Thursday, April 25, 2013

Outline of De ente, Chapters 1 and 2

  • “Small error in the beginning is a great one in the end.”
  • Outline
    • What is signified by “being/ens” and “essence”
    • How essence is found in diverse things
    • What it relates to the logical intentions (genus, species, difference)
  • Understanding should go from composed things to simple things
  • Therefore, we will consider ens and then essential

Chapter 1: What ens and essentia mean
  • [1] Ens per se is said in two ways
    • What is divided through the 10 genera
    • What signifies the truth of propsitions
  • The second way is said of anything (even “nothing” and “blindness”); the first way is only of what posits something in the thing
  • [2] “Essence” is from “ens” in the first way, and is that through which something is in its genus and species
  • [3] Other names for essence:
    • “Whatness/Quidditas,” since the genus and species tell what a thing is
    • “What it was to be,” that is, that through which something has it to be a what
    • “Form,” through form is signified the exactness of anything
    • “Nature,” taken to mean everything that can in any way be seized upon by the understanding, or it means the essence of thing as it is ordered to its proper operation
    • “Essence,” since through it and in it a being/ens has existence/esse
  • [4] Since ens is first said of substances, so essence is most properly in substances
    • Furthermore, essence is in composed and simple substances
    • But in the simple in a more noble way since they cause the composed ones
    • The simple essences are more hidden, so we begin with the composed

Chapter 2: How essence exists in composed substances
  • [1-2] What the essence of a composed thing is not
    • Not the matter alone
      • A thing is knowable and in its genus/species through essence
      • Matter is not a principle of cognition, nor does it place in genus/species
    • Not the form alone
      • Essence is signified by the definition of a thing, but natural things have matter in their definition (otherwise their definition would be like math definitions which do not have matter in them)
    • Therefore the essence comprehends matter and form
    • Not the relation between matter and form (or any other accident)
      • This would be an accident and extraneous, and would not make the thing known
      • Nor do accidents make a thing be simply, but only in a way (secundum quid); e.g. whiteness only makes a thing to be white, whereas the form makes a thing to be simply
  • [3] This account agrees with many philosophers and with reason

Important distinction: Designated and undesignated
  • [4] Difficulty: Since matter is the principle of individuation, it may seem that an essence that contains matter is only the essence of a particular; universals could not be defined
  • Solution:
    • Principle of individuation is not matter taken in any way
    • Principle of individuation is signate or designated matter, matter considered under determinate dimensions
    • This designated matter is not in the definition of man as man, but would be in the definition of Socrates
    • Undesignated matter is in the definition of man (not this bone or this flesh, but bone and flesh absolutely)
    • Therefore, the essence of man and Socrates do not differ except by according to the matter being designated (signate) or undesignated (non-signate)
  • [5] The essence of genus and species also differ according to designation, but not in the same way
    • Designation of an individual with respect to species is through matter under determinate dimensions
    • Designation of a species with respect to genus is through a difference taken from the form of the thing
      • Also, it is through something that is somehow in the genus
      • Whatever is in the species is in the genus in an indeterminate way
    • If this were not so, one could not predicate the genus of a species (e.g. one could not say man is an animal)
  • [6-7] Body is said in many ways
    • “Body” as it is in genus of substance (this is the sense taken below)
      • Said about that which has such a nature that the 3 dimensions can be designated in it
    • “Body” as it is in genus of quantity
      • Said about those 3 dimensions which can be designated in a body
    • “Body” can signify with precision
      • In this way, to add anything would put that thing outside of the signification of body; man would not a be a body in this sense
      • Body in this sense is therefore a part of a man (soul is the other part), and not the genus of man; in this sense, man has a body
    • “Body” can signify without precision
      • In this way, it signifies a certain thing that has such a form due to which 3 dimensions can be designated in it, but it allows that there be further perfections
      • Body in this sense will be the genus of animal and man, for it will implicitly contain everything in animal and man; in this sense, man is a body
  • [8] Animal stands to man in the same as body to animal

Genus, difference, species each signify the whole essence
  • [9] Genus, difference, species and definition signify the whole, but in diverse ways
    • Genus signifies whole as a certain denomination determining that which is material in the thing without a determination of the proper form
      • It is taken from matter, but is not matter
    • Difference signifies whole as a certain denomination taken determinately from the form
    • Definition or species signifies the whole and comprehends both the determinate matter (which genus designates) and the determinate form (which difference designates)
  • [10] Consequences
    • Man is a rational animal, but is not made up of rational and animal
    • Conversely, man is made up of body and soul, but is neither body nor soul (Taking body with precision, so that it is a component of man)
    • Man is only “composed” of rational and animal, inasmuch as the understanding of man is composed of the understanding of rational and the understanding of animal
    • [11] One genus predicated of many does not mean one essence in the many, for the unity of the genus is from indetermination
  • [12-14] How “humanity” and “man” signify the essence
    • Just as the genus signifies the whole species contained in it implicitly, so the species signifies indistinctly the whole that is essentially in the individual
    • “Man” can be predicated of an individual man, and it signifies the whole essence through the mode of a whole
    • “Humanity” signifies the whole essence through the mode of a part, for it signifies that by which a man is a man
      • Since individuated matted is not that by which a man is a man, it is not included in the signification of the word “humanity”; for this reason, it cannot predicated of an individual man

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