Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Q79 A4: Whether the active intellect is something in the soul?

Yes. In the soul is some power derived from a higher intellect, whereby it is able to light up the phantasms, and we know this by experience, since we perceive that we abstract universal forms from their particular conditions, which is to make them actually intelligible; but the power which is the principle of this action must be something in the soul, because no action belongs to anything except through some principle formally inherent therein, as we have said above of the passive intellect (Q76, A1).

In ipsa sit aliqua virtus derivata a superiori intellectu, per quam possit phantasmata illustrare, et hoc experimento cognoscimus, dum percipimus nos abstrahere formas universales a conditionibus particularibus, quod est facere actu intelligibilia; oportet virtutem quae est principium huius actionis, esse aliquid in anima, quia nulla actio convenit alicui rei, nisi per aliquod principium formaliter ei inhaerens, ut supra dictum est, cum de intellectu possibili ageretur.

There must needs be some higher intellect, by which the soul is helped to understand.

Oportet ergo esse aliquem altiorem intellectum, quo anima iuvetur ad intelligendum.

Some held that this intellect, substantially separate, is the active intellect, which by lighting up the phantasms as it were, makes them to be actually intelligible. But, even supposing the existence of such a separate active intellect, it would still be necessary to assign to the human soul some power participating in that superior intellect, by which power the human soul makes things actually intelligible.

Posuerunt ergo quidam hunc intellectum secundum substantiam separatum, esse intellectum agentem, qui quasi illustrando phantasmata, facit ea intelligibilia actu. Sed, dato quod sit aliquis talis intellectus agens separatus, nihilominus tamen oportet ponere in ipsa anima humana aliquam virtutem ab illo intellectu superiori participatam, per quam anima humana facit intelligibilia in actu.

But the separate intellect, according to the teaching of our faith, is God Himself, Who is the soul's Creator, and only beatitude; as will be shown later on (Q90, A3; I-II, Q3, A7). Wherefore the human soul derives its intellectual light from Him, according to Psalm 4:7, "The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us."

Sed intellectus separatus, secundum nostrae fidei documenta, est ipse Deus, qui est creator animae, et in quo solo beatificatur, ut infra patebit. Unde ab ipso anima humana lumen intellectuale participat, secundum illud Psalmi IV, "signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui, domine."

That true light enlightens as a universal cause, from which the human soul derives a particular power.

Illa lux vera illuminat sicut causa universalis, a qua anima humana participat quandam particularem virtutem, ut dictum est.

Since the essence of the soul is immaterial, created by the supreme intellect, nothing prevents that power which it derives from the supreme intellect, and whereby it abstracts from matter, flowing from the essence of the soul, in the same way as its other powers.

Cum essentia animae sit immaterialis, a supremo intellectu creata, nihil prohibet virtutem quae a supremo intellectu participatur, per quam abstrahit a materia, ab essentia ipsius procedere, sicut et alias eius potentias.

The intellectual soul is indeed actually immaterial, but it is in potentiality to determinate species.

Anima intellectiva est quidem actu immaterialis, sed est in potentia ad determinatas species rerum.

Phantasms are actual images of certain species, but are immaterial in potentiality. Wherefore nothing prevents one and the same soul, inasmuch as it is actually immaterial, having one power by which it makes things actually immaterial, by abstraction from the conditions of individual matter, which power is called the "active intellect"; and another power, receptive of such species, which is called the "passive intellect", by reason of its being in potentiality to such species.

Phantasmata autem, e converso, sunt quidem actu similitudines specierum quarundam, sed sunt potentia immaterialia. Unde nihil prohibet unam et eandem animam, inquantum est immaterialis in actu, habere aliquam virtutem per quam faciat immaterialia in actu abstrahendo a conditionibus individualis materiae, quae quidem virtus dicitur intellectus agens; et aliam virtutem receptivam huiusmodi specierum, quae dicitur intellectus possibilis, inquantum est in potentia ad huiusmodi species.

The active intellect is not an object, rather is it that whereby the objects are made to be in act, for which, besides the presence of the active intellect, we require the presence of phantasms, the good disposition of the sensitive powers, and practice in this sort of operation; since through one thing understood, other things come to be understood, as from terms are made propositions, and from first principles, conclusions.

Nunc autem non se habet ut obiectum, sed ut faciens obiecta in actu, ad quod requiritur, praeter praesentiam intellectus agentis, praesentia phantasmatum, et bona dispositio virium sensitivarum, et exercitium in huiusmodi opere; quia per unum intellectum fiunt etiam alia intellecta, sicut per terminos propositiones, et per prima principia conclusiones.

The human soul is called intellectual by reason of a participation in intellectual power, a sign of which is that it is not wholly intellectual but only in part. Moreover it reaches to the understanding of truth by arguing, with a certain amount of reasoning and movement. Again it has an imperfect understanding; both because it does not understand everything, and because, in those things which it does understand, it passes from potentiality to act.

Anima autem humana intellectiva dicitur per participationem intellectualis virtutis, cuius signum est, quod non tota est intellectiva, sed secundum aliquam sui partem. Pertingit etiam ad intelligentiam veritatis cum quodam discursu et motu, arguendo. Habet etiam imperfectam intelligentiam; tum quia non omnia intelligit, tum quia in his quae intelligit, de potentia procedit ad actum.

The Philosopher says (De Anima iii, 5), that "it is necessary for these differences," namely, the passive and active intellect, "to be in the soul."

Philosophus dicit, III de anima quod "necesse est in anima has esse differentias", scilicet intellectum possibilem, et agentem.

Further, the Philosopher (De Anima iii, 5) says that the active intellect is a "substance in actual being."

Praeterea, philosophus dicit, in III de anima, quod intellectus agens est "substantia actu ens".

Aristotle (De Anima iii, 5) compared the active intellect to light. Plato compared the separate intellect impressing the soul to the sun, as Themistius says in his commentary on De Anima iii.

Aristoteles comparavit intellectum agentem lumini. Plato autem intellectum separatum imprimentem in animas nostras, comparavit soli; ut Themistius dicit in commentario tertii de anima.