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Aristotle METAPHYSICA Book 5 Part 9

Same and different

1. 'The same' means: -

2. (1) that which is the same in an accidental sense, e.g. 'the pale' and 'the musical' are the same because they are accidents of the same thing, and 'a man' and 'musical' because the one is an accident of the other; and 'the musical' is 'a man' because it is an accident of the man. (The complex entity is the same as either of the simple ones and each of these is the same as it; for both 'the man' and 'the musical' are said to be the same as 'the musical man', and this the same as they.) This is why all of these statements are made not universally; for it is not true to say that every man is the same as 'the musical' (for universal attributes belong to things in virtue of their own nature, but accidents do not belong to them in virtue of their own nature); but of the individuals the statements are made without qualification. For 'Socrates' and 'musical Socrates' are thought to be the same; but 'Socrates' is not predicable of more than one subject, and therefore we do not say 'every Socrates' as we say 'every man'.

3. Some things are said to be the same in this sense, others

4. (2) are the same by their own nature, in as many senses as that which is one by its own nature is so; for both the things whose matter is one either in kind or in number, and those whose essence is one, are said to be the same. Clearly, therefore, sameness is a unity of the being either of more than one thing or of one thing when it is treated as more than one, ie. when we say a thing is the same as itself; for we treat it as two.

5. Things are called 'other' if either their kinds or their matters or the definitions of their essence are more than one; and in general 'other' has meanings opposite to those of 'the same'.

6. 'Different' is applied (1) to those things which though other are the same in some respect, only not in number but either in species or in genus or by analogy; (2) to those whose genus is other, and to contraries, and to an things that have their otherness in their essence.

7. Those things are called 'like' which have the same attributes in every respect, and those which have more attributes the same than different, and those whose quality is one; and that which shares with another thing the greater number or the more important of the attributes (each of them one of two contraries) in respect of which things are capable of altering, is like that other thing. The senses of 'unlike' are opposite to those of 'like'.


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