Sunday, March 29, 2009

Q85 A1: Whether our intellect understands corporeal and material things by abstraction from phantasms?

Yes. Material things must needs be understood according as they are abstracted from matter and from material images, namely, phantasms, because the object of knowledge is proportionate to the power of knowledge.

Oportet quod materialia intelligantur inquantum a materia abstrahuntur, et a similitudinibus materialibus, quae sunt phantasmata, quia obiectum cognoscibile proportionatur virtuti cognoscitivae.

We must needs say that our intellect understands material things by abstracting from the phantasms; and through material things thus considered we acquire some knowledge of immaterial things, just as, on the contrary, angels know material things through the immaterial.

Necesse est dicere quod intellectus noster intelligit materialia abstrahendo a phantasmatibus; et per materialia sic considerata in immaterialium aliqualem cognitionem devenimus, sicut e contra Angeli per immaterialia materialia cognoscunt.

The things which belong to the formal aspect of species of a material thing, such as a stone, or a man, or a horse, can be thought of apart from the individualizing principles which do not belong to the formal aspect of the species. This is what we mean by abstracting the universal from the particular, or the intelligible species from the phantasm; that is, by considering the nature of the species apart from its individual qualities represented by the phantasms.

Ea quae pertinent ad rationem speciei cuiuslibet rei materialis, puta lapidis aut hominis aut equi, possunt considerari sine principiis individualibus, quae non sunt de ratione speciei. Et hoc est abstrahere universale a particulari, vel speciem intelligibilem a phantasmatibus; considerare scilicet naturam speciei absque consideratione individualium principiorum, quae per phantasmata repraesentantur.

The thing understood is immaterially in the one who understands, according to the mode of the intellect, and not materially, according to the mode of a material thing.

Intellectum est in intelligente immaterialiter, per modum intellectus; non autem materialiter, per modum rei materialis.

The intellect therefore abstracts the species of a natural thing from the individual sensible matter, but not from the common sensible matter.

Intellectus igitur abstrahit speciem rei naturalis a materia sensibili individuali, non autem a materia sensibili communi.

Mathematical species, however, can be abstracted by the intellect from sensible matter, not only from individual, but also from common matter; not, however, from common intelligible matter, but only from individual [quantified] matter.

Species autem mathematicae possunt abstrahi per intellectum a materia sensibili non solum individuali, sed etiam communi; non tamen a materia intelligibili communi, sed solum individuali.

The intellect would be false if it abstracted the species of a stone from its matter in such a way as to regard the species as not existing in matter, as Plato held.

Unde falsus esset intellectus, si sic abstraheret speciem lapidis a materia, ut intelligeret eam non esse in materia, ut Plato posuit.

He held that all those things which we have stated to be abstracted by the intellect, are abstract in reality.

Et quia Plato non consideravit quod dictum est de duplici modo abstractionis, omnia quae diximus abstrahi per intellectum, posuit abstracta esse secundum rem.

Colors, as being in individual corporeal matter, have the same mode of existence as the power of sight: therefore they can impress their own image on the eye. But phantasms, since they are images of individuals, and exist in corporeal organs, have not the same mode of existence as the human intellect, and therefore have not the power of themselves to make an impression on the passive intellect.

Colores habent eundem modum existendi prout sunt in materia corporali individuali, sicut et potentia visiva: et ideo possunt imprimere suam similitudinem in visum. Sed phantasmata, cum sint similitudines individuorum, et existant in organis corporeis, non habent eundem modum existendi quem habet intellectus humanus, ut ex dictis patet; et ideo non possunt sua virtute imprimere in intellectum possibilem.

This is done by the power of the active intellect which by turning towards the phantasms produces in the passive intellect a certain similitude which is representative — as far as concerns the nature of the species — of those things which are phantasms. It is thus that the intelligible species is said to be abstracted from the phantasms; not that the identical form which previously was in the phantasms is subsequently in the passive intellect, as a body transferred from one place to another.

Sed virtute intellectus agentis resultat quaedam similitudo in intellectu possibili ex conversione intellectus agentis supra phantasmata, quae quidem est repraesentativa eorum quorum sunt phantasmata, solum quantum ad naturam speciei. Et per hunc modum dicitur abstrahi species intelligibilis a phantasmatibus; non quod aliqua eadem numero forma, quae prius fuit in phantasmatibus, postmodum fiat in intellectu possibili, ad modum quo corpus accipitur ab uno loco et transfertur ad alterum.

Not only does the active intellect (A) throw light on the phantasms, it does more; (B) by its own power it abstracts the intelligible species from the phantasms.

Phantasmata et illuminantur ab intellectu agente; et iterum ab eis, per virtutem intellectus agentis, species intelligibiles abstrahuntur.

(A) It throws light on the phantasms, because, just as the sensitive part acquires a greater power by its conjunction with the intellectual part, so by the power of the active intellect the phantasms are made more fit for the abstraction therefrom of intelligible intentions.

Illuminantur quidem, quia, sicut pars sensitiva ex coniunctione ad intellectivam efficitur virtuosior, ita phantasmata ex virtute intellectus agentis redduntur habilia ut ab eis intentiones intelligibiles abstrahantur.

Furthermore, (B) the active intellect abstracts the intelligible species from the phantasms, inasmuch as by the power of the active intellect we are able to take into our consideration the natures of the species apart from the individual conditions: the passive intellect is informed according to the similitudes of [the relations between] the individual conditions.

Abstrahit autem intellectus agens species intelligibiles a phantasmatibus, inquantum per virtutem intellectus agentis accipere possumus in nostra consideratione naturas specierum sine individualibus conditionibus: secundum quarum similitudines intellectus possibilis informatur.

Our intellect both (B) abstracts the intelligible species from the phantasms, inasmuch as it considers the natures of things as universal, and nevertheless (A) understands these natures in the phantasms, since it cannot understand even the things of which it abstracts the species, without turning itself to the phantasms.

Intellectus noster et abstrahit species intelligibiles a phantasmatibus, inquantum considerat naturas rerum in universali, et tamen intelligit eas in phantasmatibus, quia non potest intelligere etiam ea quorum species abstrahit, nisi convertendo se ad phantasmata.