Xenophanes of Colophon
!!!Aristotle: Metaphysics Book 1 From this survey we can sufficiently understand the meaning of those ancients who taught that the elements of the natural world are a plurality. Others, however, theorized about the universe as though it were a single entity; but their doctrines are not all alike either in point of soundness or in respect of conformity with the facts of nature. For the purposes of our present inquiry an account of their teaching is quite irrelevant, since they do not, while assuming a unity, at the same time make out that Being is generated from the unity as from matter, as do some physicists, but give a different explanation; for the physicists assume motion also, at any rate when explaining the generation of the universe; but these thinkers hold that it is immovable. Nevertheless thus much is pertinent to our present inquiry. It appears that Parmenides conceived of the Unity as one in definition, 20 but Melissu as materially one. Hence the former says that it is finite, and the latter that it is infinite. But Xenophanes, the first exponent of the Unity (for Parmenides is said to have been his disciple), gave no definite teaching, nor does he seem to have grasped either of these conceptions of unity; but regarding the whole material universe he stated that the Unity is God. This school then, as we have said, may be disregarded for the purposes of our present inquiry; two of them, Xenophanes and Melissus, may be completely ignored, as being somewhat too crude in their views. Parmenides, however, seems to speak with rather more insight. For holding as he does that Not-being, as contrasted with Being, is nothing, he necessarily supposes that Being is one and that there is nothing else (we have discussed this point in greater detail in the Physics); but being compelled to accord with phenomena, and assuming that Being is one in definition but many in respect of sensation, he posits in his turn two causes, i.e. two first principles, Hot and Cold; or in other words, Fire and Earth. 987a 1 Of these he ranks Hot under Being and the other under Not-being. Aristotle. Aristotle in 23 Volumes, Vols.17, 18, translated by Hugh Tredennick. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1933, 1989.
Summary of changes
. Last changed: 2013/12/27 21:27