5. Sources [S-]

Aristotle-“Philosophus” [Sa-]

Aquinas takes the view of Aristotle who describes the nature of a substance through its potencies and their objects [Pg-Nature-Potency-Act-Object], which define potencies as the end of their activity [Potency is ordain to its operation as to its end (2)]. This helps the two show how speculative and practical intellects are one [Speculative and practical intellects are not diverse (2)].

      This was in response to Plato, who said that immaterial Ideas were apprehended directly as object [SPl-Om-Not-formas Platonicae separatas a materia (6)]. For Aristotle, all human knowledge originates in [Pi-Originates in the senses] and depends on the senses [Depends on the senses]. For Plato, all sense knowledge is per accidens [SPl-Senses are only per accidens excitations of the intellect].

      To understand the possible intellect [Nature of the possible intellect], Aristotle commonalities between senses and intellect [Method: compare intellect to senses]: both are passive respect to their objects [Intellect: passive potency (2)]; for both have immanent operations [Sentire et intelligere are immanent actions] where the object in act is the potency in act [Sensibile in actu est sensus in actu, et intelligibile…]; both make man all things [Man is quodam omnia per intellectum et sensum (4)], as both are universal [Pi-Universal] and infallible respect to their object [Pi-Infallible / Ps-Infallible / Always true circa quod quid est / Always true circa proper object (3) / No falsity in knowing quidditates simplices (2)]. The possible intellect is universal like a tabula rasa [Universal like a tabula rasa].

      Yet there are clear differences between the intellect and sense: sense objects are divisible, whereas intellectual objects indivisible [Pi-Indivisible / “Intelligentiam indivisibilium” apprehends simple quidditas (6)]; sensibles are material and corporal / intelligibles are immaterial and incorporeal [Pi- incorporeal / Intellect is  incorporeal / Pi-Separable from matter]; sensibles, exist outside the soul, intelligibles within it [Om-Universals (exist in the soul; singular sense-objects exist outside)]; excess of sense-object corrupts, not of the intellect’s [Senses corrupt but intellect does not]. So, material substances are not intelligible in act [Material substances are not intelligible in act], so the senses cannot know quod quid est [Om-Quod quid est, not sensible (8)], but the intellect can [O-Quod quid est (2)].

      The role that the senses carry out is to present the intellect with its object [Senses must present the object to the intellect (2)]. That is why nothing is understood without the sense-phantasm [Nothing understood without phantasms (5)]. This is why phantasms are objects [Om-Phantasms] or quasi-objects [Phantasms, quasi-objects (3)] , as sensible object are to the senses [Om-Phantasms sicut sensibilia (3)], or as colors are to the sight [Om-Phantasms sicut colores (8)]. Since the phantasm is only intelligible in potency, it must be made to be in act by the agent intellect [Pi-In act (per lumen intellectus agentis)]. The agent intellect does this by abstracting the substantial form [Om-Substantial form] from the material phantasm the universal [Universals must be abstracted from individuating matter], which is the universal quidditas in things, not the intelligible species [Om-Not-intelligible species]. The agent intellect then is like a light [Agent intellect: like a habit or light] that makes the object intelligible [Possible intellect: ut existens ipsa intelligibilia not ut faciens ad factum (agent intellect)].

      Aristotle identifies the intellect’s second operation as composition and division, where there is truth and falsity [Veritas et falsitas is in the mind (9)], so verum is the intellect’s object in composition and division, not in the senses or in the first operation of the intellect [Om-Verum, not sensible / Veritas not found in first operation, but in second]. As quid is the first in the first operation and the principle of non-contradition is first in the second [Principle of non-contradiction is primo in the intellect’s second operation]. So all first principles must resolve into the object ens or quid [First indemonstrable principles is founded on Om-Ens / First principles resolve into quod quid est], as does resolving the notions of “one” and “many” [“One” is prior to “many”]. It is the agent intellect’s ability to make the object intelligible by separating it from matter gives rise to distinct genera of objects of science [Distinguishes genera by its separation from matter]. The intellect’s object is still the quidditas of material things, which includes universal matter [Quidditas rei includes universal matter]. As a habit, science is an actus primus [Habit is actus primus] giving a good disposition to the intellect [Habit is a good or bad disposition (2)]. These habits—like the intellect itself—are not known directly [Om-Intellect itself per intelligible species (2)].

      Aquinas attributes several expressions for the intellect’s object to Aristotle, such as quid [Om-Quid (3)], quod quid est [Om-Quod quid est (9)], quidditas rei [Om-Quidditas rei (3) / Om-Quidditas rei sensibilis], essence of things [Om-Essentia rei (2)], nature, of things [Om-Natura rei] or definition. He says Aristotle uses substance as object when defending the Eucharist or seeing God in heaven [Om-Substantia (2) / O-Substantia rei]. Verum too is the intellect’s object [Om-Verum] and thus bonum intellectus [Om-Verum is bonum intellectus (7)], which naturally follows from a thing being the same in being and in truth [A thing’s disposition is the same in being and in truth] and from God being the first cause of being and truth [God is prima causa essendi et veritatis].

      It follows from Aristotle that something is knowable to the extent that it is in act [Something is knowable to the extent that it is in act (7)], which is to the extent that it is ens [Something is knowable to the extent that it is ens (2)]. Yet this ens is not a genus [Ens is not a genus].

Platonists: Plato [SPl-] / Proclus [SPr-] / Dionysius [SDio-] / Augustine [SAug-]

Plato held that man knows separated forms [SPl-Om-Not-formas Platonicae separatas a materia (6)]. The Platonists hold that bonum or unum is prior to ens [SPl-“Bonum” and “unum” prior to “ens”], but Aquinas does not. For Proclus, all rational knowledge is of ens, the intellect’s first object [SPr-All knowledge is of entia]. Dionysius reminds us that man comes to know God as First cause through the senses [SDio-Om-God through sensible forms].

      Aquinas uses insights from Augustine to verify that our intellect’s object is the essence of things [SAug-Om-Essentia rei] and that verum is what is [SAug-Verum is what is (2)].

Avicenna [SAvi-]

Aquinas agreed with Avicenna that the term “potency” comes from our experience of human capacities [“Potency” comes from human power] and that corporal organs were means used by senses to acquire its object [An organ is medium between a corporal power and its object]. But for Avicenna, the senses were only dispositions for knowledge [Senses are only dispositions of intellection], the possible intellect did not retain intelligible forms [The possible intellect does not retain intelligible forms], and the agent intellect was a separate substance, one for all men [Agent intellect: separate substance]. Yet Aquinas saw truth in Avicenna’s insights, that of non ens nothing can be said [Nothing can be said of absolute non-ens], which leads to ens et essentia being first in the intellect [Primo intellectus est ens et essentia (3)]. Avicenna’s reflection on actus essendi [ “Ens” comes from actus essendi, “res” from quidditas] and verum [Veritas is a property of a thing’s esse—verum is the indivision of esse and what is] also aided Aquinas.

Averroes-“Commentator [SAve-]

Although acknowledging Averroes’ terminology for the intellect’s first [First operation, “the intellect’s imagination”] and second operation [Second operation, “fides”], and how the light of the agent intellect acted like a medium quo [Light of the agent intellect acts like a medium], thus making the intellect a kind of infinite whereby it can know an infinite of singulars through the universal [Man’s intellect is infinite, knowing the universal it knows an infinite of singulars]. Yet Aquinas took him to task on the subject of the unity of the intellect [Unity of all human intellects (2)].

Avempace [SAvem-]

Speculative science can helps us understand separated substances [Speculative science]