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Fragments that Remain of the Lost Writings of Proclus, by Thomas Taylor, [1825], at

p. 37

Argument the Third.

If a fabricator [or demiurgus] is the fabricator of a certain thing, he will either be always a fabricator in energy, or at a certain time in capacity only, so as not to fabricate eternally. If, therefore, there is a fabricator in energy, who is always a fabricator, that which is fabricated by him will always exist, as being a thing fabricated according to an eternal energy. For Aristotle says, that when the cause exists in energy, the effect will also in a similar manner be in energy; viz. if the cause be a builder in energy, there will be that which is built; if the cause be that which actually heals, there will be that which is actually healed. And Plato, in the Philebus, says, that the maker is the maker of a certain thing which is made. But if that which is fabricated does not subsist in energy, neither will that which fabricates it be in energy. If, however, the fabricator is not in energy, he will be in capacity; viz. before he fabricates, he will possess in capacity the power of fabricating. But every thing which is in capacity a certain thing, says Aristotle, becomes that thing in energy, through some other thing which exists in energy. Thus, that which is hot in capacity becomes actually hot, through that

p. 38

which is hot in energy; and the like is true of the cold, the white, and the black. Hence the fabricator, who had a prior subsistence in capacity, will become an actual fabricator, through some one who is a fabricator in energy. And if the latter, indeed, is always in energy the cause of the former being a fabricator, the former will always be a fabricator through the preceding axiom, * which says, when the cause is in energy, the effect also produced by it will be in energy; so that the thing which is fabricated by an eternally energising cause always is. But if this cause is at a certain time the cause in capacity of the fabricator fabricating, again this cause will require some other cause, which enables it to be in energy the maker of the energising fabricator; and this in consequence of the second axiom, which says, that every thing which is in capacity requires that which is in energy, in order that it may itself have a subsistence in energy. And again, the same reasoning will take place with respect to that other cause, and we must either proceed to infinity, in investigating one cause before another, which

p. 39

leads the proposed cause from capacity to energy, or we shall be compelled to grant, that there is a certain cause which always exists in energy. But this being granted, it follows that the effects of that cause must likewise always subsist in energy, and that the world is always fabricated, if the Demiurgus of it is always the Demiurgus. This follows from the two axioms, one of which is, that such as is the condition of one of two relatives, such also is that of the other, viz. that if the one is in capacity, so also is the other; and if the one is in energy, the other also is in energy. But the other axiom is, that every thing which is in capacity, changes into another thing in energy, through a certain thing which is in energy, the thing so changed being first in capacity and afterwards in energy.


38:* It appears, from what is here said, that certain axioms preceded this work, which, as the beginning is wanting, are lost; and this being the case, it is more than probable that these arguments of Proclus were originally in the form of propositions, like his Physical and Theological Elements.

Next: Argument the Fourth