Monday, November 26, 2007

Scotus on the formal term, adequate term, and primary term of generation.

My translation:

Scotus, Ord. 1.5.2.un. nn. 94-97 [Vat. 4: 60-62].

[94] /60/ Generation in creatures occurs in two ways: by change or by production.
These two have formal definitions which can be separated without contradiction.

[95] Production formally pertains to a product, and it so happens that it comes about with a change of one of the parts of the composite, as is clear in creation. But change formally pertains to the act of the 'changeable', which passes from privation (to act).

But in creatures, change occurs with production, and this on account of the imperfection of the productive power which cannot give total being to the product. Thus, something of the product is presupposed, and that's what's changed by another of its parts. In this way, it produces a composite. Therefore, change and mutation can be separated without contradiction, and they can be really separated by looking to a perfect productive power.

[96] This is apparent in creation, where the perfection of the productive power which is first posited in total being entails that there really is the nature of a production, for the term acquires existence by that production. But there is no change here, for a change is said of some substratum 'now existing in a different way than it did before', from Physics VI [Z.3-4 234b5-7, 10-13], and in creation there is no substratum.

[97] To the proposed claim. Nothing imperfect should be posited in God. Only total perfection should be posited in God, and change is by definition said to be imperfect, for it entails potentiality in being changeable. A change is even said to be imperfect with respect to the active power of the changer, since the active power necessarily requires a co-cause to bring about the product (though not that there is here some imperfection. [So this kind of imperfection is not said of God]. Nor do we apply to God the imperfection associated with /62/ a passive power, nor even some imperfection in the active power. Rather, only the highest perfection [is said of God]. Thus, in no way is there posited here a generation with the character of a change nor quasi-change. In the divinity, there is only a generation that is a production, and this only in the sense that something acquires existence by that production. For this reason, divine generation occurs without matter, and thus only a term is assigned to divine generation, but no matter nor quasi-matter. This term is either the total or primary term, i.e., the adequate term – which, namely, primarily is produced – or the formal term, according to which the first term formally acquires its existence.


Scotus, Ord. 1.5.1.un. n. 28 [Vat. 4: 25-27].

[27] /25/ To the definition of 'to communicate', I say that the product of a production is the primary term, and I say that this 'primary term' /26/ is the adequate term. In this way, the Philosopher says in Metaphysics VII [Z.8 1033b16-18] that a composite [of matter and form] is generated primarily, since that is what primarily has existence by the production, so this is the adequate term [of production].

[28] In a composite [of matter and form], the form is the formal term of generation, but not a term per accidens. This is clear from the Philosopher in Physics II [B.1 193b12-18] where he proves that the form is the nature when he says that 'generation is natural because it is the way into a nature, and since it is the way into a form, then etc.'. Such a thing would not be if the form were only a per accidens term of generation. In the same way, the Philosopher wishes to say that the form and the end coincide in the same thing, which is true of the end – not of the generator, but rather of the generated thing. Therefore, the form is the end of a generation.

[29] Thus, the generator is related in one way to the primary term (which is the product or the generated thing), and in another way to the formal term. In creatures both of these relations are real, since there are two really distinct relations to, and both of these are really dependent on, the producer. But in the proposed claim, the producer has one real relation to the product, since it is a real distinction or real origin, /27/ though it does not have a real relation to the formal term in the product, since there is no real distinction [there], and without a real distinction there is no real relation. Therefore, 'to produce' in the divinity is called a real relation, 'but to communicate is called a relation of origin and quasi [a relation] of reason, concomitant to the real relation'.An example of this is the principle 'from which' [quo]. In creatures, it is really related to the product, just as the [principle] 'what' [quod] (for the same genus of cause pertains to art and to the artist, according to Metaphysics V [D.2 1013b20-33]), but the 'from which' does not have a real relation to the product because it is not distinct (according to [what is said in] distinction 7 [n. 13]). Nor the converse true, [namely, that] the formal term [is really related] to the producer.

[30] Therefore, when it is said that these are opposite relations, namely to communicate and to be communicated, I say that they are relations of reason, for they have opposite definitions, although they are necessarily concomitant with some real opposite relations, namely to produce and to be produced. But nevertheless, they are not formally 'these' and 'those' of the same relatives.

3 comments:

Scott Williams said...

Interesting that Scotus claims that the opposed relations are 'rational relations'. Very interesting indeed. Is this a place where he denies 'real relations' and goes with the absolute person constitution? I think Henry does posit real relations b/c otherwise the producer and the product wouldn't be really distinct from one another. Henry, like Scotus, also seems to posit 'just production' and no material production. Recall Henry's denial of motion in the production of the Son; although I suppose if Scotus thinks there is some additional imperfection (in addition to motion) like 'change' then that makes sense why he'd deny a 'real' passive power and a 'real' active power. Very interesting. I wonder how different this is from Henry who does posit an active power and passive power but denies that the passive power ever was 'not actualized': there was not a time when the passive power in God was not actualized. To my mind these days, when Henry posits active/passive power, he more or less is begging the question. Sure, there is a production, but why posit these two powers if they always were actual (the Father always actually speaking/generating, and the Son always actually being generated)?

JT Paasch said...

Read it again. Scotus doesn't deny real opposite relations in the persons. There are real opposite relations which distinguish the persons, namely 'to produce' (call this R1) and 'to be produced' (R2). Scotus just argues here that 'to communicate' (call this R1') and 'to be communicated' (R2') are only rationally distinct from R1 and R2, but nevertheless, R1 and R2 are real opposite relations.

Also, Henry explicitly claims that divine production is just like material production (SQO 54.3), so I'm not sure why you think Henry says there's 'just production' but no material production. Maybe you could expound on that claim a little?

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