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Fragments of the Lost Writings of Proclus

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Author Topic: Fragments of the Lost Writings of Proclus  (Read 1324 times)
Major Weatherly
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« on: February 06, 2009, 01:17:12 pm »

or from elements; or not every body is divisible." Proclus, in reply to this, "blames him who makes lire to be a pyramid, and who does not abide in the Platonic hypothesis, since Plato says that a pyramid is the figure of fire; but he does not say that it is fire. For fire is a collection of pyramids, any one of which is invisible, on account of its smallness; nor will fire, so long as it is divided into fire, be divided into pyramids. One pyramid, however, is no longer fire, but the element of fire, invisible from its smallness. If, therefore, this pyramid were divided, it would neither be an element, nor composed of elements, since it would not be divided into pyramids or planes. And why is it wonderful that there should be something inordinate in sublunary bodies? For, in the mutation of the elements with which we are conversant, there is something inordinate." Proclus adds, "that certain differences also are produced, which occasion pestilential consequences in the whole genus, and turn the elements into a condition contrary to nature. But what impossibility is there," says he, "that this section of an element being taken, and fashioned into form and figure by atoms, should again become a pyramid, or some other element, in consequence of being assimilated to the natures which comprehend and compress it."

p. 17

The sixth argument of Aristotle endeavours to shew, that if the elements are fashioned with the above-mentioned figures, there must necessarily be a vacuum which is not even asserted by the advocates for planes. But he spews this from there being but few figures, both in planes and solids, which are able to fill the place about one point, so as to leave no vacuum. *

p. 18

Proclus observes, in reply to this argument of Aristotle, "that the elements being placed by each other, and supernally compressed by the heaven, the more attenuated are compelled into the places of the more gross. Hence, being impelled, and entering into the place about one point, they fill up the deficiency. For Plato also assigns this as the cause of no vacuum being left, viz. that less are arranged about greater things. For thus the cavities of the air have pyramids which fill up the place; those of water have dispersed octaedra; and those of earth have all the figures; and no place is empty."

In the seventh argument, Aristotle says, "that all simple bodies appear to be figured in the place which contains them, and especially water and air." He adds, "it is impossible, therefore, that the figure of an element should remain; for the whole would not on all sides touch that which contains it. But if it were changed into another figure, it would no longer be water, if it differed in figure; so that it is evident that the figures of it are not definite," &c.

Proclus, in opposition to this seventh argument, observes, "that he does not admit that the elements have a characteristic figure, since they can neither have it stably, nor abandon it." He also says, "that it is not the wholenesses of these four

p. 19

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