Tuesday, October 28, 2014

the souls in the Kore kosmou

Panel Soul and Souls in the Platonic Tradition

XIIth Conference of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies,
17th of June 2014, University of Lisbon
Dimka Guicheva-Gocheva, associated professor in history of philosophy,
Faculty of Philosophy, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski

The windings of the souls’ destinies in the Hermetic text Kore Kosmou 
(excerpt XXIII in the anthology of Stobaeus )

The title of the text has been translated by some Renaissance philosophers as Minerva Mundi and Pupilla Mundi, and by some modern translators as The Apple of the Eye of the World or The Pupil of the Eye of the Kosmos, (whereas earlier The Virgin of the World and The Daughter of the Kosmos had been preferred).

1. Date, author and place of the writing acc. to Scott: A.D. 150 terminus a quo; A.D. 300 terminus ante quem; by someone, who had lived in Alexandria and had been extremely hostile to the Christians:
the calamities endured by the Alexandrians in 262-263, and described in the letters of bishop Dionysius (Euseb., H. E. 21 ff.), would be still recent, and would be vividly pictured in the writer’s memory; and that might account for the resemblance between the complaints of the Elements in the KK and the bishop’s descriptions of the state of things in Egypt… a date between A. D. 263 and 268 may perhaps be thought a little more probable than any other (p. 477-475)

2. Terrible composition and incoherence. The messy disorder of the parts and another possible rearrangement of the chunks, plus even exclusion of some of them, which are supposedly interpolated by a much later copyist, who added pieces from a completely different work, just in order to compare one anthropogony with another; the proposal of Scott about the rearregement of the jumbled paragraphs or “chunks’: 50 (the speech of the supreme god to the lower gods), 11, 9, 10, 12, 52, 51.

3. General sketch of the character, genres and possible time of appearance of the two most important texts in the Corpus Hermeticum and the Stobaei Hermetic excerpts; a brief delineation of the similarities between the two major cosmogonies in the Hermetic corpora – the Poimandres in the CH and respectively, the Kore Kosmou in the Stobaei anthology. The differences are much more than the resemblances.
KK as an important text in the Platonic tradition:

a) firstly, with many ideas, especially concerning the ones about the making of the world; the epithets  of the supreme God ( the novelties); the hierarchy between the supreme God and the lower gods; the soul and the souls; (15-16)
b) secondly, the dialogue form, the incorporated micro-dialogues within the speeches of the main mouthpiece – the goddess Isis;
c) thirdly, the Egyptian exotism, explained so brilliantly by Plutarchus in the De Iside and Osiride - parallels with the Timaeus (the narration of the grandfather of Solon about the Egyptian knowledge and wisdom) and in the Phaedrus (the inventure of the graphic signs for the unwritten);

4. The main problems: the creation of the individual souls by the supreme and incorporeal God, their pre-existence and their desperate struggle against the forcible incarnation, so vividly and pathetically described in the cosmogony and the psyche-gony of the Kore Kosmou. Paralels with the Phaedo. Three main modi of the existence of the souls (fr. XXIII and XXIV) – incorporeal; embodied in humans as a punishment; embodied in beasts as a double- punishment;
The reasons for the embodiment and the respective punishment of the souls are revealed in the speech of the God-creator – commandments and warnings – ch. 17;
See further ch. 18 – the making of the mixture of the elements and 19 – the deliverance of the residuum to the already coined souls with the order they to produce the four animal genera: birds, quadrupeds, fishes, serpents.
Ch. 30.

5. Questions important as well: is there further palingenesis after the embodiment of the souls in beasts? Compare with the Timaeus. What is the conceptual ontological difference between palingenesis and embodiment? The ethical vindication or determinism: if the human beings are predetermined to act in a certain way, accordingly to the previous embodiment of the souls, why and how should be they held as responsible for their deeds – fr. XXIV. Comp. the Republic.

6. The voluminous commentaries of: Walter Scott, Zelinski, Gochev, Stefanov ( and more accurately the ones in the third volume of Scott's Hermetica. The Ancient Greek and Latin Writings, which contain religious or philosophical teachings, ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus. Shambhala, Boston, 1985 for the other scholars see the bibliography). The writer of Kore Kosmou, whoever (s)he might be, has been influenced by many Platonic teachings. The influence and even the parallels or the intended allusions to the Timaeus are undeniable. At the same time there are some Aristotelian traces: e.g. in the divisions of the parts of the cosmos and the terrestrial hemispheres, in which we dwell, delineated in fragment 24; the epistemological biases of the author(s) of the SH more to Aristotle than to Plato, contrary to the tendency in the CH. Of course, there are also some signs of the Stoic doctrines and of the eclectic of Posidonius.

This makes the writing, entitled Kore Kosmou, an extremely curious and interesting text, especially for the historians of the ancient philosophy, telling us a lot about the spiritual atmosphere of the centuries, in which the Neoplatonism emerged. The Hermetic texts are not so marvelous and systematic in their philosophical depths, compared to the best works of the great Neo-Platonic tradition, but at the same time they provide us the excellent opportunity to approach the Geist, the spirit and to the complex variety and doctrinal eclectic, in which the Neoplatonist philosophy understandably dominated.


Corpus hermeticum. Tome III: Fragments extraits de Stobée, I-XXII, tome IV: Fragments extraits de Stobée XXIII-XXIX. Texte établi et traduit par A. J. Festugière. Fragments divers Texte établi A. D. Nock. Paris, Les belles lettres, 1972
Scott, Walter. Hermetica. The ancient Greek and Latin Writings, which contain religious or philosophic teachings ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus. Vol. III: Notes on the Latin Asclepius and the Hermetic excerpts of Stobaeus. Edited and translated by W. Scott. Shambala, Boston, 1985. 1924.
Büchli Jörg. Der Poimandres. Ein paganisiertes Evangelium. Sprachliche und begriffliche Untersuchungen zum 1 Traktat des CH. Tübingen, 1987. Paul Siebeck.
Faivre, Antoine. Cahiers de l’Hermétisme. Présence d’Hermès Trismégiste. Ėditions Albin Michel. Paris, 1988.
Faivre, Antoine. The Eternal Hermes. From Greek God to Alchemical Magus. Transl. by Joscelyn Godwin, Phanes Press, 1995.
A. J. Festugière. Hermétisme et mystique païenne. Paris, Aubier-Montaigne. 1967. Especially Part III: Alchimie. 10. La création des âmes dans la Korè Kosmou. P. 230-250.
Debus, Allen G. and Ingrid Merkel (eds). Hermetism and the Renaissance. Intellectual History and the Occult in Early Modern Europe. Folger Books. London, Washington. Associated University Presses, 1988.
Kingsley, Peter. Poimandres: the Etymology of the Name and the Origins of the Hermetica. In: Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol. 56, 1993. P. 1-24.
Бонардел, Франсоаз. Херметизмът. С., 1997. „Панорама”. Превод Мария Груева, оригинално заглавие Françoise Bonardel. L’Hermétisme. Presses Universitaires de France, 1985.
Гочев, Николай. Античният херметизъм. С., 1999, „Сонм”, УИ “Св. Климент Охридски”.
Гочев, Николай. Александрия. Разкази за хора, книги и градове. С., 2002, „Сонм”.
Зелинский, Ф. Ф. Соперники христианства. СПб., „Алетейя”, „Логос”, 1995. (1907)
Павел Стефанов: Ялдаваот. История и учение на гностическата религия. С., ИК „Омофор”, 2008.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

the opposed are principles

SEEAAP, Zagreb, Institut za Filozofiju                                                        17th of May 2014

Aristotle. Physics. Alpha, ch. 5
The opposed are principles, or all originates from the couples

Dimka Gocheva, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridsky

Main idea: to find a middle way between Scylla and Harybdis

1. Rough working translation:

All (the thinkers), who say that the Whole is one and not moved, make the opposed principles. Indeed, Parmenides makes the hot and the cold principles and pronounces them as the principles fire and earth, and others make dense and rare, and Democritus - the full and the empty, from them the one as the existing, the other – as the not existing. Also, according to him (important) are: position, scheme, order.

They are the genera of the opposed:  species (of the genus of) position are above and below, in front of and behind; species of scheme are the angled and the-one-without-angles, the rectilinear and the circular.
It is clear, that all the thinkers in a way make the opposed principles. With a good reason: the principles must be neither from one another, nor from some other principles, and everything is out of them. To the primordial opposed are peculiar these: because they are the first ones, they must not be originated from some other different (principles), and because they are opposed, they are not from one another.
But it is necessary to examine this reasonably. To begin with, it must be taken as granted that in the realm of everything existing, it is not natural  neither to act nor to be acted upon in a contingent manner; nor whatever is engendered by whatever. What happens by chance must be considered an exception. How is that the white colour to be begotten by the educated, if not only by coincidence? “The educated/the trained” may happen to be (a quality of a bearer), who (in respect of other opposites) is not white or is black.

But the white appears from what is-not-white, and moreover not from absolutely everything, but only from the black or the intermediary. The educated is not from the educated,(and not from whatever illiterate person),  but from the not-educated (in some particular skill), or from some other intermediate state between literacy and illiteracy, if there is such.

The disappearance of these does not happen in the first instance, which prompts, as for example, the white coloured does not degrade in the educated, with some exceptions, when there is coincidence. The white degrades in the not-white, and not in some contingent, but in the black or something intermediate. In the same manner the experienced-in-music degrades in the not-experienced, and not in a random person, lacking whatever kind of training, but in an uneducated or intermediate type of person, if such one exists.
The same applies likewise to the rest, including all existing things – not only the simple, but also the composite ones, according to the same reason. There is not appropriate verbal designation for the correlated dispositions, and that’s why some people omit to notice (or some people forget) what happens.

It is necessary that all well-tuned appears from the not-tuned and the not-tuned from the well-tuned, and the well-tuned degrades into not-tunedness, and moreover not in a random one, but precisely the antithetical one. It makes no difference whether we are talking about harmony, or order, or composite objects – clearly, this is the same reason.

Moreover, the house and the statue and whatever else appears in the same manner: the house is built from materials, which previously are not arranged, but scattered around, and the statue or something which is sculptured is made out of something formless. And each of these, some are orderings, others are syntheses.
If this is true, whenever something new would engender and whenever something degrading would degrade, this happens either from the opposites or into the opposites, and what is in between. These intermediaries in between are from the opposites, as the colours are from the white and black. So it would turn out, that all naturally born are either opposites or they are from the opposites.

As we have said in the beginning, up to this point the majority of the other (thinkers) agreed and followed: they all say, that the elements and the principles, which are labeled with their names, are opposites, although without a proof – as if they are forced to say this by the truth itself.  There are differences among them in respect of their bias: some prefer the more primordial ones, others – what is derived from them, and some are more comprehensible to the reason, others – by the senses. (Some prefer to pose as a cause of the generation hot and cold, others – wet and dry, third group – the even and the odd, or Hatred and Love, which differ from the rest in the mentioned way.) So, it turns that somehow they are saying the same, despite the differences among them. To many it may seem that these opinions differ, but in fact they are alike by analogy. They take the principles to be from the same column of coupled opposites: some of them embrace, others are embraced by the opposites.

2. Commentary

a) The translations, which have been consulted, especially with regard to the rendering of the conceptual cluster: ™nant…on, ™nant…wsij, ™nantiÒthj:
The best ones for me of the Physics: William Charlton’s.
Opposites – opposition;
Aristotle. Metaphysics, Loeb Classical Library, vol. XVII, XVIII, 1989 (1933), ed. by G. P. Goold. Translated by Hugh Tredennick.
Contraries – contrariety;
Philip H. Wicksteed and F. M. Cornford in the Loeb edition, LCL. Reprinted 1980.
Contrasted couple(s) – antithesis;
Aristote. Physique. I-IV. Texte établi et trduit par Henry Carteron. Septième triage. Paris. Les belles letters. 1990. prem. édition 1926.
Le contraire – la contrariété.
Aristote. La Métaphysique. Traduction de Jules Barthélemy-Saint-Hilaire, revue et annotée par Paul Mathias. Introduction et dossier de Jean-Louis Poirier. Presses Pocket. 1991.
Le contraire – la contrariété.
Hans Günther Zekl Aristoteles. Die Physik. Hamburg, 1995.
Gegensätze. Gegensätzlichkeit. Zusammengesetzung. Entgegensetzung – “Dasein”!

The Russian translation. Аристотель. Сочинения в четырех томах. Том 3. М., “Мысль”, 1981. АН СССР. Пер. В. П. Карпова. (Аристотель. Физика. М., 1936)
Противоположность; пара противоположностей – противоположное;
The Bulgarian translation. Аристотел. Съчинения. Том ІІ, част І. Физика. Превод Цочо Бояджиев. Изд. “Захарий Стоянов”, С., 2012. Ред. Иван Христов. In book A only противоположност. In book EПротивоположно – противоположност.

     b)When working on the first Bulgarian translation of the “Metaphysics” with Nikolai Gochev, who translated eight of the books, we had to solve the following problem in book Iota: there are several words in it with the same root, which are as if synonyms. We had to decide: are these redundant precisions or they are absolutely necessary distinctions? Repeatedly through the centuries Aristotle has been accused by people, who feel aversion towards his thought, that sometimes he enjoys the playing with speculative distinctions for the sake of their own. Precisely these, by the way, make book Iota so boring for some readers. The decision, which we have chosen for the translation of the terms in the “Metaphysics” later on has been applied again in the first Bulgarian translation of the “De caelo”, done by me and the editor Vladimir Marinov.

      We have been convinced that these seeming synonyms are conceptual differentiations – and moreover important ones for his first philosophy, for his second philosophy and for his cosmology. The translation of these terms in the “Metaphysics”, for the books I-III and X-XIV, and in the “De caelo” as well is: as противоположно (in English approximately “the opposite”) is translated ™nant…on, аnd ™nant…wsij (in English approximately “oppositioning”) is rendered as “противополагане”. The Bulgarian “противоположеностstands for ™nantiÒthj (in English opposedness), аnd “противолежащо” is the rendering of ¢ntike…menon .

3. The methodological invitation: rely on the first philosophy in the Physics

    *The powerful beginning of the ontological thinking of the difference-and-differentiation-in-the-identity in ancient Greece in the Pythagoreans. From Philolaus on they conceive of ten primordial couples or pairs, but they do not label them opposites. They are called “principles by correlation’, or sustoice…a,  co-elements, principles-in-unity, original couples, attributes in partnership, because the one is impossible without the other. The male and the female, which are of outmost importance for the living nature  ¥rrhn kaˆ qÁlu are, of course, among them, on the fifth place of the principles in couples[i].
   **Plato: the “Timaeus” (90 e ff and further till the end). The poetic ontology of love between man and woman in the “Symposium” and the organic description of the difference between them as natural beings at the end of the “Timaeus”: this happens for the propagation of the genus.

The conceptual cluster
™nant…on, ™nant…wsij, ™nantiÒthj

What does this mean for ¹ qeologik» or the first philosophy and for the philosophy of nature?

     The core part of the Aristotelian lectures on ¹ qeologik», which we nowadays read as the fourteen books of the “Metaphysics”, is in the so-called “treatise in three books on oÙs…a, the books ZHΘ”. The concepts genus, edoj -species, substance, differentia specifica are thought over in these books. Centuries later Porphyry comments on them in his “Isagoge”, and Boethius translates and comments on them in Latin. So they became part of the medieval universities’ curricula and fundamentals of logic. After these three books on oÙs…a -  substance (or the substantial being), the precise clarifications are even deepened in book Iota, but many readers skip it as a boring inquiry into meticulous superfluities. For the proper understanding of some puzzles of the first two methodological books of the Physics book Iota is indispensable.
     In book Iota the analysis begins with the problem of what is one-unique-unified and logically the other problem emerges from here: what are the separately existing real entities, which are to be included into groups of species (forms, e‡dh), similar to theirs, and from here in larger and more voluminous genera, which comprise the similar species. We can ask a paradigmatic question like that: why the opposite of the white colour is the black colour, and why the opposite of the basso voice is the tenor? Why the soprano is not the opposite of the red colour or why the cold air is not the opposite of the rough, or to the unbearable pressure on the bottom of the ocean? Book Iota is important because it gives answers to questions similar to these ones.
Loeb Classical Library, vol. XVII, XVIII, 1989 (1933), ed. by G. P. Goold. Translated by Hugh Tredennick.

1.      The whole of chapter 4, but particularly 1055 a 3-10 :
"Since things which differ can differ from one another in a greater or less degree, there is a certain maximum difference, and this I call contrariety. That it is the maximum difference is shown by induction. For whereas things which differ in genus have no means of passing into each other, and are more widely distant, and are not comparable, in the case of things that differ in species, the contraries are  the extremes from which generation takes place; and the greatest distance is that which is between the extremes, and therefore also between the contraries. [ii]
2.      And again book Iota, chapters 7 and 8, from 1057 b 35 till 1058 a 29 for the precisions of the concepts genus and eidos-species, differentia specifica, ™nant…on, ™nant…wsij, ™nantiÒthj :
 "That which is other in species than something else is “other” in respect of something; and that something must apply to both. E.g., if an animal is other in species than something else, they must both be animals. Hence, things which are other in species must be in the same genus. The sort of thing I mean by genus” is that in virtue of which two things are both called the same one thing; and which is not accidentally differentiated, whether regarded as matter or otherwise. .. Therefore this difference must be otherness of genus. ( I say “otherness of genus” because by difference of genus” I mean an otherness which makes the genus itself other); this, then, will be a form of contrariety. This is obvious by induction. For all differentiation is by opposites, and we have shown that contraries are in the same genus, because contrariety was shown to be complete difference. But difference in species is always difference from something in respect of something; therefore this is the same thing, i.e.  the genus, for both. (Hence too all contraries which differ in species, but not in genus are in the same line of predication, and are other than each other in the highest degree; for their difference is complete, and they cannot come into existence simultaneously.)[iii] Hence, the difference is a form of contrariety. 
"To be
other in species”, then, means this: to be in the same genus and involve contrariety, while being indivisible.
3.      Especially in respect of the heterosexuality and the explanation of the sex difference between male and female in the living creatures, not only in man, but also in all the animals and the whole nature in general, conceptually very important is almost all of the chapter 9, 1058 a 30 – 1058 b 24.
"The question might be raised as to why woman does not differ from man in species, seeing that female is contrary to male, and their difference is a contrariety; and why a female and a male animal are not other in species, although the difference belongs toanimalper se, and not as whiteness or blackness does; male and “female belong to it qua animal. This problem is practically the same as why does one kind of contrariety (e.g. “footed” and “winged”) make things other in species,  while another (whiteness and blackness) does not?” The answer may be that in the one case the attributes are peculiar to the genus, and in the other they are less so’; and since one element is formula and the other matter, contrarieties in the formula produce difference in species, but contrarieties in the concrete whole do not.
Hence the whiteness or blackness of a man does not produce this, nor is there any specific difference between a white man and a black man; not even if one term is assigned to each. For we are now regarding man” as matter, and matter does not produce difference; and for this reason, too, individual men are not species of man, although the flesh and bones of which this man and that man consist are different. The concrete whole is other, but not other in species, because  there is no contrariety in the formula, and that is the ultimate indivisible species. But Callias is definition and matter. Then so too is “white man”, because it is the individual, Callias, who is white. Hence “man, then, is only white accidentally. Again, a bronze circle and a wooden one do not differ in species; and a bronze triangle and a wooden circle differ in species not because of their matter, but because there is contrariety in their formulae.
 But does not matter, when it is other in a particular way, make things “other in species”? ... Surely it is because there is contrariety in the definition, for so there also is in “white man” and “black horse”; and it is a contrariety in species, but not because one is white and the other black; for even if they had both been white, they would still be “other in species”.
“Male” and “female” are attributes peculiar to the animal, but not in virtue of its substance; they are material or physical. Hence the same semen may, as the result of some modification, become either female or male.
    The Greek for the last two sentences: tÕ d ¥rren kaˆ qÁlu toà zóou o„ke‹a mn p£qh, ¢ll' oÙ kat¦ t¾n oÙs…an ¢ll' ™n tÍ ÛlV kaˆ tù sèmati, diÕ tÕ aÙtÕ spšrma qÁlu À ¥rren g…gnetai paqÒn ti p£qoj.

     Minimalistic commentary: as Plato clarifies in the “Phaedo” (103 a, b and ff., b 4 aÙtÕ tÕ ™nant…on ˜autù ™nant…on oÙk ¥n pote gšnoito) to all real entities, which really exist as substancies (or substantial beings) nothing is opposed. To the man a real contrary being would be the anti-man or the not-man, to the woman a real contrary being would be the anti-woman or not woman. The examples here are mine, and we remember that in the “Phaedo” this is made in order to prove the immortality of soul, because the anti-soul or the not-soul does not exist. To being there is not not-being as its opposite and this is the deepest root of the monism, which dominates the whole philosophical tradition after Plato and Aristotle in the millennia after that. It is not by chance, that for both of them not-being is not an ontological, but epistemological category.
    Then how to explain the difference, for example, between male and female? What Aristotle offers in chapter 9 of book Iota is a virtuous passing through Scylla and Charybdis, i.e. the extinction of the differentiation between them, on the one hand, and the exaggerated removal of the one from the other, which would send them in different e‡dh. From empirical point of view Aristotle touches this question (among many others) in the “On the generation of animals”, but it is much more important that he finds a solution of it in his first philosophy. He succeeds in this by polishing the exquisiteness of the difference between  ™nant…wsij, which is translated by us in Bulgarian asпротивополагане” (approximately “opposing” in English) and “противоположеност” - ™nantiÒthj (approximately “opposedness” in English) . There is dynamics, movement and modality in the first one, this is a concept through which the mutual attraction and approaching of two remote from one another opposite things is conceived, whereas in the second one there is static and rest, there is the result and the product of a process or becoming, which is already fulfilled.
     The difference between the male and the female is conceived through it and its optics, mingling with the concept of the peculiar p£qoj. It is not by chance that this precision is used in his logic rarely, only twice in the “Topics” (112 b 28 and 113 a 2, 9), whereas the usages of these distinctions in two other spheres of his thinking are many and important, and they will contribute to the abstractedness of the first philosophy.

The distinctions between
 ™nant…on, ™nant…wsij, ™nantiÒthj
in Aristotle’s cosmology and his philosophy of nature

    The analysis of the movements in the cosmos begins with these precisions in the “De caelo”, book Alpha, ch. 4, 270b 30 – 271 a 35. There are two main genera of the movement of the fundamental elements – circular movement and rectilinear movement, both of them being primordial. The circular movement, or more precisely said, the spherical movement of the outmost sphere of the cosmos in itself around the axis of the cosmos and the Earth, which coincide, is used by Plato in the “Timaeus” and by Aristotle in the “De caelo” in order to explain the uniqueness, the spatial limitedness and the eternity of the cosmos. Aristotle thinks that two different movements, happening in a circle, are contrary ones, only if they occur on a line – whatever chord, connecting two points in the circle, or as it is in the example in ch. 4 – the diameter. By the circular movement, when a body with a limited volume is moving on the edge of a circle, its direction doesn’t matter for Aristotle. Regardless of the fact that there are clockwise movements or counter-clockwise movements, he does not consider them to be contrary in the absolute meaning of the word. They have opposite directions physically, but they are not contrary in the ontological aspect of his concept[iv].
    In the “Physics” we see again the same conceptual puzzles, accompaning ™nantiÒthj - ™nant…on in 187 a 20, I, 4 and ™nant…wsij in 190 b 27, ch. 7.
1.      Especially telling is the reasoning in 217 a 23, IV, 9: cold and hot are “opposings”, they are not given and petrified in a static state once and forever, but changing and changeable characteristics, because the hot may cool down and the cold may get warmer. This is a reasoning made in the context of the refutation of the hypothesis for the existence of the vacuum. And moreover the dynamic character of the opposings is explained through the modal categories. Another example – dry and wet, the sand on the beach.
2.      In 226 a 26, V, 2,  it is added that ™nant…wsij is relevant concerning the quality, the quantity and the place, but it is not applicable for the substance, the relation, acting and being acted upon.
3.      Another place with enormous relevance is in Book V, ch. 5, where again, another clarification is given. Practically the whole of the chapter is a fantastic, dialectical, untranslatable in any language properly analysis with this important triad ™nant…on, ™nant…wsij, ™nantiÒthj: in order to conceive the nature of movement as change in the largest possible ontological scope, and not only as spatial locomotion. An example is given about the origin of the names of the processes, which appear in Greek accordingly not from their source, but in conformity to their direction: the transition from health to illness and vice versa, movement from and to.

The opposed qualities in On coming-to-be and passing-away
Book Beta, chapter 2 and 3 329 b 7 – 331 a 6

Possible conclusion(s): the pairs of the opposed (qualities, quantities and/ or attributites) are several groups: the Pythagorean ten couples, the ones of Plato and his followers, the Aristotelian ones. There is a hierarchy in them; according to Aristotle the most important ones among them are the ones, which undergo endless and reversible changes, whereas the ones, which are subjected to irreversible changes, are not so necessary for the proving of the eternal existence of the world.   

[i] Aristotle. Metaphysics, А/І, ch. 5, 986 а 22-986 b 9. See Aristotle. Metaphysics, Loeb Classical Library, vol. XVII, XVIII, 1989 (1933), ed. by G. P. Goold. Translated by Hugh Tredennick.
[ii] In the handout I am quoting the translation of Hugh Tredennick from the Loeb edition, mentioned in the previous endnote. See also the similar rendering of these passages in the translation of W. D. Ross, published on the Internet Classics Archive of the MIT, accessible on the 7th of October 2013.
[iii] ™n tÍ aÙtÍ sustoice…v p£nta t¦ ™nant…a tÁj kathgor…aj, Ósa e‡dei di£fora kaˆ m¾ gšnei…”
[iv] De caelo, book Alpha, ch. 4, 270b 30 – 271 a 35. For the Greek original see Aristotelis,  De caelo, recognovit brevique adnotatione critica instruxit D. J. Allan, Oxonii, 1961, (1936). SCBO.