Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On Unitive Containment

I came across the following quote in the Reportatio the other day while trying to tease out the intricacies of Scotus' theory of divine ydeas.  It is quoted in QQ. in Met. IV q. 2 (OPh IV 355-6) by the editors (though they make transcription and emendation errors).

The title of the question is Utrum imago Trinitatis in anima rationali subsistat in tribus potentiis realiter distinctis is Rep. II d. 16 q. un. (Oxford, Merton College Library, Ms. 61, not foliated/ff. 179v-180r according to the Scotus editors. The following transcription is mine):

De continentia unitiva loquitur Dionysius V De divinis nominibus quia continentia unitiva non est omnino eiusdem ita quod idem omnino contineat se unitive nec esse omnino manentium distincte; requirit ergo unitatem et distinctionem. Est ergo continentia unitiva duplex: uno modo sicut inferius continet superiora essentialia et ibi contenta sunt de essentia continentis sicut eadem est realitas a qua accipitur differentia in albedine et a qua genus proximum ut color et qualitas sensibilis et qualitas et quamquam essent res alie, unitive continentur in albedine. Alia est continentia unitiva quando subiectum unitive continet alia que sunt quasi passiones sicut passiones entis non sunt res alia ab ente quia quecumque detur ipsa, res est ens, vera et bona; ergo ut oportet dicere quod non sunt res alie ab ente vel quod ens non habet passiones reales, quod est contra Aristotelem IV Metaphysice expresse, nec tamen magis sunt tales passiones de essentia nec idem quidditatem quam si essent res alia, ideo non sunt potentie idem formaliter vel quidditative nec inter se nec esse[etiam?] essentie anime nec tamen sunt res alie, sed idem identice. Ideo talia habent talem distinctionem secundum rationes formales qualem haberent realem distinctionem si essent res alie realiter distincte. Principium ergo volendi et intelligendi immediatum est in secundo instanti nature et ista principia sunt unitive in essentia anime que est in primo instanti nature quasi pasiones unitive contente.


In divinis enim quamquam in supposito sint essentia et relatio et essentia continet relationem, non tamen e contra in proposito; nec intellectus continet voluntatem nec e contra, ideo ista sunt idem idemptice, quia in contente solum, non quia ipsa inter se sunt idem sicut sunt attributa divina non solum idem idemptice sed inter se. Similiter quia quelibet persona in divinis est intrinsece infinita ideo perfecte continet intrinsece quamlibet perfectionem simpliciter que est in alia non sic continet intelligentia memoriam, sed solum concomitantur.


Dionysius, V On Divine Names, speaks about unitive containment, that unitive containment is not entirely of the same [thing] so that entirely the same [thing] contains itself unitively, nor is it of things remaining entirely distinct; it requires, therefore, but unity and distinction.

Unitive containment is twofold. In one way, as the inferior contains its essential superiors and there the containment is of the essence of the containing just as it is the same reality from which the difference in whiteness is taken and from which the proximate genus, as color and sensible quality and quality, and although there might be other things unitively contained in whiteness.  The other unitive containment is when when a subject unitively contains other things which are quasi attributions/passions just as the attributes of being are not other things than being because whichever one is granted, the thing is being, true and good; therefore either it is necessary to say that they are not other things than being or that being does not have real attributes which is expressly contrary to Aristotle, IV Metaphysics; nevertheless such attributes are not more of the essence nor the same quiddity than if they would be other things. Therefore [the intellect and will] are not formally the same powers or quidditatively, nor between each other nor are they of the essence of the soul nor are they other things [than the soul]; but [they are] the same identically.  Therefore such have such a distinction according to their formal definitions of the sort that would have a real distinction if they would be other things really distinct.


In the divine, although the essence and the relation are in the supposit and the essence contains the relation, nevertheless it is not to be taken contrariwise in the matter at hand; neeither does the intellect contain the will nor contrariwise, therefore they are identically the same, because they are in the containing along, not becuse between them they are the same just as are the divine attributes, not only identically but among each other.  Likewise, because whichever of the divine persons is intrinsically infinite therefore perfectly contains every absolute perfection found in another [person]; not so does the intelligence contain the memory, but only accompanies it.


Unitive containment is a tool at times employed by Scotus derived directly from pseudo-Dionysius.  It is not of the same thing containing itself, nor is it of distinct things remaining completely distinct.  Consequently, it requires recourse to both unity and distinction. There are two kinds of unitive containment: one in which an inferior (in the categorical/predicamental line) contains its superior.  On this kind, there is a similarity of essence.  The second is when the things contained have different essences, and these essences remain formally distinct from each other and from whatever does the containing.

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