The Elements of Philosophy: 1.2.10.8

“In the distinction of reason reasoned about, which is also called the virtual distinction, there is a difference of objective contents taken intrinsically as such.  Its mental foundation is the mind’s passage from potency to act through a series of concepts such that not all the features revealed in one objective concept are revealed in the other.  For example, in the Prophyrian Tree, for Socrates the predicates “body,” “living,” “animal,” and “man” are all distinct from each other and from Socrates—whom they, in fact are—by a distinction of reason reasoned about.  Because they all indeed are Socrates in point of fact, there is no real distinction between them.  On the other hand they each designate different metaphysical grades of the same being and thus they each have different objective contents or different intrinsic intelligibilies [sic].  (For the Scotistic formal distinction, see 4:910d-911d.)”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 2 LOGIC.  //  [Section] MATERIAL LOGIC §10.  KINDS OF DISTINCTION  //  [paragraph] 8  //   [page] 33)

 

Obiter Dicta:  I added the condition indication “[sic]” to the word “intelligibilies”.  I added the [sic] because I believe the more correct spelling would be “intelligibilities”.  This may more indicate a lack on the part of my knowledge than a mistake on the part of the author.

 

Key:  For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (8)”.

The Elements of Philosophy: 1.2.10.7

“The foundation of the distinction of reason reasoning is extrinsic to the thing being distinguished.  For example, there is a distinction of reason reasoning between the object that is subject and the object that is predicate in either of the following two propositions, “Man is man,” and “Man is a rational animal.”  In the first case the intellect sees the object “man” as subject to be extrinsically affected by the rational condition of being subject, and sees the same object as predicate to be extrinsically affected by the rational condition of being a predicate.  The same situation holds in the second case, except that there the predicate is the definition of the subject;  in neither case, however, is there any intrinsic difference in intelligibility between the subject and the predicate.”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 2 LOGIC.  //  [Section] MATERIAL LOGIC §10.  KINDS OF DISTINCTION  //  [paragraph] 7  //   [pages] 32 and 33)

 

Obiter Dicta:  I have found it interesting to learn, and to take note of, that the act of predication (assigning a subject to a given predicate/category) is also the act of definition.  In the statement “Man is a rational animal”, “man” is the subject, and at one and the same time “rational animal” is the predicate of the subject “man”, is the category to which the subject of “man” is assigned, and is the definition of the word “man”.

 

Key:  For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (8)”.

The Elements of Philosophy: 1.2.10.6

“The rational distinction, or distinction of reason, is of two sorts:  the less (or minor) of the two is titled the distinction of reason reasoning (rationis ratiocinantis), because it originates exclusively in the mind that understands or reasons; hence it is called also the distinction of reason without a foundation in reality (sine fundamento in re).  The greater (or major) is titled the distinction of reason reasoned about (rationis ratiocinatae), because it has a double foundation, viz, in the reasoning mind and in the thing affording rational analysis (cum fundamento in re).”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 2 LOGIC.  //  [Section] MATERIAL LOGIC §10.  KINDS OF DISTINCTION  //  [paragraph] 6  //   [page] 32)

 

Obiter Dicta:  Just yesterday I was watching/listening to a presentation at this year’s meeting of the bishops of the United States in Baltimore, Maryland.  The presentation was by Bishop Robert Barron.  As a seminarian in Washington, D.C. he had studied philosophy as a Basselin fellow at The Catholic University of America.  The Bishop was doing a presentation on the five things his committee felt were necessary in order to attract teenagers and young adults back to Church participation and Roman Catholic practice.  One of the five items which he presented, stated that we catechists and preachers and teachers of the Church need to no longer “dumb down” the teachings and doctrines of the Church into the current form of “Catholic light (easy)”.

 

Key:  For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (8)”.

The Elements of Philosophy: 1.2.10.5

“The separation of two objects is a sufficient but not a necessary sign that a real distinction obtains between them.  An object may be a principle rather than a thing.  Real principles such as primary matter and substantial form are really distinct from each other [§16.7]; at the same time, being incomplete substances, neither can exist apart from the other.”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 2 LOGIC.  //  [Section] MATERIAL LOGIC §10.  KINDS OF DISTINCTION  //  [paragraph] 5  //   [page] 32)

 

Obiter Dicta: Primary matter does not refer to what we refer to as “matter” in the context of modern science.  Primary matter is an immaterial-stuff which makes change possible.  Another way to say the same thing is that primary matter is the immaterial-stuff which permits the change of a thing from one form into another form; which underlies the change of a thing from one form to another.  Consider the thing called an acorn.  Under normal circumstances, the acorn can become an oak tree.  Acorn is one type of substantial form.  Oak tree is another type of substantial form.  The thing which is an acorn ceases to exist and then becomes an oak tree.  However, for the acorn to change into the oak tree, something must continually exist for that change to occur.  This something which continually exists is primary matter.  It is primary matter which takes on the varying and changing substantial forms which come to exist through change.  If this primary matter did not exist, change could never happen.  If there were no primary matter, once the acorn ceases to exist, there is nothing at all; and since only nothing can follow from nothing, an oak tree would never come into existence.  Thus, scholastic and classical metaphysics holds that each and every thing must consist of primary form which is capable of becoming/sustaining/supporting a variety of changing substantial forms.

A thing is composed of both its primary matter and substantial form.  The acorn consists of this immaterial-stuff of primary matter taking on the substantial form of the acorn.  Without the primary matter, there is no acorn.  Without the substantial form of acorn, the primary matter (which is pure potency; that is, can only exist in an actual way once impressed with a particular substantial form) does not exist.  This is my understanding of the assertion Father Wallace that though both of these principles (i.e. primary matter and substantial form) are real things, they cannot exist separate from one another.

 

Key:  For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (8)”.

The Elements of Philosophy: 1.2.10.4

“The real distinction may be either absolute, as in the three ways just enumerated, or modal.  A modal distinction holds either (1) between a thing and its mode [34.6] of being or acting, e.g. between Socrates and his being seated, or (2) between two modes of the same thing, e.g., between Socrates’ being seated and his being in prison.  It is generally held that the distinction between a continuum and its actual indivisibles (64.6] is a modal distinction; analogously the distinction drawn in metaphysics between an essence and its act of subsistence is also modal [§34.4].”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 2 LOGIC.  //  [Section] MATERIAL LOGIC §10.  KINDS OF DISTINCTION  //  [paragraph] 4  //   [page] 32)

 

Key:  For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (8)”.

The Elements of Philosophy: 1.2.10.3

“Objects distinct according to a real distinction are non-identical things in their own right, prior to and independent of any objectifying insight by the human reason.  Thus two individuals of the same species, while not at all formally distinct, are distinct from each other by a real, absolute, material or numerical distinction.  They are diverse as beings, though altogether alike in essential form.  If the two individuals differ also in species, then they are distinct by a real, absolute distinction that is both material and formal; they are diverse and different.  If one abstracts from the individuals as such and considers their essences either as natures in themselves or as so-called “metaphysical universals,” then these essences are distinct from each other by a real, absolute, formal distinction.”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 2 LOGIC.  //  [Section] MATERIAL LOGIC §10.  KINDS OF DISTINCTION  //  [paragraph] 3  //   [page] 31)

 

Key:  For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (8)”.

The Elements of Philosophy: 1.2.10.2

“A distinction may be either formal or material, i.e., numerical; the former indicates a difference of species or form, a difference properly so called, and the latter, a difference in number i.e., a diversity.”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 2 LOGIC.  //  [Section] MATERIAL LOGIC §10.  KINDS OF DISTINCTION  //  [paragraph] 2  //   [page] 31)

 

Obiter Dicta:  An example of the formal distinction stated above may be like the difference between a human being and a non-human animal such as a dog, or between a human being and a porpoise, or between a human being and a plant.  Such a distinction might be called numerical in the sense that the one (e.g. human being) is of one kind and the other (e.g. porpoise) is of another kind.

An example of the material distinction stated above might be the difference between the human being named Robert and the human being named Mary, or between two pet dogs.  In such a case the difference would be by-number, as in, one human being and a second human being.

The understanding just presented be means of examples of the difference between formal and material distinctions might be correct.  Or, perhaps, the examples given may only have an analogical similarity.  Or, the examples and understanding might not be correct.

 

Key:  For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (8)”.