Friday, December 26, 2008

Aquinas on the distinction of spirits

In the Summa Contra Gentiles, book 4, chapter 24, Aquinas provides a number of arguments for the filioque (i.e., the claim that the Spirit is produced by two divine persons, namely the Father and the Son). In one of those arguments (n. 8 in the Taurini 1961 edition), he makes the following claim:
In things where the material distinction is removed (and a material distinction cannot have any place in the divine persons), no two things are found to be distinguished unless by some opposition.
Here Aquinas is saying that when it comes to non-material things (let’s just call them spirits), the only distinction is one between opposites. That is, any two distinct spirits are opposites in some way. Let's formulate this claim like so:
(A1) For any spirits x and y, x and y are distinct iff x and y are opposites.
Right away, I’m skeptical. A1 states that all spirits are opposites, but why should we believe that? You and I are distinct, but we’re certainly not opposites. Why can’t two spirits be distinct like we are, without being opposites? The angels Gabriel and Michael are distinct, but are they opposites? If so, in what way?

To explain why spirits are always distinguished by opposition, Aquinas says the following:
Those things that have no opposition to each other can be in the same thing at the same time. Hence, no distinction can be caused by them. Whiteness and triangularity are diverse, but they’re not opposites, so they can belong to the same thing.
This requires some unpacking. There are three points here, and each needs to be separated. That way, we can more clearly see what Aquinas is actually saying here.

(a) The first point to clarify is based on the comment that whiteness and triangularity can exist together in the same thing. The assumption is that some features can simultaneously exist in the same thing, but others cannot. Some features have no disagreement and are perfectly happy to be together, but others just can’t be in the same room, so to speak. Let’s say that the former type are ‘compatible’, and the latter type are ‘incompatible’:
(A2) For any x and y, x and y are compatible iff x and y can exist simultaneously in some z.
(A3) For any x and y, x and y are incompatible iff there is no z in which x and y can exist simultaneously.
To use Aquinas’s own example, whiteness and triangularity are compatible because one and the same thing can be both white and triangular. And indeed, we see white triangles all the time, so whiteness and triangularity are clearly compatible in this way.

Incompatible things, on the other hand, aren’t like this. If I ask a group of people to take sides on capital punishment, that will break up the group: some will be for the death penalty, and others will be against it. These are incompatible viewpoints, so they have to be held by different individuals/groups.

(b) The second point to clarify is based on Aquinas’s comment that compatible features cannot be the cause of distinction. The claim here is that incompatible features can, but compatible features cannot, be the cause of distinction. What does Aquinas mean by ‘cause’ here? To answer this, we need to distinguish between what Aquinas calls an ‘efficient cause’ and a ‘formal cause’.

The efficient cause explains how something comes to exist, while the formal cause explains how something is the particular kind of thing it is. Thus, the efficient cause of some x is the agent that brings x into being, but the formal cause of x is x’s defining characteristics (or ‘formal characteristics’, as the medievals put it), for those are the characteristics that make x the sort of thing it is.

For example, the efficient cause of a clay statue is the sculptor, for that’s who made it. Without the sculptor’s activity, the statue wouldn’t exist. But the formal cause of the statue is its statue-shape, for that’s what makes it a statue. After all, if the sculptor gave the clay a vase-shape, that’d make it a vase, not a statue.

So does Aquinas think incompatible features are efficient or formal causes of distinction? Surely he doesn’t think they’re efficient causes. Taking sides on capital punishment divides people into two groups, but the viewpoints themselves don’t literally twist people’s arms and force them into two groups. As the saying goes, viewpoints don’t kill people, people kill people.

But the ‘for’ and ‘against’ viewpoints are formal causes of division. Their formal/defining characteristics are such that one and the same individual can’t hold both viewpoints simultaneously. Thus, they require separate advocates: one to take the ‘for’ side, and another to take the ‘against’ side.

Besides, features depend on the things they belong to, not the other way around. A sports car has the feature of being red, but its red color depends on the car for its existence; the car doesn't depend on its red color. After all, I could re-paint my car, and the car would still exist, but if I destroyed the car, any color it might have would cease to exist too.

Consequently, features can't be the efficient cause of distinction. Features come on the scene too late, as it were, to cause any distinctions. For this reason alone, incompatible features can’t be the efficient cause of distinction (though they can be the formal cause of distinction).
I take it, then, that Aquinas thinks incompatible features are the formal cause, not the efficient cause, of distinction. When he says that two incompatible features F and G are the ‘cause’ of distinction, he means F and G formally require distinct things. He doesn’t mean that F and G efficiently cause distinct things to come into being.

(Note that this seems to be a priori or ‘self evident’ in the sense that the consequence is included in the antecedent. Here, incompatible features are defined as features that can’t exist in the same thing (A3 above). But to say that incompatible features are the ‘formal cause’ of distinction is just to say that incompatible features can only exist in distinct things.)

(c) The third point that needs clarification focuses on Aquinas’s claim that two features are compatible so long as they’re not opposites. We need to be careful here. How wide is Aquinas casting this net? He’s supposed to be talking only about spirits, but his example of whiteness and triangularity is taken from the material world. So is Aquinas talking about any two features (be they spiritual or material), or is he only talking about spirit features? If it’s the former, then Aquinas is saying this:
(A4) For any features F and G, F and G are compatible iff F and G are not opposites.
But if it’s the latter, Aquinas is saying this:
(A4*) For any spirit features F and G, F and G are compatible iff F and G are not opposites.
These are very different claims. The fact that Aquinas talks about whiteness and triangularity makes it tempting to think that he is affirming the former claim (namely, A4). After all, spirits are neither white nor triangular, so it certainly appears as if Aquinas is thinking that this rule applies to more than just spirits.

The problem is, Aquinas thinks A4 isn’t always true. Individual material substances are incompatible according to A3, but they’re not opposites. Socrates and Plato, for example, obviously can’t exist in the same thing, but they’re not opposites. Thus, Aquinas should reject A4.

Perhaps he holds A4* instead. That would support his initial claim (A1 above) that all spirits are distinct because they’re opposites. But if that’s right, I still wonder why Aquinas uses whiteness and triangularity as an example. Maybe it’s just a bad example, and that’s all there is to it.

Now, it’s well known that for Aquinas, material beings are distinct because they occur in different lumps of matter, but angels are distinct because they belong to different species. For Aquinas, a species gets divided up into different individuals when its instantiated in different lumps of matter, roughly similar to the way a cookie cutter’s shape gets replicated when it’s stamped into different lumps of cookie dough. (So Socrates is the human-species ‘stamped’ into this lump of tissue, and Plato is the human-species ‘stamped’ into that lump of tissue.) But angels don’t have any matter, so any given angel-species can’t be replicated by being ‘stamped’ into different lumps of matter. Thus, each angel is the sole member of its species. Moreover, each angel just is its species, much like how there’s nothing but the cookie cutter’s shape if there aren’t any lumps of cookie dough to take on that shape.

Given this, we might think that Aquinas believes that although distinct material beings (in the same species) aren’t opposites, distinct species are opposites. That would support the initial claim (A1), for although Aquinas is willing to accept that material things are distinct without being opposites, there is no matter in the realm of angels, so the only distinction there is one between species, and species are distinct only because they’re opposites.

But if that’s right, then what is it that makes species opposites? Every species is a complex of a shared genus and a unique specific difference. For example, the human species is composed of animality (the genus that humans share with other animals), and rationality (the specific difference that belongs uniquely to humans, and so distinguishes humans from other animals). Thus, any opposition between species would have to occur between the specific differences. After all, the genus is shared, and shared things can’t be opposites. But does Aquinas really think that specific differences are opposites?

That seems to be the moral of the story here. Consider the human- and brute-species. These are distinct because the former has rationality and the latter does not. Rationality and irrationality seem to be opposites, so perhaps that makes sense. Maybe, then, Aquinas is using opposition to explain how species themselves are distinct.

Still, this leaves many questions unanswered. If specific differences are opposites, what, exactly, are opposites? How does one define ‘opposites’? Are there different kinds of opposites? If so, which kind do specific differences fall under?

In any case, now that we’ve gone through all that, we’re in a better place to summarize Aquinas’s argument. As I hope is clear by now, Aquinas argues that non-opposing features are compatible, so they’re perfectly happy to exist in the same thing. (Well, in the material world, material substances can be incompatible without being opposites, but we’re talking about the realm of spirits here.) Consequently, non-opposing features can’t be the formal cause of distinction between spirits, for there’s nothing about such features which demands that they exist in distinct things.

Opposite features, on the other hand, are incompatible, so they cannot exist in the same thing. On the contrary, opposite features can only exist in distinct things. Thus, opposite features must be the formal cause of distinction for spirits.

Unfortunately, A4/A4* are contentious. Neither A4 nor A4* are universally agreed-upon claims. Ockham, for example, thinks that angels are individuals just like Socrates and Plato, and all individuals are primitively distinct (without being opposites). So Aquinas’s argument is only as successful as A4/A4*, and not everybody buys A4/A4*.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Aristotle on Opposites 4: Contradictories

In the Categories 10, Aristotle describes four different kinds of opposites. I talked about the first three of those in the last three posts. As for the fourth, Aristotle says that contradictories are opposites.

Contradictories are pairs of statements, one of which is an affirmative sentence of the form 'x is F' (as in, 'Socrates is sitting'), and the other of which is a negative sentence of the form 'x is not F' (as in, 'Socrates is not sitting'). Negative sentences can also be expressed as 'it is not the case that x is F' (as in, 'it is not the case that Socrates is sitting').

(I use the word 'sentence' here instead of 'proposition' because I don't know if Aristotle believes in propositions -- i.e., eternal, abstract statement-like entities that somehow describe the world or worlds. I'd also be happy to use the word 'statement' too.)

Right off the bat, it's clear that contradictions belong to a separate class of opposites than the other three (namely: correlatives, contraries, and possession/deprivation). Contradictions are sentences, but the rest apply to some feature of things. Correlatives are relational features, contraries are non-relational features, and possession/deprivation apply to natural features, but none of these are sentences.

Further, Aristotle points out that if we do try to express the other kinds of opposites with language, we express them with predicates, not full sentences. 'Double', 'hot', and 'having sight' are predicates, and predicates don't contradict anything. Only sentences can be contradictory. ('Hot' doesn't contradict anything, but 'that thing is hot' contradicts 'that thing is not hot'.)

But can't we formulate contradictory sentences about any of the other kinds of opposites? Take sight and blindness. Can't we say 'Socrates is blind' and 'Socrates can see', and aren't those contradictory sentences?

According to Aristotle, the crucial characteristic of contradictions of this: it's always the case that one of them is true, and the other is false. We can, of course, form contradictory sentences from the other kinds of opposites, but it's not always the case that one is true and the other is false.

There are cases, for example, where both 'Socrates can see' and 'Socrates is blind' are false. When Socrates is a zygote, he can't see yet, so he neither has sight nor is blind. Similarly, if Socrates doesn't exist, there is no Socrates to be blind or to see. The same holds for correlatives and contraries too.

But with genuine contradictions, one is always true and the other is false. For example, 'Socrates is sitting' and 'Socrates is not sitting' are contradictons, and one is always true and the other is always false, no matter what. If Socrates exists, then one will be true and the other false (depending on whether Socrates is sitting or standing). Likewise, if Socrates doesn't exist, then 'Socrates is not sitting' (or better: 'it is not the case that Socrates is sitting') is true. There simply is no Socrates, so it's not the case that he's sitting.

(Thus, for contradictions, we can identify this general rule: if the subject of the contradictory sentences does not exist, the negative sentence is true; if the subject does exist, then one or the other is true.)

The key here is that contradictions always involve a negative statement, and the negative statement is always true when the subject doesn't exist. The other kinds of opposites can't be reduced to mere negative sentences. On the contrary, they all amount to some positive state of affairs.

For example, 'double' and 'half' are positive states of affairs: something is double, and something is half. 'Hot' and 'cold' are too, for something is hot and/or something is cold. 'Sight' and 'blindness' are also positive states of affairs: either something can see, or something is there, but it can't see. (As I said in the last post, being deprived of something is not the same as simply not having it.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Aristotle on Opposites 3: Possession and Deprivation

In the Categories 10, Aristotle outlines 4 kinds of opposites. In the last two posts, I covered the first two of these, namely 'correlatives' and 'contraries'. The third kind of opposites is possession and deprivation: possessing some feature that one should naturally have is the opposite of being deprived of it.

For example, sight and blindness are opposites in this way for animals, because animals naturally have the ability to see. When an animal can see, it possesses sight, but when it's blind, it's deprived of sight.

It's important to note that this only applies to natural features that things are supposed to have. We don't normally say that stones are blind, because stones aren't supposed to see. Only things that are supposed to have sight can be deprived of it, so sight/blindness are opposites for animals, but not stones, foot stools, and so on.

(To put this another way, being deprived of something is not the same as simply not having it. Stones don't have sight, but they're not blind. The sentence 'x is deprived of F' does not mean 'x does not have F'.)

Aristotle also says that possession and deprivation always refer to one thing that either possesses or is deprived of some natural feature. When we talk about sight and blindness and opposites, we're not talking about one animal that can see as the opposite of another animal that's blind. We're talking about the same animal either having sight or being blind. Sight/blindness are opposites for that one animal, not multiple animals.

This distinguishes possession/deprivation from correlatives. As I explained two posts back, correlatives always hold for two things, and they're reciprocal (if one thing is 'double', then another is 'half'). Possession/deprivation are not like this. If one thing can see, there's no guarantee that another is blind. If only one animal existed, it could still either see or be blind, and sight and blindness would still be opposites for that animal.

It's tempting to think that possession/privation are opposites in the way that contraries are. As I explained in the last post, contraries are the most different features that belong to the same kind (so 'white' and 'black' are contraries for color, 'hot' and 'cold' for temperature, and so forth). After all, what could be 'more different' than having some feature vs. not having it? But Aristotle says possession/deprivation are not contraries, and here are the reasons he gives.

Contraries are either (i) necessary and binary, or they are (ii) unnecessary and not binary. Possession/deprivation are binary, for something either has a natural feature or it doesn't. An animal can either see, or it's blind, but it can't be somewhere in between. (An animal might have poor sight, as I do, but I can still see. And sometimes an animal's sight is so bad that it is, for all intensive purposes, blind.) And the fact that possession/deprivation are binary rules out the possibility that possession/deprivation could be unnecessary contraries, for as I explained in the last post, no binary pair are unnecessary contraries.

But possession/deprivation aren't the same as necessary contraries either. Necessary contraries are such that one or the other of the pair must always be present in the appropriate sort of thing. But animals don't always have either sight or blindness. When animals are undeveloped (like when they're zygotes), they can't see yet. Still, at that time, they're not deprived of sight, for they aren't supposed to see yet. So although possession/deprivation are binary, they're not necessary in the way that binary contraries must be.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Aristotle on Opposites 2: Contraries

Last time, I talked about the first kind of 'opposites' that Aristotle talks about in the Categories 10, namely 'correlatives'. Correlatives are relational features that are reciprocal, like 'double' and 'half' (each refers to the other).

The second kind of 'opposites' are what Aristotle calls 'contraries'. These are what we typically think of when someone says, 'give me an example of a pair of opposites'. 'Hot' and 'cold', 'good' and 'bad', 'black' and 'white', 'healthy' and 'sick', things like that.

Here in Categories 10, Aristotle says two things about contraries.

(1) Contraries are not relational and reciprocal. They do not each relate to the other in the way that 'double' and 'half' do. If something's 'double', then there must be something else that's 'half'. A 10kg block couldn't be 'double' if it were the only thing in the universe, for there'd be nothing it could be the double of. But if something's hot, then there's no guarantee that something else will be cold. A candle could exist all by itself, and it'd still be hot. Hell, even if one thing is hotter than another, the cooler of the two still needn't be cold.

Of course, contraries like 'hot' can stand in various relationships -- this bit of heat might be double the temperature of that one -- but the contraries themselves are not relational features like correlatives are. Contraries are, I reckon, non-relational features.

(2) Contraries are divided into two broad groups.

(a) In the first group belong all that are necessary and binary. A pair of contraries is necessary if the appropriate sorts of things always have one or the other (but not both), and never neither. (I say 'the appropriate sorts of things' because contraries don't belong to just any old thing. Only certain kinds of things can have certain kinds of contraries. Animals can be healthy or sick, but stones cannot.) A pair of contraries are binary if those two contraries are the only options, and there's nothing in between.

For example, health and sickness are necessary and binary in this sense. Every animal must be either healthy or sick, but never neither, and it can't be somewhere in between. (Of course, we might say that an animal is 'in between' in the sense that it's partly healthy and partly sick, but that applies to different parts of the animal, not the same part.) Similarly, 'odd' and 'even' are necessary and binary for whole numbers (except zero). Every whole number (apart from zero) must be either odd or even, and it can't be somewhere in between.

(b) In the second group belong all contraries that are neither necessary nor binary. White and blackness, for example, are not necessary, nor are they binary. Animals can be white, black, or anywhere in between.

Aristotle speaks as if the division between (a) and (b) is exhaustive. All necessary contraries are binary, and all unnecessary contraries are not binary. There are no necessary contraries that are not binary, and there are no unnecessary contraries that are binary.

That's all Aristotle says in Categories 10. It doesn't give us a whole lot to go on. I still wonder what it is, exactly, that makes two things contrary? Elsewhere, Aristotle says that contraries are what are 'the most distant in the same genus' (Categories 6, 6a15-18). That is, if we take any particular kind of feature that comes in a variety of degrees, the two ends of the spectrum are the contraries. For example, color comes in different shades ranging from black to white, but since black and white sit at the ends of the color spectrum, black and white are the contraries for color.

But that won't do; not quite. Aristotle thinks some contraries are binary; for them, there's nothing in between, so there's no spectrum. Consequently, we can't talk about a 'spectrum', or a 'variety of degrees', or anything like that. Instead, we need to talk about contraries as the two most different features that belong to the same kind. So even if there were no colors except for black and white, black and white would still be contraries because they're the most different of any two colors. And that would work for any feature-kind, no matter how many different features belonged to that kind.

However, this would mean that every two-membered feature-kind is a contrary. Would Aristotle accept that? I don't know. But more importantly, this would mean that all two-membered feature-kinds are necessary, for those kinds would be binary, and all binary contraries are necessary. Conversely, any more-than-two-membered feature-kinds would be unnecessary. I'm not sure whether Aristotle would accept this implication. Maybe he would. I don't know.

Before I finish, there are two little problems to bring up.

(i) A short while later in the Categories (see 12b37-13a2), Aristotle says that some contraries are essential constituents for certain kinds of things. For example, whiteness is an essential constituent of snow, because snow is always white. Doesn't this mean that whiteness is necessary for snow? If so, it should follow that whiteness belongs to a pair of binary contraries (for Aristotle has said that all necessary contraries are binary). But that's obviously false. There are other colors besides white and black. On the one hand, then, Aristotle says that all necessary pairs are binary, but on the other hand, he says some necessary pairs are not. Which is it?

(ii) Aristotle also says a little later (see 13a31-37) that contraries are variable: something can switch from one contrary to the other (a pot can become hot, then cold, then hot again). He makes this point in order to distinguish contraries from the third kind of opposites: namely, possessing a natural ability, and being deprived of that ability. Possession and deprivation, says Aristotle, are permanent (once blind, a man doesn't regain his sight), and since contraries are variable, they're not the same as possession/deprivation. Now, if some contraries are necessary constituents for certain things (as whiteness is for snow), then surely those are 'permanent'. Again, then, it seems that Aristotle is saying that contraries are 'variable', and that they're 'permanent'. Which is it?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Aristotle on Opposites: Correlatives

What are opposites? Any of us could give plenty of examples. 'Hot' and 'cold', 'good' and 'bad', and so forth. But what is it that makes these pairs of features opposites? And what is it that makes 'hot' the opposite only of 'cold' rather than, say, 'bad'?

Explaining a theory of opposites is no easy task, but Aristotle takes a shot at it in the Categories 10. There he says there are four kinds of opposites:
(a) correlatives (e.g., 'double' vs. 'half'),
(b) contraries (e.g., 'hot' vs. 'cold'),
(c) possession/deprivation (e.g., 'sight' vs. 'blindness'), and
(d) contradiction (e.g., 'Socrates is sitting' vs. 'Socrates is not sitting').
What about the first of these – what, exactly, are correlatives? Aristotle says the following:
'Pairs of opposites which fall under the category of relation are explained by reference of the one to the other, the reference being indicated by the preposition "of" or by some other preposition. Thus, "double" is a relative term, for that which is double is explained as the double of something'.
[11b22-33, emphasis mine, and I added the quotes around 'double'.]
Here's what I gather from this: every correlative is a relational feature. A relational feature relates one thing to another. How do we know when a feature relates one thing to another?

Well, Aristotle thinks it goes something like this. If we take some feature and try to explain what that feature is, we can only do so if we make reference to something else. For example, if I tried to explain to you what 'double' is, I'd have to talk about how something that's 'double' is twice as much as another thing. I couldn't really explain what 'double' is without also talking about what it's the double of.

In modern logic speak, we might say that relational features can only be expressed by two-place predicates. A two-place predicate is one that requires filling in two blanks to make sense. For example, the predicate 'is the double of' only makes sense if I fill in both of the following blanks: '_____ is the double of _____'.

I couldn't say '10kg is the double of...' and just drop off. You'd think I was either asking you to fill in the blank (as if I went around giving you pop math quizzes all day), or you'd think I got lost in thought and stopped mid-sentence (which I do). But you wouldn't think I uttered a complete sentence. A two-place predicate needs both blanks filled in.

(There are three-place, four-place, and n-place predicates too. A three-place predicate would be something like '_____ is half way in between _____ and _____'. I've got to fill in three blanks there, so it's a three-place predicate. But I think Aristotle believes that correlatives are best expressed by two-place predicates, so we can ignore all these n-place thing-a-ma-jigs for now.)

In any case, my point is that a relational feature is explained with reference to something else (it's explained with a two-place predicate), and every correlative is like this. Thus, 'double' is a relational feature because you have to explain it as the double of another thing. Likewise, 'half' is a relational feature because you have to explain it as the half of another thing. The same goes for other correlatives like 'parent' and 'offspring', 'taller' and 'shorter', and so on.

Another thing I gather from the quotation above is this: correlatives are reciprocal. That is, each one refers to the other: for any pair of correlatives R and R*, if x is related to y by R, then y is related to x by R*. Every correlative is like that. If x is the double of y, then y is half of x. If x is the parent of y, then y is the offspring of x. If x is taller than y, then y is shorter than x.

So that's correlatives. A pair of features are correlatives iff (i) each of the pair is a relational feature, and (ii) each of the pair are reciprocal. As Aristotle sees it, correlatives are one kind of opposites. 'Double' is the opposite of 'half'. 'Parent' is the opposite of 'offspring'. 'Taller' is the opposite of 'short'.

One last thing. We should be careful not to confuse the correlatives themselves with the things they correlate. Suppose I have a 10kg block and a 5kg block. Obviously, the first is double the second in weight, and the second is half the first in weight. But what are the actual 'opposites' here? The blocks? The weights?

It seems to me that the genuine opposites are the relationships the blocks have to each other (namely, the relationships of being double and half). The blocks (and their respective weights?) are 'opposites' only in virtue of their double/half relationships.

(Strictly speaking, perhaps the blocks are opposites in virtue of the double/half relationship, and the weights are the foundation/basis for that relationship. But still, aren't 10kg and 5kg opposites?)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Aquinas on the Filioque

In the last two posts, I talked about what Aquinas thinks are the essential ingredients or components of any production, and how he thinks those components allow us to distinguish two productions. As I explained, for Aquinas, every production will involve (a) a producer, (b) a 'formal term' (which is the final form the product takes), and (c) the receptive material that gets fashioned into the final product along the way. And given these, Aquinas thinks we can distinguish two productions if they differ with respect to at least one of these components.

Aquinas uses all of this, of course, to distinguish the Son from the Spirit, and so I might as well wrap this up by quickly going over that. Immediately after the quote I gave two posts back (the one from SCG 4.24, n. 11), Aquinas goes on to argue that we can only distinguish the Son and Spirit by their producers, not 'formal terms' or 'receptive material'. He reasons as follows.

First, we can't distinguish the Son and Spirit by (c) their receptive material, he says, because the Son and Spirit aren't material things, so there aren't two lumps of material there.

(Note that some scholastic authors, Henry of Ghent in particular, disagree with part of Aquinas's claim here; for Henry of Ghent, the divine essence is like a lump of quasi-material that all the persons are made from. Of course, there's just one such lump, so we couldn't distinguish the Son and Spirit based on that.)

Second, we can't distinguish the Son and Spirit by (b) their 'formal terms' either, because for Aquinas, the Son and Spirit have the very same form, namely the divine essence.

(Again, note that not all scholastic authors accept this. Henry of Ghent, again, thinks the personal properties (not the divine essence) are the forms of the persons, and those are all different.)

Third, that leaves (a) their producers. The Son and Spirit must, then, have different producers. Therefore, Aquinas concludes, the Son must be produced by one person (the Father), and the Spirit must be produced by two (the Father and Son together).

(Note also: This argument could equally conclude that the Son is produced by the Father alone, and the Spirit is produced by the Son alone. That'd amount to different producers too. But Aquinas would respond that if the Son were the sole producer of the Spirit, we might as well just call the Son 'father' and the Spirit 'son', for 'father-son' really means 'one producer-one product'. But that would be no good. The notion that 'father-son' relations only apply to 'one producer-one product' scenarios is precisely the point that Aquinas is trying to prove here, so he couldn't slip that in before he's proved it.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Aquinas on Distinguishing Two Productions

In the last post, I talked about what Aquinas takes to be the basic components of any production. A production is a process whereby some material is fashioned into a product. The three basic components of such a process are these: there's the producer, there's the 'formal term' (the final form the product takes), and there's the 'receptive material' that gets fashioned into the product along the way.

As we saw in the quotation from the last post, Aquinas thinks two productions can only be distinguished by one of these three components. Let me restate that as follows: two productions P1 and P2 are distinct only if they differ with respect to (a) their producers, (b) their formal terms, or (c) their materials.

Consider (b) first: two productions are distinct if they have different formal terms. Let me try to explain this with the following scenario. Suppose that I am a cleaner who works for the sole sculptor within a hundred miles. This sculptor likes to work alone, so I only come in at night to clean. One night, I notice a clay statue on the table, but the next night I notice that the same lump of clay has been re-fashioned into a vase (I know it's the same lump of clay because the sculptor's only got one lump of clay at the moment; the next shipment has yet to come in).

Now, the only thing that's different between the two days is the shape/form of the clay. Apart from that, the clay (the receptive material) is the same, and the sculptor (the producer) is the same (after all, there isn't anyone else within a hundred miles who could've done the sculpting). Still, the fact that there are two different forms (the 'formal terms') provides enough information to tell me that there have been two productions, even if the producer and the material are the same: on the first day, the sculptor fashioned the clay into a statue, and on the second day, she fashioned it into a vase.

Now consider (c): two productions are distinct if they involve different lumps of material. Suppose that the next delivery of clay arrives, and that night I notice a that lump of red clay has been fashioned into a statue. On the next night, I notice that a brown lump of clay has been fashioned into what looks to me to be the exact same statue.

In this case, the producer is the same (it's the same sculptor who made both statues), and the forms are the same (both statues are identical copies), but the material is different: the first statue is made from red clay, and the second is made from brown clay. Still, the fact that there are different lumps of material is enough information to tell me that there have been two productions: on the first day, the sculptor made a statue out of red clay, and on the second day, she made one out of brown clay.

Now consider (a): two productions are distinct if they involve different producers. To get at this idea, we'll have to modify our hypothetical scenario a bit. Suppose that another sculptor moves in, and the two join up to form one esteemed sculpting firm. However, each sculptor likes to work alone, so they come in on alternate days. Suppose also that they're a bit manic, and so each one destroys whatever work the other one has left in the studio.

One night, I notice a statue made out of the last lump of clay (again, there's only one lump of clay left; the next shipment hasn't arrived). The next night, I notice what appears to be the exact same statue made from the exact same clay.

In this case, the material is the same (it's the same lump of clay), and the forms are the same (the statue has the same shape on both nights). But nevertheless, I know that two producers have been involved, and that's enough to tell me that two productions have occurred: on the first day, the first sculptor made a statue, but on the second day, the other sculptor smashed the previous statue into a lump, and then re-fashioned that lump into an identical statue.

Of course, these scenarios are contrived, but hopefully they illustrate how two productions are distinguished by their producers, formal terms, or materials. If two productions differ with respect to even one of these, that's enough to tell that there are two productions.

Now, I've talked as if we're looking for a way to notice a distinction between two productions, and I've been saying that if we notice a distinction between producers, formal terms, or materials, that gives us enough information to tell that there are two productions.

However, it's not clear that Aquinas is suggesting a criterion by which we can notice when two productions are distinct. Instead, he may be suggesting the cause of two productions being distinct. If that's what he means, then he'd be saying something like the following.

Consider (c) first: if a producer uses two lumps of material, that necessarily amounts to two productions (she makes one product out of one lump of material, and she makes another product out of another lump of material). That's not necessarily very plausible though. Surely I can use two lumps of material to make one product.

Now consider (a): if two producers produce, that necessarily amounts to two productions (one producer performs one production, and the other performs another act of production). This is not so plausible either. Surely two producers can cooperate to make one product. And besides, Aquinas believes the Father and Son together produce the Spirit, and does he want to say that the Spirit is produced by two productions? (Maybe he does; some scholastics do think that.)

Finally, consider (b): if a producer produces two formal terms, that necessarily amounts to two productions (she makes one product with a certain form, and she makes another product with a distinct form). That's much more plausible, for no one product could have two formal terms (a lump of clay can't have a statue shape and a vase shape at the same time, for example).

I reckon that from the list of (a), (b), and (c), (b) is the only plausible cause of distinction. (a) and (c) work fine as criteria of distinction, but surely a difference in (a) or (c) doesn't necessarily cause distinct productions.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Aquinas on the components of production

On a number of occasions throughout his various works, Aquinas defends the filioque (namely, the claim that the Holy Spirit is produced by two persons, the Father and the Son). At one point (SCG 4.24, n. 11), he says this:

'If the Holy Spirit were distinct from the Son, then they'd have to be produced by distinct productions or processions. Two productions, however, can only be distinguished by their principles, terms, or subjects.'

Never mind the first sentence. What interests me is the second sentence, for I think there's a nice bit of metaphysics here. I gather that Aquinas thinks the following three components are involved in any production:
(a) a principle,
(b) a formal term, and
(c) some receptive material (which Aquinas calls the 'subject').
Think of production as a process whereby some material gets fashioned into a product, much like how a lump of clay gets fashioned into a statue. Here, (a) the 'principle' is the source of the production, and in this sense it's the starting point of the whole process; (b) the 'formal term' is the final form the product takes, and so in this sense it's the end point of the whole process; and (c) the 'receptive material' is the stuff that gets fashioned into the final product along the way.

Of course, that's a rough way of putting it, so let's discuss each of these components in a little more detail. I'll start with the last item on the list and work my way backwards.

First, then, is the last on the list: the (c) 'receptive material'. We think of 'material' as stuff like wood, clay, or iron, but for Aquinas the meaning is a bit wider. Something deserves the label 'material' only if it has the capacity (in medieval-speak: a 'passive power') to be acted upon in some way. Aquinas calls it the 'subject' because it receives the activity of the producer. So, for example, a lump of clay has the capacity to be shaped into statues, vases, and the like, so clay is 'material' in this sense. But Socrates can be sunburnt, so he is like 'receptive material' for the sun's activity too. For Aquinas, the term 'receptive material' extends to quite to a few objects in the material world.

Further, the receptive material has to be the right kind of stuff, where 'the right kind of stuff' is anything that has the capacity to be fashioned into the particular kind of product in question. Materials have certain kinds of capacities ('passive powers'), but not others, so not all materials can be made into just any old product. Clay makes for great statues, but horrible nails. Organic tissue, on the other hand, makes for great animal bodies, but horrible statues.

Also, the receptive material has to be distinct from whatever product it's fashioned into. The very same lump of clay can become a statue, then a vase, and so it's clearly not the very same thing as the statue or the vase. If it were the same as the statue, it'd be destroyed when the statue is, but that's obviously not the case. I can smash a clay statue, but I'm still left with a lump of clay, even though the statue is no more.

As for (b) the 'formal term', different scholastic authors define this in different ways (Ockham, in particular, provides a distinctive definition in Ord. 1.5.3). But for Aquinas, it's the final form of the product. The 'formal term' is called the end point (terminus) of a production because it's the final form the product takes. When I sculpt a statue, my lump of clay takes on a succession of different shapes, but eventually I get to the one I'm after. The 'formal term' is that final shape that I finally get to, and that's why it's the 'end point' of a production.

(Sometimes a lump of matter doesn't go through a series of intermediate forms. Instead, it's immediately turned into the product in question. Living organisms are generated this way: a lump of organic tissue immediately becomes the organism in question as soon as it gets the organism's form. But even in cases like this, the product's form is the 'end point' of the production.)

As for (a), the term 'principle' has a broad meaning in scholastic writings, and it basically means 'source'. Of course, there are lots of way for one thing to be the 'source' of another, so there are lots of different kinds of principles. So what kind of principle does Aquinas have in mind when he talks about the 'principle' here?

I think there are two candidates here. First, a cause is one kind of principle. (Here I mean an 'efficient cause'. Aquinas also calls the 'formal' and 'material' causes 'principles', but those don't seem to be good candidates for what Aquinas is talking about here, so I'm only looking at the 'efficient cause', i.e., whatever acts to bring about an effect.) If we take 'principle' in this sense, then the 'principle' (efficient cause) of a production is the producer – i.e., the thing that actually does the producing.

But another kind of principle is a power source (or what I call a 'power-pack'). A power-pack, in this context, is some constituent or 'metaphysical part' of a producer that provides it with the power to produce the product in question. The idea here is that certain things have certain power-packs, and those power-packs give them certain powers. Consequently, something can only produce a particular kind of product if it has the right kind of power-pack.

On many an occasion, scholastic authors use the term 'principle' to refer to a 'power-pack' (see especially distinction 7 of the Sentences Commentaries), and so I suppose it's possible that Aquinas has the 'power-pack' in mind here when he talks about the 'principle' of a production.

So which is it? Does 'principle' mean 'producer' or 'power-pack'? I think that Aquinas must mean 'producer' here. I have two reasons for saying this. First, when some later authors present Aquinas's argument (and I'm thinking of Henry of Harclay in his Ord. Quest. 6), they just use the term 'producer' instead of 'principle'. Now, later authors often misconstrue Aquinas if it suits their purposes, but this particular reading is perfectly sensible, so I see no reason to doubt it.

Second, Aquinas's argument simply wouldn't work unless he meant 'producer'. He goes on to argue that we can only distinguish the Son and Spirit by (a) their principles, and from this, Aquinas concludes that the Son and Spirit must have different producers (the Son comes from one producer, and the Spirit comes from two producers). This wouldn't work if Aquinas didn't mean 'producer'. If he meant 'power-pack', he could only conclude that the Son and Spirit come from different 'power-packs', not different 'producers'.

A production, then, is a process whereby a producer (the 'principle') takes a lump of 'receptive material', and fashions into a product by giving it a particular form (the 'formal term'). This provides an abstract account for many different kinds of production: a statue is produced when a lump of clay is given a statue shape; a human being is produced when a lump of organic tissue is given a human form; 'tan Socrates' is produced when Socrates is given a tan color; and so on.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A very brief summary of Henry's Ordinary Questions, art. 54, q. 3

(References to Badius, volume II.)

Does a second divine person emanate from the first unproduced person?
(Bad. 78vN-87rX)

/79rO/ This question asks whether there is an action within God by which a divine person is produced, and here we're taking 'production' broadly enough to cover both generation (the Son's production) and spiration (the Spirit's production). On this question, we need to follow Church doctrine, for it's difficult to grasp this mystery.

The first reason to say 'yes' to this question comes from the nature of a divine person. A produced person in God is constituted by a relation to another person, and this relation distinguishes it from that other person too. But this distinction can only be based on a production relation (i.e., x produces y), and a production relation requires some act of production (which remains in God, else we're talking about creation). Thus, we have to say that in God, one person produces another person, and these two persons remain within one and the same God. /79rO/ Further, the produced person must be subsistent. The reason is that no product can inhere in God, and since any production in God will be entirely perfect, the product must be entirely similar to the producer (for a diversity of natures arises from different ways that things are produced: better producers result in better products, and lesser producers result in lesser products).

/79vP/ The second reason to say 'yes' to this question comes from the nature of the DE (= divine essence), for the DE is the most active thing there is, and so it is more perfectly self-diffusive than anything else. Of course, the most perfect self-diffusion comes about by producing another person that shares the same nature. (Henry cites Richard of St. Victor, De Trin. 1.9 for this argument).

/79vQ/ [Response to the first objection.]

You might object that a necessary being cannot be multiplied, and so just as the divine essence cannot be multiplied, neither can a divine person. I respond that this is true for necessary beings of the same nature, but not for necessary beings with diverse natures. The being of the DE is the same in each person, so it cannot have different natures in each person. But the being of 'person' (i.e., subsistence) can have many natures (e.g., a father-wise nature, a son-wise nature, and so forth). Thus, although the necessary being of God cannot be multiplied on the part of the DE, it can be multiplied on the part of the persons.

/79vR/ [Response to the second objection.]

You might also object that something's necessity cannot stem both from itself and from something else. Now, there is no divine person in God whose necessity stems from another, because then that person would be only a possible being in itself. Therefore, there cannot be a person who has being from another in God.

To this, I respond as I did in the previous question. If we say that a being whose necessity stems from itself cannot have necessity from another, this is only true for the DE. It is not true for a divine person, since the necessity of the Son and Spirit stems from themselves formally, but not principiatively. (That is, the Son and have the divine essence formally, and so they formally have necessary being (along with every other feature of the divine essence). But the Son and Spirit did not produce themselves, and so they did not cause themselves to have the divine essence.)

/79vS/ [Response to the third through sixth objections.]

[Obj. 3] Further, you might object that if the first unproduced person produces another person, then that produced person either is God, or it is not God. We can't say it's not God, because it's produced in God, and there's nothing in God except God. Nor we can we say it is God, because then God would produce God, and nothing can produce itself.

[Obj. 4] Similarly, if God produces God, then the produced-God either is the Father, or it is not. If it is God the Father, then the Father produces himself, which is impossible. On the other hand, if it's not God the Father, then it's God, but it's not God the Father. Thus, there will be two Gods, which is also impossible.

[Obj. 5] You might also object that if the unproduced person produces God, then the unproduced person does this either because that's what God does, or because that's what an unproduced person does. If it's because he's God, then since the product is God too, it would produce yet another God (for that's what God does), and that God would in turn produce still another God, and so on forever. On the other hand, it can't be because because he's unproduced either. Productions in God are perfect, and so they result in most similar products. Consequently, the unproduced person would have to produce an unproduced person, but that's impossible. Therefore, the unproduced person cannot produce God.

[Obj. 6] Finally, you might object that since nothing in God is contingent, then whatever is true in God is also necessary. Now, if God generates God, then it will be necessary if it's true that 'God generates God', and then one could not affirm the contrary, namely that 'God does not generate God'. However, 'God generates God' is true if the subject stands for the Father, but not if it stands for the Son or the Spirit. Therefore, God does not generate God.

/79vS-82vZ/ To these, I respond that the produced person is God, and we should concede that 'God produces God'. The word 'God' signifies the DE, simply speaking, but it's a concrete term, so it signifies the DE as a suppositum (just as 'tiger' signifies a particular tiger, not tiger-ness in general). Thus, 'God' signifies a divine suppositum (a person), and so it can stand for any divine suppositum (though we cannot say the essence produces the essence). To signify a specific person, we need relative terms like 'producer', 'Father', or 'person'.

[What I have just said is a very brief summary of a very long digression in Henry's text. In this digression, Henry talks about the various grammatical and logical rules that determine the meaning of the traditional phrase Deus generat deum. This particular topic is usually discussed in book I, distinction 4 of the Sentences commentaries, but in Henry's Ordinary Lectures, it happens here in 54.3. I have skipped most of the details in this long digression because I find it very boring, but Stephen Brown wrote a helpful article on this topic. It's got a title like 'Medieval Suppositon Theory in its Theological Context', and it can be found somewhere in Medieval Philosophy and Theology 3 (1993). If you want to take a crack at the text here, I suggest starting with 81vY-82vZ.]

/82vA/ [Response to the seventh objection.]

[Note: Badius' marginal note says this is a response to the fifth objection, but it's really a response to the seventh.]

You might object that 'to produce' and 'to be produced' are opposite relations, and so they entail distinct terms. Thus, if God produces God, the two would be distinct, but this is obviously false.

I respond to this in the same way that I responded to the third through sixth objections. The term 'God' signifies supposita, not the DE.

/82vB/ [Response to the eighth objection.]

You might also object that if God produces God, then this is either by free will, by nature, or by necessity, for there are no other ways to do something. It can't be nature or necessity, because these are not done by free will, but God is the most perfect agent, and the most perfect agent must be in control of its actions. However, it can't be by free will either, because then it would be contingent, and everything in God must be necessary.

In response, I say that 'by free will', 'by nature', or 'by necessity' can be taken nominally or adjectivally. If they are taken nominally, then they indicate some other necessary co-actor, and God does not produce God with another necessary co-actor. If they are taken adjectivally, then they only indicate the manner of production. But no matter what manner of production we're talking about, God does not produces God out of some need. Nevertheless, we can distinguish two kinds of necessity here. One is natural necessity. For example, fire necessarily heats because that's what fire does naturally. The other is conditional necessity. For example, you are necessarily spoken to when I speak to you. This second kind of necessity can occur without the first, but the first can't occur without the second. /83rB/ In the first way, God produces God necessarily. But if we take 'by nature' and 'by free will' adjectivally, then the Son is produced in both these ways, and so is the Spirit. That is, every divine person is produced both by nature and by will, for God's nature and will are essentially identical, so it's impossible for God to produce God by nature but not by will. /83rC/ Nevertheless, although nature and will concur for each production in God, they do so in different ways. In the production of the Son, nature is primary and the will is secondary, but in the production of the Spirit, it's the reverse. Thus, in every production in God is necessary, natural, and free.

However, one might think that nature/necessity are the opposite of the will, and so they cannot both concur in the same action. To this, it should be said that the will operates either voluntarily in the absolute sense [libera absolute], or as free will [libera arbitrio]. In this second way, nature/necessity and the will [do not] concur in the same action, for in this way, God does nothing by [free] will within himself (God only acts that way with creatures). /83vC/ But in the first way, nature/necessity can certainly concur in the same action.

/83vD/ If you said that God cannot produce God by will because such a production cannot not be, then I could respond in the way I just did.

[Response to the ninth objection.]

You might object that if God produces God, then the product-God must be produced either (a) from nothing, (b) from the producer-God's substance, or (c) from some other substance. Not (a), because then it would be a creation, and that would make the product-God a creature. Not (b), because if some product is made from some substance, that that substance had the potential to become what was made from it, but there's no potentiality in God. Nor (c), because then there'd be two divine substances. Therefore, God cannot produce God.

I respond to each of these possibilities. As for (a), Anselm gave us three different ways to understand 'from nothing'. In the first way, something is 'nothing' when it simply doesn't exist (as when I am not speaking at all, I say nothing). In the second way, something is 'from nothing' because it has no cause (e.g., the Father is from nothing because nothing produces him). In the third way, something is 'from nothing' either in the sense that it is made from no material parts (that is, it is created instead of being constructed from material parts), or in the sense that it acquires being after it did not have being before (as when something did not exist at one moment, but then did exist at a later moment). No produced divine person is 'from nothing' in any of these ways.

/84rE/ As for (b), the product-God can, in fact, be produced from the substance of the producer-God. If we think of the divine essence as 'matter', and if we think of the personal properties as 'forms', then we can easily understand how the Father produces the Son: the Father produces the Son by instantiating the Son's personal property (the 'form') in the divine essence (the 'matter'), and then the divine essence and the personal property together constitute a divine person. The three divine persons are like three composites of matter and form, it's just that they all share the same matter. Thus, the Son is made from the 'substance' (or 'matter') of the Father, much like how a clay statue is made from the 'substance' of a lump of clay.

/84vG/ If you object that the divine essence is totally actual and has no potentiality, I say that when some x has the potential to become y, either x and y are distinct in a real or intentional way, or they are distinct only conceptually. If they are distinct really or intentionally, then x can only become y by really changing into y, and in that way x changes from a potential y into an actual y. For example, a lump of clay is not the same thing as a statue, and so when a lump of clay is molded into a statue, the clay really changes from a potential statue to an actual statue. But if x and y are only conceptually distinct, then there cannot be any real change from a potential y into an actual y, for x and y are really just the same thing (though this only happens in the Trinity, for only there does the DE have the potential to be, say, a Son, even though that potential is eternally actualized because it eternally is a Son).

However, despite the similarity, divine generation is far better and more noble than creature generation. A creature is generated from an imperfect substance (namely, matter), but the Son is generated from a perfect substance (namely, the DE). Thus, divine generation is like a regular change in creatures – for example when Socrates gets a tan – because in such a regular change, the substrate (Socrates) is a complete substance. Still, the substrate (Socrates) is really distinct from the quality it acquires (a tan color), but in God the DE is really the same as the Son's personal property. Consequently, divine generation is like the production of a species. For example, when animality (a genus) acquires rationality (a specific difference), animality is only intentionally distinct from rationality. Nevertheless, divine generation is still different: (a) a genus is incomplete until it acquires a specific difference, but the DE is complete irrespective of the personal properties; (b) a genus is only conceptually common to many species, but the DE is really common by many divine persons.

/84vH-85vN/ [Henry gets into more stuff about the grammatical and logical rules for talking about the Son being produced 'from the substance of' the Father. Henry also indicates what the Latin prepositions a, ab, de, and ex signify. Not surprisingly, de signifies the material cause. In any case, since I'm not looking at logic issues here, I'm going to skip this stuff.]

/85vO/ One might argue against me further that if God produces God, then the producer-God either produces the product-God always, or not always. To this, I say first that divine production occurs within God, it is eternal, and it persists without beginning or end. Indeed, when a producer starts or stops producing, it changes from having activated powers to having dormant powers (or vice versa), but since God cannot change, he must always be producing. Also, when a disposed patient and agent are close to each other, an action necessarily occurs, but since the Father (the agent) and the DE (the patient) are properly disposed and close to each other (they are, in fact, united as one), the Father's act of producing the Son necessarily occurs, always.

/85vP/ One might think that the production never ceases because the product is never perfectly achieved (like when an artist continually works on a piece of art because it's not yet perfect). However, although all productions cause some product to have being, there are some productions where the product acquires being after it doesn't have being (where 'after' can refer to time or to nature), but there are some productions where this does not happen. /86rP/ [Henry then goes into some stuff about production that happens slowly and production that happens instantly, he goes into the production and conservation of a product, and he also goes into some stuff about Avicenna on the eternal dependence of the world on God. But I really can't follow it.] In God, a divine person is produced in the latter way. The produced person does not 'come into being'. Rather, the production is just sharing the being and essence of the Father. I deny Avicenna's claim that the world depends on God for its being eternally. That sort of thing only happens in the Trinity. The reason is that the 'matter' (= DE) in divine production has being from itself and not from another. For Avicenna, it's the other way around: the world's matter has being from another, not from itself. [I don't quite get why this matters. I guess I'd have to look at Quod. 1.7-8 to figure it out.]

/86vQ/ You might object that if God produces God, then this is either by the DE or by a suppositum (person). To this, I say that the principles and terms of actions belong only to supposita. But if you point out that divine supposita are relative, and in Physics 5 Aristotle says that relations cannot be the principle or term of an action, I say that this is true if we are talking about the nature of relations by themselves, but it is not true if we are talking about the nature of a relation's foundation (which in this case is the DE). When the DE has the character of one relative property, it is the principle of that by which it is formally, and when the DE has the character of another relative property, it is the the principle of that by which it is materially.

/86vR/ [Response to the tenth objection.]

You might object that acts are most noble because of themselves and not because of something they produce. God's internal (essential) action has the divine essence as its object, and that's the most noble thing of all. Therefore, God's internal divine action is most noble on account of itself, and not on account of something it produces.

To this I say that actions and operations are different, and each has its own kind of perfection. An operation gets its perfection from its object (the more perfect the object, the more perfect the operation), but an action gets its perfection from its product (the more perfect the product, the more perfect the production). Thus, God's (essential) operations like thinking and loving are most perfect because their object (= DE) is most perfect. Likewise, God's actions like producing the Son and Spirit are most perfect because their products (= Son and Spirit) are most perfect.

/86vS/ [Response to the eleventh objection.]

If you object than 'emanation' signifies some becoming or motion or coming out of, and none of that belongs to God, I say that this is true in creatures, but these concepts fall short when we try to apply them to God.

/87rT/ [Response to the twelfth objection.]

You might object that if one divine person emanates from an unproduced person, then it emanates by changing either (a) from non-being to being, or (b) from being to being – in which case it would either change (c) from the same being to the same being, or (d) from one being to another being. Not (a), because the Son does not begin to be, and everything that changes from non-being to being begins to be. Not (b), because that would be a proper change, and there are no proper changes in God. Nor would it be (c) or (d), because then it would exist before it was produced, which is impossible.

To this, I say that every divine person has aseity formally in the sense that the divine essence is the form of every person and the divine essence has aseity. Thus, even the persons that are produced have aseity formally, because although they are produced, the divine essence is shared with them. Creatures, on the other hand, do not have aseity formally. This is why created forms are multiplied. When parents make babies, the parents' forms are replicated in the babies, so new forms come into being with each baby. And since each new form is new, it depends for its existence on something else and therefore does not have aseity.

/87rV/ And when it is said in your objection that when a person is produced, there is either a change (a) from non-being to being, or (b) from being to being, I say that the word 'from' can indicate either the matter from which the product is produced, or the order/origin from which the product comes. In the divine case, the matter of the persons is the DE, and it exists in itself, so it's true that the produced person goes from being (= DE) to being (= produced person).

/87rX/ When it is further said in your objection that a produced person either goes (c) from the same being to the same being or (d) from one being to a different being, I say that it is not (d). On the contrary, it's (c), because the DE is the same in the Father and in the Son. But this is impossible in creatures.

A very brief summary of Henry's Ordinary Questions, art. 54, qq. 1-2

(All page references to the Badius edition, volume II.)

Is there an unproduced divine person?
(Bad. 77vA-78rH)

/77vB/ Richard of St. Victor (De Trin. 5.3, at the beginning) says there must be some first substance that is not produced by anything else. Likewise for the divine persons: there must be one divine person that is not produced by another. Otherwise, we'd have a chain of producers that would go on forever -- unless we claim there is a circle of producers, but that would mean the same person produces itself, which is impossible. Besides, something that's produced by another can't be the source of itself. We couldn't even grasp such a thing, and it's impossible anyways. Consequently, we cannot say there are an infinite number of divine persons.

/77vC/ Every being must either be (i) eternal and not produced, (ii) eternal and produced, or (ii) not eternal and produced. /78rC/ (A fourth option might be (iv) not eternal and not produced, but that's impossible, for everything that is not produced by anything else must be eternal.)

/78rD/ If you object that an unproduced divine person will have aseity (i.e., subsist/exist solely by itself), I say this is true formally, but not effectively (or, more properly, productively). A divine person who is not produced is not produced by itself, nor is it produced by anything else. The DE (= divine essence) is like this. This same reasoning can be applied to the divine persons.

/78rE/ Your objection assumes that whatever has aseity is an absolute thing, and this is not true. Something can have aseity in two ways. In one way, something can have absolute aseity when (a) nothing else causes it to subs-/exist, irrespective of (b) its relation to anything else. (Absolute things bear no essential relations to anything else, hence (b).) In God, only the DE has absolute aseity like this. /78rF/ In another way, though, something can have relative aseity when (a) nothing else causes it to subs-/exist, but it subs-/exists (b) only in relation to something else. The Father has relative aseity in this manner. He is not caused to subs-/exist by something else, but he only is Father with respect to the Son.

/78rG-H/ You might also object that there can only be one necessary being. In response, I say that if we take this essentially, then it's true that there is only one necessary being, namely God (the DE). If we take this personally, then we need to be careful, for your objection assumes that what is unproduced is a necessary being, but this is not always true. It's true that there's only one unproduced person in God, namely the Father, but it's not true that there's only one necessary person. On the contrary, there are three.

Is there only one unproduced divine person?
(Bad. 78rI-78vM)

/78vK/ Richard of St. Victor says that to be unproduced is not a shareable feature, for it can't belong to many things (De Trin. 5.3). Richard shows this (in 5.4) by appealing to the nature of the power for producing something. When something has this power itself (rather than having this power because it participates in something else that does have this power itself), it has this power fully. [Then there's something I don't understand, which concludes:] Thus, there can only be one such thing. In my Quod. 6, I also provided another argument for this same conclusion which appeals to the nature of relations (which multiply divine persons). Thus, there cannot be more than one God in the universe, and likewise, there cannot be more than one unproduced divine person in God.

/78vL/ You might object that since every production requires a terminus ad quem and a terminus a quo (a term 'to which' and 'from which'), and since there are two productions in God (that of the Son and Spirit), there must be two terms 'to which' and two terms 'from which', and so there must be two unproduced persons in God. To this I concede that every production requires a term 'to which' and 'from which'. But it does not follow that just because there are two products, there must also be two producers.

/78vM/ You might also object that since it is a perfection in God that there are many produced persons, then it should also be a perfection in God that there are many unproduced persons. To this, I concede that many produced persons is a perfection in God, but it does not follow that many unproduced persons in God is also a perfection.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Henry of Ghent, Summa 39.4 (translation): the Divine Essence as a causal power

Henry of Ghent
Summa Quaestionum Ordinariarum
Article 39, Question 4
Badius I f. 247rA-249rO
Translated by JT Paasch



/247rA/ Circa quartum arguitur quod divina essentia non sit in deo ratio agendi omnem divinam actionem.

Primo sic, quod maxime habet rationem materialis et subiecti receptivi in aliqua natura entis, minime est ratio agendi actionem aliquam quod convenit illi enti. Unde in genere entis naturalis materia, quia est subiectum receptibile omnium formarum naturalium, nullo modo est ratio agendi aliquam actionem naturalem, sed ratio patendi et recipiendi tantum, secundum quod dicit Philosophus II De Generatione. Pati proprium est materiae, agere autem alterius potentiae. In natura autem entis increati divina essentia maxime rationem materiae habet, et quasi subiectum existit receptivum omnium dispositionum formalium in deo: ut sunt rationes attributorum et perfectionum et idearum et omnium proprietatum atque relationum. Ergo etc.

/247rA/ Concerning the fourth question, it is argued that the divine essence is not the basis [ratio] for performing every divine action in God.

First, like this. That which maximally has the character [ratio] of matter and a receptive subject in some nature of an entity is minimally the basis for performing some action which pertains to that entity. Whence, in the genus of natural entities, matter, because it is a subject receptive of every natural form, is in no way the basis for some natural action. Rather, it is only the basis for undergoing and receiving, as the Philosopher says in book 2 of De Generatione. To receive is proper to matter, but to act pertains to another power. In the nature of uncreated being, the divine essence maximally has the character of matter, and [it is] a quasi subject existing in such a way that it is receptive of every dispositional form in God, namely the [divine] attributes, perfections, and ideas, and every property and relation. Therefore, etc.

Secundo sic, actio respondet proportionaliter rationi agendi eam ab agente: ut si calidum calefacit calore, sic ut calor est una simplex qualitas principium existens et ratio actionis calidi, sic calefactio est unica et simplex actio, et secundum quod calor intensus est in gradu caloris, sic proportionaliter calefactio est intensa in gradu calefactionis, quia generaliter a magis et minus in qualitatibus activis, secundum Philosophum, causatur magis et minus in actionibus quarum sunt ratio. Si ergo divina essentia esset ratio omnium divinarum actionum, sicut ipsa simplex est et unica nullam habens omnino diversitatem, unica ergo et simplex esset omnis divina actio nullam omnino habens diversitatem. Consequens falsum est, differunt enim inter se generare, creare, spirare, intelligere, velle, quae sunt divinae actiones. Ergo etc.

Second, like this. An action corresponds proportionally to the basis for performing it in the agent. For example, if a hot thing heats by heat, then heat is one simple quality existing as a principle and basis for the action of heating. Thus, calefaction is a single, simple action, according to which the intensity of heat rests in the degree of heat, for the intensity of calefaction is proportionate to the degree of calefaction. According to the Philosopher, it is generally the case that the more and less of active qualities is caused by the more or less of the actions of which those qualities are bases. Thus, if the divine essence were the basis for every divine action, then since it is a simple and single thing having no diversity at all, every divine action would be single and simple, having no diversity at all. The consequence is false, for generation, creation, spiration, understanding, and willing, which are different actions, are different from each other. Therefore, etc.

Tertio sic, agens secundum aliquam rationem in se non producit per actionem nisi simile sibi in illa ratione: ut si calidum calefacit calore, non producit in calefactio nisi calorem, generando calidum sibi simile in calore. Similiter si homo generat hominem in humanitate sua quod est forma sua, non generat nisi sibi similem in humanitate. Si igitur divina essentia sit ratio ageni omnes divinas actiones, agens non produceret sua actione nisi, sibi simile. Consequens est falsum, quod patet in creationem quod est divina actio, qua non producitur sibi simile in deitate. Ergo etc.

Third, like this. An agent, according to some basis in itself, does not produce by an action unless [the product is] similar to itself with respect to that basis. For example, if a hot thing heats by heat, it does not produce [heat] by calefaction unless it produces heat by generating a hot thing similar to itself with respect to heat. Similarly, if a man generates a man in his humanity, which is his form, he does not generate [a man] unless [the man] is similar to himself with respect to humanity. Therefore, if the divine essence were the basis for all divine actions, the agent would not produce its action unless [it produced] something similar to itself. The consequence is false, for it is clear in the case of creation that divine action does not produce something similar to itself with respect to deity. Therefore, etc.

Quarto sic, cum (ut iam dictum est) actio debet esse proportionalis rationi agendi, sicut ergo se habet actio ad actionem, sic se habet ratio ad rationem. Sed in deo actus sive actio quod est esse, se habet ad actionem quod est generare sive spirare, quod est differens ab illa, quia esse est actio ad se dicta, generatio autem vel spiratio est actio ad aliud dicta. Secundum enim quod dicit Augustinus VII De Trinitate, capito 4, aliud est deo esse, aliud patrem esse. Quod esse est ad se dicitur, pater autem ad filium, et relative gignit. Ergo ratio actionis quod est esse in deo, differens erit ab illa quod est ratio actionis quod est generare aut spirare, ita quod ratio esse sit absoluta et dicta ad se, ratio vero generare aut sirare sit relativa et ad aliud dicta. Cum ergo divina essentia omnino sit absoluta et ad se dicta, et ratio eius quod est esse, quia esse est actus entis a forma quod existit, secundum quod dicitur secundo de anima. Causa ipsius esse omnibus substantia est. Non ergo potest esse ratio eius quod est generare aut spirare, immo illud debet aliquid esse respectivum et ad aliud dictum.

Fourth, like this. Since, as was just said, an action ought to be proportionate to the basis for acting, then just as an action pertains in itself [habet se] to action, so also the basis pertains in itself to being a basis. But in God, the act or action which is 'to be' pertains in itself to the action which is generating or spirating, which is different from it. For 'to be' is said to be an action for itself, but generation or spiration is said to be an action to another. As Augustine says in book 7 of De Trinitate, chapter 4, to be God is one thing, while to be the Father is another. 'To be' is said with respect to itself, but to be a father is said with respect to a son, and a father generates relatively. Therefore, the basis of the action which is 'to be' in God will differ from the basis of the action which is generating or spirating, and so the basis for 'to be' is absolute and is said with respect to itself, but the basis for generating or spirating is relative and is said with respect to another. Since, then, the divine essence is entirely absolute and is said with respect to itself, it is its basis for that which is 'to be', for 'to be' is the act of a being which exists by a form, according to which it is said secondarily of the soul. And the cause of 'to be' in any way is substance. Therefore, it cannot be the basis for generating or spirating, which instead ought to be something relative and said with respect to another.

Quod confirmatur arguendo quinto ad idem sic, illud est ratio agendi propriam actionem in unoquoque, quod est ultimam formale et constitutivum illius: ut si calor est ultimum formale constitutivum calidi in natura calidi, calor ergo est propria ratio in calido agendi actionem calefaciendi. Consimiliter intellectus quia est ultimam formale constitutivum hominis, est ratio agendi propriam actionem hominis, ut determinat Philosophus primo Ethicorum. Sed generare est propria actio patris inquantum pater est, proprietas vero relativa est quasi ultimum et formale in divina essentia qua constituitur persona patris, pater enim paternitate dicitur pater, non autem deitate quod est divina essentia. Ergo etc.

Fifth, this is confirmed by arguing for the same conclusion like this. The basis for proper action in each thing is that which is formally ultimate and constitutive of it. For example, if heat is formally ultimate and constitutive of heat in the nature of heat, then heat is the proper basis in heat for performing the action of heating. Similarly, since the intellect is formally ultimate and constitutive of man, it is the basis for performing the proper action of man, as the Philosopher determines at the beginning of the Ethics. Now, to generate is the proper action of the Father in so far as he is the Father, but the relative property is quasi formally ultimate in the divine essence by which the person of the Father is constituted, for the Father is called Father by paternity, but not by deity (which is the divine essence). Therefore, etc.

In oppositum arguitur primo sic, in deo nihil est reale aut positivum nisi essentia et relatio, ut patet ex supra determinatis. Ratio autem agentis qua procedit actio ab agente, debet esse in ipso aliquid reale positivum, aliter enim actio non esset aliquid reale neque positivum: quia principiatum et causatum non habent verius esse quam principium et sua causa, relatio autem nullius actionis ratio potest esse: quia ratio actionis est per se actionis principium, quod non potest esse relatio, sicut neque terminus, secundum Philosophum V Physicorum et tactum est in praecedenti quaestione. Ergo, etc.

For the opposite position, it is argued first like this. In God, nothing is real or positive except the divine essence and relation, as is clear from what was determined above. However, the basis for acting by which an action proceeds from an agent ought to be something positively real in it. Otherwise, the action would be something neither real nor positive, for that which is principiated and caused does not have being any truer than its principle and cause. However, a relation can be the basis for no action, because the basis for action is the per se principle of an action, and according to the Philosopher in book V of the Physics, and as was touched on in the preceding question, a relation cannot be a principle, just is it cannot be a term. Therefore, etc.

Secundo sic, sicut materia prima est primum omnium principium passivum, sic deus est primum omnium principium activum, decente Philosopho XII Metaphysicorum, quod ea quae sunt in prima materia in potentia: sunt in primo motore in actu. Sed prima materia sua essentia nuda est ratio passiva omnem formam et transmutationem recipiendi. Ergo deus sua essentia nuda est ratio activa omnem divinam actionem in se eliciendi.

Second, like this. Just as prime matter is the first of all passive principles, so also is God the first of all active principles, according to the saying of the Philosopher in book XII of the Metaphysics that things in potency are in prime matter, and things in act are in motion. But the bare essence of prime matter is the passive basis for receiving any form and change. Therefore, the bare essence of God is the active basis for eliciting every divine action in God.


/247rB/ Dicendum ad hoc: quod secundum supra determinata, in deo super ipsam puram essentiam deitatis nihil additur neque secundum rem neque secendum veridicam intelligendi rationem, nisi ratio respectus, si-/247vB/-ve in attributis substantialibus, sive in rationibus perfectionum aut idearum, sive in ipsis notionibus et proprietatibus personarum. De natura autem respectus secundum quod est respectus, clarum est secundum Philosophum V Physicorum [5.2.10 (225b11-13)], quod nec potest habere per se rationem principii aut termini actionis. Illud autem quod est ratio agendi, quia est id quo agens formaliter agit, necessario est principium per se elicitivum actionis, ut dictum est, quemadmodum anima principium est in animatis, ut determinat Philosophus II De Anima. Quod autem est tale principium in re, necesse est quod sit aliquid positivum reale, ut ostendit penultima ratio iam supra inducta. Quare cum (ut dictum est) praeter respectus in deo nihil est reale positivum nisi pura substantia, quod est deitas sive ipsa divina essentia, in deo igitur ponendum est quod ratio agendi elicitiva divinas actiones, quaecunque sint illae, non sit nisi ipsa pura divina essentia; ita quod licet nulla actio omnino attribuatur essentiae divinae velut principio agenti, sicut determinatum est in praecedenti quaestione: omnis tamen divina actio attribuitur ei ut principio elicitivo, et quo agens principale scilicet suppositum unum vel duo vel tria, simul agunt omnes actiones divinas.

/247rB/ It should be said to this that, according to what was determined above, in God nothing is added – not really nor by the true reason of the understanding – over and above the pure essence of deity except that which has the character [ratio] of a relation, /247vB/ [and this either] in the substantial attributes, the divine perfections or ideas [in rationibus perfectionum aut idearum], or in the notions and properties of the persons. However, according to the Philosopher in book 5 of the Physics, it is clear that the nature of a relation qua relation cannot in itself be the principle or the term of an action. But since it is that by which an agent formally acts, that which is the basis [ratio] for acting necessarily is a principle which in itself is elicitive of an action, as was said, in the way that the soul is the principle of animation as the Philosopher determines in book 2 of De Anima. Because it is such a real principle, it is necessary that it is something really positive, as the penultimate argument listed above shows. Wherefore, since, as was said, apart from relations in God, nothing is really positive except the pure substance, which is deity or the divine essence itself, it therefore should be posited that in God, that which is the basis [ratio] for acting which is elicitive of divine actions, whatever they are, is nothing except the pure divine essence. And although no action at all is attributed to the divine essence as an acting principle, just as was determined in the preceding question, every divine action is attributed to it as an elicitive principle, and as that principally by which the agent – namely, one, two, or three supposita – simultaneously performs every divine action.

/247vC/ Sed quia huismodi actiones divinae differentes sunt inter se, et non est differentia in actionibus nisi ex differentia ex parte principii elicitivi, iuxta quod praecedit secunda ratio supra inducta; divina autem essentia sub ratione qua est essentia, nullam rationem differentiae in se habet, quod autem nullam differentiam ex se omnino potest in se habere, si in se aliquam habeat, oportet quod hoc sit ab aliquo sibi supervenienti. Essentiae autem divinae nihil potest supervenire nisi ratio respectus, essentia ergo ut sit ratio differentium actionum, oportet eam in se differre, saltem secundum rationes diversorum respectuum.

/247vC/ But since divine actions of this sort are different from each other, and since there is no difference in actions except on the part of elicitive principles (which was shown [iuxta] by the second argument listed above), and since the divine essence under the character by which it is the essence has no basis [rationem] for difference within itself, and since it cannot have in itself any intrinsic difference, if it has some difference in itself, then it must get this from something that supervenes [supervenienti] on it. However, nothing can supervene on the divine essence except that which has the character of a relation, so the divine essence, as it is the basis [ratio] for different actions, must differ in itself, at least by reason of diverse relations.

Qui circa ipsam essentiam duo faciunt. Unum, scilicet ut per ipsos essentia respiciat actus, et quasi inclinationem habet ad ipsos eliciendos, cum secundum se absque ratione omnis respectus penitus absolutum quod est, et nullo modo respicit actum elicendum. Nunc autem nullo modo posset esse ratio agendi ipsum nisi aliquo modo ipsum respiceret, et ad ipsum aliquo modo ordinaretur. Aliud vero, ut penes differentiam ipsorum ipsi essentiae determinarentur actus differentes cum secundum se nullum omnino determinat, et ideo nullum determinate eliceret nisi ab aliquo sibi determinaretur.

This, concerning the divine essence, makes for two things. First, by those relations the essence is related to an act and has a quasi inclination for eliciting those acts, since according to itself it is entirely absolute and would in no way be related to eliciting an act without the character [ratione] of a relation, for it would in no way be the basis [ratio] for performing that act unless it were related and ordered to it in some way. Second, the different acts of that very essence are determined by the difference of those relations, for in itself the essence is determined in no way. For this reason, it elicits nothing determinate unless it is determined to it by something.

Actum vero simpliciter respicit per respectum importatum nomine potentiae: secundum quod supra expositum est in quaestionibus de potentia dei. Actus vero diversi eliciendi sibi determinantur per respectus diversos diversorum modorum potentiae. Et sic ad agendum actum aliquem, a persona divina ut a principali agente duplex ratio qua agit eum requiritur: una ut qua ipsum elicit, alia ut qua eliciens actum respicit et determinatur sibi actus. Primo modo dico ut iam dictum est, quod sola divina essentia secundum rationem essentiae est ratio agendi omnes divinas actiones, scilicet in eliciendo ipsas. Secundo vere modo dico quod respectus fundati in divina essentia sunt ratio agendi divinas actiones a deo, scilicet in determinando ipsas ut eliciantur. Ita videlicet quod unica est ratio omnis eliciens, scilicet ipsa divina essentia sub sua ratione absoluta qua essentia est, plures vero sunt rationes determinantes secundum pluralitatem actuum, scilicet ipsi respectus diversi.

Now, an act, simply speaking, is related by the relation which is implied by the name 'power', as it was explained above in the question on the power of God. But diversely elicited acts are determined to themselves by diverse relations of the diverse modes of a power. In this way, for the purpose of performing some act, a divine person as it is a principle agent requires a double basis [ratio] by which it does that act: one as that by which it elicits the act, the other as that by which the eliciting is related to and is itself determined to the act. In the first way, I say as I just said that only the divine essence qua essence is the basis [ratio] for performing every divine action, that is, for eliciting those acts. In the second way, I say that the relations founded on the divine essence are the basis [ratio] for performing every divine action in God, namely in determining those actions as they are elicited. That is, one thing is the basis [ratio] for eliciting every act, namely the very divine essence under the absolute character by which it is the essence, but there are many bases [rationes] determined according to the plurality of acts, namely those diverse relations themselves.

/247vD/ Ad cuius evidentiam sciendum secundum superius determinata, quod ratio propria essentiae dei secundum quod essentia est mere et absolute, est fundamentum omnium aliarum tanquam illarum quod important respectus fundatos in ipsa essentia, quia [q?] non est nisi unica forma realis absoluta existens in divinis suppositis: cui ex seipsam primo et per se non convenit nisi actus quod est esse, quod in ipsa co[...]icatur [coicat'?] suppositis, et omnibus divinis respectibus in ipsa fundatis. Illud autem actum tanquam primum quem respicit et sibi determinat ex ratione sibi propria et absoluta secundum rectam rationem nostram intelligendi, sequuntur omnes alii actus tanquam secundi, quos respicit et qui sibi determinantur, ut dictum est, ex rationibus respectuum potentialium quod in ea fundantur. Cum autem sibi determinati sunt actus, seipsam ut essentia est immediate est ratio eliciendi eos.

/247vD/ To the evidence of this, it should be known that, as was determined farther above, the proper character [ratio] of the essence of God, according to which it is merely and absolutely the essence, is the foundation for every other thing just as [it is the foundation] of those things which imply relations founded in that very essence. There is only a single, real, existing, absolute form in the divine supposita to which there pertains primarily and by itself [per se] only the act which is be-ing, which is [present?] in the supposita, and in every divine relation founded on it. But just as that first act is related and determined by it from its proper and absolute character [ratione] according to our right reason of understanding, so also do all other second acts, which are related and determined to it as was said, follow from the bases [rationibus] of relations of power which are founded in it. And since those acts are determined to it, as it is immediately and in its very self the essence, it is the basis [ratio] for eliciting those acts.

Ut quemadmodum materia nullum ordinem habet ad formam et ad pati in recipiendo aliquid in se nisi per rationem potentiae passivae, in nuda tunc substantia sua formas recipit, sic divina essentia nullum ordinem habet ad actum quod est agere simpliciter, nisi per ratione potentiae activae, pura tunc substantia sua est ratio eliciendi omnium actuum. Ita quod sicut potentia receptiva sive passiva in materia non est aliquid re absoluta aliud ab ipsa essentia materiae, quia si sic, materia ex se esset in potentia ad illud, et si potentia illa esset similiter aliud, esset abire in infinitum, quod est inconveniens. Et ideo necesse est stare in primo, quod potentia receptiva materiae non est aliquid re absoluta aliud ab ipsa essentia materiae, sed solum respectus fundatus in ipsa essentia materiae, quia ex se et secundum suam substantiam subintrat ratione respectus. Propter quod dicit Commentatus in De Substantia Orbis. Natura subiecti recipientis formas, scilicet primae materiae, necesse est esse naturam potentiae, scilicet quod substantia eius est esse in posse. Sed posse quo substantiatur hoc subiectum, differt a natura subiecti quod substantiatur per hoc posse, in hoc quod posse diverse [dr?] respectu formae. Hoc autem subiectum est unum existentium per se quorum substantia est in potentia. Consimiliter potentia activa in ipsa divina essentia fundata non est aliquid re absoluta aliud ab ipsa essentia, et hoc consimili ratione: sed est solum respectus fundatus in ipsa divina essentia: quia [q?] ex se secundum sua essentiam subintrat rationem respectus.

Matter has no order to a form or to being a recipient by receiving something in itself except by reason of a passive power, but it receives forms in its bare substance. So also the divine essence has no order to an act so that it might act, simply speaking, except by reason of an active power, but its pure subtance is the basis [ratio] for eliciting all acts. Likewise, a passive or receptive power in matter is no absolute thing other than the essence of matter itself, for if it were, then the matter itself would have a receptive power for the first receptive power, and if that second receptive power were similarly another absolute thing, then we'd go on ad infinitum, which is inconvertible. For this reason, it is necessary to maintain the first claim, namely that the receptive power of matter is no absolute thing other than the essence of matter itself, and it is only a relation founded in the essence of matter itself, for matter, in itself and according to its substance, enters under the character [ratione] of a relation. This is what the Commentator says in De Substantia Orbis. The nature of a subject receiving forms, that is, the nature of prime matter, necessarily is the nature of potentiality [potentiae], which is to say that its substance is being in possibility [esse in posse]. But (a) the possibility by which this subject substantiates and (b) the nature of a subject which is substantiated by this possibility differ in this: that it is possible with respect to diverse forms. However, this subject is one of the things that exist by themselves, of which the substance is in potentiality. [?] Similarly, an active power founded in the divine essence itself is no absolute thing other than the essence itself, and this for a similar reason: it is only a relation founded in the divine essence itself, because the essence in itself and according to its essence enters under the character [rationem] of a relation.

/247vE/ Et ideo ulterius quemadmodum si materia esset una secundum potentiam, sicut est una secundum substantiam, cum agens sit unum, non esset factum nisi unum. Sic si divina essentia esset una secundum potentiam et respectus potentiales, sicut est una secundum substantiam, cum agens primum, scilicet persona patris, sit una, non esset operatio eius nisi una. Sed quia [qa?], sicut ibi quia [qa?] materia est multa secundum potentias, ideo ex ipsa multa possunt fieri, et multa in nuda substantia eius recipi, sic in proposito quia [qa?] divi-/248rE/-na essentia est multa secundum potentias activas sive respectus potentiales activos. Ideo ipsa secundum rationem purae essentiae suae potest esse plurium actuum elicitiva.

/247vE/ For this reason, beyond how if matter were one according to power, just as it is one according to substance, then since the agent is one, it would only be made [into] one thing. In this way, if the divine essence were one according to power and power relations, just as it is one according to substance, then since the first agent, namely the person of the Father, is one, it would only have one operation. But here, matter is many according to its powers, and for this reason it can in itself become many things and receive many things in its substance. So it is in the proposition: the divine /248rE/ essence is many according to active powers or active power relations. Thus, the essence itself, according to the character [rationem] of its pure essence, can be elicitive of many acts.

Qui in universo sunt in triplici generatione [gne?] quadam [qda?] quod est actus quod est operatio. Quidam autem qui est actio, quidam vero qui est factio. Qui secundum Philosophum I et X Ethicorum differunt in hoc quod operatio dicitur quando [qn?] non est aliquid ab ipso actu proveniens [pveniens?] tanquam finis eius, sed ipse est finis, qualis est actus citharizandi cui non est nisi delectatio annexa in citharizante et in audiente. Actio vero dicitur quando [qn?] aliquid ab ipso actu est proveniens [pveniens?] quod manet in agente, ut ex morali aut intellectuali operatione habitus aliquis [aliqs?] in agente. Factio vero dicit quando aliquid ab ipso tanquam finis eius procedit ab ipso extra agentem: ut domus ex actu carpentationi. Unde [Un?] Philosophus VI Ethicorum dando differentiam artis et prudentiae circa morales virtutes existentis, dicit quod ars est factibilium, prudentia vero agibilium. Et ambo haec sunt circa ea quae sunt ad finem, felicitas autem est operatio quae consistit in fine, ut determinat X Ethicorum.

In the universe there is generation in a certain triple way: some acts are operations, some are actions, and some are makings. According to the Philosopher in Ethics books 1 and 10, these differ as follows. In an operation, nothing further results from the act as its end, but rather the act itself is the end. An example is a musical performance, in which there is nothing except the enjoyment of the musician and the audience. In an action, something which occurs in this act remains in the agent, as for example when a habit [develops] in an agent from moral or intellectual operation. But in making, some end proceeds from the act beyond the agent, e.g., a house resulting from the action of a carpenter. Whence, in book 6 of the Ethics, the Philosopher, when explaining the difference of art and prudence concerning existing morals and virtues, says that art is makeable, but prudence is doable. Both of these are concerned with an end, and happiness is an operation which consists in [itself as its] end, as the Philosopher determines in book 10 of the Ethics.

Ex parte vero dei actus quod est operatio, est actio essentialis intelligendi et volendi, in quo consistit dei beatitudo, ut infra dicetur. Actus vero quod est actio proprie dicitur generatio et spiratio, quia terminantur ad divina supposita. Actus vero qui est factio proprie dicitur creatio, a qua creaturae extra praecedunt in esse. Horum autem trium generum actus in deo quodammodo divina essentia est ratio eliciendi, et respectus in ea, est ratio sibi actum determinandi.

On the part of God, the acts which are operations are the essential acts of understanding and willing, in which consists the beatitude of God, as will be said below. The acts which are properly actions are called generation and spiration, since they are termed to divine supposita. The act which is properly making is called creation, by which creatures come into being. But the divine essence is the basis [ratio] for eliciting these three kinds of acts in God, and the relation for each is the basis for determining [the essence] to that act.

Videndum est discurrendo per singula, ut ex hoc perfecte pateat quodammodo [quo?] in omnibus sola substantia est ratio eliciendi, et diversi respectus in ea sunt rationes diversae sibi diversos actus determinandi. Quod primo patet in actu quod est operatio, ut est intelligere et velle. Actum enim intelligendi elicit in divino intellectu ipsa divina essentia inquantum habet in se respectum importatum per rationem veri, per quam ipsa essentia habet quod sit proprium obiectum motivum [motiuu?] intellectus, non quod respectus ille qui importatur nomine veritatis, sit obiectum intellectus, sed quod ipsa essentia sit eius obiectum ut habet in se rationem huismodi respectus, secundum quod distinctius est expositum supra in quaestionibus de intelligibilitate dei. Actum vero volendi elicit in divina voluntate ipsa divina essentia inquantum habet in se respectum importatum per rationem boni cogniti, per quem ipsa essentia habet quod sit proprium obiectum voluntatis, et movet intelligentem bono apprehenso ad actum volendi ipsum, non quod respectus ille importatus nomine boni sit obiectum voluntatis, sed ipsa essentia pura ut in se habet rationem huismodi respectus.

This should be seen by going through each so that it will be perfectly clear how for each one, the [divine] substance alone is the basis [ratio] for eliciting those acts, and diverse relations in it are the diverse bases [ratio] determining it to diverse acts. The first is clear, [namely God's] operations, i.e., understandig and willing. The divine essence itself elicits an act of understanding in the divine intellect in as much as it has in itself the relation implied by the character [rationem] of truth by which the essence itself has the proper object to move the intellect. It's not that the relation which is implied by the name 'truth' is the object of the intellect; rather, the essence itself is its object so it has in itself the basis [ratio] for this kind of a relation (as it was explained more distinctly above in the question on the intelligibility of God). [Similarly,] the divine essence itself elicits an act of will in the divine will in as much as it has in itself the relation implied by the character [rationem] of the known good by which the essence itself has what is the proper object of the will, and by apprehending the good, it moves the understanding to an act of willing it. It's not that the relation implied by the name 'good' is the object of the will. Rather, the pure essence has in itself the basis for this kind of a relation.

Idem similiter patet in actu qui est agere sive actio proprie dicta. Actum enim generandi filium elicit divina essentia ut habet esse in patre, sub ratione respectus importanti nomine potentiae generandi active, non quod ille respectus eliciat actum generandi, sed ipsum in patre elicit ipsa essentia pura, ut per respectus illum in patre sibi talis actus est determinatur. Et similiter actum spirandi communiter elicit in patre et filio ut habet esse in ipsis sub ratione respectus importati nomine potentiae spirani active.

It is similarly clear in acts that are properly called acting or action. The act of generating the Son is elicited by the divine essence as it has being in the Father under the character [ratione] of the relation implied by the name 'an active power for generating'. It's not that the relation elicits the act of generating, but rather that the pure essence itself elicits the act, for it is determined to such an act by that relation in the Father. Similarly, the act of spirating is commonly elicited in the Father and the Son as [the essence] has being in them under the character [ratione] of the relation implied by the name 'an active power for spirating'.

Idem similiter patet in actu qui est factio. Actum enim creationis elicit communiter in tribus personis divina essentia, ut habet esse in ipsis sub ratione respectus importati nomine voluntatis liberae valentis ad opposita. Ut sic semper ipsa essentia sub ratione essentiae sit eliciens simpliciter, sed ratione alicuius attributi determinantis non elicientis sit eliciens determinate actum determinatum.

Similarly, the same is clear in the act which is making. The act of creation is elicited commonly in three divine persons by the divine essence as it has being in them under the character [ratione] of the relation implied by the name 'free will to wish opposites'. And so its always the divine essence itself, under the character [ratione] of the essence, which is eliciting, simply speaking, though it is determinately eliciting determinate acts under the character [ratione] of some attribute and not [under the character of] determinate elicited acts.

/248rF/ Ut secundum hoc in summa dicamus omni distinctione praetermissa [ptermissa?], quod divina essentia ut essentia est, sit ratio agendi elicitiva omnem divinam actionem quam agunt tres personae divinae vel duae vel unica effective sive principiative, determinative vero secundum rationem alicuius attributi. Ratio autem agendi omnem divinam actionem, sed aliam et aliam secendum aliam et aliam rationem, ut magis habet declarari disputando de divinis actionibus in speciali. Et sic in omni divina actione uno modo est ratio agendi ipsa essentia secundum rationem essentiae: et non secundum rationem attributi. Alio autem modo non nisi ratione alicuius attributi. Communiter autem summendo essentiam et secundum rationem essentiae, et secundum ratione attributi simpliciter et absolute, dicendum quod divina essentia est in deo ratio agendi omnem divinam actionem. Per iam dicta patent obiecta.

/248rF/ And so in summary we say to every previous distinction that the divine essence qua essence is, effectively or principiatively, the elicitive basis [ratio] for every performing every divine act which the three or two or one divine persons do, though determinatively according to the character [rationem] of some attribute. However, the basis [ratio] for performing every divine action, be it this one or that one according to this or that basis, has to be explained more fully by examining particular divine actions. Thus, in one way the essence itself qua essence is the basis for doing every divine action, but in another way way not unless under the character of some attribute. But by commonly assuming the divine essence under the character of the essence, and according to the character of some attribute simply and absolutely, it should be said that the divine essence is the basis in God for performing every divine action. By this, what should be said to the objections is clear.


/248rG/ Ad illud ergo quod primo arguitur in oppositum, quod divina essentia maxime habet ratione materialis et receptivi: ergo minime est ratione agendi: Dicendum quod verum est de illo quod est receptivum alterius re asoluta differentis a recipiente: sicut differt forma a materia. Non autem de illo quod est receptivum alterius sola ratione respectiva ab ipso differentis qualiter differunt a divina essentia quaecunque in ipsa fundantur, non dico proprie recipiuntur.

Therefore, to the first objection, namely that the divine essence maximally has the character of matter and receptivity and so minimally is the basis for action, it should be said that this is true of that which is receptive of another absolute thing which differs from the recipient, just as form differs from matter. But it is not true of that which is receptive of other things which only have a relational character and differ from it in the way in which those things are founded in the divine essence differ from it. I do not say that those things are received properly.

/248rH/ Ad secundum, quod si divina essentia est ratio agendi in deo, sicut ipsa est una et simplex, non erit ratio nisi unius actionis simplicis: dicendum quod actionum quaedam sunt diversae re absoluta inter se et ab eo quod est ratio agendi, quaedam vero re relationis aut respectus secundum ratione tantum. Actionum diversarum primo modo nullo modo potest esse ratio una simplex essentia absque determinatione per diversa quod re absoluta differunt, immo si sunt actiones re diversae, et rationes seu principia agendi sunt re diversa. Et secundum hoc dicit Ioannis Damascenus II Sen Suarum capitum XV, quod operatio est naturalis uniuscuiusque substantiae virtus et motus. Unde manifestum est quam [qm?] quorum substantia naturalis est eadem, horum et operatio est eadem, quorum autem naturae sunt differentes, horum et operationes sunt differentes. Impossibile est enim substantiam expertem esse naturali operatione. Vel /248vH/ ad minus determinatur per diversa re, qaemadmodum diversa opera sunt videre et audire ab eadem anima, sed per determinationem diversorum organorum, ut alibi determinavimus in quaestione quadam de potentiis animae. Actiones diversae secundo modo sunt omnes divinae actiones et inter se, et ab ipsa essentia, et ideo in talibus sufficit ipsi essentiae determinati actus per diversos respectus proportionales diversitati actuum. Ut si actus sola ratione differant inter se et ab ipsa essentia, ut intelligere, et velle, diversis respectibus secundum rationem inter se et ab ipsa essentia differentibus, sibi huiusmodi diversi actus determinantur, ut sunt veritas et bonitas, ut patet ex praedictis. Si vero actus inter se differant re relationis: ut generare, spirare, diversis respectibus secundum realem relationem inter se, sibi huiusmodi actus determinantur: ut sunt potentia activa generandi et potentia activa spirandi.

/248rH/ To the second objection, namely that if the divine essence is the basis for acting in God and so will be the basis only for one simple action because the essence itself is one simple thing, it should be said that some actions are absolute things which are diverse from each other and from that which is their basis for acting, while some are relational things or relations [that are diverse] according to reason only. One simple essence cannot be the basis for diverse actions in the first way without a determination by diverse things which are different absolute things. If actions are diverse things, then their bases or principles for acting are diverse things. According to this, John of Damascus says in book 2, chapter 15 of Sen Suarum, that operation is the power and motion of each natural substance. Whence, it is obvious that the substance of a nature is the same for those operations which are the same, but the natures are different for those operations which are different. For it is impossible to experience a substance by a natural operation. Or /248vH/ it is determined less by diverse things, in the way in which diverse operations are seen and heard from the same soul, than by the determination of diverse organs, as we have shown elsewhere in the question on the powers of the soul. But all divine actions are diverse in the second way both from each other and from the essence itself, and for this reason, in such things it is sufficient that an act of the essence itself is determined by diverse relations proportional to the diversity of acts. Thus if acts such as understanding and willing differ from each other and from the divine essence only by reason, then diverse acts of this sort are determined by diverse relations (such as truth and goodness) which differ by reason from each other and from the essence itself, as is clear from what was said before. But if acts such as generating and spirating differ from each other by real relations [re relationis], then acts of that sort are determined by diverse relations (such as the active power for generating and the active power of spirating) [which differ] from each other by a real relation.

/248vI/ Ad tertium, quod si essentia esset ratio omnis divinae actionis, tunc non produceretur a divina actione nisi simile deo in deitate, quod falsum est in actu creationis: dicendum quod semper producitur divina actione simile in divina essentia, vel quo ad veritatem substantiae, ut in productione divinarum personarum, vel quo ad rationem imitationis ad rationes perfectionum et idearum in divina essentia, ut in productione creaturum. Quod [Q?] secundum eundem modum similis producatur simile in omni genere actionis, non oportet, eo quod ipsae actiones diversorum modorum sunt, ut debet exponi tractando de ipsis in speciali.

/248vI/ To the third objection, namely that if the essence were the basis for every divine action then it would not produce [anything] by divine action unless it were similar to God in deity, and that's false in the act of creation, it should be said that something is always produced by a divine action which is similar to the divine essence, either according to the truth of substance, as in the production of the divine persons, or according to an imitation of the divine perfections and ideas in the divine essence, as in the production of creatures. But it is not necessary that something similar is produced in the same similar way in every kind of action, as in those actions which are [performed] in diverse ways, as should be explained by treating those acts in particular.

/248vK/ Ad quartum, quod essentia quia est ratio absoluta actus primi absoluti qui est esse, sic non potest esse ratio actus secundi respectivi qui est generare vel spirare: dicendum quod verum est nisi sub ratione alicuius respectus actui illi secundo proportionalis. Unde in creaturis ratio formae a qua est actus primus qui est esse, sub ratione respectus potentiae activae quam in se recipit, est ratio eliciendi actus secundos absolutos. Ergo multo fortius in proposito potest esse ratio eliciendi actus secundos respectivos. Ratio enim elicitiva (ut dictum est) nullo modo potest esse respectus. Et cum hoc falsum est illud quod assumitur in argumento, quod essentia divina est ratio actus primi in deo quod est esse. Etsi enim in creaturis hoc sit verum, ut ratio essentiae prior sit secundum rationem nostram intelligendi quod sit ratio esse, ut esse dicatur ab essentia. Quia quanto aliquid in creatura habet rationem minus actualis, tanto illud habet magis ex se et natura sua et ab alio quod est magis actuale, esse autem sub maiori actualitate significat quod essentia. In deo tunc [tn?] e contrario tanto ei aliquid magis proprium est et primo convenit, quanto habet rationem magis actualis. Et ideo dictum est supra, quod esse secundum rationem intellectus nostri potius et prius convenit deo quod ratio essentiae, ut in deo essentia potius dicatur ab esse quod e contrario. Secundum quod dicit Augustinus VII De Trinitate, capito 4, et libro V, capito 2, ab eo quod est esse dicta est essentia.

/248vK/ To the fourth objection, namely that the essence is an absolute basis for an absolute first act of 'being' and so it cannot be the basis for a second relative act such as generating or spirating, it should be said that this is true except under the character of some relation to an act which is proportionate to that second act. Whence, in creatures the nature [ratio] of a form – by which something performs the first act of 'being' – is the basis for eliciting absolute second acts by the character of a relation of an active power which it receives in itself. Therefore, how much more can it, [namely the divine essence] in the proposition, be the basis for eliciting relative second acts. The elicitive basis, as was said, can in no way be a relation. Consequently, that which is assumed in the argument is false, namely that the divine essence is the basis for the first act in God which is 'to be'. For even in creatures this is true, as the the character [ratio] of the essence is prior according to the nature of our understanding 'being', for 'being' is said of an essence. As much as something in a creature has the character [ratio] of less actuality, it has that much more from itself and its nature and from another which is more actual. But to be under less actuality signifies an essence. Conversely then, in God, as much as something properly and primarily pertains to it, that much does it have the character of more actuality. For this reason, as was said above, 'being', according to our understanding, preferably and with priority belongs to God in the character of essence, for in God the essence is preferably said from 'being' which is the converse. [?] Accordingly, Augustine says in De Trinitate, book 7, chapter 4, and in book 5, chapter 2, that that which is 'being' is called the essence.

/248vL/ Ad quintum, quod suppositum unusquisque agit per ultimum formale in eo, et illud non est essentia, sed relativa proprietas, quia secundum Augustinum, Deus pater paternitate pater est non deitate: dicendum quod in quolibet supposito singulari est duo considerare, et duplex formale secundum illa. Primum illorum est natura sive res sive essentia in qua subsistit, ut est humanitas fortis in forte, et deitas patris in patre. Secundum vero est modus secundum quem subsistit, scilicet individualiter in creaturis, et incommunicabiliter in divinis, et pertinet ad rationem individuationis formae in creatures, et incommunicationis suppositi in divinis. Modus quo individuatio formae sit in creaturis, tactus est in praecedenti quaestione in parte, et similiter modus incommunicationis suppositi in divinis, sed alibi expressius in quaestione quadam de quolibet. Et quantum ad praesens sufficit: sciendum est quod in creaturis ratio formalis quo sit formae individuatio, negatio est non unica sed duplex, una qua negatur plurificatio naturae intra se, alia qua negatur identitas ad consimiler ei extra se, et qua negatur esse alicuius alterius ab illo cuius est. Socratis enim humanitas est una numero, quia ex se non est nata dividi ullo modo per hanc et illam in diversis, sicut nata est dividi forma speciei, et est ita Socratis quod non est alterius, neque illa quae est alterius, sed alia ab illa. In divinis autem licet in eis non sit proprie formae individuatio, quia non est in deo ratio universalis, quod requiritur ad individuationem proprie dictam, ut expositum est in dicta quaestione de quolibet, est tunc in divinis suppositi incommunicatio cuius ratio formalis non est aliqua negatio qua forma determinatur supposito, aut qua individuabilis aut incommunicabilis redditur, eo quod pluribus suppositis secundum speciem communicabilis est et communicata; et in se ex se singularis est, immo singularitas quaedam (ut habitum est supra) in quali quidem singularitate constat. Forma creata nullo modo per communicationem procedere in aliud suppositum potest propter sua limitationem, sed forma divinitatis propter suam illimitationem ulterius praecedit,ut sic ubi defecit praecessus formae creatae, ibi in eadem singularitate communicatur pluribus suppositis positive, et hoc per differentiam respectuum illorum quos in se habet, sub quibus subsistit diversimode in hoc et in illo.

/248vL/ The fifth objection is that each suppositum acts by that which is formally ultimate in it, and that is the relative property, not the essence, for as Augustine says, God the Father is Father by paternity and not by deity. To this it should be said that for each singular suppositum, there are two things to consider, and accordingly 'formal' has a double sense. The first of these is the nature or thing or essence in which [qua] it subsists, such as the humanity of strength in strength, and the deity of the Father in the Father. But the second is the way in which it subsists, namely individually in creatures and incommunicably in the divinity, and this pertains to the basis for the individuation of form in creatures, and the incommunicability of supposita in the divinity. As for the way in which the individuation of form occurs in creatures, this was partly touched on in the preceding question, and so was the way in which the incommunicability of supposita occurs in the divinity, but it is more expressly addressed elsewhere in a question from the Quodlibet. But for the present, the following is sufficient. It should be known that in creatures, the formal basis by which there is an individuation of form is a double negation, not a single negation. One is that which negates a plurification of natures within itself, the other is that which negates its identity to things outside itself which are similar to itself, and which negates that it is of something other from that of which it is. For the humanity of Socrates is one in number, because from itself it is not naturally apt [non est nata] to be divided in any way by this or that into diverse things in the way that the form of a species is naturally apt to be divided. And it is a feature of Socrates that he is not of another, nor that which is of another, but rather that he is other from that [other thing]. However, in the divinity, there is not a proper individuation of form because in God there is no character of universality, which is required for individuation, properly speaking (as it was explained in the aforesaid question from the Quodlibet). But the formal basis for the incommunicability of divine supposita is not some negation by which a form is determined to a suppositum, or by which individuability or incommunicability is delivered [redditur] to that which is communicable and communicated to many supposita according to species. Rather, [the divine essence], in itself and from itself, is singular, though [this is] a certain singularity (as was had above) which remains as a certain kind of singularity. A created form can in no way proceed to another suppositum by a communication on account of its limitation, but the form of divinity proceeds to another an account of its unlimitedness. And so in this way, where a created form fails to proceed, there in the same singularity [the divine essence] is communicated to many supposita positively, and this by the difference of the relations of those things which it has in itself, under which it subsists diversely in this and in that [suppositum].

/248vM/ Positivum autem absolutum in se non potest recipere divina essentia, quia poneret compositionem in deo. Oportet igitur quod sit positivum respectivum, quod quidem quia pluribus communicari non potest per illud subsistit suppositum in natura divinae essentiae, et hoc ut suppositum singulare. Et talia respectiva sunt tres proprietates relativae personales – paternitas, filiatio, spiratio passiva – qua personas incommicabiles et singulares in deo constituunt: sicut in creaturis negatio constituit suppositum, quod est singulare individuum. Et aspi-/249rM/-ciendo ad tale formale quod ratio constituendi singulare suppositum distinctum a quolibet alio, tali ultimo formali nullum suppositum agit quacumque neque in creaturis neque in deo. Unde nullo dicitur vere quod Sortes generat eo quod est Sortes, in eo quod est individuum sive individuatum suppositum: quam illud (ut dictum est) negatio est, quae nullius est effectiva. Sed quod dicitur agere aliquid aut generare eo quod est formale in ipso, hoc debet intelligi aspiciendo ad formale quod est ratio qua subsistit in natura speciei, quae est sua humanitas, in qua est considerare duo: scilicet quod est humanitas simpliciter, quia tota natura speciei specialissimae est in quolibet suo individuo, et quod est ista in isto individuata. Quod ergo Sortes humanitate sua aliquid agit aut generat, hoc est ratione qua est humanitas simpliciter: et ut existens est in isto. Et ideo homo generat hominem, quod est intellectum [intetu?] naturae simpliciter. Quod autem generat alium a se, hoc non est nisi tam propter materiam in qua generat, ut ponit Philosophus [phus?], qua [q?] quia sua humanitas est ista non communicabilis alteri, ita quod si per impossibile posset generare formam puram sine materia, aliam necessario generaret a se ex nihilo, secundum quod dicit Commentator XII Super Metaphysicorum. Si forma per se generaret, esset generatio ex nihilo. Et sic quod homo sit ab homine, hoc est virtutis et perfectionis, quod autem alius ab alio in forma numerali, hoc est defectus et imperfectionis, et hoc habet generans ex natura individui, non ex negatione individuante, sed ex natura ipsa, ut tali negationi substrata est, illud autem est ex natura speciei. Et ideo de generatione individuorum ab invicem dicit Commentator VIII Super Physicorum, quod modus generationis istorum ab invicem est per accidens, scilicet quia [qa?] homo non dat in generatione hominis nisi illud quod est quasi instrumentum. Sortem, non [n?] generare Ciceronem, est per accidens. Et quemadmodum hic dictum est de creaturis, consimiliter contingit in personis divinis, scilicet quod pater non generat eo quo pater est, hoc est eo quo est incommunicabile suppositum, cum illud respectus est, qui non est ratio agendi, sicut neque negatio individuans in creaturis.

/248vM/ But a positive absolute thing cannot receive the divine essence in itself, because that would posit composition in God. Therefore, it is necessary that it is a positive relation, which, because it cannot be communicated to many, is that by which a suppositum subsists in the nature of the divine essence and is singular. There are three such relative personal properties – paternity, filiation, and passive spiration – by which the incommunicable and singular persons are constituted in God, just as in creatures the negation constitutes the suppositum which is a singular individual. /249rM/ Now, by looking to such a formal basis for constituting a singular suppositum which is distinct from anything else, no suppositum performs any action by such an ultimate formal [principle] – neither in creatures, nor in God. Whence, it is not true that Socrates generates by that in which he is Socrates, in which he is an individual or individuated suppositum, for that (as was said) is a negation, which is effective of nothing. When [Socrates] is said to perform some action or generate by that which is formally in him, this ought to be understood by looking to that which formally is the basis by which he subsists in the nature of a species, which is his humanity. In that there are two things to consider: that which is humanity simply speaking, for the whole nature of the most specific species is in each of its individuals, and that which is individuated into this and that individual. Therefore, Socrates performs some action or generates by his humanity, and this as it has the character of humanity simply speaking, as it exists in him. For this reason, man generates man, which is understood of a nature, simply speaking. But man generates something other than himself only on account of the matter in which he generates [another man], as the Philosopher claims. For a man's humanity is not communicable to another, and so if, per impossibile, he could generate a pure form without matter, he would necessarily generate something other than himself ex nihilo, according to what the Commentator says in book XII of his Commentary on the Metaphysics, namely that if a form were to generate by itself, then the generation would be ex nihilo. And so it is that it is of power and perfection that man is from man, but it is a defect and an imperfection that one form is from another numerically distinct form. The generator has this from his individual nature, that is, from his very nature and not from the individuating negation, for such a negation pertains to the substrate, but that [ability generate another man] is from the nature of the species. For this reason, in book VIII of his Commentary on the Physics, the Commentator says of the generation of one individual from another that the mode of generating one thing from another is per accidens, namely because in the generation of man, a man does not give anything except that which is a quasi instrument. That Socrates does not generate Cicero is per accidens. This pertains to the divine persons similar to the way it does in creatures. The Father does not generate by that by which he is Father, that is, in that by which he is an incommunicable suppositum, since that is a relation, which is not a basis for acting, just as neither is an individuating negation in creatures.

/249rN/ Sed quod dicitur generare eo quod est formale in ipso, hoc debet intelligi aspiciendo ad formale quod est ratio et natura in qua subsistit, in qua non est considerare duo: sicut dictum est de forma creata: scilicet quod est deitas simpliciter, et quod est deitas haec aut huius, quia [qa?] non est nisi haec, et illa eadem quae est huius, per communicationem est alterius. Generare ergo aut aliquid agere patrem deitate non differt quod dicatur hoc agere deitate simpliciter, et ha[e]c vel huius deitate, quia deitate ut deitas est, et ut haec deitas est, non generat deitatem, sed communicando se generat deum, et eundem in deitate sed alium in persona, sed hoc non ratione deitatis, neque huius deitatis qua generat, sed ratione respectus quo determinat actum generandi, qui propter rationem determinandi actionem generato, non potest illi communicari, sed in generato necessario determinat actum passive respectus oppositus. Quemadmodum enim ex parte generantis essentia est ratio eius quod est generare in eliciendo, sed sub ratione respectus determinantis actum ut est efficiendus ab agente, sic ex parte generari essentia est ratio eius quod est generari in recipiendo, sed sub ratione respectus determinatis actum ut est determinandus in genitum, ut habet infra determinari, exponendo quomodo divina essentia est subiectum divinae generationis. Et sic quod deus generat deum simpliciter, hoc est ratione essentiae, quod vero hic generat illum, hoc est ratione unius proprietatis qua determinatur actus ut producatur ab uno, scilicet et alterius quod determinatur ut terminetur in alium. Et sic pater non generat eliciendo actum paternitate, sed deitate, etsi sit pater non deitate sed paternitate. Unde si pater dicatur generare inquantum pater, non inquantum deus (quia tunc filius qui est deus generaret) illud tunc non est verum quod paternitate generet, scilicet quod generet essentia, nisi dispositive ut dictum est. Et amplius in quaestione sequenti dicetur.

/249rN/ But when it is said that [the Father] generates by that which is formally in him, this ought to be understood by looking to the formal principle which is the basis and nature in which it subsists. In that there are two things to consider, just as was said of a created form, namely that there is deity simply speaking, and there is this deity or [the deity] of this [suppositum]. For deity does not exist except as a 'this', and the same 'that' of which it is of 'this', is of another by communication. Therefore, the Father's act of generating does not differ from his other actions with respect to deity, since he is said to act by deity, simply speaking, and by 'this deity' or the deity of 'this'. For by deity as it is deity, and as it is 'this deity', [deity] does not generate deity. Rather, by communicating itself [i.e., deity], [God] generates God, which are the same in deity but other in person. But this is not by reason of deity, nor of this deity by which it generates, but rather by reason of the relation by which it determines the act of generating, which on account of the basis for determining the act in the generated, cannot be communicated to that, but in the generated it necessarily determines the passive act by the opposite relation. For the way in which the essence, on the part of the generator, is the eliciting basis for generating, though under the character of a relation determining the act as it emanates [efficiendus] from the agent, so also the essence, on the part of that which is being generated, is the receiving basis for being generated, though under the character of a relation determining the act as it is determined in the generated, as it has to be determined below by explaining how the divine essence is the subject of divine generation. And in this way, God generates God simply speaking, and this is by reason of the essence. But that this generates that, this is by reason of one property by which the act is determined such that it is produced from one, and the other which is determined such that it is termed to another. Thus, the Father generates by eliciting an act from his deity, not his paternity, even though he is Father by paternity, not deity. Whence, if it is said that the Father generates in as much as he is Father, but not in as much as he is God (since then the Son, who is God, would generate), then it is not true that he generates by paternity, which is to say that he generates the essence, unless it is said dispositively. But that is explained more fully in the following question.

/249rO/ Argumenta autem duo in contrarium etsi bene probant quod essentia est ratio agendi omnes divinas actiones elicitives non tamen excludunt quin determinative requiratur alia ratio, ut dictum est.

/249rO/ The two arguments for the contary prove well that the essence is the elicitive basis for performing all divine actions, though not by excluding the fact that another determinative basis is required, as was said.