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Plotino - Tratado 26,10 (III, 6, 10) — A matéria não sofre alteração

Enéada III, 6, 10

domingo 22 de maio de 2022, por Cardoso de Castro

      

Capítulo 10: A matéria não sofre alteração  

  • 1-3: A paixão implica a alteração
  • 4-13: Em estando qualificada, a matéria não será mais um receptáculo   indeterminado   para as qualidades; ela perderá sua identidade
  • 14-19: Mais geralmente, tudo isto que é alterado o é segundo predicados não essências
  • 19-28: Refutação da hipótese absurda segundo a qual a matéria não seria alterada enquanto matéria. Toda realidade   da matéria, é de ser matéria. Ela não pode ser alterada
      

Míguez

10. Por otra parte, si la materia sufriese, también debería conservar algo de esta pasión, esto es, o la pasión misma o algo que la diferenciase del estado   anterior   a la venida de la pasión. Contaríamos, por tanto, con una cualidad añadida a la materia, y ya la materia no sería el receptáculo, sino una materia dotada de cualidad. Pero si esta misma cualidad desapareciese, dejando algo de lo que ella ha hecho, he aquí que el sustrato material pasaría a ser otra cosa. Por este camino, el sustrato material se convertiría en algo diferente a la materia, de tan vario y multiforme; de modo que no contendría todo, como tal receptáculo, y serviría de obstáculo a muchas de las cosas que vienen a él. Digamos además que la materia no permanece, ni es, por consiguiente, incorruptible. Si, pues, ha de existir una materia, habrá de ser siempre como era en un principio; porque decir que se transforma no es realmente conservarla.

De ahí que, en general, si el ser alterado debe subsistir en su privativa forma, y cambiar en sus accidentes, pero no en sí mismo; si, pues, debe subsistir, lo que subsistirá ni él no es precisamente ío que sufre. Porque de estas dos cosas ha de darse una: o la materia alterada sale de sí misma, o, si no sale, de sí misma, no podrá sufrir alteración [1]. ¿Y si se dijese que no sufre alteración en tanto que es materia? En primer lugar, no podría afirmarse en qué se ha alterado, y luego se reconocería de este modo que Ia materia no se ha alterado en sí misma. En cuanto a los seres que son formas no podrían alterarse según su esencia, puesto que la esencia sigue existiendo en la alteración; así, dado que la esencia de la materia es su propio ser en tanto que materia, es claro que no puede ser alterada como tal materia, y entonces subsiste. Y como ya está dicho que la lonna no sufre alteración, la materia tampoco la sufre.

Bouillet

X. Si la mati  ère pouvait pâtir, elle devrait garder quelque chose de la passion qu’elle éprouve, soit retenir la passion même, soit se trouver dans un état différent de celui qu’elle avait avant de pâtir. Mais, quand une qualité survient ainsi après une autre qualité, ce n’est plus la matière qui la reçoit, c’est la matière déterminée déjà par une qualité. Si la qualité s’évanouit en laissant quelque trace d’elle-même par l’action qu’elle a exercée, le sujet s’altérera encore plus ; en procédant de cette manière, il sera toute autre chose que la matière pure, il sera quelque chose de multiple par ses formes et par ses manières d’être. Ce ne sera donc plus le commun réceptacle de toutes choses, puisqu’il aura en lui-même un obstacle à beaucoup des choses qui pourraient lui survenir ; la matière ne subsistera plus en lui, ne sera plus incorruptible. Or, s’il faut admettre que la matière reste toujours ce qu’elle était dès l’origine, c’est-à-dire matière, soutenir qu’elle est altérée, c’est ne plus conserver la matière même. D’ailleurs, si tout ce qui est altéré doit rester immuable dans son espèce et n’être altéré que dans ses accidents sans l’être en soi-même, en un mot, si ce qui est altéré doit être permanent, et si ce qui est permanent n’est pas ce qui pâtit, de deux choses l’une : ou la matière est altérée et s’écarte de sa nature, ou bien elle ne s’écarte pas de sa nature et elle n’est pas altérée. Si l’on dit que la matière est altérée, mais non en tant que matière, d’abord on ne saura dire en quoi elle est altérée, ensuite on sera par cela même obligé d’avouer qu’elle n’est pas altérée. En effet, de même que les autres choses, qui sont des formes, ne peuvent être altérées dans leur essence, parce que c’est cette inaltérabilité même qui constitue leur essence ; de même, l’essence de la matière étant d’être en tant que matière, elle ne peut être altérée en tant que matière, et elle est nécessairement permanente sous ce rapport. Donc, si la forme est inaltérable, la matière doit être également inaltérable.

Guthrie

IF FORM BE UNCHANGEABLE, SO IS MATTER.

10. If matter could be affected, it would have to preserve some of the affection, retaining either the affection itself, or remain in a state different from the one in which it was before it was affected. But when one quality appears after another quality, it is no longer matter that receives it, but matter as determined by a quality. If even this quality should evanesce, though leaving some trace of itself by the action it has exercised, the substrate will still more be altered; proceeding thus it will come to be something entirely different from pure matter, it will be something multiple by its forms and by its manners of existence. It will no longer be the common receptacle of all things, since it will contain an obstacle to many things that could happen to it; matter would no longer subsist within it, and would no longer be incorruptible. Now if, by definition, matter always remains what it was since its origin, namely "matter," then, if we insist that it be altered, it is evident that matter no longer remains such. Moreover, if everything that is altered must remain unchanged in kind, so as not to be changed in itself, though changed in accidents; in one word, if that which is changed must be permanent, and if that which is permanent be not that which is affected, we come to a dilemma; either matter is altered, and abandons its nature; or it does not abandon its nature, and is not changed. If we say that matter is changed, but not in so far as it is matter, it will, to begin with, be impossible to state in what it is changed; and further, we would thereby be forced to insist it was not changed. Indeed, just as other things, which are forms, cannot be changed in their "being" (or, nature), because it is this very unalterability which constitutes their "being" (or, nature), likewise, as the "being" (or, nature) of matter is to exist in so far as it is matter, it cannot be altered in so far as it is matter, and it must necessarily be permanent in this respect. Therefore if form be unalterable, matter must be equally unalterable.

Taylor

X. In the next place, if matter suffers, it is necessary that it should possess something from the passion, and that this should either be the passion itself, or that it should be disposed differently from what it was before the passion was produced in it. Hence, another quality acceding after the former, the recipient will no longer be matter, but matter with a certain quality. If, however, quality2 itself should fail, leaving something of itself of an effective nature, the subject will in a still greater degree become something else; and proceeding after this manner, the subject will be something besides [mere] matter, and will be manifold and multiform. Hence, it will no longer be the universal   recipient, since it will be an impediment to the multitude of things which accede to it, and matter will no longer remain, and therefore will not be incorruptible. So that if it is necessary that matter should be as it was from the first, it ought thus to be always the same, since to assert that it has been changed is not to preserve it the same. Farther still, if in short every thing which is changed in quality ought, remaining in the same form, to be changed according to accidents, and not essentially ; — if, therefore, it is requisite that what is changed in quality should remain, and that part of it which suffers is not that which remains, one of two things is necessary, either that matter when changed in quality should depart from itself, or that not departing from itself it should not be changed in quality. If, however, some one shoidd say, that it is changed in quality, yet not so far as it is matter; in the first place, indeed, he cannot assign what that is according to which it is so changed; and in the next place, he must confess that thus also matter itself is not changed in quality. For as in other things which are forms, it is not possible that they can be essentially changed in quality, since their essence consists in this [i.e. in being forms], thus also, since the being of matter is to exist as matter, it cannot be changed in quality so far as it is matter, but it must necessarily remain what it is. And as there form itself is unchanged in quabty, so likewise here it is necessary that matter itself should be immutable.

MacKenna

10. Further: If Matter were susceptible of modification, it must acquire something by the incoming of the new state; it will either adopt that state, or, at least, it will be in some way different from what it was. Now upon this first incoming quality suppose a second to supervene; the recipient is no longer Matter but a modification of Matter: this second quality, perhaps, departs, but it has acted and therefore leaves something of itself after it; the substratum is still further altered. This process proceeding, the substratum ends by becoming something quite different from Matter; it becomes a thing settled in many modes and many shapes; at once it is debarred from being the all-recipient; it will have closed the entry against many incomers. In other words, the Matter is no longer there: Matter is destructible.

No: if there is to be a Matter at all, it must be always identically as it has been from the beginning: to speak of Matter as changing is to speak of it as not being Matter.

Another consideration: it is a general principle that a thing changing must remain within its constitutive Idea   so that the alteration is only in the accidents and not in the essential thing; the changing object must retain this fundamental permanence, and the permanent substance cannot be the member of it which accepts modification.

Therefore there are only two possibilities: the first, that Matter itself changes and so ceases to be itself, the second that it never ceases to be itself and therefore never changes.

We may be answered that it does not change in its character as Matter: but no one could tell us in what other character it changes; and we have the admission that the Matter in itself is not subject to change.

Just as the Ideal Principles stand immutably in their essence - which consists precisely in their permanence - so, since the essence of Matter consists in its being Matter [the substratum to all material things] it must be permanent in this character; because it is Matter, it is immutable. In the Intellectual realm we have the immutable Idea; here we have Matter, itself similarly immutable.


[1Cf. Platón, Timeo, 50 b.