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Plotino - Tratado 26,12 (III, 6, 12) — Sequência da reflexão sobre a "participação impassível"

Enéada III, 6, 12

domingo 22 de maio de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Capítulo 12: Sequência da reflexão sobre a "participação impassível"; precaução contra nossos hábitos de linguagem

  • 1-8: Platão propôs um modelo de participação impassível para a matéria
  • 9-16: Anúncio da necessidade da matéria na existência inconsistente dos corpos
  • 16-21: Objeção possível de uma equivocidade do termo "alteração"
  • 22-27: Citação de uma palavra de Demócrito. A presença das qualidades na matéria não é uma presença total e real
  • 28-43: Comentário de expressões do Timeu   deixando crer que há um experienciar para a matéria
  • 43-51: Troca de objeções e de respostas concernindo o sensível
  • 51-57: Dizer que a matéria experiencia, é pensá-la como um corpo tendo uma extensão

Míguez

12. Platón   razonaba sobre la materia considerando que la participación no estriba en que la forma venga a la materia como a un sujeto para darle su privativa señal y hacer así con ella un compuesto único en el que sus partes se alteran, se mezclan y simpatizan unas con otras [1]; y quería hacer ver que no era eso lo que él decía. Al objeto de mostrar cómo la materia permanece impasible, aun contando con las formas, busca un ejemplo de participación impasible, ya que no es fácil mostrarlo de otro modo, y deja a salvo la identidad del sujeto no obstante las formas que le son presentes. Procurando alcanzar su fin, suscitó muchas oirás cuestiones, queriendo probar además que las cosas sensibles carecen de realidad, sustancial y que el lugar tiene sólo un ser verosímil. Bajo el supuesto de que la materia produce las pasiones en los cuerpos animados, aunque no las sufra, por las formas que adopta en ellos, llega a descubrirnos la permanencia de la materia, permitiéndonos concluir que la materia no recibe de estas formas ni pasión ni alteración alguna. Porque los cuerpos que reciben una forma, en sustitución de otra, experimentan un cambio que podría denominarse alteración, si se entiende el vocablo por homonimia; pero con respecto a la materia, que no tiene ni forma ni magnitud, ¿cómo podría decirse, incluso por homonimia, que la presencia de una cierta forma representa para ella una alteración? Si se arguyese ahora que "el color y las otras cualidades existen sólo por prescripción" [2], ya que su naturaleza no posee nada de lo que se piensa, no se diría algo inconveniente. Pero, ¿cómo podrá tener cualidades la materia, si ni siquiera se le admiten como formas? La hipótesis (platónica) tiende a demostrar, en la medida de lo posible, la impasibilidad de la materia y la presencia aparente en ella de imágenes que no están presentes.

Ha de insistirse ante todo en esta impasibilidad, haciendo ver además que, según los hábitos del lenguaje, nos vemos llevados a considerar pasiva a la materia, como cuando se dice que se deseca, se inflama y se humedece. En tal sentido hemos de reflexionar sobre lo que (Platón  ) dice después: "(la materia) recibe las formas del aire y del agua" [3]; porque, con la afirmación de que "recibe las formas del aire y del agua", debilita la expresión de que se inflama y humedece. Al hablar de que la materia "recibe formas" muestra (Platón  ), no que la materia sea informada, sino que han entrado en ella ciertas formas. El dicho de que la materia se inflama no ha de tomarse en sentido absoluto, sino más bien en el sentido de que la materia se vuelve luego. No es lo mismo, ciertamente, volverse fuego e inflamarse; porque el objeto que se inflama, se inflama por oleo, lo cual quiere decir que hay en él una pasión; mas, ¿cómo podría ser inflamado lo que ya es una parte del fuego? Es lo mismo decir que la estatua va y viene a través del bronce que afirmar que el fuego anda a través de la materia y que, además, la inflama. Pues, realmente, si el fuego que se acerca a la materia es una razón, ¿cómo puede inflamarla? ¿Y si es una forma? -Lo que es inflamado resulta naturalmente de la unión de dos cosas. Ahora bien, ¿cómo de la unión de dos cosas, si esas dos cosas no pueden ]producir una sola? Si el producto resultase ser una sola cosa, los dos términos no sufrirían entre sí, sino que actuarían sobre las otras cosas. ¿Pero actúan realmente ambos? No, sino que el uno impide que el otro huya.

Cuando un cuerpo se divide, ¿cómo es que su materia no se divide? Si la división del cuerpo es una pasión, ¿cómo la misma materia no sufre los efectos de esta pasión? Siguiendo este razonamiento, ¿qué nos impide decir que la materia se destruye? Porque si el cuerpo se destruye, ¿cómo no se destruye también su materia? Debiéramos responder que el cuerpo tiene una cantidad y una magnitud, pero que la materia, que no tiene magnitud, no se ve tampoco afectada por ella. En general, si no es un cuerpo, no cuenta asimismo con las afecciones del cuerpo; de modo que quienes la hacen pasiva deben conceder también que es un cuerpo.

Bouillet

XII. Pénétré de la même pensée, persuadé que, par la participation, la matière ne reçoit pas la forme et l’espèce, comme le ferait un sujet qui constituerait un composé de choses intimement unies par leur transformation, leur mixtion et leurs passions communes, Platon  , pour démontrer qu’il n’en est pas ainsi et que la matière reste impassible tout en recevant les formes, a trouvé un exemple parfaitement bien choisi d’une participation opérée sans passion (66). Si l’on cherchait un exemple d’un autre genre, il serait fort difficile de faire comprendre comment le sujet peut rester le même quand les formes y sont présentes. En cherchant à atteindre le but qu’il poursuivait, Platon   a soulevé beaucoup de questions ; il s’est en outre appliqué à faire , voir que les objets sensibles sont vides de réalité et que l’apparence occupe en eux une large place (67). En avançant que c’est par les figures qu’elle revêt que la matière fait pâtir les corps animés, sans éprouver elle-même aucune de ces passions, Platon   nous montre sa permanence et son identité ; il veut nous faire conclure de là que la matière ne subit ni passion ni altération en revêtant ces figures. En effet, dans les corps qui prennent successivement différentes figures, on peut, en se fondant sur l’analogie, appeler altération le changement de figures ; mais, puisque la matière n’a ni figure ni étendue (68), comment pourrait-on, même par analogie, appeler altération la présence d’une figure ? Veut-on avoir une règle sûre, ne pas se tromper dans son langage? on n’a qu’à dire que le sujet ne possède rien de la manière dont on croit qu’il possède. Comment donc possède-t-il les choses qu’il a en lui, si ce n’est pas comme figure? La proposition de Platon   signifie que la matière est impassible et qu’il y a en elle présence apparente d’images qui n’y sont pas réellement présentes. Mais il est encore nécessaire d’insister préalablement sur l’impassibilité de la matière : car on pourrait être conduit par remploi des termes usuels à supposer, mais à tort, que la matière pâtit.

C’est ainsi, dit Platon  , que l’on conçoit la matière comme enflammée, mouillée, etc., comme recevant les formes de l’air et de l’eau (69). En ajoutant que « la matière reçoit les formes de l’air et de l’eau », Platon   modifie cette affirmation que « la matière est enflammée et mouillée, » et il montre qu’en recevant les formes elle n’a cependant pas de forme elle-même, que les formes ne font qu’entrer en elle. Cette expression : la matière est enflammée, ne doit pas être prise dans le sens propre ; elle signifie seulement que la matière devient feu. Or, devenir feu n’est pas la même chose qu’être enflammé : être enflammé ne peut arriver qu’à ce qui est différent du feu, à ce qui pâtit ; ce qui est soi-même une partie du feu ne saurait être enflammé. Soutenir le contraire, ce serait prétendre que l’airain a de lui-même formé une statue, ou que le feu s’est répandu de lui-même dans la matière et l’a enflammée. Veut-on qu’une raison [séminale] se soit approchée de la matière? Comment cette raison l’aurait-elle enflammée? Veut-on qu’une figure se soit unie à la matière (70)? Mais, ce qui est enflammé est évidemment déjà composé de deux choses [d’une matière et d’une figure], et ces deux choses en forment une seule. Quoique ces deux choses en forment une seule, elles ne se font point pâtir l’une l’autre; elles agissent seulement sur d’autres. Dans ce cas agissent-elles ensemble? Non : seulement l’une empêche l’autre de fuir la forme. — Mais, [dira-t-on], quand le corps est divisé, comment la matière peut-elle n’être pas divisée aussi? Comment, lorsque le composé [de forme et de matière] pâtit parce qu’il est divisé, la matière ne partage-t-elle pas cette passion? — S’il en est ainsi, rien n’empêche de prétendre aussi que la matière est détruite et de dire : Pourquoi, puisque le corps est détruit, la matière ne serait-elle pas aussi détruite? Ce qui pâtit et se divise doit être une quantité, une grandeur. Ce qui n’est pas une grandeur ne peut éprouver les mêmes modifications qu’une grandeur ; ce qui n’est pas un corps ne peut pâtir comme un corps. Donc ceux qui regardent la matière comme susceptible de pâtir seraient conduits à dire qu’elle est un corps.

Guthrie

SENSE-OBJECTS ARE UNREAL AND ARE CHIEFLY MADE UP OF APPEARANCE.

12. Plato   agreed with this, and being persuaded that, by participation, matter does not receive form and shape, as would some substrate that should constitute a composite of things intimately united by their transformation, their mixture, and their common affections; in order to demonstrate the opposite, namely, that matter remains impassible while receiving forms, invented a most apposite illustration of a participation that operates without anything being affected (namely, that engravers, before using dies on the soft wax, clean them carefully). Almost any other kind of illustration would fail to explain how the substrate can remain the same in the presence of forms. While trying to achieve his purpose, Plato   has raised many questions; he has besides applied himself to demonstrate that sense-objects are devoid of reality, and that a large part of their hypostatic substance is constituted by appearance. Plato   demonstrates the permanence and identity of matter by showing that it is by the figures with which it is endued that matter affects animated bodies, without itself suffering any of their affections. He wishes to convince us that in being endued with these figures, matter undergoes neither affection nor alteration. Indeed, in the bodies that successively assume different figures, we may, relying on analogy, call the change of figures an alteration; but since matter has neither figure nor existence, how could we, even by analogy, call the presence of a figure an alteration? The only sure way of avoiding a misunderstanding in expression is to say that the substrate possesses nothing in the manner it is usually supposed to possess it. How then could it possess the things it contains, unless as a figure? Plato  ’s illustration means that matter is impassible, and that it contains the apparent presence of images which are not really present therein.

PLATO  ’S FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE MIGHT LEAD TO ERRORS ABOUT HIS REAL OPINIONS.

We must still further preliminarily insist on the impassibility of matter; for by using the usual terms we might be misled into wrongly thinking that matter could be affected. Thus Plato   speaks of matter being set on fire, being wetted, and so forth, as if it received the shapes of air or water. However, Plato   modifies the statement that "matter receives the shapes of air and water" by the statement that matter "is set on fire and wetted," and he demonstrates that by receiving these shapes it nevertheless has none of its own, and that forms do not more than enter into it. This expression "matter is set on fire" must not be taken literally; it means only that matter becomes fire. Now to become fire is not the same thing as being set on fire; to be set on fire can achieve no more than what is different from fire, than what can be affected; for that which itself is a part of fire could not be set on fire. To insist on the opposite would amount to saying that metal itself formed a statue, or that fire itself spread into matter and set it on fire. The theory that a ("seminal) reason" had approached matter, forces us to question how this reason could have set matter on fire. The theory that a figure had approached matter would imply that that which is set on fire is already composed of two things (matter and a figure), and that these two entities form a single one. Although these two things would form a single one, they would not affect each other, and would act only on other entities. Nor would they even in this case act jointly; for one would effect no more than to hinder the other from avoiding (form). The theory that when the body is divided matter also must be divided, would have to answer the question, How could matter on being divided, escape the affection undergone by the composite (of form and matter) ? On such a theory, one might even assert that matter was destroyed, and ask, Since the body is destroyed, why should not matter also be destroyed? What is affected and divided must be a quantity or magnitude. What is not a magnitude cannot experience the same modifications as a body. Therefore those who consider matter affectible would be forced to call it a body.

Taylor

XII. But Plato   having formed this conception of matter, and not admitting that participation in it, is as if form was generated in a subject, and imparted to it morphe, so as to become one composite, the things which it participates being co-transmuted, and as it were co-mingled, and co-passive, — Plato  , therefore, not being willing to adopt such a mode of participation as this, but desiring to show how matter remaining impassive possesses forms, investigated a paradigm of impassive participation, without which it is not easy to show what those things especially are, which when present preserve the subject one and the same. He likewise excites many doubts, while hastening to obtain the object of his enquiry, and besides this, wishing to represent to us the vacuity of subsistence in sensibles, and that the region of the resemblance of reality is very ample. Supposing, therefore, that matter by figures produces passions in animated bodies, while at the same time it has itself none of these passions, he indicates by this the stability of matter; enabling us to collect by a syllogistic process that matter neither suffers, nor is changed in quality by these figures. For in these bodies indeed [which are the objects of sense], and which receive one figure after another, perhaps some one may say a change in quality is effected, asserting that the mutation of figure is an homonymous alliation3 . Since matter, however, has neither any figure, nor any magnitude, how cau it be said that the presence of figure, in whatever way this may take place, is alliation, though it should homonymously be said to be so ? If, therefore, some one adopting this conception of Plato   as legitimate, should assert that the subject nature [i.e. matter] does not possess any thing in such a way as it is thought to possess it, he will not speak absurdly. In what manner, however, does matter possess forms, if you are not willing to admit that" it possesses them as figures ? But the hypothesis of Plato   indicates as much as possible the impassivity of matter, and the apparent presence of images in it, which are not [in reality] present.

Perhaps, however, we ought first to speak further about the impassivity of matter. Plato  , therefore, teaches us that we ought to be led by usual appellations to the consideration of its passivity, as when he says it becomes dry, or ignited, or moist, &c. and receives the forms of air and water. For the assertion that it receives these forms, mitigates the force of the other assertion, that matter is ignited and becomes moist. He likewise manifests when he says that matter receives forms, that it is not itself invested with morphe, but that the morphae are in the same state as when they entered into matter; and that the term ignited is not properly applied to matter, but rather fire in generation, or becoming to be. For it is not the same thing for fire to be in generation, and for a thing to be ignited. For to be ignited is indeed effected in another thing, in which there is also passivity. But how can that which is a part of fire, be itself ignited? For this would be just the same as if some one should say, that the statue proceeded through the brass, or fire through matter, and besides this ignited it. Farther still, if that which accedes is reason or a productive principle, how will it ignite ? Shall we say on account of figure ? But that which ignited already consists both of matter and figure. How, therefore, can it consist of both, unless it becomes one from both ? Or shall we say that though it becomes one, yet not from two things having passions in each other, but acting upon other things ? Does this, therefore, arise from the agency of both, or from one of them causing the other not to fly away ? When, however, a certain body is divided, how is it possible that matter also should not be divided ? And matter when it is divided being passive, how is it possible it should not suffer by this very passion ? Or what hinders us from asserting for the same reason that matter is corrupted ? Since when body is corrupted, it must be shown why matter likewise is not corrupted. In answer to this, however, it may be said, that what suffers and is divided is a magnitude of a definite quantity, but in that which is not magnitude, the passions of magnitude are not ingenerated. And, in short, the passions of body are not inherent in that which is not body ; so that those who make matter to be passive, must also admit it to be body.

MacKenna

12. This is Plato  ’s conception: to him participation does not, in the case of Matter, comport any such presence of an Ideal-form in a Substance to be shaped by it as would produce one compound thing made up of the two elements changing at the same moment, merging into one another, modified each by the other.

In his haste to his purpose he raises many difficult questions, but he is determined to disown that view; he labours to indicate in what mode Matter can receive the Ideal-forms without being, itself, modified. The direct way is debarred since it is not easy to point to things actually present in a base and yet leaving that base unaffected: he therefore devises a metaphor for participation without modification, one which supports, also, his thesis that all appearing to the senses is void of substantial existence and that the region of mere seeming is vast.

Holding, as he does, that it is the patterns displayed upon Matter that cause all experience in living bodies while the Matter itself remains unaffected, he chooses this way of stating its immutability, leaving us to make out for ourselves that those very patterns impressed upon it do not comport any experience, any modification, in itself.

In the case, no doubt, of the living bodies that take one pattern or shape after having borne another, it might be said that there was a change, the variation of shape being made verbally equivalent to a real change: but since Matter is essentially without shape or magnitude, the appearing of shape upon it can by no freedom of phrase be described as a change within it. On this point one must have "a rule for thick and thin" one may safely say that the underlying Kind contains nothing whatever in the mode commonly supposed.

But if we reject even the idea of its really containing at least the patterns upon it, how is it, in any sense, a recipient?

The answer is that in the metaphor cited we have some reasonably adequate indication of the impassibility of Matter coupled with the presence upon it of what may be described as images of things not present.

But we cannot leave the point of its impassibility without a warning against allowing ourselves to be deluded by sheer custom of speech.

Plato   speaks of Matter as becoming dry, wet, inflamed, but we must remember the words that follow: "and taking the shape of air and of water": this blunts the expressions "becoming wet, becoming inflamed"; once we have Matter thus admitting these shapes, we learn that it has not itself become a shaped thing but that the shapes remain distinct as they entered. We see, further, that the expression "becoming inflamed" is not to be taken strictly: it is rather a case of becoming fire. Becoming fire is very different from becoming inflamed, which implies an outside agency and, therefore, susceptibility to modification. Matter, being itself a portion of fire, cannot be said to catch fire. To suggest that the fire not merely permeates the matter, but actually sets it on fire is like saying that a statue permeates its bronze.

Further, if what enters must be an Ideal-Principle how could it set Matter aflame? But what if it is a pattern or condition? No: the object set aflame is so in virtue of the combination of Matter and condition.

But how can this follow on the conjunction when no unity has been produced by the two?

Even if such a unity had been produced, it would be a unity of things not mutually sharing experiences but acting upon each other. And the question would then arise whether each was effective upon the other or whether the sole action was not that of one (the form) preventing the other [the Matter] from slipping away?

But when any material thing is severed, must not the Matter be divided with it? Surely the bodily modification and other experience that have accompanied the sundering, must have occurred, identically, within the Matter?

This reasoning would force the destructibility of Matter upon us: "the body is dissolved; then the Matter is dissolved." We would have to allow Matter to be a thing of quantity, a magnitude. But since it is not a magnitude it could not have the experiences that belong to magnitude and, on the larger scale, since it is not body it cannot know the experiences of body.

In fact those that declare Matter subject to modification may as well declare it body right out.


[1Referencia al Timeo, 52 a.

[2Cf. Demóciito, fr. B 9 y 125.

[3Citas recogidas del Timeo, 51 b.