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.

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