Aristotle - index for METAPHYSICA Book 5 Part 4


Paragraph 1 'Nature' means:
Paragraph 2 (1) the genesis of growing things - the meaning which would be suggested if one were to pronounce the 'u' in phusis long.
Paragraph 3 (2) That immanent part of a growing thing, from which its growth first proceeds.
Paragraph 4 (3) The source from which the primary movement in each natural object is present in it in virtue of its own essence.
Paragraph 5 (4) 'Nature' means the primary material of which any natural object consists or out of which it is made, which is relatively unshaped and cannot be changed from its own potency, as e.g. bronze is said to be the nature of a statue and of bronze utensils, and wood the nature of wooden things;
Paragraph 6 (5) 'Nature' means the essence of natural objects, as with those who say the nature is the primary mode of composition, or as Empedocles says:
Paragraph 7 "Nothing that is has a nature,
Paragraph 8 But only mixing and parting of the mixed,
Paragraph 9 And nature is but a name given them by men."
Paragraph 10 Hence as regards the things that are or come to be by nature, though that from which they naturally come to be or are is already present, we say they have not their nature yet, unless they have their form or shape.
Paragraph 11 (6) By an extension of meaning from this sense of 'nature' every essence in general has come to be called a 'nature', because the nature of a thing is one kind of essence.
Paragraph 12 From what has been said, then, it is plain that nature in the primary and strict sense is the essence of things which have in themselves, as such, a source of movement;

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