Aristotle's Criticism of Plato and the Academy, Volume 1 by Harold Cherniss

By Harold Cherniss

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14 The theory of atomic lines, however, is introduced anonymously as cxemplifym i2iB^i9-53 £ ^ i e test: ^ or a fa*sety attributed genus; this test consists of looking for a case specifically undifferentiated that nevertheless cannot be subsumed under the supposed genus. If one who posits atomic lines should give the indivisible as genus, the attribution can be refuted by showing that divisible lines cannot fall under this genus although all straight lines are definition of the summum honum (cf Xenocrates, frag.

T Cf. b. 1086 B 9-10. rairai M r i t Ka0&\ov \tyoiiiyai iH$wav), Metaphysics $$\ A, 29-31 may be an indication of the way in which Aristotle arrived at this interpretation. DIAERESIS, DEFINITION, AND DEMONSTRATION 7 relationship of this element to the transcendental idea of animal. The impossibility of this situation proves that there are no Platonic ideas (1039 B 7-19). Aristotle, then, by his assertion in the present topic that the assumption of transcendental ideas is equivalent to making the genus numerically one outlines one of the arguments against the existence of the ideas as such; moreover, the clearly implied doctrine that the genus cannot be numerically one indicates that behind this topic lurks the theory which in the Metaphysics (1037 B 10-1039 B 19) is developed in relation to the unity of definition and substance and out of which springs the attack on the ideas which is referred to above, namely that the genus is in some way or other the matter for the last differentia which is the form (1038 A 5-9 and 25-35) * Although the substance of these topics is elsewhere used to disprove the existence of ideas, Aristotle does not here refer to such a use of them, for the Topics is not concerned with ontology; the practical method of dialectic is the sole concern of this writing, and topics which employ the theory of ideas are described only because Aristotle and his auditors would frequently have occasion to debate with Platonists who would be expected to abandon any conclusion that could be plausibly represented as involving contradictions to the requisites of transcendental ideas.

I n n c t e s i n m e organ of sensation (Parva flat Malta Btt> 454 B 9-U, 455 A 25-B 13, 45% A 28->2); but Aristotle himself uses the looser phraseology even in his serious treatise on sleep (Parva Naturalia 454 B 25-26": rijs 5' afo&jows Tpoirov nvb. -ri}v l&v aKtvycriav , . rbv (Woe tlval faptv. DIAERESIS, D E F I N I T I O N , A N D D E M O N S T R A T I O N 23 Cf. ibid. 4 5 5 B 5: dSwafiia yap aurOfotiav ^ Woi/oi^ta). O n the same score he criticizes the designation of pain as " the forceful separation of connate parts " {Timaeus 64 D-E, 81 D; Phtlebns 31 D) and of health as " the symmetry of hot and cold " (cf Timaeus 82 A-B, Aetius, V, 30, 1 [Alcmaeon]); such definitions "would require that inanimate objects experience pain and have health.

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