Thursday, July 23, 2009

More from Petrus Thomae on Intelligible Being

The following are six conclusions and twelve propositions excerpted from Petrus Thomae's QQ. De esse intelligibili, Q.3: "Utrum illud esse intelligibili quod habuit quiditas creabilis ab aeterno sit esse creatum." In the text each conclusion is surrounded by a mass of argumentation, examples, rambling, etc., which I've removed so that they can be seen on their own and some idea can be formed of Petrus' position. After the conclusions and some other stuff the propositions follow in straight sequence.

I. Six Conclusions

i. The intelligibility of the quiddities of creatibles is not caused or produced through a compared act of the divine intellect, as some say.

ii. The intelligibility of creatible things is not caused or produced by the divine intellect directly.

iii. The intelligibility of a creature is not caused or produced by the divine intellection as though principiated.

iv. The [divine] essence does not create the intelligibility of creatible things as an exemplar.

v. The essence does not cause the intelligiblity of creatibles metaphorically.

vi. The intelligibility of created things is not created or caused in any way.

II. Twelve Propositions

i. The divine essence is a certain most perfect intelligible mirror.

ii. In this mirror, out of its own maximal and highest perfection, everything other than itself is represented.

iii. In this mirror everything which can be mirrored has mirrorable being.

iv. Nothing really distinct from either can mediate between that mirror and the mirrorable.

v. There is nothing which is not mirrorable by the divine intellect.

vi. That mirrorable being is neither from the [divine] essence nor by the essence nor by anything else, nor briefly can it be construed with any proposition denoting any causality of any sort meant by 'from' or 'by'.

vii. That mirrorable being, although not from the essence nor by the essence, can still be said to be in it, not subjectively, but as in what necessarily results or follows from it.

viii. The necessity of this following-upon places no imperfection in the divine essence.

ix. This necessity is not one of dependence, but one of a certain necessary following-upon of resolution or of shining-forth, in that way in which, in the perfect mirror, every mirrorable necessarily shines forth.

x. Although there is no dependence between this mirror and this mirrorable, there is nevertheless a correlation between them, for the mirrorable is necessarily correlated with the mirror as that which necessarily results upon it.

xi. This correlation posits an imperfection on the part of the mirrorable and a pefection on the part of the mirror.

xii. Although the quiddity of a creature according to this intelligible being is not caused, still it is truly creatible in itself. For that intelligible being does not prevent it from being placed in actual existence, and so caused.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Does Aquinas confuse Person and Nature?

Summer. That time of the year when the Energetic graduate student throws off his bonds of seminar papers and teaching and is finally free to show the world just how dumb the Latins are, especially that moron Thomas Aquinas who makes so many foolish errors, led on, no doubt, by that fount of lies, Augustine.

While I was in Europe they were busy:

The basic problem seems to be that Aquinas actually says that a person is the same as the essence. Therefore he confuses them, and there is only one person.

The feature of Aquinas' position that our brethren in Christ fail to admit is that Aquinas also thinks that the persons are really distinct from each other. So we have an identity between person and essence and a distinction of the realiter variety between the persons. Sadly, Aquinas does not tell us what a real distinction is. It could be between two discrete things, but it can also obtain within one thing, such as the human person where body and soul are really distinct. This latter example seems to suggest that there is some notion of separability involved, which clearly cannot be the case between the Trinitarian persons, although we are looking at a real distinction within a single object. The real distinction results from the fact that persons are constituted by relations, and some feature of the generic character of a predicamental relation still remains, even in divinis, namely opposition and distinction. It is this opposition of relations towards each other that provides the real distinction between persons, which Aquinas even characterizes as things in their own right (of course, one would think that one fundamenta of the relation would be the divine essence, so properly the relation should be really distinguishing the person from the essence; but I am sure I fail to understand how Thomistic relations work...the Thomists will have to correct me on this. There is also the Scotist argument that real products cannot come from powers that are not themselves distinct).

To actually attempt to answer the argument regarding identification, however, one must consider Aquinas' notion of rationes in God. Basically, in nearly Scotist fashion, Aquinas thinks that if God and features in divinis such as personal properties, relations, attributes could be defined, none of them would be included in the definition of any other nor could they be predicated of each other. That things in God cannot be defined is apparent because definition entails the assigning of genus and species, which are related as potency and act. But, God has no potency-act composition. That we should treat something that cannot be defined as if it could is not so scandalous as it sounds, as Aquinas thinks that the categories themselves cannot be defined, although we assign a ratio to them and act as if they are (they are the ultimate genera, after all, and defining them would entail an infinite regress). So all these divine elements are really identical, but differ by ratione, that is none fall into the definition of the other. To take my defense of Thomas in a scotist line, I would add that the fact that they do not fall into the definition of the other is not due to the operation of an intellect, but is prior to such activity. So I do not think that Aquinas confuses person and nature because these retain distinct rationes which cannot be predicated of each other while being really identical.

I trust some real Thomists will come to my defense here, as these are precisely the issues which I think Aquinas is deficient and Scotus is brilliantly not.
I have appended some texts to shed some light on the notion of rationes, and may update this discussion later.

De potentia, q. 8 a. 2 ad 3

Ad tertium dicendum, quod licet relatio non addat supra essentiam aliquam rem, sed solum rationem, tamen relatio est aliqua res, sicut etiam bonitas est aliqua res in Deo, licet non differat ab essentia nisi ratione; et similiter est de sapientia. Et ideo sicut ea quae pertinent ad bonitatem vel sapientiam, realiter Deo conveniunt, ut intelligere et alia huiusmodi, ita etiam id quod est proprium realis relationis, scilicet opponi et distingui, realiter in divinis invenitur.

Scriptum, I d. 33 q. 1 a. 1 ad 3 (ed. Mandonnet, 767): “Sciendum est autem, quod ‘ratio’ sumitur dupliciter: quandoque enim ratio dicitur id quod est in ratiocinante, scilicet ipse actus rationis, vel potentia quae est ratio; quandoque autem ratio est nomen intentionis, sive secundum quod significat definitionem rei, prout ratio est definitio, sive prout ratio dicitur argumentatio.”

Scriptum, I d. 33 q. 1 a. 1 ad 3 (ed. Mandonnet, 767): “Dico igitur, quod cum dicitur quod est alia ratio paternitatis et essentiae in divinis, non accipitur ratio secundum quod est in ratiocinante tantum, sed secundum quod est nomen intentionis, et significat definitionem rei: quamvis enim in divinis non possit esse definitio, nec genus nec differentia nec compositio; tamen si intelligatur ibi aliquid definiri, alia erit definitio paternitatis, et alia definitio essentiae. In omnibus autem intentionibus hoc communiter verum est, quod intentiones ipsae non sunt in rebus sed in anima tantum, sed habent aliquid in re respondens, scilicet naturam, cui intellectus huiusmodi intentiones attribuit... et ita etiam ipsa ratio quam dicimus aliam et aliam in divinis, non est in re; sed in ratione est aliquid respondens ei, et est in re [ sed est in re aliquid respondens ei in = Parma ed.] quo fundatur, scilicet veritas illius rei cui talis intentio attribuitur: est enim in Deo unde possunt rationes diversae ibi convenire.”

Super Sent., lib. 1 d. 27 q. 1 a. 1 ad 3

Ad tertium dicendum, quod sicut attributa essentialia non sunt plures res, ita nec proprietates uni personae convenientes; sed sunt una res, quae est illa persona; sed tamen quia relatio manet in divinis etiam secundum communem rationem generis, manet etiam relationis distinctio, inquantum est relatio; et ideo potest dici quod sunt plures relationes, et una relatio de alia non praedicatur. Non sic autem est in essentialibus, quae non manent ibi secundum communem rationem generis; unde non distinguuntur secundum rationem alicujus communis, cujus ratio in Deo sit, si tamen accipiatur commune reale, ut significatur nomine primae impositionis; si vero accipiatur commune rationis, quod significatur nomine secundae impositionis, sic commune est omnibus quod sint attributa; et ideo quia dividunt unum commune rationis, secundum hoc non praedicantur de invicem. Non enim dicimus quod hoc attributum sit illud attributum; sed quod est aliud attributum ab illo. Sed quia non dividunt unum commune reale, ideo ratione divinae simplicitatis secundum quodcumque nomen primae impositionis de se invicem praedicantur, ut dicatur: haec res est illa res; vel etiam propriis nominibus, ut: sapientia est bonitas

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Festum sanctae Bonaventurae S.R.E. Cardinalis et doctoris ecclesiae

Happy feast of St. Bonaventure, whether you keep the old calendar (in which case the feast is today) or the new (tomorrow, July 15)!

Here's the secret:

Sancti Bonaventurae Confessoris tui atque Pontificis, quaesumus, Domine, annua solemnitas pietati tuae nos reddat acceptos: ut, per haec piae placationis officia, et ill beata retributio comitetur, et nobis gratiae tuae dona conciliet. Per Dominum...

Translation from p. 1315 of the Saint Andrew Daily Missal:

May the yearly festival of saint Bonaventure Thy confessor and bishop, we beseech Thee, O Lord, render us acceptable unto Thy loving kindness; that by means of this office of holy reconciliation, a blessed reward may be rendered to him, and to us the gifts of Thy grace. Through our Lord...

And here's a bit from his Sermones Dominicales, sermo 33, dominica vi post pentecosten (that would be last sunday), ed. G. Bougerol, p.366.

Non enim potest idem homo esse iustus et peccator, bonus et malus, servus Dei et servus diaboli, quia nemo potest duobus dominis, contraria iubentibus, servire. Unde sicut navis existens in aquis plena foraminibus, si eius omnia foramina obturentur praeter unum, nihilominus propter illud unum submergetur in profundum maris; sic peccator, si omnia peccata confiteatur et unum retineat, per illud solum damnabitur.

Translation: For the same man cannot be just and a sinner, good and evil, a servant of God and a servant of the devil, because no one can serve two masters with contrary commands. Whence just as a ship existing in water full of holes, if all its holes be repared except one, still because of that one it will sink into the depths of the see; so a sinner, if all his sins be confessed and one held back, through that one alone will be damned.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What is a Formality: Petrus Thomae

Busy week, so here's a short bit from Petrus Thomae, QQ de modis distinctionum, q.7 a.1:

De tertio dico ista: primum est quod formalitas accipitur a formali, sicut enim a forma formale, illa a formali formalitas. Unde ipsa formalitas est quoddam abstractum sumptam ab isto concreto ‘formali’ ut ab albo albitas vel a reali realitas et sic de aliis. 

Secundum est quod formalitas non est ipsa perseitas primi modi, illa enim dictu solum maior modum compositionis qui quidem modus non videtur intrinsece pertinere ad quidditatem. Formalitas autem ipsa videtur dicere aliquid quidditative pertinens ad quidditatem sicut et proprium* formale a quo descendit. 

Tertium est quod formalitas non est proprie ratio definitiva; patet aliquibus enim potest convenire formalitas quibus non competit definitio, ponitur enim formalitas in differentiis et transcendentibus. 

Quartum est quod formalitas proprie loquendo est idem quod ratio quidditativa alicuius nec aliud per formalitatem intelligo licet ab aliis diversimode describatur et isti rationi formalitatis sic accepta vere conveniunt omnes conditiones formales. Ipsa enim est illud quo aliquid formale tale dicitur quo aliquid, si illud cuius est sit productum producitur.


"First is that 'formality' is taken from 'formal', for just as 'formal' is from 'form', so 'formality' from 'formal'. Whence formality is a certain abstraction taken from that concrete 'formal' , as whiteness from white and reality from real.

Second is that formality itself is not the perseity of the first mode, for it seems to mean a greater mode of composition than that, which mode indeed does not seem to pertain intrinsically to quiddity. Formality however seems to mean something quidditatively pertaining to quiddity, just as does 'formal', from which it is derived.

Third is that formality is not properly a definitional ratio, for it is clear that it can befall somethings to which definition cannot, for it is posited in differences and the transcendentals.
Fourth is that formality properly speaking is the same as the quidditative ratio of something, nor do I understand anything else by 'formality', although it is described in different ways by others, and to that definition of formality so understood, truly all formal conditions befall it. [I delete the last line...must be something wrong with the ms.]"

As always, I invite comment on my attempts to render scholastic terminology into English.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Exempla pro Fabrum


Audivi quod quidam daemon in specie hominis cuidam diviti homini serviebat et, cum servitium eius et industria multum placerent homini, dedit ei filiam suam in uxorem et divitias multas. Illa autem omni die ac nocte litigabat cum mario suo nec eum quiescere permittebat. In fine autem anni dixit patri uxoris suae: "Volo recedere et in patriam meam redire." Cui pater uxoris ait: "Nonne multa tibi dedi ita quod nihil desit tibi? Quare vis recedere?" Dixit ille: "Modis omnibus volo repatriare." Cui socer ait: "Ubi est patria tua?" Ait ille: "Dicam tibi et veritatem non celabo; patria mea est infernus, ubi numquam tantam discordiam vel molestiam sustinui quantam hoc anno passus sum a litigiosa uxore mea. Malo esse in inferno quam amplius cum ipsa commorari." Et hoc dicto ab oculis eorum evanuit.


Aliquando transivi per quandam villa in Francia, ubi suspenderant pernam seu bachonem in platea hoc conditione ut, qui vellet iuramento firmare quod uno integro anno post contractum matrimonium permansisset cum uxore ita quod de matrimonio non paenituisset, bachonem haberet. Et cum per decem annos ibi perpendisset non est una solus inventus qui bachonem lucraretur, omnibus infra annum de matrimonio contracto paenitentibus.


Ecce quam pauci hodie uxoribus suis adhaerent fide et dilectione sicut instituit Dominus noster Iesus Christus qui est benedictus in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Ut autem de malitia filiarum Evae aliquid subdam, nolui sub silentio praeterire quod audivi de quodam iuvene, qui rogabat patrem suum ut ei duas uxores daret. Cumque vehementer instaret dedit ei pater unam, promittens quod in fine anni daret alteram. Illa vero adeo primo anno maritum afflixit quod non poterat sustinere sed mallet mori quam vivere. Cumque pater finito anno diceret filio: "Vis habere secundum uxorem?" respondit ille: "Si una me afflixit fere usque ad mortem, quomodo duas ferre possem?" Accidit autem in civitate illa ut caperetur maleficus et latro pessimus, qui multos de civitate illa spoliaverat et occiderat. Cumque cives convenirent et quaereret iudex a singulis ut quilibet consilium suum daret quomodo latro ille magis torqueri valeret, quibusdam dicentibus; "Distrahatur caudis equorum et suspendatur," aliis dicentibus: "Igne cremetur," ceteris vero consulentibus ut vivus excoriaretur, cum perventum fuisset ad illum qui malam habebat uxorem, respondit: "Date illi uxorem meam; non video qualiter ipsum magis affligere valeatis."