From Aristotle, Physics, Book IV
The physicist must have a knowledge of Place, too, as well as of the infinite, namely whether there is such a thing or not, and the manner of its existence and what it is, both because all suppose that things which exist are somewhere (the non-existent is nowhere -- where is the goat-stag or the sphinx?), and because "motion" in its most general and primary sense is change of place, which we call "locomotion."
The question, what is place? presents many difficulties. An examination of all the relevant facts seems to lead to divergent conclusions. Moreover, we have inherited nothing from previous thinkers, whether in the way of a statement of difficulties or of a solution.
The existence of place is held to be obvious from the fact of mutual replacement. Where water now is, there in turn, when the water has gone out as from a vessel, air is present. When therefore another body occupies this same place, the place is thought to be different from all the bodies which come to be in it and replace one another. What now contains air formerly contained water, so that clearly the place or space into which and out of which they passed was something different from both.
Further, the typical locomotions of the elementary natural bodies, namely fire, earth, and the like -- show not only that place is something, but also that it exerts a certain influence. Each is carried to its own place, if it is not hindered, the one up, the other down. Now these are regions or kinds of place -- up and down and the rest of the six directions. Nor do such distinctions (up and down and right and left, &c.) hold only in relation to us. To us they are not always the same but change with the direction in which we are turned: that is why the same thing may be both right and left, up and down, before and behind. But in nature each is distinct, taken apart by itself. It is not every chance direction which is "up," but where fire and what is light are carried; similarly, too, "down" is not any chance direction but where what has weight and what is made of earth are carried, the implication being that these places do not differ merely in relative position, but also as possessing distinct potencies. This is made plain also by the objects studied by mathematics. Though they have no real place, they nevertheless, in respect of their position relatively to us, have a right and left as attributes ascribed to them only in consequence of their relative position, not having by nature these various characteristics. Again, the theory that the void exists involves the existence of place: for one would define void as place bereft of body.
These considerations then would lead us to suppose that place is something distinct from bodies, and that every sensible body is in place. Hesiod too might be held to have given a correct account of it when he made chaos first. At least he says: “First of all things came chaos to being, then broad-breasted earth,” implying that things need to have space first, because he thought, with most people, that everything is somewhere and in place. If this is its nature, the potency of place must be a marvellous thing, and take precedence of all other things. For that without which nothing else can exist, while it can exist without the others, must needs be first; for place does not pass out of existence when the things in it are annihilated.
[cont’d from Book IV, part 12]
Not only do we measure the movement by the time, but also the time by the movement, because they define each other. The time marks
the movement, since it is its number, and the movement the
time. We describe the time as much or little, measuring it by
the movement, just as we know the number by what is numbered,
e.g. the number of the horses by one horse as the unit. For we
know how many horses there are by the use of the number; and again
by using the one horse as unit we know the number of the horses itself. So it is with the time and the movement; for we measure the
movement by the time and vice versa. It is natural that this
should happen; for the movement goes with the distance and the
time with the movement, because they are quanta and continuous
and divisible. The movement has these attributes because the
distance is of this nature, and the time has them because of the
movement. And we measure both the distance by the movement and the movement by the distance; for we say that the road is long, if
the journey is long, and that this is long, if the road is
long-the time, too, if the movement, and the movement, if the
Time is a measure of motion and of being moved, …