Solutio dubij aduersus ea quae dicta sunt. Cap. VII.

The Resolution of a Doubt about what has been Said Ch. 7

SEd aduersus haec dubium oritur; si enim abstrahere esset munus intellectus patibilis, ergo esset pati, quia officium intellectus patibilis est pati; id tamen videtur esse falsum, & repugnare propriae huius vocis significationi, nam abstractio actionem potius, quam passionem significat:quod argumentum mihi videtur Auerroem mouisse ad dicendum abstractionem esse operationem intellectus agentis.Ad hoc dicimus, verum quidem illud esse, quod ex vi vocabuli sumitur, abstractionem esse actionem, sed negandum esse, patibilis intellectus officium esse solum patij quia licet Arist. dixerit intelligere esse pati, [1019 A] quia secundum originem est pati, & facilius ad cognoscendam eius naturam ducimur per pati, quam per agere, tamen intelligere est etiam agere; nam cognoscere non in sola specierum receptione, quae passio eft, consistit, sed etiam in receptarum iudicatione, qua est actio;quare patibilis intellectus speciem quidem recipiendo patitur, sed eam iudicando agit, & ita agendo dicitur abstrahere, quo sit, vt intellectio dicatur actio immanens, quia sit ab ipso patibili intellectu, & ipsomet recipitur.
 
 
 
 
  
 
[B] Hoc significare voluit Alexander in loco ab Auerroe citato, quando dixit intellectum humanum magis declarari per agere quam per pati; hoc est, eius naturam ratione operationis magis in actione quam in passione esse constitutam: quem locum non intelligens Auerroes traxit ea verba ad intellectum agentem, quasi Alexander dicere voluerit intellectum agentem obtinere in anima humana praecipuum locum, & patibili [C] intellectui antecellere non quidem tempore, sed dignitate, quia nobilius est agere, quam pati.
 
Attamen Alexander ibi non de illa actione loquitur, quae attribuitur intellectui agenti, sed de illa, quae est propria intellectus patibilis, & est speciei recepta iudicatio; vult enim ijs verbis significare cognitionem magis in iudicatione, quam in receptione consistere: nam si receptiо tempore iudicationem praecederet, vtique clarum esset intellectionem esse formaliter iudicationem, non receptionem, nisi antecedenter;
 
  
 
[D] sed quum simul tempore receptio, & iudicatio fiant, dicimus intellectionem esse simul passionem, & actionem, sed magis in actione, quam in passione consistere. Ex his colligimus errorem illorum, qui dicunt officium esse intellectus agentis producere in intellectu patibili actum intelligendi; hoc enim falsum est, quoniam actus intelligendi producitur ab ipsomet intellectu patibili, dum receptam speciem iudicat; [E] agens vero non iudicat, neque iudiciam producit, sed id solum praestat, quod antea diximus; iunctus enim phantasmati ipsum aptum reddit ad speciem quidditatis in intellectu patibili imprimendam:
 
  
 

propterea si intellectio esset sola receptio in intellectu patibili, absque dubio dicendum esset ab intellectu agente vna cum phantasmate produci actum intelligendi in intellectu nostro, quum species impressa idem sit, quod intellectio: sed quoniam intellectio non [F] est sola receptio, sed etiam iudicatio, imo est praecipue iudicatio, & haec fit a solo intellectu patiente, siquidem ipse ad iudicandam speciem est sibi sufficiens ex propria sua natura sine ope intellectus agentis; ideo non dicimus intellectum agentem producere intellectionem in intellectu patiente, hoc enim neque solus facit, neque phantasmatibus iunctus, nisi vt causare [1020 A] mota, & antecedens; causa enim proxima, & aequata est ipsemet patibilis intellectus, qui sua natura speciem receptam iudicat.
 

HOwever, a doubt arises about this: for, if the function of the passive intellect were to abstract, to “abstract” would then indicate being passive. But this would seem to be false and to conflict with the proper signification of the term, since “abstraction” signifies action rather than affection. It seems to me that Averroes proposes this argument in order to say that abstraction is an operation of the agent intellect.In response to this, we say that the former is of course true, taken as it is from the force of the term, that abstraction signifies an action. But it should be denied that the role of the passive intellect is only to be acted upon, since, although Aristotle said that to understand is to be acted upon, since, by its origination, it is to be acted upon,  and we are led to understand its nature more easily through its passivity than by its activity: for, understanding does not consist of the reception of a form alone, which is a state of being acted upon, but also in the judgment of its received forms whereby it is in act. Therefore, the passive intellect is indeed acted upon when it receives; however, it acts when it judges and thus is said to abstract when it acts. It is by the same reasoning that the act of understanding is considered an immanent act, since it is accomplished uniquely by the passive intellect and any form is received by it alone.

Alexander wanted to indicate this in the place cited by Averroes, when he said that the human intellect is more revealed by action than being acted upon-which is to say that, its nature, by reason of its activity, since it is more based upon acting than being acted upon. Averroes, not understanding this text, adapted these words to the agent intellect as though Alexander intended to say that the agent intellect holds a primacy of place in the human soul, while the passive intellect surpassing the passive intellect not merely in time but in rank or worth, since it is more noble to act than to be acted upon.

However, Alexander does not speak there about that action which is attributed to the agent intellect, but about the activity proper to the passive intellect and is the the judgment of a received species. For, he wishes to indicate by those words that cognition consists more in judgment than in reception, since, if reception were to precede judgment in time, then certainly it would be clear that the act of understanding would, in a formal sense, be judgment, not reception, except antecedently

But since reception and judgment occur together at the same time, we say that acting and being acted upon happen at the same time, but that it consists more in action than in passion. From these considerations, we may gather the error of those who say that the proper activity of the agent intellect is to produce in the passive intellect the act of understanding. For this is false, since the act of understanding is produced by the passive intellect itself, and it judges as soon as it has received an intelligible form. But the agent does not judge, nor does it produce judgment, but it alone stands apart as we said earlier. For, when it has been joined with a phantasm it renders itself apt to be impressed upon the passive intellect as a quidditative form.

Therefore, if the act of understanding were merely a reception in the passive intellect, without doubt it could be said that the act of understanding in our intellect would be produced by the agent intellect with a phantasm, since an impressed form is the same as the act of understanding. But [1] because the act of understanding is not reception alone, but also involves judgment-and  is, in fact, judgment above all-and arises from the passive intellect alone; and, since [2] it really is, in fact, sufficient by itself to make a judgment out of the resources of its own nature without the resources of the agent intellect, we do not [3], therefore, say that the agent intellect produces the act of understanding in the patient intellect, since it neither acts alone, nor when joined to phantasms, unless it is to cause movement and antecedently. For the passive intellect is itself the proximate and adequate cause, which, by its nature, judges a received, intelligible form.

Advertisements