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Plotino - Tratado 44,2 (VI, 3, 2) — Os gêneros do ser: questões de método

Enéada VI, 3, 2

sábado 18 de junho de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Igal

2 Hay que estudiar la llamada «sustancia» admitiendo, en primer lugar, que la naturaleza inherente a los cuerpos se llama sustancia en sentido equívoco, y aun propiamente, para expresar con justeza la noción de cosas fluentes, ni siquiera «sustancia en absoluto», sino «devenir»; en segundo lugar, que de las cosas del devenir unas son de una índole y otras de otra, esto es, que unas son cuerpos reductibles a unidad, tanto si son simples como si son compuestas, y otras accidentes o concomitantes, distinguiendo aun éstos entre sí, o bien distinguiendo de un lado la materia y de otro la forma sobre la materia, una y otra por separado en calidad de género, o ambas bajo un mismo género, una y otra en calidad de sustancia en sentido equívoco o de devenir.

—Pero ¿qué hay de común en la materia y en la forma? ¿Cómo pueder ser género la materia y de qué cosas? ¿Cuál es la diferencia específica de la materia? ¿A qué genero asignar el compuesto de materia y forma? Pero si el compuesto de materia y forma es, él mismo, la sustancia corpórea y ni la una ni la otra es sustancia, ¿cómo es posible poner ambas en un mismo género y en el mismo que el compuesto? ¿Cómo poner los elementos de una cosa con esta cosa? Por otra parte, comenzar por los cuerpos es comenzar por las sílabas. 15¿Por qué, en fin, no equiparamos analógicamente —aunque la división no sea del mismo modo— la materia de acá con el Ser de allá, la forma de acá, que es una especie de vida y acabamiento de la materia, con el Movimiento de allá, y el no salirse la materia de sí misma con el Reposo? Dígase lo mismo de la identidad y alteridad, puesto que también acá abunda la identidad y la alteridad, o mejor, la desemejanza.

—Pues porque, en primer lugar, la materia no tiene ni recibe la forma como vida y actividad suyas, sino que le llegan de otra parte, pues no son propias de aquélla. En segundo lugar, allá la Forma es Actividad y Movimiento, mientras acá el movimiento es otra cosa y es accidental; por otra parte, la forma es más bien reposo y como quietud de la materia, ya que, siendo ella indefinida, la define. Además, allá la Identidad y la Alteridad es de una misma cosa, que es idéntica y diversa, mientras acá lo diverso lo es por participación y con relación a otra cosa, y se trata de un idéntico y diverso particular, pero no en el mismo sentido en que allá puede haber algo, entre las especies inferiores, que sea un idéntico y un diverso particular. Y reposo, ¿qué reposo puede haber en la materia, que arrambla en todas las direcciones magnitudes y formas traídas de fuera y que no se basta a sí misma para generar con ellas las demás cosas? Por consiguiente, hay que desechar esta división.

Bouillet

II. Parlons d’abord de ce qu’on appelle essence ici-bas.

Il faut reconnaître que la nature corporelle ne peut recevoir le nom d’essence que par homonymie ou même qu’elle ne doit pas le recevoir du tout, puisqu’elle implique l’idée d’écoulement [de changement] perpétuel (7): la dénomination qui lui convient proprement, c’est celle de génération (8). Il faut reconnaître aussi que les choses qui appartiennent à la génération sont fort diverses ; cependant tous les corps, les uns simples [comme les éléments], les autres compo- 249 sés [comme les mixtes], doivent être ramenés à un seul genre ainsi que leurs accidents et leurs effets, en établissant des divisions entre ces choses. — On peut encore distinguer dans les corps, d’un côté la matière, de l’autre la forme imprimée à la matière, et faire un genre de chacune d’elles prise séparément, ou bien les réunir toutes deux dans un même genre, en les appelant, par homonymie, essence, ou plutôt génération. Mais que peut-il y avoir de commun entre la matière et la forme? Comment en outre la matière serait-elle un genre et que comprendrait ce genre? La matière n’est-elle pas en effet partout la même? Et d’ailleurs, dans quel genre placerons-nous le composé qui résulte de l’union de la forme et de la matière? Si nous disons que ce composé même est l’essence corporelle, mais qu’aucun de ses éléments n’est corps, comment ceux-ci seraient-ils rangés dans la même catégorie que le composé? Vit-on jamais placer dans le même genre les éléments d’une chose et cette chose même? Si l’on répond qu’il faut commencer par les corps [par les composés], c’est comme si l’on nous disait que dans la lecture il faut commencer par les syllabes [et non par les lettres].

Mais si l’on ne peut établir dans le monde sensible des divisions qui soient absolument les mêmes que celles du monde intelligible, pourquoi n’y admettrions-nous pas des divisions analogues? Au lieu de l’être intelligible, nous aurons ici-bas la matière; au lieu du mouvement intelligible, la forme, qui donne à la matière la vie et la perfection ; au lieu de la stabilité intelligible, l’inertie de la matière ; au lieu de l’identité, la ressemblance; au lieu de la différence, la diversité ou plutôt la dissemblance qu’offrent les êtres sensibles (9). Soit : mais remarquons d’abord que la matière 250 ne reçoit ni ne possède la forme comme sa vie ou son acte propre, qu’au contraire la forme s’introduit du dehors en elle, au lieu d’appartenir à son essence. Remarquons en outre que, tandis que dans le monde intelligible la forme est essentiellement acte et mouvement, dans le monde sensible le mouvement est quelque chose d’étranger et d’accidentel; loin d’être mouvement, la forme imprimée à la matière lui communique plutôt la stabilité et l’immobilité : car la forme détermine la matière qui est naturellement indéterminée; dans le monde intelligible, l’identité et la différence s’entendent d’un seul et même être, à la fois identique et différent; ici-bas, l’être n’est différent que relativement, par participation [à la différence] : car il est quelque chose d’identique et de différent, non par conséquence, comme là-haut, mais par sa nature. Quant à la stabilité, comment l’attribuer à la matière qui prend toutes les grandeurs, qui reçoit du dehors toutes ses formes, sans pouvoir jamais rien engendrer par elle-même au moyen de ces formes? Il faut donc renoncer à cette division.

Guthrie

WHAT IS BEING IN THE INTELLIGIBLE IS GENERATION IN THE SENSE-WORLD.

2. First let us consider what mundane name "Being" must be applied to. To begin with, it must be explained that physical nature can receive the name of "being" only as a figure of speech; or rather, should not receive it at all, since it implies the idea of perpetual flowing (that is, change); so, the more suitable denomination would be "generation." We shall also have to acknowledge that the things that belong to generation are very different; nevertheless all bodies, some simple (such, as elements), the others composite as mixtures), together with their accidents and effects, must, during the process of classification, be reduced to a single genus.

  •  In bodies, one may besides distinguish on one hand matter, on the other, the form imprinted thereon; and we designate each of these separately as a genus, or subsume both under a unity, inasmuch as we designate both by the common label of "being," or rather, "generation." But what is the common element in matter and form? In what manner, and of what is matter a genus? For what difference .inheres in matter? In what sequence could we incorporate that which is composed of both ? But in the case that that which is composed of both be itself corporeal being, while neither of the two is a body, how then could either be incorporated in a single genus, or within the same genus along with the compound of both? How (could this incorporation into a single genus be effected with) the elements of some object and the object itself? To answer that we should begin by the (composite) bodies: which would be tantamount to learning to read by beginning with syllables (and not with letters).

    CAN WE ANALYZE THIS WORLD BY ANALOGY WITH THE INTELLIGIBLE?

    Let us now grant that symmetrical analysis by individual objects is impossible. Might we not, as a means of classification, then employ analogy? In this case the (intelligible, higher) "being" would here be represented by matter; and movement above, by form here, which would thus quicken and perfect matter. The inertia of matter would correspond to rest above, while the (intelligible) identity and difference would correspond to our earthly manifold resemblance and differences. (Such an analogic method would misrepresent the state of affairs in this world). To begin with, matter does not receive form as its life or actualization, but (form) approaches and informs (matter) as something foreign (form deriving from being, while matter is only a deception; so that there is no kinship between them). Then in the (intelligible world) form is an actualization and motion, while here below movement is different, being accidental; we might far rather call form the halting or rest of matter, for form defines that which in itself is indefinite (unlimited). There (in the intelligible world) identity and difference refer to a single essence, which is both identical and different. Here below, essence differs only relatively, by participation (in the difference) for it is something identical and different, not by consequence, as above, but here below, by nature. As to stability, how could it be attributed to matter, which assumes all dimensions, which receives all its forms from without, without itself ever being able to beget anything by means of these forms? Such a division, therefore, will have to be given up.

  • MacKenna

    2. Our first observations must be directed to what passes in the Sensible realm for Substance. It is, we shall agree, only by analogy that the nature manifested in bodies is designated as Substance, and by no means because such terms as Substance or Being tally with the notion of bodies in flux; the proper term would be Becoming.

    But Becoming is not a uniform nature; bodies comprise under the single head simples and composites, together with accidentals or consequents, these last themselves capable of separate classification.

    Alternatively, Becoming may be divided into Matter and the Form imposed upon Matter. These may be regarded each as a separate genus, or else both may be brought under a single category and receive alike the name of Substance.

    But what, we may ask, have Matter and Form in common? In what sense can Matter be conceived as a genus, and what will be its species? What is the differentia of Matter? In which genus, Matter or Form, are we to rank the composite of both? It may be this very composite which constitutes the Substance manifested in bodies, neither of the components by itself answering to the conception of Body: how, then, can we rank them in one and the same genus as the composite? How can the elements of a thing be brought within the same genus as the thing itself? Yet if we begin with bodies, our first-principles will be compounds.

    Why not resort to analogy? Admitted that the classification of the Sensible cannot proceed along the identical lines marked out for the Intellectual: is there any reason why we should not for Intellectual-Being substitute Matter, and for Intellectual Motion substitute Sensible Form, which is in a sense the life and consummation of Matter? The inertia of Matter would correspond with Stability, while the Identity and Difference of the Intellectual would find their counterparts in the similarity and diversity which obtain in the Sensible realm.

    But, in the first place, Matter does not possess or acquire Form as its life or its Act; Form enters it from without, and remains foreign to its nature. Secondly, Form in the Intellectual is an Act and a motion; in the Sensible Motion is different from Form and accidental to it: Form in relation to Matter approximates rather to Stability than to Motion; for by determining Matter’s indetermination it confers upon it a sort of repose.

    In the higher realm Identity and Difference presuppose a unity at once identical and different: a thing in the lower is different only by participation in Difference and in relation to some other thing; Identity and Difference are here predicated of the particular, which is not, as in that realm, a posterior.

    As for Stability, how can it belong to Matter, which is distorted into every variety of mass, receiving its forms from without, and even with the aid of these forms incapable of offspring.

    This mode of division must accordingly be abandoned.