Monday, March 02, 2009

Q79 A9: Whether the higher and lower reason are distinct powers?

No. The higher and lower reasons are one and the same power because they are distinguished by the functions of their actions, and according to their various habits: for wisdom is attributed to the higher reason, science to the lower.

Una et eadem potentia rationis est ratio superior et inferior quia distinguuntur, secundum Augustinum, per officia actuum, et secundum diversos habitus: nam superiori rationi attribuitur sapientia, inferiori vero scientia.

The lower reason is said to flow from the higher, or to be ruled by it, as far as the principles made use of by the lower reason are drawn from and directed by the principles of the higher reason.

Ratio inferior dicitur a superiori deduci, vel ab ea regulari, inquantum principia quibus utitur inferior ratio, deducuntur et diriguntur a principiis superioris rationis.

The power of the reason is such that both medium and term belong to it. For the act of the reason is, as it were, a movement from one thing to another. But the same movable thing passes through the medium and reaches the end.

Sed eadem potentia rationis est, ad quam pertinet et medium et ultimum. Est enim actus rationis quasi quidam motus de uno in aliud perveniens, idem autem est mobile quod pertransiens medium pertingit ad terminum.

It may happen that the medium and what is attained thereby belong to different habits, as the first indemonstrable principles belong to the habit of the intellect, whereas the conclusions which we draw from them belong to the habit of science. And so it happens that from the principles of geometry we draw a conclusion in another science; for example, perspective.

Potest autem contingere quod medium, et id ad quod per medium pervenitur, ad diversos habitus pertineant, sicut principia prima indemonstrabilia pertinent ad habitum intellectus, conclusiones vero ex his deductae ad habitum scientiae. Et ideo ex principiis geometriae contingit aliquid concludere in alia scientia, puta in perspectiva.

We must not say, without any qualification, that a power, by which the intellect knows necessary things, is distinct from a power by which it knows contingent things: because it knows both under the same objective aspect; namely, under the aspect of being and truth.

Nec tamen est simpliciter dicendum quod sit alia potentia qua intellectus cognoscit necessaria, et alia qua cognoscit contingentia: quia utraque cognoscit secundum eandem rationem obiecti, scilicet secundum rationem entis et veri.

Wherefore it perfectly knows necessary things which have perfect being in truth; since it penetrates to their very essence, from which it demonstrates their proper accidents.

Unde et necessaria, quae habent perfectum esse in veritate, perfecte cognoscit; utpote ad eorum quidditatem pertingens, per quam propria accidentia de his demonstrat.

On the other hand, it knows contingent things, but imperfectly, inasmuch as they have but imperfect being and truth.

Contingentia vero imperfecte cognoscit, sicut et habent imperfectum esse et veritatem.

Now perfect and imperfect in the action do not vary the power; but they vary the actions as to the mode of acting, and consequently the principles of the actions and the habits themselves.

Perfectum autem et imperfectum in actu non diversificant potentiam; sed diversificant actus quantum ad modum agendi, et per consequens principia actuum et ipsos habitus.

Augustine says that "the higher reason is that which is intent on the contemplation and consultation of things eternal", inasmuch as in contemplation it sees them in themselves, and in consultation it takes its rules of action from them. But he calls the lower reason that which "is intent on the disposal of temporal things."

Dicit enim quod "ratio superior est quae intendit aeternis conspiciendis aut consulendis, conspiciendis quidem", secundum quod ea in seipsis speculatur, consulendis vero, secundum quod ex eis accipit regulas agendorum. Ratio vero inferior ab ipso dicitur, quae "intendit temporalibus rebus".

Now these two--namely, eternal and temporal --are related to our knowledge in this way, that one of them is the means of knowing the other. For by way of discovery, we come through knowledge of temporal things to that of things eternal, according to the words of the Apostle (Romans 1:20), "The invisible things of God are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made"; while by way of judgment, from eternal things already known, we judge of temporal things, and according to laws of things eternal we dispose of temporal things.

Haec autem duo, scilicet temporalia et aeterna, comparantur ad cognitionem nostram hoc modo, quod unum eorum est medium ad cognoscendum alterum. Nam secundum viam inventionis, per res temporales in cognitionem devenimus aeternorum, secundum illud apostoli, ad Rom. I, "invisibilia Dei per ea quae facta sunt, intellecta, conspiciuntur"; in via vero iudicii, per aeterna iam cognita de temporalibus iudicamus, et secundum rationes aeternorum temporalia disponimus.

Augustine says (De Trin. xii, 4) that "the higher and lower reason are only distinct by their functions." Therefore they are not two powers.

Augustinus dicit, XII de Trin., quod ratio superior et inferior non nisi per officia distinguuntur. Non ergo sunt duae potentiae.