Friday, June 26, 2009

A Distinction from Petrus Thomae

Now that I got the following cleaned up (the Salamanca ms. was quite helpful), I think it might be worthy of posting.

Petrus Thomae, QQ de esse intelligibli, q. 2 a.1 (ed. me):

Distinctio est ista: intellectualitas, intellectivitas, intelligibilitas et intellectitas hoc modo se habent, nam prima duo respiciunt suppositum intelligens, alia vero duo obiectum quod intelligitur. Dico ergo primo quod prima duo respiciunt suppositum quod intelligit, tamen differenter, nam intellectualitas respicit naturam qua suppositum dicitur intelligibile; sed ipsa intellectivitas respicit principium vel virtutem vel potentiam qua vel per quam suppositum potest in talem actum exire. Alia autem duo respiciunt obiectum similiter diversimode, quoniam intelligibilitas ponit in obiecto solum aptitudinem intelligendi; sed intellectitas ponit circa idem obiectum respectum actualem ipsius obiecti intellecti ad actum.


"The distinction is this: intellectuality, intellectivity, intelligibility and intellectness(!) are related in this way: the first two are said of an understanding supposit, but the other two are said of the object which is understood. I say first that the first two are said of the supposit which understands, nevertheless differently, for intellectuality looks to the nature by which a supposit is said to be intelligible, but intellectivity looks to the principle or power by which or through which the supposit is able to go into such an act. But the other two look towards the object, likewise in diverse ways, since intelligibility posits only an aptitude of understanding[perhaps it should be intelligi] in the object, but intellectness posits in the object the actual relation of the understood object to the act of understanding."

Gotta love "intellectitas". For quite a while I wasn't even sure if I was expanding the abbreviation correctly, but this Salamanca ms. spells it out without any contraction marks. As it turns out, the entire article is about the relation between intellectitas and intelligibilitas, which in turn is the source of Peter Thomae's (And Alnwick's for that matter) disagreement with Scotus on the production of creatures in intelligible being.


Brandon said...

It's a good thing that probably none of the major non-scholastic early modern philosophers ever came across this passage; they'd jumped on it as an example of the absurdity and barbarous Latin of the schoolmen.

So I take it that his point is that saying the object has intelligibility means it is apt to be understood, but saying it has intellectity means it actually is understood? It does make some sense to have a different word for the two.

Scott Williams said...

How about "intelligible" (intelligibilitas) = able to be understood, and "understood" (intellectitas) = episodically (occurrently) known.

Lee Faber said...


This sort of language was pretty common among the 14th century theologians; I've seen all but intellectitas in Peter of Navarre, and Peter Thomae refers several times to the claims of a certain nefarious "quidam" regarding intellectitas so I doubt that orginates with Peter either. It may be barbarous, but latin may not have the resources to do much in philosophy beyond pithy moral maxims.

Peter would have earned more outrage as following his distinction he makes a series of arguments to prove that intelligibilitas and intellectias are formally non-identical (at least the nominalists share some talk of formalities and realities, at least when it comes to the Trinity), and that intelligibilitas is prior in the order of nature to intellectitas.

I think intellectitas is the relation between the act of knowing and the object known. In the context of the topic of the treatise, it is the relation between the act of the divine intellect knowing the quiddities of created things represented ab eterno by the divine essence.


Yes, that would work, though the second as applied to God would require the gloss that God has one episode of knowing.

TW said...

strangely enough, I learned everything I know about scotus on a theoblog.

Lee Faber said...

Which one?

Michael said...

I've been translating some of these questions--as you know, Faber--and have given some thought to how to render these terms. I don't think "intellectness" nor "understood" will do for "intellectitas". "Understood" should be used to render "intellectus". "Intellectness" sounds as though it means "intellectualitas", which is obviously not what Petrus means. I think a better translation would be either "intellectedness," or, since that is no more English than "intellectitas" is Latin, why not just render it "intellectity" and let the text make the meaning clear?

Michael said...


Too easy?

"I think intellectitas is the relation between the act of knowing and the object known."

Faber, does he explicitly say that it's a relation?

Lee Faber said...

I like intellectity.

He says here that intellectity posits a 'respectum', which I take to be syononym of relation on the grounds of a passage in scotus where he lists several such terms and says they basically all mean relation.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Is "positing a relation" the same thing as "being a relation"?

Lee Faber said...

Mybe not, but he may only mean that the term posits or refers to a relation. See what he says from the first prop. of art.2:

"Preterea, quod dicit vel connotat respectum aptitudinalem non est idem formaliter cum illo quod dicit vel connotat respectum actualem; sed intellectitas dicit vel connotat respectum actualem, intelligibilitas aptitudinalem; ergo et cetera."

or this from prop. 2:

"Hanc probo quia aptitudo prior est ordine nature quam actus; sed intelligibilitas dicit aptitudinem, intellectitas autem actum; ergo prior est intellectitate. Quod autem aptitudo prior sit actu patet, ideo enim aliter actus competit quia aptum natum est, non autem ideo aptum natum est quia actu est."

I take 'dicit' here to mean 'means', but am open to suggestions.