Página inicial > Antiguidade > Neoplatonismo (245-529 dC) > Plotino (204-270 dC) – Tratados Enéadas > Plotino - Tratado 12,14 (II, 4, 14) — A matéria e a privação

# Plotino - Tratado 12,14 (II, 4, 14) — A matéria e a privação

quarta-feira 8 de junho de 2022,

## Míguez

14. Pero vayamos a la cuestión: ¿es la materia una privación o se da en ella la privación? Bajo una cierta consideración, la materia y la privación son sustancialmente una misma cosa, pero racionalmente dos cosas. Lo cual nos muestra de modo justo cómo conviene explicar cada una de estas nociones, definiendo así la materia sin añadirle para nada la privación, e igualmente la privación. Porque, o ninguna de las dos encierra el concepto de la otra, o se implican mutuamente, o es una de ellas tan sólo la que implica el concepto de la otra. Si cada una de las nociones ha de ser tomada separadamente, sin que eche de menos a la otra, materia y privación resultarán dos cosas diferentes, aun en el supuesto de que la privación sea un accidente de la materia. Conviene, entonces, que ninguna de las dos entre en la definición de la otra, ni siquiera en potencia. Si son entre sí como la nariz roma y lo romo, cada una de ellas es doble y las das son dos cosas distintas. Y si son entre sí como el fuego y el calor, habremos de aclarar que el calor tiene su existencia en el fuego, pero que el fuego no se da siempre en el calor. La materia es, pues, privación, lo mismo que el fuego es calor, debiendo ser tomada la privación como su forma. Cosa distinta tiene que ser el substrato  , esto es, lo que conviene llamar materia; no se trata en modo alguno de una cosa única.

Esa consideración de la materia y la privación como una realidad sustancial, aunque doble en su noción, significa que la privación no señala la presencia de algo, sino precisamente su no presencia. La privación ha de entenderse como una negación, y si se dice que no es, no se añade nada con ello, sino que se dice simplemente que no es. He aquí, pues, que la privación es lo mismo que el no-ser. Y si el no-ser quiere decir que no es el ser  , sino algo distinto del ser, es claro que se trata entonces de dos nociones: una de ellas, la noción de la materia, se referirá al sujeto; otra, la noción de privación, se referirá a la disposición del sujeto con respecto a las demás cosas. Si el concepto de materia ha de considerarse relativo a las demás cosas, y lo mismo el concepto de sujeto, y si, por su parte, el concepto de privación señala lo indeterminado   de la materia, este concepto, no cabe duda, se enlaza con el concepto de materia. En uno u otro caso, sin embargo, para la unidad sustancial conviene la distinción de las dos nociones. Ahora bien, si por su misma indeterminación, ilimitación o ausencia de cualidades, la privación es algo idéntico a la materia, ¿cómo podrán distinguirse las dos nociones?

## Bouillet

XIV. Examinons si la mati  ère est la privation, ou si la privation est un attribut de la matière. Si l’on prétend que la privation et la matière sont une seule chose substantiellement, et deux choses logiquement, on doit expliquer la nature de ces deux choses, définir la matière, par exemple, sans définir la privation, et réciproquement. Ou aucune de ces deux choses n’implique l’autre, ou elles s’impliquent réciproquement, ou l’une des deux seulement implique l’autre. Si l’on peut les définir chacune séparément, et que nulle des deux n’implique l’autre, toutes deux formeront deux choses, et la matière sera autre que la privation, quoique la privation soit un accident de la matière. Mais il faut que nulle des deux ne se trouve même en puissance dans la définition de l’autre. Sont-elles dans le même rapport que le nez camus   et le camus (50) ? Alors chacune de ces choses est double et il y a deux choses. Sont-elles dans le même rapport que le feu et la chaleur? La chaleur se trouve dans le feu, mais le feu ne se trouve pas nécessairement compris dans la chaleur; ainsi, la matière ayant [pour qualité] la privation, comme le feu a [pour qualité] la chaleur, la privation est une forme de la matière, et a un sujet différent d’elle-même, lequel est la matière (51). D n’y a donc pas unité en ce sens.

La matière et la privation sont-elles une seule chose substantiellement, et deux choses logiquement, en ce sens que la privation ne désigne pas la présence d’une chose, mais plutôt son absence, qu’elle est la négation des êtres, comme si l’on disait le non-être ? La négation n’ajoute aucun attribut ; elle se borne à affirmer qu’une chose n’est pas. La privation est donc en quelque sorte le non-être (52).

Si la matière est appelée non-être en ce sens qu’elle n’est pas l’être, mais quelque autre chose que l’être, y a-t-il là encore lieu de faire deux définitions, dont l’une s’applique à la substance, et l’autre s’applique à la privation, pour expliquer qu’elle est une disposition à devenir les autres choses ? Il vaut mieux admettre que la matière doit se définir, ainsi que la substance, une disposition à devenir les autres choses. Si la définition de la privation montre l’indétermination de la matière, elle en peut indiquer la nature.

Mais nous ne saurions admettre que la matière et la privation soient une seule chose substantiellement et deux choses logiquement : si dès qu’une chose est indéterminée, indéfinie, sans qualité, elle est identique à la matière, comment peut-il y avoir encore là deux choses logiquement?

## Guthrie

PRIVATION IS A FORM OF MATTER.

14. Let us now examine if matter be privation, or if privation be an attribute of matter. If you insist that privation and matter are though logically distinct, substantially one and the same thing, you will have to explain the nature of these two things, for instance, defining matter without defining privation, and conversely. Either, neither of these two things implies the other, or they imply each other reciprocally, or only one of them implies the other. If each of them can be defined separately, and if neither of them imply the other, both will form two distinct things, and matter will be different from privation, though privation be an accident of matter. But neither of the two must even potentially be present in the definition of the other. Is their mutual relation the same as that of a stub nose, and the man with the stub nose (as suggested by Aristotle  ) ? Then each of these is double, and there are two things. Is their relation that between fire and heat? Heat is in fire, but fire is not necessarily contained in heat; thus matter, having privation (as a quality), as fire has heat (as a quality), privation will be a form of matter, and has a substrate different from itself, which is matter. Not in this sense  , therefore, is there a unity (between them).

PRIVATION IS NONENTITY, AND ADDS NO NEW CONCEPT.

Are matter and privation substantially identical, yet logically distinct, in this sense that privation does not signify the presence of anything, but rather its absence ? That it is the negation of beings, and is synonymous with nonentity? Negation adds no attribute; it limits itself to the assertion that something is not. In a certain sense, therefore, privation is nonentity.

BEING SUBSTANTIALLY IDENTICAL. BUT LOGICALLY DISTINCT IS NONSENSE.

If matter be called nonentity in this sense that it is not essence, but something else than essence, there is still room to draw up two definitions, of which one would apply to the substrate, and the other to the privation, merely to explain that it is a disposition to become something else? It would be better to acknowledge that matter, like the substrate, should be defined a disposition to become other things. If the definition of privation shows the indetermination of matter, it can at least indicate its nature. But we could not admit that matter and privation are one thing in respect to their substrate, though logically distinct; for how could there be a logical distinction into two things, if a thing be identical with matter as soon as it is indeterminate, indefinite, and lacking quality?

## Taylor

XIV. That, however, is to be investigated, whether matter is privation, or privation subsists about matter. He, therefore, whd says that both are one in subject, but two in definition, ought in justice to teach us what definition of each should be given. And to the definition of matter, indeed, he should adapt nothing of privation ; and to the definition of privation, nothing of matter. For either the one is not in the definition of the other, or each is in the definition of each, or one of them only is in the definition of the other, whichever it may be. If, therefore, each is defined separately, and neither of them requires the other, both will be two things, and matter will be different from privation, though privation may happen   to it. In the definition of the one, however, it is necessary that the other should not be seen, not even in capacity. But if they are as a flat nose, and flatness of the nose, thus also each of them is twofold and two. And if they are as fire and heat, heat being in fire, but fire not being assumed in heat, and matter is so privation as fire is hot, — in this case, privation will be, as it were, the form of matter, but the subject will be another thing, which it is necessary should be matter. Neither, likewise, in this way will they be one. Are they, therefore, thus one in subject, but two in definition, privation not signifying that a certain thing is present, but that it is not present, and privation being as it were a negation of beings, as if some one should say non-being ? For negation does not add any thing, but says a thing is not, and thus privation will be as non-being. If, therefore, it is non-being, because it is not being but something else, will there be two definitions ; the one indeed regarding the subject, but the other privation, manifesting a habitude   to other things? Or shall we say, that the definition of matter respects other things, and that this is also the case with the definition of a subject; but that the definition of privation, if it manifests the indefiniteness of it, will perhaps touch upon its nature, excepting that each is one in the subject, but two in definition ? But if privation in consequence of being indefinite, infinite, and without quality, is the same with matter, how will there be any longer two definitions ?

## MacKenna

14. But is Absence this privation itself, or something in which this Privation is lodged?

Anyone maintaining that Matter and Privation are one and the same in substratum but stand separable in reason cannot be excused from assigning to each the precise principle which distinguishes it in reason from the other: that which defines Matter must be kept quite apart from that defining the Privation and vice versa.

There are three possibilities: Matter is not in Privation and Privation is not in Matter; or each is in each; or each is in itself alone.

Now if they should stand quite apart, neither calling for the other, they are two distinct things: Matter is something other than Privation even though Privation always goes   with it: into the principle of the one, the other cannot enter even potentially.

If their relation to each other is that of a snubnose to snubness, here also there is a double concept; we have two things.

If they stand to each other as fire to heat - heat in fire, but fire not included in the concept of heat - if Matter is Privation in the way in which fire is heat, then the Privation is a form under which Matter appears but there remains a base distinct from the Privation and this base must be the Matter. Here, too, they are not one thing.

Perhaps the identity in substance with differentiation in reason will be defended on the ground that Privation does not point to something present but precisely to an absence, to something absent, to the negation or lack of Real-being: the case would be like that of the affirmation of non-existence, where there is no real predication but simply a denial.

Is, then, this Privation simply a non-existence?

If a non-existence in the sense that it is not a thing of Real-being, but belongs to some other Kind of existent, we have still two Principles, one referring directly to the substratum, the other merely exhibiting the relation of the Privation to other things.

Or we might say that the one concept defines the relation of substratum to what is not substratum, while that of Privation, in bringing out the indeterminateness of Matter, applies to the Matter in itself: but this still makes Privation and Matter two in reason though one in substratum.

Now if Matter possesses an identity - though only the identity of being indeterminate, unfixed and without quality - how can we bring it so under two principles?