Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Individuals as the object

Individuals as the object of the intellect

This question (the only one approved by my advisor so far) is rather broad in its scope. One could consider the individual's intelligibility in itself, to us, to angels, to God, and so on. Thus for my thesis it seems wise to narrow the scope of my question to refuting the position of Leibniz, or at lead separate out the true and the false that are present in it.

[small problem: I don't have the Leibniz text. We can fix that. ]

He basically takes a proposition such as "Socrates is a man." he makes the claim that every predicate is contained within its subject. Thus "Socrates" is some idea of the individual within which is contained all that ever has happened, is happening, or will happen to him.

After this it seems I can take two approaches: point out what is right and point out what is wrong. I recently read a section in De Veritate where st Thomas says that God certainly has ideas about every particular thing in this universe for it all falls under his providence. He says this wouldn't be the case if God were only the cause of our form, bt since God is the cause of matter (the principle of individuality in bodies) he thus has a knowledge of particulars. Thus Leibniz' thought that there is some immaterial form corresponding to individuals ceases to be so far fetched.

Then one must look at the fact that this is not how we know. All our knowledge takes its beginning from the senses. From the senses which terminate in one central sense organ, images are formed from which intelligible forms are abstracted. These intelligible forms of bodies are the object of the intellect and are universal, belonging to many.

When propositions are formed about singulars, we are referring to our senses.

One difficulty arises here. It seems that we must always use our imagination when using our intellect, thus there is always some reference to the sense powers when understanding. So why is this especially noted for thoughts about particulars?

I guess I need to read Leibniz, De Trinitate on abstraction, Summa on need of sense powers to understand, and more on divine ideas. No worries.

Sent from my iPhone

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