On Physics

Introduction by Dimitri Gutas

Alfarabi says: "Natural science contemplates natural bodies and the accidents that do not have being except through those bodies. And it teaches the things from which, and for which, and through which those bodies exist. Some bodies are natural, and others are artificial. Artificial bodies are such as glass, cloth, and a bed. And, ultimately, all of that is an artificial body, whose being is through craft and through the will of man. On the other hand are natural bodies, whose being is not from human craft or will, like heaven and earth, and the things in between them, like plants and animals.And the arrangement of natural and artificial bodies is indeed similar in this, that, just as in artificial bodies things are found which do not have being except through artificial bodies themselves, and things are found from which and through which and for which their own being exists, so too in natural bodies, although all these things are more evident in artificial than in natural bodies. For those things that do not have being except through artificial bodies are such as binding in cloth, and shining in a sword, and transparency in glass, and carving in a bed."

Original Latin