1. Everything which changes does so in one of three senses. It may change (1) accidentally, as for instance when we say that something musical walks, that which walks being something in which aptitude for music is an accident. Again (2) a thing is said without qualification to change because something belonging to it changes, i.e. in statements which refer to part of the thing in question: thus the body is restored to health because the eye or the chest, that is to say a part of the whole body, is restored to health. And above all there is (3) the case of a thing which is in motion neither accidentally nor in respect of something else belonging to it, but in virtue of being itself directly in motion. Here we have a thing which is essentially movable: and that which is so is a different thing according to the particular variety of motion: for instance it may be a thing capable of alteration: and within the sphere of alteration it is again a different thing according as it is capable of being restored to health or capable of being heated. And there are the same distinctions in the case of the mover: (1) one thing causes motion accidentally, (2) another partially (because something belonging to it causes motion), (3) another of itself directly, as, for instance, the physician heals, the hand strikes. We have, then, the following factors: (a) on the one hand that which directly causes motion, and (b) on the other hand that which is in motion: further, we have (c) that in which motion takes place, namely time, and (distinct from these three) (d) that from which and (e) that to which it proceeds: for every motion proceeds from something and to something, that which is directly in motion being distinct from that to which it is in motion and that from which it is in motion: for instance, we may take the three things ‘wood’, ‘hot’, and ‘cold’, of which the first is that which is in motion, the second is that to which the motion proceeds, and the third is that from which it proceeds. This being so, it is clear that the motion is in the wood, not in its form: for the motion is neither caused nor experienced by the form or the place or the quantity. So we are left with a mover, a moved, and a goal of motion. I do not include the starting-point of motion: for it is the goal rather than the starting-point of motion that gives its name to a particular process of change. Thus ‘perishing’ is change to not-being, though it is also true that that that which perishes changes from being: and ‘becoming’ is change to being, though it is also change from not-being.
Now a definition of motion has been given above, from which it will be seen that every goal of motion, whether it be a form, an affection, or a place, is immovable, as, for instance, knowledge and heat. Here, however, a difficulty may be raised. Affections, it may be said, are motions, and whiteness is an affection: thus there may be change to a motion. To this we may reply that it is not whiteness but whitening that is a motion. Here also the same distinctions are to be observed: a goal of motion may be so accidentally, or partially and with reference to something other than itself, or directly and with no reference to anything else: for instance, a thing which is becoming white changes accidentally to an object of thought, the color being only accidentally the object of thought; it changes to color, because white is a part of color, or to Europe, because Athens is a part of Europe; but it changes essentially to white color. It is now clear in what sense a thing is in motion essentially, accidentally, or in respect of something other than itself, and in what sense the phrase ‘itself directly’ is used in the case both of the mover and of the moved: and it is also clear that the motion is not in the form but in that which is in motion, that is to say ‘the movable in activity’. Now accidental change we may leave out of account: for it is to be found in everything, at any time, and in any respect. Change which is not accidental on the other hand is not to be found in everything, but only in contraries, in things intermediate between contraries, and in contradictories, as may be proved by induction. An intermediate may be a starting-point of change, since for the purposes of the change it serves as contrary to either of two contraries: for the intermediate is in a sense the extremes. Hence we speak of the intermediate as in a sense a contrary relatively to the extremes and of either extreme as a contrary relatively to the intermediate: for instance, the central note is low relatively to the highest and high relatively to the lowest, and grey is light relatively to black and dark relatively to white.
And since every change is from something to something—as the word itself (metabole) indicates, implying something ‘after’ (meta) something else, that is to say something earlier and something later—that which changes must change in one of four ways: from subject to subject, from subject to non-subject, from non-subject to subject, or from non-subject to non-subject, where by ‘subject’ I mean what is affirmatively expressed. So it follows necessarily from what has been said above that there are only three kinds of change, that from subject to subject, that from subject to non-subject, and that from non-subject to subject: for the fourth conceivable kind, that from non-subject to non-subject, is not change, as in that case there is no opposition either of contraries or of contradictories.
Now change from non-subject to subject, the relation being that of contradiction, is ‘coming to be’—’unqualified coming to be’ when the change takes place in an unqualified way, ‘particular coming to be’ when the change is change in a particular character: for instance, a change from not-white to white is a coming to be of the particular thing, white, while change from unqualified not-being to being is coming to be in an unqualified way, in respect of which we say that a thing ‘comes to be’ without qualification, not that it ‘comes to be’ some particular thing. Change from subject to non-subject is ‘perishing’—’unqualified perishing’ when the change is from being to not-being, ‘particular perishing’ when the change is to the opposite negation, the distinction being the same as that made in the case of coming to be.
Now the expression ‘not-being’ is used in several senses: and there can be motion neither of that which ‘is not’ in respect of the affirmation or negation of a predicate, nor of that which ‘is not’ in the sense that it only potentially ‘is’, that is to say the opposite of that which actually ‘is’ in an unqualified sense: for although that which is ‘not-white’ or ‘not-good’ may nevertheless he in motion accidentally (for example that which is ‘not-white’ might be a man), yet that which is without qualification ‘not-so-and-so’ cannot in any sense be in motion: therefore it is impossible for that which is not to be in motion. This being so, it follows that ‘becoming’ cannot be a motion: for it is that which ‘is not’ that ‘becomes’. For however true it may be that it accidentally ‘becomes’, it is nevertheless correct to say that it is that which ‘is not’ that in an unqualified sense ‘becomes’. And similarly it is impossible for that which ‘is not’ to be at rest.
There are these difficulties, then, in the way of the assumption that that which ‘is not’ can be in motion: and it may be further objected that, whereas everything which is in motion is in space, that which ‘is not’ is not in space: for then it would be somewhere.
So, too, ‘perishing’ is not a motion: for a motion has for its contrary either another motion or rest, whereas ‘perishing’ is the contrary of ‘becoming’.
Since, then, every motion is a kind of change, and there are only the three kinds of change mentioned above, and since of these three those which take the form of ‘becoming’ and ‘perishing’, that is to say those which imply a relation of contradiction, are not motions: it necessarily follows that only change from subject to subject is motion. And every such subject is either a contrary or an intermediate (for a privation may be allowed to rank as a contrary) and can be affirmatively expressed, as naked, toothless, or black. If, then, the categories are severally distinguished as Being, Quality, Place, Time, Relation, Quantity, and Activity or Passivity, it necessarily follows that there are three kinds of motion—qualitative, quantitative, and local.
2. In respect of Substance there is no motion, because Substance has no contrary among things that are. Nor is there motion in respect of Relation: for it may happen that when one correlative changes, the other, although this does not itself change, is no longer applicable, so that in these cases the motion is accidental. Nor is there motion in respect of Agent and Patient—in fact there can never be motion of mover and moved, because there cannot be motion of motion or becoming of becoming or in general change of change.
For in the first place there are two senses in which motion of motion is conceivable. (1) The motion of which there is motion might be conceived as subject; e.g. a man is in motion because he changes from fair to dark. Can it be that in this sense motion grows hot or cold, or changes place, or increases or decreases? Impossible: for change is not a subject. Or (2) can there be motion of motion in the sense that some other subject changes from a change to another mode of being, as e.g. a man changes from falling ill to getting well? Even this is possible only in an accidental sense. For, whatever the subject may be, movement is change from one form to another. (And the same holds good of becoming and perishing, except that in these processes we have a change to a particular kind of opposite, while the other, motion, is a change to a different kind.) So, if there is to be motion of motion, that which is changing from health to sickness must simultaneously be changing from this very change to another. It is clear, then, that by the time that it has become sick, it must also have changed to whatever may be the other change concerned (for that it should be at rest, though logically possible, is excluded by the theory). Moreover this other can never be any casual change, but must be a change from something definite to some other definite thing. So in this case it must be the opposite change, viz. convalescence. It is only accidentally that there can be change of change, e.g. there is a change from remembering to forgetting only because the subject of this change changes at one time to knowledge, at another to ignorance.
In the second place, if there is to be change of change and becoming of becoming, we shall have an infinite regress. Thus if one of a series of changes is to be a change of change, the preceding change must also be so: e.g. if simple becoming was ever in process of becoming, then that which was becoming simple becoming was also in process of becoming, so that we should not yet have arrived at what was in process of simple becoming but only at what was already in process of becoming in process of becoming. And this again was sometime in process of becoming, so that even then we should not have arrived at what was in process of simple becoming. And since in an infinite series there is no first term, here there will be no first stage and therefore no following stage either. On this hypothesis, then, nothing can become or be moved or change.
Thirdly, if a thing is capable of any particular motion, it is also capable of the corresponding contrary motion or the corresponding coming to rest, and a thing that is capable of becoming is also capable of perishing: consequently, if there be becoming of becoming, that which is in process of becoming is in process of perishing at the very moment when it has reached the stage of becoming: since it cannot be in process of perishing when it is just beginning to become or after it has ceased to become: for that which is in process of perishing must be in existence.
Fourthly, there must be a substrate underlying all processes of becoming and changing. What can this be in the present case? It is either the body or the soul that undergoes alteration: what is it that correspondingly becomes motion or becoming? And again what is the goal of their motion? It must be the motion or becoming of something from something to something else. But in what sense can this be so? For the becoming of learning cannot be learning: so neither can the becoming of becoming be becoming, nor can the becoming of any process be that process.
Finally, since there are three kinds of motion, the substratum and the goal of motion must be one or other of these, e.g. locomotion will have to be altered or to be locally moved.
To sum up, then, since everything that is moved is moved in one of three ways, either accidentally, or partially, or essentially, change can change only accidentally, as e.g. when a man who is being restored to health runs or learns: and accidental change we have long ago decided to leave out of account.
Since, then, motion can belong neither to Being nor to Relation nor to Agent and Patient, it remains that there can be motion only in respect of Quality, Quantity, and Place: for with each of these we have a pair of contraries. Motion in respect of Quality let us call alteration, a general designation that is used to include both contraries: and by Quality I do not here mean a property of substance (in that sense that which constitutes a specific distinction is a quality) but a passive quality in virtue of which a thing is said to be acted on or to be incapable of being acted on. Motion in respect of Quantity has no name that includes both contraries, but it is called increase or decrease according as one or the other is designated: that is to say motion in the direction of complete magnitude is increase, motion in the contrary direction is decrease. Motion in respect of Place has no name either general or particular: but we may designate it by the general name of locomotion, though strictly the term ‘locomotion’ is applicable to things that change their place only when they have not the power to come to a stand, and to things that do not move themselves locally.
Change within the same kind from a lesser to a greater or from a greater to a lesser degree is alteration: for it is motion either from a contrary or to a contrary, whether in an unqualified or in a qualified sense: for change to a lesser degree of a quality will be called change to the contrary of that quality, and change to a greater degree of a quality will be regarded as change from the contrary of that quality to the quality itself. It makes no difference whether the change be qualified or unqualified, except that in the former case the contraries will have to be contrary to one another only in a qualified sense: and a thing’s possessing a quality in a greater or in a lesser degree means the presence or absence in it of more or less of the opposite quality. It is now clear, then, that there are only these three kinds of motion.
The term ‘immovable’ we apply in the first place to that which is absolutely incapable of being moved (just as we correspondingly apply the term invisible to sound); in the second place to that which is moved with difficulty after a long time or whose movement is slow at the start—in fact, what we describe as hard to move; and in the third place to that which is naturally designed for and capable of motion, but is not in motion when, where, and as it naturally would be so. This last is the only kind of immovable thing of which I use the term ‘being at rest’: for rest is contrary to motion, so that rest will be negation of motion in that which is capable of admitting motion.
The foregoing remarks are sufficient to explain the essential nature of motion and rest, the number of kinds of change, and the different varieties of motion.
3. Let us now proceed to define the terms ‘together’ and ‘apart’, ‘in contact’, ‘between’, ‘in succession’, ‘contiguous’, and ‘continuous’, and to show in what circumstances each of these terms is naturally applicable.
Things are said to be together in place when they are in one place (in the strictest sense of the word ‘place’) and to be apart when they are in different places.
Things are said to be in contact when their extremities are together.
That which a changing thing, if it changes continuously in a natural manner, naturally reaches before it reaches that to which it changes last, is between. Thus ‘between’ implies the presence of at least three things: for in a process of change it is the contrary that is ‘last’: and a thing is moved continuously if it leaves no gap or only the smallest possible gap in the material—not in the time (for a gap in the time does not prevent things having a ‘between’, while, on the other hand, there is nothing to prevent the highest note sounding immediately after the lowest) but in the material in which the motion takes place. This is manifestly true not only in local changes but in every other kind as well. (Now every change implies a pair of opposites, and opposites may be either contraries or contradictories; since then contradiction admits of no mean term, it is obvious that ‘between’ must imply a pair of contraries) That is locally contrary which is most distant in a straight line: for the shortest line is definitely limited, and that which is definitely limited constitutes a measure.
A thing is ‘in succession’ when it is after the beginning in position or in form or in some other respect in which it is definitely so regarded, and when further there is nothing of the same kind as itself between it and that to which it is in succession, e.g. a line or lines if it is a line, a unit or units if it is a unit, a house if it is a house (there is nothing to prevent something of a different kind being between). For that which is in succession is in succession to a particular thing, and is something posterior: for one is not ‘in succession’ to two, nor is the first day of the month to the second: in each case the latter is ‘in succession’ to the former.
A thing that is in succession and touches is ‘contiguous’. The ‘continuous’ is a subdivision of the contiguous: things are called continuous when the touching limits of each become one and the same and are, as the word implies, contained in each other: continuity is impossible if these extremities are two. This definition makes it plain that continuity belongs to things that naturally in virtue of their mutual contact form a unity. And in whatever way that which holds them together is one, so too will the whole be one, e.g. by a rivet or glue or contact or organic union.
It is obvious that of these terms ‘in succession’ is first in order of analysis: for that which touches is necessarily in succession, but not everything that is in succession touches: and so succession is a property of things prior in definition, e.g. numbers, while contact is not. And if there is continuity there is necessarily contact, but if there is contact, that alone does not imply continuity: for the extremities of things may be ‘together’ without necessarily being one: but they cannot be one without being necessarily together. So natural junction is last in coming to be: for the extremities must necessarily come into contact if they are to be naturally joined: but things that are in contact are not all naturally joined, while there is no contact clearly there is no natural junction either. Hence, if as some say ‘point’ and ‘unit’ have an independent existence of their own, it is impossible for the two to be identical: for points can touch while units can only be in succession. Moreover, there can always be something between points (for all lines are intermediate between points), whereas it is not necessary that there should possibly be anything between units: for there can be nothing between the numbers one and two.
We have now defined what is meant by ‘together’ and ‘apart’, ‘contact’, ‘between’ and ‘in succession’, ‘contiguous’ and ‘continuous’: and we have shown in what circumstances each of these terms is applicable.
4. There are many senses in which motion is said to be ‘one’: for we use the term ‘one’ in many senses.
Motion is one generically according to the different categories to which it may be assigned: thus any locomotion is one generically with any other locomotion, whereas alteration is different generically from locomotion.
Motion is one specifically when besides being one generically it also takes place in a species incapable of subdivision: e.g. color has specific differences: therefore blackening and whitening differ specifically; but at all events every whitening will be specifically the same with every other whitening and every blackening with every other blackening. But white is not further subdivided by specific differences: hence any whitening is specifically one with any other whitening. Where it happens that the genus is at the same time a species, it is clear that the motion will then in a sense be one specifically though not in an unqualified sense: learning is an example of this, knowledge being on the one hand a species of apprehension and on the other hand a genus including the various knowledges. A difficulty, however, may be raised as to whether a motion is specifically one when the same thing changes from the same to the same, e.g. when one point changes again and again from a particular place to a particular place: if this motion is specifically one, circular motion will be the same as rectilinear motion, and rolling the same as walking. But is not this difficulty removed by the principle already laid down that if that in which the motion takes place is specifically different (as in the present instance the circular path is specifically different from the straight) the motion itself is also different? We have explained, then, what is meant by saying that motion is one generically or one specifically.
Motion is one in an unqualified sense when it is one essentially or numerically: and the following distinctions will make clear what this kind of motion is. There are three classes of things in connection with which we speak of motion, the ‘that which’, the ‘that in which’, and the ‘that during which’. I mean that there must be something that is in motion, e.g. a man or gold, and it must be in motion in something, e.g. a place or an affection, and during something, for all motion takes place during a time. Of these three it is the thing in which the motion takes place that makes it one generically or specifically, it is the thing moved that makes the motion one in subject, and it is the time that makes it consecutive: but it is the three together that make it one without qualification: to effect this, that in which the motion takes place (the species) must be one and incapable of subdivision, that during which it takes place (the time) must be one and unintermittent, and that which is in motion must be one—not in an accidental sense (i.e. it must be one as the white that blackens is one or Coriscus who walks is one, not in the accidental sense in which Coriscus and white may be one), nor merely in virtue of community of nature (for there might be a case of two men being restored to health at the same time in the same way, e.g. from inflammation of the eye, yet this motion is not really one, but only specifically one).
Suppose, however, that Socrates undergoes an alteration specifically the same but at one time and again at another: in this case if it is possible for that which ceased to be again to come into being and remain numerically the same, then this motion too will be one: otherwise it will be the same but not one. And akin to this difficulty there is another; viz. is health one? and generally are the states and affections in bodies severally one in essence although (as is clear) the things that contain them are obviously in motion and in flux? Thus if a person’s health at daybreak and at the present moment is one and the same, why should not this health be numerically one with that which he recovers after an interval? The same argument applies in each case. There is, however, we may answer, this difference: that if the states are two then it follows simply from this fact that the activities must also in point of number be two (for only that which is numerically one can give rise to an activity that is numerically one), but if the state is one, this is not in itself enough to make us regard the activity also as one: for when a man ceases walking, the walking no longer is, but it will again be if he begins to walk again. But, be this as it may, if in the above instance the health is one and the same, then it must be possible for that which is one and the same to come to be and to cease to be many times. However, these difficulties lie outside our present inquiry.
Since every motion is continuous, a motion that is one in an unqualified sense must (since every motion is divisible) be continuous, and a continuous motion must be one. There will not be continuity between any motion and any other indiscriminately any more than there is between any two things chosen at random in any other sphere: there can be continuity only when the extremities of the two things are one. Now some things have no extremities at all: and the extremities of others differ specifically although we give them the same name of ‘end’: how should e.g. the ‘end’ of a line and the ‘end’ of walking touch or come to be one? Motions that are not the same either specifically or generically may, it is true, be consecutive (e.g. a man may run and then at once fall ill of a fever), and again, in the torch-race we have consecutive but not continuous locomotion: for according to our definition there can be continuity only when the ends of the two things are one. Hence motions may be consecutive or successive in virtue of the time being continuous, but there can be continuity only in virtue of the motions themselves being continuous, that is when the end of each is one with the end of the other. Motion, therefore, that is in an unqualified sense continuous and one must be specifically the same, of one thing, and in one time. Unity is required in respect of time in order that there may be no interval of immobility, for where there is intermission of motion there must be rest, and a motion that includes intervals of rest will be not one but many, so that a motion that is interrupted by stationariness is not one or continuous, and it is so interrupted if there is an interval of time. And though of a motion that is not specifically one (even if the time is unintermittent) the time is one, the motion is specifically different, and so cannot really be one, for motion that is one must be specifically one, though motion that is specifically one is not necessarily one in an unqualified sense. We have now explained what we mean when we call a motion one without qualification.
Further, a motion is also said to be one generically, specifically, or essentially when it is complete, just as in other cases completeness and wholeness are characteristics of what is one: and sometimes a motion even if incomplete is said to be one, provided only that it is continuous.
And besides the cases already mentioned there is another in which a motion is said to be one, viz. when it is regular: for in a sense a motion that is irregular is not regarded as one, that title belonging rather to that which is regular, as a straight line is regular, the irregular being as such divisible. But the difference would seem to be one of degree. In every kind of motion we may have regularity or irregularity: thus there may be regular alteration, and locomotion in a regular path, e.g. in a circle or on a straight line, and it is the same with regard to increase and decrease. The difference that makes a motion irregular is sometimes to be found in its path: thus a motion cannot be regular if its path is an irregular magnitude, e.g. a broken line, a spiral, or any other magnitude that is not such that any part of it taken at random fits on to any other that may be chosen. Sometimes it is found neither in the place nor in the time nor in the goal but in the manner of the motion: for in some cases the motion is differentiated by quickness and slowness: thus if its velocity is uniform a motion is regular, if not it is irregular. So quickness and slowness are not species of motion nor do they constitute specific differences of motion, because this distinction occurs in connection with all the distinct species of motion. The same is true of heaviness and lightness when they refer to the same thing: e.g. they do not specifically distinguish earth from itself or fire from itself. Irregular motion, therefore, while in virtue of being continuous it is one, is so in a lesser degree, as is the case with locomotion in a broken line: and a lesser degree of something always means an admixture of its contrary. And since every motion that is one can be both regular and irregular, motions that are consecutive but not specifically the same cannot be one and continuous: for how should a motion composed of alteration and locomotion be regular? If a motion is to be regular its parts ought to fit one another.
5. We have further to determine what motions are contrary to each other, and to determine similarly how it is with rest. And we have first to decide whether contrary motions are motions respectively from and to the same thing, e.g. a motion from health and a motion to health (where the opposition, it would seem, is of the same kind as that between coming to be and ceasing to be); or motions respectively from contraries, e.g. a motion from health and a motion from disease; or motions respectively to contraries, e.g. a motion to health and a motion to disease; or motions respectively from a contrary and to the opposite contrary, e.g. a motion from health and a motion to disease; or motions respectively from a contrary to the opposite contrary and from the latter to the former, e.g. a motion from health to disease and a motion from disease to health: for motions must be contrary to one another in one or more of these ways, as there is no other way in which they can be opposed.
Now motions respectively from a contrary and to the opposite contrary, e.g. a motion from health and a motion to disease, are not contrary motions: for they are one and the same. (Yet their essence is not the same, just as changing from health is different from changing to disease.) Nor are motion respectively from a contrary and from the opposite contrary contrary motions, for a motion from a contrary is at the same time a motion to a contrary or to an intermediate (of this, however, we shall speak later), but changing to a contrary rather than changing from a contrary would seem to be the cause of the contrariety of motions, the latter being the loss, the former the gain, of contrariness. Moreover, each several motion takes its name rather from the goal than from the starting-point of change, e.g. motion to health we call convalescence, motion to disease sickening. Thus we are left with motions respectively to contraries, and motions respectively to contraries from the opposite contraries. Now it would seem that motions to contraries are at the same time motions from contraries (though their essence may not be the same; ‘to health’ is distinct, I mean, from ‘from disease’, and ‘from health’ from ‘to disease’).
Since then change differs from motion (motion being change from a particular subject to a particular subject), it follows that contrary motions are motions respectively from a contrary to the opposite contrary and from the latter to the former, e.g. a motion from health to disease and a motion from disease to health. Moreover, the consideration of particular examples will also show what kinds of processes are generally recognized as contrary: thus falling ill is regarded as contrary to recovering one’s health, these processes having contrary goals, and being taught as contrary to being led into error by another, it being possible to acquire error, like knowledge, either by one’s own agency or by that of another. Similarly we have upward locomotion and downward locomotion, which are contrary lengthwise, locomotion to the right and locomotion to the left, which are contrary breadthwise, and forward locomotion and backward locomotion, which too are contraries. On the other hand, a process simply to a contrary, e.g. that denoted by the expression ‘becoming white’, where no starting-point is specified, is a change but not a motion. And in all cases of a thing that has no contrary we have as contraries change from and change to the same thing. Thus coming to be is contrary to ceasing to be, and losing to gaining. But these are changes and not motions. And wherever a pair of contraries admit of an intermediate, motions to that intermediate must be held to be in a sense motions to one or other of the contraries: for the intermediate serves as a contrary for the purposes of the motion, in whichever direction the change may be, e.g. grey in a motion from grey to white takes the place of black as starting-point, in a motion from white to grey it takes the place of black as goal, and in a motion from black to grey it takes the place of white as goal: for the middle is opposed in a sense to either of the extremes, as has been said above. Thus we see that two motions are contrary to each other only when one is a motion from a contrary to the opposite contrary and the other is a motion from the latter to the former.
6. But since a motion appears to have contrary to it not only another motion but also a state of rest, we must determine how this is so. A motion has for its contrary in the strict sense of the term another motion, but it also has for an opposite a state of rest (for rest is the privation of motion and the privation of anything may be called its contrary), and motion of one kind has for its opposite rest of that kind, e.g. local motion has local rest. This statement, however, needs further qualification: there remains the question, is the opposite of remaining at a particular place motion from or motion to that place? It is surely clear that since there are two subjects between which motion takes place, motion from one of these (A) to its contrary (B) has for its opposite remaining in A while the reverse motion has for its opposite remaining in B. At the same time these two are also contrary to each other: for it would be absurd to suppose that there are contrary motions and not opposite states of rest. States of rest in contraries are opposed. To take an example, a state of rest in health is (1) contrary to a state of rest in disease, and (2) the motion to which it is contrary is that from health to disease. For (2) it would be absurd that its contrary motion should be that from disease to health, since motion to that in which a thing is at rest is rather a coming to rest, the coming to rest being found to come into being simultaneously with the motion; and one of these two motions it must be. And (1) rest in whiteness is of course not contrary to rest in health.
Of all things that have no contraries there are opposite changes (viz. change from the thing and change to the thing, e.g. change from being and change to being), but no motion. So, too, of such things there is no remaining though there is absence of change. Should there be a particular subject, absence of change in its being will be contrary to absence of change in its not-being. And here a difficulty may be raised: if not-being is not a particular something, what is it, it may be asked, that is contrary to absence of change in a thing’s being? and is this absence of change a state of rest? If it is, then either it is not true that every state of rest is contrary to a motion or else coming to be and ceasing to be are motion. It is clear then that, since we exclude these from among motions, we must not say that this absence of change is a state of rest: we must say that it is similar to a state of rest and call it absence of change. And it will have for its contrary either nothing or absence of change in the thing’s not-being, or the ceasing to be of the thing: for such ceasing to be is change from it and the thing’s coming to be is change to it.
Again, a further difficulty may be raised. How is it, it may be asked, that whereas in local change both remaining and moving may be natural or unnatural, in the other changes this is not so? e.g. alteration is not now natural and now unnatural, for convalescence is no more natural or unnatural than falling ill, whitening no more natural or unnatural than blackening; so, too, with increase and decrease: these are not contrary to each other in the sense that either of them is natural while the other is unnatural, nor is one increase contrary to another in this sense; and the same account may be given of becoming and perishing: it is not true that becoming is natural and perishing unnatural (for growing old is natural), nor do we observe one becoming to be natural and another unnatural. We answer that if what happens under violence is unnatural, then violent perishing is unnatural and as such contrary to natural perishing. Are there then also some becomings that are violent and not the result of natural necessity, and are therefore contrary to natural becomings, and violent increases and decreases, e.g. the rapid growth to maturity of profligates and the rapid ripening of seeds even when not packed close in the earth? And how is it with alterations? Surely just the same: we may say that some alterations are violent while others are natural, e.g. patients alter naturally or unnaturally according as they throw off fevers on the critical days or not. But, it may be objected, then we shall have perishings contrary to one another, not to becoming. Certainly: and why should not this in a sense be so? Thus it is so if one perishing is pleasant and another painful: and so one perishing will be contrary to another not in an unqualified sense, but in so far as one has this quality and the other that.
Now motions and states of rest universally exhibit contrariety in the manner described above, e.g. upward motion and rest above are respectively contrary to downward motion and rest below, these being instances of local contrariety; and upward locomotion belongs naturally to fire and downward to earth, i.e. the locomotions of the two are contrary to each other. And again, fire moves up naturally and down unnaturally: and its natural motion is certainly contrary to its unnatural motion. Similarly with remaining: remaining above is contrary to motion from above downwards, and to earth this remaining comes unnaturally, this motion naturally. So the unnatural remaining of a thing is contrary to its natural motion, just as we find a similar contrariety in the motion of the same thing: one of its motions, the upward or the downward, will be natural, the other unnatural.
Here, however, the question arises, has every state of rest that is not permanent a becoming, and is this becoming a coming to a standstill? If so, there must be a becoming of that which is at rest unnaturally, e.g. of earth at rest above: and therefore this earth during the time that it was being carried violently upward was coming to a standstill. But whereas the velocity of that which comes to a standstill seems always to increase, the velocity of that which is carried violently seems always to decrease: so it will he in a state of rest without having become so. Moreover ‘coming to a standstill’ is generally recognized to be identical or at least concomitant with the locomotion of a thing to its proper place.
There is also another difficulty involved in the view that remaining in a particular place is contrary to motion from that place. For when a thing is moving from or discarding something, it still appears to have that which is being discarded, so that if a state of rest is itself contrary to the motion from the state of rest to its contrary, the contraries rest and motion will be simultaneously predicable of the same thing. May we not say, however, that in so far as the thing is still stationary it is in a state of rest in a qualified sense? For, in fact, whenever a thing is in motion, part of it is at the starting-point while part is at the goal to which it is changing: and consequently a motion finds its true contrary rather in another motion than in a state of rest.
With regard to motion and rest, then, we have now explained in what sense each of them is one and under what conditions they exhibit contrariety.
With regard to coming to a standstill the question may be raised whether there is an opposite state of rest to unnatural as well as to natural motions. It would be absurd if this were not the case: for a thing may remain still merely under violence: thus we shall have a thing being in a non-permanent state of rest without having become so. But it is clear that it must be the case: for just as there is unnatural motion, so, too, a thing may be in an unnatural state of rest. Further, some things have a natural and an unnatural motion, e.g. fire has a natural upward motion and an unnatural downward motion: is it, then, this unnatural downward motion or is it the natural downward motion of earth that is contrary to the natural upward motion? Surely it is clear that both are contrary to it though not in the same sense: the natural motion of earth is contrary inasmuch as the motion of fire is also natural, whereas the upward motion of fire as being natural is contrary to the downward motion of fire as being unnatural. The same is true of the corresponding cases of remaining. But there would seem to be a sense in which a state of rest and a motion are opposites.
1. Now if the terms ‘continuous’, ‘in contact’, and ‘in succession’ are understood as defined above—things being ‘continuous’ if their extremities are one, ‘in contact’ if their extremities are together, and ‘in succession’ if there is nothing of their own kind intermediate between them—nothing that is continuous can be composed ‘of indivisibles’: e.g. a line cannot be composed of points, the line being continuous and the point indivisible. For the extremities of two points can neither be one (since of an indivisible there can be no extremity as distinct from some other part) nor together (since that which has no parts can have no extremity, the extremity and the thing of which it is the extremity being distinct).
Moreover, if that which is continuous is composed of points, these points must be either continuous or in contact with one another: and the same reasoning applies in the case of all indivisibles. Now for the reason given above they cannot be continuous: and one thing can be in contact with another only if whole is in contact with whole or part with part or part with whole. But since indivisibles have no parts, they must be in contact with one another as whole with whole. And if they are in contact with one another as whole with whole, they will not be continuous: for that which is continuous has distinct parts: and these parts into which it is divisible are different in this way, i.e. spatially separate.
Nor, again, can a point be in succession to a point or a moment to a moment in such a way that length can be composed of points or time of moments: for things are in succession if there is nothing of their own kind intermediate between them, whereas that which is intermediate between points is always a line and that which is intermediate between moments is always a period of time.
Again, if length and time could thus be composed of indivisibles, they could be divided into indivisibles, since each is divisible into the parts of which it is composed. But, as we saw, no continuous thing is divisible into things without parts. Nor can there be anything of any other kind intermediate between the parts or between the moments: for if there could be any such thing it is clear that it must be either indivisible or divisible, and if it is divisible, it must be divisible either into indivisibles or into divisibles that are infinitely divisible, in which case it is continuous.
Moreover, it is plain that everything continuous is divisible into divisibles that are infinitely divisible: for if it were divisible into indivisibles, we should have an indivisible in contact with an indivisible, since the extremities of things that are continuous with one another are one and are in contact.
The same reasoning applies equally to magnitude, to time, and to motion: either all of these are composed of indivisibles and are divisible into indivisibles, or none. This may be made clear as follows. If a magnitude is composed of indivisibles, the motion over that magnitude must be composed of corresponding indivisible motions: e.g. if the magnitude ABG is composed of the indivisibles A, B, G, each corresponding part of the motion DEZ of O over ABG is indivisible. Therefore, since where there is motion there must be something that is in motion, and where there is something in motion there must be motion, therefore the being-moved will also be composed of indivisibles. So O traversed A when its motion was D, B when its motion was E, and G similarly when its motion was Z. Now a thing that is in motion from one place to another cannot at the moment when it was in motion both be in motion and at the same time have completed its motion at the place to which it was in motion: e.g. if a man is walking to Thebes, he cannot be walking to Thebes and at the same time have completed his walk to Thebes: and, as we saw, O traverses the partless section A in virtue of the presence of the motion D. Consequently, if O actually passed through A after being in process of passing through, the motion must be divisible: for at the time when O was passing through, it neither was at rest nor had completed its passage but was in an intermediate state: while if it is passing through and has completed its passage at the same moment, then that which is walking will at the moment when it is walking have completed its walk and will be in the place to which it is walking; that is to say, it will have completed its motion at the place to which it is in motion. And if a thing is in motion over the whole ABG and its motion is the three D, E, and Z, and if it is not in motion at all over the partless section A but has completed its motion over it, then the motion will consist not of motions but of starts, and will take place by a thing’s having completed a motion without being in motion: for on this assumption it has completed its passage through A without passing through it. So it will be possible for a thing to have completed a walk without ever walking: for on this assumption it has completed a walk over a particular distance without walking over that distance. Since, then, everything must be either at rest or in motion, and O is therefore at rest in each of the sections A, B, and G, it follows that a thing can be continuously at rest and at the same time in motion: for, as we saw, O is in motion over the whole ABG and at rest in any part (and consequently in the whole) of it. Moreover, if the indivisibles composing DEZ are motions, it would be possible for a thing in spite of the presence in it of motion to be not in motion but at rest, while if they are not motions, it would be possible for motion to be composed of something other than motions.
And if length and motion are thus indivisible, it is neither more nor less necessary that time also be similarly indivisible, that is to say be composed of indivisible moments: for if the whole distance is divisible and an equal velocity will cause a thing to pass through less of it in less time, the time must also be divisible, and conversely, if the time in which a thing is carried over the section A is divisible, this section A must also be divisible.
2. And since every magnitude is divisible into magnitudes—for we have shown that it is impossible for anything continuous to be composed of indivisible parts, and every magnitude is continuous—it necessarily follows that the quicker of two things traverses a greater magnitude in an equal time, an equal magnitude in less time, and a greater magnitude in less time, in conformity with the definition sometimes given of ‘the quicker’. Suppose that A is quicker than B. Now since of two things that which changes sooner is quicker, in the time ZH, in which A has changed from G to D, B will not yet have arrived at D but will be short of it: so that in an equal time the quicker will pass over a greater magnitude. More than this, it will pass over a greater magnitude in less time: for in the time in which A has arrived at D, B being the slower has arrived, let us say, at E. Then since A has occupied the whole time ZH in arriving at D, it will have arrived at O in less time than this, say ZK. Now the magnitude GO that A has passed over is greater than the magnitude GE, and the time ZK is less than the whole time ZH: so that the quicker will pass over a greater magnitude in less time. And from this it is also clear that the quicker will pass over an equal magnitude in less time than the slower. For since it passes over the greater magnitude in less time than the slower, and (regarded by itself) passes over LM the greater in more time than LX the lesser, the time PRh in which it passes over LM will be more than the time PS, which it passes over LX: so that, the time PRh being less than the time PCh in which the slower passes over LX, the time PS will also be less than the time PX: for it is less than the time PRh, and that which is less than something else that is less than a thing is also itself less than that thing. Hence it follows that the quicker will traverse an equal magnitude in less time than the slower. Again, since the motion of anything must always occupy either an equal time or less or more time in comparison with that of another thing, and since, whereas a thing is slower if its motion occupies more time and of equal velocity if its motion occupies an equal time, the quicker is neither of equal velocity nor slower, it follows that the motion of the quicker can occupy neither an equal time nor more time. It can only be, then, that it occupies less time, and thus we get the necessary consequence that the quicker will pass over an equal magnitude (as well as a greater) in less time than the slower.
And since every motion is in time and a motion may occupy any time, and the motion of everything that is in motion may be either quicker or slower, both quicker motion and slower motion may occupy any time: and this being so, it necessarily follows that time also is continuous. By continuous I mean that which is divisible into divisibles that are infinitely divisible: and if we take this as the definition of continuous, it follows necessarily that time is continuous. For since it has been shown that the quicker will pass over an equal magnitude in less time than the slower, suppose that A is quicker and B slower, and that the slower has traversed the magnitude GD in the time ZH. Now it is clear that the quicker will traverse the same magnitude in less time than this: let us say in the time ZO. Again, since the quicker has passed over the whole D in the time ZO, the slower will in the same time pass over GK, say, which is less than GD. And since B, the slower, has passed over GK in the time ZO, the quicker will pass over it in less time: so that the time ZO will again be divided. And if this is divided the magnitude GK will also be divided just as GD was: and again, if the magnitude is divided, the time will also be divided. And we can carry on this process for ever, taking the slower after the quicker and the quicker after the slower alternately, and using what has been demonstrated at each stage as a new point of departure: for the quicker will divide the time and the slower will divide the length. If, then, this alternation always holds good, and at every turn involves a division, it is evident that all time must be continuous. And at the same time it is clear that all magnitude is also continuous; for the divisions of which time and magnitude respectively are susceptible are the same and equal.
Moreover, the current popular arguments make it plain that, if time is continuous, magnitude is continuous also, inasmuch as a thing passes over half a given magnitude in half the time taken to cover the whole: in fact without qualification it passes over a less magnitude in less time; for the divisions of time and of magnitude will be the same. And if either is infinite, so is the other, and the one is so in the same way as the other; i.e. if time is infinite in respect of its extremities, length is also infinite in respect of its extremities: if time is infinite in respect of divisibility, length is also infinite in respect of divisibility: and if time is infinite in both respects, magnitude is also infinite in both respects.
Hence Zeno’s argument makes a false assumption in asserting that it is impossible for a thing to pass over or severally to come in contact with infinite things in a finite time. For there are two senses in which length and time and generally anything continuous are called ‘infinite’: they are called so either in respect of divisibility or in respect of their extremities. So while a thing in a finite time cannot come in contact with things quantitatively infinite, it can come in contact with things infinite in respect of divisibility: for in this sense the time itself is also infinite: and so we find that the time occupied by the passage over the infinite is not a finite but an infinite time, and the contact with the infinites is made by means of moments not finite but infinite in number.
The passage over the infinite, then, cannot occupy a finite time, and the passage over the finite cannot occupy an infinite time: if the time is infinite the magnitude must be infinite also, and if the magnitude is infinite, so also is the time. This may be shown as follows. Let AB be a finite magnitude, and let us suppose that it is traversed in infinite time G, and let a finite period GD of the time be taken. Now in this period the thing in motion will pass over a certain segment of the magnitude: let BE be the segment that it has thus passed over. (This will be either an exact measure of AB or less or greater than an exact measure: it makes no difference which it is.) Then, since a magnitude equal to BE will always be passed over in an equal time, and BE measures the whole magnitude, the whole time occupied in passing over AB will be finite: for it will be divisible into periods equal in number to the segments into which the magnitude is divisible. Moreover, if it is the case that infinite time is not occupied in passing over every magnitude, but it is possible to pass over some magnitude, say BE, in a finite time, and if this BE measures the whole of which it is a part, and if an equal magnitude is passed over in an equal time, then it follows that the time like the magnitude is finite. That infinite time will not be occupied in passing over BE is evident if the time be taken as limited in one direction: for as the part will be passed over in less time than the whole, the time occupied in traversing this part must be finite, the limit in one direction being given. The same reasoning will also show the falsity of the assumption that infinite length can be traversed in a finite time. It is evident, then, from what has been said that neither a line nor a surface nor in fact anything continuous can be indivisible.
This conclusion follows not only from the present argument but from the consideration that the opposite assumption implies the divisibility of the indivisible. For since the distinction of quicker and slower may apply to motions occupying any period of time and in an equal time the quicker passes over a greater length, it may happen that it will pass over a length twice, or one and a half times, as great as that passed over by the slower: for their respective velocities may stand to one another in this proportion. Suppose, then, that the quicker has in the same time been carried over a length one and a half times as great as that traversed by the slower, and that the respective magnitudes are divided, that of the quicker, the magnitude ABGD, into three indivisibles, and that of the slower into the two indivisibles EZ, ZH. Then the time may also be divided into three indivisibles, for an equal magnitude will be passed over in an equal time. Suppose then that it is thus divided into KL, LM, MN. Again, since in the same time the slower has been carried over EZ, ZH, the time may also be similarly divided into two. Thus the indivisible will be divisible, and that which has no parts will be passed over not in an indivisible but in a greater time. It is evident, therefore, that nothing continuous is without parts.
3. The present also is necessarily indivisible—the present, that is, not in the sense in which the word is applied to one thing in virtue of another, but in its proper and primary sense; in which sense it is inherent in all time. For the present is something that is an extremity of the past (no part of the future being on this side of it) and also of the future (no part of the past being on the other side of it): it is, as we have said, a limit of both. And if it is once shown that it is essentially of this character and one and the same, it will at once be evident also that it is indivisible.
Now the present that is the extremity of both times must be one and the same: for if each extremity were different, the one could not be in succession to the other, because nothing continuous can be composed of things having no parts: and if the one is apart from the other, there will be time intermediate between them, because everything continuous is such that there is something intermediate between its limits and described by the same name as itself. But if the intermediate thing is time, it will be divisible: for all time has been shown to be divisible. Thus on this assumption the present is divisible. But if the present is divisible, there will be part of the past in the future and part of the future in the past: for past time will be marked off from future time at the actual point of division. Also the present will be a present not in the proper sense but in virtue of something else: for the division which yields it will not be a division proper. Furthermore, there will be a part of the present that is past and a part that is future, and it will not always be the same part that is past or future: in fact one and the same present will not be simultaneous: for the time may be divided at many points. If, therefore, the present cannot possibly have these characteristics, it follows that it must be the same present that belongs to each of the two times. But if this is so it is evident that the present is also indivisible: for if it is divisible it will be involved in the same implications as before. It is clear, then, from what has been said that time contains something indivisible, and this is what we call a present.
We will now show that nothing can be in motion in a present. For if this is possible, there can be both quicker and slower motion in the present. Suppose then that in the present N the quicker has traversed the distance AB. That being so, the slower will in the same present traverse a distance less than AB, say AG. But since the slower will have occupied the whole present in traversing AG, the quicker will occupy less than this in traversing it. Thus we shall have a division of the present, whereas we found it to be indivisible. It is impossible, therefore, for anything to be in motion in a present.
Nor can anything be at rest in a present: for, as we were saying, that only can be at rest which is naturally designed to be in motion but is not in motion when, where, or as it would naturally be so: since, therefore, nothing is naturally designed to be in motion in a present, it is clear that nothing can be at rest in a present either.
Moreover, inasmuch as it is the same present that belongs to both the times, and it is possible for a thing to be in motion throughout one time and to be at rest throughout the other, and that which is in motion or at rest for the whole of a time will be in motion or at rest as the case may be in any part of it in which it is naturally designed to be in motion or at rest: this being so, the assumption that there can be motion or rest in a present will carry with it the implication that the same thing can at the same time be at rest and in motion: for both the times have the same extremity, viz. the present.
Again, when we say that a thing is at rest, we imply that its condition in whole and in part is at the time of speaking uniform with what it was previously: but the present contains no ‘previously’: consequently, there can be no rest in it.
It follows then that the motion of that which is in motion and the rest of that which is at rest must occupy time.
4. Further, everything that changes must be divisible. For since every change is from something to something, and when a thing is at the goal of its change it is no longer changing, and when both it itself and all its parts are at the starting-point of its change it is not changing (for that which is in whole and in part in an unvarying condition is not in a state of change); it follows, therefore, that part of that which is changing must be at the starting-point and part at the goal: for as a whole it cannot be in both or in neither. (Here by ‘goal of change’ I mean that which comes first in the process of change: e.g. in a process of change from white the goal in question will be grey, not black: for it is not necessary that that which is changing should be at either of the extremes.) It is evident, therefore, that everything that changes must be divisible.
Now motion is divisible in two senses. In the first place it is divisible in virtue of the time that it occupies. In the second place it is divisible according to the motions of the several parts of that which is in motion: e.g. if the whole AG is in motion, there will be a motion of AB and a motion of BG. That being so, let DE be the motion of the part AB and EZ the motion of the part BG. Then the whole DZ must be the motion of AG: for DZ must constitute the motion of AG inasmuch as DE and EZ severally constitute the motions of each of its parts. But the motion of a thing can never be constituted by the motion of something else: consequently the whole motion is the motion of the whole magnitude.
Again, since every motion is a motion of something, and the whole motion DZ is not the motion of either of the parts (for each of the parts DE, EZ is the motion of one of the parts AB, BG) or of anything else (for, the whole motion being the motion of a whole, the parts of the motion are the motions of the parts of that whole: and the parts of DZ are the motions of AB, BG and of nothing else: for, as we saw, a motion that is one cannot be the motion of more things than one): since this is so, the whole motion will be the motion of the magnitude ABG.
Again, if there is a motion of the whole other than DZ, say OI, the motion of each of the parts may be subtracted from it: and these motions will be equal to DE, EZ respectively: for the motion of that which is one must be one. So if the whole motion OI may be divided into the motions of the parts, OI will be equal to DZ: if on the other hand there is any remainder, say KI, this will be a motion of nothing: for it can be the motion neither of the whole nor of the parts (as the motion of that which is one must be one) nor of anything else: for a motion that is continuous must be the motion of things that are continuous. And the same result follows if the division of OI reveals a surplus on the side of the motions of the parts. Consequently, if this is impossible, the whole motion must be the same as and equal to DZ.
This then is what is meant by the division of motion according to the motions of the parts: and it must be applicable to everything that is divisible into parts.
Motion is also susceptible of another kind of division, that according to time. For since all motion is in time and all time is divisible, and in less time the motion is less, it follows that every motion must be divisible according to time. And since everything that is in motion is in motion in a certain sphere and for a certain time and has a motion belonging to it, it follows that the time, the motion, the being-in-motion, the thing that is in motion, and the sphere of the motion must all be susceptible of the same divisions (though spheres of motion are not all divisible in a like manner: thus quantity is essentially, quality accidentally divisible). For suppose that A is the time occupied by the motion B. Then if all the time has been occupied by the whole motion, it will take less of the motion to occupy half the time, less again to occupy a further subdivision of the time, and so on to infinity. Again, the time will be divisible similarly to the motion: for if the whole motion occupies all the time half the motion will occupy half the time, and less of the motion again will occupy less of the time.
In the same way the being-in-motion will also be divisible. For let G be the whole being-in-motion. Then the being-in-motion that corresponds to half the motion will be less than the whole being-in-motion, that which corresponds to a quarter of the motion will be less again, and so on to infinity. Moreover by setting out successively the being-in-motion corresponding to each of the two motions DG (say) and GE, we may argue that the whole being-in-motion will correspond to the whole motion (for if it were some other being-in-motion that corresponded to the whole motion, there would be more than one being-in-motion corresponding to the same motion), the argument being the same as that whereby we showed that the motion of a thing is divisible into the motions of the parts of the thing: for if we take separately the being-in-motion corresponding to each of the two motions, we shall see that the whole being-in-motion is continuous.
The same reasoning will show the divisibility of the length, and in fact of everything that forms a sphere of change (though some of these are only accidentally divisible because that which changes is so): for the division of one term will involve the division of all. So, too, in the matter of their being finite or infinite, they will all alike be either the one or the other. And we now see that in most cases the fact that all the terms are divisible or infinite is a direct consequence of the fact that the thing that changes is divisible or infinite: for the attributes ‘divisible’ and ‘infinite’ belong in the first instance to the thing that changes. That divisibility does so we have already shown: that infinity does so will be made clear in what follows.
5. Since everything that changes changes from something to something, that which has changed must at the moment when it has first changed be in that to which it has changed. For that which changes retires from or leaves that from which it changes: and leaving, if not identical with changing, is at any rate a consequence of it. And if leaving is a consequence of changing, having left is a consequence of having changed: for there is a like relation between the two in each case.
One kind of change, then, being change in a relation of contradiction, where a thing has changed from not-being to being it has left not-being. Therefore it will be in being: for everything must either be or not be. It is evident, then, that in contradictory change that which has changed must be in that to which it has changed. And if this is true in this kind of change, it will be true in all other kinds as well: for in this matter what holds good in the case of one will hold good likewise in the case of the rest.
Moreover, if we take each kind of change separately, the truth of our conclusion will be equally evident, on the ground that that which has changed must be somewhere or in something. For, since it has left that from which it has changed and must be somewhere, it must be either in that to which it has changed or in something else. If, then, that which has changed to B is in something other than B, say G, it must again be changing from G to B: for it cannot be assumed that there is no interval between G and B, since change is continuous. Thus we have the result that the thing that has changed, at the moment when it has changed, is changing to that to which it has changed, which is impossible: that which has changed, therefore, must be in that to which it has changed. So it is evident likewise that that which has come to be, at the moment when it has come to be, will be, and that which has ceased to be will not-be: for what we have said applies universally to every kind of change, and its truth is most obvious in the case of contradictory change. It is clear, then, that that which has changed, at the moment when it has first changed, is in that to which it has changed.
We will now show that the ‘primary when’ in which that which has changed effected the completion of its change must be indivisible, where by ‘primary’ I mean possessing the characteristics in question of itself and not in virtue of the possession of them by something else belonging to it. For let AG be divisible, and let it be divided at B. If then the completion of change has been effected in AB or again in BG, AG cannot be the primary thing in which the completion of change has been effected. If, on the other hand, it has been changing in both AB and BG (for it must either have changed or be changing in each of them), it must have been changing in the whole AG: but our assumption was that AG contains only the completion of the change. It is equally impossible to suppose that one part of AG contains the process and the other the completion of the change: for then we shall have something prior to what is primary. So that in which the completion of change has been effected must be indivisible. It is also evident, therefore, that that in which that which has ceased to be has ceased to be and that in which that which has come to be has come to be are indivisible.
But there are two senses of the expression ‘the primary when in which something has changed’. On the one hand it may mean the primary when containing the completion of the process of change — the moment when it is correct to say ‘it has changed’: on the other hand it may mean the primary when containing the beginning of the process of change. Now the primary when that has reference to the end of the change is something really existent: for a change may really be completed, and there is such a thing as an end of change, which we have in fact shown to be indivisible because it is a limit. But that which has reference to the beginning is not existent at all: for there is no such thing as a beginning of a process of change, and the time occupied by the change does not contain any primary when in which the change began. For suppose that AD is such a primary when. Then it cannot be indivisible: for, if it were, the moment immediately preceding the change and the moment in which the change begins would be consecutive (and moments cannot be consecutive). Again, if the changing thing is at rest in the whole preceding time GA (for we may suppose that it is at rest), it is at rest in A also: so if AD is without parts, it will simultaneously be at rest and have changed: for it is at rest in A and has changed in D. Since then AD is not without parts, it must be divisible, and the changing thing must have changed in every part of it (for if it has changed in neither of the two parts into which AD is divided, it has not changed in the whole either: if, on the other hand, it is in process of change in both parts, it is likewise in process of change in the whole: and if, again, it has changed in one of the two parts, the whole is not the primary when in which it has changed: it must therefore have changed in every part). It is evident, then, that with reference to the beginning of change there is no primary when in which change has been effected: for the divisions are infinite.
So, too, of that which has changed there is no primary part that has changed. For suppose that of AE the primary part that has changed is AZ (everything that changes having been shown to be divisible): and let OI be the time in which DZ has changed. If, then, in the whole time DZ has changed, in half the time there will be a part that has changed, less than and therefore prior to DZ: and again there will be another part prior to this, and yet another, and so on to infinity. Thus of that which changes there cannot be any primary part that has changed. It is evident, then, from what has been said, that neither of that which changes nor of the time in which it changes is there any primary part.
With regard, however, to the actual subject of change—that is to say that in respect of which a thing changes—there is a difference to be observed. For in a process of change we may distinguish three terms—that which changes, that in which it changes, and the actual subject of change, e.g. the man, the time, and the fair complexion. Of these the man and the time are divisible: but with the fair complexion it is otherwise (though they are all divisible accidentally, for that in which the fair complexion or any other quality is an accident is divisible). For of actual subjects of change it will be seen that those which are classed as essentially, not accidentally, divisible have no primary part. Take the case of magnitudes: let AB be a magnitude, and suppose that it has moved from B to a primary ‘where’ G. Then if BG is taken to be indivisible, two things without parts will have to be contiguous (which is impossible): if on the other hand it is taken to be divisible, there will be something prior to G to which the magnitude has changed, and something else again prior to that, and so on to infinity, because the process of division may be continued without end. Thus there can be no primary ‘where’ to which a thing has changed. And if we take the case of quantitative change, we shall get a like result, for here too the change is in something continuous. It is evident, then, that only in qualitative motion can there be anything essentially indivisible.
6. Now everything that changes changes in time, and that in two senses: for the time in which a thing is said to change may be the primary time, or on the other hand it may have an extended reference, as e.g. when we say that a thing changes in a particular year because it changes in a particular day. That being so, that which changes must be changing in any part of the primary time in which it changes. This is clear from our definition of ‘primary’, in which the word is said to express just this: it may also, however, be made evident by the following argument. Let ChRh be the primary time in which that which is in motion is in motion: and (as all time is divisible) let it be divided at K. Now in the time ChK it either is in motion or is not in motion, and the same is likewise true of the time KRh. Then if it is in motion in neither of the two parts, it will be at rest in the whole: for it is impossible that it should be in motion in a time in no part of which it is in motion. If on the other hand it is in motion in only one of the two parts of the time, ChRh cannot be the primary time in which it is in motion: for its motion will have reference to a time other than ChRh. It must, then, have been in motion in any part of ChRh.
And now that this has been proved, it is evident that everything that is in motion must have been in motion before. For if that which is in motion has traversed the distance KL in the primary time ChRh, in half the time a thing that is in motion with equal velocity and began its motion at the same time will have traversed half the distance. But if this second thing whose velocity is equal has traversed a certain distance in a certain time, the original thing that is in motion must have traversed the same distance in the same time. Hence that which is in motion must have been in motion before.
Again, if by taking the extreme moment of the time—for it is the moment that defines the time, and time is that which is intermediate between moments—we are enabled to say that motion has taken place in the whole time ChRh or in fact in any period of it, motion may likewise be said to have taken place in every other such period. But half the time finds an extreme in the point of division. Therefore motion will have taken place in half the time and in fact in any part of it: for as soon as any division is made there is always a time defined by moments. If, then, all time is divisible, and that which is intermediate between moments is time, everything that is changing must have completed an infinite number of changes.
Again, since a thing that changes continuously and has not perished or ceased from its change must either be changing or have changed in any part of the time of its change, and since it cannot be changing in a moment, it follows that it must have changed at every moment in the time: consequently, since the moments are infinite in number, everything that is changing must have completed an infinite number of changes.
And not only must that which is changing have changed, but that which has changed must also previously have been changing, since everything that has changed from something to something has changed in a period of time. For suppose that a thing has changed from A to B in a moment. Now the moment in which it has changed cannot be the same as that in which it is at A (since in that case it would be in A and B at once): for we have shown above that that which has changed, when it has changed, is not in that from which it has changed. If, on the other hand, it is a different moment, there will be a period of time intermediate between the two: for, as we saw, moments are not consecutive. Since, then, it has changed in a period of time, and all time is divisible, in half the time it will have completed another change, in a quarter another, and so on to infinity: consequently when it has changed, it must have previously been changing.
Moreover, the truth of what has been said is more evident in the case of magnitude, because the magnitude over which what is changing changes is continuous. For suppose that a thing has changed from G to D. Then if GD is indivisible, two things without parts will be consecutive. But since this is impossible, that which is intermediate between them must be a magnitude and divisible into an infinite number of segments: consequently, before the change is completed, the thing changes to those segments. Everything that has changed, therefore, must previously have been changing: for the same proof also holds good of change with respect to what is not continuous, changes, that is to say, between contraries and between contradictories. In such cases we have only to take the time in which a thing has changed and again apply the same reasoning. So that which has changed must have been changing and that which is changing must have changed, and a process of change is preceded by a completion of change and a completion by a process: and we can never take any stage and say that it is absolutely the first. The reason of this is that no two things without parts can be contiguous, and therefore in change the process of division is infinite, just as lines may be infinitely divided so that one part is continually increasing and the other continually decreasing.
So it is evident also that that which has become must previously have been in process of becoming, and that which is in process of becoming must previously have become, everything (that is) that is divisible and continuous: though it is not always the actual thing that is in process of becoming of which this is true: sometimes it is something else, that is to say, some part of the thing in question, e.g. the foundation-stone of a house. So, too, in the case of that which is perishing and that which has perished: for that which becomes and that which perishes must contain an element of infiniteness as an immediate consequence of the fact that they are continuous things: and so a thing cannot be in process of becoming without having become or have become without having been in process of becoming. So, too, in the case of perishing and having perished: perishing must be preceded by having perished, and having perished must be preceded by perishing. It is evident, then, that that which has become must previously have been in process of becoming, and that which is in process of becoming must previously have become: for all magnitudes and all periods of time are infinitely divisible.
Consequently no absolutely first stage of change can be represented by any particular part of space or time which the changing thing may occupy.
7. Now since the motion of everything that is in motion occupies a period of time, and a greater magnitude is traversed in a longer time, it is impossible that a thing should undergo a finite motion in an infinite time, if this is understood to mean not that the same motion or a part of it is continually repeated, but that the whole infinite time is occupied by the whole finite motion. In all cases where a thing is in motion with uniform velocity it is clear that the finite magnitude is traversed in a finite time. For if we take a part of the motion which shall be a measure of the whole, the whole motion is completed in as many equal periods of the time as there are parts of the motion. Consequently, since these parts are finite, both in size individually and in number collectively, the whole time must also be finite: for it will be a multiple of the portion, equal to the time occupied in completing the aforesaid part multiplied by the number of the parts.
But it makes no difference even if the velocity is not uniform. For let us suppose that the line AB represents a finite stretch over which a thing has been moved in the given time, and let GD be the infinite time. Now if one part of the stretch must have been traversed before another part (this is clear, that in the earlier and in the later part of the time a different part of the stretch has been traversed: for as the time lengthens a different part of the motion will always be completed in it, whether the thing in motion changes with uniform velocity or not: and whether the rate of motion increases or diminishes or remains stationary this is none the less so), let us then take AE a part of the whole stretch of motion AB which shall be a measure of AB. Now this part of the motion occupies a certain period of the infinite time: it cannot itself occupy an infinite time, for we are assuming that that is occupied by the whole AB. And if again I take another part equal to AE, that also must occupy a finite time in consequence of the same assumption. And if I go on taking parts in this way, on the one hand there is no part which will be a measure of the infinite time (for the infinite cannot be composed of finite parts whether equal or unequal, because there must be some unity which will be a measure of things finite in multitude or in magnitude, which, whether they are equal or unequal, are none the less limited in magnitude); while on the other hand the finite stretch of motion AB is a certain multiple of AE: consequently the motion AB must be accomplished in a finite time. Moreover it is the same with coming to rest as with motion. And so it is impossible for one and the same thing to be infinitely in process of becoming or of perishing.
The same reasoning will prove that in a finite time there cannot be an infinite extent of motion or of coming to rest, whether the motion is regular or irregular. For if we take a part which shall be a measure of the whole time, in this part a certain fraction, not the whole, of the magnitude will be traversed, because we assume that the traversing of the whole occupies all the time. Again, in another equal part of the time another part of the magnitude will be traversed: and similarly in each part of the time that we take, whether equal or unequal to the part originally taken. It makes no difference whether the parts are equal or not, if only each is finite: for it is clear that while the time is exhausted by the subtraction of its parts, the infinite magnitude will not be thus exhausted, since the process of subtraction is finite both in respect of the quantity subtracted and of the number of times a subtraction is made. Consequently the infinite magnitude will not be traversed in finite time: and it makes no difference whether the magnitude is infinite in only one direction or in both: for the same reasoning will hold good.
This having been proved, it is evident that neither can a finite magnitude traverse an infinite magnitude in a finite time, the reason being the same as that given above: in part of the time it will traverse a finite magnitude and in each several part likewise, so that in the whole time it will traverse a finite magnitude.
And since a finite magnitude will not traverse an infinite in a finite time, it is clear that neither will an infinite traverse a finite in a finite time. For if the infinite could traverse the finite, the finite could traverse the infinite; for it makes no difference which of the two is the thing in motion; either case involves the traversing of the infinite by the finite. For when the infinite magnitude A is in motion a part of it, say GD, will occupy the finite and then another, and then another, and so on to infinity. Thus the two results will coincide: the infinite will have completed a motion over the finite and the finite will have traversed the infinite: for it would seem to be impossible for the motion of the infinite over the finite to occur in any way other than by the finite traversing the infinite either by locomotion over it or by measuring it. Therefore, since this is impossible, the infinite cannot traverse the finite.
Nor again will the infinite traverse the infinite in a finite time. Otherwise it would also traverse the finite, for the infinite includes the finite. We can further prove this in the same way by taking the time as our starting-point.
Since, then, it is established that in a finite time neither will the finite traverse the infinite, nor the infinite the finite, nor the infinite the infinite, it is evident also that in a finite time there cannot be infinite motion: for what difference does it make whether we take the motion or the magnitude to be infinite? If either of the two is infinite, the other must be so likewise: for all locomotion is in space.
8. Since everything to which motion or rest is natural is in motion or at rest in the natural time, place, and manner, that which is coming to a stand, when it is coming to a stand, must be in motion: for if it is not in motion it must be at rest: but that which is at rest cannot be coming to rest. From this it evidently follows that coming to a stand must occupy a period of time: for the motion of that which is in motion occupies a period of time, and that which is coming to a stand has been shown to be in motion: consequently coming to a stand must occupy a period of time.
Again, since the terms ‘quicker’ and ‘slower’ are used only of that which occupies a period of time, and the process of coming to a stand may be quicker or slower, the same conclusion follows.
And that which is coming to a stand must be coming to a stand in any part of the primary time in which it is coming to a stand. For if it is coming to a stand in neither of two parts into which the time may be divided, it cannot be coming to a stand in the whole time, with the result that that which is coming to a stand will not be coming to a stand. If on the other hand it is coming to a stand in only one of the two parts of the time, the whole cannot be the primary time in which it is coming to a stand: for it is coming to a stand in the whole time not primarily but in virtue of something distinct from itself, the argument being the same as that which we used above about things in motion.
And just as there is no primary time in which that which is in motion is in motion, so too there is no primary time in which that which is coming to a stand is coming to a stand, there being no primary stage either of being in motion or of coming to a stand. For let AB be the primary time in which a thing is coming to a stand. Now AB cannot be without parts: for there cannot be motion in that which is without parts, because the moving thing would necessarily have been already moved for part of the time of its movement: and that which is coming to a stand has been shown to be in motion. But since AB is therefore divisible, the thing is coming to a stand in every one of the parts of AB: for we have shown above that it is coming to a stand in every one of the parts in which it is primarily coming to a stand. Since then, that in which primarily a thing is coming to a stand must be a period of time and not something indivisible, and since all time is infinitely divisible, there cannot be anything in which primarily it is coming to a stand.
Nor again can there be a primary time at which the being at rest of that which is at rest occurred: for it cannot have occurred in that which has no parts, because there cannot be motion in that which is indivisible, and that in which rest takes place is the same as that in which motion takes place: for we defined a state of rest to be the state of a thing to which motion is natural but which is not in motion when (that is to say in that in which) motion would be natural to it. Again, our use of the phrase ‘being at rest’ also implies that the previous state of a thing is still unaltered, not one point only but two at least being thus needed to determine its presence: consequently that in which a thing is at rest cannot be without parts. Since, then it is divisible, it must be a period of time, and the thing must be at rest in every one of its parts, as may be shown by the same method as that used above in similar demonstrations.
So there can be no primary part of the time: and the reason is that rest and motion are always in a period of time, and a period of time has no primary part any more than a magnitude or in fact anything continuous: for everything continuous is divisible into an infinite number of parts.
And since everything that is in motion is in motion in a period of time and changes from something to something, when its motion is comprised within a particular period of time essentially—that is to say when it fills the whole and not merely a part of the time in question—it is impossible that in that time that which is in motion should be over against some particular thing primarily. For if a thing—itself and each of its parts—occupies the same space for a definite period of time, it is at rest: for it is in just these circumstances that we use the term ‘being at rest’—when at one moment after another it can be said with truth that a thing, itself and its parts, occupies the same space. So if this is being at rest it is impossible for that which is changing to be as a whole, at the time when it is primarily changing, over against any particular thing (for the whole period of time is divisible), so that in one part of it after another it will be true to say that the thing, itself and its parts, occupies the same space. If this is not so and the aforesaid proposition is true only at a single moment, then the thing will be over against a particular thing not for any period of time but only at a moment that limits the time. It is true that at any moment it is always over against something stationary: but it is not at rest: for at a moment it is not possible for anything to be either in motion or at rest. So while it is true to say that that which is in motion is at a moment not in motion and is opposite some particular thing, it cannot in a period of time be over against that which is at rest: for that would involve the conclusion that that which is in locomotion is at rest.
9. Zeno’s reasoning, however, is fallacious, when he says that if everything when it occupies an equal space is at rest, and if that which is in locomotion is always occupying such a space at any moment, the flying arrow is therefore motionless. This is false, for time is not composed of indivisible moments any more than any other magnitude is composed of indivisibles.
Zeno’s arguments about motion, which cause so much disquietude to those who try to solve the problems that they present, are four in number. The first asserts the non-existence of motion on the ground that that which is in locomotion must arrive at the half-way stage before it arrives at the goal. This we have discussed above.
The second is the so-called ‘Achilles’, and it amounts to this, that in a race the quickest runner can never overtake the slowest, since the pursuer must first reach the point whence the pursued started, so that the slower must always hold a lead. This argument is the same in principle as that which depends on bisection, though it differs from it in that the spaces with which we successively have to deal are not divided into halves. The result of the argument is that the slower is not overtaken: but it proceeds along the same lines as the bisection-argument (for in both a division of the space in a certain way leads to the result that the goal is not reached, though the ‘Achilles’ goes further in that it affirms that even the quickest runner in legendary tradition must fail in his pursuit of the slowest), so that the solution must be the same. And the axiom that that which holds a lead is never overtaken is false: it is not overtaken, it is true, while it holds a lead: but it is overtaken nevertheless if it is granted that it traverses the finite distance prescribed. These then are two of his arguments.
The third is that already given above, to the effect that the flying arrow is at rest, which result follows from the assumption that time is composed of moments: if this assumption is not granted, the conclusion will not follow.
The fourth argument is that concerning the two rows of bodies, each row being composed of an equal number of bodies of equal size, passing each other on a race-course as they proceed with equal velocity in opposite directions, the one row originally occupying the space between the goal and the middle point of the course and the other that between the middle point and the starting-post. This, he thinks, involves the conclusion that half a given time is equal to double that time. The fallacy of the reasoning lies in the assumption that a body occupies an equal time in passing with equal velocity a body that is in motion and a body of equal size that is at rest; which is false. For instance (so runs the argument), let A, A...be the stationary bodies of equal size, B, B...the bodies, equal in number and in size to A, A..., originally occupying the half of the course from the starting-post to the middle of the A’s, and G, G..., those originally occupying the other half from the goal to the middle of the A’s, equal in number, size, and velocity to B, B....Then three consequences follow:
First, as the B’s and the G’s pass one another, the first B reaches the last G at the same moment as the first G reaches the last B. Secondly at this moment the first G has passed all the A’s, whereas the first B has passed only half the A’s, and has consequently occupied only half the time occupied by the first G, since each of the two occupies an equal time in passing each A. Thirdly, at the same moment all the B’s have passed all the G’s: for the first G and the first B will simultaneously reach the opposite ends of the course, since (so says Zeno) the time occupied by the first G in passing each of the B’s is equal to that occupied by it in passing each of the A’s, because an equal time is occupied by both the first B and the first G in passing all the A’s. This is the argument, but it presupposed the aforesaid fallacious assumption.
Nor in reference to contradictory change shall we find anything unanswerable in the argument that if a thing is changing from not-white, say, to white, and is in neither condition, then it will be neither white nor not-white: for the fact that it is not wholly in either condition will not preclude us from calling it white or not-white. We call a thing white or not-white not necessarily because it is be one or the other, but because most of its parts or the most essential parts of it are so: not being in a certain condition is different from not being wholly in that condition. So, too, in the case of being and not-being and all other conditions which stand in a contradictory relation: while the changing thing must of necessity be in one of the two opposites, it is never wholly in either.
Again, in the case of circles and spheres and everything whose motion is confined within the space that it occupies, it is not true to say the motion can be nothing but rest, on the ground that such things in motion, themselves and their parts, will occupy the same position for a period of time, and that therefore they will be at once at rest and in motion. For in the first place the parts do not occupy the same position for any period of time: and in the second place the whole also is always changing to a different position: for if we take the orbit as described from a point A on a circumference, it will not be the same as the orbit as described from B or G or any other point on the same circumference except in an accidental sense, the sense that is to say in which a musical man is the same as a man. Thus one orbit is always changing into another, and the thing will never be at rest. And it is the same with the sphere and everything else whose motion is confined within the space that it occupies.
10. Our next point is that that which is without parts cannot be in motion except accidentally: i.e. it can be in motion only in so far as the body or the magnitude is in motion and the partless is in motion by inclusion therein, just as that which is in a boat may be in motion in consequence of the locomotion of the boat, or a part may be in motion in virtue of the motion of the whole. (It must be remembered, however, that by ‘that which is without parts’ I mean that which is quantitatively indivisible (and that the case of the motion of a part is not exactly parallel): for parts have motions belonging essentially and severally to themselves distinct from the motion of the whole. The distinction may be seen most clearly in the case of a revolving sphere, in which the velocities of the parts near the center and of those on the surface are different from one another and from that of the whole; this implies that there is not one motion but many). As we have said, then, that which is without parts can be in motion in the sense in which a man sitting in a boat is in motion when the boat is travelling, but it cannot be in motion of itself. For suppose that it is changing from AB to BG—either from one magnitude to another, or from one form to another, or from some state to its contradictory—and let D be the primary time in which it undergoes the change. Then in the time in which it is changing it must be either in AB or in BG or partly in one and partly in the other: for this, as we saw, is true of everything that is changing. Now it cannot be partly in each of the two: for then it would be divisible into parts. Nor again can it be in BG: for then it will have completed the change, whereas the assumption is that the change is in process. It remains, then, that in the time in which it is changing, it is in AB. That being so, it will be at rest: for, as we saw, to be in the same condition for a period of time is to be at rest. So it is not possible for that which has no parts to be in motion or to change in any way: for only one condition could have made it possible for it to have motion, viz. that time should be composed of moments, in which case at any moment it would have completed a motion or a change, so that it would never be in motion, but would always have been in motion. But this we have already shown above to be impossible: time is not composed of moments, just as a line is not composed of points, and motion is not composed of starts: for this theory simply makes motion consist of indivisibles in exactly the same way as time is made to consist of moments or a length of points.
Again, it may be shown in the following way that there can be no motion of a point or of any other indivisible. That which is in motion can never traverse a space greater than itself without first traversing a space equal to or less than itself. That being so, it is evident that the point also must first traverse a space equal to or less than itself. But since it is indivisible, there can be no space less than itself for it to traverse first: so it will have to traverse a distance equal to itself. Thus the line will be composed of points, for the point, as it continually traverses a distance equal to itself, will be a measure of the whole line. But since this is impossible, it is likewise impossible for the indivisible to be in motion.
Again, since motion is always in a period of time and never in a moment, and all time is divisible, for everything that is in motion there must be a time less than that in which it traverses a distance as great as itself. For that in which it is in motion will be a time, because all motion is in a period of time; and all time has been shown above to be divisible. Therefore, if a point is in motion, there must be a time less than that in which it has itself traversed any distance. But this is impossible, for in less time it must traverse less distance, and thus the indivisible will be divisible into something less than itself, just as the time is so divisible: the fact being that the only condition under which that which is without parts and indivisible could be in motion would have been the possibility of the infinitely small being in motion in a moment: for in the two questions—that of motion in a moment and that of motion of something indivisible—the same principle is involved.
Our next point is that no process of change is infinite: for every change, whether between contradictories or between contraries, is a change from something to something. Thus in contradictory changes the positive or the negative, as the case may be, is the limit, e.g. being is the limit of coming to be and not-being is the limit of ceasing to be: and in contrary changes the particular contraries are the limits, since these are the extreme points of any such process of change, and consequently of every process of alteration: for alteration is always dependent upon some contraries. Similarly contraries are the extreme points of processes of increase and decrease: the limit of increase is to be found in the complete magnitude proper to the peculiar nature of the thing that is increasing, while the limit of decrease is the complete loss of such magnitude. Locomotion, it is true, we cannot show to be finite in this way, since it is not always between contraries. But since that which cannot be cut (in the sense that it is inconceivable that it should be cut, the term ‘cannot’ being used in several senses)—since it is inconceivable that that which in this sense cannot be cut should be in process of being cut, and generally that that which cannot come to be should be in process of coming to be, it follows that it is inconceivable that that which cannot complete a change should be in process of changing to that to which it cannot complete a change. If, then, it is to be assumed that that which is in locomotion is in process of changing, it must be capable of completing the change. Consequently its motion is not infinite, and it will not be in locomotion over an infinite distance, for it cannot traverse such a distance.
It is evident, then, that a process of change cannot be infinite in the sense that it is not defined by limits. But it remains to be considered whether it is possible in the sense that one and the same process of change may be infinite in respect of the time which it occupies. If it is not one process, it would seem that there is nothing to prevent its being infinite in this sense; e.g. if a process of locomotion be succeeded by a process of alteration and that by a process of increase and that again by a process of coming to be: in this way there may be motion for ever so far as the time is concerned, but it will not be one motion, because all these motions do not compose one. If it is to be one process, no motion can be infinite in respect of the time that it occupies, with the single exception of rotatory locomotion.
1. Everything that is in motion must be moved by something. For if it has not the source of its motion in itself it is evident that it is moved by something other than itself, for there must be something else that moves it. If on the other hand it has the source of its motion in itself, let AB be taken to represent that which is in motion essentially of itself and not in virtue of the fact that something belonging to it is in motion. Now in the first place to assume that AB, because it is in motion as a whole and is not moved by anything external to itself, is therefore moved by itself—this is just as if, supposing that KL is moving LM and is also itself in motion, we were to deny that KM is moved by anything on the ground that it is not evident which is the part that is moving it and which the part that is moved. In the second place that which is in motion without being moved by anything does not necessarily cease from its motion because something else is at rest, but a thing must be moved by something if the fact of something else having ceased from its motion causes it to be at rest. Thus, if this is accepted, everything that is in motion must be moved by something. For AB, which has been taken to represent that which is in motion, must be divisible since everything that is in motion is divisible. Let it be divided, then, at G. Now if GB is not in motion, then AB will not be in motion: for if it is, it is clear that AG would be in motion while BG is at rest, and thus AB cannot be in motion essentially and primarily. But ex hypothesi AB is in motion essentially and primarily. Therefore if GB is not in motion AB will be at rest. But we have agreed that that which is at rest if something else is not in motion must be moved by something. Consequently, everything that is in motion must be moved by something: for that which is in motion will always be divisible, and if a part of it is not in motion the whole must be at rest.
Since everything that is in motion must be moved by something, let us take the case in which a thing is in locomotion and is moved by something that is itself in motion, and that again is moved by something else that is in motion, and that by something else, and so on continually: then the series cannot go on to infinity, but there must be some first movent. For let us suppose that this is not so and take the series to be infinite. Let A then be moved by B, B by G, G by D, and so on, each member of the series being moved by that which comes next to it. Then since ex hypothesi the movent while causing motion is also itself in motion, and the motion of the moved and the motion of the movent must proceed simultaneously (for the movent is causing motion and the moved is being moved simultaneously) it is evident that the respective motions of A, B, G, and each of the other moved movents are simultaneous. Let us take the motion of each separately and let E be the motion of A, Z of B, and H and O respectively the motions of G and D: for though they are all moved severally one by another, yet we may still take the motion of each as numerically one, since every motion is from something to something and is not infinite in respect of its extreme points. By a motion that is numerically one I mean a motion that proceeds from something numerically one and the same to something numerically one and the same in a period of time numerically one and the same: for a motion may be the same generically, specifically, or numerically: it is generically the same if it belongs to the same category, e.g. substance or quality: it is specifically the same if it proceeds from something specifically the same to something specifically the same, e.g. from white to black or from good to bad, which is not of a kind specifically distinct: it is numerically the same if it proceeds from something numerically one to something numerically one in the same period of time, e.g. from a particular white to a particular black, or from a particular place to a particular place, in a particular period of time: for if the period of time were not one and the same, the motion would no longer be numerically one though it would still be specifically one.
We have dealt with this question above. Now let us further take the time in which A has completed its motion, and let it be represented by K. Then since the motion of A is finite the time will also be finite. But since the movents and the things moved are infinite, the motion EZHO, i.e. the motion that is composed of all the individual motions, must be infinite. For the motions of A, B, and the others may be equal, or the motions of the others may be greater: but assuming what is conceivable, we find that whether they are equal or some are greater, in both cases the whole motion is infinite. And since the motion of A and that of each of the others are simultaneous, the whole motion must occupy the same time as the motion of A: but the time occupied by the motion of A is finite: consequently the motion will be infinite in a finite time, which is impossible.
It might be thought that what we set out to prove has thus been shown, but our argument so far does not prove it, because it does not yet prove that anything impossible results from the contrary supposition: for in a finite time there may be an infinite motion, though not of one thing, but of many: and in the case that we are considering this is so: for each thing accomplishes its own motion, and there is no impossibility in many things being in motion simultaneously. But if (as we see to be universally the case) that which primarily is moved locally and corporeally must be either in contact with or continuous with that which moves it, the things moved and the movents must be continuous or in contact with one another, so that together they all form a single unity: whether this unity is finite or infinite makes no difference to our present argument; for in any case since the things in motion are infinite in number the whole motion will be infinite, if, as is theoretically possible, each motion is either equal to or greater than that which follows it in the series: for we shall take as actual that which is theoretically possible. If, then, A, B, G, D form an infinite magnitude that passes through the motion EZHO in the finite time K, this involves the conclusion that an infinite motion is passed through in a finite time: and whether the magnitude in question is finite or infinite this is in either case impossible. Therefore the series must come to an end, and there must be a first movent and a first moved: for the fact that this impossibility results only from the assumption of a particular case is immaterial, since the case assumed is theoretically possible, and the assumption of a theoretically possible case ought not to give rise to any impossible result.
2. That which is the first movement of a thing—in the sense that it supplies not ‘that for the sake of which’ but the source of the motion—is always together with that which is moved by it (by ‘together’ I mean that there is nothing intermediate between them). This is universally true wherever one thing is moved by another. And since there are three kinds of motion, local, qualitative, and quantitative, there must also be three kinds of movent, that which causes locomotion, that which causes alteration, and that which causes increase or decrease.
Let us begin with locomotion, for this is the primary motion. Everything that is in locomotion is moved either by itself or by something else. In the case of things that are moved by themselves it is evident that the moved and the movent are together: for they contain within themselves their first movent, so that there is nothing in between. The motion of things that are moved by something else must proceed in one of four ways: for there are four kinds of locomotion caused by something other than that which is in motion, viz. pulling, pushing, carrying, and twirling. All forms of locomotion are reducible to these. Thus pushing on is a form of pushing in which that which is causing motion away from itself follows up that which it pushes and continues to push it: pushing off occurs when the movent does not follow up the thing that it has moved: throwing when the movent causes a motion away from itself more violent than the natural locomotion of the thing moved, which continues its course so long as it is controlled by the motion imparted to it. Again, pushing apart and pushing together are forms respectively of pushing off and pulling: pushing apart is pushing off, which may be a motion either away from the pusher or away from something else, while pushing together is pulling, which may be a motion towards something else as well as the puller. We may similarly classify all the varieties of these last two, e.g. packing and combing: the former is a form of pushing together, the latter a form of pushing apart. The same is true of the other processes of combination and separation (they will all be found to be forms of pushing apart or of pushing together), except such as are involved in the processes of becoming and perishing. (At the same time it is evident that there is no other kind of motion but combination and separation: for they may all be apportioned to one or other of those already mentioned.) Again, inhaling is a form of pulling, exhaling a form of pushing: and the same is true of spitting and of all other motions that proceed through the body, whether secretive or assimilative, the assimilative being forms of pulling, the secretive of pushing off.
All other kinds of locomotion must be similarly reduced, for they all fall under one or other of our four heads. And again, of these four, carrying and twirling are reducible to pulling and pushing. For carrying always follows one of the other three methods, for that which is carried is in motion accidentally, because it is in or upon something that is in motion, and that which carries it is in doing so being either pulled or pushed or twirled; thus carrying belongs to all the other three kinds of motion in common. And twirling is a compound of pulling and pushing, for that which is twirling a thing must be pulling one part of the thing and pushing another part, since it impels one part away from itself and another part towards itself. If, therefore, it can be shown that that which is pushing and that which is pushing and pulling are adjacent respectively to that which is being pushed and that which is being pulled, it will be evident that in all locomotion there is nothing intermediate between moved and movent. But the former fact is clear even from the definitions of pushing and pulling, for pushing is motion to something else from oneself or from something else, and pulling is motion from something else to oneself or to something else, when the motion of that which is pulling is quicker than the motion that would separate from one another the two things that are continuous: for it is this that causes one thing to be pulled on along with the other. (It might indeed be thought that there is a form of pulling that arises in another way: that wood, e.g. pulls fire in a manner different from that described above. But it makes no difference whether that which pulls is in motion or is stationary when it is pulling: in the latter case it pulls to the place where it is, while in the former it pulls to the place where it was.) Now it is impossible to move anything either from oneself to something else or something else to oneself without being in contact with it: it is evident, therefore, that in all locomotion there is nothing intermediate between moved and movent.
Nor again is there anything intermediate between that which undergoes and that which causes alteration: this can be proved by induction: for in every case we find that the respective extremities of that which causes and that which undergoes alteration are adjacent. For our assumption is that things that are undergoing alteration are altered in virtue of their being affected in respect of their so-called affective qualities, since that which is of a certain quality is altered in so far as it is sensible, and the characteristics in which bodies differ from one another are sensible characteristics: for every body differs from another in possessing a greater or lesser number of sensible characteristics or in possessing the same sensible characteristics in a greater or lesser degree. But the alteration of that which undergoes alteration is also caused by the above-mentioned characteristics, which are affections of some particular underlying quality. Thus we say that a thing is altered by becoming hot or sweet or thick or dry or white: and we make these assertions alike of what is inanimate and of what is animate, and further, where animate things are in question, we make them both of the parts that have no power of sense-perception and of the senses themselves. For in a way even the senses undergo alteration, since the active sense is a motion through the body in the course of which the sense is affected in a certain way. We see, then, that the animate is capable of every kind of alteration of which the inanimate is capable: but the inanimate is not capable of every kind of alteration of which the animate is capable, since it is not capable of alteration in respect of the senses: moreover the inanimate is unconscious of being affected by alteration, whereas the animate is conscious of it, though there is nothing to prevent the animate also being unconscious of it when the process of the alteration does not concern the senses. Since, then, the alteration of that which undergoes alteration is caused by sensible things, in every case of such alteration it is evident that the respective extremities of that which causes and that which undergoes alteration are adjacent. Thus the air is continuous with that which causes the alteration, and the body that undergoes alteration is continuous with the air. Again, the color is continuous with the light and the light with the sight. And the same is true of hearing and smelling: for the primary movent in respect to the moved is the air. Similarly, in the case of tasting, the flavor is adjacent to the sense of taste. And it is just the same in the case of things that are inanimate and incapable of sense-perception. Thus there can be nothing intermediate between that which undergoes and that which causes alteration.
Nor, again, can there be anything intermediate between that which suffers and that which causes increase: for the part of the latter that starts the increase does so by becoming attached in such a way to the former that the whole becomes one. Again, the decrease of that which suffers decrease is caused by a part of the thing becoming detached. So that which causes increase and that which causes decrease must be continuous with that which suffers increase and that which suffers decrease respectively: and if two things are continuous with one another there can be nothing intermediate between them.
It is evident, therefore, that between the extremities of the moved and the movent that are respectively first and last in reference to the moved there is nothing intermediate.
3. Everything, we say, that undergoes alteration is altered by sensible causes, and there is alteration only in things that are said to be essentially affected by sensible things. The truth of this is to be seen from the following considerations. Of all other things it would be most natural to suppose that there is alteration in figures and shapes, and in acquired states and in the processes of acquiring and losing these: but as a matter of fact in neither of these two classes of things is there alteration.
In the first place, when a particular formation of a thing is completed, we do not call it by the name of its material: e.g. we do not call the statue ‘bronze’ or the pyramid ‘wax’ or the bed ‘wood’, but we use a derived expression and call them ‘of bronze’, ‘waxen’, and ‘wooden’ respectively. But when a thing has been affected and altered in any way we still call it by the original name: thus we speak of the bronze or the wax being dry or fluid or hard or hot.
And not only so: we also speak of the particular fluid or hot substance as being bronze, giving the material the same name as that which we use to describe the affection.
Since, therefore, having regard to the figure or shape of a thing we no longer call that which has become of a certain figure by the name of the material that exhibits the figure, whereas having regard to a thing’s affections or alterations we still call it by the name of its material, it is evident that becomings of the former kind cannot be alterations.
Moreover it would seem absurd even to speak in this way, to speak, that is to say, of a man or house or anything else that has come into existence as having been altered. Though it may be true that every such becoming is necessarily the result of something’s being altered, the result, e.g. of the material’s being condensed or rarefied or heated or cooled, nevertheless it is not the things that are coming into existence that are altered, and their becoming is not an alteration.
Again, acquired states, whether of the body or of the soul, are not alterations. For some are excellences and others are defects, and neither excellence nor defect is an alteration: excellence is a perfection (for when anything acquires its proper excellence we call it perfect, since it is then if ever that we have a thing in its natural state: e.g. we have a perfect circle when we have one as good as possible), while defect is a perishing of or departure from this condition. So as when speaking of a house we do not call its arrival at perfection an alteration (for it would be absurd to suppose that the coping or the tiling is an alteration or that in receiving its coping or its tiling a house is altered and not perfected), the same also holds good in the case of excellences and defects and of the persons or things that possess or acquire them: for excellences are perfections of a thing’s nature and defects are departures from it: consequently they are not alterations.
Further, we say that all excellences depend upon particular relations. Thus bodily excellences such as health and a good state of body we regard as consisting in a blending of hot and cold elements within the body in due proportion, in relation either to one another or to the surrounding atmosphere: and in like manner we regard beauty, strength, and all the other bodily excellences and defects. Each of them exists in virtue of a particular relation and puts that which possesses it in a good or bad condition with regard to its proper affections, where by ‘proper’ affections I mean those influences that from the natural constitution of a thing tend to promote or destroy its existence. Since then, relatives are neither themselves alterations nor the subjects of alteration or of becoming or in fact of any change whatever, it is evident that neither states nor the processes of losing and acquiring states are alterations, though it may be true that their becoming or perishing is necessarily, like the becoming or perishing of a specific character or form, the result of the alteration of certain other things, e.g. hot and cold or dry and wet elements or the elements, whatever they may be, on which the states primarily depend. For each several bodily defect or excellence involves a relation with those things from which the possessor of the defect or excellence is naturally subject to alteration: thus excellence disposes its possessor to be unaffected by these influences or to be affected by those of them that ought to be admitted, while defect disposes its possessor to be affected by them or to be unaffected by those of them that ought to be admitted.
And the case is similar in regard to the states of the soul, all of which (like those of body) exist in virtue of particular relations, the excellences being perfections of nature and the defects departures from it: moreover, excellence puts its possessor in good condition, while defect puts its possessor in a bad condition, to meet his proper affections. Consequently these cannot any more than the bodily states be alterations, nor can the processes of losing and acquiring them be so, though their becoming is necessarily the result of an alteration of the sensitive part of the soul, and this is altered by sensible objects: for all moral excellence is concerned with bodily pleasures and pains, which again depend either upon acting or upon remembering or upon anticipating. Now those that depend upon action are determined by sense-perception, i.e. they are stimulated by something sensible: and those that depend upon memory or anticipation are likewise to be traced to sense-perception, for in these cases pleasure is felt either in remembering what one has experienced or in anticipating what one is going to experience. Thus all pleasure of this kind must be produced by sensible things: and since the presence in any one of moral defect or excellence involves the presence in him of pleasure or pain (with which moral excellence and defect are always concerned), and these pleasures and pains are alterations of the sensitive part, it is evident that the loss and acquisition of these states no less than the loss and acquisition of the states of the body must be the result of the alteration of something else. Consequently, though their becoming is accompanied by an alteration, they are not themselves alterations.
Again, the states of the intellectual part of the soul are not alterations, nor is there any becoming of them. In the first place it is much more true of the possession of knowledge that it depends upon a particular relation. And further, it is evident that there is no becoming of these states. For that which is potentially possessed of knowledge becomes actually possessed of it not by being set in motion at all itself but by reason of the presence of something else: i.e. it is when it meets with the particular object that it knows in a manner the particular through its knowledge of the universal. (Again, there is no becoming of the actual use and activity of these states, unless it is thought that there is a becoming of vision and touching and that the activity in question is similar to these.) And the original acquisition of knowledge is not a becoming or an alteration: for the terms ‘knowing’ and ‘understanding’ imply that the intellect has reached a state of rest and come to a standstill, and there is no becoming that leads to a state of rest, since, as we have said above, no change at all can have a becoming. Moreover, just as to say, when any one has passed from a state of intoxication or sleep or disease to the contrary state, that he has become possessed of knowledge again is incorrect in spite of the fact that he was previously incapable of using his knowledge, so, too, when any one originally acquires the state, it is incorrect to say that he becomes possessed of knowledge: for the possession of understanding and knowledge is produced by the soul’s settling down out of the restlessness natural to it. Hence, too, in learning and in forming judgments on matters relating to their sense-perceptions children are inferior to adults owing to the great amount of restlessness and motion in their souls. Nature itself causes the soul to settle down and come to a state of rest for the performance of some of its functions, while for the performance of others other things do so: but in either case the result is brought about through the alteration of something in the body, as we see in the case of the use and activity of the intellect arising from a man’s becoming sober or being awakened. It is evident, then, from the preceding argument that alteration and being altered occur in sensible things and in the sensitive part of the soul, and, except accidentally, in nothing else.
4. A difficulty may be raised as to whether every motion is commensurable with every other or not. Now if they are all commensurable and if two things to have the same velocity must accomplish an equal motion in an equal time, then we may have a circumference equal to a straight line, or, of course, the one may be greater or less than the other. Further, if one thing alters and another accomplishes a locomotion in an equal time, we may have an alteration and a locomotion equal to one another: thus an affection will be equal to a length, which is impossible. But is it not only when an equal motion is accomplished by two things in an equal time that the velocities of the two are equal? Now an affection cannot be equal to a length. Therefore there cannot be an alteration equal to or less than a locomotion: and consequently it is not the case that every motion is commensurable with every other.
But how will our conclusion work out in the case of the circle and the straight line? It would be absurd to suppose that the motion of one in a circle and of another in a straight line cannot be similar, but that the one must inevitably move more quickly or more slowly than the other, just as if the course of one were downhill and of the other uphill. Moreover it does not as a matter of fact make any difference to the argument to say that the one motion must inevitably be quicker or slower than the other: for then the circumference can be greater or less than the straight line; and if so it is possible for the two to be equal. For if in the time A the quicker (B) passes over the distance B’ and the slower (G) passes over the distance G’, B’ will be greater than G’: for this is what we took ‘quicker’ to mean: and so quicker motion also implies that one thing traverses an equal distance in less time than another: consequently there will be a part of A in which B will pass over a part of the circle equal to G’, while G will occupy the whole of A in passing over G’. None the less, if the two motions are commensurable, we are confronted with the consequence stated above, viz. that there may be a straight line equal to a circle. But these are not commensurable: and so the corresponding motions are not commensurable either.
But may we say that things are always commensurable if the same terms are applied to them without equivocation? e.g. a pen, a wine, and the highest note in a scale are not commensurable: we cannot say whether any one of them is sharper than any other: and why is this? they are incommensurable because it is only equivocally that the same term ‘sharp’ is applied to them: whereas the highest note in a scale is commensurable with the leading-note, because the term ‘sharp’ has the same meaning as applied to both. Can it be, then, that the term ‘quick’ has not the same meaning as applied to straight motion and to circular motion respectively? If so, far less will it have the same meaning as applied to alteration and to locomotion.
Or shall we in the first place deny that things are always commensurable if the same terms are applied to them without equivocation? For the term ‘much’ has the same meaning whether applied to water or to air, yet water and air are not commensurable in respect of it: or, if this illustration is not considered satisfactory, ‘double’ at any rate would seem to have the same meaning as applied to each (denoting in each case the proportion of two to one), yet water and air are not commensurable in respect of it. But here again may we not take up the same position and say that the term ‘much’ is equivocal? In fact there are some terms of which even the definitions are equivocal; e.g. if ‘much’ were defined as ‘so much and more’, ’so much’ would mean something different in different cases: ‘equal’ is similarly equivocal; and ‘one’ again is perhaps inevitably an equivocal term; and if ‘one’ is equivocal, so is ‘two’. Otherwise why is it that some things are commensurable while others are not, if the nature of the attribute in the two cases is really one and the same?
Can it be that the incommensurability of two things in respect of any attribute is due to a difference in that which is primarily capable of carrying the attribute? Thus horse and dog are so commensurable that we may say which is the whiter, since that which primarily contains the whiteness is the same in both, viz. the surface: and similarly they are commensurable in respect of size. But water and speech are not commensurable in respect of clearness, since that which primarily contains the attribute is different in the two cases. It would seem, however that we must reject this solution, since clearly we could thus make all equivocal attributes univocal and say merely that that which contains each of them is different in different cases: thus ‘equality’, ‘sweetness’, and ‘whiteness’ will severally always be the same, though that which contains them is different in different cases. Moreover, it is not any casual thing that is capable of carrying any attribute: each single attribute can be carried primarily only by one single thing.
Must we then say that, if two things are to be commensurable in respect of any attribute, not only must the attribute in question be applicable to both without equivocation, but there must also be no specific differences either in the attribute itself or in that which contains the attribute—that these, I mean, must not be divisible in the way in which color is divided into kinds? Thus in this respect one thing will not be commensurable with another, i.e. we cannot say that one is more colored than the other where only color in general and not any particular color is meant; but they are commensurable in respect of whiteness.
Similarly in the case of motion: two things are of the same velocity if they occupy an equal time in accomplishing a certain equal amount of motion. Suppose, then, that in a certain time an alteration is undergone by one half of a body’s length and a locomotion is accomplished by the other half: can we say that in this case the alteration is equal to the locomotion and of the same velocity? That would be absurd, and the reason is that there are different species of motion. And if in consequence of this we must say that two things are of equal velocity if they accomplish locomotion over an equal distance in an equal time, we have to admit the equality of a straight line and a circumference. What, then, is the reason of this? Is it that locomotion is a genus or that line is a genus? (We may leave the time out of account, since that is one and the same.) If the lines are specifically different, the locomotions also differ specifically from one another: for locomotion is specifically differentiated according to the specific differentiation of that over which it takes place. (It is also similarly differentiated, it would seem, accordingly as the instrument of the locomotion is different: thus if feet are the instrument, it is walking, if wings it is flying; but perhaps we should rather say that this is not so, and that in this case the differences in the locomotion are merely differences of posture in that which is in motion.) We may say, therefore, that things are of equal velocity in an equal time they traverse the same magnitude: and when I call it ‘the same’ I mean that it contains no specific difference and therefore no difference in the motion that takes place over it. So we have now to consider how motion is differentiated: and this discussion serves to show that the genus is not a unity but contains a plurality latent in it and distinct from it, and that in the case of equivocal terms sometimes the different senses in which they are used are far removed from one another, while sometimes there is a certain likeness between them, and sometimes again they are nearly related either generically or analogically, with the result that they seem not to be equivocal though they really are.
When, then, is there a difference of species? Is an attribute specifically different if the subject is different while the attribute is the same, or must the attribute itself be different as well? And how are we to define the limits of a species? What will enable us to decide that particular instances of whiteness or sweetness are the same or different? Is it enough that it appears different in one subject from what appears in another? Or must there be no sameness at all? And further, where alteration is in question, how is one alteration to be of equal velocity with another? One person may be cured quickly and another slowly, and cures may also be simultaneous: so that, recovery of health being an alteration, we have here alterations of equal velocity, since each alteration occupies an equal time. But what alteration? We cannot here speak of an ‘equal’ alteration: what corresponds in the category of quality to equality in the category of quantity is ‘likeness’. However, let us say that there is equal velocity where the same change is accomplished in an equal time. Are we, then, to find the commensurability in the subject of the affection or in the affection itself?
In the case that we have just been considering it is the fact that health is one and the same that enables us to arrive at the conclusion that the one alteration is neither more nor less than the other, but that both are alike. If on the other hand the affection is different in the two cases, e.g. when the alterations take the form of becoming white and becoming healthy respectively, here there is no sameness or equality or likeness inasmuch as the difference in the affections at once makes the alterations specifically different, and there is no unity of alteration any more than there would be unity of locomotion under like conditions. So we must find out how many species there are of alteration and of locomotion respectively. Now if the things that are in motion—that is to say, the things to which the motions belong essentially and not accidentally—differ specifically, then their respective motions will also differ specifically: if on the other hand they differ generically or numerically, the motions also will differ generically or numerically as the case may be. But there still remains the question whether, supposing that two alterations are of equal velocity, we ought to look for this equality in the sameness (or likeness) of the affections, or in the things altered, to see e.g. whether a certain quantity of each has become white. Or ought we not rather to look for it in both? That is to say, the alterations are the same or different according as the affections are the same or different, while they are equal or unequal according as the things altered are equal or unequal.
And now we must consider the same question in the case of becoming and perishing: how is one becoming of equal velocity with another? They are of equal velocity if in an equal time there are produced two things that are the same and specifically inseparable, e.g. two men (not merely generically inseparable as e.g. two animals). Similarly one is quicker than the other if in an equal time the product is different in the two cases. I state it thus because we have no pair of terms that will convey this ‘difference’ in the way in which unlikeness is conveyed. If we adopt the theory that it is number that constitutes being, we may indeed speak of a ‘greater number’ and a ‘lesser number’ within the same species, but there is no common term that will include both relations, nor are there terms to express each of them separately in the same way as we indicate a higher degree or preponderance of an affection by ‘more’, of a quantity by ‘greater.’
5. Now since wherever there is a movent, its motion always acts upon something, is always in something, and always extends to something (by ‘is always in something’ I mean that it occupies a time: and by ‘extends to something’ I mean that it involves the traversing of a certain amount of distance: for at any moment when a thing is causing motion, it also has caused motion, so that there must always be a certain amount of distance that has been traversed and a certain amount of time that has been occupied). If, then, A the movement have moved B a distance G in a time D, then in the same time the same force A will move 1/2B twice the distance G, and in 1/2D it will move 1/2B the whole distance for G: thus the rules of proportion will be observed. Again if a given force move a given weight a certain distance in a certain time and half the distance in half the time, half the motive power will move half the weight the same distance in the same time. Let E represent half the motive power A and Z half the weight B: then the ratio between the motive power and the weight in the one case is similar and proportionate to the ratio in the other, so that each force will cause the same distance to be traversed in the same time.
But if E move Z a distance G in a time D, it does not necessarily follow that E can move twice Z half the distance G in the same time. If, then, A move B a distance G in a time D, it does not follow that E, being half of A, will in the time D or in any fraction of it cause B to traverse a part of G the ratio between which and the whole of G is proportionate to that between A and E (whatever fraction of A E may be): in fact it might well be that it will cause no motion at all; for it does not follow that, if a given motive power causes a certain amount of motion, half that power will cause motion either of any particular amount or in any length of time: otherwise one man might move a ship, since both the motive power of the ship-haulers and the distance that they all cause the ship to traverse are divisible into as many parts as there are men. Hence Zeno’s reasoning is false when he argues that there is no part of the millet that does not make a sound: for there is no reason why any such part should not in any length of time fail to move the air that the whole bushel moves in falling. In fact it does not of itself move even such a quantity of the air as it would move if this part were by itself: for no part even exists otherwise than potentially.
If on the other hand we have two forces each of which separately moves one of two weights a given distance in a given time, then the forces in combination will move the combined weights an equal distance in an equal time: for in this case the rules of proportion apply.
Then does this hold good of alteration and of increase also? Surely it does, for in any given case we have a definite thing that causes increase and a definite thing that suffers increase, and the one causes and the other suffers a certain amount of increase in a certain amount of time. Similarly we have a definite thing that causes alteration and a definite thing that undergoes alteration, and a certain amount, or rather degree, of alteration is completed in a certain amount of time: thus in twice as much time twice as much alteration will be completed and conversely twice as much alteration will occupy twice as much time: and the alteration of half of its object will occupy half as much time and in half as much time half of the object will be altered: or again, in the same amount of time it will be altered twice as much.
On the other hand if that which causes alteration or increase causes a certain amount of increase or alteration respectively in a certain amount of time, it does not necessarily follow that half the force will occupy twice the time in altering or increasing the object, or that in twice the time the alteration or increase will be completed by it: it may happen that there will be no alteration or increase at all, the case being the same as with the weight.
1. It remains to consider the following question. Was there ever a becoming of motion before which it had no being, and is it perishing again so as to leave nothing in motion? Or are we to say that it never had any becoming and is not perishing, but always was and always will be? Is it in fact an immortal never-failing property of things that are, a sort of life as it were to all naturally constituted things?
Now the existence of motion is asserted by all who have anything to say about nature, because they all concern themselves with the construction of the world and study the question of becoming and perishing, which processes could not come about without the existence of motion. But those who say that there is an infinite number of worlds, some of which are in process of becoming while others are in process of perishing, assert that there is always motion (for these processes of becoming and perishing of the worlds necessarily involve motion), whereas those who hold that there is only one world, whether everlasting or not, make corresponding assumptions in regard to motion. If then it is possible that at any time nothing should be in motion, this must come about in one of two ways: either in the manner described by Anaxagoras, who says that all things were together and at rest for an infinite period of time, and that then Mind introduced motion and separated them; or in the manner described by Empedocles, according to whom the universe is alternately in motion and at rest—in motion, when Love is making the one out of many, or Strife is making many out of one, and at rest in the intermediate periods of time—his account being as follows:
‘Since One hath learned to spring from Manifold,
for we must suppose that he means by this that they alternate from the one motion to the other. We must consider, then, how this matter stands, for the discovery of the truth about it is of importance, not only for the study of nature, but also for the investigation of the First Principle.
Let us take our start from what we have already laid down in our course on Physics. Motion, we say, is the fulfillment of the movable in so far as it is movable. Each kind of motion, therefore, necessarily involves the presence of the things that are capable of that motion. In fact, even apart from the definition of motion, every one would admit that in each kind of motion it is that which is capable of that motion that is in motion: thus it is that which is capable of alteration that is altered, and that which is capable of local change that is in locomotion: and so there must be something capable of being burned before there can be a process of being burned, and something capable of burning before there can be a process of burning. Moreover, these things also must either have a beginning before which they had no being, or they must be eternal. Now if there was a becoming of every movable thing, it follows that before the motion in question another change or motion must have taken place in which that which was capable of being moved or of causing motion had its becoming. To suppose, on the other hand, that these things were in being throughout all previous time without there being any motion appears unreasonable on a moment’s thought, and still more unreasonable, we shall find, on further consideration. For if we are to say that, while there are on the one hand things that are movable, and on the other hand things that are motive, there is a time when there is a first movent and a first moved, and another time when there is no such thing but only something that is at rest, then this thing that is at rest must previously have been in process of change: for there must have been some cause of its rest, rest being the privation of motion.
Therefore, before this first change there will be a previous change. For some things cause motion in only one way, while others can produce either of two contrary motions: thus fire causes heating but not cooling, whereas it would seem that knowledge may be directed to two contrary ends while remaining one and the same. Even in the former class, however, there seems to be something similar, for a cold thing in a sense causes heating by turning away and retiring, just as one possessed of knowledge voluntarily makes an error when he uses his knowledge in the reverse way. But at any rate all things that are capable respectively of affecting and being affected, or of causing motion and being moved, are capable of it not under all conditions, but only when they are in a particular condition and approach one another: so it is on the approach of one thing to another that the one causes motion and the other is moved, and when they are present under such conditions as rendered the one motive and the other movable. So if the motion was not always in process, it is clear that they must have been in a condition not such as to render them capable respectively of being moved and of causing motion, and one or other of them must have been in process of change: for in what is relative this is a necessary consequence: e.g. if one thing is double another when before it was not so, one or other of them, if not both, must have been in process of change. It follows then, that there will be a process of change previous to the first.
(Further, how can there be any ‘before’ and ‘after’ without the existence of time? Or how can there be any time without the existence of motion? If, then, time is the number of motion or itself a kind of motion, it follows that, if there is always time, motion must also be eternal. But so far as time is concerned we see that all with one exception are in agreement in saying that it is uncreated: in fact, it is just this that enables Democritus to show that all things cannot have had a becoming: for time, he says, is uncreated. Plato alone asserts the creation of time, saying that it had a becoming together with the universe, the universe according to him having had a becoming. Now since time cannot exist and is unthinkable apart from the moment, and the moment a kind of middle-point, uniting as it does in itself both a beginning and an end, a beginning of future time and an end of past time, it follows that there must always be time: for the extremity of the last period of time that we take must be found in some moment, since time contains no point of contact for us except the moment. Therefore, since the moment is both a beginning and an end, there must always be time on both sides of it. But if this is true of time, it is evident that it must also be true of motion, time being a kind of affection of motion.)
The same reasoning will also serve to show the imperishability of motion: just as a becoming of motion would involve, as we saw, the existence of a process of change previous to the first, in the same way a perishing of motion would involve the existence of a process of change subsequent to the last: for when a thing ceases to be moved, it does not therefore at the same time cease to be movable—e.g. the cessation of the process of being burned does not involve the cessation of the capacity of being burned, since a thing may be capable of being burned without being in process of being burned—nor, when a thing ceases to be movent, does it therefore at the same time cease to a be motive. Again, the destructive agent will have to be destroyed, after what it destroys has been destroyed, and then that which has the capacity of destroying it will have to be destroyed afterwards, (so that there will be a process of change subsequent to the last,) for being destroyed also is a kind of change. If, then, the view which we are criticizing involves these impossible consequences, it is clear that motion is eternal and cannot have existed at one time and not at another: in fact such a view can hardly be described as anything else than fantastic.
And much the same may be said of the view that such is the ordinance of nature and that this must be regarded as a principle, as would seem to be the view of Empedocles when he says that the constitution of the world is of necessity such that Love and Strife alternately predominate and cause motion, while in the intermediate period of time there is a state of rest. Probably also those who, like Anaxagoras, assert a single principle (of motion) would hold this view. But that which is produced or directed by nature can never be anything disorderly: for nature is everywhere the cause of order. Moreover, there is no ratio in the relation of the infinite to the infinite, whereas order always means ratio. But if we say that there is first a state of rest for an infinite time, and then motion is started at some moment, and that the fact that it is this rather than a previous moment is of no importance, and involves no order, then we can no longer say that it is nature’s work: for if anything is of a certain character naturally, it either is so invariably and is not sometimes of this and sometimes of another character (e.g. fire, which travels upwards naturally, does not sometimes do so and sometimes not) or there is a ratio in the variation. It would be better, therefore, to say with Empedocles and any one else who may have maintained such a theory as his that the universe is alternately at rest and in motion: for in a system of this kind we have at once a certain order. But even here the holder of the theory ought not only to assert the fact: he ought to explain the cause of it: i.e. he should not make any mere assumption or lay down any gratuitous axiom, but should employ either inductive or demonstrative reasoning.
The Love and Strife postulated by Empedocles are not in themselves causes of the fact in question, nor is it of the essence of either that it should be so, the essential function of the former being to unite, of the latter to separate. If he is to go on to explain this alternate predominance, he should adduce cases where such a state of things exists, as he points to the fact that among mankind we have something that unites men, namely Love, while on the other hand enemies avoid one another: thus from the observed fact that this occurs in certain cases comes the assumption that it occurs also in the universe. Then, again, some argument is needed to explain why the predominance of each of the two forces lasts for an equal period of time. But it is a wrong assumption to suppose universally that we have an adequate first principle in virtue of the fact that something always is so or always happens so. Thus Democritus reduces the causes that explain nature to the fact that things happened in the past in the same way as they happen now: but he does not think fit to seek for a first principle to explain this ‘always’: so, while his theory is right in so far as it is applied to certain individual cases, he is wrong in making it of universal application. Thus, a triangle always has its angles equal to two right angles, but there is nevertheless an ulterior cause of the eternity of this truth, whereas first principles are eternal and have no ulterior cause. Let this conclude what we have to say in support of our contention that there never was a time when there was not motion, and never will be a time when there will not be motion.
2. The arguments that may be advanced against this position are not difficult to dispose of. The chief considerations that might be thought to indicate that motion may exist though at one time it had not existed at all are the following:
First, it may be said that no process of change is eternal: for the nature of all change is such that it proceeds from something to something, so that every process of change must be bounded by the contraries that mark its course, and no motion can go on to infinity.
Secondly, we see that a thing that neither is in motion nor contains any motion within itself can be set in motion; e.g. inanimate things that are (whether the whole or some part is in question) not in motion but at rest, are at some moment set in motion: whereas, if motion cannot have a becoming before which it had no being, these things ought to be either always or never in motion.
Thirdly, the fact is evident above all in the case of animate beings: for it sometimes happens that there is no motion in us and we are quite still, and that nevertheless we are then at some moment set in motion, that is to say it sometimes happens that we produce a beginning of motion in ourselves spontaneously without anything having set us in motion from without. We see nothing like this in the case of inanimate things, which are always set in motion by something else from without: the animal, on the other hand, we say, moves itself: therefore, if an animal is ever in a state of absolute rest, we have a motionless thing in which motion can be produced from the thing itself, and not from without. Now if this can occur in an animal, why should not the same be true also of the universe as a whole? If it can occur in a small world it could also occur in a great one: and if it can occur in the world, it could also occur in the infinite; that is, if the infinite could as a whole possibly be in motion or at rest.
Of these objections, then, the first-mentioned—that motion to opposites is not always the same and numerically one—is a correct statement; in fact, this may be said to be a necessary conclusion, provided that it is possible for the motion of that which is one and the same to be not always one and the same. (I mean that e.g. we may question whether the note given by a single string is one and the same, or is different each time the string is struck, although the string is in the same condition and is moved in the same way.) But still, however this may be, there is nothing to prevent there being a motion that is the same in virtue of being continuous and eternal: we shall have something to say later that will make this point clearer.
As regards the second objection, no absurdity is involved in the fact that something not in motion may be set in motion, that which caused the motion from without being at one time present, and at another absent. Nevertheless, how this can be so remains matter for inquiry; how it comes about, I mean, that the same motive force at one time causes a thing to be in motion, and at another does not do so: for the difficulty raised by our objector really amounts to this—why is it that some things are not always at rest, and the rest always in motion?
The third objection may be thought to present more difficulty than the others, namely, that which alleges that motion arises in things in which it did not exist before, and adduces in proof the case of animate things: thus an animal is first at rest and afterwards walks, not having been set in motion apparently by anything from without. This, however, is false: for we observe that there is always some part of the animal’s organism in motion, and the cause of the motion of this part is not the animal itself, but, it may be, its environment. Moreover, we say that the animal itself originates not all of its motions but its locomotion. So it may well be the case—or rather we may perhaps say that it must necessarily be the case—that many motions are produced in the body by its environment, and some of these set in motion the intellect or the appetite, and this again then sets the whole animal in motion: this is what happens when animals are asleep: though there is then no perceptive motion in them, there is some motion that causes them to wake up again. But we will leave this point also to be elucidated at a later stage in our discussion.
3. Our enquiry will resolve itself at the outset into a consideration of the above-mentioned problem—what can be the reason why some things in the world at one time are in motion and at another are at rest again? Now one of three things must be true: either all things are always at rest, or all things are always in motion, or some things are in motion and others at rest: and in this last case again either the things that are in motion are always in motion and the things that are at rest are always at rest, or they are all constituted so as to be capable alike of motion and of rest; or there is yet a third possibility remaining—it may be that some things in the world are always motionless, others always in motion, while others again admit of both conditions. This last is the account of the matter that we must give: for herein lies the solution of all the difficulties raised and the conclusion of the investigation upon which we are engaged.
To maintain that all things are at rest, and to disregard sense-perception in an attempt to show the theory to be reasonable, would be an instance of intellectual weakness: it would call in question a whole system, not a particular detail: moreover, it would be an attack not only on the physicist but on almost all sciences and all received opinions, since motion plays a part in all of them. Further, just as in arguments about mathematics objections that involve first principles do not affect the mathematician—and the other sciences are in similar case—so, too, objections involving the point that we have just raised do not affect the physicist: for it is a fundamental assumption with him that motion is ultimately referable to nature herself.
The assertion that all things are in motion we may fairly regard as equally false, though it is less subversive of physical science: for though in our course on physics it was laid down that rest no less than motion is ultimately referable to nature herself, nevertheless motion is the characteristic fact of nature: moreover, the view is actually held by some that not merely some things but all things in the world are in motion and always in motion, though we cannot apprehend the fact by sense-perception. Although the supporters of this theory do not state clearly what kind of motion they mean, or whether they mean all kinds, it is no hard matter to reply to them: thus we may point out that there cannot be a continuous process either of increase or of decrease: that which comes between the two has to be included. The theory resembles that about the stone being worn away by the drop of water or split by plants growing out of it: if so much has been extruded or removed by the drop, it does not follow that half the amount has previously been extruded or removed in half the time: the case of the hauled ship is exactly comparable: here we have so many drops setting so much in motion, but a part of them will not set as much in motion in any period of time. The amount removed is, it is true, divisible into a number of parts, but no one of these was set in motion separately: they were all set in motion together. It is evident, then, that from the fact that the decrease is divisible into an infinite number of parts it does not follow that some part must always be passing away: it all passes away at a particular moment.
Similarly, too, in the case of any alteration whatever if that which suffers alteration is infinitely divisible it does not follow from this that the same is true of the alteration itself, which often occurs all at once, as in freezing. Again, when any one has fallen ill, there must follow a period of time in which his restoration to health is in the future: the process of change cannot take place in an instant: yet the change cannot be a change to anything else but health. The assertion, therefore, that alteration is continuous is an extravagant calling into question of the obvious: for alteration is a change from one contrary to another. Moreover, we notice that a stone becomes neither harder nor softer. Again, in the matter of locomotion, it would be a strange thing if a stone could be falling or resting on the ground without our being able to perceive the fact. Further, it is a law of nature that earth and all other bodies should remain in their proper places and be moved from them only by violence: from the fact then that some of them are in their proper places it follows that in respect of place also all things cannot be in motion. These and other similar arguments, then, should convince us that it is impossible either that all things are always in motion or that all things are always at rest.
Nor again can it be that some things are always at rest, others always in motion, and nothing sometimes at rest and sometimes in motion. This theory must be pronounced impossible on the same grounds as those previously mentioned: viz. that we see the above-mentioned changes occurring in the case of the same things. We may further point out that the defender of this position is fighting against the obvious, for on this theory there can be no such thing as increase: nor can there be any such thing as compulsory motion, if it is impossible that a thing can be at rest before being set in motion unnaturally. This theory, then, does away with becoming and perishing. Moreover, motion, it would seem, is generally thought to be a sort of becoming and perishing, for that to which a thing changes comes to be, or occupancy of it comes to be, and that from which a thing changes ceases to be, or there ceases to be occupancy of it. It is clear, therefore, that there are cases of occasional motion and occasional rest.
We have now to take the assertion that all things are sometimes at rest and sometimes in motion and to confront it with the arguments previously advanced. We must take our start as before from the possibilities that we distinguished just above. Either all things are at rest, or all things are in motion, or some things are at rest and others in motion. And if some things are at rest and others in motion, then it must be that either all things are sometimes at rest and sometimes in motion, or some things are always at rest and the remainder always in motion, or some of the things are always at rest and others always in motion while others again are sometimes at rest and sometimes in motion. Now we have said before that it is impossible that all things should be at rest: nevertheless we may now repeat that assertion. We may point out that, even if it is really the case, as certain persons assert, that the existent is infinite and motionless, it certainly does not appear to be so if we follow sense-perception: many things that exist appear to be in motion. Now if there is such a thing as false opinion or opinion at all, there is also motion; and similarly if there is such a thing as imagination, or if it is the case that anything seems to be different at different times: for imagination and opinion are thought to be motions of a kind.
But to investigate this question at all—to seek a reasoned justification of a belief with regard to which we are too well off to require reasoned justification—implies bad judgment of what is better and what is worse, what commends itself to belief and what does not, what is ultimate and what is not. It is likewise impossible that all things should be in motion or that some things should be always in motion and the remainder always at rest. We have sufficient ground for rejecting all these theories in the single fact that we see some things that are sometimes in motion and sometimes at rest. It is evident, therefore, that it is no less impossible that some things should be always in motion and the remainder always at rest than that all things should be at rest or that all things should be in motion continuously. It remains, then, to consider whether all things are so constituted as to be capable both of being in motion and of being at rest, or whether, while some things are so constituted, some are always at rest and some are always in motion: for it is this last view that we have to show to be true.
4. Now of things that cause motion or suffer motion, to some the motion is accidental, to others essential: thus it is accidental to what merely belongs to or contains as a part a thing that causes motion or suffers motion, essential to a thing that causes motion or suffers motion not merely by belonging to such a thing or containing it as a part.
Of things to which the motion is essential some derive their motion from themselves, others from something else: and in some cases their motion is natural, in others violent and unnatural. Thus in things that derive their motion from themselves, e.g. all animals, the motion is natural (for when an animal is in motion its motion is derived from itself): and whenever the source of the motion of a thing is in the thing itself we say that the motion of that thing is natural. Therefore the animal as a whole moves itself naturally: but the body of the animal may be in motion unnaturally as well as naturally: it depends upon the kind of motion that it may chance to be suffering and the kind of element of which it is composed. And the motion of things that derive their motion from something else is in some cases natural, in other unnatural: e.g. upward motion of earthy things and downward motion of fire are unnatural. Moreover the parts of animals are often in motion in an unnatural way, their positions and the character of the motion being abnormal. The fact that a thing that is in motion derives its motion from something is most evident in things that are in motion unnaturally, because in such cases it is clear that the motion is derived from something other than the thing itself. Next to things that are in motion unnaturally those whose motion while natural is derived from themselves—e.g. animals—make this fact clear: for here the uncertainty is not as to whether the motion is derived from something but as to how we ought to distinguish in the thing between the movent and the moved. It would seem that in animals, just as in ships and things not naturally organized, that which causes motion is separate from that which suffers motion, and that it is only in this sense that the animal as a whole causes its own motion.
The greatest difficulty, however, is presented by the remaining case of those that we last distinguished. Where things derive their motion from something else we distinguished the cases in which the motion is unnatural: we are left with those that are to be contrasted with the others by reason of the fact that the motion is natural. It is in these cases that difficulty would be experienced in deciding whence the motion is derived, e.g. in the case of light and heavy things. When these things are in motion to positions the reverse of those they would properly occupy, their motion is violent: when they are in motion to their proper positions—the light thing up and the heavy thing down—their motion is natural; but in this latter case it is no longer evident, as it is when the motion is unnatural, whence their motion is derived. It is impossible to say that their motion is derived from themselves: this is a characteristic of life and peculiar to living things. Further, if it were, it would have been in their power to stop themselves (I mean that if e.g. a thing can cause itself to walk it can also cause itself not to walk), and so, since on this supposition fire itself possesses the power of upward locomotion, it is clear that it should also possess the power of downward locomotion. Moreover if things move themselves, it would be unreasonable to suppose that in only one kind of motion is their motion derived from themselves. Again, how can anything of continuous and naturally connected substance move itself? In so far as a thing is one and continuous not merely in virtue of contact, it is impassive: it is only in so far as a thing is divided that one part of it is by nature active and another passive. Therefore none of the things that we are now considering move themselves (for they are of naturally connected substance), nor does anything else that is continuous: in each case the movent must be separate from the moved, as we see to be the case with inanimate things when an animate thing moves them. It is the fact that these things also always derive their motion from something: what it is would become evident if we were to distinguish the different kinds of cause.
The above-mentioned distinctions can also be made in the case of things that cause motion: some of them are capable of causing motion unnaturally (e.g. the lever is not naturally capable of moving the weight), others naturally (e.g. what is actually hot is naturally capable of moving what is potentially hot): and similarly in the case of all other things of this kind.
In the same way, too, what is potentially of a certain quality or of a certain quantity in a certain place is naturally movable when it contains the corresponding principle in itself and not accidentally (for the same thing may be both of a certain quality and of a certain quantity, but the one is an accidental, not an essential property of the other). So when fire or earth is moved by something the motion is violent when it is unnatural, and natural when it brings to actuality the proper activities that they potentially possess. But the fact that the term ‘potentially’ is used in more than one sense is the reason why it is not evident whence such motions as the upward motion of fire and the downward motion of earth are derived. One who is learning a science potentially knows it in a different sense from one who while already possessing the knowledge is not actually exercising it. Wherever we have something capable of acting and something capable of being correspondingly acted on, in the event of any such pair being in contact what is potential becomes at times actual: e.g. the learner becomes from one potential something another potential something: for one who possesses knowledge of a science but is not actually exercising it knows the science potentially in a sense, though not in the same sense as he knew it potentially before he learnt it. And when he is in this condition, if something does not prevent him, he actively exercises his knowledge: otherwise he would be in the contradictory state of not knowing.
In regard to natural bodies also the case is similar. Thus what is cold is potentially hot: then a change takes place and it is fire, and it burns, unless something prevents and hinders it. So, too, with heavy and light: light is generated from heavy, e.g. air from water (for water is the first thing that is potentially light), and air is actually light, and will at once realize its proper activity as such unless something prevents it. The activity of lightness consists in the light thing being in a certain situation, namely high up: when it is in the contrary situation, it is being prevented from rising. The case is similar also in regard to quantity and quality. But, be it noted, this is the question we are trying to answer—how can we account for the motion of light things and heavy things to their proper situations? The reason for it is that they have a natural tendency respectively towards a certain position: and this constitutes the essence of lightness and heaviness, the former being determined by an upward, the latter by a downward, tendency. As we have said, a thing may be potentially light or heavy in more senses than one. Thus not only when a thing is water is it in a sense potentially light, but when it has become air it may be still potentially light: for it may be that through some hindrance it does not occupy an upper position, whereas, if what hinders it is removed, it realizes its activity and continues to rise higher. The process whereby what is of a certain quality changes to a condition of active existence is similar: thus the exercise of knowledge follows at once upon the possession of it unless something prevents it. So, too, what is of a certain quantity extends itself over a certain space unless something prevents it. The thing in a sense is and in a sense is not moved by one who moves what is obstructing and preventing its motion (e.g. one who pulls away a pillar from under a roof or one who removes a stone from a wineskin in the water is the accidental cause of motion): and in the same way the real cause of the motion of a ball rebounding from a wall is not the wall but the thrower. So it is clear that in all these cases the thing does not move itself, but it contains within itself the source of motion—not of moving something or of causing motion, but of suffering it.
If then the motion of all things that are in motion is either natural or unnatural and violent, and all things whose motion is violent and unnatural are moved by something, and something other than themselves, and again all things whose motion is natural are moved by something—both those that are moved by themselves and those that are not moved by themselves (e.g. light things and heavy things, which are moved either by that which brought the thing into existence as such and made it light and heavy, or by that which released what was hindering and preventing it); then all things that are in motion must be moved by something.
5. Now this may come about in either of two ways. Either the movent is not itself responsible for the motion, which is to be referred to something else which moves the movent, or the movent is itself responsible for the motion. Further, in the latter case, either the movent immediately precedes the last thing in the series, or there may be one or more intermediate links: e.g. the stick moves the stone and is moved by the hand, which again is moved by the man: in the man, however, we have reached a movent that is not so in virtue of being moved by something else. Now we say that the thing is moved both by the last and by the first movent in the series, but more strictly by the first, since the first movent moves the last, whereas the last does not move the first, and the first will move the thing without the last, but the last will not move it without the first: e.g. the stick will not move anything unless it is itself moved by the man. If then everything that is in motion must be moved by something, and the movent must either itself be moved by something else or not, and in the former case there must be some first movent that is not itself moved by anything else, while in the case of the immediate movent being of this kind there is no need of an intermediate movent that is also moved (for it is impossible that there should be an infinite series of movents, each of which is itself moved by something else, since in an infinite series there is no first term)—if then everything that is in motion is moved by something, and the first movent is moved but not by anything else, it must be moved by itself.
This same argument may also be stated in another way as follows. Every movent moves something and moves it with something, either with itself or with something else: e.g. a man moves a thing either himself or with a stick, and a thing is knocked down either by the wind itself or by a stone propelled by the wind. But it is impossible for that with which a thing is moved to move it without being moved by that which imparts motion by its own agency: on the other hand, if a thing imparts motion by its own agency, it is not necessary that there should be anything else with which it imparts motion, whereas if there is a different thing with which it imparts motion, there must be something that imparts motion not with something else but with itself, or else there will be an infinite series. If, then, anything is a movent while being itself moved, the series must stop somewhere and not be infinite. Thus, if the stick moves something in virtue of being moved by the hand, the hand moves the stick: and if something else moves with the hand, the hand also is moved by something different from itself. So when motion by means of an instrument is at each stage caused by something different from the instrument, this must always be preceded by something else which imparts motion with itself. Therefore, if this last movent is in motion and there is nothing else that moves it, it must move itself. So this reasoning also shows that when a thing is moved, if it is not moved immediately by something that moves itself, the series brings us at some time or other to a movent of this kind.
And if we consider the matter in yet a third way we shall get this same result as follows. If everything that is in motion is moved by something that is in motion, ether this being in motion is an accidental attribute of the movents in question, so that each of them moves something while being itself in motion, but not always because it is itself in motion, or it is not accidental but an essential attribute. Let us consider the former alternative. If then it is an accidental attribute, it is not necessary that that which is in motion should be in motion: and if this is so it is clear that there may be a time when nothing that exists is in motion, since the accidental is not necessary but contingent. Now if we assume the existence of a possibility, any conclusion that we thereby reach will not be an impossibility though it may be contrary to fact. But the nonexistence of motion is an impossibility: for we have shown above that there must always be motion.
Moreover, the conclusion to which we have been led is a reasonable one. For there must be three things—the moved, the movent, and the instrument of motion. Now the moved must be in motion, but it need not move anything else: the instrument of motion must both move something else and be itself in motion (for it changes together with the moved, with which it is in contact and continuous, as is clear in the case of things that move other things locally, in which case the two things must up to a certain point be in contact): and the movent—that is to say, that which causes motion in such a manner that it is not merely the instrument of motion—must be unmoved. Now we have visual experience of the last term in this series, namely that which has the capacity of being in motion, but does not contain a motive principle, and also of that which is in motion but is moved by itself and not by anything else: it is reasonable, therefore, not to say necessary, to suppose the existence of the third term also, that which causes motion but is itself unmoved. So, too, Anaxagoras is right when he says that Mind is impassive and unmixed, since he makes it the principle of motion: for it could cause motion in this sense only by being itself unmoved, and have supreme control only by being unmixed.
We will now take the second alternative. If the movement is not accidentally but necessarily in motion—so that, if it were not in motion, it would not move anything—then the movent, in so far as it is in motion, must be in motion in one of two ways: it is moved either as that is which is moved with the same kind of motion, or with a different kind—either that which is heating, I mean, is itself in process of becoming hot, that which is making healthy in process of becoming healthy, and that which is causing locomotion in process of locomotion, or else that which is making healthy is, let us say, in process of locomotion, and that which is causing locomotion in process of, say, increase. But it is evident that this is impossible. For if we adopt the first assumption we have to make it apply within each of the very lowest species into which motion can be divided: e.g. we must say that if some one is teaching some lesson in geometry, he is also in process of being taught that same lesson in geometry, and that if he is throwing he is in process of being thrown in just the same manner. Or if we reject this assumption we must say that one kind of motion is derived from another; e.g. that that which is causing locomotion is in process of increase, that which is causing this increase is in process of being altered by something else, and that which is causing this alteration is in process of suffering some different kind of motion. But the series must stop somewhere, since the kinds of motion are limited; and if we say that the process is reversible, and that that which is causing alteration is in process of locomotion, we do no more than if we had said at the outset that that which is causing locomotion is in process of locomotion, and that one who is teaching is in process of being taught: for it is clear that everything that is moved is moved by the movent that is further back in the series as well as by that which immediately moves it: in fact the earlier movent is that which more strictly moves it. But this is of course impossible: for it involves the consequence that one who is teaching is in process of learning what he is teaching, whereas teaching necessarily implies possessing knowledge, and learning not possessing it.
Still more unreasonable is the consequence involved that, since everything that is moved is moved by something that is itself moved by something else, everything that has a capacity for causing motion has as such a corresponding capacity for being moved: i.e. it will have a capacity for being moved in the sense in which one might say that everything that has a capacity for making healthy, and exercises that capacity, has as such a capacity for being made healthy, and that which has a capacity for building has as such a capacity for being built. It will have the capacity for being thus moved either immediately or through one or more links (as it will if, while everything that has a capacity for causing motion has as such a capacity for being moved by something else, the motion that it has the capacity for suffering is not that with which it affects what is next to it, but a motion of a different kind; e.g. that which has a capacity for making healthy might as such have a capacity for learning: the series, however, could be traced back, as we said before, until at some time or other we arrived at the same kind of motion). Now the first alternative is impossible, and the second is fantastic: it is absurd that that which has a capacity for causing alteration should as such necessarily have a capacity, let us say, for increase. It is not necessary, therefore, that that which is moved should always be moved by something else that is itself moved by something else: so there will be an end to the series. Consequently the first thing that is in motion will derive its motion either from something that is at rest or from itself. But if there were any need to consider which of the two, that which moves itself or that which is moved by something else, is the cause and principle of motion, every one would decide the former: for that which is itself independently a cause is always prior as a cause to that which is so only in virtue of being itself dependent upon something else that makes it so.
We must therefore make a fresh start and consider the question; if a thing moves itself, in what sense and in what manner does it do so? Now everything that is in motion must be infinitely divisible, for it has been shown already in our general course on Physics, that everything that is essentially in motion is continuous. Now it is impossible that that which moves itself should in its entirety move itself: for then, while being specifically one and indivisible, it would as a whole both undergo and cause the same locomotion or alteration: thus it would at the same time be both teaching and being taught (the same thing), or both restoring to and being restored to the same health. Moreover, we have established the fact that it is the movable that is moved; and this is potentially, not actually, in motion, but the potential is in process to actuality, and motion is an incomplete actuality of the movable. The movent on the other hand is already in activity: e.g. it is that which is hot that produces heat: in fact, that which produces the form is always something that possesses it. Consequently (if a thing can move itself as a whole), the same thing in respect of the same thing may be at the same time both hot and not hot. So, too, in every other case where the movent must be described by the same name in the same sense as the moved. Therefore when a thing moves itself it is one part of it that is the movent and another part that is moved. But it is not self-moving in the sense that each of the two parts is moved by the other part: the following considerations make this evident.
In the first place, if each of the two parts is to move the other, there will be no first movent. If a thing is moved by a series of movents, that which is earlier in the series is more the cause of its being moved than that which comes next, and will be more truly the movent: for we found that there are two kinds of movent, that which is itself moved by something else and that which derives its motion from itself: and that which is further from the thing that is moved is nearer to the principle of motion than that which is intermediate. In the second place, there is no necessity for the movent part to be moved by anything but itself: so it can only be accidentally that the other part moves it in return. I take then the possible case of its not moving it: then there will be a part that is moved and a part that is an unmoved movent. In the third place, there is no necessity for the movent to be moved in return: on the contrary the necessity that there should always be motion makes it necessary that there should be some movent that is either unmoved or moved by itself. In the fourth place we should then have a thing undergoing the same motion that it is causing—that which is producing heat, therefore, being heated. But as a matter of fact that which primarily moves itself cannot contain either a single part that moves itself or a number of parts each of which moves itself. For, if the whole is moved by itself, it must be moved either by some part of itself or as a whole by itself as a whole. If, then, it is moved in virtue of some part of it being moved by that part itself, it is this part that will be the primary self-movent, since, if this part is separated from the whole, the part will still move itself, but the whole will do so no longer. If on the other hand the whole is moved by itself as a whole, it must be accidentally that the parts move themselves: and therefore, their self-motion not being necessary, we may take the case of their not being moved by themselves. Therefore in the whole of the thing we may distinguish that which imparts motion without itself being moved and that which is moved: for only in this way is it possible for a thing to be self-moved.
Further, if the whole moves itself we may distinguish in it that which imparts the motion and that which is moved: so while we say that AB is moved by itself, we may also say that it is moved by A. And since that which imparts motion may be either a thing that is moved by something else or a thing that is unmoved, and that which is moved may be either a thing that imparts motion to something else or a thing that does not, that which moves itself must be composed of something that is unmoved but imparts motion and also of something that is moved but does not necessarily impart motion but may or may not do so. Thus let A be something that imparts motion but is unmoved, B something that is moved by A and moves G, G something that is moved by B but moves nothing (granted that we eventually arrive at G we may take it that there is only one intermediate term, though there may be more). Then the whole ABG moves itself. But if I take away G, AB will move itself, A imparting motion and B being moved, whereas G will not move itself or in fact be moved at all. Nor again will BG move itself apart from A: for B imparts motion only through being moved by something else, not through being moved by any part of itself. So only AB moves itself. That which moves itself, therefore, must comprise something that imparts motion but is unmoved and something that is moved but does not necessarily move anything else: and each of these two things, or at any rate one of them, must be in contact with the other. If, then, that which imparts motion is a continuous substance—that which is moved must of course be so—it is clear that it is not through some part of the whole being of such a nature as to be capable of moving itself that the whole moves itself: it moves itself as a whole, both being moved and imparting motion through containing a part that imparts motion and a part that is moved. It does not impart motion as a whole nor is it moved as a whole: it is A alone that imparts motion and B alone that is moved. It is not true, further, that G is moved by A, which is impossible.
Here a difficulty arises: if something is taken away from A (supposing that that which imparts motion but is unmoved is a continuous substance), or from B the part that is moved, will the remainder of A continue to impart motion or the remainder of B continue to be moved? If so, it will not be AB primarily that is moved by itself, since, when something is taken away from AB, the remainder of AB will still continue to move itself. Perhaps we may state the case thus: there is nothing to prevent each of the two parts, or at any rate one of them, that which is moved, being divisible though actually undivided, so that if it is divided it will not continue in the possession of the same capacity: and so there is nothing to prevent self-motion residing primarily in things that are potentially divisible.
From what has been said, then, it is evident that that which primarily imparts motion is unmoved: for, whether the series is closed at once by that which is in motion but moved by something else deriving its motion directly from the first unmoved, or whether the motion is derived from what is in motion but moves itself and stops its own motion, on both suppositions we have the result that in all cases of things being in motion that which primarily imparts motion is unmoved.
6. Since there must always be motion without intermission, there must necessarily be something, one thing or it may be a plurality, that first imparts motion, and this first movent must be unmoved. Now the question whether each of the things that are unmoved but impart motion is eternal is irrelevant to our present argument: but the following considerations will make it clear that there must necessarily be some such thing, which, while it has the capacity of moving something else, is itself unmoved and exempt from all change, which can affect it neither in an unqualified nor in an accidental sense. Let us suppose, if any one likes, that in the case of certain things it is possible for them at different times to be and not to be, without any process of becoming and perishing (in fact it would seem to be necessary, if a thing that has not parts at one time is and at another time is not, that any such thing should without undergoing any process of change at one time be and at another time not be). And let us further suppose it possible that some principles that are unmoved but capable of imparting motion at one time are and at another time are not. Even so, this cannot be true of all such principles, since there must clearly be something that causes things that move themselves at one time to be and at another not to be. For, since nothing that has not parts can be in motion, that which moves itself must as a whole have magnitude, though nothing that we have said makes this necessarily true of every movent. So the fact that some things become and others perish, and that this is so continuously, cannot be caused by any one of those things that, though they are unmoved, do not always exist: nor again can it be caused by any of those which move certain particular things, while others move other things.
The eternity and continuity of the process cannot be caused either by any one of them singly or by the sum of them, because this causal relation must be eternal and necessary, whereas the sum of these movents is infinite and they do not all exist together. It is clear, then, that though there may be countless instances of the perishing of some principles that are unmoved but impart motion, and though many things that move themselves perish and are succeeded by others that come into being, and though one thing that is unmoved moves one thing while another moves another, nevertheless there is something that comprehends them all, and that as something apart from each one of them, and this it is that is the cause of the fact that some things are and others are not and of the continuous process of change: and this causes the motion of the other movents, while they are the causes of the motion of other things. Motion, then, being eternal, the first movent, if there is but one, will be eternal also: if there are more than one, there will be a plurality of such eternal movents. We ought, however, to suppose that there is one rather than many, and a finite rather than an infinite number. When the consequences of either assumption are the same, we should always assume that things are finite rather than infinite in number, since in things constituted by nature that which is finite and that which is better ought, if possible, to be present rather than the reverse: and here it is sufficient to assume only one movent, the first of unmoved things, which being eternal will be the principle of motion to everything else.
The following argument also makes it evident that the first movent must be something that is one and eternal. We have shown that there must always be motion. That being so, motion must also be continuous, because what is always is continuous, whereas what is merely in succession is not continuous. But further, if motion is continuous, it is one: and it is one only if the movent and the moved that constitute it are each of them one, since in the event of a thing’s being moved now by one thing and now by another the whole motion will not be continuous but successive.
Moreover a conviction that there is a first unmoved something may be reached not only from the foregoing arguments, but also by considering again the principles operative in movents. Now it is evident that among existing things there are some that are sometimes in motion and sometimes at rest. This fact has served above to make it clear that it is not true either that all things are in motion or that all things are at rest or that some things are always at rest and the remainder always in motion: on this matter proof is supplied by things that fluctuate between the two and have the capacity of being sometimes in motion and sometimes at rest. The existence of things of this kind is clear to all: but we wish to explain also the nature of each of the other two kinds and show that there are some things that are always unmoved and some things that are always in motion. In the course of our argument directed to this end we established the fact that everything that is in motion is moved by something, and that the movent is either unmoved or in motion, and that, if it is in motion, it is moved either by itself or by something else and so on throughout the series: and so we proceeded to the position that the first principle that directly causes things that are in motion to be moved is that which moves itself, and the first principle of the whole series is the unmoved. Further it is evident from actual observation that there are things that have the characteristic of moving themselves, e.g. the animal kingdom and the whole class of living things. This being so, then, the view was suggested that perhaps it may be possible for motion to come to be in a thing without having been in existence at all before, because we see this actually occurring in animals: they are unmoved at one time and then again they are in motion, as it seems. We must grasp the fact, therefore, that animals move themselves only with one kind of motion, and that this is not strictly originated by them.
The cause of it is not derived from the animal itself: it is connected with other natural motions in animals, which they do not experience through their own instrumentality, e.g. increase, decrease, and respiration: these are experienced by every animal while it is at rest and not in motion in respect of the motion set up by its own agency: here the motion is caused by the atmosphere and by many things that enter into the animal: thus in some cases the cause is nourishment: when it is being digested animals sleep, and when it is being distributed through the system they awake and move themselves, the first principle of this motion being thus originally derived from outside. Therefore animals are not always in continuous motion by their own agency: it is something else that moves them, itself being in motion and changing as it comes into relation with each several thing that moves itself. (Moreover in all these self-moving things the first movent and cause of their self-motion is itself moved by itself, though in an accidental sense: that is to say, the body changes its place, so that that which is in the body changes its place also and is a self-movent through its exercise of leverage.) Hence we may confidently conclude that if a thing belongs to the class of unmoved movents that are also themselves moved accidentally, it is impossible that it should cause continuous motion. So the necessity that there should be motion continuously requires that there should be a first movent that is unmoved even accidentally, if, as we have said, there is to be in the world of things an unceasing and undying motion, and the world is to remain permanently self-contained and within the same limits: for if the first principle is permanent, the universe must also be permanent, since it is continuous with the first principle. (We must distinguish, however, between accidental motion of a thing by itself and such motion by something else, the former being confined to perishable things, whereas the latter belongs also to certain first principles of heavenly bodies, of all those, that is to say, that experience more than one locomotion.)
And further, if there is always something of this nature, a movent that is itself unmoved and eternal, then that which is first moved by it must be eternal. Indeed this is clear also from the consideration that there would otherwise be no becoming and perishing and no change of any kind in other things, which require something that is in motion to move them: for the motion imparted by the unmoved will always be imparted in the same way and be one and the same, since the unmoved does not itself change in relation to that which is moved by it. But that which is moved by something that, though it is in motion, is moved directly by the unmoved stands in varying relations to the things that it moves, so that the motion that it causes will not be always the same: by reason of the fact that it occupies contrary positions or assumes contrary forms at different times it will produce contrary motions in each several thing that it moves and will cause it to be at one time at rest and at another time in motion.
The foregoing argument, then, has served to clear up the point about which we raised a difficulty at the outset—why is it that instead of all things being either in motion or at rest, or some things being always in motion and the remainder always at rest, there are things that are sometimes in motion and sometimes not? The cause of this is now plain: it is because, while some things are moved by an eternal unmoved movent and are therefore always in motion, other things are moved by a movent that is in motion and changing, so that they too must change. But the unmoved movent, as has been said, since it remains permanently simple and unvarying and in the same state, will cause motion that is one and simple.
7. This matter will be made clearer, however, if we start afresh from another point. We must consider whether it is or is not possible that there should be a continuous motion, and, if it is possible, which this motion is, and which is the primary motion: for it is plain that if there must always be motion, and a particular motion is primary and continuous, then it is this motion that is imparted by the first movent, and so it is necessarily one and the same and continuous and primary.
Now of the three kinds of motion that there are—motion in respect of magnitude, motion in respect of affection, and motion in respect of place—it is this last, which we call locomotion, that must be primary. This may be shown as follows. It is impossible that there should be increase without the previous occurrence of alteration: for that which is increased, although in a sense it is increased by what is like itself, is in a sense increased by what is unlike itself: thus it is said that contrary is nourishment to contrary: but growth is effected only by things becoming like to like. There must be alteration, then, in that there is this change from contrary to contrary. But the fact that a thing is altered requires that there should be something that alters it, something e.g. that makes the potentially hot into the actually hot: so it is plain that the movent does not maintain a uniform relation to it but is at one time nearer to and at another farther from that which is altered: and we cannot have this without locomotion. If, therefore, there must always be motion, there must also always be locomotion as the primary motion, and, if there is a primary as distinguished from a secondary form of locomotion, it must be the primary form. Again, all affections have their origin in condensation and rarefaction: thus heavy and light, soft and hard, hot and cold, are considered to be forms of density and rarity. But condensation and rarefaction are nothing more than combination and separation, processes in accordance with which substances are said to become and perish: and in being combined and separated things must change in respect of place. And further, when a thing is increased or decreased its magnitude changes in respect of place.
Again, there is another point of view from which it will be clearly seen that locomotion is primary. As in the case of other things so too in the case of motion the word ‘primary’ may be used in several senses. A thing is said to be prior to other things when, if it does not exist, the others will not exist, whereas it can exist without the others: and there is also priority in time and priority in perfection of existence. Let us begin, then, with the first sense. Now there must be motion continuously, and there may be continuously either continuous motion or successive motion, the former, however, in a higher degree than the latter: moreover it is better that it should be continuous rather than successive motion, and we always assume the presence in nature of the better, if it be possible: since, then, continuous motion is possible (this will be proved later: for the present let us take it for granted), and no other motion can be continuous except locomotion, locomotion must be primary. For there is no necessity for the subject of locomotion to be the subject either of increase or of alteration, nor need it become or perish: on the other hand there cannot be any one of these processes without the existence of the continuous motion imparted by the first movent.
Secondly, locomotion must be primary in time: for this is the only motion possible for things. It is true indeed that, in the case of any individual thing that has a becoming, locomotion must be the last of its motions: for after its becoming it first experiences alteration and increase, and locomotion is a motion that belongs to such things only when they are perfected. But there must previously be something else that is in process of locomotion to be the cause even of the becoming of things that become, without itself being in process of becoming, as e.g. the begotten is preceded by what begot it: otherwise becoming might be thought to be the primary motion on the ground that the thing must first become. But though this is so in the case of any individual thing that becomes, nevertheless before anything becomes, something else must be in motion, not itself becoming but being, and before this there must again be something else. And since becoming cannot be primary—for, if it were, everything that is in motion would be perishable—it is plain that no one of the motions next in order can be prior to locomotion. By the motions next in order I mean increase and then alteration, decrease, and perishing. All these are posterior to becoming: consequently, if not even becoming is prior to locomotion, then no one of the other processes of change is so either.
Thirdly, that which is in process of becoming appears universally as something imperfect and proceeding to a first principle: and so what is posterior in the order of becoming is prior in the order of nature. Now all things that go through the process of becoming acquire locomotion last. It is this that accounts for the fact that some living things, e.g. plants and many kinds of animals, owing to lack of the requisite organ, are entirely without motion, whereas others acquire it in the course of their being perfected. Therefore, if the degree in which things possess locomotion corresponds to the degree in which they have realized their natural development, then this motion must be prior to all others in respect of perfection of existence: and not only for this reason but also because a thing that is in motion loses its essential character less in the process of locomotion than in any other kind of motion: it is the only motion that does not involve a change of being in the sense in which there is a change in quality when a thing is altered and a change in quantity when a thing is increased or decreased. Above all it is plain that this motion, motion in respect of place, is what is in the strictest sense produced by that which moves itself; but it is the self-movent that we declare to be the first principle of things that are moved and impart motion and the primary source to which things that are in motion are to be referred.
It is clear, then, from the foregoing arguments that locomotion is the primary motion. We have now to show which kind of locomotion is primary. The same process of reasoning will also make clear at the same time the truth of the assumption we have made both now and at a previous stage that it is possible that there should be a motion that is continuous and eternal. Now it is clear from the following considerations that no other than locomotion can be continuous. Every other motion and change is from an opposite to an opposite: thus for the processes of becoming and perishing the limits are the existent and the non-existent, for alteration the various pairs of contrary affections, and for increase and decrease either greatness and smallness or perfection and imperfection of magnitude: and changes to the respective contraries are contrary changes. Now a thing that is undergoing any particular kind of motion, but though previously existent has not always undergone it, must previously have been at rest so far as that motion is concerned. It is clear, then, that for the changing thing the contraries will be states of rest. And we have a similar result in the case of changes that are not motions: for becoming and perishing, whether regarded simply as such without qualification or as affecting something in particular, are opposites: therefore provided it is impossible for a thing to undergo opposite changes at the same time, the change will not be continuous, but a period of time will intervene between the opposite processes.
The question whether these contradictory changes are contraries or not makes no difference, provided only it is impossible for them both to be present to the same thing at the same time: the point is of no importance to the argument. Nor does it matter if the thing need not rest in the contradictory state, or if there is no state of rest as a contrary to the process of change: it may be true that the non-existent is not at rest, and that perishing is a process to the non-existent. All that matters is the intervention of a time: it is this that prevents the change from being continuous: so, too, in our previous instances the important thing was not the relation of contrariety but the impossibility of the two processes being present to a thing at the same time. And there is no need to be disturbed by the fact that on this showing there may be more than one contrary to the same thing, that a particular motion will be contrary both to rest and to motion in the contrary direction. We have only to grasp the fact that a particular motion is in a sense the opposite both of a state of rest and of the contrary motion, in the same way as that which is of equal or standard measure is the opposite both of that which surpasses it and of that which it surpasses, and that it is impossible for the opposite motions or changes to be present to a thing at the same time. Furthermore, in the case of becoming and perishing it would seem to be an utterly absurd thing if as soon as anything has become it must necessarily perish and cannot continue to exist for any time: and, if this is true of becoming and perishing, we have fair grounds for inferring the same to be true of the other kinds of change, since it would be in the natural order of things that they should be uniform in this respect.
8. Let us now proceed to maintain that it is possible that there should be an infinite motion that is single and continuous, and that this motion is rotatory motion. The motion of everything that is in process of locomotion is either rotatory or rectilinear or a compound of the two: consequently, if one of the former two is not continuous, that which is composed of them both cannot be continuous either. Now it is plain that if the locomotion of a thing is rectilinear and finite it is not continuous locomotion: for the thing must turn back, and that which turns back in a straight line undergoes two contrary locomotions, since, so far as motion in respect of place is concerned, upward motion is the contrary of downward motion, forward motion of backward motion, and motion to the left of motion to the right, these being the pairs of contraries in the sphere of place. But we have already defined single and continuous motion to be motion of a single thing in a single period of time and operating within a sphere admitting of no further specific differentiation (for we have three things to consider, first that which is in motion, e.g. a man or a god, secondly the ‘when’ of the motion, that is to say, the time, and thirdly the sphere within which it operates, which may be either place or affection or essential form or magnitude): and contraries are specifically not one and the same but distinct: and within the sphere of place we have the above-mentioned distinctions. Moreover we have an indication that motion from A to B is the contrary of motion from B to A in the fact that, if they occur at the same time, they arrest and stop each other. And the same is true in the case of a circle: the motion from A towards B is the contrary of the motion from A towards G: for even if they are continuous and there is no turning back they arrest each other, because contraries annihilate or obstruct one another. On the other hand lateral motion is not the contrary of upward motion. But what shows most clearly that rectilinear motion cannot be continuous is the fact that turning back necessarily implies coming to a stand, not only when it is a straight line that is traversed, but also in the case of locomotion in a circle (which is not the same thing as rotatory locomotion: for, when a thing merely traverses a circle, it may either proceed on its course without a break or turn back again when it has reached the same point from which it started).
We may assure ourselves of the necessity of this coming to a stand not only on the strength of observation, but also on theoretical grounds. We may start as follows: we have three points, starting-point, middle-point, and finishing-point, of which the middle-point in virtue of the relations in which it stands severally to the other two is both a starting-point and a finishing-point, and though numerically one is theoretically two. We have further the distinction between the potential and the actual. So in the straight line in question any one of the points lying between the two extremes is potentially a middle-point: but it is not actually so unless that which is in motion divides the line by coming to a stand at that point and beginning its motion again: thus the middle-point becomes both a starting-point and a goal, the starting-point of the latter part and the finishing-point of the first part of the motion. This is the case e.g. when A in the course of its locomotion comes to a stand at B and starts again towards G: but when its motion is continuous A cannot either have come to be or have ceased to be at the point B: it can only have been there at the moment of passing, its passage not being contained within any period of time except the whole of which the particular moment is a dividing-point. To maintain that it has come to be and ceased to be there will involve the consequence that A in the course of its locomotion will always be coming to a stand: for it is impossible that A should simultaneously have come to be at B and ceased to be there, so that the two things must have happened at different points of time, and therefore there will be the intervening period of time: consequently A will be in a state of rest at B, and similarly at all other points, since the same reasoning holds good in every case. When to A, that which is in process of locomotion, B, the middle-point, serves both as a finishing-point and as a starting-point for its motion, A must come to a stand at B, because it makes it two just as one might do in thought.
However, the point A is the real starting-point at which the moving body has ceased to be, and it is at G that it has really come to be when its course is finished and it comes to a stand. So this is how we must meet the difficulty that then arises, which is as follows. Suppose the line E is equal to the line Z, that A proceeds in continuous locomotion from the extreme point of E to G, and that, at the moment when A is at the point B, D is proceeding in uniform locomotion and with the same velocity as A from the extremity of Z to H: then, says the argument, D will have reached H before A has reached G for that which makes an earlier start and departure must make an earlier arrival: the reason, then, for the late arrival of A is that it has not simultaneously come to be and ceased to be at B: otherwise it will not arrive later: for this to happen it will be necessary that it should come to a stand there. Therefore we must not hold that there was a moment when A came to be at B and that at the same moment D was in motion from the extremity of Z: for the fact of A’s having come to be at B will involve the fact of its also ceasing to be there, and the two events will not be simultaneous, whereas the truth is that A is at B at a sectional point of time and does not occupy time there. In this case, therefore, where the motion of a thing is continuous, it is impossible to use this form of expression. On the other hand in the case of a thing that turns back in its course we must do so. For suppose H in the course of its locomotion proceeds to D and then turns back and proceeds downwards again: then the extreme point D has served as finishing-point and as starting-point for it, one point thus serving as two: therefore H must have come to a stand there: it cannot have come to be at D and departed from D simultaneously, for in that case it would simultaneously be there and not be there at the same moment. And here we cannot apply the argument used to solve the difficulty stated above: we cannot argue that H is at D at a sectional point of time and has not come to be or ceased to be there. For here the goal that is reached is necessarily one that is actually, not potentially, existent. Now the point in the middle is potential: but this one is actual, and regarded from below it is a finishing-point, while regarded from above it is a starting-point, so that it stands in these same two respective relations to the two motions. Therefore that which turns back in traversing a rectilinear course must in so doing come to a stand. Consequently there cannot be a continuous rectilinear motion that is eternal.
The same method should also be adopted in replying to those who ask, in the terms of Zeno’s argument, whether we admit that before any distance can be traversed half the distance must be traversed, that these half-distances are infinite in number, and that it is impossible to traverse distances infinite in number—or some on the lines of this same argument put the questions in another form, and would have us grant that in the time during which a motion is in progress it should be possible to reckon a half-motion before the whole for every half-distance that we get, so that we have the result that when the whole distance is traversed we have reckoned an infinite number, which is admittedly impossible. Now when we first discussed the question of motion we put forward a solution of this difficulty turning on the fact that the period of time occupied in traversing the distance contains within itself an infinite number of units: there is no absurdity, we said, in supposing the traversing of infinite distances in infinite time, and the element of infinity is present in the time no less than in the distance. But, although this solution is adequate as a reply to the questioner (the question asked being whether it is possible in a finite time to traverse or reckon an infinite number of units), nevertheless as an account of the fact and explanation of its true nature it is inadequate. For suppose the distance to be left out of account and the question asked to be no longer whether it is possible in a finite time to traverse an infinite number of distances, and suppose that the inquiry is made to refer to the time taken by itself (for the time contains an infinite number of divisions): then this solution will no longer be adequate, and we must apply the truth that we enunciated in our recent discussion, stating it in the following way. In the act of dividing the continuous distance into two halves one point is treated as two, since we make it a starting-point and a finishing-point: and this same result is also produced by the act of reckoning halves as well as by the act of dividing into halves. But if divisions are made in this way, neither the distance nor the motion will be continuous: for motion if it is to be continuous must relate to what is continuous: and though what is continuous contains an infinite number of halves, they are not actual but potential halves. If the halves are made actual, we shall get not a continuous but an intermittent motion. In the case of reckoning the halves, it is clear that this result follows: for then one point must be reckoned as two: it will be the finishing-point of the one half and the starting-point of the other, if we reckon not the one continuous whole but the two halves.
Therefore to the question whether it is possible to pass through an infinite number of units either of time or of distance we must reply that in a sense it is and in a sense it is not. If the units are actual, it is not possible: if they are potential, it is possible. For in the course of a continuous motion the traveller has traversed an infinite number of units in an accidental sense but not in an unqualified sense: for though it is an accidental characteristic of the distance to be an infinite number of half-distances, this is not its real and essential character. It is also plain that unless we hold that the point of time that divides earlier from later always belongs only to the later so far as the thing is concerned, we shall be involved in the consequence that the same thing is at the same moment existent and not existent, and that a thing is not existent at the moment when it has become. It is true that the point is common to both times, the earlier as well as the later, and that, while numerically one and the same, it is theoretically not so, being the finishing-point of the one and the starting-point of the other: but so far as the thing is concerned it belongs to the later stage of what happens to it. Let us suppose a time ABG and a thing D, D being white in the time A and not-white in the time B. Then D is at the moment G white and not-white: for if we were right in saying that it is white during the whole time A, it is true to call it white at any moment of A, and not-white in B, and G is in both A and B. We must not allow, therefore, that it is white in the whole of A, but must say that it is so in all of it except the last moment G. G belongs already to the later period, and if in the whole of A not-white was in process of becoming and white of perishing, at G the process is complete. And so G is the first moment at which it is true to call the thing white or not white respectively. Otherwise a thing may be non-existent at the moment when it has become and existent at the moment when it has perished: or else it must be possible for a thing at the same time to be white and not white and in fact to be existent and non-existent.
Further, if anything that exists after having been previously non-existent must become existent and does not exist when it is becoming, time cannot be divisible into time-atoms. For suppose that D was becoming white in the time A and that at another time B, a time-atom consecutive with the last atom of A, D has already become white and so is white at that moment: then, inasmuch as in the time A it was becoming white and so was not white and at the moment B it is white, there must have been a becoming between A and B and therefore also a time in which the becoming took place. On the other hand, those who deny atoms of time (as we do) are not affected by this argument: according to them D has become and so is white at the last point of the actual time in which it was becoming white: and this point has no other point consecutive with or in succession to it, whereas time-atoms are conceived as successive. Moreover it is clear that if D was becoming white in the whole time A, the time occupied by it in having become white in addition to having been in process of becoming white is no more than all that it occupied in the mere process of becoming white.
These and such-like, then, are the arguments for our conclusion that derive cogency from the fact that they have a special bearing on the point at issue. If we look at the question from the point of view of general theory, the same result would also appear to be indicated by the following arguments. Everything whose motion is continuous must, on arriving at any point in the course of its locomotion, have been previously also in process of locomotion to that point, if it is not forced out of its path by anything: e.g. on arriving at B a thing must also have been in process of locomotion to B, and that not merely when it was near to B, but from the moment of its starting on its course, since there can be no reason for its being so at any particular stage rather than at an earlier one. So, too, in the case of the other kinds of motion. Now we are to suppose that a thing proceeds in locomotion from A to G and that at the moment of its arrival at G the continuity of its motion is unbroken and will remain so until it has arrived back at A. Then when it is undergoing locomotion from A to G it is at the same time undergoing also its locomotion to A from G: consequently it is simultaneously undergoing two contrary motions, since the two motions that follow the same straight line are contrary to each other. With this consequence there also follows another: we have a thing that is in process of change from a position in which it has not yet been: so, inasmuch as this is impossible, the thing must come to a stand at G. Therefore the motion is not a single motion, since motion that is interrupted by stationariness is not single.
Further, the following argument will serve better to make this point clear universally in respect of every kind of motion. If the motion undergone by that which is in motion is always one of those already enumerated, and the state of rest that it undergoes is one of those that are the opposites of the motions (for we found that there could be no other besides these), and moreover that which is undergoing but does not always undergo a particular motion (by this I mean one of the various specifically distinct motions, not some particular part of the whole motion) must have been previously undergoing the state of rest that is the opposite of the motion, the state of rest being privation of motion; then, inasmuch as the two motions that follow the same straight line are contrary motions, and it is impossible for a thing to undergo simultaneously two contrary motions, that which is undergoing locomotion from A to G cannot also simultaneously be undergoing locomotion from G to A: and since the latter locomotion is not simultaneous with the former but is still to be undergone, before it is undergone there must occur a state of rest at G: for this, as we found, is the state of rest that is the opposite of the motion from G. The foregoing argument, then, makes it plain that the motion in question is not continuous.
Our next argument has a more special bearing than the foregoing on the point at issue. We will suppose that there has occurred in something simultaneously a perishing of not-white and a becoming of white. Then if the alteration to white and from white is a continuous process and the white does not remain any time, there must have occurred simultaneously a perishing of not-white, a becoming of white, and a becoming of not-white: for the time of the three will be the same.
Again, from the continuity of the time in which the motion takes place we cannot infer continuity in the motion, but only successiveness: in fact, how could contraries, e.g. whiteness and blackness, meet in the same extreme point?
On the other hand, in motion on a circular line we shall find singleness and continuity: for here we are met by no impossible consequence: that which is in motion from A will in virtue of the same direction of energy be simultaneously in motion to A (since it is in motion to the point at which it will finally arrive), and yet will not be undergoing two contrary or opposite motions: for a motion to a point and a motion from that point are not always contraries or opposites: they are contraries only if they are on the same straight line (for then they are contrary to one another in respect of place, as e.g. the two motions along the diameter of the circle, since the ends of this are at the greatest possible distance from one another), and they are opposites only if they are along the same line. Therefore in the case we are now considering there is nothing to prevent the motion being continuous and free from all intermission: for rotatory motion is motion of a thing from its place to its place, whereas rectilinear motion is motion from its place to another place.
Moreover the progress of rotatory motion is never localized within certain fixed limits, whereas that of rectilinear motion repeatedly is so. Now a motion that is always shifting its ground from moment to moment can be continuous: but a motion that is repeatedly localized within certain fixed limits cannot be so, since then the same thing would have to undergo simultaneously two opposite motions. So, too, there cannot be continuous motion in a semicircle or in any other arc of a circle, since here also the same ground must be traversed repeatedly and two contrary processes of change must occur. The reason is that in these motions the starting-point and the termination do not coincide, whereas in motion over a circle they do coincide, and so this is the only perfect motion.
This differentiation also provides another means of showing that the other kinds of motion cannot be continuous either: for in all of them we find that there is the same ground to be traversed repeatedly; thus in alteration there are the intermediate stages of the process, and in quantitative change there are the intervening degrees of magnitude: and in becoming and perishing the same thing is true. It makes no difference whether we take the intermediate stages of the process to be few or many, or whether we add or subtract one: for in either case we find that there is still the same ground to be traversed repeatedly. Moreover it is plain from what has been said that those physicists who assert that all sensible things are always in motion are wrong: for their motion must be one or other of the motions just mentioned: in fact they mostly conceive it as alteration (things are always in flux and decay, they say), and they go so far as to speak even of becoming and perishing as a process of alteration. On the other hand, our argument has enabled us to assert the fact, applying universally to all motions, that no motion admits of continuity except rotatory motion: consequently neither alteration nor increase admits of continuity. We need now say no more in support of the position that there is no process of change that admits of infinity or continuity except rotatory locomotion.
9. It can now be shown plainly that rotation is the primary locomotion. Every locomotion, as we said before, is either rotatory or rectilinear or a compound of the two: and the two former must be prior to the last, since they are the elements of which the latter consists. Moreover rotatory locomotion is prior to rectilinear locomotion, because it is more simple and complete, which may be shown as follows. The straight line traversed in rectilinear motion cannot be infinite: for there is no such thing as an infinite straight line; and even if there were, it would not be traversed by anything in motion: for the impossible does not happen and it is impossible to traverse an infinite distance. On the other hand rectilinear motion on a finite straight line is if it turns back a composite motion, in fact two motions, while if it does not turn back it is incomplete and perishable: and in the order of nature, of definition, and of time alike the complete is prior to the incomplete and the imperishable to the perishable. Again, a motion that admits of being eternal is prior to one that does not. Now rotatory motion can be eternal: but no other motion, whether locomotion or motion of any other kind, can be so, since in all of them rest must occur and with the occurrence of rest the motion has perished. Moreover the result at which we have arrived, that rotatory motion is single and continuous, and rectilinear motion is not, is a reasonable one. In rectilinear motion we have a definite starting-point, finishing-point, middle-point, which all have their place in it in such a way that there is a point from which that which is in motion can be said to start and a point at which it can be said to finish its course (for when anything is at the limits of its course, whether at the starting-point or at the finishing-point, it must be in a state of rest). On the other hand in circular motion there are no such definite points: for why should any one point on the line be a limit rather than any other? Any one point as much as any other is alike starting-point, middle-point, and finishing-point, so that we can say of certain things both that they are always and that they never are at a starting-point and at a finishing-point (so that a revolving sphere, while it is in motion, is also in a sense at rest, for it continues to occupy the same place).
The reason of this is that in this case all these characteristics belong to the center: that is to say, the center is alike starting-point, middle-point, and finishing-point of the space traversed; consequently since this point is not a point on the circular line, there is no point at which that which is in process of locomotion can be in a state of rest as having traversed its course, because in its locomotion it is proceeding always about a central point and not to an extreme point: therefore it remains still, and the whole is in a sense always at rest as well as continuously in motion. Our next point gives a convertible result: on the one hand, because rotation is the measure of motions it must be the primary motion (for all things are measured by what is primary): on the other hand, because rotation is the primary motion it is the measure of all other motions. Again, rotatory motion is also the only motion that admits of being regular. In rectilinear locomotion the motion of things in leaving the starting-point is not uniform with their motion in approaching the finishing-point, since the velocity of a thing always increases proportionately as it removes itself farther from its position of rest: on the other hand rotatory motion is the only motion whose course is naturally such that it has no starting-point or finishing-point in itself but is determined from elsewhere.
As to locomotion being the primary motion, this is a truth that is attested by all who have ever made mention of motion in their theories: they all assign their first principles of motion to things that impart motion of this kind. Thus ‘separation’ and ‘combination’ are motions in respect of place, and the motion imparted by ‘Love’ and ‘Strife’ takes these forms, the latter ‘separating’ and the former ‘combining’. Anaxagoras, too, says that ‘Mind’, his first movent, ‘separates’. Similarly those who assert no cause of this kind but say that ‘void’ accounts for motion—they also hold that the motion of natural substance is motion in respect of place: for their motion that is accounted for by ‘void’ is locomotion, and its sphere of operation may be said to be place. Moreover they are of opinion that the primary substances are not subject to any of the other motions, though the things that are compounds of these substances are so subject: the processes of increase and decrease and alteration, they say, are effects of the ‘combination’ and ‘separation’ of atoms. It is the same, too, with those who make out that the becoming or perishing of a thing is accounted for by ‘density’ or ‘rarity’: for it is by ‘combination’ and ‘separation’ that the place of these things in their systems is determined. Moreover to these we may add those who make Soul the cause of motion: for they say that things that undergo motion have as their first principle ‘that which moves itself’: and when animals and all living things move themselves, the motion is motion in respect of place. Finally it is to be noted that we say that a thing ‘is in motion’ in the strict sense of the term only when its motion is motion in respect of place: if a thing is in process of increase or decrease or is undergoing some alteration while remaining at rest in the same place, we say that it is in motion in some particular respect: we do not say that it ‘is in motion’ without qualification.
Our present position, then, is this: We have argued that there always was motion and always will be motion throughout all time, and we have explained what is the first principle of this eternal motion: we have explained further which is the primary motion and which is the only motion that can be eternal: and we have pronounced the first movent to be unmoved.
10. We have now to assert that the first movent must be without parts and without magnitude, beginning with the establishment of the premises on which this conclusion depends.
One of these premises is that nothing finite can cause motion during an infinite time. We have three things, the movent, the moved, and thirdly that in which the motion takes place, namely the time: and these are either all infinite or all finite or partly—that is to say two of them or one of them—finite and partly infinite. Let A be the movement, B the moved, and G the infinite time. Now let us suppose that D moves E, a part of B. Then the time occupied by this motion cannot be equal to G: for the greater the amount moved, the longer the time occupied. It follows that the time Z is not infinite. Now we see that by continuing to add to D, I shall use up A and by continuing to add to E, I shall use up B: but I shall not use up the time by continually subtracting a corresponding amount from it, because it is infinite. Consequently the duration of the part of G which is occupied by all A in moving the whole of B, will be finite. Therefore a finite thing cannot impart to anything an infinite motion. It is clear, then, that it is impossible for the finite to cause motion during an infinite time.
It has now to be shown that in no case is it possible for an infinite force to reside in a finite magnitude. This can be shown as follows: we take it for granted that the greater force is always that which in less time than another does an equal amount of work when engaged in any activity—in heating, for example, or sweetening or throwing; in fact, in causing any kind of motion. Then that on which the forces act must be affected to some extent by our supposed finite magnitude possessing an infinite force as well as by anything else, in fact to a greater extent than by anything else, since the infinite force is greater than any other. But then there cannot be any time in which its action could take place. Suppose that A is the time occupied by the infinite power in the performance of an act of heating or pushing, and that AB is the time occupied by a finite power in the performance of the same act: then by adding to the latter another finite power and continually increasing the magnitude of the power so added I shall at some time or other reach a point at which the finite power has completed the motive act in the time A: for by continual addition to a finite magnitude I must arrive at a magnitude that exceeds any assigned limit, and in the same way by continual subtraction I must arrive at one that falls short of any assigned limit. So we get the result that the finite force will occupy the same amount of time in performing the motive act as the infinite force. But this is impossible. Therefore nothing finite can possess an infinite force.
So it is also impossible for a finite force to reside in an infinite magnitude. It is true that a greater force can reside in a lesser magnitude: but the superiority of any such greater force can be still greater if the magnitude in which it resides is greater. Now let AB be an infinite magnitude. Then BG possesses a certain force that occupies a certain time, let us say the time Z in moving D. Now if I take a magnitude twice as great at BG, the time occupied by this magnitude in moving D will be half of EZ (assuming this to be the proportion): so we may call this time ZH. That being so, by continually taking a greater magnitude in this way I shall never arrive at the full AB, whereas I shall always be getting a lesser fraction of the time given. Therefore the force must be infinite, since it exceeds any finite force. Moreover the time occupied by the action of any finite force must also be finite: for if a given force moves something in a certain time, a greater force will do so in a lesser time, but still a definite time, in inverse proportion. But a force must always be infinite—-just as a number or a magnitude is—if it exceeds all definite limits. This point may also be proved in another way—by taking a finite magnitude in which there resides a force the same in kind as that which resides in the infinite magnitude, so that this force will be a measure of the finite force residing in the infinite magnitude.
It is plain, then, from the foregoing arguments that it is impossible for an infinite force to reside in a finite magnitude or for a finite force to reside in an infinite magnitude. But before proceeding to our conclusion it will be well to discuss a difficulty that arises in connection with locomotion. If everything that is in motion with the exception of things that move themselves is moved by something else, how is it that some things, e.g. things thrown, continue to be in motion when their movent is no longer in contact with them? If we say that the movent in such cases moves something else at the same time, that the thrower e.g. also moves the air, and that this in being moved is also a movent, then it would be no more possible for this second thing than for the original thing to be in motion when the original movent is not in contact with it or moving it: all the things moved would have to be in motion simultaneously and also to have ceased simultaneously to be in motion when the original movent ceases to move them, even if, like the magnet, it makes that which it has moved capable of being a movent. Therefore, while we must accept this explanation to the extent of saying that the original movent gives the power of being a movent either to air or to water or to something else of the kind, naturally adapted for imparting and undergoing motion, we must say further that this thing does not cease simultaneously to impart motion and to undergo motion: it ceases to be in motion at the moment when its movent ceases to move it, but it still remains a movent, and so it causes something else consecutive with it to be in motion, and of this again the same may be said.
The motion begins to cease when the motive force produced in one member of the consecutive series is at each stage less than that possessed by the preceding member, and it finally ceases when one member no longer causes the next member to be a movent but only causes it to be in motion. The motion of these last two—of the one as movent and of the other as moved—must cease simultaneously, and with this the whole motion ceases. Now the things in which this motion is produced are things that admit of being sometimes in motion and sometimes at rest, and the motion is not continuous but only appears so: for it is motion of things that are either successive or in contact, there being not one movent but a number of movents consecutive with one another: and so motion of this kind takes place in air and water. Some say that it is ‘mutual replacement’: but we must recognize that the difficulty raised cannot be solved otherwise than in the way we have described. So far as they are affected by ‘mutual replacement’, all the members of the series are moved and impart motion simultaneously, so that their motions also cease simultaneously: but our present problem concerns the appearance of continuous motion in a single thing, and therefore, since it cannot be moved throughout its motion by the same movent, the question is, what moves it?
Resuming our main argument, we proceed from the positions that there must be continuous motion in the world of things, that this is a single motion, that a single motion must be a motion of a magnitude (for that which is without magnitude cannot be in motion), and that the magnitude must be a single magnitude moved by a single movent (for otherwise there will not be continuous motion but a consecutive series of separate motions), and that if the movement is a single thing, it is either itself in motion or itself unmoved: if, then, it is in motion, it will have to be subject to the same conditions as that which it moves, that is to say it will itself be in process of change and in being so will also have to be moved by something: so we have a series that must come to an end, and a point will be reached at which motion is imparted by something that is unmoved. Thus we have a movent that has no need to change along with that which it moves but will be able to cause motion always (for the causing of motion under these conditions involves no effort): and this motion alone is regular, or at least it is so in a higher degree than any other, since the movent is never subject to any change. So, too, in order that the motion may continue to be of the same character, the moved must not be subject to change in respect of its relation to the movent. Moreover the movent must occupy either the center or the circumference, since these are the first principles from which a sphere is derived. But the things nearest the movent are those whose motion is quickest, and in this case it is the motion of the circumference that is the quickest: therefore the movent occupies the circumference.
There is a further difficulty in supposing it to be possible for anything that is in motion to cause motion continuously and not merely in the way in which it is caused by something repeatedly pushing (in which case the continuity amounts to no more than successiveness). Such a movent must either itself continue to push or pull or perform both these actions, or else the action must be taken up by something else and be passed on from one movent to another (the process that we described before as occurring in the case of things thrown, since the air or the water, being divisible, is a movent only in virtue of the fact that different parts of the air are moved one after another): and in either case the motion cannot be a single motion, but only a consecutive series of motions. The only continuous motion, then, is that which is caused by the unmoved movent: and this motion is continuous because the movent remains always invariable, so that its relation to that which it moves remains also invariable and continuous.
Now that these points are settled, it is clear that the first unmoved movent cannot have any magnitude. For if it has magnitude, this must be either a finite or an infinite magnitude. Now we have already proved in our course on Physics that there cannot be an infinite magnitude: and we have now proved that it is impossible for a finite magnitude to have an infinite force, and also that it is impossible for a thing to be moved by a finite magnitude during an infinite time. But the first movent causes a motion that is eternal and does cause it during an infinite time. It is clear, therefore, that the first movent is indivisible and is without parts and without magnitude.