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Plotino - Tratado 43,2 (VI, 2, 2) — O ser, é o uno-múltiplo da segunda hipótese da segunda parte do Parmênides

Enéada VI, 2, 2

sexta-feira 17 de junho de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Igal

2 Puesto, que negamos que el Ente sea uno, ¿lo concebimos como un número determinado o como ilimitado? ¿Cómo concebimos, en efecto, este no-uno?

Pues lo concebimos como uno y múltiple a la vez, un uno multiforme con una multiplicidad reducida a unidad. Fuerza es, por consiguiente, o que un uno así sea uno a modo de género con los Seres como especies, gracias a los cuales sea uno y múltiple, o que haya más de un género, pero que todos estén subordinados a uno solo, o varios géneros, pero que ninguno esté subordinado a otro, sino que cada uno abarque a sus subordinados, ya sean éstos géneros inferiores, ya sean especies y, bajo éstas, otras especies indivisibles, y que todos ellos contribuyan a la formación de una sola naturaleza, y que el mundo inteligible, que es al que llamamos «Ente», esté constituido por todos ellos. Y si esto es así, es preciso que estos géneros sean no sólo géneros, sino a la vez principios del Ser: géneros, porque por debajo de ellos hay otros géneros inferiores seguidos de especies y de especies indivisibles; principios, porque un Ente así consta de una multiplicidad y el todo es resultado de esta multiplicidad. En cambio, si los componentes de que consta fueran varios y todos juntos a una constituyeran el todo, pero sin tener subordinados, serían principios, pero no géneros. Suponiendo, por ejemplo, que el mundo sensible constara de los cuatro elementos, del fuego y de los otros tres, éstos serían principios, pero no géneros, salvo que entendamos «género» en sentido equívoco.

Entonces, al afirmar que hay algunos géneros y que estos mismos géneros son a la vez principios, ¿es que constituimos el todo juntando y mezclando todos los géneros entre sí con sus subordinados y los fusionamos todos? En ese caso, cada uno de los géneros existiría en potencia, y no en acto; cada uno dejaría de ser él mismo en toda su pureza. ¿Prescindiremos, entonces, de los géneros y mezclaremos las especies particulares?

—Entonces, ¿qué serían los géneros en sí mismos?

—Aquellos géneros existirán en sí mismos y en toda su pureza; las especies mezcladas no los destruirán.

—¿Cómo puede ser esto?

—Dejemos esto para más adelante. De momento, puesto que hemos convenido en que hay géneros y en que son, además, principios de la sustancia y en que, en un sentido distinto, son principios y son composición, debemos explicar, en primer lugar, cuántos géneros decimos que hay y por qué los separamos unos de otros y no los subordinamos a uno solo, cual si se juntaran y constituyeran uno solo por casualidad, aunque sería mucho más razonable subordinarlos a uno solo. En realidad, si fuera posible que existieran todas las especies del Ser seguidas de las especies indivisibles y ninguna otra cosa fuera de las dichas, sería posible proceder así. Pero puesto que semejante tesis es destructiva de sí misma (en efecto, ni las especies serían especies, ni habría en absoluto una multiplicidad bajo un solo género, sino que todas las cosas serían una sola, si no hubiera otro u otros Seres fuera de aquel género único. En efecto, ¿cómo podría hacerse múltiple ese uno, de manera que engendrara las especies, si no hubiera otra cosa fuera de él? Porque él por sí mismo no es múltiple, a menos que uno lo fraccione como una magnitud; pero aun así, quien lo fraccione será distinto de él; y si es él quien se fracciona a sí mismo o quien, en general, se divide a sí mismo, antes de dividirse, ya estará dividido), debemos, pues, abandonar la idea de un solo género por otras muchas razones, pero en particular porque, de lo contrario, ya no sería posible, tomando una especie particular cualquiera, afirmar de ella que es Ente o que es Sustancia. Y si alguno predicara de ella que es Ente, lo predicaría como algo accesorio, como si uno dijera que la sustancia es blanca, porque con ello no querría decir que es lo mismo que lo blanco.

Bouillet

II. Puis donc que l’être n’est pas un, nous admettons que la conséquence est qu’il y a un nombre d’êtres déterminé ou infini. Dire en effet que l’être n’est pas un, n’est-ce pas dire qu’il est à la fois un et multiple, qu’il est une unité variée qui embrasse une multitude? Or, il est nécessaire ou que l’un ainsi conçu soit un en tant que formant un seul genre, ayant pour espèces les êtres par lesquels il est à la fois un et multiple; ou qu’il y ait plusieurs genres, mais que tous ces genres se rangent sous un seul; ou bien qu’il y ait encore plusieurs genres, mais qui ne se subordonnent pas les uns aux autres et dont chacun, indépendant des autres, contienne ce qui est au-dessous de lui, soit des genres moins étendus, soit des espèces après lesquelles il n’y a plus que des individus; en sorte que toutes ces choses concourent à constituer une seule nature, et forment par leur ensemble la substance du monde intelligible, que nous appelons l’être.

S’il en est ainsi, les divisions que nous établissons ne sont plus seulement des genres, elles sont en même temps les principes mêmes de l’être : elles sont des genres, parce qu’elles contiennent des genres moins étendus, et au-dessous de ces genres des espèces, puis des individus ; elles sont aussi des principes, puisque l’être se compose d’éléments multiples et que ces éléments constituent la totalité de l’être. Si l’on admettait seulement que l’être se compose de plusieurs éléments et que par leur concours ces éléments constituent le tout, sans ajouter qu’ils ont au-dessous d’eux certaines espèces, on aurait encore il est vrai des principes, mais ce ne seraient plus des genres : c’est ainsi que quand on dit que le monde sensible se compose de quatre éléments, du feu et des autres, on a bien dans ces éléments des principes, mais nullement des genres, à moins qu’on ne leur donne ce nom seulement par homonymie.

Admettant donc qu’il existe certaine genres, qui sont en même temps des principes, nous avons encore à rechercher s’ils doivent être conçus de telle sorte que ces genres, avec les choses que contient chacun d’eux» se mélangent, se confondent et forment le tout par leur ensemble. S’il en était ainsi, les genres n’existeraient qu’en puissance et nullement en acte; ils n’auraient plus chacun quelque chose de propre. — Ou bien, laissant les genres subsister, pourra-t-on ne mélanger que les individus? Que seront donc alors les genres en eux-mêmes? Subsisteront-ils par eux-mêmes et resteront-ils purs, sans que les choses qui seront mêlées les détruisent ? Comment cela aura-t-il lieu ? Mais nous traiterons ces questions plus tard.

Maintenant, puisque nous avons reconnu qu’il existe des genres qui sont en outre les principes de l’essence, qu’il y a à un autre point de vue des principes [ou éléments] et des composés, il faut que nous disions d’abord par rapport à quoi nous constituons les genres comme genres, comment nous les distinguons les uns des autres, au lieu de les réduire à un seul (comme s’ils étaient réunis par hasard), quoiqu’il semble plus raisonnable de les réduire à un seul. On pourrait les réduire ainsi s’il était possible que toutes choses fussent des espèces de l’être, que tous les individus fussent contenus dans ces espèces et qu’il n’y eût rien en dehors d’elles. Mais une pareille supposition détruit les espèces (car alors les espèces ne seraient plus des espèces), et dès ce moment il n’y aurait plus lieu de réduire la pluralité à l’unité, mais tout ne ferait qu’un ; en sorte que, toutes choses appartenant à cet un, aucun autre être n’existerait en tant qu’autre hors de l’un. Comment en effet l’un serait-il devenu multiple et aurait-il pu engendrer les espèces s’il n’existait rien d’autre que lui? Car il ne serait pas multiple s’il n’y avait quelque chose pour le diviser, comme une grandeur; or ce qui divise est autre que ce qui est divisé. S’il se divise lui-même ou se partage, c’est qu’il était déjà avant la division susceptible d’être divisé (5).

Il faut donc, pour cette raison et pour plusieurs autres, se garder de reconnaître un seul genre (6) : car il serait impossible d’appliquer à tout les dénominations d’être et d’essence. S’il y a des objets fort divers qu’on appelle êtres, ce n’est que par accident, comme si par exemple on faisait du blanc une substance : car on ne donne pas le nom de substance au blanc considéré seul (7).

Guthrie

HIERARCHICAL CONSTITUTION OF THE UNIVERSE.

2. Holding as we do that the world-Essence is not one, we must face the question whether the number of beings is determinate, or infinite. To say that world-Essence is not one, however, is to say that it is both one and multiple, a varied unity that embraces a multitude. It is therefore necessary that the One, so conceived, be one so far as it forms a single genus, containing as species the essences by which it is simultaneously one and multiple; or there must be several genera, but that they all be subsumed under the single one; or again, that there be several genera which however be not mutually subsumed, of which each, being independent of the others, may contain what is below it, consisting of less extended genera, or species below which there are no more than individuals; so that all these things may contribute to the constitution of a single nature, together making up the organization of the intelligible world, which we call world-Essence (or "being").

THE ELEMENTS OF THE UNIVERSE ARE PRINCIPLES AND GENERA SIMULTANEOUSLY.

Under these circumstances, the divisions that we establish are no more only genera, they are simultaneously the very principles of world-Essence; on the one hand they are genera, because they contain less extended genera, beneath which are species, which end in individuals; they are also principles, because world-Essence is composed of multiple elements, and because these elements constitute the totality of Essence. If it were only stated that world-Essence is composed of several elements, and that these elements, by cooperation, constitute the All, without adding that they branch out into lower species, our divisions would indeed be principles, but they would no longer be genera. For instance, if it be said that the sense-world is composed of four elements, such as fire, or other elements, these elements are indeed principles, but not genera, unless this name be used as a verbal similarity (or, homonym, or pun).

BEING ACTUALIZATIONS, BOTH GENERA AND INDIVIDUALS WILL BE DISTINCT.

Admitting therefore the existence of certain genera, which are simultaneously principles, we must still consider whether they should be conceived so that these genera, along with the things contained by each of them, commingle, fuse, and form the whole by their blending. If so, the genera would exist potentially, but not in actualization; none would have anything characteristic. Further, granting the distinctness of the genera, can we grant that the individuals blend? But what then would become of the genera themselves? Will they subsist by themselves, and will they remain pure, without mutual destruction of the mingled individuals? Later we shall indicate how such things could take place.

FUNDAMENTAL UNITY OF GENERA WOULD DESTROY SPECIES; MANIFOLDNESS MUST PRE-EXIST.

Now that we have explained the existence of genera, which, besides, are principles of being, and that from another point of view there are principles (or elements), and compounds, we shall have to set forth the criterion by which we constitute these genera; we shall have to ask how they may be distinguished from each other, instead of reducing them to a single (principle), as if they had been united by chance, although it does indeed seem more rational to reduce them to a single (principle). It would be possible to reduce them in this way if all things were species of essence, if the individuals were contained within these species, and if there were nothing outside of these species. But such a supposition would destroy the species — for such species would no longer be species, or forms; — and from that moment there would be no further need for reducing plurality to unity, and everything forming a single unity; so that, all things belonging to this One, no being outside of the One would exist, as far as it was something else.

How indeed could the One have become manifold, and how could it have begotten the species, if nothing but it existed? For it would not be manifold if there were not something to divide it, such as a size; now that which divides is other than that which is divided. The mere fact that it divides itself, or imparts itself to others, shows that it was already divisible before the division.

THERE IS MORE THAN ONE GENUS. FOR NOT EVERYTHING CAN BE SUBSUMED UNDER BEING AND ESSENCE.

For this and other reasons, therefore, we must take good care to avoid assertion of a single genus; for it would be impossible to apply to everything the denominations of "being" and essence. If indeed there be very different objects called essence, this is only accidentally, just as if one called the color white a being; for strictly we cannot apply "being" to white, as considered alone.

MacKenna

2. In asserting that Being is not a unity, we do not mean to imply a definite number of existences; the number may well be infinite: we mean simply that it is many as well as one, that it is, so to speak, a diversified unity, a plurality in unity.

It follows that either the unity so regarded is a unity of genus under which the Existents, involving as they do plurality as well as unity, stand as species; or that while there are more genera than one, yet all are subordinate to a unity; or there may be more genera than one, though no one genus is subordinate to any other, but all with their own subordinates - whether these be lesser genera, or species with individuals for their subordinates - all are elements in one entity, and from their totality the Intellectual realm - that which we know as Being - derives its constitution.

If this last is the truth, we have here not merely genera, but genera which are at the same time principles of Being. They are genera because they have subordinates - other genera, and successively species and individuals; they are also principles, since from this plurality Being takes its rise, constituted in its entirety from these its elements.

Suppose, however, a greater number of origins which by their mere totality comprised, without possessing any subordinates, the whole of Being; these would be first-principles but not genera: it would be as if one constructed the sensible world from the four elements - fire and the others; these elements would be first principles, but they would not be genera, unless the term "genus" is to be used equivocally.

But does this assertion of certain genera which are at the same time first-principles imply that by combining the genera, each with its subordinates, we find the whole of Being in the resultant combination? But then, taken separately, their existence will not be actual but only potential, and they will not be found in isolation.

Suppose, on the other hand, we ignore the genera and combine the particulars: what then becomes of the ignored genera? They will, surely, exist in the purity of their own isolation, and the mixtures will not destroy them. The question of how this result is achieved may be postponed.

For the moment we take it as agreed that there are genera as distinct from principles of Being and that, on another plane, principles [elements] are opposed to compounds. We are thus obliged to show in what relation we speak of genera and why we distinguish them instead of summing them under a unity; for otherwise we imply that their coalescence into a unity is fortuitous, whereas it would be more plausible to dispense with their separate existence.

If all the genera could be species of Being, all individuals without exception being immediately subordinate to these species, then such a unification becomes feasible. But that supposition bespeaks annihilation for the genera: the species will no longer be species; plurality will no longer be subordinated to unity; everything must be the unity, unless there exist some thing or things outside the unity. The One never becomes many - as the existence of species demands - unless there is something distinct from it: it cannot of itself assume plurality, unless we are to think of it as being broken into pieces like some extended body: but even so, the force which breaks it up must be distinct from it: if it is itself to effect the breaking up - or whatever form the division may take - then it is itself previously divided.

For these and many other reasons we must abstain from positing a single genus, and especially because neither Being nor Substance can be the predicate of any given thing. If we do predicate Being, it is only as an accidental attribute; just as when we predicate whiteness of a substance, we are not predicating the Absolute Whiteness.