Aristotle, On Melissus, Xenophanes, and Gorgias

LCL 307: 462-463

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1. Ἀΐδιον εἶναί φησιν εἴ τί ἐστιν, εἴπερ μὴ ἐνδέχεσθαι γενέσθαι μηδὲν ἐκ μηδενός. εἴτε γὰρ ἅπαντα γέγονεν εἴτε μὴ πάντα, ἀΐδια ἀμφοτέρως. 5ἐξ οὐδενὸς γὰρ γενέσθαι ἂν αὐτῶν γινόμενα. ἁπάντων τε γὰρ γινομένων οὐδὲν προϋπάρχειν· εἴτ᾿ ὄντων τινῶν ἀεὶ ἕτερα προσγίνοιτο, πλέον ἂν καὶ μεῖζον τὸ ὂν γεγονέναι. ᾧ δὴ πλέον καὶ μεῖζον, τοῦτο γενέσθαι ἂν ἐξ οὐδενός· <ἐν> τῷ γὰρ ἐλάττονι τὸ πλέον, οὐδ᾿ ἐν τῷ μικροτέρῳ τὸ μεῖζον οὐχ 10ὑπάρχειν. ἀΐδιον δὲ ὂν ἄπειρον εἶναι, ὅτι οὐκ ἔχει ἀρχὴν ὅθεν ἐγένετο, οὐδὲ τελευτὴν εἰς ὃ γινόμενον ἐτελεύτησέ ποτε (πᾶν γάρ)· ἄπειρον δ᾿ ὂν ἓν εἶναι. εἰ γὰρ δύο ἢ πλείω1 εἴη, περαίνειν ἂν ταῦτα πρὸς ἄλληλα. ἓν δὲ ὂν ὅμοιον εἶναι πάντῃ· εἰ γὰρ ἀνόμοιον, πλείω ὄντα, οὐκ ἂν ἔτι ἓν εἶναι, ἀλλὰ πολλά. ἀΐδιον δὲ ὂν ἄπειρόν τε καὶ ὅμοιον πάντῃ, ἀκίνητον εἶναι τὸ ἕν. οὐ γὰρ ἂν κινηθῆναι μὴ ἔς τι ὑποχωρῆσαν. ὑποχωρῆσαι δὲ ἀνάγκην εἶναι


On Melissus

On Melissus

1. Melissus maintains that if anything exists it must be eternal, on the ground that it is impossible for anything to come into existence from nothing. (1) Whether everything has come into existence or only some things, they are in either case eternal; otherwise they would have come into existence from nothing. For if we suppose that everything has come into existence, then nothing existed beforehand; supposing, on the other hand, that some things existed, and that others were added thereto, then the body of existence would have grown more and larger. And its increment would have come into existence from nothing; for the more cannot exist in the less, nor the greater in the smaller. (2) But anything eternal must be infinite, because it has not a beginning from which its existence arose, nor any end into which it could ever terminate (for it is universal). (3) Again, anything eternal must be a unity. For if it were two or more, these would terminate in each other. (4) One again must be in every way homogeneous; for if it were not homogeneous, being plural, it could not be a unity, but would be many. (5) The eternal, then, being infinite and homogeneous in every way, the unity must be immovable. For it could not move unless it passed into something. In that case it must pass

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-melissus_xenophanes_gorgias.1936