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Section 8

8. But we are digressing: we must resume our enquiry into the cause of dissimilarity among relations. Yet we must first be informed what reality, common to all cases, is possessed by this Existence derived from mutual conditions.

Now the common principle in question cannot be a body. The only alternative is that, if it does exist, it be something bodiless, either in the objects thus brought together or outside of them.

Further, if Relation always takes the same form, the term is univocal [and specific differentiation is impossible]; if not, that is if it differs from case to case, the term is equivocal, and the same reality will not necessarily be implied by the mere use of the term Relation.

How then shall we distinguish relations? We may observe that some things have an inactive or dormant relation, with which their actuality is entirely simultaneous; others, combining power and function with their relation, have the relation in some mode always even though the mode be merely that of potentiality, but attain to actual being only in contact with their correlatives. Or perhaps all distinctions may be reduced to that between producer and product, where the product merely gives a name to the producer of its actuality: an example of this is the relation of father to son, though here both producer and product have a sort of actuality, which we call life.

Are we thus, then, to divide Relation, and thereby reject the notion of an identical common element in the different kinds of Relation, making it a universal rule that the relation takes a different character in either correlative? We must in this case recognise that in our distinction between productive and non-productive relations we are overlooking the equivocation involved in making the terms cover both action and passion, as though these two were one, and ignoring the fact that production takes a different form in the two correlatives. Take the case of equality, producing equals: nothing is equal without equality, nothing identical without identity. Greatness and smallness both entail a presence- the presence of greatness and smallness respectively. When we come to greater and smaller, the participants in these relations are greater and smaller only when greatness and smallness are actually observed in them.

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