Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Scotus, Ord. 1.5.2.un. n. 107-125

Here's Scotus, Ordinatio, 1.5.2.un. n. 107-125 (the first of four fascinating difficulties he discusses. The second difficulty can be found in translation here, and Peter Tartaretus' 15th century commentary on the second difficulty can be found here).

[n. 107] There are four difficulties here. First, how is a divine person one when one thing [the essence or the personal property] is not the act of the other potential thing?

[n. 108] To this, I say the following. First, a created quiddity is that by which something is a quidditative entity, and this does not pertain to imperfection, for it pertains to a quiddity from the nature of quiddity.

[n. 109] Nevertheless, an imperfect actuality pertains to a created quiddity – humanity, let's say – because it is divisible by that which contracts it to an individual – say an individual property, whatever that is, let's call it a – and [the quiddity] receives from a some actuality (either unity or individisibility) which it possesses in the individual and does not have in itself. That contracting thing, namely a, is not only in Socrates as 'that by which Socrates is formally Socrates', but is in some formal with respect to a nature, and that nature is in some way potential with respect to a. Whence, and this is the second point, a nature is contracted and determined by some a.

[n. 110] Third, although the humanity in Socrates is some act, and precisely by receiving humanity and by being distinguishing against itself by a, humanity is more perfectly an act than a is, although a is more properly an act and in some way an act of nature in as much as it determines a nature.

[n. 111] That which pertains to imperfection is left behind by applying these three points to the divinity.

[n. 112] First, deity is, from itself, that by which God is God, and also the subsisting 'of that which properly is a' is formally God, since to be 'that by which' in this way does not pertain to imperfection in creatures but rather pertains to the quiditity by which something is a quidditiy.

[n. 113] Second, there is disimilarity here, because deity itself is not determined or contracted by a personal property, nor is it actuated in some way, since that would pertain to the imperfection and potentiality of created natures. Similarly, deity of itself is a 'this', and so just as it has ultimate unity of itself, so also does it have actuality. Therefore, the personal property is a proper of a person, but nevertheless it is not an act of the divine nature which in some way perfects or enforms it.

[n. 114] Third, there is some similarity here, because a relation is the proper act of a person, and the essence is not the proper act of a person (but it is some act). Nevertheless, the essence is formally an infinite act, but the relaton is not of its formal nature an infinite act.

[n. 115] But how can these two acts concur in the constitution of one thing, if neither is the act of the other? For it is necessary that one thing be in another, since if not, each would be a per se subsistent thing, and then they would not be in the same per se subsistent thing. Similarly, the unity of any sort of distinct things only seems to obtain, according to Aristotle, on the basis of act and potentiality.

[n. 116] I respond that the unity of a composite necessarily is from the basis of act and potentiality, just as the Philosopher says in Metaphysics 7.7 and the final chapter of book 8. But a divine person is not a composite, nor is it quasi composite. It is, rather, simple, and it is really simple just as the divine essence is considered in itself, having no real composition nor quasi composition. Nevertheless, the formal nature of the divin essence is not the formal nature of the relation, nor the converse, just as was said above on the trinity in the solution to distinction 2, question 1.

[n. 117] But how is it that the when the nature of the relation in the thing is not formally the same as the nature of the essence but yet they concur in the same thing but do not constitute a composite? The reason is that the nature [of the relation] is perfectly the same as that [of the essence], for on account of the infinity of that one nature [viz., of the essence], whatever can be with it is perfectly the same as it. Therefore, perfect identity excludes any composition or quasi composition, and that identity is on account of infinity – and nevertheless, the infinity does not destroy the formal natures which are not the same as that of the infinite nature.

[n. 118] Therefore, there is no quasi composition [that can be inferred] from these [viz., from the essenec and a property]. For this reason, there can be no inference to a composite from act and potentiality. Rather, there is one most simple thing [that can be inferred] from these, since one nature is perfectly, indeed most perfectly, the same as the other, even though they are not formally the same. But it does not follow that 'they are perfectly the same by an identity of simplicity, therefore they are formally the same', just as was held concerning identity in the aforementioned question [Ord. nn. 408, 411, 413-14] and will be held below in distinction 8 [n. 209 and 217]. That same perfect identity excludes any aggregation, because the same thing is not aggregated to itself.

[n. 119] And when it is added that 'one thing must be in another', I concede this in the sense that a relation is in a foundation or a source, but not in the sense that an act is in potentiality. Rather, as they are identically contained in an infinite sea.

[n. 120] In this way, it could be said that all of these are true: 'deity is in the Father, paternity is in the Father', 'the Father is in deity or the divine nature, paternity is in deity', but nevertheless, the word 'in' here does not have the sense of an act being in potentiality.

[n. 121] Now, the first of these is true as a nature is in a suppositum, having quidditative being by it (since it pertains to a quiddity whence it is a quiddity), but this is not on account of a form enforming a suppositum, even in creatures.

[n. 122] The second of these is true as a hypostatic form is in a hypostasis. But not as [a hypostatic form] enforms a hypostasis. For just as much as a quiddity, a hypostatic form, even in creatures, is not an enforming form, even though it is the form of a suppositum. It is here rather a quasi part [Vat. eds. note: e.g., in creatures, socrateity-humanity in Socrates]. However, here [in the divine case] there is, as it were, one formal nature concurring with another, formally, in the same simple thing, but possessing in itself many formal natures.

[n. 123] The third of these is true as a suppositum is in a nature, and it is clear that it is not as an enforming [form]'.

[n. 124] The fourth of these is true in the same way, since the way in which a whole is first in something, the part is per se in the same way, although not first in the same thing. This is clear of being in a place. Therefore, if the Father is first in a nature, as a suppositum of nature, then paternity 'will be per se in the same nature', in the same way of being 'in', although not in the first.

[n. 125] Further, what was said [in n. 119] in my earlier response gives the manner of 'in' – namely the manner in which a relation is in a foundation – which is not reduced to being the form in matter except where the foundation is limited, in as much as it does not have that relation in itself by perfect identity.


Scott Williams said...

In n.123, what is the latin for 'enforming'? It isn't 'inesse' is it? Maybe 'informans'?

Gosh, it is sort of eerie how Scotus seems so similar to Henry, yet so different. Where Scotus finds act/potency language unhelpful (i.e. false), Henry finds it helpful, so long as it is qualified by saying there is no 'distance btwn. act and potency in God'; so on the one hand, Henry does certainly employ action/passion, on the other hand, given his denial of motion, it seems to so alter what act/potency means that Henry might as well just say with Scotus the E and PPs are 'a this'.

JT Paasch said...

It's 'informans'. I tend to translate 'inesse' as 'being in' or 'inhering in'.

I find what you say here about the act/potency stuff very helpful!