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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 707 times)
Major Weatherly
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« on: February 06, 2009, 01:18:08 pm »

to whatever form they are adapted, from their figure, they easily receive this form, and on this account, from water air is first generated, and then from air fire."

In the next place, Aristotle says, "that it is ridiculous to attribute a figure to fire for the purpose of dividing alone; for fire appears rather to collect and bring boundaries together, than to separate. For it separates accidentally things which are not of a kindred nature, and collects especially those which are."

Proclus opposes this argument, and says, "that the very contrary is true. For fire essentially separates, but collects things together accidentally; since to take away things of a foreign nature from such as are similar, predisposes the concurrence of the latter into each other, and their tendencies to the same thing. For all fiery natures, according to all the senses, have a separating power. Thus, heat separates the touch, the splendid separates the sight, and the pungent the taste. And farther still, all medicines which are of a fiery nature have a diaphoretic power. Again, every thing which collects strives to surround that which is collected, at the same time compelling it; but fire does not endeavour to surround, but to penetrate through bodies." Proclus adds, "that according to those, also, who

p. 27

do not give figures to the elements, fire is thought to rank among things of the most attenuated parts. But a thing of this kind is rather of a separating nature, entering into other things, than of a collective nature. That what essentially separates, however, belongs to fire, is evident from this, that it not only separates things heterogeneous from each other, but every particular thing itself. For it melts silver, and gold, and the other metals, because it separates them."

Aristotle farther observes, "in addition to these things, since the hot and the cold are contrary in capacity, it is impossible to attribute any figure to the cold, because it is necessary that the figure which is attributed should be a contrary; but nothing is contrary to figure. Hence all physiologists omit this, though it is fit either to define all things or nothing by figures."

This objection also, Proclus dissolving says, "that the argument of Aristotle very properly requires that a figure should be assigned adapted to the cold; but that it is necessary to recollect concerning heat, how it was not said that heat is a pyramid, but that it is a power affective, through sharpness of angles and tenuity of side. Cold, therefore, is not a figure, as neither is heat,

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