Sunday, March 07, 2010

1a 2ae q18 a10: Whether a circumstance places a moral action in the species of good or evil? Yes.

Circumstantia constituit actum moralem in aliqua specie boni vel mali quia circumstantia secundum quod dat speciem actui, consideratur ut quaedam conditio obiecti, et quasi quaedam specifica differentia eius.

A circumstance makes a moral action to be specifically good or bad because a circumstance, insofar as it specifies an action, is considered as a condition of the object, and as being, as it were, a specific difference thereof.

Circumstantia manens in ratione circumstantiae, cum habeat rationem accidentis, non dat speciem; sed inquantum mutatur in principalem conditionem obiecti, secundum hoc dat speciem.

A circumstance, so long as it remains in the formal aspect of circumstance, does not specify an action, since thus it has the formal aspect of accident; but when it becomes a principal condition of the object, then it does specify the action.

Non omnis circumstantia constituit actum moralem in aliqua specie boni vel mali, cum non quaelibet circumstantia importet aliquam consonantiam vel dissonantiam ad rationem. Unde non oportet, licet sint multae circumstantiae unius actus, quod unus actus sit in pluribus speciebus. Licet etiam non sit inconveniens quod unus actus moralis sit in pluribus speciebus moris etiam disparatis.

It is not every circumstance that places the moral action in the species of good or evil, since not every circumstance implies accord or disaccord with the formal aspect. Consequently, although one action may have many circumstances, it does not follow that it is in many species. Nevertheless there is no reason why one action should not be in several, even disparate, moral species.

Sicut species rerum naturalium constituuntur ex naturalibus formis, ita species moralium actuum constituuntur ex formis prout sunt a ratione conceptae, sicut ex supradictis patet.

Just as the species of natural things are constituted by their natural forms, so the species of moral actions are constituted by forms taken together under a formal aspect, as is evident from what was said above (a5).

Quia vero natura determinata est ad unum, nec potest esse processus naturae in infinitum, necesse est pervenire ad aliquam ultimam formam, ex qua sumatur differentia specifica, post quam alia differentia specifica esse non possit. Et inde est quod in rebus naturalibus, id quod est accidens alicui rei, non potest accipi ut differentia constituens speciem.

But since nature is determinate to one thing, nor can a process of nature go on to infinity, there must needs be some ultimate form, giving a specific difference, after which no further specific difference is possible. Hence it is that in natural things, that which is accidental to a thing, cannot be taken as a difference constituting the species.

Sed processus rationis non est determinatus ad aliquid unum, sed quolibet dato, potest ulterius procedere. Et ideo quod in uno actu accipitur ut circumstantia superaddita obiecto quod determinat speciem actus, potest iterum accipi a ratione ordinante ut principalis conditio obiecti determinantis speciem actus.

But the process of aspectual apprehension is not fixed to one particular term, for at any point it can still proceed further. And consequently that which, in one action, is taken as a circumstance added to the object that specifies the action, can again be taken by the directing aspect, as the principal condition of the object that determines the action's species.

Sicut tollere alienum habet speciem ex ratione alieni, ex hoc enim constituitur in specie furti; et si consideretur super hoc ratio loci vel temporis, se habebit in ratione circumstantiae. Sed quia ratio etiam de loco vel de tempore, et aliis huiusmodi, ordinare potest, contingit conditionem loci circa obiectum accipi ut contrariam ordini rationis.

Thus to appropriate another's property is specified by the aspect of the property being "another's," and in this respect it is placed in the species of theft; and if we consider that action also in its formal aspect of place or time, then this will be an additional aspect of circumstance. But since the aspect can direct as to place, time, and the like, it may happen that the condition as to place, in relation to the object, is considered as being in disaccord with the formal aspect.

Puta quod ratio ordinat non esse iniuriam faciendam loco sacro. Unde tollere aliquid alienum de loco sacro addit specialem repugnantiam ad ordinem rationis.

For instance, the formal aspect forbids damage to be done to a holy place. Consequently to steal from a holy place has an additional repugnance to the order of reason.

Et ideo locus, qui prius considerabatur ut circumstantia, nunc consideratur ut principalis conditio obiecti rationi repugnans. Et per hunc modum, quandocumque aliqua circumstantia respicit specialem ordinem rationis vel pro vel contra, oportet quod circumstantia det speciem actui morali vel bono vel malo.

And thus place, which was first of all considered as a circumstance, is considered here as the principal condition of the object, and as itself repugnant to formal aspect. And in this way, whenever some circumstance has a special relation to formal aspect, either for or against, the circumstance must needs specify the moral action whether good or bad.