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Plotino - Tratado 26,9 (III, 6, 9) — Sequência da discussão com o tratado "Da geração e da corrupção" de Aristóteles

Enéada III, 6, 9

domingo 22 de maio de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Capítulo 9: Sequência da discussão com o tratado "Da geração e da corrupção" de Aristóteles

  • 1-2: Anúncio da questão: "ser presente a" e "ser em" são expressões polissêmicas
  • 3-6: Distinção da transformação com ou sem paixão
  • 7-13: Exemplos da impassibilidade da cera, da luz, de uma pedra e de uma superfície colorida
  • 14: Objeção: o substrato corporal é afetado?
  • 15-24: A matéria é impassível; comparação com os espelhos
  • 25-35: A alteração acompanhada de paixão supõe uma relação de contrariedade no interior de um gênero
  • 35-41: A matéria é isolada, posta à parte, impassível; comparação das qualidades antagonistas e lutadores em uma casa
  • 41-44: Resumo: a matéria é mais impassível que as qualidades heterogêneas não o são

Míguez

9. Hemos de decir que el que una cosa esté en otra y el que una cosa pertenezca a otra no se toman en el mismo sentido. En un sentido, eso significa que una cosa se hace mejor o peor con la presencia de otra, por la transformación que sufre, y tal es lo que se ve en los cuerpos, al menos en los seres vivos. En otro sentido, se hace un objeto mejor o peor sin que él sufra, como ya se decía, por ejemplo, del alma. Pero también se da el caso de la figura impresa en la cera: no hay aquí ninguna pasión que haga a la cera diferente cuando la figura se encuentra en ella, ni tampoco cuando ella se va, falta nada a la cera. Y lo mismo acontece con la luz, que no hace diferente la forma del objeto que ilumina. Cuando una piedra se enfría, ¿qué es lo que toma del frío si ella misma sigue siendo piedra? ¿Qué podrían sufrir con el color una línea o una superficie? Tal vez el efecto del color se ejerza sobre el cuerpo, que es el sujeto, pero ¿qué pasión podría originar? No convendrá decir que sufre por la sola presencia del color o por la recepción de una forma.

Sí acudiésemos al ejemplo de los espejos y, en general, al de los medios transparentes, comprobaríamos que nada sufren con las imágenes que en ellos se ven, lo cual les hace bastante semejantes a la materia [1], También son imágenes lo que se da en la materia, pero ésta es todavía más impasible que los espejos, Y así, hay en ella todos los grados de calor y de frío, que, sin embargo, no consiguen calentarla; porque el calentamiento y el enfriamiento provienen de que una cualidad hace pasar al sujeto de un estado a otro. Debiéramos examinar, en cuanto al frío, si se trata de una ausencia y de una privación de calor. La mayor parte de las veces las cualidades que se dan en la materia no actúan las unas sobre las otras, sino preferentemente cuando son opuestas. Porque, ¿qué acción podría ejercer el buen olor sobre algo dulce, o el color sobre una forma, o un género de cualidades sobre otro? Esto nos confirma en la creencia de que, en el mismo sujeto, una cosa puede pertenecer a otra o estar en otra sin que la presencia de la primera afecte a la segunda a la que pertenece o en la que está. Pues así como una cosa no sufre daño alguno por la presencia de cualquier otra, así también no es modificada o hecha sufrir por un objeto cualquiera; son los contrarios los que sufren la afección de sus contrarios, pero ninguna otra cosa les modifica. Las cosas que no tienen contrario no pueden sufrir el efecto de éste. Si, pues, algo sufre, ha de ser necesariamente algo que no es materia; por ejemplo, algo que concierne a dos seres o, en general, una multiplicidad de cosas que se dan a la vez. Un ser solo, aislado de todos los demás y enteramente simple, es impasible, aun en el caso de encontrarse en medio de otros seres que actúan los unos sobre los otros. En una misma casa hay seres que pueden golpearse entre sí, pero la casa y el aire encerrado en ella permanecen, no obstante, impasibles. Admitamos que se dé acción recíproca, de acuerdo con su naturaleza, entre las cosas que se encuentran en la materia; pero la materia es aún mucho más impasible que las cualidades existentes en ella, las cuales, si no son contrarias, resultan impasibles entre sí.

Bouillet

IX. Il faut remarquer que les expressions : telle chose est présente à telle autre, et telle chose est dans telle autre, ont plusieurs sens. Tantôt une chose en rend une autre meilleure ou pire par sa présence, en lui faisant subir un changement : c’est ce qu’on voit dans les corps, surtout dans ceux des êtres vivants. Tantôt une chose en rend une autre meilleure ou pire sans la faire pâtir : c’est ce qui a lieu pour l’âme, comme nous l’avons déjà dit [§ 2], Tantôt enfin, c’est comme lorsqu’on imprime une figure à un morceau de cire : la présence de la figure n’ajoute rien à l’essence de la cire, et sa destruction ne lui fait rien perdre (60). De même, la lumière ne change pas la figure de l’objet qu’elle éclaire de ses rayons. Une pierre refroidie participe quelque peu de la nature propre à la chose qui la refroidit ; elle n’en reste pas moins pierre. Quelle passion la lumière fait-elle subir à une ligne, à une surface (61) ? Peut-être dira-t-on que dans ce cas la substance corporelle pâtit ; mais comment peut-elle pâtir par l’action de la lumière? Pâtir, en effet, ce n’est pas jouir de la présence d’une chose ni recevoir une forme. Les miroirs et en général les objets diaphanes, ne pâtissant point par l’effet des images qui s’y peignent, offrent un exemple heureux de la vérité que nous énonçons ici. En effet, les qualités sont dans la matière comme de simples images, et la matière elle-même est plus impassible encore qu’un miroir.

La chaleur, le froid se produisent en elle sans l’échauffer ni la refroidir: car réchauffement et le refroidissement consistent en ce qu’une qualité du sujet fait place à une autre. (Remarquons en passant qu’il ne serait pas sans intérêt d’examiner si le froid n’est pas simplement l’absence de la chaleur (62).) En entrant dans la matière, les qualités n’agissent pour la plupart les unes sur les autres que lorsqu’elles sont contraires. Quelle action, en effet, une odeur pourrait-elle exercer sur une douce saveur? une couleur sur une figure? Comment, en général, ce qui appartient à un genre pourrait-il agir sur ce qui appartient à un autre ? C’est ce qui montre qu’une qualité peut faire place à une autre dans un même sujet, ou une chose être dans une autre, sans que sa présence cause aucune modification au sujet auquel ou dans lequel elle est présente. De même qu’une chose n’est pas altérée par la première venue, de même ce qui pâtit et change ne reçoit pas de modification passive ni de changement de toute espèce d’objet. Les contraires ne pâtissent que par l’action des contraires. Les choses qui sont simplement différentes n’amènent pas de changement les unes dans les autres. Quant à celles qui n’ont pas de contraires, elles ne sauraient évidemment pâtir par l’action d’aucun contraire. Donc ce qui pâtit ne peut être matière ; ce doit être un composé de forme et de matière ou une chose multiple (63). Mais ce qui est isolé, séparé de tout le reste, tout à fait simple, doit demeurer impassible à l’égard de toutes choses et rester comme une espèce de milieu où les autres choses agissent les unes sur les autres. De même, plusieurs objets peuvent se choquer dans une maison sans que la maison pâtisse elle-même non plus que l’air qui s’y trouve. Ce sont donc les qualités réunies dans la matière qui agissent les unes sur les autres, autant que cela est dans leur nature. Quant à la matière elle-même, elle est bien plus impassible encore que ne le sont les qualités entre elles, quand elles se trouvent n’être pas contraires.

Guthrie

DIFFERENT SENSES OF "PARTICIPATION" WILL ALLOW FOR MATTER TO REMAIN IMPASSIBLE.

9. It must be noticed that the expressions: "such a thing is present to such a thing" and "such a thing is in such other thing" have several meanings. Sometimes one thing improves or deteriorates some other thing by its presence, making it undergo a change; as may be seen in bodies, especially those of living beings. Again, one thing improves or deteriorates another without affecting it; this occurs with the soul, as we have already seen. Again, it is as when one impresses a figure on a piece of wax; the presence of the figure adds nothing to the (nature) of the wax, and its destruction makes it lose nothing. Likewise, light does not change the figure of the object which it enlightens with its rays. A cooled stone participates a little in the nature characteristic of the thing that cools it; but none the less remains stone. What suffering can light inflict on a line or a surface? One might perhaps say that in this case corporeal substance is affected; but how can it suffer (or be affected) by the action of light? Suffering, in fact, is not to enjoy the presence of something, nor to receive something. Mirrors, and, in general, transparent things, do not suffer (or are not affected) by the effect of images that form lin them, and they offer a striking example of the truth iwe are here presenting. Indeed, qualities inhere in matter like simple images, and matter itself is more impassible than a mirror. Heat and cold occur in it without warming or cooling it; for heating and cooling consist in that one quality of the substrate gives place to another. In passing, we might notice that it would not be without interest to examine whether cold is not merely absence of heat. On entering into matter, Qualities mostly react on each other only when they are opposite. What action, indeed, could be exercised by a smell on a sweet taste ? By a color on a figure ? How, in general, could things that belong to one genus act on another ? This shows how one quality can give place to another in a same subject, or how one thing can be in another, without its presence causing any modification in the subject for which or in which it is present. Just as a thing is not altered by the first comer, likewise that which is affected and which changes does not receive a passive modification, or change, from any kind of an object. Qualities are affected only by the action of contraries. Things which are simply different cause no change in each other. Those which have no contraries could evidently not be modified by the action of any contrary. That which is affected, therefore, can not be matter; it must be a composite (of form and matter), or something multiple. But that which is isolated or separated from the rest, what is quite simple must remain impassible in respect of all things, and remain as a kind of medium in which other things may act on each other.

Likewise, within a house, several objects can shock each other without the house itself or the air within it being affected. It is therefore qualities gathered in matter that act on each other, so far as it belongs to their nature. Matter itself, however, is still far more impassible than the qualities are among each other, when they do not find themselves opposite.

Taylor

IX. It must therefore be assumed, that one thing is present with another, and that one thing is in another, not according to one mode only. But sometimes together with being present, it causes that with which it is present to be better or worse, accompanied with permutation; as is seen to be the case in the bodies of animals; and at another time, it makes it to be as it were better or worse, without that being passive with which it is present, as is said to be the case in the soul. Sometimes, also, this takes place in such a way as when a figure is imprinted in wax, where there is neither any passion, so as to cause the wax to be something else when the figure is present with it, nor any defect in the wax, when the figure is destroyed. Light, also, does not produce a change in quality of the figure about that which is^ illuminated. Nor does a stone, when it becomes cold, possess any thing besides frigidity, from that through which it is cold, while it remains a stone. And what does a line [viz. the extension of length] suffer from colour ? Nor, in my opinion, does a superficies suffer any thing from it, but perhaps the subject body. Though what can this suffer from colour ? For it is not proper to say that a thing suffers when something is [merely] present with it; nor when it is invested with form. If, however, some one should say that mirrors, and in short diaphanous substances, suffer nothing from the images that are seen within them, he will not adduce an unappropriate paradigm. For the forms which are in matter are images, and matter is still more impassive than mirrors. Hence heat and cold are ingenerated in it, but do not heat [or refrigerate] it. For to be heated and refrigerated, pertains to quality leading the subject from one quality to another.

It is requisite, however, to consider, whether frigidity is not the absence and privation [of heat] : but qualities entering together into matter, many of them act on each other, or rather are contrarily affected. For what can fragrance effect in sweetness ; or colour in figure ? Or what can that which belongs to one genus effect in another ? Whence especially credibility may be obtained, that a thing may be in that which is different from it, without injuring by its presence that with which it is present. As, therefore, that which is injured is not injured by any thing of a casual nature, so neither does that which is changed and which suffers, suffer by any thing indiscriminately. But contraries only suffer from contraries, other things being unchanged by others ; so that those things in which there is no contrariety, do not suffer by any thing of a contrary nature. Hence, it is necessary if any thing suffers, that it should not be matter, but something which is a composite of matter and form, or in short, that it should be at one and the same time many things. But that which is alone, and separate from other things, and which is entirely simple, will be impassive to all things, and will be inclosed in the middle of all things, acting on each other; just as when in the same house certain persons strike each other, neither does the house suffer any thing from the blows, nor the air which is in it. But the forms which are in matter, perform such things as they are naturally adapted to perform. Matter itself, however, is much more impassive than such qualities in it, which by not being contraries are impassive with reference to each other.

MacKenna

9. In answer: It must, first, be noted that there are a variety of modes in which an object may be said to be present to another or to exist in another. There is a "presence" which acts by changing the object - for good or for ill - as we see in the case of bodies, especially where there is life. But there is also a "presence" which acts, towards good or ill, with no modification of the object, as we have indicated in the case of the Soul. Then there is the case represented by the stamping of a design upon wax, where the "presence" of the added pattern causes no modification in the substance nor does its obliteration diminish it. And there is the example of Light whose presence does not even bring change of pattern to the object illuminated. A stone becoming cold does not change its nature in the process; it remains the stone it was. A drawing does not cease to be a drawing for being coloured.

The intermediary mass on which these surface changes appear is certainly not transmuted by them; but might there not be a modification of the underlying Matter?

No: it is impossible to think of Matter being modified by, for instance, colour - for, of course we must not talk of modification when there is no more than a presence, or at most a presenting of shape.

Mirrors and transparent objects, even more, offer a close parallel; they are quite unaffected by what is seen in or through them: material things are reflections, and the Matter on which they appear is further from being affected than is a mirror. Heat and cold are present in Matter, but the Matter itself suffers no change of temperature: growing hot and growing cold have to do only with quality; a quality enters and brings the impassible Substance under a new state - though, by the way, research into nature may show that cold is nothing positive but an absence, a mere negation. The qualities come together into Matter, but in most cases they can have no action upon each other; certainly there can be none between those of unlike scope: what effect, for example, could fragrance have on sweetness or the colour-quality on the quality of form, any quality on another of some unrelated order? The illustration of the mirror may well indicate to us that a given substratum may contain something quite distinct from itself - even something standing to it as a direct contrary - and yet remain entirely unaffected by what is thus present to it or merged into it.

A thing can be hurt only by something related to it, and similarly things are not changed or modified by any chance presence: modification comes by contrary acting upon contrary; things merely different leave each other as they were. Such modification by a direct contrary can obviously not occur in an order of things to which there is no contrary: Matter, therefore [the mere absence of Reality] cannot be modified: any modification that takes place can occur only in some compound of Matter and reality, or, speaking generally, in some agglomeration of actual things. The Matter itself - isolated, quite apart from all else, utterly simplex - must remain immune, untouched in the midst of all the interacting agencies; just as when people fight within their four walls, the house and the air in it remain without part in the turmoil.

We may take it, then, that while all the qualities and entities that appear upon Matter group to produce each the effect belonging to its nature, yet Matter itself remains immune, even more definitely immune than any of those qualities entering into it which, not being contraries, are not affected by each other.


[1Cf. esta comparación con lo que se dice en el libro VI de la República, 510 a.