Sunday, June 28, 2009

Scotus on change vs. production (translation)

From the Lectura

‘Generation in creatures includes both change and production. For a [creaturely] generator has imperfect power, so it requires not only another cause in the same genus, but also a cause in another genus, and for this reason, it does not produce the whole composite [from nothing]. Rather, it presupposes [a lump of] matter, and then it produces the form by transforming that matter.

Thus, change and production have different end-points, for the end-point of change is the form introduced in the matter, but the proper end-point of production is the whole composite (hence the Philosopher speaks of the end-point of generation in various ways, for in Physics II [193b12-18] he postulates that the form is the end-point of generation, and in [Metaphysics] VII [1033b16-18] he says that the composite is primarily generated).

From this, it is clear that the nature of production is separable from the nature of change — by removing the imperfection of the agent — without contradiction, for production is that by which a thing acquires being. Now, it is incidental to a thing which is produced [by a creature] — and so which acquires its being through that production — that it is changed [in this process]. This is evident in creation, where the whole is truly produced without any preceding change. Whence, where there is perfect active power, a thing can acquire all of its being without a change.

Therefore, production is separable from change, for there are distinct formal end-points in generation: the proper start- and end-points of change are being deprived of a form and having a form, but the end-point of a production is the whole composite itself. For an agent with perfect power can act, and there will then be a production, but not a change. Whence in creation, because something is produced by a perfect production, there is a production but not a generation’.

[Scotus, Lect. 1.5.2.un., n. 91 (Vat. 16: 444.23-445.18): ‘generatio in creaturis includit mutationem et productionem. Quia generans est imperfectae virtutis, ideo non solum requirit aliam causam eiusdem generis, sed causam alterius generis causae, et ideo non producit totum compositum, sed praesupponit materiam, et tunc producit formam transmutando materiam. Et ideo alios terminos habet formaliter mutatio et productio, nam terminus mutationis est ipsa forma inducta in materia, sed terminus proprius productionis est totum compositum (et secundum hoc, Philosophus variis modis loquitur de termino generationis, nam in II Physicorum [193b12-18] ponit quod forma est terminus generationis, — et in VII [Metaphysicae, 1033b16-18], quod compositum primo generetur): ex quo patet quod ratio productionis separabilis est a ratione mutationis — amota imperfectione agentis — sine contradictione, nam productio est qua res capit esse. Nunc autem accidit rei quae producitur — et quae esse capit per productionem — quod mutetur, sicut patet in creatione, ubi vere producitur totum sine mutatione praecedente; unde ubi est perfecta virtus activa, ibi potest res capere totum esse sine mutatione. Productio igitur separabilis est a mutatione, tum quia habent terminos formaliter distinctos in generatione, nam termini proprie mutationis sunt privatio et forma, sed terminus productionis est ipsum totum compositum, — tum quia agens perfectae virtutis potest agere, et ibi erit tunc productio, sed non mutatio; unde in creatione, quia producitur aliquid a perfecto producente, est productio et non generatio’.]

‘Therefore, by laying aside the imperfections in generation (namely, the presupposition of matter, which is required on account of the agent’s imperfection), generation is transfered to the divine case. For this reason, generation that’s transfered to the divine case only includes production, but not change, and so in no way in divinity is there a subject or matter or quasi-matter, since there is no change nor quasi-change in God’.

[Scotus, Lect. 1.5.2.un., n. 92 (Vat. 16: 445.19-25): ‘Auferendo igitur illud quod est imperfectionis in generatione (scilicet praesuppositio materiae, quae requiritur propter imperfectionem agentis), transfertur generatio ad divina. Et ideo generatio tantum transfertur ad divina prout includit productionem, et non mutationem, — et ideo nullo modo in divinis est subiectum aut materia nec quasi-materia, cum ibi non sit mutatio nec quasi-mutatio’.]

From the Ordinatio

‘There are two things said to be in generation in creatures: change and production. And of these, there formal natures are different, and they are separable from each other without contradiction’.

[Scotus, Ord. 1.5.2.un., n. 94 (Vat. 4: 60.16-18): ‘Generatio in creatura duo dicit, mutationem et productionem, et istorum formales rationes aliae sunt et sine contradictione separabiles ad invicem’.]

‘For production formally belongs to its product, and it is incidental to it that it comes about by changing some part of the composite, as is clear in creation [where the production occurs without presupposing a part such as matter to change]. Change is formally the act which the “changeable” thing comes to have after being deprived of it, but change occurs along with production in creatures because of the imperfection of [creaturely] productive power, for it is not [powerful enough] to give the end-point of production all of its being. Rather, some part of it is presupposed, and then changed to another part of it, and in this way the producer produces a composite. Therefore, change and production can be separated without contradiction, and they really are separated in cases where there is perfect productive power’.

[Scotus, Ord. 1.5.2.un., n. 95 (Vat. 4: 60.19-61.7): ‘Production enim est formaliter ipsius producti, et accidit sibi quod fiat cum mutatione alicuius partis compositi, ut patet in creatione; mutatio formaliter est actus “mutabilis” qui de privatione transit. Concomitatur autem mutatio productionem in creaturis propter imperfectionem potentiae productivae, quae non potest dare totale esse termino productionis, sed aliquid eius praesuppositum transmutatur ad aliam partem ipsius et sic producit compositum. Ergo sine contradictione possunt separari, et realiter separantur comparando ad potentiam productivam perfectem’.]

‘This is apparent in creation, where because of the perfection of the productive power [of the creator], something is first placed in all of its being, and this is the true nature of production, in which the end-point of the production acquires its being through the production. But there is not here [viz., in the case of creation ex nihilo] a change, insofar as change is said to be some substratum that ‘exists now in a way that it did not before’, from Physics VI [234b5-7, 10-13]. For in creation, there is not some substratum’.

[Scotus, Ord. 1.5.2.un., n. 96 (Vat. 4: 61.8-13): ‘Hoc etiam apparet in creatione, ubi propter perfectionem potentiae productivae ponentis primo in esse totum, vere est ratio productionis, in quantum per eam terminus productus accipit esse, — sed non est ibi ratio mutationis, in quantum mutatio dicit aliquid substratum “aliter nunc se habere quam prius”, ex VI Physicorum [234b5-7, 10-13]. In creatione enim non est aliquid substratum’.]

‘To the case at hand. Since no imperfection should be postulated in God, but rather only total perfection, and since change is said to be imperfect in its very nature, for it pertains to potentiality, in virtue of which something is changeable — and accordingly the active power in the changer is also said to be imperfect, for an imperfect changer necessarily requires a concurrent cause in order to produce something (for there [in God] htere is no imperfection, nor any sort of passive power, nor even any imperfect active power, but only the highest perfection) — in no way is generation in God postulated with the character of change or quasi-change. Rather, generation is postulated in God only insofar as it is production, that is, insofar as something acquires being from it. Thus, generation occurs without matter in God — and for this reason, matter nor quasi-matter is attributed to generation in God, but only the end-point, and this is either the total or primary (i.e., the adequate) end-point, namely that which is primarily produced in being, or it is the formal end-point, according to which the primary end-point formally acquires being’.

[Scotus, Ord. 1.5.2.un., n. 97 (Vat. 4: 61.14-62.10): ‘Ad propositum. Cum in divinis nihil ponendum sit imperfectionis, sed totum perfectionis, et mutatio de ratione sui dicit imperfectionem, quia potentialitatem, et hoc in mutabili, — et concomitanter etiam dicit imperfectionem potentiae activae in mutante, quia talis requirit necessario causam concausantem ad hoc ut producat (non autem fit ibi aliqua imperfectio, nec qualis est potentiae passivae, nec etiam aliqua imperfectio potentiae activae, sed summa perfectio), — nullo modo ponetur ibi generatio sub ratione mutationis nec quasi-mutationis, sed tantum generatio ut est productio, in quantum scilicet aliquid per eam capit esse, ponetur in divinis. Et ideo generatio ut est in divinis, est sine materia, — et ideo generationis ut est in divinis non assignabitur materia nec quasi-materia, sed tantum terminus: et hoc vel totalis sicut primus, id est adaequatus — qui scilicet primo producitur in esse — vel terminus formalis, secundum quem terminus primus formalis accipit esse’.]

From the Reportatio

‘The difference between generation, production, and change is clear, for change is an act [that happens to] something which is changeable by itself, so its start- and end-points are “not such” and “such”. Whence, that which now exists in different way than it did before is said to be changeable. But generation is not an act [that happens to] something changeable, but rather is, by itself, the way to [acquire] a form, just as perishing is the way [to become] deprived [of a form]. Thus, the start- and end-points of generation are “existence” and “not existing”, that is, [to have a substantial] form and [to be] deprived [of a substantial form]. Production, however, is the way not to exist or not to exist, nor the way to acquire or be deprived of a form, but rather the way for [something] to be generated or produced. So production has for its end-point not a form but rather the whole composite’.

[Scotus, Rep. 1.5.2.un., n. 75 (Wolter, 279-280): ‘Quod autem sit differentia inter generationem, productionem et mutationem, patet; quia mutatio est actus per se mutabilis et termini sunt non tale et tale. Unde illud dicitur mutabile quod se habet aliter nunc quam prius. Generatio autem non est actus mutabilis, sed est per se via ad formam, sicut corruptio ad privationem, et ita termini eius sunt esse et non esse, id est forma et privatio. Productio autem est via non ad esse vel non esse sive ad formam et privationem, sed ad genitum vel productum, ita quod habet pro per se termino non formam sed compositum’.]

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