Thomas d'Aquin en questions

 
 
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 Quodammodo 4
Auteur: Stagire 
Date:   12-12-2017 20:22

i) In Physic., lib. 3 l. 5 n. 9 — Dicit ergo primo quod non est inconveniens actum unius esse in altero, quia doctio est actus docentis, ab eo tamen in alterum tendens continue et sine aliqua interruptione: unde idem actus est huius, idest agentis, ut a quo; et tamen est in patiente ut receptus in eo. Esset autem inconveniens si actus unius eo modo quo est actus eius, esset in alio.

316. He says in the first place that there is nothing wrong with an act of one thing being in something else, for teaching is an act of the teacher, an act continuously tending from him into someone else without interruption; hence, this act which is the agent’s as being “from which” is the very one which is in the patient as received in him. But it would be wrong if the act of the one were the act of the other in precisely the same way.

j) In Physic., lib. 3 l. 5 n. 10 — Deinde cum dicit: neque unum duobus etc., solvit aliud inconveniens, scilicet quod idem actus esset duorum. Et dicit quod nihil prohibet unum actum esse duorum, ita quod non sit unus et idem secundum rationem, sed unus secundum rem, ut dictum est supra quod eadem est distantia duorum ad unum et unius ad duo, et eius quod est in potentia ad agens et e converso. Sic enim idem actus secundum rem est duorum secundum diversam rationem: agentis quidem secundum quod est ab eo, patientis autem secundum quod est in ipso.

317. Then he solves another difficulty; namely, that there would be one and the same act for two diverse things. And he says that there is nothing to prevent one act belonging to two things so long as it is not one and the same in aspect but only in reality, as was already explained above (no. 307) when it was pointed out that the distance from one to two and from two to one are the same; and of that which is in potency looking toward the agent and conversely. For in these cases the same one reality is assigned to two things according to different aspects: it is assigned to the agent inasmuch as it is from it and to the patient inasmuch as it is in it.

k) In Physic., lib. 3 l. 5 n. 11 — Ad alia autem tria inconvenientia, quorum unum ex altero deducebatur, respondet ordine retrogrado. Primo scilicet ad illud quod ultimo inducebatur, ut magis inconveniens. Sic igitur tertio respondet ad quintum inconveniens. Et dicit quod non est necessarium quod docens addiscat, vel quod agens patiatur, etsi agere et pati sint idem; dum tamen dicamus quod non sunt idem sicut ea quorum ratio est una, ut tunica et indumentum, sed sicut ea quae sunt idem subiecto et diversa secundum rationem, ut via a Thebis ad Athenas et ab Athenis ad Thebas, ut dictum est prius. Non enim oportet quod omnia eadem conveniant iis quae sunt quocumque modo idem; sed solum illis quae sunt idem subiecto vel re et ratione. Et ideo, etiam dato quod agere et pati sint idem, cum non sint idem ratione, ut dictum est, non sequitur quod cuicumque convenit agere, quod ei conveniat pati.

318. The three remaining difficulties of which one followed logically from the other he takes care of in reverse order. He disposes first of the last difficulty deduced, because it is so evidently improper. Thus he is now, thirdly, settling the fifth difficulty. He says that it is not necessary to say that one who is teaching is learning or that an agent is being acted upon just because to act and to be acted upon are the same, as long as we understand that they are not the same in the way that dress and clothing are the same (for these are the same in motion) but in the way, as said above (nos. 307, 318), that the road from Thebes to Athens and from Athens to Thebes are the same, i.e., as being the same as to subject but differing as to notion. For it is not necessary that things which are somehow the same should be the same in all ways; that is true only of things that are the same in subject or reality and also in notion. And therefore even granting that to act and to be acted upon are the same, yet since they are not the same in notion, it will not follow that it is the same for an object to act and to be acted upon.

l) In Physic., lib. 3 l. 5 n. 12 — Deinde cum dicit: at vero neque si doctio etc., respondet ad quartum inconveniens. Et dicit quod non sequitur, etiam si doctio et doctrina addiscentis essent idem, quod docere et addiscere essent idem; quia doctio et doctrina dicuntur in abstracto, docere autem et discere in concreto. Unde applicantur ad fines vel ad terminos, secundum quos sumitur diversa ratio actionis et passionis. Sicut licet dicamus quod sit idem spatium distantium aliquorum, abstracte accipiendo; si tamen applicemus ad terminos spatii, sicut cum dicimus distare hinc illuc et inde huc, non est unum et idem.

319. Then he answers the fourth difficulty. And he says that even though teaching and the doctrine of the learner were the same, it does not follow that to teach and to learn are the same; because teaching and doctrine are abstract terms, whereas to teach and to learn are concrete. Hence they are being applied to ends or to terms which serve as the basis for the difference in notion between action and passion. For just as the distance between two points is one and the same space in the abstract, yet if we apply it to two concrete places it is not one and the same, as when we say that there is a distance between here and there and between there and here.

m) In Physic., lib. 3 l. 5 n. 13 — Deinde cum dicit: omnino autem dicere est etc., respondet ad tertium inconveniens destruens hanc illationem, qua concludebatur quod si actio et passio sunt unus motus, quod actio et passio sunt idem. Et dicit quod finaliter dicendum est, quod non sequitur quod actio et passio sint idem, vel doctio et doctrina, sed quod motus cui inest utrumque eorum, sit idem. Qui quidem motus secundum unam rationem est actio, et secundum aliam rationem est passio. Alterum enim est secundum rationem esse actum huius ut in hoc, et esse actum huius ut ab hoc. Motus autem dicitur actio secundum quod est actus agentis ut ab hoc: dicitur autem passio secundum quod est actus patientis ut in hoc. Et sic patet quod licet motus sit idem moventis et moti, propter hoc quod abstrahit ab utraque ratione, tamen actio et passio differunt propter hoc, quod has diversas rationes in sua significatione includunt. Ex hoc autem apparet quod, cum motus abstrahat a ratione actionis et passionis, non continetur in praedicamento actionis neque in praedicamento passionis, ut quidam dixerunt.

320. Then he answers the third difficulty by destroying the inference that if action and passion are one motion, they are the same. And he says it necessary to say finally that it does not follow that action and passion are the same or that teaching and learning are, but rather that the motion in which both are is the same. This motion as a matter of fact is action from one viewpoint and passion from another. For it is one thing as to notion to be an act of a thing as being in it and another to be the act of a thing as being from it. Now motion is called “action” inasmuch as it is an act of the agent as from the agent; it is called “passion” inasmuch as it is an act of the patient as in the patient. Thus it is clear that although the motion of the mover and of the moved is the same thing due to the fact that motion as such abstracts from these aspects, yet action and passion differ due to the fact that these aspects are included in their signification. From this it is also apparent that since motion abstracts from the notion of action and passion, it belongs neither in the predicament “action” nor in the predicament “passion,” as some supposed.

n) In Physic., lib. 3 l. 5 n. 14 — Sed restat circa hoc duplex dubitatio. Prima quidem quia, si actio et passio sint unus motus, et non differunt nisi secundum rationem, ut dictum est, videtur quod non debeant esse duo praedicamenta, cum praedicamenta sint genera rerum. Item, si motus vel est actio vel passio, non invenietur motus in substantia, qualitate, quantitate et ubi, ut supra dictum est; sed solum continebitur in actione et passione.

321. But two difficulties still remain with respect to this. The first is this: if action and passion are one motion, and they differ merely in thought, as said above (no. 317), it seems that they should not be listed as two distinct predicaments, since the predicaments are genera of things. Secondly, if motion is either action or passion, motion will not be found in substance, quality, quantity, and place, as said above (no. 286), but only in action and passion.

o) In Physic., lib. 3 l. 5 n. 15 — Ad horum igitur evidentiam sciendum est quod ens dividitur in decem praedicamenta non univoce, sicut genus in species, sed secundum diversum modum essendi. Modi autem essendi proportionales sunt modis praedicandi. Praedicando enim aliquid de aliquo altero, dicimus hoc esse illud: unde et decem genera entis dicuntur decem praedicamenta. Tripliciter autem fit omnis praedicatio. Unus quidem modus est, quando de aliquo subiecto praedicatur id quod pertinet ad essentiam eius, ut cum dico Socrates est homo, vel homo est animal; et secundum hoc accipitur praedicamentum substantiae. Alius autem modus est quo praedicatur de aliquo id quod non est de essentia eius, tamen inhaeret ei. Quod quidem vel se habet ex parte materiae subiecti, et secundum hoc est praedicamentum quantitatis (nam quantitas proprie consequitur materiam: unde et Plato posuit magnum ex parte materiae); aut consequitur formam, et sic est praedicamentum qualitatis (unde et qualitates fundantur super quantitatem, sicut color in superficie, et figura in lineis vel in superficiebus); aut se habet per respectum ad alterum, et sic est praedicamentum relationis (cum enim dico homo est pater, non praedicatur de homine aliquid absolutum, sed respectus qui ei inest ad aliquid extrinsecum). Tertius autem modus praedicandi est, quando aliquid extrinsecum de aliquo praedicatur per modum alicuius denominationis: sic enim et accidentia extrinseca de substantiis praedicantur; non tamen dicimus quod homo sit albedo, sed quod homo sit albus. Denominari autem ab aliquo extrinseco invenitur quidem quodammodo communiter in omnibus, et aliquo modo specialiter in iis quae ad homines pertinent tantum. Communiter autem invenitur aliquid denominari ab aliquo extrinseco, vel secundum rationem causae, vel secundum rationem mensurae; denominatur enim aliquid causatum et mensuratum ab aliquo exteriori. Cum autem quatuor sint genera causarum, duo ex his sunt partes essentiae, scilicet materia et forma: unde praedicatio quae posset fieri secundum haec duo, pertinet ad praedicamentum substantiae, utpote si dicamus quod homo est rationalis, et homo est corporeus. Causa autem finalis non causat seorsum aliquid ab agente: intantum enim finis habet rationem causae, inquantum movet agentem. Remanet igitur sola causa agens a qua potest denominari aliquid sicut ab exteriori. Sic igitur secundum quod aliquid denominatur a causa agente, est praedicamentum passionis, nam pati nihil est aliud quam suscipere aliquid ab agente: secundum autem quod e converso denominatur causa agens ab effectu, est praedicamentum actionis, nam actio est actus ab agente in aliud, ut supra dictum est. Mensura autem quaedam est extrinseca et quaedam intrinseca. Intrinseca quidem sicut propria longitudo uniuscuiusque et latitudo et profunditas: ab his ergo denominatur aliquid sicut ab intrinseco inhaerente; unde pertinet ad praedicamentum quantitatis. Exteriores autem mensurae sunt tempus et locus: secundum igitur quod aliquid denominatur a tempore, est praedicamentum quando; secundum autem quod denominatur a loco, est praedicamentum ubi et situs, quod addit supra ubi ordinem partium in loco. Hoc autem non erat necessarium addi ex parte temporis, cum ordo partium in tempore in ratione temporis importetur: est enim tempus numerus motus secundum prius et posterius. Sic igitur aliquid dicitur esse quando vel ubi per denominationem a tempore vel a loco. Est autem aliquid speciale in hominibus. In aliis enim animalibus natura dedit sufficienter ea quae ad conservationem vitae pertinent, ut cornua ad defendendum, corium grossum et pilosum ad tegendum, ungulas vel aliquid huiusmodi ad incedendum sine laesione. Et sic cum talia animalia dicuntur armata vel vestita vel calceata, quodammodo non denominantur ab aliquo extrinseco, sed ab aliquibus suis partibus. Unde hoc refertur in his ad praedicamentum substantiae: ut puta si diceretur quod homo est manuatus vel pedatus. Sed huiusmodi non poterant dari homini a natura, tum quia non conveniebant subtilitati complexionis eius, tum propter multiformitatem operum quae conveniunt homini inquantum habet rationem, quibus aliqua determinata instrumenta accommodari non poterant a natura: sed loco omnium inest homini ratio, qua exteriora sibi praeparat loco horum quae aliis animalibus intrinseca sunt. Unde cum homo dicitur armatus vel vestitus vel calceatus, denominatur ab aliquo extrinseco, quod non habet rationem neque causae, neque mensurae: unde est speciale praedicamentum, et dicitur habitus. Sed attendendum est quod etiam aliis animalibus hoc praedicamentum attribuitur, non secundum quod in sua natura considerantur, sed secundum quod in hominis usum veniunt; ut si dicamus equum phaleratum vel sellatum seu armatum.

322. To settle this matter it must be remembered that being is divided into the ten predicaments not univocally, as a genus into its species, but according to the diverse manner of existing. Now the modes of existing are parallel to the modes of predicating. For in predicating something of something, we say that this is that; that is why the ten genera of being are called “predicaments.” Now every predication takes place in one of three ways. One way is to predicate of a subject that which pertains to its essence, as when I say “Socrates is man” or “Man is animal.” According to this the predicament of “substance” is taken. Another way is to predicate of a subject something that is not of its essence but yet inheres in the subject, This inherent thing may be traceable to the matter in the subject, in which case one has the predicament of “quantity” (for quantity is properly a result of matter; for which reason Plato traced the “large” to matter); or it is traceable to the form and in this case, there is the predicament of “quality” (for which reason qualities are founded on quality, as color in a surface, and figure in lines or in a plane); or the predication may be due to a relation existing between subject and something else and thus we have the predicament of “relation”, (for when I say, “The man is a father,” it is not something absolute that is predicated of the man but a relation in him to something without). The third mode of predicating is when something outside the subject is predicated after the manner of denomination; this allows even extrinsic accidents to be predicated of substance; but yet we do not say that man is whiteness but that man is white. To be denominated by something extrinsic can occur, generally speaking, to all things in one way or another, and in a special way in those matters that refer only to man. Speaking generally, a thing can be denominated by something extrinsic either according to the notion of cause or according to that of measure. For something is denominated “caused” or “measured” on account of its relationship to something extrinsic. Now there are four genera of causes, two of which are parts of the essence, namely, matter and form; hence any predication based on these two pertains to the predicament of “substance,” as when I say that man is rational and man is corporeal. In regard to the other two causes, the final cause does not cause separately from the agent; for the end is a cause only insofar as it influences the agent. Therefore, the only cause according to which a thing can be denominated something as based on something extrinsic is the agent cause. Consequently, when something is denominated from the agent cause, it is the predicament of “passion,” for to undergo (pati) is nothing but the undergoing of something from an agent; on the other hand, if the agent cause is denominated something on account of its effect, one has the predicament of “action,” for action is an act from the agent into something else, as stated above (no. 316). In regard to measures, it will be either intrinsic or extrinsic. An intrinsic measure would be a thing’s own length and width and depth: in these cases a subject is being denominated something by reason of what inheres intrinsically; hence this pertains to the predicament quantity. The extrinsic measures are time and place. It is the predicament “when”, whenever something is denominated by time; when it is denominated by place, it is the predicament “where” or the predicament “situs”, which adds to “where” the order of the parts in place. Such an order of parts is not considered in regard to the measure which is time, for the order of parts in time in time is already implied in the notion of time; for time is the number of motion according to the order of the “before” and the “after” [its parts]. Thus it is through denomination from time or place that something is said to be “when” or “where”. There is a special predicament for men. For in other animals nature provided the requirements for preserving life, such as horns for defense, a tough and wooly hide as a covering, claws or the like for proceeding without harm. Hence, when by reason of this equipment animals are said to be “armed” or “covered” or “shod,” they are somehow so called not by reason of something; extrinsic but of something intrinsic, which is part of them. Hence, such are referred to the predicament of “substance,” as the same would be if man were said to be “endowed with hands” or “feet.” But the other things could not be endowed upon man by nature, both because they would be out of keeping with the subtlety of his complexion and because reason makes man capable of an enormous number of works for the performance of which nature could not have endowed him with specific instruments. In the place of all these instruments man has reason, which he can use to make for himself the things that are intrinsic to other animals. So when a man is said to be armed or clothed or shod, he is denominated thus by reason of something extrinsic to him that is neither a cause nor a measure; hence it is located in a special predicament called “habitus.” But we should not fail to note that this predicament is in certain matters used also for other animals not inasmuch as they are considered in their nature but insofar as they are put at the service of man: thus we that a horse is caparisoned or saddled or armed.

p) In Physic., lib. 3 l. 5 n. 16 — Sic igitur patet quod licet motus sit unus, tamen praedicamenta quae sumuntur secundum motum, sunt duo, secundum quod a diversis rebus exterioribus fiunt praedicamentales denominationes. Nam alia res est agens, a qua sicut ab exteriori, sumitur per modum denominationis praedicamentum passionis: et alia res est patiens a qua denominatur agens. Et sic patet solutio primae dubitationis.

323. This makes it clear that although motion is one, yet there are two predicaments which are based on motion depending on the different external things according to which the predicamental denominations are made. For an agent is one thing from which as from something external the predicament of “passion” is taken; and the patient is some other thing from which something in denominated an agent. This solves the first difficulty (mentioned in 321).

q) In Physic., lib. 3 l. 5 n. 17 — Secunda autem dubitatio de facili solvitur. Nam ratio motus completur non solum per id quod est de motu in rerum natura, sed etiam per id quod ratio apprehendit. De motu enim in rerum natura nihil aliud est quam actus imperfectus, qui est inchoatio quaedam actus perfecti in eo quod movetur: sicut in eo quod dealbatur, iam incipit esse aliquid albedinis. Sed ad hoc quod illud imperfectum habeat rationem motus, requiritur ulterius quod intelligamus ipsum quasi medium inter duo; quorum praecedens comparatur ad ipsum sicut potentia ad actum, unde motus dicitur actus; consequens vero comparatur ad ipsum sicut perfectum ad imperfectum vel actus ad potentiam, propter quod dicitur actus existentis in potentia, ut supra dictum est. Unde quodcumque imperfectum accipiatur ut non in aliud perfectum tendens, dicitur terminus motus et non erit motus secundum quem aliquid moveatur; utpote si aliquid incipiat dealbari, et statim alteratio interrumpatur. Quantum igitur ad id quod in rerum natura est de motu, motus ponitur per reductionem in illo genere quod terminat motum, sicut imperfectum reducitur ad perfectum, ut supra dictum est. Sed quantum ad id quod ratio apprehendit circa motum, scilicet esse medium quoddam inter duos terminos, sic iam implicatur ratio causae et effectus: nam reduci aliquid de potentia in actum, non est nisi ab aliqua causa agente. Et secundum hoc motus pertinet ad praedicamentum actionis et passionis: haec enim duo praedicamenta accipiuntur secundum rationem causae agentis et effectus, ut dictum est.

324. The second doubt is easy to solve. For the idea of motion depends not only on that which pertains to motion in reality but also on that which reason apprehends. In reality, motion is nothing more than an imperfect act which is a sort of beginning of a perfect act in that which is being moved; thus, in that which is becoming white, some whiteness has begun to be. But in order that what is imperfect have the aspect of motion it is further required that we understand it as a medium between two: the preceding one of them is compared to motion as potency to act (whence motion is called act); the consequent one is compared to motion as the perfect to the imperfect or as act to potency, wherefore motion is called “the act of a being that exists in potency,” as we said above (no. 285). But anything imperfect, if it is not considered to be tending on to something other as perfect, is called the terminus of motion and one will not have a motion according to which something is being moved; as, for example, if something should start to become white and then the alteration was immediately stopped. Therefore, in regard to what there is of motion in external reality, motion is placed reductively in that genus which terminates the motion, as the imperfect is reduced to the perfect, as stated above (no. 281). But in regard to what reason apprehends about motion, namely, that it is midway between two-terms, here the notion of cause and effect are brought in; because for something to be reduced from potency to act an agent cause is required. From this aspect, motion pertains to the predicaments of “action” and “passion”; for these two predicaments are based on the notions of acting cause and of effect, as was said above (no. 322).

r) In Physic., lib. 3 l. 5 n. 18 — Deinde cum dicit: quid quidem igitur motus etc., definit motum in particulari: et dicit quod dictum est quid sit motus et in universali et in particulari; quia ex hoc quod dictum est de definitione motus in universali, manifestum esse poterit quomodo definiatur in particulari. Si enim motus est actus mobilis secundum quod huiusmodi, sequitur quod alteratio sit actus alterabilis secundum quod huiusmodi: et sic de aliis. Et quia positum fuit in dubitatione, utrum motus sit actus moventis vel mobilis, et ostensum est quod est actus activi ut ab hoc, et passivi ut in hoc; ad tollendum omnem dubitationem aliquantulum notius dicamus quod motus est actus potentiae activi et passivi. Et sic etiam poterimus in particulari dicere quod aedificatio est actus aedificatoris et aedificabilis inquantum huiusmodi: et simile est de medicatione et aliis motibus.

325. Then he defines motion more particularly. He says that we have pointed out what motion is both in general and in particular—because from what was said about the definition of motion in general is clear how it can be defined in particular. For if motion is the act of the mobile as such, it follows that alteration is the act of the, alterable as alterable, and so on for other particular kinds of motion. And because there was a doubt whether motion is an act of the mover or of the mobile and we showed (no. 320) that it is an act of the active as from it and of the passive as in it, then to remove any further doubts we can say somewhat more explicitly that motion is an act of the potency of that which is active and of that which is passive. In this way we could have said that building is an act of the “builder” and of the “buildable as buildable”; the same is true of healing and of other motions.

Ce commentaire est long parce que Thomas d’Aquin va dans les détails de l’argument proposé par Aristote. De l’intelligé, en tant qu’intelligible, l’entéléchie est l’intellection subie dans l’intellect patient, alors que l’intellect agent agit en fouillant l’intelligible. Et, en lisant le commentaire de Thomas d’Aquin, chacune des étapes de la fouille est bien marquée.

L’exploration ici conduite ne concerne que le «quodammodo» et le «fit» du mode selon lequel la puissance et l’acte sont en quelque sort une unité, si bien que ce qui est en puissance vient en acte. L’étape où on en est rendu considère le mobile mû, son entéléchie subie, et le moteur mouvant. Pour ce faire, on peut se limiter à l’examen de ces passages :

a) In Physic., lib. 3 l. 5 n. 7 — «Est autem manifestum ex supra determinatis quod actio et passio non sunt duo motus, sed unus et idem motus: secundum enim quod est ab agente dicitur actio, secundum autem quod est in patiente dicitur passio.», Thomas d’Aquin soutient qu’il est manifeste que l’action et la passion ne sont pas deux mouvements, mais un même mouvement. Selon que le mouvement provient de l’agent moteur, il est dit action ; selon qu’il est dans le patient, il est dit passion.

b) In Physic., lib. 3 l. 5 n. 10 — «Nihil prohibet unum actum esse duorum, ita quod non sit unus et idem secundum rationem, sed unus secundum rem, ut dictum est supra quod eadem est distantia duorum ad unum et unius ad duo, et eius quod est in potentia ad agens et e converso. Sic enim idem actus secundum rem est duorum secundum diversam rationem: agentis quidem secundum quod est ab eo, patientis autem secundum quod est in ipso.», Thomas d’Aquin soutient que rien n’empêche qu’un acte soit double, pourvu que ce ne soit pas un selon une même notion, mais un selon une réalité (rem), comme pour la distance entre A et B qui est la même réalité bien qu’elle diffère selon qu’elle est prise en allant de A à B ou selon qu’elle est prise en allant de B à A. Il en est de même de l’acte considéré du patient à l’agent ou considéré de l’agent au patient. Dans de tels cas, un même acte est connu selon diverses notions : celle d’agent, selon qu’il provient de lui (secundum quod est ab eo) ; celle de patient, selon qu’il est en lui (secundum quod est in ipso).

c) In Physic., lib. 3 l. 5 n. 13 — «Alterum enim est secundum rationem esse actum huius ut in hoc, et esse actum huius ut ab hoc. Motus autem dicitur actio secundum quod est actus agentis ut ab hoc: dicitur autem passio secundum quod est actus patientis ut in hoc. Et sic patet quod licet motus sit idem moventis et moti, propter hoc quod abstrahit ab utraque ratione, tamen actio et passio differunt propter hoc, quod has diversas rationes in sua significatione includunt. Ex hoc autem apparet quod, cum motus abstrahat a ratione actionis et passionis, non continetur in praedicamento actionis neque in praedicamento passionis, ut quidam dixerunt.», Thomas d’Aquin affirme qu’il s’impose de distinguer l’acte du patient ou l’acte selon «ut in hoc», soit la passion, et l’acte de l’agent ou l’acte selon «ut ab hoc», soit l’action. Sauf que le mouvement du mouvant et du mû est le même puisqu’il se sépare des notions diverses que sont celle de l’action et celle de la passion, ce pourquoi il n’est contenu ni dans le prédicament «action» ni dans le prédicament «passion».

C’est ainsi que s’explique le «regulatur» selon lequel la science subalternante règle la science subalternée, comme Thomas d’Aquin l’écrit à De veritate, q. 15 a. 2 ad 15.

Cette séparation de la notion de mouvement, qui n’est contenu ni dans le prédicament «action» ni dans le prédicament «passion», conduit Thomas d’Aquin à écrire, à In Physic., lib. 3 l. 5 n. 17 — «De motu enim in rerum natura nihil aliud est quam actus imperfectus, qui est inchoatio quaedam actus perfecti in eo quod movetur. Sed ad hoc quod illud imperfectum habeat rationem motus, requiritur ulterius quod intelligamus ipsum quasi medium inter duo; quorum praecedens comparatur ad ipsum sicut potentia ad actum, unde motus dicitur actus; consequens vero comparatur ad ipsum sicut perfectum ad imperfectum vel actus ad potentiam, propter quod dicitur actus existentis in potentia.»

En réalité, écrit Thomas d’Aquin, le mouvement n’est rien d’autre qu’un acte imparfait, une sorte de commencement d’un acte parfait dans le patient mû. Pour que ce qui est imparfait prenne l’aspect d’un acte, il doit être pris comme un intermédiaire entre un précédent et un conséquent : le précédent est comparé au mouvement du perfectible vers le parfait ; le conséquent est comparé au mouvement selon lequel le parfait perfectionne le perfectible. D’où la définition retenue du mouvement : «actus existentis in potentia».

C’est ainsi que s’explique le «quodammodo» et le «fit» du mode selon lequel la puissance et l’acte sont en quelque sort une unité, si bien que ce qui est en puissance vient en acte.

Le commentaire de Thomas d’Aquin approuve donc ce qu’écrit Aristote à Physique 202b 5-15, là où il mentionne le «τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι» et le «ἀλλ' ὡς ὑπάρχει τὸ δυνάμει ὂν πρὸς τὸ ἐνεργοῦν». Rien n’empêche qu’un même acte soit dit de deux sujets, non pas selon le «τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι», mais «secundum rem», comme il est de la distance entre deux points, et selon le «ἀλλ' ὡς ὑπάρχει τὸ δυνάμει ὂν πρὸς τὸ ἐνεργοῦν», ou «eius quod est in potentia ad agens et e converso». Et, dans l’expression «ἀλλ' ὡς ὑπάρχει τὸ δυνάμει ὂν πρὸς τὸ ἐνεργοῦν», le «πρὸς τὸ» signale bien une relation entre «τὸ δυνάμει» et «τὸ ἐνεργοῦν».

Comme Thomas d’Aquin écrit, à In Physic., lib. 3 l. 2 n. 3, que la puissance et l'acte sont les premières différences de l'être, qu’elles sont naturellement antérieures au mouvement, et qu’elles sont utilisées pour définir le mouvement, il convient. maintenant, de considérer ces principes de la science subalternante, et de voir comment ceux de la science subalternée en proviennent.

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