Aristotle, Metaphysics: Book I, 987a13-19

The Pythagoreans, while they likewise spoke of two principles, made this further addition, which is peculiar to them: they believed, not that the Limited and the Unlimited are separate entities, like fire or water or some other such thing, but that the Unlimited itself and the One itself are the essence of those things of which they are predicated, and hence that number is the essence of all things.

Commentary on Book I, 987a13-19

  1. Ambrose Mnemopolous Post author

    The teaching that “all is one” — that “Limited and Unlimited” are not separate entities — belongs to a Greek school of thought that includes Zeno and Parmenides. The teaching holds nothing is created or destroyed, that these distinctions are only matters of degree, and of change. The teaching is found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, expressed by the dictum: “Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.”

Leave a Reply

Aristotle (384 – 322 BCE) was a Greek philosopher, student of Plato and Socrates, and tutor to Alexander the Great. His writings cover many topics, and constitute the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. His system of syllogistic logic provides the earliest example of the Law of the Excluded Middle, a foundational principle in modern jurisprudence.