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Thomas Taylor – corpo e matéria

domingo 5 de junho de 2022


Though from the arguments adduced here by Plotinus  , it appears to be impossible that the first matter should be body void of quality, yet I think there will not be any absurdity in admitting with Simplicius  , that body is twofold, one kind as subsisting according to form and productive power, and defined by certain intervals; but another as characterized by intensions and remissions, and an indefiniteness of an incorporeal, impartible, and intelligible nature: this not being formally defined by three intervals, but entirely remitted and dissipated, and on all sides flowing from being into non-being. " Such an interval as this, we must perhaps," (says Simplicius) " admit matter to be, and not corporeal form, which now measures and bounds the infinite and indefinite nature of such an interval as this, and which stops it in its night from being. Matter, however, is that by which material things differ from such as are immaterial. But they differ by bulk, interval, division, and things of this kind, and not by things which are defined according to measure, but l»y things void of measure and indefinite, and which are capable of being bounded by formal measures. The Pythagoreans appear to have been the first of the Greeks that had this suspicion concerning matter but after them Plato, as Moderatus also informs us. For he, conformably to the Pythagoreans, evinced that the first one is above being, and all essence ; but he says, that forms are the second one, which is true being and the intelligible; and that the third one, which is psychical, or belonging to soul, participates of the one, and of forms. He adds, that the last nature from this, and which is the nature of sensibles, does not participate them, but is adorned according to a representation of them, matter which is in them being the shadow of the non-being, which is primarily in quantity, or rather depending on and proceeding from it. According to this reasoning, therefore, matter is nothing else than the mutation of sensibles, with respect to intelligibles, deviating from thence, and carried downwards to non-being.

Those things, indeed, which are the properties of sensibles are irrational, corporeal, distributed into parts, and passing into bulk and divulsion, through an ultimate progression into generation, viz. into matter; for matter is always truly the last sediment. Hence, also, the Egyptians call the dregs of the first life, which they symbolically denominate water  , matter, being as it were a certain mire. And matter is, as it were, the receptacle of generated and sensible   natures, nut subsisting as any definite form, but as the state or condition of subsistence ; just .as the impartible, the immaterial, true being, and things of this kind, are the constitution of an intelligible nature; all forms, indeed, subsisting both here and there, but here materially, and there immaterially; viz. there impartibly and truly, but here partibly and shadowy. Hence, every form is here distributed according to material interval." See more on this subject in the notes to Hook I. of my translation of Aristotle  ’s Physics. (Plotino - Tratado 12,8 (II, 4, 8) — A natureza da matéria sensível)