ἄλλα δὴ ὁμοίως, ἢ πάντα, καὶ ἔσται ἓν τὸ τόδε καὶ τὸ τοιόνδε καὶ τὸ τοσόνδε καὶ τὰ ἄλλα ὅσα ἕν τι σημαίνει; ἀλλ᾽ ἄτοπον, μᾶλλον δὲ ἀδύνατον, τὸ μίαν φύσιν τινὰ γενομένην αἰτίαν εἶναι τοῦ τοῦ ὄντος τὸ μὲν τόδε εἶναι τὸ δὲ τοιόνδε τὸ δὲ  τοσόνδε τὸ δὲ πού. ἔπειτα ἐκ ποίου μὴ ὄντος καὶ ὄντος τὰ ὄντα; πολλαχῶς γὰρ καὶ τὸ μὴ ὄν, ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὸ ὄν: καὶ τὸ μὲν μὴ ἄνθρωπον <�εἶναι> σημαίνει τὸ μὴ εἶναι τοδί, τὸ δὲ μὴ εὐθὺ τὸ μὴ εἶναι τοιονδί, τὸ δὲ μὴ τρίπηχυ τὸ μὴ εἶναι τοσονδί. ἐκ ποίου οὖν ὄντος καὶ μὴ ὄντος πολλὰ τὰ ὄντα;  βούλεται μὲν δὴ τὸ ψεῦδος καὶ ταύτην τὴν φύσιν λέγειν τὸ οὐκ ὄν, ἐξ οὗ καὶ τοῦ ὄντος πολλὰ τὰ ὄντα, διὸ καὶ ἐλέγετο ὅτι δεῖ ψεῦδός τι ὑποθέσθαι, ὥσπερ καὶ οἱ γεωμέτραι τὸ ποδιαίαν εἶναι τὴν μὴ ποδιαίαν: ἀδύνατον δὲ ταῦθ᾽ οὕτως ἔχειν, οὔτε γὰρ οἱ γεωμέτραι ψεῦδος οὐθὲν ὑποτίθενται (οὐ γὰρ  ἐν τῷ συλλογισμῷ ἡ πρότασις), οὔτε ἐκ τοῦ οὕτω μὴ ὄντος τὰ ὄντα γίγνεται οὐδὲ φθείρεται. ἀλλ᾽ ἐπειδὴ τὸ μὲν κατὰ τὰς πτώσεις μὴ ὂν ἰσαχῶς ταῖς κατηγορίαις λέγεται, παρὰ τοῦτο δὲ τὸ ὡς ψεῦδος λέγεται [τὸ] μὴ ὂν καὶ τὸ κατὰ δύναμιν, ἐκ τούτου ἡ γένεσίς ἐστιν, ἐκ τοῦ μὴ ἀνθρώπου δυνάμει δὲ ἀνθρώπου  ἄνθρωπος, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ μὴ λευκοῦ δυνάμει δὲ λευκοῦ λευκόν, ὁμοίως ἐάν τε ἕν τι γίγνηται ἐάν τε πολλά. There are many causes which led them off into these explanations, and especially the fact that they framed the difficulty in an obsolete form. For they thought that all things that are would be one (viz. Being itself), if one did not join issue with and refute the saying of Parmenides:
'For never will this he proved, that things that are not are.' They thought it necessary to prove that that which is not is; for only thus — of that which is and something else — could the things that are be composed, if they are many. But, first, if 'being' has many senses (for it means sometimes substance, sometimes that it is of a certain quality, sometimes that it is of a certain quantity, and at other times the other categories), what sort of 'one', then, are all the things that are, if non-being is to be supposed not to be? Is it the substances that are one, or the affections and similarly the other categories as well, or all together — so that the 'this' and the 'such' and the 'so much' and the other categories that indicate each some one class of being will all be one? But it is strange, or rather impossible, that the coming into play of a single thing should bring it about that part of that which is is a 'this', part a 'such', part a 'so much', part a 'here'.
Secondly, of what sort of non-being and being do the things that are consist? For 'nonbeing' also has many senses, since 'being' has; and 'not being a man' means not being a certain substance, 'not being straight' not being of a certain quality, 'not being three cubits long' not being of a certain quantity. What sort of being and non-being, then, by their union pluralize the things that are? This thinker means by the non-being the union of which with being pluralizes the things that are, the false and the character of falsity. This is also why it used to be said that we must assume something that is false, as geometers assume the line which is not a foot long to be a foot long. But this cannot be so. For neither do geometers assume anything false (for the enunciation is extraneous to the inference), nor is it non-being in this sense that the things that are are generated from or resolved into. But since 'non-being' taken in its various cases has as many senses as there are categories, and besides this the false is said not to be, and so is the potential, it is from this that generation proceeds, man from that which is not man but potentially man, and white from that which is not white but potentially white, and this whether it is some one thing that is generated or many.
φαίνεται δὲ ἡ ζήτησις πῶς πολλὰ τὸ ὂν τὸ κατὰ τὰς οὐσίας λεγόμενον: ἀριθμοὶ γὰρ καὶ μήκη καὶ σώματα τὰ γεννώμενά ἐστιν. ἄτοπον δὴ τὸ ὅπως μὲν πολλὰ τὸ ὂν τὸ τί ἐστι ζητῆσαι,  πῶς δὲ ἢ ποιὰ ἢ ποσά, μή. οὐ γὰρ δὴ ἡ δυὰς ἡ ἀόριστος αἰτία οὐδὲ τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρὸν τοῦ δύο λευκὰ ἢ πολλὰ εἶναι χρώματα ἢ χυμοὺς ἢ σχήματα: [1089β]  ἀριθμοὶ γὰρ ἂν καὶ ταῦτα ἦσαν καὶ μονάδες. ἀλλὰ μὴν εἴ γε ταῦτ᾽ ἐπῆλθον, εἶδον ἂν τὸ αἴτιον καὶ τὸ ἐν ἐκείνοις: τὸ γὰρ αὐτὸ καὶ τὸ ἀνάλογον αἴτιον. αὕτη γὰρ ἡ παρέκβασις αἰτία καὶ τοῦ τὸ  ἀντικείμενον ζητοῦντας τῷ ὄντι καὶ τῷ ἑνί, ἐξ οὗ καὶ τούτων τὰ ὄντα, τὸ πρός τι καὶ τὸ ἄνισον ὑποθεῖναι, ὃ οὔτ᾽ ἐναντίον οὔτ᾽ ἀπόφασις ἐκείνων, μία τε φύσις τῶν ὄντων ὥσπερ καὶ τὸ τί καὶ τὸ ποῖον. καὶ ζητεῖν ἔδει καὶ τοῦτο, πῶς πολλὰ τὰ πρός τι ἀλλ᾽ οὐχ ἕν: νῦν δὲ πῶς μὲν πολλαὶ μονάδες  παρὰ τὸ πρῶτον ἓν ζητεῖται, πῶς δὲ πολλὰ ἄνισα παρὰ τὸ ἄνισον οὐκέτι. καίτοι χρῶνται καὶ λέγουσι μέγα μικρόν, πολὺ ὀλίγον, ἐξ ὧν οἱ ἀριθμοί, μακρὸν βραχύ, ἐξ ὧν τὸ μῆκος, πλατὺ στενόν, ἐξ ὧν τὸ ἐπίπεδον, βαθὺ ταπεινόν, ἐξ ὧν οἱ ὄγκοι: καὶ ἔτι δὴ πλείω εἴδη λέγουσι τοῦ πρός τι:  τούτοις δὴ τί αἴτιον τοῦ πολλὰ εἶναι; The question evidently is, how being, in the sense of 'the substances', is many; for the things that are generated are numbers and lines and bodies. Now it is strange to inquire how being in the sense of the 'what' is many, and not how either qualities or quantities are many. For surely the indefinite dyad or 'the great and the small' is not a reason why there should be two kinds of white or many colours or flavours or shapes; for then these also would be numbers and units. But if they had attacked these other categories, they would have seen the cause of the plurality in substances also; for the same thing or something analogous is the cause. This aberration is the reason also why in seeking the opposite of being and the one, from which with being and the one the things that are proceed, they posited the relative term (i.e. the unequal), which is neither the contrary nor the contradictory of these, and is one kind of being as 'what' and quality also are.
They should have asked this question also, how relative terms are many and not one. But as it is, they inquire how there are many units besides the first 1, but do not go on to inquire how there are many unequals besides the unequal. Yet they use them and speak of great and small, many and few (from which proceed numbers), long and short (from which proceeds the line), broad and narrow (from which proceeds the plane), deep and shallow (from which proceed solids); and they speak of yet more kinds of relative term. What is the reason, then, why there is a plurality of these?
ἀνάγκη μὲν οὖν, ὥσπερ λέγομεν, ὑποθεῖναι τὸ δυνάμει ὂν ἑκάστῳ (τοῦτο δὲ προσαπεφήνατο  ὁ ταῦτα λέγων, τί τὸ δυνάμει τόδε καὶ οὐσία, μὴ ὂν δὲ καθ᾽ αὑτό, ὅτι τὸ πρός τι, ὥσπερ εἰ εἶπε τὸ ποιόν, ὃ οὔτε δυνάμει ἐστὶ τὸ ἓν ἢ τὸ ὂν οὔτε ἀπόφασις τοῦ ἑνὸς οὐδὲ  τοῦ ὄντος ἀλλ᾽ ἕν τι τῶν ὄντων), πολύ τε μᾶλλον, ὥσπερ ἐλέχθη, εἰ ἐζήτει πῶς πολλὰ τὰ ὄντα, μὴ τὰ ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ κατηγορίᾳ ζητεῖν, πῶς πολλαὶ οὐσίαι ἢ πολλὰ ποιά, ἀλλὰ πῶς πολλὰ τὰ ὄντα: τὰ μὲν γὰρ οὐσίαι τὰ δὲ πάθη τὰ δὲ πρός τι. ἐπὶ μὲν οὖν τῶν ἄλλων κατηγοριῶν ἔχει τινὰ  καὶ ἄλλην ἐπίστασιν πῶς πολλά (διὰ γὰρ τὸ μὴ χωριστὰ εἶναι τῷ τὸ ὑποκείμενον πολλὰ γίγνεσθαι καὶ εἶναι ποιά τε πολλὰ [εἶναι] καὶ ποσά: καίτοι δεῖ γέ τινα εἶναι ὕλην ἑκάστῳ γένει, πλὴν χωριστὴν ἀδύνατον τῶν οὐσιῶν): ἀλλ᾽ ἐπὶ τῶν τόδε τι ἔχει τινὰ λόγον πῶς πολλὰ τὸ τόδε τι,  εἰ μή τι ἔσται καὶ τόδε τι καὶ φύσις τις τοιαύτη: αὕτη δέ ἐστιν ἐκεῖθεν μᾶλλον ἡ ἀπορία, πῶς πολλαὶ ἐνεργείᾳ οὐσίαι ἀλλ᾽ οὐ μία. ἀλλὰ μὴν καὶ εἰ μὴ ταὐτόν ἐστι τὸ τόδε καὶ τὸ ποσόν, οὐ λέγεται πῶς καὶ διὰ τί πολλὰ τὰ ὄντα, ἀλλὰ πῶς ποσὰ πολλά. ὁ γὰρ ἀριθμὸς πᾶς ποσόν τι σημαίνει,  καὶ ἡ μονάς, εἰ μὴ μέτρον καὶ τὸ κατὰ τὸ ποσὸν ἀδιαίρετον. εἰ μὲν οὖν ἕτερον τὸ ποσὸν καὶ τὸ τί ἐστιν, οὐ λέγεται τὸ τί ἐστιν ἐκ τίνος οὐδὲ πῶς πολλά: [1090α]  εἰ δὲ ταὐτό, πολλὰς ὑπομένει ὁ λέγων ἐναντιώσεις. It is necessary, then, as we say, to presuppose for each thing that which is it potentially; and the holder of these views further declared what that is which is potentially a 'this' and a substance but is not in itself being — viz. that it is the relative (as if he had said 'the qualitative'), which is neither potentially the one or being, nor the negation of the one nor of being, but one among beings. And it was much more necessary, as we said, if he was inquiring how beings are many, not to inquire about those in the same category — how there are many substances or many qualities — but how beings as a whole are many; for some are substances, some modifications, some relations. In the categories other than substance there is yet another problem involved in the existence of plurality. Since they are not separable from substances, qualities and quantities are many just because their substratum becomes and is many; yet there ought to be a matter for each category; only it cannot be separable from substances. But in the case of 'thises', it is possible to explain how the 'this' is many things, unless a thing is to be treated as both a 'this' and a general character. The difficulty arising from the facts about substances is rather this, how there are actually many substances and not one.
But further, if the 'this' and the quantitative are not the same, we are not told how and why the things that are are many, but how quantities are many. For all 'number' means a quantity, and so does the 'unit', unless it means a measure or the quantitatively indivisible. If, then, the quantitative and the 'what' are different, we are not told whence or how the 'what' is many; but if any one says they are the same, he has to face many inconsistencies.
ἐπιστήσειε δ᾽ ἄν τις τὴν σκέψιν καὶ περὶ τῶν ἀριθμῶν πόθεν δεῖ λαβεῖν τὴν πίστιν ὡς εἰσίν. τῷ μὲν γὰρ ἰδέας τιθεμένῳ παρέχονταί τιν᾽ αἰτίαν  τοῖς οὖσιν, εἴπερ ἕκαστος τῶν ἀριθμῶν ἰδέα τις ἡ δ᾽ ἰδέα τοῖς ἄλλοις αἰτία τοῦ εἶναι ὃν δή ποτε τρόπον (ἔστω γὰρ ὑποκείμενον αὐτοῖς τοῦτο): τῷ δὲ τοῦτον μὲν τὸν τρόπον οὐκ οἰομένῳ διὰ τὸ τὰς ἐνούσας δυσχερείας ὁρᾶν περὶ τὰς ἰδέας ὥστε διά γε ταῦτα μὴ ποιεῖν ἀριθμούς, ποιοῦντι δὲ ἀριθμὸν  τὸν μαθηματικόν, πόθεν τε χρὴ πιστεῦσαι ὡς ἔστι τοιοῦτος ἀριθμός, καὶ τί τοῖς ἄλλοις χρήσιμος; οὐθενὸς γὰρ οὔτε φησὶν ὁ λέγων αὐτὸν εἶναι, ἀλλ᾽ ὡς αὐτήν τινα λέγει καθ᾽ αὑτὴν φύσιν οὖσαν, οὔτε φαίνεται ὢν αἴτιος: τὰ γὰρ θεωρήματα τῶν ἀριθμητικῶν πάντα καὶ κατὰ τῶν αἰσθητῶν  ὑπάρξει, καθάπερ ἐλέχθη. One might fix one's attention also on the question, regarding the numbers, what justifies the belief that they exist. To the believer in Ideas they provide some sort of cause for existing things, since each number is an Idea, and the Idea is to other things somehow or other the cause of their being; for let this supposition be granted them. But as for him who does not hold this view because he sees the inherent objections to the Ideas (so that it is not for this reason that he posits numbers), but who posits mathematical number, why must we believe his statement that such number exists, and of what use is such number to other things? Neither does he who says it exists maintain that it is the cause of anything (he rather says it is a thing existing by itself), nor is it observed to be the cause of anything; for the theorems of arithmeticians will all be found true even of sensible things, as was said before. 3 3 οἱ μὲν οὖν τιθέμενοι τὰς ἰδέας εἶναι, καὶ ἀριθμοὺς αὐτὰς εἶναι, <�τῷ> κατὰ τὴν ἔκθεσιν ἑκάστου παρὰ τὰ πολλὰ λαμβάνειν [τὸ] ἕν τι ἕκαστον πειρῶνταί γε λέγειν πως διὰ τί ἔστιν, οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ ἐπεὶ οὔτε ἀναγκαῖα οὔτε δυνατὰ ταῦτα,  οὐδὲ τὸν ἀριθμὸν διά γε ταῦτα εἶναι λεκτέον: οἱ δὲ Πυθαγόρειοι διὰ τὸ ὁρᾶν πολλὰ τῶν ἀριθμῶν πάθη ὑπάρχοντα τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς σώμασιν, εἶναι μὲν ἀριθμοὺς ἐποίησαν τὰ ὄντα, οὐ χωριστοὺς δέ, ἀλλ᾽ ἐξ ἀριθμῶν τὰ ὄντα: διὰ τί δέ; ὅτι τὰ πάθη τὰ τῶν ἀριθμῶν ἐν ἁρμονίᾳ ὑπάρχει καὶ ἐν  τῷ οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐν πολλοῖς ἄλλοις. τοῖς δὲ τὸν μαθηματικὸν μόνον λέγουσιν εἶναι ἀριθμὸν οὐθὲν τοιοῦτον ἐνδέχεται λέγειν κατὰ τὰς ὑποθέσεις, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι οὐκ ἔσονται αὐτῶν αἱ ἐπιστῆμαι ἐλέγετο. ἡμεῖς δέ φαμεν εἶναι, καθάπερ εἴπομεν πρότερον. καὶ δῆλον ὅτι οὐ κεχώρισται τὰ μαθηματικά: οὐ γὰρ  ἂν κεχωρισμένων τὰ πάθη ὑπῆρχεν ἐν τοῖς σώμασιν. οἱ μὲν οὖν Πυθαγόρειοι κατὰ μὲν τὸ τοιοῦτον οὐθενὶ ἔνοχοί εἰσιν, κατὰ μέντοι τὸ ποιεῖν ἐξ ἀριθμῶν τὰ φυσικὰ σώματα, ἐκ μὴ ἐχόντων βάρος μηδὲ κουφότητα ἔχοντα κουφότητα καὶ βάρος, ἐοίκασι περὶ ἄλλου οὐρανοῦ λέγειν καὶ σωμάτων ἀλλ᾽  οὐ τῶν αἰσθητῶν: οἱ δὲ χωριστὸν ποιοῦντες, ὅτι ἐπὶ τῶν αἰσθητῶν οὐκ ἔσται τὰ ἀξιώματα, ἀληθῆ δὲ τὰ λεγόμενα καὶ σαίνει τὴν ψυχήν, εἶναί τε ὑπολαμβάνουσι καὶ χωριστὰ εἶναι: ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὰ μεγέθη τὰ μαθηματικά. [1090β]  δῆλον οὖν ὅτι καὶ ὁ ἐναντιούμενος λόγος τἀναντία ἐρεῖ, καὶ ὃ ἄρτι ἠπορήθη λυτέον τοῖς οὕτω λέγουσι, διὰ τί οὐδαμῶς ἐν τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς ὑπαρχόντων τὰ πάθη ὑπάρχει αὐτῶν ἐν τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς.  εἰσὶ δέ τινες οἳ ἐκ τοῦ πέρατα εἶναι καὶ ἔσχατα τὴν στιγμὴν μὲν γραμμῆς, ταύτην δ᾽ ἐπιπέδου, τοῦτο δὲ τοῦ στερεοῦ, οἴονται εἶναι ἀνάγκην τοιαύτας φύσεις εἶναι. δεῖ δὴ καὶ τοῦτον ὁρᾶν τὸν λόγον, μὴ λίαν ᾖ μαλακός. οὔτε γὰρ οὐσίαι εἰσὶ τὰ ἔσχατα ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον πάντα ταῦτα πέρατα  (ἐπεὶ καὶ τῆς βαδίσεως καὶ ὅλως κινήσεως ἔστι τι πέρας: τοῦτ᾽ οὖν ἔσται τόδε τι καὶ οὐσία τις: ἀλλ᾽ ἄτοπον): οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ εἰ καὶ εἰσί, τῶνδε τῶν αἰσθητῶν ἔσονται πάντα (ἐπὶ τούτων γὰρ ὁ λόγος εἴρηκεν): διὰ τί οὖν χωριστὰ ἔσται; As for those, then, who suppose the Ideas to exist and to be numbers, by their assumption in virtue of the method of setting out each term apart from its instances — of the unity of each general term they try at least to explain somehow why number must exist. Since their reasons, however, are neither conclusive nor in themselves possible, one must not, for these reasons at least, assert the existence of number. Again, the Pythagoreans, because they saw many attributes of numbers belonging te sensible bodies, supposed real things to be numbers — not separable numbers, however, but numbers of which real things consist. But why? Because the attributes of numbers are present in a musical scale and in the heavens and in many other things. Those, however, who say that mathematical number alone exists cannot according to their hypotheses say anything of this sort, but it used to be urged that these sensible things could not be the subject of the sciences. But we maintain that they are, as we said before. And it is evident that the objects of mathematics do not exist apart; for if they existed apart their attributes would not have been present in bodies. Now the Pythagoreans in this point are open to no objection; but in that they construct natural bodies out of numbers, things that have lightness and weight out of things that have not weight or lightness, they seem to speak of another heaven and other bodies, not of the sensible. But those who make number separable assume that it both exists and is separable because the axioms would not be true of sensible things, while the statements of mathematics are true and 'greet the soul'; and similarly with the spatial magnitudes of mathematics. It is evident, then, both that the rival theory will say the contrary of this, and that the difficulty we raised just now, why if numbers are in no way present in sensible things their attributes are present in sensible things, has to be solved by those who hold these views.
There are some who, because the point is the limit and extreme of the line, the line of the plane, and the plane of the solid, think there must be real things of this sort. We must therefore examine this argument too, and see whether it is not remarkably weak. For (i) extremes are not substances, but rather all these things are limits. For even walking, and movement in general, has a limit, so that on their theory this will be a 'this' and a substance. But that is absurd. Not but what (ii) even if they are substances, they will all be the substances of the sensible things in this world; for it is to these that the argument applied. Why then should they be capable of existing apart?
ἔτι δὲ ἐπιζητήσειεν ἄν τις μὴ λίαν εὐχερὴς ὢν περὶ μὲν τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ  παντὸς καὶ τῶν μαθηματικῶν τὸ μηθὲν συμβάλλεσθαι ἀλλήλοις τὰ πρότερα τοῖς ὕστερον (μὴ ὄντος γὰρ τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ οὐθὲν ἧττον τὰ μεγέθη ἔσται τοῖς τὰ μαθηματικὰ μόνον εἶναι φαμένοις, καὶ τούτων μὴ ὄντων ἡ ψυχὴ καὶ τὰ σώματα τὰ αἰσθητά: οὐκ ἔοικε δ᾽ ἡ φύσις ἐπεισοδιώδης οὖσα ἐκ τῶν  φαινομένων, ὥσπερ μοχθηρὰ τραγῳδία): τοῖς δὲ τὰς ἰδέας τιθεμένοις τοῦτο μὲν ἐκφεύγει—ποιοῦσι γὰρ τὰ μεγέθη ἐκ τῆς ὕλης καὶ ἀριθμοῦ, ἐκ μὲν τῆς δυάδος τὰ μήκη, ἐκ τριάδος δ᾽ ἴσως τὰ ἐπίπεδα, ἐκ δὲ τῆς τετράδος τὰ στερεὰ ἢ καὶ ἐξ ἄλλων ἀριθμῶν: διαφέρει γὰρ οὐθέν—, ἀλλὰ ταῦτά  γε πότερον ἰδέαι ἔσονται, ἢ τίς ὁ τρόπος αὐτῶν, καὶ τί συμβάλλονται τοῖς οὖσιν; οὐθὲν γάρ, ὥσπερ οὐδὲ τὰ μαθηματικά, οὐδὲ ταῦτα συμβάλλεται. ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδ᾽ ὑπάρχει γε κατ᾽ αὐτῶν οὐθὲν θεώρημα, ἐὰν μή τις βούληται κινεῖν τὰ μαθηματικὰ καὶ ποιεῖν ἰδίας τινὰς δόξας. ἔστι δ᾽ οὐ χαλεπὸν  ὁποιασοῦν ὑποθέσεις λαμβάνοντας μακροποιεῖν καὶ συνείρειν. οὗτοι μὲν οὖν ταύτῃ προσγλιχόμενοι ταῖς ἰδέαις τὰ μαθηματικὰ διαμαρτάνουσιν: οἱ δὲ πρῶτοι δύο τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς ποιήσαντες, τόν τε τῶν εἰδῶν καὶ τὸν μαθηματικόν, οὔτ᾽ εἰρήκασιν οὔτ᾽ ἔχοιεν ἂν εἰπεῖν πῶς καὶ ἐκ τίνος ἔσται ὁ  μαθηματικός. ποιοῦσι γὰρ αὐτὸν μεταξὺ τοῦ εἰδητικοῦ καὶ τοῦ αἰσθητοῦ. εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ μεγάλου καὶ μικροῦ, ὁ αὐτὸς ἐκείνῳ ἔσται τῷ τῶν ἰδεῶν (ἐξ ἄλλου δέ τινος μικροῦ καὶ μεγάλου τὰ [γὰρ] μεγέθη ποιεῖ): [1091α]  εἰ δ᾽ ἕτερόν τι ἐρεῖ, πλείω τὰ στοιχεῖα ἐρεῖ: καὶ εἰ ἕν τι ἑκατέρου ἡ ἀρχή, κοινόν τι ἐπὶ τούτων ἔσται τὸ ἕν, ζητητέον τε πῶς καὶ ταῦτα πολλὰ τὸ ἓν καὶ ἅμα τὸν ἀριθμὸν γενέσθαι ἄλλως ἢ ἐξ  ἑνὸς καὶ δυάδος ἀορίστου ἀδύνατον κατ᾽ ἐκεῖνον. πάντα δὴ ταῦτα ἄλογα, καὶ μάχεται καὶ αὐτὰ ἑαυτοῖς καὶ τοῖς εὐλόγοις, καὶ ἔοικεν ἐν αὐτοῖς εἶναι ὁ Σιμωνίδου μακρὸς λόγος: γίγνεται γὰρ ὁ μακρὸς λόγος ὥσπερ ὁ τῶν δούλων ὅταν μηθὲν ὑγιὲς λέγωσιν. φαίνεται δὲ καὶ αὐτὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα  τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρὸν βοᾶν ὡς ἑλκόμενα: οὐ δύναται γὰρ οὐδαμῶς γεννῆσαι τὸν ἀριθμὸν ἀλλ᾽ ἢ τὸν ἀφ᾽ ἑνὸς διπλασιαζόμενον. Again, if we are not too easily satisfied, we may, regarding all number and the objects of mathematics, press this difficulty, that they contribute nothing to one another, the prior to the posterior; for if number did not exist, none the less spatial magnitudes would exist for those who maintain the existence of the objects of mathematics only, and if spatial magnitudes did not exist, soul and sensible bodies would exist. But the observed facts show that nature is not a series of episodes, like a bad tragedy. As for the believers in the Ideas, this difficulty misses them; for they construct spatial magnitudes out of matter and number, lines out of the number planes doubtless out of solids out of or they use other numbers, which makes no difference. But will these magnitudes be Ideas, or what is their manner of existence, and what do they contribute to things? These contribute nothing, as the objects of mathematics contribute nothing. But not even is any theorem true of them, unless we want to change the objects of mathematics and invent doctrines of our own. But it is not hard to assume any random hypotheses and spin out a long string of conclusions. These thinkers, then, are wrong in this way, in wanting to unite the objects of mathematics with the Ideas. And those who first posited two kinds of number, that of the Forms and that which is mathematical, neither have said nor can say how mathematical number is to exist and of what it is to consist. For they place it between ideal and sensible number. If (i) it consists of the great and small, it will be the same as the other-ideal-number (he makes spatial magnitudes out of some other small and great). And if (ii) he names some other element, he will be making his elements rather many. And if the principle of each of the two kinds of number is a 1, unity will be something common to these, and we must inquire how the one is these many things, while at the same time number, according to him, cannot be generated except from one and an indefinite dyad.
All this is absurd, and conflicts both with itself and with the probabilities, and we seem to see in it Simonides 'long rigmarole' for the long rigmarole comes into play, like those of slaves, when men have nothing sound to say. And the very elements — the great and the small — seem to cry out against the violence that is done to them; for they cannot in any way generate numbers other than those got from 1 by doubling.
ἄτοπον δὲ καὶ γένεσιν ποιεῖν ἀϊδίων ὄντων, μᾶλλον δ᾽ ἕν τι τῶν ἀδυνάτων. οἱ μὲν οὖν Πυθαγόρειοι πότερον οὐ ποιοῦσιν ἢ ποιοῦσι γένεσιν οὐδὲν δεῖ διστάζειν:  φανερῶς γὰρ λέγουσιν ὡς τοῦ ἑνὸς συσταθέντος, εἴτ᾽ ἐξ ἐπιπέδων εἴτ᾽ ἐκ χροιᾶς εἴτ᾽ ἐκ σπέρματος εἴτ᾽ ἐξ ὧν ἀποροῦσιν εἰπεῖν, εὐθὺς τὸ ἔγγιστα τοῦ ἀπείρου ὅτι εἵλκετο καὶ ἐπεραίνετο ὑπὸ τοῦ πέρατος. ἀλλ᾽ ἐπειδὴ κοσμοποιοῦσι καὶ φυσικῶς βούλονται λέγειν, δίκαιον αὐτοὺς ἐξετάζειν τι περὶ  φύσεως, ἐκ δὲ τῆς νῦν ἀφεῖναι μεθόδου: τὰς γὰρ ἐν τοῖς ἀκινήτοις ζητοῦμεν ἀρχάς, ὥστε καὶ τῶν ἀριθμῶν τῶν τοιούτων ἐπισκεπτέον τὴν γένεσιν. It is strange also to attribute generation to things that are eternal, or rather this is one of the things that are impossible. There need be no doubt whether the Pythagoreans attribute generation to them or not; for they say plainly that when the one had been constructed, whether out of planes or of surface or of seed or of elements which they cannot express, immediately the nearest part of the unlimited began to be constrained and limited by the limit. But since they are constructing a world and wish to speak the language of natural science, it is fair to make some examination of their physical theorics, but to let them off from the present inquiry; for we are investigating the principles at work in unchangeable things, so that it is numbers of this kind whose genesis we must study. 4 4 τοῦ μὲν οὖν περιττοῦ γένεσιν οὔ φασιν, ὡς δηλονότι τοῦ  ἀρτίου οὔσης γενέσεως: τὸν δ᾽ ἄρτιον πρῶτον ἐξ ἀνίσων τινὲς  κατασκευάζουσι τοῦ μεγάλου καὶ μικροῦ ἰσασθέντων. ἀνάγκη οὖν πρότερον ὑπάρχειν τὴν ἀνισότητα αὐτοῖς τοῦ ἰσασθῆναι: εἰ δ᾽ ἀεὶ ἦσαν ἰσασμένα, οὐκ ἂν ἦσαν ἄνισα πρότερον (τοῦ γὰρ ἀεὶ οὐκ ἔστι πρότερον οὐθέν), ὥστε φανερὸν ὅτι οὐ τοῦ θεωρῆσαι ἕνεκεν ποιοῦσι τὴν γένεσιν τῶν ἀριθμῶν. These thinkers say there is no generation of the odd number, which evidently implies that there is generation of the even; and some present the even as produced first from unequals — the great and the small — when these are equalized. The inequality, then, must belong to them before they are equalized. If they had always been equalized, they would not have been unequal before; for there is nothing before that which is always. Therefore evidently they are not giving their account of the generation of numbers merely to assist contemplation of their nature. ἔχει δ᾽  ἀπορίαν καὶ εὐπορήσαντι ἐπιτίμησιν πῶς ἔχει πρὸς τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν τὰ στοιχεῖα καὶ αἱ ἀρχαί: ἀπορίαν μὲν ταύτην, πότερόν ἐστί τι ἐκείνων οἷον βουλόμεθα λέγειν αὐτὸ τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ τὸ ἄριστον, ἢ οὔ, ἀλλ᾽ ὑστερογενῆ. παρὰ μὲν γὰρ τῶν θεολόγων ἔοικεν ὁμολογεῖσθαι τῶν νῦν τισίν, οἳ οὔ  φασιν, ἀλλὰ προελθούσης τῆς τῶν ὄντων φύσεως καὶ τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ τὸ καλὸν ἐμφαίνεσθαι (τοῦτο δὲ ποιοῦσιν εὐλαβούμενοι ἀληθινὴν δυσχέρειαν ἣ συμβαίνει τοῖς λέγουσιν, ὥσπερ ἔνιοι, τὸ ἓν ἀρχήν: [1091β]  ἔστι δ᾽ ἡ δυσχέρεια οὐ διὰ τὸ τῇ ἀρχῇ τὸ εὖ ἀποδιδόναι ὡς ὑπάρχον, ἀλλὰ διὰ τὸ τὸ ἓν ἀρχὴν καὶ ἀρχὴν ὡς στοιχεῖον καὶ τὸν ἀριθμὸν ἐκ τοῦ ἑνός), A difficulty, and a reproach to any one who finds it no difficulty, are contained in the question how the elements and the principles are related to the good and the beautiful; the difficulty is this, whether any of the elements is such a thing as we mean by the good itself and the best, or this is not so, but these are later in origin than the elements. The theologians seem to agree with some thinkers of the present day, who answer the question in the negative, and say that both the good and the beautiful appear in the nature of things only when that nature has made some progress. (This they do to avoid a real objection which confronts those who say, as some do, that the one is a first principle. The objection arises not from their ascribing goodness to the first principle as an attribute, but from their making the one a principle — and a principle in the sense of an element — and generating number from the one.) οἱ δὲ ποιηταὶ οἱ ἀρχαῖοι ταύτῃ ὁμοίως, ᾗ βασιλεύειν καὶ  ἄρχειν φασὶν οὐ τοὺς πρώτους, οἷον νύκτα καὶ οὐρανὸν ἢ χάος ἢ ὠκεανόν, ἀλλὰ τὸν Δία: οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ τούτοις μὲν διὰ τὸ μεταβάλλειν τοὺς ἄρχοντας τῶν ὄντων συμβαίνει τοιαῦτα λέγειν, ἐπεὶ οἵ γε μεμιγμένοι αὐτῶν [καὶ] τῷ μὴ μυθικῶς πάντα λέγειν, οἷον Φερεκύδης καὶ ἕτεροί τινες,  τὸ γεννῆσαν πρῶτον ἄριστον τιθέασι, καὶ οἱ Μάγοι, καὶ τῶν ὑστέρων δὲ σοφῶν οἷον Ἐμπεδοκλῆς τε καὶ Ἀναξαγόρας, ὁ μὲν τὴν φιλίαν στοιχεῖον ὁ δὲ τὸν νοῦν ἀρχὴν ποιήσας. τῶν δὲ τὰς ἀκινήτους οὐσίας εἶναι λεγόντων οἱ μέν φασιν αὐτὸ τὸ ἓν τὸ ἀγαθὸν αὐτὸ εἶναι: οὐσίαν μέντοι τὸ ἓν αὐτοῦ  ᾤοντο εἶναι μάλιστα. The old poets agree with this inasmuch as they say that not those who are first in time, e.g. Night and Heaven or Chaos or Ocean, reign and rule, but Zeus. These poets, however, are led to speak thus only because they think of the rulers of the world as changing; for those of them who combine the two characters in that they do not use mythical language throughout, e.g. Pherecydes and some others, make the original generating agent the Best, and so do the Magi, and some of the later sages also, e.g. both Empedocles and Anaxagoras, of whom one made love an element, and the other made reason a principle. Of those who maintain the existence of the unchangeable substances some say the One itself is the good itself; but they thought its substance lay mainly in its unity.
This, then, is the problem, — which of the two ways of speaking is right. It would be strange if to that which is primary and eternal and most self-sufficient this very quality — self-sufficiency and self-maintenance — belongs primarily in some other way than as a good. But indeed it can be for no other reason indestructible or self-sufficient than because its nature is good.
ἡ μὲν οὖν ἀπορία αὕτη, ποτέρως δεῖ λέγειν: θαυμαστὸν δ᾽ εἰ τῷ πρώτῳ καὶ ἀϊδίῳ καὶ αὐταρκεστάτῳ τοῦτ᾽ αὐτὸ πρῶτον οὐχ ὡς ἀγαθὸν ὑπάρχει, τὸ αὔταρκες καὶ ἡ σωτηρία. ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐ δι᾽ ἄλλο τι ἄφθαρτον ἢ διότι εὖ ἔχει, οὐδ᾽ αὔταρκες, ὥστε τὸ μὲν φάναι τὴν  ἀρχὴν τοιαύτην εἶναι εὔλογον ἀληθὲς εἶναι, τὸ μέντοι ταύτην εἶναι τὸ ἕν, ἢ εἰ μὴ τοῦτο, στοιχεῖόν γε καὶ στοιχεῖον ἀριθμῶν, ἀδύνατον. συμβαίνει γὰρ πολλὴ δυσχέρεια—ἣν ἔνιοι φεύγοντες ἀπειρήκασιν, οἱ τὸ ἓν μὲν ὁμολογοῦντες ἀρχὴν εἶναι πρώτην καὶ στοιχεῖον, τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ δὲ τοῦ μαθηματικοῦ  —ἅπασαι γὰρ αἱ μονάδες γίγνονται ὅπερ ἀγαθόν τι, καὶ πολλή τις εὐπορία ἀγαθῶν. ἔτι εἰ τὰ εἴδη ἀριθμοί, τὰ εἴδη πάντα ὅπερ ἀγαθόν τι: ἀλλὰ μὴν ὅτου βούλεται τιθέτω τις εἶναι ἰδέας: εἰ μὲν γὰρ τῶν ἀγαθῶν μόνον, οὐκ ἔσονται οὐσίαι αἱ ἰδέαι, εἰ δὲ καὶ τῶν οὐσιῶν, πάντα τὰ ζῷα καὶ  τὰ φυτὰ ἀγαθὰ καὶ τὰ μετέχοντα. ταῦτά τε δὴ συμβαίνει ἄτοπα, καὶ τὸ ἐναντίον στοιχεῖον, εἴτε πλῆθος ὂν εἴτε τὸ ἄνισον καὶ μέγα καὶ μικρόν, τὸ κακὸν αὐτό (διόπερ ὁ μὲν ἔφευγε τὸ ἀγαθὸν προσάπτειν τῷ ἑνὶ ὡς ἀναγκαῖον ὄν, ἐπειδὴ ἐξ ἐναντίων ἡ γένεσις, τὸ κακὸν τὴν τοῦ πλήθους φύσιν  εἶναι: οἱ δὲ λέγουσι τὸ ἄνισον τὴν τοῦ κακοῦ φύσιν): συμβαίνει δὴ πάντα τὰ ὄντα μετέχειν τοῦ κακοῦ ἔξω ἑνὸς αὐτοῦ τοῦ ἑνός, καὶ μᾶλλον ἀκράτου μετέχειν τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς ἢ τὰ μεγέθη, [1092α]  καὶ τὸ κακὸν τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ χώραν εἶναι, καὶ μετέχειν καὶ ὀρέγεσθαι τοῦ φθαρτικοῦ: φθαρτικὸν γὰρ τοῦ ἐναντίου τὸ ἐναντίον. καὶ εἰ ὥσπερ ἐλέγομεν ὅτι ἡ ὕλη ἐστὶ τὸ δυνάμει ἕκαστον, οἷον πυρὸς τοῦ ἐνεργείᾳ τὸ δυνάμει  πῦρ, τὸ κακὸν ἔσται αὐτὸ τὸ δυνάμει ἀγαθόν. ταῦτα δὴ πάντα συμβαίνει, τὸ μὲν ὅτι ἀρχὴν πᾶσαν στοιχεῖον ποιοῦσι, τὸ δ᾽ ὅτι τἀναντία ἀρχάς, τὸ δ᾽ ὅτι τὸ ἓν ἀρχήν, τὸ δ᾽ ὅτι τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς τὰς πρώτας οὐσίας καὶ χωριστὰ καὶ εἴδη. Therefore to say that the first principle is good is probably correct; but that this principle should be the One or, if not that, at least an element, and an element of numbers, is impossible. Powerful objections arise, to avoid which some have given up the theory (viz. those who agree that the One is a first principle and element, but only of mathematical number). For on this view all the units become identical with species of good, and there is a great profusion of goods. Again, if the Forms are numbers, all the Forms are identical with species of good. But let a man assume Ideas of anything he pleases. If these are Ideas only of goods, the Ideas will not be substances; but if the Ideas are also Ideas of substances, all animals and plants and all individuals that share in Ideas will be good.
These absurdities follow, and it also follows that the contrary element, whether it is plurality or the unequal, i.e. the great and small, is the bad-itself. (Hence one thinker avoided attaching the good to the One, because it would necessarily follow, since generation is from contraries, that badness is the fundamental nature of plurality; while others say inequality is the nature of the bad.) It follows, then, that all things partake of the bad except one — the One itself, and that numbers partake of it in a more undiluted form than spatial magnitudes, and that the bad is the space in which the good is realized, and that it partakes in and desires that which tends to destroy it; for contrary tends to destroy contrary. And if, as we were saying, the matter is that which is potentially each thing, e.g. that of actual fire is that which is potentially fire, the bad will be just the potentially good.
All these objections, then, follow, partly because they make every principle an element, partly because they make contraries principles, partly because they make the One a principle, partly because they treat the numbers as the first substances, and as capable of existing apart, and as Forms.
5 5 εἰ οὖν καὶ τὸ μὴ τιθέναι τὸ ἀγαθὸν ἐν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς καὶ  τὸ τιθέναι οὕτως ἀδύνατον, δῆλον ὅτι αἱ ἀρχαὶ οὐκ ὀρθῶς ἀποδίδονται οὐδὲ αἱ πρῶται οὐσίαι. οὐκ ὀρθῶς δ᾽ ὑπολαμβάνει οὐδ᾽ εἴ τις παρεικάζει τὰς τοῦ ὅλου ἀρχὰς τῇ τῶν ζῴων καὶ φυτῶν, ὅτι ἐξ ἀορίστων ἀτελῶν τε ἀεὶ τὰ τελειότερα, διὸ καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν πρώτων οὕτως ἔχειν φησίν, ὥστε μηδὲ  ὄν τι εἶναι τὸ ἓν αὐτό. εἰσὶ γὰρ καὶ ἐνταῦθα τέλειαι αἱ ἀρχαὶ ἐξ ὧν ταῦτα: ἄνθρωπος γὰρ ἄνθρωπον γεννᾷ, καὶ οὐκ ἔστι τὸ σπέρμα πρῶτον. ἄτοπον δὲ καὶ τὸ τόπον ἅμα τοῖς στερεοῖς τοῖς μαθηματικοῖς ποιῆσαι (ὁ μὲν γὰρ τόπος τῶν καθ᾽ ἕκαστον ἴδιος, διὸ χωριστὰ τόπῳ, τὰ δὲ μαθηματικὰ  οὐ πού), καὶ τὸ εἰπεῖν μὲν ὅτι ποὺ ἔσται, τί δέ ἐστιν ὁ τόπος μή. If, then, it is equally impossible not to put the good among the first principles and to put it among them in this way, evidently the principles are not being correctly described, nor are the first substances. Nor does any one conceive the matter correctly if he compares the principles of the universe to that of animals and plants, on the ground that the more complete always comes from the indefinite and incomplete — which is what leads this thinker to say that this is also true of the first principles of reality, so that the One itself is not even an existing thing. This is incorrect, for even in this world of animals and plants the principles from which these come are complete; for it is a man that produces a man, and the seed is not first.
It is out of place, also, to generate place simultaneously with the mathematical solids (for place is peculiar to the individual things, and hence they are separate in place; but mathematical objects are nowhere), and to say that they must be somewhere, but not say what kind of thing their place is.
ἔδει δὲ τοὺς λέγοντας ἐκ στοιχείων εἶναι τὰ ὄντα καὶ τῶν ὄντων τὰ πρῶτα τοὺς ἀριθμούς, διελομένους πῶς ἄλλο ἐξ ἄλλου ἐστίν, οὕτω λέγειν τίνα τρόπον ὁ ἀριθμός ἐστιν ἐκ τῶν ἀρχῶν. πότερον μίξει; ἀλλ᾽ οὔτε πᾶν  μικτόν, τό τε γιγνόμενον ἕτερον, οὐκ ἔσται τε χωριστὸν τὸ ἓν οὐδ᾽ ἑτέρα φύσις: οἱ δὲ βούλονται. ἀλλὰ συνθέσει, ὥσπερ συλλαβή; ἀλλὰ θέσιν τε ἀνάγκη ὑπάρχειν, καὶ χωρὶς ὁ νοῶν νοήσει τὸ ἓν καὶ τὸ πλῆθος. τοῦτ᾽ οὖν ἔσται ὁ ἀριθμός, μονὰς καὶ πλῆθος, ἢ τὸ ἓν καὶ ἄνισον. καὶ ἐπεὶ τὸ ἐκ τινῶν  εἶναι ἔστι μὲν ὡς ἐνυπαρχόντων ἔστι δὲ ὡς οὔ, ποτέρως ὁ ἀριθμός; οὕτως γὰρ ὡς ἐνυπαρχόντων οὐκ ἔστιν ἀλλ᾽ ἢ ὧν γένεσις ἔστιν. ἀλλ᾽ ὡς ἀπὸ σπέρματος; ἀλλ᾽ οὐχ οἷόν τε τοῦ ἀδιαιρέτου τι ἀπελθεῖν. ἀλλ᾽ ὡς ἐκ τοῦ ἐναντίου μὴ ὑπομένοντος; ἀλλ᾽ ὅσα οὕτως ἔστι, καὶ ἐξ ἄλλου τινός ἐστιν  ὑπομένοντος. ἐπεὶ τοίνυν τὸ ἓν ὁ μὲν τῷ πλήθει ὡς ἐναντίον τίθησιν, [1092β]  ὁ δὲ τῷ ἀνίσῳ, ὡς ἴσῳ τῷ ἑνὶ χρώμενος, ὡς ἐξ ἐναντίων εἴη ἂν ὁ ἀριθμός: ἔστιν ἄρα τι ἕτερον ἐξ οὗ ὑπομένοντος καὶ θατέρου ἐστὶν ἢ γέγονεν. ἔτι τί δή ποτε τὰ μὲν ἄλλ᾽ ὅσα ἐξ ἐναντίων ἢ οἷς ἔστιν ἐναντία φθείρεται κἂν ἐκ  παντὸς ᾖ, ὁ δὲ ἀριθμὸς οὔ; περὶ τούτου γὰρ οὐθὲν λέγεται. καίτοι καὶ ἐνυπάρχον καὶ μὴ ἐνυπάρχον φθείρει τὸ ἐναντίον, οἷον τὸ νεῖκος τὸ μῖγμα (καίτοι γε οὐκ ἔδει: οὐ γὰρ ἐκείνῳ γε ἐναντίον). Those who say that existing things come from elements and that the first of existing things are the numbers, should have first distinguished the senses in which one thing comes from another, and then said in which sense number comes from its first principles. By intermixture? But (1) not everything is capable of intermixture, and (2) that which is produced by it is different from its elements, and on this view the one will not remain separate or a distinct entity; but they want it to be so.
By juxtaposition, like a syllable? But then (1) the elements must have position; and (2) he who thinks of number will be able to think of the unity and the plurality apart; number then will be this — a unit and plurality, or the one and the unequal.
Again, coming from certain things means in one sense that these are still to be found in the product, and in another that they are not; which sense does number come from these elements? Only things that are generated can come from elements which are present in them. Does number come, then, from its elements as from seed? But nothing can be excreted from that which is indivisible. Does it come from its contrary, its contrary not persisting? But all things that come in this way come also from something else which does persist. Since, then, one thinker places the 1 as contrary to plurality, and another places it as contrary to the unequal, treating the 1 as equal, number must be being treated as coming from contraries. There is, then, something else that persists, from which and from one contrary the compound is or has come to be. Again, why in the world do the other things that come from contraries, or that have contraries, perish (even when all of the contrary is used to produce them), while number does not? Nothing is said about this. Yet whether present or not present in the compound the contrary destroys it, e.g. 'strife' destroys the 'mixture' (yet it should not; for it is not to that that is contrary).
οὐθὲν δὲ διώρισται οὐδὲ ὁποτέρως οἱ ἀριθμοὶ αἴτιοι τῶν οὐσιῶν καὶ τοῦ εἶναι, πότερον ὡς ὅροι (οἷον αἱ  στιγμαὶ τῶν μεγεθῶν, καὶ ὡς Εὔρυτος ἔταττε τίς ἀριθμὸς τίνος, οἷον ὁδὶ μὲν ἀνθρώπου ὁδὶ δὲ ἵππου, ὥσπερ οἱ τοὺς ἀριθμοὺς ἄγοντες εἰς τὰ σχήματα τρίγωνον καὶ τετράγωνον, οὕτως ἀφομοιῶν ταῖς ψήφοις τὰς μορφὰς τῶν φυτῶν), ἢ ὅτι [ὁ] λόγος ἡ συμφωνία ἀριθμῶν, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ ἄνθρωπος  καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἕκαστον; τὰ δὲ δὴ πάθη πῶς ἀριθμοί, τὸ λευκὸν καὶ γλυκὺ καὶ τὸ θερμόν; ὅτι δὲ οὐχ οἱ ἀριθμοὶ οὐσία οὐδὲ τῆς μορφῆς αἴτιοι, δῆλον: ὁ γὰρ λόγος ἡ οὐσία, ὁ δ᾽ ἀριθμὸς ὕλη. οἷον σαρκὸς ἢ ὀστοῦ ἀριθμὸς ἡ οὐσία οὕτω, τρία πυρὸς γῆς δὲ δύο: καὶ ἀεὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς ὃς ἂν ᾖ  τινῶν ἐστιν, ἢ πύρινος ἢ γήϊνος ἢ μοναδικός, ἀλλ᾽ ἡ οὐσία τὸ τοσόνδ᾽ εἶναι πρὸς τοσόνδε κατὰ τὴν μῖξιν: τοῦτο δ᾽ οὐκέτι ἀριθμὸς ἀλλὰ λόγος μίξεως ἀριθμῶν σωματικῶν ἢ ὁποιωνοῦν. οὔτε οὖν τῷ ποιῆσαι αἴτιος ὁ ἀριθμός, οὔτε ὅλως ὁ ἀριθμὸς οὔτε ὁ μοναδικός, οὔτε ὕλη οὔτε λόγος καὶ εἶδος  τῶν πραγμάτων. ἀλλὰ μὴν οὐδ᾽ ὡς τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα. Once more, it has not been determined at all in which way numbers are the causes of substances and of being — whether (1) as boundaries (as points are of spatial magnitudes). This is how Eurytus decided what was the number of what (e.g. one of man and another of horse), viz. by imitating the figures of living things with pebbles, as some people bring numbers into the forms of triangle and square. Or (2) is it because harmony is a ratio of numbers, and so is man and everything else? But how are the attributes — white and sweet and hot — numbers? Evidently it is not the numbers that are the essence or the causes of the form; for the ratio is the essence, while the number the causes of the form; for the ratio is the essence, while the number is the matter. E.g. the essence of flesh or bone is number only in this way, 'three parts of fire and two of earth'. And a number, whatever number it is, is always a number of certain things, either of parts of fire or earth or of units; but the essence is that there is so much of one thing to so much of another in the mixture; and this is no longer a number but a ratio of mixture of numbers, whether these are corporeal or of any other kind.
Number, then, whether it be number in general or the number which consists of abstract units, is neither the cause as agent, nor the matter, nor the ratio and form of things. Nor, of course, is it the final cause.
6 6 ἀπορήσειε δ᾽ ἄν τις καὶ τί τὸ εὖ ἐστὶ τὸ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀριθμῶν τῷ ἐν ἀριθμῷ εἶναι τὴν μῖξιν, ἢ ἐν εὐλογίστῳ ἢ ἐν περιττῷ. νυνὶ γὰρ οὐθὲν ὑγιεινότερον τρὶς τρία ἂν ᾖ τὸ  μελίκρατον κεκραμένον, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον ὠφελήσειεν ἂν ἐν  οὐθενὶ λόγῳ ὂν ὑδαρὲς δὲ ἢ ἐν ἀριθμῷ ἄκρατον ὄν. ἔτι οἱ λόγοι ἐν προσθέσει ἀριθμῶν εἰσὶν οἱ τῶν μίξεων, οὐκ ἐν ἀριθμοῖς, οἷον τρία πρὸς δύο ἀλλ᾽ οὐ τρὶς δύο. τὸ γὰρ αὐτὸ δεῖ γένος εἶναι ἐν ταῖς πολλαπλασιώσεσιν, ὥστε δεῖ μετρεῖσθαι τῷ τε Α τὸν στοῖχον ἐφ᾽ οὗ ΑΒΓ καὶ τῷ Δ τὸν  ΔΕΖ: ὥστε τῷ αὐτῷ πάντα. οὔκουν ἔσται πυρὸς ΒΕΓΖ καὶ ὕδατος ἀριθμὸς δὶς τρία. [1093α]  —εἰ δ᾽ ἀνάγκη πάντα ἀριθμοῦ κοινωνεῖν, ἀνάγκη πολλὰ συμβαίνειν τὰ αὐτά, καὶ ἀριθμὸν τὸν αὐτὸν τῷδε καὶ ἄλλῳ. ἆρ᾽ οὖν τοῦτ᾽ αἴτιον καὶ διὰ τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ πρᾶγμα, ἢ ἄδηλον; οἷον ἔστι τις τῶν τοῦ ἡλίου  φορῶν ἀριθμός, καὶ πάλιν τῶν τῆς σελήνης, καὶ τῶν ζῴων γε ἑκάστου τοῦ βίου καὶ ἡλικίας: τί οὖν κωλύει ἐνίους μὲν τούτων τετραγώνους εἶναι ἐνίους δὲ κύβους, καὶ ἴσους τοὺς δὲ διπλασίους; οὐθὲν γὰρ κωλύει, ἀλλ᾽ ἀνάγκη ἐν τούτοις στρέφεσθαι, εἰ ἀριθμοῦ πάντα ἐκοινώνει. ἐνεδέχετό τε τὰ  διαφέροντα ὑπὸ τὸν αὐτὸν ἀριθμὸν πίπτειν: ὥστ᾽ εἴ τισιν ὁ αὐτὸς ἀριθμὸς συνεβεβήκει, ταὐτὰ ἂν ἦν ἀλλήλοις ἐκεῖνα τὸ αὐτὸ εἶδος ἀριθμοῦ ἔχοντα, οἷον ἥλιος καὶ σελήνη τὰ αὐτά. ἀλλὰ διὰ τί αἴτια ταῦτα; ἑπτὰ μὲν φωνήεντα, ἑπτὰ δὲ χορδαὶ ἡ ἁρμονία, ἑπτὰ δὲ αἱ πλειάδες, ἐν ἑπτὰ  δὲ ὀδόντας βάλλει (ἔνιά γε, ἔνια δ᾽ οὔ), ἑπτὰ δὲ οἱ ἐπὶ Θήβας. ἆρ᾽ οὖν ὅτι τοιοσδὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς πέφυκεν, διὰ τοῦτο ἢ ἐκεῖνοι ἐγένοντο ἑπτὰ ἢ ἡ πλειὰς ἑπτὰ ἀστέρων ἐστίν; ἢ οἱ μὲν διὰ τὰς πύλας ἢ ἄλλην τινὰ αἰτίαν, τὴν δὲ ἡμεῖς οὕτως ἀριθμοῦμεν, τὴν δὲ ἄρκτον γε δώδεκα, οἱ δὲ πλείους:  ἐπεὶ καὶ τὸ ΞΨΖ συμφωνίας φασὶν εἶναι, καὶ ὅτι ἐκεῖναι τρεῖς, καὶ ταῦτα τρία: ὅτι δὲ μυρία ἂν εἴη τοιαῦτα, οὐθὲν μέλει (τῷ γὰρ Γ καὶ Ρ εἴη ἂν ἓν σημεῖον): εἰ δ᾽ ὅτι διπλάσιον τῶν ἄλλων ἕκαστον, ἄλλο δ᾽ οὔ, αἴτιον δ᾽ ὅτι τριῶν ὄντων τόπων ἓν ἐφ᾽ ἑκάστου ἐπιφέρεται τῷ σίγμα, διὰ τοῦτο  τρία μόνον ἐστὶν ἀλλ᾽ οὐχ ὅτι αἱ συμφωνίαι τρεῖς, ἐπεὶ πλείους γε αἱ συμφωνίαι, ἐνταῦθα δ᾽ οὐκέτι δύναται. ὅμοιοι δὴ καὶ οὗτοι τοῖς ἀρχαίοις Ὁμηρικοῖς, οἳ μικρὰς ὁμοιότητας ὁρῶσι μεγάλας δὲ παρορῶσιν. λέγουσι δέ τινες ὅτι πολλὰ τοιαῦτα, οἷον αἵ τε μέσαι ἡ μὲν ἐννέα ἡ δὲ ὀκτώ,  καὶ τὸ ἔπος δεκαεπτά, ἰσάριθμον τούτοις, βαίνεται δ᾽ ἐν μὲν τῷ δεξιῷ ἐννέα συλλαβαῖς, ἐν δὲ τῷ ἀριστερῷ ὀκτώ: [1093β]  καὶ ὅτι ἴσον τὸ διάστημα ἔν τε τοῖς γράμμασιν ἀπὸ τοῦ Α πρὸς τὸ Ω, καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ βόμβυκος ἐπὶ τὴν ὀξυτάτην [νεάτην] ἐν αὐλοῖς, ἧς ὁ ἀριθμὸς ἴσος τῇ οὐλομελείᾳ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ.  ὁρᾶν δὲ δεῖ μὴ τοιαῦτα οὐθεὶς ἂν ἀπορήσειεν οὔτε λέγειν οὔθ᾽ εὑρίσκειν ἐν τοῖς ἀϊδίοις, ἐπεὶ καὶ ἐν τοῖς φθαρτοῖς. ἀλλ᾽ αἱ ἐν τοῖς ἀριθμοῖς φύσεις αἱ ἐπαινούμεναι καὶ τὰ τούτοις ἐναντία καὶ ὅλως τὰ ἐν τοῖς μαθήμασιν, ὡς μὲν λέγουσί τινες καὶ αἴτια ποιοῦσι τῆς φύσεως, ἔοικεν οὑτωσί  γε σκοπουμένοις διαφεύγειν (κατ᾽ οὐδένα γὰρ τρόπον τῶν διωρισμένων περὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς οὐδὲν αὐτῶν αἴτιον): ἔστιν ὡς μέντοι ποιοῦσι φανερὸν ὅτι τὸ εὖ ὑπάρχει καὶ τῆς συστοιχίας ἐστὶ τῆς τοῦ καλοῦ τὸ περιττόν, τὸ εὐθύ, τὸ ἰσάκις ἴσον, αἱ δυνάμεις ἐνίων ἀριθμῶν: ἅμα γὰρ ὧραι καὶ ἀριθμὸς τοιοσδί:  καὶ τὰ ἄλλα δὴ ὅσα συνάγουσιν ἐκ τῶν μαθηματικῶν θεωρημάτων πάντα ταύτην ἔχει τὴν δύναμιν. διὸ καὶ ἔοικε συμπτώμασιν: ἔστι γὰρ συμβεβηκότα μέν, ἀλλ᾽ οἰκεῖα ἀλλήλοις πάντα, ἓν δὲ τῷ ἀνάλογον: ἐν ἑκάστῃ γὰρ τοῦ ὄντος κατηγορίᾳ ἐστὶ τὸ ἀνάλογον, ὡς εὐθὺ ἐν μήκει οὕτως  ἐν πλάτει τὸ ὁμαλόν, ἴσως ἐν ἀριθμῷ τὸ περιττόν, ἐν δὲ χροιᾷ τὸ λευκόν. One might also raise the question what the good is that things get from numbers because their composition is expressible by a number, either by one which is easily calculable or by an odd number. For in fact honey-water is no more wholesome if it is mixed in the proportion of three times three, but it would do more good if it were in no particular ratio but well diluted than if it were numerically expressible but strong. Again, the ratios of mixtures are expressed by the adding of numbers, not by mere numbers; e.g. it is 'three parts to two', not 'three times two'. For in any multiplication the genus of the things multiplied must be the same; therefore the product 1x2x3 must be measurable by 1, and 4x5x6 by 4 and therefore all products into which the same factor enters must be measurable by that factor. The number of fire, then, cannot be 2x5x3x6 and at the same time that of water 2x3.
If all things must share in number, it must follow that many things are the same, and the same number must belong to one thing and to another. Is number the cause, then, and does the thing exist because of its number, or is this not certain? E.g. the motions of the sun have a number, and again those of the moon, — yes, and the life and prime of each animal. Why, then, should not some of these numbers be squares, some cubes, and some equal, others double? There is no reason why they should not, and indeed they must move within these limits, since all things were assumed to share in number. And it was assumed that things that differed might fall under the same number. Therefore if the same number had belonged to certain things, these would have been the same as one another, since they would have had the same form of number; e.g. sun and moon would have been the same. But why need these numbers be causes? There are seven vowels, the scale consists of seven strings, the Pleiades are seven, at seven animals lose their teeth (at least some do, though some do not), and the champions who fought against Thebes were seven. Is it then because the number is the kind of number it is, that the champions were seven or the Pleiad consists of seven stars? Surely the champions were seven because there were seven gates or for some other reason, and the Pleiad we count as seven, as we count the Bear as twelve, while other peoples count more stars in both. Nay they even say that X, Ps and Z are concords and that because there are three concords, the double consonants also are three. They quite neglect the fact that there might be a thousand such letters; for one symbol might be assigned to GP. But if they say that each of these three is equal to two of the other letters, and no other is so, and if the cause is that there are three parts of the mouth and one letter is in each applied to sigma, it is for this reason that there are only three, not because the concords are three; since as a matter of fact the concords are more than three, but of double consonants there cannot be more.
These people are like the old-fashioned Homeric scholars, who see small resemblances but neglect great ones. Some say that there are many such cases, e.g. that the middle strings are represented by nine and eight, and that the epic verse has seventeen syllables, which is equal in number to the two strings, and that the scansion is, in the right half of the line nine syllables, and in the left eight. And they say that the distance in the letters from alpha to omega is equal to that from the lowest note of the flute to the highest, and that the number of this note is equal to that of the whole choir of heaven. It may be suspected that no one could find difficulty either in stating such analogies or in finding them in eternal things, since they can be found even in perishable things.
But the lauded characteristics of numbers, and the contraries of these, and generally the mathematical relations, as some describe them, making them causes of nature, seem, when we inspect them in this way, to vanish; for none of them is a cause in any of the senses that have been distinguished in reference to the first principles. In a sense, however, they make it plain that goodness belongs to numbers, and that the odd, the straight, the square, the potencies of certain numbers, are in the column of the beautiful. For the seasons and a particular kind of number go together; and the other agreements that they collect from the theorems of mathematics all have this meaning. Hence they are like coincidences. For they are accidents, but the things that agree are all appropriate to one another, and one by analogy. For in each category of being an analogous term is found — as the straight is in length, so is the level in surface, perhaps the odd in number, and the white in colour.
ἔτι οὐχ οἱ ἐν τοῖς εἴδεσιν ἀριθμοὶ αἴτιοι τῶν ἁρμονικῶν καὶ τῶν τοιούτων (διαφέρουσι γὰρ ἐκεῖνοι ἀλλήλων οἱ ἴσοι εἴδει: καὶ γὰρ αἱ μονάδες): ὥστε διά γε ταῦτα εἴδη οὐ ποιητέον. τὰ μὲν οὖν συμβαίνοντα ταῦτά  τε κἂν ἔτι πλείω συναχθείη: ἔοικε δὲ τεκμήριον εἶναι τὸ πολλὰ κακοπαθεῖν περὶ τὴν γένεσιν αὐτῶν καὶ μηδένα τρόπον δύνασθαι συνεῖραι τοῦ μὴ χωριστὰ εἶναι τὰ μαθηματικὰ τῶν αἰσθητῶν, ὡς ἔνιοι λέγουσι, μηδὲ ταύτας εἶναι τὰς ἀρχάς. Again, it is not the ideal numbers that are the causes of musical phenomena and the like (for equal ideal numbers differ from one another in form; for even the units do); so that we need not assume Ideas for this reason at least.
These, then, are the results of the theory, and yet more might be brought together. The fact that our opponnts have much trouble with the generation of numbers and can in no way make a system of them, seems to indicate that the objects of mathematics are not separable from sensible things, as some say, and that they are not the first principles.