Part 3 out of 3
And the same argument holds of each part, for the part must participate in
the one; for if each of the parts is a part, this means, I suppose, that it
is one separate from the rest and self-related; otherwise it is not each.
But when we speak of the part participating in the one, it must clearly be
other than one; for if not, it would not merely have participated, but
would have been one; whereas only the itself can be one.
Both the whole and the part must participate in the one; for the whole will
be one whole, of which the parts will be parts; and each part will be one
part of the whole which is the whole of the part.
And will not the things which participate in the one, be other than it?
And the things which are other than the one will be many; for if the things
which are other than the one were neither one nor more than one, they would
But, seeing that the things which participate in the one as a part, and in
the one as a whole, are more than one, must not those very things which
participate in the one be infinite in number?
Let us look at the matter thus:--Is it not a fact that in partaking of the
one they are not one, and do not partake of the one at the very time when
they are partaking of it?
They do so then as multitudes in which the one is not present?
And if we were to abstract from them in idea the very smallest fraction,
must not that least fraction, if it does not partake of the one, be a
multitude and not one?
And if we continue to look at the other side of their nature, regarded
simply, and in itself, will not they, as far as we see them, be unlimited
And yet, when each several part becomes a part, then the parts have a limit
in relation to the whole and to each other, and the whole in relation to
The result to the others than the one is that the union of themselves and
the one appears to create a new element in them which gives to them
limitation in relation to one another; whereas in their own nature they
have no limit.
That is clear.
Then the others than the one, both as whole and parts, are infinite, and
also partake of limit.
Then they are both like and unlike one another and themselves.
How is that?
Inasmuch as they are unlimited in their own nature, they are all affected
in the same way.
And inasmuch as they all partake of limit, they are all affected in the
But inasmuch as their state is both limited and unlimited, they are
affected in opposite ways.
And opposites are the most unlike of things.
Considered, then, in regard to either one of their affections, they will be
like themselves and one another; considered in reference to both of them
together, most opposed and most unlike.
That appears to be true.
Then the others are both like and unlike themselves and one another?
And they are the same and also different from one another, and in motion
and at rest, and experience every sort of opposite affection, as may be
proved without difficulty of them, since they have been shown to have
experienced the affections aforesaid?
1.bb. Suppose, now, that we leave the further discussion of these matters
as evident, and consider again upon the hypothesis that the one is, whether
opposite of all this is or is not equally true of the others.
By all means.
Then let us begin again, and ask, If one is, what must be the affections of
Let us ask that question.
Must not the one be distinct from the others, and the others from the one?
Why, because there is nothing else beside them which is distinct from both
of them; for the expression 'one and the others' includes all things.
Yes, all things.
Then we cannot suppose that there is anything different from them in which
both the one and the others might exist?
There is nothing.
Then the one and the others are never in the same?
Then they are separated from each other?
And we surely cannot say that what is truly one has parts?
Then the one will not be in the others as a whole, nor as part, if it be
separated from the others, and has no parts?
Then there is no way in which the others can partake of the one, if they do
not partake either in whole or in part?
It would seem not.
Then there is no way in which the others are one, or have in themselves any
There is not.
Nor are the others many; for if they were many, each part of them would be
a part of the whole; but now the others, not partaking in any way of the
one, are neither one nor many, nor whole, nor part.
Then the others neither are nor contain two or three, if entirely deprived
of the one?
Then the others are neither like nor unlike the one, nor is likeness and
unlikeness in them; for if they were like and unlike, or had in them
likeness and unlikeness, they would have two natures in them opposite to
That is clear.
But for that which partakes of nothing to partake of two things was held by
us to be impossible?
Then the others are neither like nor unlike nor both, for if they were like
or unlike they would partake of one of those two natures, which would be
one thing, and if they were both they would partake of opposites which
would be two things, and this has been shown to be impossible.
Therefore they are neither the same, nor other, nor in motion, nor at rest,
nor in a state of becoming, nor of being destroyed, nor greater, nor less,
nor equal, nor have they experienced anything else of the sort; for, if
they are capable of experiencing any such affection, they will participate
in one and two and three, and odd and even, and in these, as has been
proved, they do not participate, seeing that they are altogether and in
every way devoid of the one.
Therefore if one is, the one is all things, and also nothing, both in
relation to itself and to other things.
2.a. Well, and ought we not to consider next what will be the consequence
if the one is not?
Yes; we ought.
What is the meaning of the hypothesis--If the one is not; is there any
difference between this and the hypothesis--If the not one is not?
There is a difference, certainly.
Is there a difference only, or rather are not the two expressions--if the
one is not, and if the not one is not, entirely opposed?
They are entirely opposed.
And suppose a person to say:--If greatness is not, if smallness is not, or
anything of that sort, does he not mean, whenever he uses such an
expression, that 'what is not' is other than other things?
To be sure.
And so when he says 'If one is not' he clearly means, that what 'is not' is
other than all others; we know what he means--do we not?
Yes, we do.
When he says 'one,' he says something which is known; and secondly
something which is other than all other things; it makes no difference
whether he predicate of one being or not-being, for that which is said 'not
to be' is known to be something all the same, and is distinguished from
Then I will begin again, and ask: If one is not, what are the
consequences? In the first place, as would appear, there is a knowledge of
it, or the very meaning of the words, 'if one is not,' would not be known.
Secondly, the others differ from it, or it could not be described as
different from the others?
Difference, then, belongs to it as well as knowledge; for in speaking of
the one as different from the others, we do not speak of a difference in
the others, but in the one.
Moreover, the one that is not is something and partakes of relation to
'that,' and 'this,' and 'these,' and the like, and is an attribute of
'this'; for the one, or the others than the one, could not have been spoken
of, nor could any attribute or relative of the one that is not have been or
been spoken of, nor could it have been said to be anything, if it did not
partake of 'some,' or of the other relations just now mentioned.
Being, then, cannot be ascribed to the one, since it is not; but the one
that is not may or rather must participate in many things, if it and
nothing else is not; if, however, neither the one nor the one that is not
is supposed not to be, and we are speaking of something of a different
nature, we can predicate nothing of it. But supposing that the one that is
not and nothing else is not, then it must participate in the predicate
'that,' and in many others.
And it will have unlikeness in relation to the others, for the others being
different from the one will be of a different kind.
And are not things of a different kind also other in kind?
And are not things other in kind unlike?
They are unlike.
And if they are unlike the one, that which they are unlike will clearly be
Then the one will have unlikeness in respect of which the others are unlike
That would seem to be true.
And if unlikeness to other things is attributed to it, it must have
likeness to itself.
If the one have unlikeness to one, something else must be meant; nor will
the hypothesis relate to one; but it will relate to something other than
But that cannot be.
Then the one must have likeness to itself?
Again, it is not equal to the others; for if it were equal, then it would
at once be and be like them in virtue of the equality; but if one has no
being, then it can neither be nor be like?
But since it is not equal to the others, neither can the others be equal to
And things that are not equal are unequal?
And they are unequal to an unequal?
Then the one partakes of inequality, and in respect of this the others are
unequal to it?
And inequality implies greatness and smallness?
Then the one, if of such a nature, has greatness and smallness?
That appears to be true.
And greatness and smallness always stand apart?
Then there is always something between them?
And can you think of anything else which is between them other than
No, it is equality which lies between them.
Then that which has greatness and smallness also has equality, which lies
That is clear.
Then the one, which is not, partakes, as would appear, of greatness and
smallness and equality?
Further, it must surely in a sort partake of being?
It must be so, for if not, then we should not speak the truth in saying
that the one is not. But if we speak the truth, clearly we must say what
is. Am I not right?
And since we affirm that we speak truly, we must also affirm that we say
Then, as would appear, the one, when it is not, is; for if it were not to
be when it is not, but (Or, 'to remit something of existence in relation to
not-being.') were to relinquish something of being, so as to become not-
being, it would at once be.
Then the one which is not, if it is to maintain itself, must have the being
of not-being as the bond of not-being, just as being must have as a bond
the not-being of not-being in order to perfect its own being; for the
truest assertion of the being of being and of the not-being of not-being is
when being partakes of the being of being, and not of the being of not-
being--that is, the perfection of being; and when not-being does not
partake of the not-being of not-being but of the being of not-being--that
is the perfection of not-being.
Since then what is partakes of not-being, and what is not of being, must
not the one also partake of being in order not to be?
Then the one, if it is not, clearly has being?
And has not-being also, if it is not?
But can anything which is in a certain state not be in that state without
Then everything which is and is not in a certain state, implies change?
And change is motion--we may say that?
And the one has been proved both to be and not to be?
And therefore is and is not in the same state?
Thus the one that is not has been shown to have motion also, because it
changes from being to not-being?
That appears to be true.
But surely if it is nowhere among what is, as is the fact, since it is not,
it cannot change from one place to another?
Then it cannot move by changing place?
Nor can it turn on the same spot, for it nowhere touches the same, for the
same is, and that which is not cannot be reckoned among things that are?
Then the one, if it is not, cannot turn in that in which it is not?
Neither can the one, whether it is or is not, be altered into other than
itself, for if it altered and became different from itself, then we could
not be still speaking of the one, but of something else?
But if the one neither suffers alteration, nor turns round in the same
place, nor changes place, can it still be capable of motion?
Now that which is unmoved must surely be at rest, and that which is at rest
must stand still?
Then the one that is not, stands still, and is also in motion?
That seems to be true.
But if it be in motion it must necessarily undergo alteration, for anything
which is moved, in so far as it is moved, is no longer in the same state,
but in another?
Then the one, being moved, is altered?
And, further, if not moved in any way, it will not be altered in any way?
Then, in so far as the one that is not is moved, it is altered, but in so
far as it is not moved, it is not altered?
Then the one that is not is altered and is not altered?
That is clear.
And must not that which is altered become other than it previously was, and
lose its former state and be destroyed; but that which is not altered can
neither come into being nor be destroyed?
And the one that is not, being altered, becomes and is destroyed; and not
being altered, neither becomes nor is destroyed; and so the one that is not
becomes and is destroyed, and neither becomes nor is destroyed?
2.b. And now, let us go back once more to the beginning, and see whether
these or some other consequences will follow.
Let us do as you say.
If one is not, we ask what will happen in respect of one? That is the
Do not the words 'is not' signify absence of being in that to which we
And when we say that a thing is not, do we mean that it is not in one way
but is in another? or do we mean, absolutely, that what is not has in no
sort or way or kind participation of being?
Then, that which is not cannot be, or in any way participate in being?
And did we not mean by becoming, and being destroyed, the assumption of
being and the loss of being?
And can that which has no participation in being, either assume or lose
The one then, since it in no way is, cannot have or lose or assume being in
Then the one that is not, since it in no way partakes of being, neither
perishes nor becomes?
Then it is not altered at all; for if it were it would become and be
But if it be not altered it cannot be moved?
Nor can we say that it stands, if it is nowhere; for that which stands must
always be in one and the same spot?
Then we must say that the one which is not never stands still and never
Nor is there any existing thing which can be attributed to it; for if there
had been, it would partake of being?
That is clear.
And therefore neither smallness, nor greatness, nor equality, can be
attributed to it?
Nor yet likeness nor difference, either in relation to itself or to others?
Well, and if nothing should be attributed to it, can other things be
attributed to it?
And therefore other things can neither be like or unlike, the same, or
different in relation to it?
Nor can what is not, be anything, or be this thing, or be related to or the
attribute of this or that or other, or be past, present, or future. Nor
can knowledge, or opinion, or perception, or expression, or name, or any
other thing that is, have any concern with it?
Then the one that is not has no condition of any kind?
Such appears to be the conclusion.
2.aa. Yet once more; if one is not, what becomes of the others? Let us
Yes; let us determine that.
The others must surely be; for if they, like the one, were not, we could
not be now speaking of them.
But to speak of the others implies difference--the terms 'other' and
'different' are synonymous?
Other means other than other, and different, different from the different?
Then, if there are to be others, there is something than which they will be
And what can that be?--for if the one is not, they will not be other than
They will not.
Then they will be other than each other; for the only remaining alternative
is that they are other than nothing.
And they are each other than one another, as being plural and not singular;
for if one is not, they cannot be singular, but every particle of them is
infinite in number; and even if a person takes that which appears to be the
smallest fraction, this, which seemed one, in a moment evanesces into many,
as in a dream, and from being the smallest becomes very great, in
comparison with the fractions into which it is split up?
And in such particles the others will be other than one another, if others
are, and the one is not?
And will there not be many particles, each appearing to be one, but not
being one, if one is not?
And it would seem that number can be predicated of them if each of them
appears to be one, though it is really many?
And there will seem to be odd and even among them, which will also have no
reality, if one is not?
And there will appear to be a least among them; and even this will seem
large and manifold in comparison with the many small fractions which are
contained in it?
And each particle will be imagined to be equal to the many and little; for
it could not have appeared to pass from the greater to the less without
having appeared to arrive at the middle; and thus would arise the
appearance of equality.
And having neither beginning, middle, nor end, each separate particle yet
appears to have a limit in relation to itself and other.
Because, when a person conceives of any one of these as such, prior to the
beginning another beginning appears, and there is another end, remaining
after the end, and in the middle truer middles within but smaller, because
no unity can be conceived of any of them, since the one is not.
And so all being, whatever we think of, must be broken up into fractions,
for a particle will have to be conceived of without unity?
And such being when seen indistinctly and at a distance, appears to be one;
but when seen near and with keen intellect, every single thing appears to
be infinite, since it is deprived of the one, which is not?
Nothing more certain.
Then each of the others must appear to be infinite and finite, and one and
many, if others than the one exist and not the one.
Then will they not appear to be like and unlike?
In what way?
Just as in a picture things appear to be all one to a person standing at a
distance, and to be in the same state and alike?
But when you approach them, they appear to be many and different; and
because of the appearance of the difference, different in kind from, and
And so must the particles appear to be like and unlike themselves and each
And must they not be the same and yet different from one another, and in
contact with themselves, although they are separated, and having every sort
of motion, and every sort of rest, and becoming and being destroyed, and in
neither state, and the like, all which things may be easily enumerated, if
the one is not and the many are?
2.bb. Once more, let us go back to the beginning, and ask if the one is
not, and the others of the one are, what will follow.
Let us ask that question.
In the first place, the others will not be one?
Nor will they be many; for if they were many one would be contained in
them. But if no one of them is one, all of them are nought, and therefore
they will not be many.
If there be no one in the others, the others are neither many nor one.
They are not.
Nor do they appear either as one or many.
Because the others have no sort or manner or way of communion with any sort
of not-being, nor can anything which is not, be connected with any of the
others; for that which is not has no parts.
Nor is there an opinion or any appearance of not-being in connexion with
the others, nor is not-being ever in any way attributed to the others.
Then if one is not, there is no conception of any of the others either as
one or many; for you cannot conceive the many without the one.
Then if one is not, the others neither are, nor can be conceived to be
either one or many?
It would seem not.
Nor as like or unlike?
Nor as the same or different, nor in contact or separation, nor in any of
those states which we enumerated as appearing to be;--the others neither
are nor appear to be any of these, if one is not?
Then may we not sum up the argument in a word and say truly: If one is
not, then nothing is?
Let thus much be said; and further let us affirm what seems to be the
truth, that, whether one is or is not, one and the others in relation to
themselves and one another, all of them, in every way, are and are not, and
appear to be and appear not to be.