What, if anything, is wrong with the following translations of the highlighted sentences (the first from Ross, the second from Tredennick, the third from Devereux)?
le/gw d' u(/lhn h(\ kaq' au(th\n mh/te ti\ mh/te poso\n mh/te a)/llo mhde\n le/getai oi(=j w(/ristai to\ o)/n. e)/sti ga/r ti kaq' ou(= kathgorei=tai tou/twn e(/kaston, w(=| to\ ei)=nai e(/teron kai\ tw=n kathgoriw=n e(ka/sth| (ta\ me\n ga\r a)/lla th=j ou)si/aj kathgorei=tai, au(/th de\ th=j u(/lhj), w(/ste to\ e)/sxaton kaq' au(to\ ou)/te ti\ ou)/te poso\n ou)/te a)/llo ou)de/n e)stin: ou)de\ dh\ ai( a)pofa/seij, kai\ ga\r au(=tai u(pa/rcousi kata\ sumbebhko/j.
By matter I mean that which in itself is neither a particular thing nor of a certain quantity nor assigned to any other of the categories by which being is determined. For there is something of which each of these is predicated, whose being is different from that of each of the predicates (for the predicates other than substance are predicated of substance, while substance is predicated of matter). Therefore the ultimate substratum is of itself neither a particular thing nor of a particular quantity nor otherwise positively characterized; nor yet is it the negations of these, for negations also will belong to it only by accident. (Ross)
By matter I mean that which in itself is neither a particular thing nor a quantity nor designated by any of the categories which define Being.
For there is something of which each of these is predicated, whose being is different from that of each one of the categories; because all other things are predicated of substance, but this is predicated of matter. Thus the ultimate substrate is in itself neither a particular thing nor a quantity nor anything else. Nor indeed is it the negations of these; for the negations too will only apply to it accidentally. (Tredennick)
Matter is that which in itself is neither a particular thing nor a quantity ... for there is something of which each of these is predicated, but whose being is different from the being of any of them; for while the other things are predicated of substances, this is predicated of the matter ... nor is it the negations of these, for these will belong [to it] incidentally. (Devereux)The passage is, of course, from the famous argument about the underlying subject in Aristotle, Metaphysics Z 3 (1029a20-24). It's a difficult passage, and I can't say that I understand it fully. It occurs just after Aristotle has given a thought experiment, where he asks us to strip away the attributes of a bodily substance, leaving only what is apparently the bare substratum underneath.
He then apparently wishes us to reach a similar result by an argument about predication, contained in the quoted passage. The argument, although controverted and obscure, is apparently something like this: the ultimate underlying subject is distinct from anything which is predicated of it; it, therefore, is not what is predicated of it; and thus the ultimate underlying subject is close to being nothing at all --bare matter or (as he later suggests) pure potentiality. (Aristotle then apparently draws the lesson from this that being an ultimate subject of predication is perhaps a sufficient but not a necessary condition for being counted as a substance.)
The reason I ask about the translation of this passage, is that Dan Devereux makes use of the passage in the paper of his that I mentioned in an earlier post ("The Relationship between Books Zeta and Eta of Aristotle's Metaphysics"). I'll explain in a later post the use that Devereux makes of it. For now, I wish to raise a question simply about the translation--since I suspect that the passage should be translated differently from above, and, if it is, then it can no longer be interpreted in the way that Devereux wishes to understand it.
Let me know what you think--your concerns, reservations, endorsements, if any.