Thursday, February 12, 2009

Q77 A3: Whether the powers are distinguished by their acts and objects?

Yes. The powers are distinguished according to the difference of their objects because a power as such is directed to an act.

Potentiae distinguuntur secundum differentiam obiectorum quia potentia, secundum illud quod est potentia, ordinatur ad actum.

Act, though subsequent in existence to power, is, nevertheless, prior to it in intention and logically; as the end is with regard to the agent.

Actus, licet sit posterior potentia in esse, est tamen prior in intentione et secundum rationem, sicut finis agente.

And the object, although extrinsic, is, nevertheless, the principle or end of the action; and those conditions which are intrinsic to a thing, are proportionate to its principle and end.

Obiectum autem, licet sit extrinsecum, est tamen principium vel finis actionis. Principio autem et fini proportionantur ea quae sunt intrinseca rei.

Nothing prevents things which coincide in subject, from being considered under different aspects; therefore they can belong to various powers of the soul.

Nihil prohibet id quod est subiecto idem esse diversum secundum rationem. Et ideo potest ad diversas potentias animae pertinere.

Not any variety of objects diversifies the powers of the soul, but a difference in that to which the power of its very nature is directed.

Sic igitur non quaecumque diversitas obiectorum diversificat potentias animae, sed differentia eius ad quod per se potentia respicit.

Thus the senses of their very nature are directed to the passive quality which of itself is divided into color, sound, and the like, and therefore there is one sensitive power with regard to color, namely, the sight, and another with regard to sound, namely, hearing.

Sicut sensus per se respicit passibilem qualitatem, quae per se dividitur in colorem, sonum et huiusmodi, et ideo alia potentia sensitiva est coloris, scilicet visus, et alia soni, scilicet auditus.

Wherefore we seek to know the nature of a power from the act to which it is directed, and consequently the nature of a power is diversified, as the nature of the act is diversified.

Unde oportet rationem potentiae accipi ex actu ad quem ordinatur, et per consequens oportet quod ratio potentiae diversificetur, ut diversificatur ratio actus.

Now the nature of an act is diversified according to the various natures of the objects. For every act is either of an active power or of a passive power.

Ratio autem actus diversificatur secundum diversam rationem obiecti. Omnis enim actio vel est potentiae activae, vel passivae.

Now, the object is to the act of a passive power, as the principle and moving cause: for color is the principle of vision, inasmuch as it moves the sight.

Obiectum autem comparatur ad actum potentiae passivae, sicut principium et causa movens, color enim inquantum movet visum, est principium visionis.

On the other hand, to the act of an active power the object is a term and end; as the object of the power of growth is perfect quantity, which is the end of growth.

Ad actum autem potentiae activae comparatur obiectum ut terminus et finis, sicut augmentativae virtutis obiectum est quantum perfectum, quod est finis augmenti.

Now, from these two things an act receives its species, namely, from its principle, or from its end or term; for the act of heating differs from the act of cooling, in this, that the former proceeds from something hot, which is the active principle, to heat; the latter from something cold, which is the active principle, to cold. Therefore the powers are of necessity distinguished by their acts and objects.

Ex his autem duobus actio speciem recipit, scilicet ex principio, vel ex fine seu termino; differt enim calefactio ab infrigidatione, secundum quod haec quidem a calido, scilicet activo, ad calidum; illa autem a frigido ad frigidum procedit. Unde necesse est quod potentiae diversificentur secundum actus et obiecta.

If any power were to have one of two contraries as such for its object, the other contrary would belong to another power. But the power of the soul does not regard the nature of the contrary as such, but rather the common aspect of both contraries.

Si potentia aliqua per se respiceret unum contrariorum sicut obiectum, oporteret quod contrarium ad aliam potentiam pertineret. Sed potentia animae non per se respicit propriam rationem contrarii, sed communem rationem utriusque contrariorum.

The higher power of itself regards a more universal formality of the object than the lower power; because the higher a power is, to a greater number of things does it extend. Therefore many things are combined in the one formality of the object, which the higher power considers of itself; while they differ in the formalities regarded by the lower powers of themselves. Thus it is that various objects belong to various lower powers; which objects, however, are subject to one higher power.

Potentia superior per se respicit universaliorem rationem obiecti, quam potentia inferior, quia quanto potentia est superior, tanto ad plura se extendit. Et ideo multa conveniunt in una ratione obiecti, quam per se respicit superior potentia, quae tamen differunt secundum rationes quas per se respiciunt inferiores potentiae. Et inde est quod diversa obiecta pertinent ad diversas inferiores potentias, quae tamen uni superiori potentiae subduntur.

Things that are subsequent are distinguished by what precedes. But the Philosopher says (De Anima ii, 4) that "acts and operations precede the powers according to reason; and these again are preceded by their opposites," that is their objects. Therefore the powers are distinguished according to their acts and objects.

Posteriora distinguuntur secundum priora. Sed philosophus dicit II de anima, quod "priores potentiis actus et operationes secundum rationem sunt"; et adhuc his priora sunt opposita, sive obiecta. Ergo potentiae distinguuntur secundum actus et obiecta.