Atom: Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos by Isaac Asimov

By Isaac Asimov

The mythical Isaac Asimov starts off what's might be the best of all his books with an easy question: How finely can a section of subject be divided? yet like many straightforward questions, this one leads readers on a far-flung quest for a last resolution, a seek that encompasses such attention-grabbing phenomena as gentle and electrical energy and their components--strange yet actual bits of subject that problem our assumptions in regards to the very nature of time and house. forty illustrations.

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29 Similarly any chance thing does not get per se destroyed into any chance thing, but into the contrary or the in-between. And this is not only the case with regard to simple [entities] as for instance white and cultured and the like, but also with regard to 25 composite ones such as ‘a man’s house’. Each of these comes about from its opposite, not from a chance thing, but from what is naturally disposed to change to those and is destroyed into these [states], but it escapes attention because of the fact that there are no names in place for the things opposite to these such as the non-cultured or the white in the examples discussed before (ekei).

This is clear from the contraries not existing separately but having their existence in an underlying thing. After all, contraries are kinds of differentiae, and differentiae are differentiae of something. This is why he says ‘we do not see the contraries [constituting] the substance of anything’, on the basis that they certainly have to be ‘of’’154 something else, whatever that may be. That the principle is not [said] of an underlying thing, that is, not in an underlying thing and not an accident,155 he shows as follows: That which is [said] of an underlying thing has the underlying thing as a principle; the principle does not have a principle; therefore the principle is not [said] of an underlying thing.

64 Alexander takes substance to be the enmattered form, or, rather, the composite of matter and form, which is one genus65 of substance, there being three [such genera]: matter, form and the composite. And indeed it is only in it that contrariety is observed in association with substance. For it is not the case [that it is found] in substance as a whole (pas) while in all the other categories that have contrariety there are many contrarieties. In fact in each of the genera that come under quality there is also a single contrariety, as for instance, in colour, which is a single genus, [that of] black and white, in disposition, [that of] virtue and vice, in flavour, [that of] sweet and sour, and similarly with the other [genera].

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