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and Empedocles, adding earth, adopted four elementary
causes ; for he maintained, that these elements are un-
changeable and unproduceable, although capable of com-
bining with and separating from one another. He first
1 Metaphysica, i. 3. 5. 8.



CH. ii.] NOTES. 217

adopted the four elements, in fact, as the first causes of
all things, although, as he makes fire to be the antagonism
of the other three, which he held to be of one nature, he
can hardly be said to have regarded them as more than
two. This doctrine of elements prevailed, in fact, down
to the time of Descartes 1 , who admitted, however, only
of three, fire, air, and earth ; and he maintained that all
the forms of inanimate bodies may be accounted for by
the motion form size and arrangement of particles,
without the aid of any agent, such as heat or cold,
moisture or dryness. Thus all elementary particles are,
according to him, first causes.

Note 7, p. 21. By earth we perceive, &c.] The
doctrine of elements prevailed even to the constitution of
the sentient organs, for, as sensibility could have no part
in the theory of that age, philosophers had adopted the
dogma, that like recognises and perceives by like, that air,
that is, perceives by air, water by water, and so for the
other elements ; and thus the organ of vision was supposed
to be of water, that of hearing to be of air, and that of
smell to be of fire. As illustration of which, Aristotle 2
describes " odour as being a vaporous exhalation, and,
as such, necessarily derived from fire (heat) ; and the
special organ of smell is said, on this account, to be
located about the brain, for the matter of cold (the brain)
is, in potentiality, hot" and, therefore, able to perceive

1 Du nombre des Elements.

2 De Sensu et Sen. n. 1 1 . 20.



218 NOTES. [BK. i.

what is derived from heat. The visual organ is said to
be of water, and to see objects, not as being water but, as
being diaplianous, as this quality belongs to air as well as
water, but then water is more protective and condensed
than air, and, therefore, the pupil and the eye are con-
stituted of water. These are rude theories, no doubt,
and sorry substitutes for the knowledge of the brain and
its system ; but philosophy cannot rest upon a confession
of ignorance, and this hypothesis, unsatisfactory as it
may now seem, was for ages the admitted theory of
sentient perception. But this theory of Empedocles,
however otherwise faulty, may well be supposed, without
violence to the text, to convey in the terms a-Topytj and
i/e?^o, a knowledge, or perception rather, of attraction
and repulsion; and an assumption of these principles
may be traced in most of the systems of that time con-
cerning elementary combinations. This must be main-
tained with some reserve, however, as some have given a
more literal version of the terms in amor and discordia,
or lis, which, as moral or sentient qualities, seem to be
without any relation to elementary combinations. The
latin version of the phrase is, Terrain nam terra, lympha
cognoscimus undam, setheraque sethere; sane ignis
dignoscitur igne ; sic et amore amor, ac tristi discordia
lite ; and the French is, " Par la terre nous voyons la
terre ; 1'eau par 1'eau ; par 1'air, 1'air divin ; par le feu, le
feu qui consume; par I 'amour, T amour; et la discorde
par la discorde funeste."



CH. ii.] NOTES. 219

Note 8, p. 22. In the treatises " upon philosophy," &c.]
These books are said to have been expositions of the
teaching of Plato and the Pythagoreans upon ideas and
the nature of the sovereign good, or philosophy, and to
have been gathered by Aristotle from the oral teaching of
his great preceptor. It is generally believed that they have
not come down to us ; but a more modern commentator
seems to have been persuaded that they are still pre-
served in the Metaphysics, (that store-house, where lie
scattered the fragments of every system of philosophy
that ever had any authority, ) and yet there is no passage *
in that work, in which Aristotle alludes directly to the
topics here cited by him. If a digest of Plato's* doctrine
of the elements may be offered, he makes fire and earth
to have been the first of created elements, because what-
ever is produced must be visible and tangible and corpo-
real, and nothing can be visible without fire, or tangible
without solidity, whence the body of the universe was, in
the beginning, constituted out of fire and earth; but
since it is scarcely possible for two elements so to coalesce
as to form bodies without the intervention of other
combining elements, the Creator placed water and air
between fire and earth, and made them to be in the same
relation to the first elements which they are to each
other and thus fire is to air as ai/r is to water, and air
is to water as water is to earth. The Pythagoreans* were

1 Vide Trendelen. Comment. * Timasus. 31. B. ct seq,

3 Metaphysica, I. 5. 6



220 NOTES. [Bx. i.

the first who devoted themselves to mathematics, and, by
exclusive attention to that study, they were led, at first,
to consider their principles as the principles of entities ;
but as numbers must be before mathematics, they were
brought to perceive many resemblances to beings and
conditions in numbers, rather than in fire or earth, water
or air. Thus, they assumed that a particular combination
of numbers is justice, that another is Vital Principle and
mind, another proportion or fitness ; and further, perceiving
the proportions and impressions of harmonic sounds to be
numbers, and other things appearing to bear a resem-
blance to numbers, and numbers to be the first of created
entities, they assumed that the elements of numbers must
be the elements of entities ; and that the heavens and
every kind of harmony must be numbers. But some?
while they held that numbers are elements, believed odd
and even to be the origin of numbers, and, therefore,
elements in a stricter sense ; and, as the unit is derived
from odd and even, they regarded it as the origin of all
numbers. Enough, however, has been said for rendering
apprehensible to the general reader, the import of the terms
and the tenour of the argument ; and it would be idle, even
were the doctrine fully known, to attempt any such dis-
quisition as would be required for a full elucidation of this
the most abstruse, perhaps, of all the topics of antiquity.

Note 9, p. 22. There are writers who have combined,
&c.] Simplicius 1 and Philoponus attribute this opinion to
1 Vide Trendel. Comment.



CH. ii.] NOTES. 221

Xenocrates, whom they praise as the ablest expositor of
the doctrine of ideal numbers. He maintained that
Vital Principle has in it an abiding source of ideas
congenial with a mobile, ever-changing nature, such as
pertains to the external world, and that hence it is a
number which, while unable to free itself from the nature
of things, approximates to ideas ; and in order to prevent
faculties so ungenial from being severed, he derived from
Vital Principle the faculty and origin of motion, by
which, as by a link, they are to be retained together.
Thus, he thought to reconcile the apparent discrepance of
the co-existence of ideas and things in the same being.
Plato 1 has well criticised, in one of his writings, the
varying theories of philosophers upon the number, nature
and relations of elementary principles.

Note 10, p. 23. Anaxagoras seems, as we have, &c.j
The writing of Anaxagoras, the Clazomenian, here
alluded to, appeared, according to Aristotle 2 , after those
of Empedocles, although, in age he was his senior ; and
Anaxagoras maintained, he says, that first causes are
infinite in number. Thus, that almost all homogeneous
bodies, such as water or air, can be produced or destroyed
only by combination and separation ; and that, admitting
of no other origin or destruction than these, they must
endure for ever. From all which it might be inferred,
that he admitted of but one cause, and that in the form
of matter. He made mind, to which he attributed
1 Sophista. 8 Afetaphys. i. 3. 9. B. xm. 4. 5.



222 NOTES. [Ex. i.

intelligence, to be a first cause, (as Empedocles made
affinity to be an element,) to be innate in and the source
of motion in animals, as well as the cause, in nature, of
the universe and its order.

Note 11, p. 24. Tholes, too, from what, &c.] In this
allusion to the influence of the magnet, Thales may have
been criticising the opinions which made motion de-
pendent upon life. He was the founder of the school
which derived all things from one or more material and
indestructible elements; he believed water to be the
sole element, (whence he demonstrated that the earth is
from water), and was probably led, Aristotle observes, to
this conception, from perceiving that the nutrition of all
creatures is fluid ; that heat is produced from water, and
that by heat animals live ; and, then, that all seminal
particles are naturally fluid.

Note 12, p. 24. Diogenes, togetJier with some oilier
writers, &c.] It is probable that this opinion was
suggested to Diogenes by the respiration, which he knew
to be essential to animal existence and dependent upon
the air ; although the process itself, and the changes
effected by it, were of course then unknown. Air, how-
ever, was believed to be necessary for the maintenance of
life, and so it might well be regarded as the originating
cause of all things ; and more especially by one who saw
so far, as was shewn in a former note, into its mode of
agency. It is shewn by Aristotle 1 that he had well
1 De Part. ni. 2. 6.



CH. ii.] NOTES. 223

studied the vascular system ; and he seems to have
perceived that the brain is the seat of sensation. In fine,
philosophers, generally, in adopting four causes, have
been divided between fire, water, and, as with Diogenes,
air; which he held to be the origin of all secondary
operations.

Note 13, p. 25. Others, as Critias.] The opinion that
blood differs from the other fluids and has an independent
vitality, has prevailed, no doubt, in all ages ; but Aristotle 1
placed it, as well as its analogue, the ichor, which circu-
lates in molluscs, insects, <fec., among insentient and excre-
mentitious parts, such as bone, nails, cartilage, and other
like parts. It may be added, too, that the brain was so
considered. "To conceive," Hunter * observes, "that the
blood when circulating is endowed with life, is perhaps
carrying the imagination as far as it can go, but the
difficulty arises from its being fluid, as the mind is
not accustomed to the idea of a living fluid. But when
all the circumstances of this fluid are considered, the idea
that it has life within it, may not appear so difficult to
comprehend, for every part is formed, as we grow, out of
the blood, and if it has not life previous to this operation,
it must acquire it in the act of formation." One of the
great proofs of the blood's vitality is to be found in
coagulation, as the blood, when circulating, is not subject
to certain laws to which it is subject when removed from
the vessels.

1 De Part. AnimdTii. i. 4. 8. a Hunter's Works, T. in.



224 NOTES. [BK. i.

Note 14, p. 26. So many ivriters as admit.] Heat is
the antagonism to cold, for it is fixed 1 , and with a down-
ward tendency, while heat is mobile, and has an inclina-
tion upwards ; heat, again, tends to dilate bodies, while
cold acts by contracting them. Thus, as heat 2 separates,
and cold consolidates, they came to be looked upon as the
elements or causes of destruction, (as he^b appears to be
self-motive and a cause of change?) and restoration. But
as heat (eo> to boil or be hot) is derived from, or is the
synonym of life or living, (aw contr. w, aei/ cqntr.
tyjv,) so some made life, from this supposed identity, to be
heat ; and others, from the resemblance between cold
(\l/vxpos or >^u^o<:) and the Vital Principle, (v/^^*?) as
breathing was supposed, by all the physiologists, to be a
process for cooling the blood, made it to be cold. It is
hardly possible to transfer to another, and that not a
cognate tongue, the full sense of a passage which depends
upon etymology ; but the general import of these two
opinions may, perhaps, be gathered from what is here
said. Thus, Cervantes 3 makes his knight fix upon the
name Rocinante, because Rocin is a horse, or nag of the
ordinary character; but, as his charger is to have wide-
spread renown, and to be distinguished from all other
nags, it ought to have a sonorous and suitable appellation,
and this is realised, in his own opinion, by the suffix
ante, and hence, Rocinante.

1 Metaphys. xin. 5. 2 De Gen. et Corr. ix. n.

3 T. I. Cap. i.



CH. III.] NOTES. 225



CHAPTER III.

Note 1, p. 29. It is not easy, hoioever, <fec.] That is,
if the Vital Principle be a first cause and an element or
combination of the elements, it cannot be determined, if
subject to external impulse, what its movements will
be if it be of fire, it must move upwards, if of earth,
downwards, and so for intermediate movements. Plato
maintains, as was said, that, as there can be nothing
visible or tangible without Jire or solid without earth,
tJiese were the first of created elements ; and that, as
there can be no enduring combination out of two elements,
avr and water were next created and placed between the
first two.

Note 2, p. 30. Now, the body is moved by translation.']
This passage has been the subject of much and serious
controversy, both as to its meaning and its genuineness ;
and yet, although an argumentum ad absurdum, it is a
fair conclusion from those premises. Thus, if the Vital
Principle be an entity distinct from the body which it
animates, and if the body be moved, by translation, from
it, the Vital Principle, having also that movement, may
set itself free, and if able to do this, it may re-enter and

15



226 NOTES. [BK. i.

resuscitate the body which it had left. The assumption,
in fact, is an evident objection to the opinion that Vital
Principle moves itself as it moves the body ; and seems to
be necessary to the completion of the argument.

The passage, however, has been regarded as an inter-
polation introduced by some Christian writer, (adeo verba
Christianum seculum referunt,) in order to support the
doctrine of the resurrection : and Trendelenberg, while
unwilling to suppress the passage, seems to question its
authenticity. The subsequent paragraphs are in support
of Aristotle's opinion that the Vital Principle, if self-
motive, cannot be subject to motion by other impulse
than its own, (just as that which is good in itself, cannot
be so by or for the sake of something else,) and that, if
it were so subject, its motion would be due to sentient
impressions.

Note 3, p. 31. Some philosopJwrs maintain.] This
passage is a covert satire of the doctrine of Democritus
that motion is transmitted through all nature by atoms
in constant motion ; and these are said to have been
likened by Philippus, the reputed son, according to
Meineke, of Aristophanes, to globules of quicksilver,
which, when poured in, made a wooden figure to become
moveable. It is uncertain, by the way, when this metal
was first employed ; it is here alluded to as a well-known
substance, and is so spoken of by Theophrastus. ' Pliny

1 Hist. Nat. 33. 32.



CH. III.] NOTES. 227

says that " it was brought from the silver mines of Spain,
in the form of cinnabar, and, when freed from its ore,
used in metallurgy;" further, "that it is always fluid,
and an universal poison."

Note 4, p. 31. It is in this same manner, &c.j If the
Vital Principle be to the body what Plato, in the Timceus,
made the great animating principle to be to the Universe,
a source of intelligence and ordered motion, there must be
an accordance between terrene and celestial bodies and
movements ; but as earthly bodies are moved by objects
of sense and perception, and as their movements are not,
like those of the heavenly, in a circle, their natures must
be different. It would be idle to attempt to make a
digest of the opinions entertained in the Timceus, the
most abstruse and laboured of all Plato's works, or to
trace the analogy between the constitution and motions
of the supernal orbs, and the constitutions and conditions
of earthly bodies. But four points seem to be evident
that the universe moves by motions communicated by
the anima; that the anima is from the elements; that
it has so been divided, as to have an innate sense of
harmonic numbers ; and that it has been made to move
in the same circles as the sky. This summary is adduced
by Aristotle to shew how scarcely possible it could be to
adjust this speculation to his own subject of inquiry, and
he may have been led to criticise it the rather, as the
great principle of the universe is synonymous with his
own treatise; each is, in fact, -^v^tj. But to quote the

152



228 NOTES. [BK. i.

learned ' commentator, " Platonem in Timceo quam
maxime obscurum illustrare, hujus loci non est."

Note 5, p. 32. But, in the first place.] These critical
objections cannot be fully realised without reference to
the leading opinions and arguments of the Timceus, which,
although, perhaps, at the time, regarded only as specula-
tions and now stand self-confuted as physics, are enshrined
in words which shall endure, until mankind cease to
find delight and instruction in pure and abstract studies.
The first objection raised by Aristotle is to the ascription
of magnitude to that anima (which is to be necessarily
inferred from its being divisible,) as well as to the
intelligence or mind, which Ls identified with it ; for
magnitude would imply a material entity, and matter
conjoined with form and essence implies parts, and what-
ever has parts cannot either be self-existent, or indefinite
in duration. Another objection, much insisted upon, is
the movement in a circle, which cannot, it is said, be the
motion produced by the passions or appetites ; but the
chief topic is resumed, and the mind is shewn to be,
like the thoughts which emanate from it, immaterial.
Aristotle's subject, however, unlike that of the Timceus,
was confined to the agent or principle, whatever it be,
which imparts motion and other vital properties to organ-
ised matter.

Note 6, p. 33. Now, there are limits to practical
thoughts] The origin 2 of whatever is original is in the
1 Trendel. Comment. * Metaphys. V. i. 5.



CH. III.] NOTES. 229

maker or creator, whether it be mind, or art, or a special
faculty it is an abstraction that is; but, whatever
is practical is dependent only on an agent, or his choice,
for the act is identical with what is chosen. Thus, prac-
tical thoughts are confined to the particular faculties and
organs which are required for securing what may have
been chosen.

Note 7, p. 33. Terminated by a syllogism.] The
syllogism 1 is an argument, in which, from given premises,
something different from the terms laid down results,
necessarily, from their admission. Modern definition is
much like this the syllogism is said to be an argument
of three propositions, having the property, that the con-
clusion necessarily follows from the two premises ; so that
if the premises be true, the conclusion must be true ; and
a conclusion is the proposition which is inferred from
certain former propositions, termed the premises of the
argument.

Note 8, p. 34. The same incongruity] This is an
objection by Aristotle to the doctrine of metempsychosis,
adopted by the Pythagoreans, and, being placed upon
obvious physical relations, it may be considered as irre-
fragable. Thus, philosophers held numbers to be elements,
and perceived in them and their combinations resem-
blances to, or types of faculties and sentient properties, as
has been observed. Their doctrine* was, " that man
consists of an elementary nature, and a rational or divine
1 Analytic, a. I. i. 6. * Hist, of Philos. Vol. i. 397.



230 NOTES. [BK. i.

principle, and that of this last, the divine is seated in the
brain, the passions and appetites in the liver and heart ;
that the rational part is immortal, the sentient principle
perishable." They further taught, that the imperishable
part, freed from the chains of the body, assumes a new
form, passes to the centre of the earth for judgment,
and, if not deemed worthy of associating with perfect
spirits, is returned to earth to inhabit another body, of
higher or lower nature, according to its former deserts.
This doctrine has been so developed and exemplified in
the final teaching of Socrates, before his death, that that
dialogue 1 may be regarded as a faithful exposition of the
argument and its merits. Aristotle, overlooking eveiy
supernal cause or agency, objects to the doctrine, not on
its own grounds but, by reasonings, which are purely
deductive ; and the doctrine is, no doubt, when tested by
physical science, incongruous.

Note 9, p. 35. Such opinions are, in fact, &c.] This
passage is apparently abstruse and ambiguous, owing to the
terms being applicable to more than one art or implement ;
and yet, " * as it involves a kind of antithesis between
the art and the implements, the Vital Principle and the
body," the general sense can be made sufficiently obvious.
The purport of the phrase is well given in the Latin
version : Perinde igitur dicunt atqui si quispiam artem
fabrilem fistulas ingredi dicat ; etenim ars quidam instru-
mentis, anima vero corpore utatur oportet. The French
1 Ffuedo. * Trendel. Comment.



CH. IV.] NOTES. 231

version is less definite : " C'est absolument comme si Ton
pretendoit que 1'architecture peut se meler de fabriquer
des instruments de musique."



CHAPTER IV.

Note 1, p. 38. It is equally absurd to think, &c.]
This is an unanswerable objection to Empedocles and bis
followers who made all bodies to be combinations, in
differing proportions, of the elements for whether the
Vital Principle be harmony or a combination of particles,
there must, as combinations are various, (since that which
forms bone is not that which forms flesh,) be several prin-
ciples in each member of the body; and if it be not pro-
portion, there must then be a second Vital Principle to
maintain that relation. The succeeding passages are,
necessarily, from the absence of precise knowledge con-
cerning atomic proportion and relation, obscure ; but they
point to opinions which, although not based on experi-
mental science, anticipate, when closely looked into, much
that is now admitted.

Note 2, p. 40. Now, to maintain that Vital Principle,
&c.] The argument reverts to the question whether the
Vital Principle can be subjected to motion casually pro-
duced be subject, that is, to motion through the body
which is moved by it, and thus partake of locomotion ; but



232 NOTES. [BK. i.

the Vital Principle, being an essence, cannot be subject
to casual motion ; and then it has been) shewn that a
motor is not, necessarily, itself in motion. There seems,
however, to have been some difficulty in refusing all
motion to the Vital Principle, since the emotions and
passions which emanate from it seem to be motions, or
combined with motions, as passion excites and fear de-
presses the motions of the heart, and deep thought furrows
the brow ; but Aristotle, in order to reconcile these with
his own opinion, has recourse to an hypothesis which is
left for future inquiry. It is well said, however, that the
man rather than the Vital Principle is moved by passions
and emotions ; and thus motion may descend from it, as
the first motor, and at rest, to the several organs, (act, that
is, upon the temperament,) or ascend to it, by perception
of the external world, for memoiy. Philoponus, comment-
ing upon this passage, observes, as proof that recollection
originates in the Vital Principle and thence permeates to
the body, that, "when reminded of any fearful incident
we turn pale, and when recalling a voyage we become
qualmish."

Note 3, p. 40. The mind seems to be a peculiar innate
essence, &c.] Aristotle has nowhere denned this great
faculty, to which he attributed so high a destiny and such
lofty privileges "intellectus nihil patitur ; est atque
manet ;" but the opinion was not exclusively his, nor did
it originate with him, for Anaxagoras 1 , and before him,
1 Metapkys. I. 3. 10.



CH. IV.] NOTES. 233

Hermoticus made the " mind to be the cause as well of
existence in animals as of the universe and universal order."
There is, evidently, here a want of distinction between
mind and Vital Priuciple ; and it may be that, in order
to avoid the obvious objection of two bodies in one,


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