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Headword: *prw=ta fu/sei
Adler number: pi,2960
Translated headword: first things by nature
Vetting Status: high
[First things by nature] [are] the principles, but ultimate things by nature [are] the things far removed from the principles.[1] And these problems are difficult for those who are attempting to prove them, but for those who are answering [they are] easy. For the first things contain what is difficult, because it is not possible to prove them through other things, due to the fact that what is proved is proved through first things, and there is nothing prior to what is first. For knowledge of principles does not come about through demonstration, but through definition.[2] For it is necessary first to define the principle, [i.e.] what it is, and by supposing that the principle is this [i.e. first], to make use of the principle for the proof coming about after the principle. For this reason principles are hard to deal with and not easy to prove. But the ultimate things [sc. are so called] because they are proved through many intermediates. A figure is mentioned 'first' in references to deductive arguments,[3] not as a cause or even as generative of them, but due to arrangement; and [a figure] is more perfect not on account of producing those things or implying [them], but because of being more able to be the most suited to demonstrative methods.
Greek Original:
*prw=ta fu/sei ai( a)rxai/, e)/sxata de\ fu/sei ta\ polu\ tw=n a)rxw=n a)festw=ta. e)/sti de\ tau=ta problh/mata toi=s me\n e)pixeirou=si xalepa\ deixqh=nai, toi=s de\ a)pokrinome/nois r(a/|dia: ta\ me\n ga\r prw=ta to\ xalepo\n e)/xei, o(/ti mh\ oi(=o/n te au)ta\ di' a)/llwn deiknu/nai, tw=| ta\ me\n deiknu/mena dei/knusqai dia\ prw/twn, tw=n de\ prw/twn mh\ ei)=nai ti prw=ton. gi/netai ga\r h( tw=n a)rxw=n gnw=sis ou) di' a)podei/cews, a)lla\ di' o(rismou=. w(ri/sqai ga\r dei= prw=ton th\n a)rxh/n, ti/ pote/ e)sti, kai\ tou=to au)th\n u(poqe/menos ei)=nai xrh=sqai au)th=| ei)s th\n dei=cin th\n met' au)th/n. dia\ tou=to dusepixei/rhtoi ai( a)rxai\ kai\ ou) r(a/|diai deixqh=nai. ta\ de\ e)/sxata, o(/ti dia\ pollw=n me/swn dei/knutai. prw=ton de\ le/getai sxh=ma e)pi\ tw=n sullogismw=n, ou)x w(s ai)/tion, ou)de\ w(s gennhtiko\n e)kei/nwn, a)lla\ th=| ta/cei kai\ teleio/teron ou) tw=| genna=n e)kei=na kai\ para/gein, a)lla\ tw=| ple/on du/nasqai kai\ tai=s a)podeiktikai=s oi)keio/taton e)fo/dois ei)=nai.
Part of this entry is taken (with some variations) from Alexander of Aphrodisias, Commentaries on Aristotle's Topica 541.19-28, 542.5-7. [NB: 'first', throughout, could also be translated 'prior'.]
[1] See Aristotle, Topics 158b5-6.
[2] See Aristotle, Posterior Analytics 99a22.
[3] It refers to the first figure of syllogism among the three figures recognized by Aristotle (see Aristotle, Prior Analytics 27a36, 28a22, 29a 31-33).
Keywords: definition; philosophy
Translated by: Marcelo Boeri on 12 January 2004@13:07:43.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (adjustments to tr; cosmetics) on 13 January 2004@03:34:19.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 14 January 2004@00:26:35.
David Whitehead on 22 October 2013@05:46:13.
David Whitehead (coding) on 25 May 2016@03:43:08.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 10 December 2021@22:47:10.


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