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第83章

WHETHER two things are 'the same' or 'different', in the most literal of the meanings ascribed to 'sameness' (and we said' that 'the same' applies in the most literal sense to what is numerically one), may be examined in the light of their inflexions and coordinates and opposites. For if justice be the same as courage, then too the just man is the same as the brave man, and 'justly' is the same as 'bravely'. Likewise, too, in the case of their opposites: for if two things be the same, their opposites also will be the same, in any of the recognized forms of opposition. For it is the same thing to take the opposite of the one or that of the other, seeing that they are the same. Again it may be examined in the light of those things which tend to produce or to destroy the things in question of their formation and destruction, and in general of any thing that is related in like manner to each. For where things are absolutely the same, their formations and destructions also are the same, and so are the things that tend to produce or to destroy them. Look and see also, in a case where one of two things is said to be something or other in a superlative degree, if the other of these alleged identical things can also be described by a superlative in the same respect. Thus Xenocrates argues that the happy life and the good life are the same, seeing that of all forms of life the good life is the most desirable and so also is the happy life: for 'the most desirable' and the greatest' apply but to one thing.' Likewise also in other cases of the kind. Each, however, of the two things termed 'greatest' or most desirable' must be numerically one: otherwise no proof will have been given that they are the same; for it does not follow because Peloponnesians and Spartans are the bravest of the Greeks, that Peloponnesians are the same as Spartans, seeing that 'Peloponnesian' is not any one person nor yet 'Spartan'; it only follows that the one must be included under the other as 'Spartans' are under 'Peloponnesians': for otherwise, if the one class be not included under the other, each will be better than the other. For then the Peloponnesians are bound to be better than the Spartans, seeing that the one class is not included under the other; for they are better than anybody else. Likewise also the Spartans must perforce be better than the Peloponnesians; for they too are better than anybody else; each then is better than the other! Clearly therefore what is styled 'best' and 'greatest' must be a single thing, if it is to be proved to be 'the same' as another. This also is why Xenocrates fails to prove his case: for the happy life is not numerically single, nor yet the good life, so that it does not follow that, because they are both the most desirable, they are therefore the same, but only that the one falls under the other.

Again, look and see if, supposing the one to be the same as something, the other also is the same as it: for if they be not both the same as the same thing, clearly neither are they the same as one another.

Moreover, examine them in the light of their accidents or of the things of which they are accidents: for any accident belonging to the one must belong also to the other, and if the one belong to anything as an accident, so must the other also. If in any of these respects there is a discrepancy, clearly they are not the same.

See further whether, instead of both being found in one class of predicates, the one signifies a quality and the other a quantity or relation. Again, see if the genus of each be not the same, the one being 'good' and the other evil', or the one being 'virtue' and the other 'knowledge': or see if, though the genus is the same, the differentiae predicted of either be not the same, the one (e.g.) being distinguished as a 'speculative' science, the other as a 'practical' science. Likewise also in other cases.

Moreover, from the point of view of 'degrees', see if the one admits an increase of degree but not the other, or if though both admit it, they do not admit it at the same time; just as it is not the case that a man desires intercourse more intensely, the more intensely he is in love, so that love and the desire for intercourse are not the same.

Moreover, examine them by means of an addition, and see whether the addition of each to the same thing fails to make the same whole; or if the subtraction of the same thing from each leaves a different remainder. Suppose (e.g.) that he has declared 'double a half' to be the same as 'a multiple of a half': then, subtracting the words 'a half' from each, the remainders ought to have signified the same thing: but they do not; for 'double' and 'a multiple of' do not signify the same thing.

Inquire also not only if some impossible consequence results directly from the statement made, that A and B are the same, but also whether it is possible for a supposition to bring it about; as happens to those who assert that 'empty' is the same as 'full of air': for clearly if the air be exhausted, the vessel will not be less but more empty, though it will no longer be full of air. So that by a supposition, which may be true or may be false (it makes no difference which), the one character is annulled and not the other, showing that they are not the same.

Speaking generally, one ought to be on the look-out for any discrepancy anywhere in any sort of predicate of each term, and in the things of which they are predicated. For all that is predicated of the one should be predicated also of the other, and of whatever the one is a predicate, the other should be a predicate of it as well.

Moreover, as 'sameness' is a term used in many senses, see whether things that are the same in one way are the same also in a different way. For there is either no necessity or even no possibility that things that are the same specifically or generically should be numerically the same, and it is with the question whether they are or are not the same in that sense that we are concerned.

Moreover, see whether the one can exist without the other; for, if so, they could not be the same.

Aristotle

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