Philosophy Index

Aristotle

The Categories

Part 13

The term ‘simultaneous’ is primarily and most appropriately applied to those things the genesis of the one of which is simultaneous with that of the other; for in such cases neither is prior or posterior to the other. Such things are said to be simultaneous in point of time. Those things, again, are ‘simultaneous’ in point of nature, the being of each of which involves that of the other, while at the same time neither is the cause of the other’s being. This is the case with regard to the double and the half, for these are reciprocally dependent, since, if there is a double, there is also a half, and if there is a half, there is also a double, while at the same time neither is the cause of the being of the other.

Again, those species which are distinguished one from another and opposed one to another within the same genus are said to be ‘simultaneous’ in nature. I mean those species which are distinguished each from each by one and the same method of division. Thus the ‘winged’ species is simultaneous with the ‘terrestrial’ and the ‘water’ species. These are distinguished within the same genus, and are opposed each to each, for the genus ‘animal’ has the ‘winged’, the ‘terrestrial’, and the ‘water’ species, and no one of these is prior or posterior to another; on the contrary, all such things appear to be ‘simultaneous’ in nature. Each of these also, the terrestrial, the winged, and the water species, can be divided again into subspecies. Those species, then, also will be ‘simultaneous’ point of nature, which, belonging to the same genus, are distinguished each from each by one and the same method of differentiation.

But genera are prior to species, for the sequence of their being cannot be reversed. If there is the species ‘water-animal’, there will be the genus ‘animal’, but granted the being of the genus ‘animal’, it does not follow necessarily that there will be the species ‘water-animal’.

Those things, therefore, are said to be ‘simultaneous’ in nature, the being of each of which involves that of the other, while at the same time neither is in any way the cause of the other’s being; those species, also, which are distinguished each from each and opposed within the same genus. Those things, moreover, are ‘simultaneous’ in the unqualified sense of the word which come into being at the same time.

The Categories by Aristotle