Friday, August 28, 2009

Q117 A1: Whether one man can teach another?

Yes. The teacher only brings exterior help, just like the physician who heals (but just like the interior nature is the principal cause of the healing, so the interior light of the intellect is the principal cause of knowledge), because the master does not cause the intellectual light in the disciple, nor does he cause the intelligible species directly, but he moves the disciple by teaching, so that the latter, by the power of his intellect, forms intelligible concepts, the signs of which are proposed to him from without.

Homo docens solummodo exterius ministerium adhibet, sicut medicus sanans (sed sicut natura interior est principalis causa sanationis, ita et interius lumen intellectus est principalis causa scientiae), quia magister non causat lumen intelligibile in discipulo, nec directe species intelligibiles, sed movet discipulum per suam doctrinam ad hoc, quod ipse per virtutem sui intellectus formet intelligibiles conceptiones, quarum signa sibi proponit exterius.

The signs proposed by the master to the disciple are of things known in a general and confused manner; but not known in detail and distinctly. Therefore when anyone acquires knowledge by himself, he cannot be called self-taught, or be said to be his own master, because perfect knowledge did not precede in him, such as is required in a master.

Signa quae magister discipulo proponit, sunt rerum notarum in universali, et sub quadam confusione; sed ignotarum in particulari, et sub quadam distinctione. Et ideo cum quisque per seipsum scientiam acquirit, non potest dici docere seipsum, vel esse sui ipsius magister, quia non praeexistit in eo scientia completa, qualis requiritur in magistro.

Now knowledge is acquired in man, both from an interior principle (as is clear in one who procures knowledge by his own research) and from an exterior principle (as is clear in one who learns by instruction). For in every man there is a certain principle of knowledge, namely the light of the active intellect, through which certain universal principles of all the sciences are naturally understood as soon as proposed to the intellect.

Scientia autem acquiritur in homine et ab interiori principio (ut patet in eo qui per inventionem propriam scientiam acquirit) et a principio exteriori (ut patet in eo qui addiscit). Inest enim unicuique homini quoddam principium scientiae, scilicet lumen intellectus agentis, per quod cognoscuntur statim a principio naturaliter quaedam universalia principia omnium scientiarum.

In order to make this clear, we must observe that of effects proceeding from an exterior principle, some proceed from the exterior principle alone; as the form of a house is caused to be in matter by art alone. Whereas other effects proceed sometimes from an exterior principle, sometimes from an interior principle; thus health is caused in a sick man, sometimes by an exterior principle, namely by the medical art, sometimes by an interior principle, as when a man is healed by the force of nature. In these latter effects two things must be noticed.

Ad cuius evidentiam, considerandum est quod effectuum qui sunt ab exteriori principio, aliquis est ab exteriori principio tantum; sicut forma domus causatur in materia solum ab arte. Aliquis autem effectus est quandoque quidem ab exteriori principio, quandoque autem ab interiori; sicut sanitas causatur in infirmo quandoque ab exteriori principio, scilicet ab arte medicinae, quandoque autem ab interiori principio ut cum aliquis sanatur per virtutem naturae. Et in talibus effectibus sunt duo attendenda.

First, that art in its work imitates nature, for just as nature heals a man by alteration, digestion, rejection of the matter that caused the sickness, so does art.

Primo quidem, quod ars imitatur naturam in sua operatione, sicut enim natura sanat infirmum alterando, digerendo, et expellendo materiam quae causat morbum, ita et ars.

Secondly, we must remark that the exterior principle, art, acts, not as principal agent, but as helping the principal agent, but as helping the principal agent, which is the interior principle, by strengthening it, and by furnishing it with instruments and assistance, of which the interior principle makes use in producing the effect. Thus the physician strengthens nature, and employs food and medicine, of which nature makes use for the intended end.

Secundo attendendum est, quod principium exterius, scilicet ars, non operatur sicut principale agens, sed sicut coadiuvans agens principale, quod est principium interius, confortando ipsum, et ministrando ei instrumenta et auxilia, quibus utatur ad effectum producendum, sicut medicus confortat naturam, et adhibet ei cibos et medicinas, quibus natura utatur ad finem intentum.

Therefore as of God is it written: "Who healeth all thy diseases" (Psalm 102:3); so of Him is it written: "He that teacheth man knowledge" (Psalm 93:10), inasmuch as "the light of His countenance is signed upon us" (Psalm 4:7), through which light all things are shown to us.

Et ideo sicut de Deo dicitur, "qui sanat omnes infirmitates tuas"; ita de eo dicitur, "qui docet hominem scientiam", inquantum "lumen vultus eius super nos signatur", per quod nobis omnia ostenduntur.

Now when anyone applies these universal principles to certain particular things (the memory or experience of which he acquires through the senses), then, by his own research, he obtains knowledge of what he knew not before, advancing from the known to the unknown. Wherefore anyone who teaches, leads the disciple from things known by the latter, to the cognition of things previously unknown to him; according to what the Philosopher says (Poster. i, 1): "All teaching and all learning proceed from previous cognition."

Cum autem aliquis huiusmodi universalia principia applicat ad aliqua particularia (quorum memoriam et experimentum per sensum accipit), per inventionem propriam acquirit scientiam eorum quae nesciebat, ex notis ad ignota procedens. Unde et quilibet docens, ex his quae discipulus novit, ducit eum in cognitionem eorum quae ignorabat; secundum quod dicitur in I Poster., quod "omnis doctrina et omnis disciplina ex praeexistenti fit cognitione".

Now the master leads the disciple from already cognized things to cognition of the unknown, in a twofold manner.

Ducit autem magister discipulum ex praecognitis in cognitionem ignotorum, dupliciter.

Firstly, by proposing to him certain helps or means of instruction, which his intellect can use for the acquisition of science: for instance, he may put before him certain less universal propositions, of which nevertheless the disciple is able to judge from previously cognized things; or he may propose to him some sensible examples, either by way of likeness or of opposition, or something of the sort, from which the intellect of the learner is led to the cognition of truth previously unknown.

Primo quidem, proponendo ei aliqua auxilia vel instrumenta, quibus intellectus eius utatur ad scientiam acquirendam: puta cum proponit ei aliquas propositiones minus universales, quas tamen ex praecognitis discipulus diiudicare potest; vel cum proponit ei aliqua sensibilia exempla, vel similia, vel opposita, vel aliqua huiusmodi ex quibus intellectus addiscentis manuducitur in cognitionem veritatis ignotae.

Secondly, by strengthening the intellect of the learner; not, indeed, by some active power as of a higher nature, as explained above (Q106 A1; Q111 A1) of the angelic enlightenment, because all human intellects are of one grade in the natural order; but inasmuch as he proposes to the disciple the order of principles to conclusions, who on his own happens to not have sufficient collating power to be able to draw the conclusions from the principles. Hence the Philosopher says (Poster. i, 2) that "a demonstration is a syllogism that causes knowledge." In this way a demonstrator causes his hearer to know.

Alio modo, cum confortat intellectum addiscentis; non quidem aliqua virtute activa quasi superioris naturae, sicut supra dictum est de Angelis illuminantibus, quia omnes humani intellectus sunt unius gradus in ordine naturae; sed inquantum proponit discipulo ordinem principiorum ad conclusiones, qui forte per seipsum non haberet tantam virtutem collativam, ut ex principiis posset conclusiones deducere. Et ideo dicitur in I Poster., quod "demonstratio est syllogismus faciens scire". Et per hunc modum ille qui demonstrat, auditorem scientem facit.

As Averroes argues, the teacher does not cause knowledge in the disciple after the manner of a natural agent. Wherefore knowledge need not be an active quality, but is the principle by which one is directed in teaching, just as art is the principle by which one is directed in working.

Doctor non causat scientiam in discipulo per modum agentis naturalis, ut Averroes obiicit. Unde non oportet quod scientia sit qualitas activa, sed est principium quo aliquis dirigitur in docendo, sicut ars est principium quo aliquis dirigitur in operando.

On this question there have been various opinions. For Averroes, commenting on De Anima iii, maintains that all men have one passive intellect in common, as stated above (Q76 A2). From this it follows that the same intelligible species belong to all men. Consequently he held that one man does not cause another to have a knowledge distinct from that which he has himself; but that he communicates the identical knowledge which he has himself, by moving him to order rightly the phantasms in his soul, so that they be rightly disposed for intelligible apprehension.

Circa hoc diversae fuerunt opiniones. Averroes enim, in Comment. III de anima, posuit unum intellectum possibilem esse omnium hominum, ut supra dictum est. Et ex hoc sequebatur quod eaedem species intelligibiles sint omnium hominum. Et secundum hoc, ponit quod unus homo per doctrinam non causat aliam scientiam in altero ab ea quam ipse habet; sed communicat ei eandem scientiam quam ipse habet, per hoc quod movet eum ad ordinandum phantasmata in anima sua, ad hoc quod sint disposita convenienter ad intelligibilem apprehensionem.

This opinion is true so far as knowledge is the same in disciple and master, if we consider identity according to the unity of the thing known, for the same truth of the thing is known by both of them. But so far as he maintains that all men have but one passive intellect, and the same intelligible species, differing only as to various phantasms, his opinion is false, as stated above (Q76 A2).

Quae quidem opinio quantum ad hoc vera est, quod est eadem scientia in discipulo et magistro, si consideretur identitas secundum unitatem rei scitae, eadem enim rei veritas est quam cognoscit et discipulus et magister. Sed quantum ad hoc quod ponit esse unum intellectum possibilem omnium hominum, et easdem species intelligibiles, differentes solum secundum diversa phantasmata, falsa est eius opinio, ut supra habitum est.

Besides this, there is the opinion of the Platonists, who held that our souls are possessed of knowledge from the very beginning, through the participation of separate forms, as stated above (Q84 A3, Q84 A4); but that the soul is hindered, through its union with the body, from the free consideration of those things which it knows. According to this, the disciple does not acquire fresh knowledge from his master, but is roused by him to consider what he knows; so that to learn would be nothing else than to remember.

Alia est opinio Platonicorum, qui posuerunt quod scientia inest a principio animabus nostris per participationem formarum separatarum, sicut supra habitum est; sed anima ex unione corporis impeditur ne possit considerare libere ea quorum scientiam habet. Et secundum hoc, discipulus a magistro non acquirit scientiam de novo, sed ab eo excitatur ad considerandum ea quorum scientiam habet; ut sic addiscere nihil aliud sit quam reminisci.

In the same way they held that natural agents only dispose (matter) to receive forms, which matter acquires by a participation of separate substances. But against this we have proved above (Q79 A2; Q84 A3) that the passive intellect of the human soul is in pure potentiality to intelligible (species), as Aristotle says (De Anima iii, 4).

Sicut etiam ponebant quod agentia naturalia solummodo disponunt ad susceptionem formarum, quas acquirit materia corporalis per participationem specierum separatarum. Sed contra hoc supra ostensum est quod intellectus possibilis animae humanae est in potentia pura ad intelligibilia, secundum quod Aristoteles dicit in III de anima.

We must therefore decide the question differently, by saying that the teacher causes knowledge in the learner, by reducing him from potentiality to act, as the Philosopher says (Phys. viii, 4).

Et ideo aliter dicendum est, quod docens causat scientiam in addiscente, reducendo ipsum de potentia in actum, sicut dicitur in VIII Physic.