Friday, January 02, 2009

Q66 A2: Whether the formless matter of all corporeal things is the same?

No. The formless matter of all corporeal things is not the same because supposing that no form exists in corruptible bodies which remains subsisting beneath generation and corruption, it follows necessarily that the matter of corruptible and incorruptible bodies is not the same. For matter, as it is in itself, is in potentiality to form.

Una non est materia informis omnium corporalium. Supposito autem quod nulla forma quae sit in corpore corruptibili remaneat ut substrata generationi et corruptioni, sequitur de necessitate quod non sit eadem materia corporum corruptibilium et incorruptibilium. Materia enim, secundum id quod est, est in potentia ad formam.

Considered in itself, then, it is in potentiality in respect to all those forms to which it is common, and in receiving any one form it is in act only as regards that form. Hence it remains in potentiality to all other forms. And this is the case even where some forms are more perfect than others, and contain these others virtually in themselves. For potentiality in itself is indifferent with respect to perfection and imperfection, so that under an imperfect form it is in potentiality to a perfect form, and vice versa.

Oportet ergo quod materia, secundum se considerata, sit in potentia ad formam omnium illorum quorum est materia communis. Per unam autem formam non fit in actu nisi quantum ad illam formam. Remanet ergo in potentia quantum ad omnes alias formas. Nec hoc excluditur, si una illarum formarum sit perfectior et continens in se virtute alias. Quia potentia, quantum est de se, indifferenter se habet ad perfectum et imperfectum, unde sicut quando est sub forma imperfecta, est in potentia ad formam perfectam, ita e converso.

Matter, therefore, whilst existing under the form of an incorruptible body, would be in potentiality to the form of a corruptible body; and as it does not actually possess the latter, it has both form and the privation of form; for want of a form in that which is in potentiality thereto is privation. But this condition implies corruptibility. It is therefore impossible that bodies by nature corruptible, and those by nature incorruptible, should possess the same matter.

Sic ergo materia, secundum quod est sub forma incorruptibilis corporis, erit adhuc in potentia ad formam corruptibilis corporis. Et cum non habeat eam in actu, erit simul sub forma et privatione, quia carentia formae in eo quod est in potentia ad formam, est privatio. Haec autem dispositio est corruptibilis corporis. Impossibile ergo est quod corporis corruptibilis et incorruptibilis per naturam, sit una materia.

So, then, the matter of the heavenly bodies and of the elements is not the same, except by analogy, insofar as they agree in the character of potentiality.

Et sic non est eadem materia corporis caelestis et elementorum, nisi secundum analogiam, secundum quod conveniunt in ratione potentiae.