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Headword: *trofh/
Adler number: tau,930
Translated headword: nourishment
Vetting Status: high
Aristotle [says] that there is no agreement about the teaching related to nutriment. Some maintain indeed that nutriment has a similar nature to the organism being nourished, for what is similar is nourished by similar; and if [it is true that] nutriment, when added to the organism being nourished, promotes its growth, but [it is also true that] similar promotes the growth[2] of similar -- not the inverse --, then the organism being nourished is nourished not by [its] opposite, but by [its] similar.[3] Others say that the organism being nourished is nourished by [its] opposite, for if [it is true that] the nutriment is acted upon by the organism being nourished and undergoes a transformation into that organism, but [it is also true that] similar is not acted upon by a similar, rather opposite is acted upon by its opposite and undergoes a transformation into the opposite, then [we can conclude that] the nutriment is opposite to the organism being nourished.[4] These teachings might look contraries [to each other], but they are not, for nutriment is similar to the organism being nourished in reference to the faculty, but is opposite to it in reference to the act: for bread and the cooked foods, as long as they are not elaborated and not digested, are in a way opposite to the organism that is nourished, but at the time they undergo their transformation and change their nature, then they become similar [to it]. The process of transformation does not affect similar in the direction of similar, nor any chance thing in a random way, but it affects opposite in the direction of opposite: [e. g.], white is not changed into hot, but cold [is changed] into hot. And even in the case that gray were transformed into white, nonetheless it is transformed not in its percentage of white, but in its percentage of gray. The same is true for the orher things. Now, since "nutriment" is meant in a double sense, the first one as "not digested", the second as "digested", the not-digested substance is opposite to the one which has been digested, but the one which has already been digested and transformed is similar [to it].[5] [Also note] that the nourishing factor is the first faculty of the soul, which is the nutritive faculty; the organism being nourished is the body which contains the soul, inasmuch it is provided with that faculty; the substance which nourished it is the food.[6] The innate warms indeed, by which the soul is nurtured, gives and receives movement as by the action of an instrument: it receives movement by the action of the nutritive faculty, and gives movement to the other parts, like teeth, veins, stomach and the other parts involved in the nutrition, which are only moved parts, but do not give any movement to others.[7]
Greek Original:
*trofh/: *)aristote/lhs: o(/ti diapefw/nhtai o( peri\ th=s trofh=s lo/gos: oi( me\n ga/r fasin, o(/ti o(moi/a e)sti\n h( trofh\ tw=| trefome/nw|: tre/fesqai ga\r to\ o(/moion tw=| o(moi/w|: ei) ga\r prosteqei=sa h( trofh\ tw=| trefome/nw| au)/cei au)to/, au)chtiko\n de\ tou= o(moi/ou to\ o(/moion, ou) to\ e)nanti/on [tou=to ga\r kai\ fqartiko\n tou= e)nanti/ou], ou)k a)/ra u(po\ tou= e)nanti/ou tre/fetai to\ trefo/menon, a)ll' u(po\ tou= o(moi/ou. oi( de/ fasin, o(/ti tw=| e)nanti/w| tre/fetai to\ trefo/menon: ei) ga\r pa/sxei h( trofh\ u(po\ tou= trefome/nou kai\ metaba/llei ei)s au)to/, ou) pa/sxei de\ to\ o(/moion u(po\ tou= o(moi/ou, a)ll' u(po\ tou= e)nanti/ou to\ e)nanti/on pa/sxei kai\ meta- ba/llei e)nanti/on ei)s to\ e)nanti/on: e)nanti/on a)/ra h( trofh\ tw=| trefome/nw|. ou(=toi me\n oi( lo/goi dokou=sin ei)=nai e)nanti/oi: a)ll' ou)k ei)si/n: h( ga\r trofh\ duna/mei me/n e)stin o(moi/a tw=| trefome/nw|, e)nergei/a| de\ e)nanti/a. o( ga\r a)/rtos kai\ ta\ o)/ya, a)kate/rgasta me\n o)/nta kai\ a)/pepta, e)nanti/a pw/s e)sti tw=| trefome/nw|: o(phni/ka de\ metablhqh=| kai\ a)lloiwqh=|, to/te o(/moia gi/netai. metaba/llei de\ ou) to\ o(/moion ei)s to\ o(/moion ou)de\ to\ tuxo\n ei)s to\ tuxo/n, a)lla\ to\ e)nanti/on ei)s to\ e)nanti/on: ou) ga\r to\ leuko\n ei)s qermo\n metaba/llei, a)lla\ to\ yuxro\n ei)s qermo/n. ka)\n gou=n to\ faio\n ei)s leuko\n metaba/llh|, ou)x h(=tton mete/xei leukou=, a)ll' h(=| mete/xei me/lanos metaba/llei. kai\ e)pi\ tw=n a)/llwn o(moi/ws. ditth=s ou)=n ou)/shs th=s trofh=s, th=s me\n a)pe/ptou, th=s de\ pepemme/nhs, h( me\n a)/peptos e)nanti/a e)sti\ tw=| pepemme/nw|, h( de\ pepemme/nh kai\ metaba/llousa h)/dh o(moi/a. o(/ti tre/fon me/n e)stin h( prw/th du/namis th=s yuxh=s, h(/tis e)sti\n h( qreptikh/, to\ de\ trefo/menon to\ e)/myuxon sw=ma, kaqo\ tau/thn e)/xei th\n du/namin, to\ de\ w(=| tre/fetai h( trofh/. e)/sti de\ kai\ to\ w(=| tre/fetai ditto/n, to\ me\n kinou=n kai\ kinou/menon. to\ me\n ga\r e)/mfuton qermo/n, w(=|tini tre/fetai h( yuxh\ w(s di' o)rga/nou kai\ kinei= kai\ kinei=tai. kinei=tai me\n u(po\ th=s qreptikh=s duna/mews, kinei= de\ ta\ loipa\ mo/ria oi(=on o)do/ntas, fle/bas, gaste/ra kai\ ta\ a)/lla, di' w(=n h( trofh/: a(/ tina mo/nws kinei=tai, ou)ke/ti de\ kai\ kinei=.
This entry consists of material from John Philoponus' Commentary on Aristotle's de anima, one long section and two shorter ones: see below, at notes 4-6.
The issue debated by the two opinions quoted by Aristotle arises in determining the nature of nutriment, that is, whether a thing is nourished by its opposite or by its similar. The latter solution would imply that the nutrition be seen as an addition process, like growth. To the former one, the objection might be that similar cannot be acted upon by similar, i.e. cannot be elaborated and transformed as food is during digestion. As Aristotle points out, both the statements may be true, but they are determined by what precisely we mean by nutriment. If we mean the food before its transformation, it is true that it is opposite to the body being nourished, but if we mean the food after the process of assimilation is completed, it will result in being similar to the body itself. See also Aristotle, Physics 8.7 (260a29).
[1] au)chtiko/n: on this topic cf. de anima 412b13, de generatione et corruptione 1.5 (322a25).
[2] For an example of theory attributing nutrition to the attraction of similar to its similar, see Empedocles frs. 62.6 and 90.1 D.; Aetius, Placita, V 27 (Doxographi Graeci 440.4).
[3] Democritus, according to Aristotle (de generatione et corruptione 1.7 [323b3 sqq.]), was alone (para\ tou\s a)/llous i)di/ws e)/lece mo/nos in maintaining that a thing cannot be acted upon by a different thing.
[4] Philoponus, On Aristotle's de anima 280.4-27 Hayduck.
[5] Philoponus, On Aristotle's de anima 287.7-9 Hayduck.
[6] Philoponus, On Aristotle's de anima 287.23-28 Hayduck.
Keywords: daily life; food; medicine; philosophy
Translated by: Antonella Ippolito on 14 September 2005@17:44:15.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, status) on 14 September 2005@19:48:34.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 25 September 2005@04:41:57.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 15 January 2014@05:11:24.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 24 March 2015@23:37:27.
Catharine Roth on 24 March 2015@23:40:26.


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