Thursday, August 5, 2010

James of Ascoli on Consecutive causality

Consecutive causality, a rough, probably highly inaccurate translation of "consecutive" appears to mean only the causal dependence something has on something else. I hesitate to use the word "cause", however, as the only locus I have seen it come up is in the discussing the divine ideas. In this context, it refers to the essences of creatures as are eternally related to the divine essence. They are also logically prior to the divine act of thinking. This theory was held by few scholastics, though the more I study the issue, the more the number grows. Peter Thomae holds it as an alternative to Scotus' view, and he appears to have derived it from James of Ascoli. The carmelite John Baconthorpe discusses it and attributes it to his confrere Gerard of Bologna, though I haven't tracked this down yet. Avicenna latinus appears to be the ultimate origin of the idea, though since he is dependent on Alfarabi it may be in the latter's works as well. In any case, the passage below attempts a definition of the term, which I found somewhat interesting and useful, perhaps even worth sharing.

Iacobus de Aesculo, Quaestiones ordinariae, q. 4 (Cambridge, UL, Ms. FF.3.23, f. 126ra): Utrum notitia actualis creaturae praesupponatur in Deo notitiae habituali eiusdem.

Secundo sciendum quod aliquid potest habere esse intelligibile sub alio dupliciter: vel effective vel consecutive. Effective, sicut quidditates rerum creabilium habent esse intelligibile effective ab intellectu agente in quantum intellectus agens causat eas effective in esse intelligibile, secundum ymaginem Philosophi et Commentatoris(p hi et 9iiieris) Consecutive vero habent esse intelligibile ab ipsa specie causata ab intellectu cognoscente. Posita enim specie intelligibili ipsius lapidis in intellectu, consequitur naturaliter esse intelligible lapidis, sicut oppositum corellarium ipsius speciei sine omni causatione effectiva. Species enim lapidis non causat effective proprie lapidem in esse intelligibili, sed solum esse intelligibili lapidis consequitur ipsam spieciem per motum cuiusdam coreins necessarie.

Ad propositum dico quod quidditates in illo priori in quo habent esse intelligibile ab ipsa essentia divina antequam sunt actu immediate non habent esse intelligibile effective ab ipsa essentia quasi ipsa esset eas effectivas in esse intelligibili, quia posita essentia ipsa necessario resultant in esse intelligibli sicut obiecta coreva ipsius essentie, non ad que ipsa essentia referatur, sed magis que ad ipsam referantur sicut posita specie lapidis s ap resultat in specie intelligibili.


Second, it should be known that something can have intelligible being from another in two ways, either effectively or consecutively. Effectively, as the quiddities of creatable things have intelligible being effectively from the agent intellect, insofar as the agent intellect causes them effectively in intelligible being, according to the image of the Philosopher and the Commentator. But consecutively they have intelligible being from the species caused by the knowing intellect. For if it be posited that there is an intelligible species of a stone in the intellect, there naturally follows the intelligible being of the stone, just as the opposed ...? of the species without all effective causation. For a species of a stone does not cause effectively the stone in intelligible being, but rather the intelligible being of the stone follows the spcies by a necessary motion.

To the question at hand I say that the quiddities in that prior [instant] in which they have intelligible being from the divine essence, before they are immediately in act, they do not have intelligible being effectively from the essence as if it would [cause] them effectively in intelligible being, because with the essence posited, necessarily they result in intelligible being, just as objects correlative of the essence, not to which the essence is referred, but more rather they are referred to it [the divine essence], just as with a species of a stone being posited [in the intellect immediately the stone results in intelligible being...?]


Michael Sullivan said...

It seems to me that "consecutively" is fine. I've been translating "consequit" as "follows upon", but there's no really good way to put a lot of these technical terms into English. Most of the time you just turn it into a latinate technical term in English.

Anyway, this "following upon" something without being caused or dependent on it is a tricky and subtle business.

Michael Sullivan said...

Sorry, make that "consequitur".