Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What is a Formality IV: Franciscus de Mayronis

For the previous posts in the series, see Petrus Thomae, Antonius Andreas, Nicolaus Bonetus. Today I am translating a question from Francis of Meyronnes, the French Scotist known as the Princeps Scotistarum in later ages. I haven't looked much into his commentaries on the Sentences, but apparently there are some three versions. He initially lectured at Paris in 1320, [a bunch of stuff then happened, before, voila] a final version known as the Conflatus appeared and was later printed several times. He died ca. 1328. For more information see the "Franciscan authors" website. What follows is only a translation, as the question is too long to type out in Latin in full.

Conflatus I d. 8 q. 5 (ed. Venezia 1520, f. 48vb-49ra):

...Therefore I say that some distinction between the formal rationes or formalities and realities must be posited necessarily, and not as between formality and formality but as between formality and intrinsic mode.

For the evidence of which it must be known first what a formality is, second what an intrinsic mode is.

As far as the first, 'what a formality is', some [people] say that 'formality' is said from 'form', just as materiality is said from matter. And therefore some [people] say that there cannot be many formalities without many forms, just as neither many materialities without many matters.

Against this: that is a very coarse[grossa] and asinine imagination, which is clear from two reasons. First thus: because just as formality is said from form, so 'essential' from 'essence'. We, however, posit in the divine being many essential features, and nevertheless there are not there many essences, as is clear expressly through Blessed Dionysius cap. 3 De unica et discreta theologia. Therefore neither does a multitude of forms follow upon the position of many formal rationes as you say.

Second, because in the person of the Father in the divine being are posited many personal features, namely ungenerated, paternity, active spiration, all of which are personal features and nevertheless the person of the Father is single(unica); therefore, etc.

Furthermore, many material things, according to the ones speaking commonly, are posited in one composite, namely many material accidents; and nevertheless many matters are not posited there; so in man many human features, not nevertheless unless one man.

Therefore others say that formalities are real rationes which are posited in the same simple thing.

Against this: first because formalities are not only posited in simple things but also in composites, according to the ones positing the formalities. Therefore that is not a good description. Second because not all formalities are real, for man in potency has a formality and nevertheless not a reality. Likewise beings of reason have formalities but not realities.

Therefore others say that those formalities are certain modalities.

Against this: for the ones positing them divide them against modes. Second because modes are not able to be first in beings, because a mode is always posterior to that of which it is a mode; but formalities are posited simply first in beings, for the ratio of entity is a certain formality and the ratio of deity, which  are absolutely prior to all others.

Therefore others say that formalities are definitive rationes, for the definitive ratio of each one is called formal and it is clear that it is a formality.

Against this doubly: first because the categories are not definable, becasue they are absolutely simple  and nevertheless they have formalities by which they are formally distinguished [from each other]. Second because the ratio of being and ratio of deity are posited as formalities and nevertheless they cannot be defined because every definition is given through prior [features, such as genus and difference]; but than these [categories] nothing is prior.

I say therefore that a formality is a quiddity of each thing haveing a quiddity whether it is definable or not, because the formal ratio of each thing is that which is present in [inest] it in the first mode of predicating per se; such however are all quidditative [features, aspects].

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