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Plotino - Tratado 44,17 (VI, 3, 17) — Quais divisões introduzir na qualidade sensível?

Enéada VI, 3, 17

sábado 18 de junho de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

Igal

17 Si se acepta esta doctrina, hay que dividir las cualidades en psíquicas y somáticas en el sentido de propias del cuerpo. Pero si se prefiere dejar en el mundo de allá todas las psíquicas, es posible dividir las cualidades de acá, por medio de los sentidos, en las que entran por los ojos, las que entran por los oídos, las que entran por el tacto, o por el gusto o por el olfato. Luego, si hay diferencias en éstas, subdividir los colores por, la vista, los sonidos por el oído y las restantes por los otros sentidos; y las voces, por su calidad, en agradables, ásperas y suaves.

Pero puesto que por la cualidad dividimos las diferencias que hay en la sustancia, las actividades, las acciones buenas o malas o de cualquier calidad —porque la cuantidad rara vez o nunca influye en las diferencias especificativas—, podría uno dudar cómo dividir la cualidad en sus especies, de qué diferencias se valdrá y de qué género las tomará. Porque sería absurdo dividir la cualidad por la cualidad. Sería como decir que las diferencias de la sustancia son de nuevo sustancias. ¿Con qué distinguiremos, pues, lo blanco de lo negro? ¿Con qué los colores, en general, de los sabores y de las cualidades del tacto? ¿Por los diversos órganos sensoriales?. Pero la diferencia no está en los sujetos, y en todo caso, ¿cómo distinguir las pertinentes al mismo sentido? ¿Porque un color es constrictor de los ojos y otro dilatador, y porque un sabor es dilatador de la lengua y otro constrictor?. Pero, en primer lugar, es dudoso que las afecciones mismas producidas sean dilataciones y constricciones. En segundo lugar con eso no se nos dice en qué difieren las afecciones mismas. Y si alguno dijera que por sus efectos y que no es absurdo que difieran por sus efectos, habrá que responderle tal vez lo siguiente: Las cosas invisibles, por ejemplo las ciencias, sí hay que distinguirlas por sus efectos; pero puesto que las cualidades de que se trata son sensibles, ¿por qué hay que distinguirlas por los efectos que producen? Además, en las ciencias, al distinguirlas por sus efectos y, en general, por las potencias del alma, diferenciándolas por sus efectos, nos es posible captar sus diferencias con la razón, considerando no sólo sus objetos, sino también sus conceptos. Las ciencias, pues, podremos diferenciarlas por sus conceptos y por sus teoremas. Pero ¿cómo diferenciar las cualidades inherentes a los cuerpos?

—También en éstas es posible inquirir cómo difieren por sus conceptos. Porque es evidente que lo blanco difiere de lo negro.

—Pero lo que buscamos es en qué.

Bouillet

XVII. Nous diviserons donc les qualités en qualités de l’âme et qualités du corps (74). Si l’on pense que toutes les âmes existent là-haut [ainsi que leurs qualités immatérielles], cela n’empêche pas de diviser leurs qualités inférieures d’après les sens, en rapportant ces qualités soit à la vue, soit à l’ouïe, soit au tact, soit au goût, soit à l’odorat ; nous rapporterons également à la vue les différences des couleurs, à l’ouïe, celle des sons, et de même pour les autres sens; quant aux sons, en tant qu’ils ont une qualité, nous les diviserons en doux, durs, agréables, etc. (75).

C’est par la qualité que nous distinguons les différences qui appartiennent à la substance, ainsi que les actes, les actions qui sont belles ou laides, et, en général, telles ou telles. Si nous laissons de côté la quantité (car nous y trouvons bien rarement des différences qui constituent des espèces, bien plus nous la divisons elle-même par les qualités qui lui sont propres), nous sommes amenés à nous demander comment nous diviserons la qualité elle-même [puisqu’elle sert à diviser les autres choses (76)].

De quelles différences en effet nous servirions-nous pour établir ces divisions et de quel genre les tirerions-nous? Il semble absurde de diviser la qualité par la qualité. N’est-ce pas comme si l’on appelait substances les différences des substances? Par quoi donc peut-on distinguer le blanc du noir, les couleurs des saveurs et des qualités perçues par le loucher? Veut-on que ce soit par les divers organes des sens que nous déterminions les différences de ces qualités? Dans ce cas il semble que celles-ci n’existeront plus dans les sujets. Comment d’ailleurs un même sens distingue-t-il la différence des qualités qu’il perçoit ? Répondra-t-on que c’est parce que certaines choses exercent une action salutaire ou dissolvante sur les yeux, la langue, etc.? Nous demanderons ce que les sensations qu’elles excitent ont de salutaire ou de dissolvant ; puis, nous ferons observer que cette réponse n’explique pas en quoi ces choses diffèrent.

Dira-t-on enfin que ces choses différent parleurs effets et qu’il est raisonnable de les diviser de cette manière? Nous répondrons alors que les choses invisibles, telles que les sciences, peuvent bien se diviser par leurs effets, mais que nous ne voyons pas pourquoi on diviserait ainsi les choses sensibles. Quand nous divisons les sciences par leurs effets, et, en général, quand nous les classons d’après les puissances de l’âme en concluant leur différence de la diversité de leurs effets, notre esprit saisit la différence de ces puissances, et non-seulement il détermine de quels objets elles s’occupent, mais encore il définit leur raison [essence]. Admettons qu’il soit facile de distinguer les arts d’après leurs raisons et d’après les notions qu’ils renferment; pouvons-nous diviser de la même manière les qualités corporelles? Lors même qu’on étudie le monde intelligible, il y a lieu de demander comment les raisons différentes se distinguent les unes des autres : on voit bien que le blanc diffère du noir; mais en quoi en diffère-t-il?

Guthrie

QUALITIES ARE CLASSIFIED AS CORPOREAL AND OF THE SOUL.

17. Qualities, therefore, should be classified as of the body, and of the soul. Even though all the souls, as well as their immaterial qualities, be considered as existing on high, yet their inferior qualities must be divided according to the senses, referring these qualities either to sight, hearing, feeling, taste, or smell. Under sight, we will classify the differences of colors; under hearing, that of the sounds; and likewise, with the other senses. As to the sounds, inasmuch as they have but a single quality, they will have to be classified according to their being soft, harsh, agreeable, and the like.

DIFFERENCES OF BEING SHOULD BE DISTINGUISHED ACCORDING TO QUALITY.

It is by quality that we distinguish the differences which inhere in being, as well as the actualizations, the beautiful or ugly actions, and in general, all that is particular. Only very rarely do we discover in quantity differences which constitute species; so much is this the case, that it is generally divided by its characteristic qualities. We must therefore leave quantity aside, and that leads us to wonder how we may divide quality itself (since it is made use of to distinguish other things).

DIFFERENCE OF QUALITY CANNOT BE DISTINGUISHED BY SENSATION.

What sort of differences, indeed, might we use to establish such divisions, and from what genus would we draw them? It seems absurd to classify quality by quality itself. This is just as if the difference of “beings” were to be called “beings.” By what indeed could one distinguish white from black, and colors from tastes and sensations of touch? If we distinguish the difference of these qualities by the sense-organs, these differences would no longer exist in the subjects. How indeed could one and the same sense distinguish the difference of the qualities it perceives? Is it because certain things exercise an action that is constructive or destructive on the eyes, or the tongue? We would then have to ask what is the constructive or destructive element in the sensations thus excited? Yet, even were this answered, such an answer would not explain wherein these things differ.

DIFFERENCE IN EFFECTS IS LIMITED TO THE INTELLIGIBLES.

A further possibility is that these things should be classified according to their effects, and that it is reasonable to do so with invisible entities, such as sciences; but this would not be applicable to sense-objects. When indeed we divide sciences by their effects, and when, in general, we classify them according to the powers of the soul, by concluding from the diversity of their effects that they differ, our mind grasps the difference of these powers, and it determines not only with what objects they deal, but it also defines their reason (or, essence). Let us admit that it is easy to distinguish arts according to their reasons, and according to the notions they include; but is it possible to divide corporeal qualities in that manner? Even when one studies the intelligible world, there is room for doubt as to how the different reasons distinguish themselves from each other; it is easy enough to see that white differs from black; but in what does it do so?

MacKenna

17. This procedure, if approved, will entail a distinction between psychic and bodily qualities, the latter belonging specifically to body.

If we decide to refer all souls to the higher, we are still at liberty to perform for Sensible qualities a division founded upon the senses themselves - the eyes, the ears, touch, taste, smell; and if we are to look for further differences, colours may be subdivided according to varieties of vision, sounds according to varieties of hearing, and so with the other senses: sounds may also be classified qualitatively as sweet, harsh, soft.

Here a difficulty may be raised: we divide the varieties of Substance and their functions and activities, fair or foul or indeed of any kind whatsoever, on the basis of Quality, Quantity rarely, if ever, entering into the differences which produce species; Quantity, again, we divide in accordance with qualities of its own: how then are we to divide Quality itself into species? what differences are we to employ, and from what genus shall we take them? To take them from Quality itself would be no less absurd than setting up substances as differences of substances.

How, then, are we to distinguish black from white? how differentiate colours in general from tastes and tangible qualities? By the variety of sense-organs? Then there will be no difference in the objects themselves.

But, waiving this objection, how deal with qualities perceived by the same sense-organ? We may be told that some colours integrate, others disintegrate the vision, that some tastes integrate, others disintegrate the tongue: we reply that, first, it is the actual experiences [of colour and taste, and not the sense-organs] that we are discussing and it is to these that the notions of integration and disintegration must be applied; secondly, a means of differentiating these experiences has not been offered.

It may be suggested that we divide them by their powers, and this suggestion is so far reasonable that we may well agree to divide the non-sensuous qualities, the sciences for example, on this basis; but we see no reason for resorting to their effects for the division of qualities sensuous. Even if we divide the sciences by their powers, founding our division of their processes upon the faculties of the mind, we can only grasp their differences in a rational manner if we look not only to their subject-matter but also to their Reason-Principles.

But, granted that we may divide the arts by their Reason-Principles and theorems, this method will hardly apply to embodied qualities. Even in the arts themselves an explanation would be required for the differences between the Reason-Principles themselves. Besides, we have no difficulty in seeing that white differs from black; to account for this difference is the purpose of our enquiry.