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Plotino - Tratado 12,12 (II, 4, 12) — Respostas às aporias relativas à noção de uma matéria sem grandeza

Enéada II, 4, 12

quarta-feira 8 de junho de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Míguez

12. La magnitud refiérase, pues, a los cuerpos; porque es claro que las formas de los cuerpos se dan en la extensión. Ahora bien, no podemos decir que se hayan originado en la extensión, sino en el sujeto que ha recibido la extensión. Ya que si se hubiesen originado en la extensión, y no en la materia, carecerían igualmente de magnitud y de fundamento sólido; serian tan sólo razones — razones que se dan en el alma — , pero no cuerpos. Conviene, por tanto, que lo que es múltiple se origine en un ser uno, ser que, desde luego, recibirá la extensión, pero que no podrá confundirse con ella.

Añadamos ahora que todas las cosas de una mezcla tienden hacia un mismo ser porque poseen materia; si no necesitan de otro sujeto es realmente porque cada uno de los elementos mezclados aporta consigo su propia materia. Pero, con todo, estos elementos tienen necesidad de algo que los reciba, sea vaso, sea lugar; y si el lugar es posterior a la materia y a los cuerpos, serán los cuerpos los que, precisen inicialmente de la materia.

No hemos de afirmar que los cuerpos carezcan de materia por el hecho de que no la posean las producciones y las acciones. Porque los cuerpos son algo compuesto, y no así las acciones. Por otra parte, la materia ofrece un sujeto a los seres que actúan y en el momento en que actúan; materia que permanece en tanto dura la acción, pero no comprometida en ella, puesto que los seres que actúan no tratan de modificarla. Y una acción, además, no se cambia en otra acción, en razón de la materia, sino que más bien cambia el agente al pasar de una acción a otra acción; de tal modo que viene a ser él mismo la materia de sus acciones.

La materia es, pues, indispensable tanto para la cualidad como para la magnitud; y lo es también para los cuerpos. Hemos de considerarla, no como un nombre vacío de sentido, sino como un sujeto invisible y carente de magnitud. O, en otro caso, y por la misma razón, diríamos que no existen ni las cualidades ni la magnitud, porque podríamos aducir que, tomadas en sí mismas, no son nada cada una de ellas. Así, pues, si dichas cualidades existen, aunque sea de una manera oscura, con mucha más razón existirá la materia, aunque ésta no posea la claridad propia de los objetos de la sensación; porque es obvio que, como incolora, no, la perciben los ojos, y, como inaudible, no la perciben los oídos; añadamos que tampoco la perciben el sentido del gusto y, por consiguiente, la nariz y la lengua. ¿Será acaso percibida por el tacto? Digamos que no, porque no es un cuerpo. El tacto dice relación al cuerpo, a su densidad, a su rareza, a su blandura, a su dureza, o bien a su humedad o a su aridez; y ninguna de estas cosas se da en la materia. A ella se aplica un razonamiento que no proviene de la inteligencia, sino que está vacío, por lo cual se le llama razonamiento bastardo. En la materia no hay nada de naturaleza corpórea; porque si la corporeidad como forma es una cosa, la materia es otra diferente; aunque en tanto se conforma y se mezcla a la materia, aparece claramente como un cuerpo, y no ya sólo como materia.

Bouillet

XII. Les étendues concourent donc à la constitution des corps : car les formes des corps sont dans des étendues. Ces formes se produisent non dans l’étendue (42) [qui est une forme], mais dans le sujet qui a reçu lié tendue. Si elles se produisaient dans l’étendue au lieu de se produire dans la matière, elles n’auraient ni étendue ni substance : car elles ne seraient que des raisons. Or, comme les raisons résident dans l’âme, il n’y aurait pas de corps. Donc, dans le monde sensible, la multiplicité des formes doit avoir un sujet un, qui ait reçu l’étendue, et qui, par conséquent, soit autre que l’étendue. Toutes les choses qui se mélangent forment un mixte, parce qu’elles contiennent de la matière ; elles n’ont pas besoin d’un autre sujet, parce que chacune d’elles apporte avec elle sa matière. Mais il faut [pour les formes] un réceptacle, un vase, ou un lieu (43). Or le lieu est postérieur à la matière et aux corps. Les corps présupposent donc la matière. Si les actions et les opérations sont immatérielles, il n’en résulte pas que les corps le soient aussi. Les corps sont composés ; les actions ne le sont pas. Quand une action se produit, la matière sert de sujet à l’agent; elle reste en lui sans entrer par elle-même en action : car ce n’est pas là ce que cherche l’agent. Une action ne se change pas en une autre action, par conséquent n’a pas besoin de contenir de la matière ; c’est l’agent qui passe d’une action à une autre, et qui, par conséquent, sert de matière aux actions(44).

La matière est donc nécessaire à la qualité aussi bien qu’à la quantité, par conséquent, aux corps. Elle n’est pas un mot vide de sens, mais un sujet, quoiqu’elle ne soit ni visible ni étendue; sinon, nous serions obligés, par la même raison, de nier aussi les qualités et l’étendue : car on pourrait dire que chacune de ces choses, prise en elle-même, n’est rien de réel. Si ces choses possèdent l’existence, quoique leur existence soit obscure, la matière doit à plus forte raison posséder l’existence, quoique son existence ne soit pas claire ni saisissable par les sens. En effet, la matière ne peut pas être perçue par la vue, puisqu’elle est incolore; ni par l’ouïe, puisqu’elle ne rend pas de son ; ni par l’odorat ou par le goût, puisqu’elle n’est ni volatile ni humide. Est-elle perçue au moins par le tact? non, parce qu’elle n’est pas un corps. Le tact ne touche que le corps, reconnaît qu’il est dense ou rare, dur ou mou, humide ou sec ; or nul de ces attributs n’est propre à la matière. Celle-ci ne peut donc être conçue que par un raisonnement qui n’implique pas la présence de l’intelligence, qui en suppose au contraire l’absence complète, et qui mérite ainsi le nom de raisonnement bâtard (45). La corporéité (46) même n’est pas propre à la matière. Si la corporéité est une raison [une forme], elle diffère certainement de la matière; ce sont deux choses distinctes. Si la corporéité est considérée quand elle a déjà modifié la matière et qu’elle s’y est mêlée, elle est un corps; elle n’est plus la matière pure et simple.

Guthrie

POLEMIC AGAINST MODERATUS OF GADES, FORMS DEMAND A RESIDENCE, VASE, or LOCATION.

12. Extensions therefore contribute to the constitutions of bodies; for the forms of bodies are in extensions. These forms produce themselves not in extension (which is a form), but in the substrate that has received extension. If they occurred in extension, instead of occurring in matter, they would nevertheless have neither extension nor (hypostatic) substance; for they would be no more than reasons. Now as reasons reside in the soul, there would be no body. Therefore, in the sense-world, the multiplicity of forms must have a single substrate which has received extension, and therefore must be other than extension. All things that mingle form a mixture, because they contain matter; they have no need of any other substrate, because each of them brings its matter along with it. But (forms) need a receptacle (a residence), a "vase" (or stand), a location (this in answer to the objection at the beginning of the former section). Now location is posterior to matter and to bodies. Bodies, therefore, presuppose matter. Bodies are not necessarily immaterial, merely because actions and operations are. In the occurrence of an action, matter serves as substrate to the agent; it remains within him without itself entering into action; for that is not that which is sought by the agent. One action does not change into another, and consequently has no need of containing matter; it is the agent who passes from one action to another, and who, consequently, serves as matter to the actions (as thought Aristotle  ).

NOT EVEN CORPOREITY INHERES IN MATTER WHICH IS REACHED BY BASTARD REASONING.

Matter, therefore, is necessary to quality as well as to quantity, and consequently, to bodies. In this sense, matter is not an empty name, but a substrate, though it be neither visible nor extended. Otherwise, for the same reason, we would be obliged also to deny qualities and extension; for you might say that each of these things, taken in itself, is nothing real. If these things possess existence, though their existence be obscure, so much the more must matter possess existence, though its existence be neither clear nor evident to the senses. Indeed, matter cannot be perceived by sight, since it is colorless; nor by hearing, for it is soundless; nor by smell or taste, because it is neither volatile nor wet. It is not even perceived by touch, for it is not a body. Touch cognizes only body, recognizes that it is dense or sparse, hard or soft, wet or dry; now none of these attributes is characteristic of matter. The latter therefore can be perceived only by a reasoning which does not imply the presence of intelligence, which, on the contrary, implies the complete absence of matter; which (unintelligent reasoning therefore) deserves the name of "bastard" (or, illegitimate) reasoning. Corporeity itself, is not characteristic of matter. If corporeity be a reason (that is, by a pun, a ’form’), it certainly differs from matter, both being entirely distinct. If corporeity be considered when it has already modified matter and mingled with it, it is a body; it is no longer matter pure and simple.

Taylor

XII. Magnitude, therefore, contributes something to bodies; for the forms of bodies, are in dimensions. These forms, however, are not generated about magnitude, but about that which is amplified. For if they were generated about magnitude, and not about matter, they would be similarly void of magnitude and without, subsistence, or would be productive principles alone. But forms are conversant with soul, and therefore are not bodies. Hence, it is necessary that here, many things should subsist about one thing; but this is distended with magnitude. And this [which is thus amplified,] is different from magnitude ; since now also such things as are mingled, in consequence of having matter, pass into a sameness of condition, and do not require any thing else about which they may subsist, because each of the things that are mingled brings with it its own matter. At the same time, however, a certain recipient is necessary, viz. either a vessel, or place. But place is posterior to matter, and to bodies; so that bodies prior to this will be indigent of matter. Nor does it follow that because productive energies and actions are immaterial, on this account bodies also are without matter. For the latter are composites, but this is not the case with actions. Matter also imparts a subject to agents when they act, abiding in them, but not giving itself to act; for this is not investigated by matei’ial agents. Nor is one action changed into another, in order that matter may be in them; but the agent passes from one action to another, so that he has the relation of matter to the actions themselves. Matter, therefore, is necessary both to quality and magnitude, so that it is also necessary to bodies. Nor is it a vain name, but it is a certain subject, though it is invisible, and without magnitude. For if this is not granted, neither must we say that there are qualities; and for the same reason we must deny the existence of magnitude. For each of these, if assumed by itself alone, must be said to be nothing. But if these have a subsistence, though each of them obscurely exists, much more will matter have an existence, though it does not clearly subsist, and is apprehended, though not by the senses. For it is not perceived by the eyes, since it is without colour. Nor by the hearing; for it has no sound. Nor by the smelly or the taste; for it has neither moisture, nor vapour. Is it, therefore, perceived by the touch ? Or is not this impossible, because neither is it a body ? For the touch pertains to body, because it pertains either to the dense, or the rare, the soft, or the hard, the moist, or the dry. None of these, however, subsist about matter; so that it is perceptible by reasoning, but not by sense; and by a reasoning not derived from, but void of intellect, on which account, as we have before observed, this reasoning is spurious. But neither is corporeity about matter. For if corporeity is a productive principle, it is different from matter. But if it is a thing now made, and as it were mingled, it will evidently be body, and not matter only.

MacKenna

12. It is the corporeal, then, that demands magnitude: the Ideal-Forms of body are Ideas installed in Mass.

But these Ideas enter, not into Magnitude itself but into some subject that has been brought to Magnitude. For to suppose them entering into Magnitude and not into Matter - is to represent them as being either without Magnitude and without Real-Existence [and therefore undistinguishable from the Matter] or not Ideal-Forms [apt to body] but Reason-Principles [utterly removed] whose sphere could only be Soul; at this, there would be no such thing as body [i.e., instead of Ideal-Forms shaping Matter and so producing body, there would be merely Reason-Principles dwelling remote in Soul.]

The multiplicity here must be based upon some unity which, since it has been brought to Magnitude, must be, itself, distinct from Magnitude. Matter is the base of Identity to all that is composite: once each of the constituents comes bringing its own Matter with it, there is no need of any other base. No doubt there must be a container, as it were a place, to receive what is to enter, but Matter and even body precede place and space; the primal necessity, in order to the existence of body, is Matter.

There is no force in the suggestion that, since production and act are immaterial, corporeal entities also must be immaterial.

Bodies are compound, actions not. Further, Matter does in some sense underlie action; it supplies the substratum to the doer: it is permanently within him though it does not enter as a constituent into the act where, indeed, it would be a hindrance. Doubtless, one act does not change into another - as would be the case if there were a specific Matter of actions - but the doer directs himself from one act to another so that he is the Matter, himself, to his varying actions.

Matter, in sum, is necessary to quality and to quantity, and, therefore, to body.

It is, thus, no name void of content; we know there is such a base, invisible and without bulk though it be.

If we reject it, we must by the same reasoning reject qualities and mass: for quality, or mass, or any such entity, taken by itself apart, might be said not to exist. But these do exist, though in an obscure existence: there is much less ground for rejecting Matter, however it lurk, discerned by none of the senses.

It eludes the eye, for it is utterly outside of colour: it is not heard, for it is no sound: it is no flavour or savour for nostrils or palate: can it, perhaps, be known to touch? No: for neither is it corporeal; and touch deals with body, which is known by being solid, fragile, soft, hard, moist, dry - all properties utterly lacking in Matter.

It is grasped only by a mental process, though that not an act of the intellective mind but a reasoning that finds no subject; and so it stands revealed as the spurious thing it has been called. No bodiliness belongs to it; bodiliness is itself a phase of Reason-Principle and so is something different from Matter, as Matter, therefore, from it: bodiliness already operative and so to speak made concrete would be body manifest and not Matter unelaborated.