Sunday, October 28, 2007

Double Cognition

A short quote today, that I've been meaning to post for a while. I forget where it is from...somewhere in Ordinatio III ca. d.15 (Vat. ed. IX). It is a handy little summary of the two modes in which an object can be cognized, perhaps even at the same time. With the presence of some sensible object, a double cognition is caused, one intuitive, a direct (ie, unmediated by species) awareness of something, under the aspect of its existence. so no quiddity is associated with it either; not a whole lot of content other than existence. The other mode, the (almost) standard scholastic idea of abstractive cognition, which here he describes as the process of abstraction itself: agent intellect abstracting the intelligible species from the phantasm, which represents [oooh, scary, "representation" that Kant I hear knocking at the door?) the object. This passage raises some questions, as normally (say, in Ord. II) abstractive cognition and the quasi Aristotelico-scholastic abstraction are seen as not quite the same thing. Abstractive cognition is usually spelled out as the knowledge we have of something when it is not present to us (though, obviously, we had to get the species from somewhere, and intuitive cognition doesn't give it), abstraction the process of cognition whereby the object in se or "relucent" in the species and the agent intellect are essentially ordered co-causes of intellection. But here it seems they really are the same thing.

"Ita etiam, praesente aliquo sensibili sensui, potest virtute illius causari in intellectu duplex cognitio: una abstractiva, qua intellectus agens abstrahit speciem quiditatis, ut quiditas est, a specie in phantasmate, quae repraesentat obiectum absolute (non ut exsistit nunc et tunc); alia potest esse cognitio in intellectu intuitiva, qua obiectum cooperatur intellectui ut exsistens, - et ab hac potest derelinqui habitualis cognitio intuitiva importata in memoria intellectiva, quae non sit quiditatis absolute (sicut fuit alia prima abstractiva), sed cogniti ut exsistens, scilicet quo modo in praeterito apprehendebatur."

No comments: