John Duns Scotus
(1266-1308 ЦЦ.)



John Duns Scotus, Ordinatio, II, dist. 3, pars 1.

Copyright ╘ 1996 R.J. Kilcullen

Translated by John Kilcullen from John Duns Scotus, Opera omnia, ed. C. Balic and others (Rome, 1950-), vol. 7, p. 458-. References to Aristotle and quotations from other authors come from the footnotes to this edition. Paragraph numbers in square brackets are also from this edition. Words in square brackets are not in the Latin text; '[thing]' is often needed because English usually does not allow an adjective to function by itself as a noun, as Latin does. ('Thing' not in brackets translates res.) The original Latin word or phrase is sometimes supplied in curly brackets.


Fifth I ask whether a material substance is 'this' and individual through matter?

[130] That it is: Because according to the Philosopher in Metaphysics V, chapter 'On One' [1016 b32-3], 'One in number are those of which the matter is one'; therefore etc.

[131] Against: In Metaphysics V in the old translation [1014b 26-32], 'In the foundation of the nature nothing is distinct'. But what is not in itself distinct or diverse cannot be the first ratio [Note 1] of the diversity or distinction of something else; but matter is an altogether indistinct and indeterminate foundation of the nature; therefore it cannot be the first ratio of the distinction or diversity of something else.


[132] Here it is said that it is. This is held especially because of many texts of Aristotle, which seem to mean this. One of these is in [Metaphysics] VII [1034 a4-8], that the generating generates another because of matter. He says: 'Callias and Socrates are diverse because of matter (because [their matters are] diverse), and the same in species, for their species is indivisible {individua}'.

[133] Also, because of the same [Aristotle, Metaphysics], VII, chapter 'On the Parts of Definition' [1037 a32-1037 b5]: 'The "what-something-was-to-be" [i.e. the essence] and the [thing] itself are in some substances the same . . . but [things] that are in matter, or are taken with matter, are not the same.' And the same appears in VIII, chapter 3 [1043 b2-4]: 'For soul and the being of soul are the same, but man and the being of man are not the same, unless the being of the soul is called the man'. Therefore it seems that matter lies outside the ratio [Note 2] of the quiddity, and of anything that has the quiddity primo, [Note 3] and thus, since it is something among beings, it seems to be part of the individual, or the individuation of the whole; whatever is in the individual that is altogether repugnant with the ratio of the quiddity can be posited as the first ratio of individuation; therefore etc.

[134] Further, in Metaphysics XII [1074 a31-8] he proves that there cannot be many heavens: 'For if', he says, 'there were many heavens, as there are men, there would be a principle concerning each of them, one in species but many in number; but whatever [things] are many in number have matter - and the primary that-which-something-was-to-be [i.e. essence] does not have a matter (for it is entelecheia [actuality]); the immovable first mover is therefore one both in ratio and in number'. This argument - which proves the unity of the heavens from the unity of the mover, and the unity of the mover not only in species but in number, because it does not have matter - would not seem sound unless numerical distinction came about through matter; therefore etc.

[135] Further, in De Caelo et Mundo, I [278 a10-15]: 'When I say heaven I say form; when I say this heaven I say matter'.

[136] Against this, first through texts of the same [Aristotle]: According to the Philosopher in Metaphysics, VII Chapter 'On the Parts of Definitions' [1037 a5-10]: 'It is clear that the soul is first substance and the body matter; the man, however, or the animal, which is of both as taken universally; but Socrates and Coriscus' (supply: 'from these') 'as taken singularly: unless since soul is said in two ways . . .'. And later he adds: 'But if this soul and this body, as the universal so the singular'.

[137] And earlier in the same chapter [1035 b27-31]: 'Man and horse and [things] thus in singulars universally are not substance' (that is, form), 'but at once some whole' (i.e. composite) 'from this matter and this ratio' (where by the 'this' he does not mean matter uniform and singular, but determinate - otherwise he would contradict himself; thus he adds in the same place 'as taken universally'). And later he adds, 'Socrates is already from ultimate matter', etc.

[138] The same is also clear through the same [Aristotle], XII, ch. 2 [1071 a27-9], where he maintains that the principles are the same just as are the principled: 'And of these', he says, 'that are in the same species, [they are] diverse, not in species, but because of the singulars: your matter and moving cause and species [i.e. form] are other than mine, but in their universal ratio they are the same'. Therefore he thus concedes a distinction of form, just as of matter, in the particular - and thus unity of matter in the common, just as of form; and therefore it is necessary still to ask, by what is the matter this?

[139] Further, as is proved in many places in VII, ch. 'Of the Parts of Definition': the matter is of the essence of a composite substance, for example of a man, and such a composite is not precisely the essence of form. Therefore, just as that composite cannot be this of itself {de se} (from the first question), so neither will the matter, which is part of it, be this of itself, because there cannot be a composite common and of the same ratio in diverse [things] without its being possible that anything that is of its essence is of the same ratio with them.

[140] Further, by argument: The matter is the same in the generated [thing] and in the corrupted; therefore it has the same singularity in the generated and in the corrupted.

[141] And if you answer that in the generated and in the corrupted it is not of the same species, I argue as before against interminate quantity, and so there will be a circular generation: first fire from water, second water from fire; the water first corrupted and the water second generated have the same matter [Note 4] and are of the same species, therefore they are really 'this water'; therefore the first returns naturally the same in number, which is against them.


[142] Because the solution of the Philosopher's texts 'against' requires the solution of the sixth question, namely by what, completively, is a material substance individuated?, I therefore ask sixthly whether a material substance is individual through some positive entity [Note 5] per se determining the nature to singularity?

[143] That it is not. Because then that determinant would be related to the nature as act to potency; therefore of the specific nature and that determinant there would be truly and properly a composite, which is unsuitable: for that determinant would be either matter or form, or something composite from them; whichever is granted is unsuitable - for then in the composite there would be another matter besides the matter which is a part of the nature, or another form besides that which is posited as a part of the nature, or another composite besides that which is the composite of the nature.

[144] Further: then the singular, composed of the nature and that per se determinant, would be per se one, therefore per se intelligible - which seems contrary to the Philosopher, II De Anima [417 b27.3] and VII Metaphysics [1035 b33 - 1036 a8], where he seems clearly to maintain that intellection is 'of the universal' and sensation 'of the singular itself'.

[145] Further, if it were per se intelligible there could be demonstration and science concerning it - and thus there could be proper [i.e. individuated] knowledge of singulars as singulars; this the Philosopher denies in Metaphysics VII, 'On the parts of definitions' [1035 b33 - 1036 a8 and 1039 b26 - 1040 - a5].

[146] Also, if it included the specific nature and that per se determinant, it could be defined per se through those two (included per se in its ratio), and thus there would be different definitions of the individual and of its species - at least adding to the definition of the species, just as the definition of the species adds to the definition of the genus.

[147] Against: Every inferior includes per se something not included in the understanding of its superior - otherwise the concept of the inferior would be just as common [i.e. universal] as the concept of the superior, and then the 'per se inferior' would not be per se inferior, because it would not be under the common and the superior; therefore something is included per se in the ratio of the individual which is not included in the ratio of the nature. But this 'something included' is a positive entity (from the solution of the second question) [Note 6] and makes a per se unity with the nature (from the solution of the fourth question) [Note 7] ; therefore it is a per se determinant of the nature to singularity, or to the ratio of that inferior.


[In a footnote (p. 466) Scotus's editors quote the following passage from Godfrey of Fontaines: 'For just as the "common" that is the genus cannot be divided into many differing in species except by the addition of something belonging to the ratio of the species . . . so also it seems that the "common" that is the species cannot be divided into many according to the individual unless each individual adds something above the nature of the species, which [i.e. the species] - in as much as it is of itself {de se} - is one in all the individuals . . . But it does not seem possible to understand that anything is added belonging to the essence and nature of the individual, because the whole of it is said by the species, which is the whole being of individuals; therefore, if something is added, it seems to be something belonging to accidental nature . . . For indeed, in the predicamental line, division into the most specific species stands, because it includes the ultimate difference, beneath which it is not possible to take anything more determinate through which it could be more determined in the individual (as happens in the species in respect of the genus), unless there were a process to infinity; and therefore, as Plato says, we must rest in the singulars - so (namely) that there is not to be posited in them anything formal belonging to the essence and quiddity, beyond that which is included in the ratio and quiddity of the species. Therefore, if anything is added by which the nature, according to itself common, is thus determined and contracted, it must be that it is something belonging to the accidental nature [i.e. of quantity]' . . . 'But since material substance in itself is not divided into many of the same ratio or species . . ., therefore, just as it is "how much" through an advenient accident, so it is divided into many of the same ratio through an accident, namely through quantity. And that seems to be properly called "one according to number" which is one in number or one by {de} number; and number is caused properly from division according to quantity; therefore that is said properly to be "one in number" which is undivided primo in that nature through which it is primo distinguished from another of the same species: but this [i.e. this nature] is quantity, and therefore "one in number" seems properly to be undivided in the nature of quantity. Therefore, quantity is per se the principle of one according to number, just as form . . . is the principle of individuation: and thus, properly speaking, the same [thing] is not the per se principle of individuation in the genus of material substance, and of one according to number - because the principle of one according to number is quantity, in as much as according to quantity it is undivided in itself and divided from another of the same ratio . . . ; but the principle per se of individuation is form, according to which substance is divided into many of the same ratio . . . And according to these [points], it seems it must be said that the formal principle or formal ratio of this distinction . . . is the substantial form of each individual, undivided in itself and divided from another, and thus they differ in substantial number . . . The principle . . . of distinction according to substance of many individuals is quantity . . .']

[148] Here it is said [by Godfrey of Fontaines] that the specific nature is 'this' of itself, and yet can through quantity be a nature common to many singulars, or quantity can be the ratio why many singulars can be under one nature.

[149] The first ['that the specific nature is "this" of itself'] is clarified thus: The most special species is atoma [i.e. undivided] of itself {de se}; therefore indivisible.

[150] And it is confirmed by this statement of Porphyry: 'Descending from the most general to the most special, Plato orders us to rest'; but if it were possible for there to be a division beyond the level of this nature, we should not rest in that nature; therefore etc.

[151] Similarly, Boethius, in his book Of Divisions, when he lists all the divisions, not only per se but per accidens, does not list the division of a species into individuals; therefore that specific nature is not 'this' through anything else.

[152] Also, if there were in the individual some reality besides the reality of the specific nature alone, the species would not express 'the whole being of the individuals' which is against Porphyry.

[153] The second ['and yet can through quantity be a nature common to many singulars' etc] is clarified: Though quantity is not the formal ratio of the division of something into subjective parts, yet when a quantitative whole is divided into quantitative parts, [Note 8] it is divided per se into [parts] which are of the same ratio; but the principle of division into certain [parts] is the same as the principle of the distinction of those that divide; therefore, just as quantity itself is the principle of that division, so it is the principle of the distinction of those that divide. But they are the subjective parts of the common nature; therefore quantity is the principle of the distinction of such parts.

[154] But how those two members [of the thesis put forward in 148] can stand together can be made known by means of an example. For according to the Philosopher, Physics I [185 a32 - 185b5], 'substance is of itself indivisible', speaking of parts of the same ratio - and yet, upon the advent of quantity, it is divisible into such parts - indeed it then has such parts. Thus, therefore, the nature of a species can be 'this' of itself, and yet through a nature advenient to it from outside it can be this and this.


[155] This position seems capable of two interpretation: One, such that a material substance, as distinguished essentially from quantity, remains the same - altogether not distinguished according to the ratio of its proper and essential entity - and yet receives many quantities: and receiving them, constitutes with them many wholes at the same time. This is to say, in plain words, that the same material substance, in itself not divided or distinguished, is informed by many quantities, and from this there are many individuals under the species.

[156] In another way it can be understood [to mean] that the material substance (that was of itself this, apart from all quantity), when there is posited an informing quantity, will be this and that, so that it not only receives distinct quantities, but itself has a distinction in itself, in its proper substantial entity: so that the substance that is subjected to that quantity and is essentially distinguished from it, is not that which is under another quantity and is distinguished from it essentially, though the proposition This is not that' cannot be without quantity in this and in that.

[157] The first interpretation seems impossible, because from it follows unsuitabilities in theology, metaphysics and natural science.

[158] In theology there follows this unsuitability, that it is not a property of the infinite divine essence to be 'this', namely that, existing as itself one [thing], not distinguished in itself, it can be in several distinct supposits - which, however, is not commonly understood except of the persons only relatively distinguished; but here it would be posited that one substantial nature, in no way distinguished in itself, would have many supposits distinguished by an absolute thing.

[159] Second, it follows that some substance of wine could not be transubstantiated into the body and blood [of Christ] unless the whole substance of wine were transubstantiated, because the wine is not transubstantiated except according to its substance, for the quantity remains the same - and, according to you, the substance that is in this wine is the same as that which is in that wine; but the same [thing] is not both transubstantiated and not transubstantiated; therefore etc.

[160] In metaphysics unsuitabilities follow: First, because it would posit the idea that Plato posited. For Plato posited that the idea is a substance existing per se, a separate nature, without accidents ( as the Philosopher attributes to him), in which would be the whole nature of the species - which (according to what Aristotle attributes to him) would be said of any individual by a formal predication, saying 'this is this'. But this opinion posited that 'this substance' is said of anything of this species by a predication saying 'this is this', and yet it is under this and that accident. Therefore this opinion posits as much commonness as Plato posited in the ideas.

[161] Second, because, according to them, two accidents of the same species cannot be in the same subject (if they are absolute accidents), because according to them a manifest contradiction would follow, namely that the same would be in act and in potency in the same respect; yet the opposite follows from it, because the same nature is in act according to many acts of the same species.

[162] And according to this, another, mathematical, impossibility could be inferred (in as much as quantity pertains to the consideration of mathematicians), namely that two dimensive quantities of the same ratio would perfect the same subject at the same time - which is contrary to the proper ratio of dimensive quantities of the same ratio, speaking according to the thinking of the mathematicians.

[163] Third, two unsuitabilities would follow in natural science: First, that no material substance can be generated and corrupted. Not generated, because if 'this stone' exists, there will be in it every substance that can be in any stone; yet such a quantity, and such, other in number, can be acquired to this substance of stone: but the acquisition of a new quantity is not generation (this is clear from the terms of this generation); therefore etc. Similarly, while this stone remains, the specific nature of stone remains in it; but all nature of stone is 'that nature'; therefore while that nature remains, all the nature remains; therefore some material substance cannot be corrupted while that stone remains, though the quality or quantity is not the same.

[164] Second it follows that (although, according to the fiction of the accursed Averroes concerning the unity of the intellect in all men, he could invent a similar fiction concerning your body and mine, as of this and that stone, nevertheless - ) not only according to faith but according to a philosophy holding that there must be distinct intellective souls, human nature cannot be atoma of itself and yet other and other through quantity, because in this and in that man there is other and other substantial form, by an otherness naturally preceding quantity. And therefore they do not try to answer this objection, as being insoluble, but transfer themselves to other homogeneities, stone or water; and yet, if they had something for themselves from the ratio of 'atomic' specific nature, they would conclude of man just as of stone. They can therefore see that the principles from which they proceed are null, since manifest impossibilities follow from them.

[165] The second interpretation seems to destroy itself, because that which is 'this' of itself, in the way 'that something is this of itself' was explained before (i.e., that to be divided into many subjective parts is repugnant with it per se, and that to be of itself 'not this' is also repugnant with it), such cannot be divided into many parts by anything advenient, because if it is from itself {ex se} repugnant with it to be divided, then it is from itself repugnant with it to receive anything through which it becomes not-this. Therefore, to say that a nature is of itself this (according to the meaning earlier explained of a nature which is of itself this), and yet that is can be this and that by something else advenient, is to say contradictories.

[166] And this is clear in the example posited in this position [see above, 154], because although material substance is not from itself divided into parts of the same ratio, yet of itself it is not indivisible into such parts - because if it were of itself indivisible (that is, if division were repugnant with it), it could not receive quantity, by which it is formally divided into such parts; this is apparent, because a soul, or an angel, which is of itself indivisible in this way, cannot receive quantity, just as it cannot receive parts either.

[167] Therefore there seems to be a deception in this consequence: 'It is not of itself such, therefore it is of itself not-such' (the fallacy of the consequent). For truly substance, according to some position [of Thomas Aquinas, Godfrey of Fontaines], does not of itself have parts of the same ratio, and yet it is not of itself non-having parts of the same ratio so that it is repugnant with it to have parts, because then it could not receive such parts formally through something advening to it. And thus the nature of a most specific species is not of itself this, just as something divisible is not from its nature of itself this; yet it is not of itself not-this, so that it is of itself repugnant with it to be divided into many parts, because then it could not receive something through which formally such division would belong to it.


[168] To the question, therefore, I answer Yes.

[169] For this I put the following argument: Just as unity in general results per se from entity in general, so any kind of unity results per se from some entity; therefore unity simpliciter (such as is the unity of an individual frequently described before, namely that to which division into many subjective parts is repugnant and to which is repugnant not to be this - [in the sense of] {signatum} demarcated), if it is in beings (as every opinion supposes), results per se from some per se entity. But it does not result per se from the entity of the nature, because that has a real per se unity [Note 9] of its own, as was proved in the solution to the first question. Therefore it follows upon some other entity that determines this one, and together with the entity of the nature it makes something one per se (because the whole of which this is the unity is perfect of itself).

[170] Also, every difference of differing [things] reduces ultimately to some primo diversa (otherwise there would not be a 'stand' in differing [things]); but individuals differ in the proper sense, because they are 'diverse-something-the same' entities; [Note 10] therefore their difference is reduced [i.e. led back] to some primo diversa. But those primo diversa are not the nature in this and the nature in that, because that by which some [things] agree formally is not the same as that by which they differ really, though the same [thing] can be distinct really and agreeing really: for there is a considerable difference between being distinct and being that by which something is primo distinguished. (Therefore so it will be concerning unity. [Note 11] Therefore, besides the nature in this and in that, there are some primo diversa, by which this and that differ (this in this one and that in that one): and they cannot be negations (from the second question), nor accidents (from the fourth question); therefore they will be some positive entities per se determining the nature.

[171] Against the first argument [169] it is objected: If there is some real unity less that numerical unity, either it belongs to something in numerically the same [thing], or in something else. Not in the same in number, because whatever is in the same in number is one in number; not in two, because in them nothing is really one, because this is a property in the divine persons (as Damascene's statement was explained above).

[172] I answer: As it was said in the solution of the first question on this topic, [Note 12] the nature is naturally prior to this nature, and the proper unity resulting from the nature as nature is prior naturally to its unity as this nature; under that ratio the metaphysical consideration of the nature takes place, its definition is assigned, and there are propositions per se in the first mode. [Note 13] In the same, therefore, that is one in number there is some entity from which results a unity less than numerical unity, and it is real; and that to which such unity belongs is formally of itself one by numerical unity. I concede, therefore, that the real unity is not of something existing in two individuals, but in one.

[173] And when you object [171] that 'Whatever is in the same individual in number is one in number', I answer first in something else more manifest. Whatever is in one species is one in species; therefore: 'the colour in whiteness is one in species, therefore it does not have a unity less than the unity of the species' does not follow. For just as it was said elsewhere... that something can be called animated denominatively, [Note 14] such as body, or per se in the first mode, such as man (and thus a surface is said to be white denominatively, and white surface is said to be white per se in the first mode, because the subject includes the predicate): so [here] I say that the potential that is contracted by the actual is informed by that actual, and through this is informed by the unity resulting from that actuality or that act; and thus it is one with the proper unity of that actual, but it is thus one denominatively, and is not thus one of itself, and not in the first mode nor through an essential part.

[174] Therefore colour in whiteness is one in species, but it is not of itself nor per se nor primo, but only denominatively; but the specific difference is one primo, because to it it is primo repugnant with it to be divided into many in species; whiteness is one in species per se, but not primo, because through something intrinsic to itself (i.e. through that difference).

[175] Thus I concede that whatever is in this stone is one in number, either primo, or per se, or denominatively: primo such as, perhaps, that through which such unity befits this composite; per se this stone, of which that which is primo one with this unity is per se a part; 'denominatively' only, that potential [Note 15] that is perfected by that actual, [Note 16] which quasi-denominatively relates to its actuality.

[176] Clarifying this solution further: What this entity is from which there is this perfect unity can be clarified by comparison with the entity from which the specific difference is taken. The specific difference, or the entity from which the specific difference is taken, can be compared [a] with what is below it, or [b] with what is above it, or [c] with what is alongside it.

[177] In [a] the first way, it is per se repugnant with the specific difference, and with the specific entity, to be divided into many essentially, many in species or nature; and through this it is repugnant with the whole of which this entity is per se a part. Similarly, in the present case {in proposito}, it is primo repugnant with this individual entity to be divided into any subjective parts whatever, and through it such division is per se repugnant with the whole of which this entity is part. And there is only a difference in this, that the former unity of specific nature is less than this unity, and accordingly the former does not exclude all division according to quantitative parts, but only division into essential parts; [Note 17] the latter, however, excludes all division.

[178] And by this the thesis {propositum} is sufficiently confirmed, because from the fact that any unity less than that unity has its own entity from which it results per se, it does not seem probable to deny to that most perfect unity its own entity from which it results.

[179] Comparing the specific nature [b] to what is above it, I say that the reality from which the specific difference is taken is actual with respect to the reality from which the genus is taken, or the ratio of the genus, so that the one reality is not formally the other; otherwise in definition there would be a redundancy {nugatio}, and the genus alone would define sufficiently (or the differences would), because it would indicate the whole entity of the defined. But sometimes the contracting [determinant] is different from the form from which the ratio of the genus is taken (when the species adds some reality over and above the nature of the genus). But sometimes it is not another thing, but only another formality or another formal concept of the same thing. And according to this, some specific difference has a concept not 'simply simple', for example, that which is taken from a form, and some does have a concept 'simply simple', that which is taken from the ultimate abstraction of a form (about this distinction of specific differences see dist. 3 of book I, how some specific differences include being and some not [see Hyman and Walsh, pp. 575-6] [Note 18] .

[180] In this respect this reality of the individual is like the specific reality, because it is quasi-act, determining the quasi-possible and [quasi]-potential reality of the species; but in another respect it is unlike, because it is never taken from an added form, but precisely from the ultimate reality of the form.

[181] In another respect also it is unlike, because the specific reality constitutes the composite of which it is part in quidditative being, because it is a certain quidditative entity, but the reality of the individual is primo diverse from all quidditative entity. This is proved from this, that (understanding any quidditative entity - speaking of a limited quidditative entity) it is common to many, and it is not repugnant to be said of many of which each is itself; therefore that entity, which is of itself an entity other than a quiddity or quidditative entity, cannot constitute the whole of which it is part in quidditative being, but in being of another ratio.

[182] And because in the Philosopher's writings the quiddity is often called the 'form' (as is clear in Metaphysics V, ch. 'On Cause' [1013 a26-8] and in many other places; and in Metaphysics VII, ch. 'On the Parts of Definition' [1037 a32 - b5] he says that 'in everything in which there is not matter, the "what something is" is the same as that of which it is' - as it is explained, he speaks of matter and form), and 'material' in Aristotle means whatever has a contracted quiddity, and [because] Boethius in his book On the Trinity maintains that no form can be the subject of an accident, because form is said 'in quid' of anything else (and if humanity is the subject, this does not, however, befit it as form; humanity indeed is not the form of another part of the composite - of the form or of the matter - but of the whole composite having a contracted quiddity, or in which there is the contracted quiddity) - therefore every specific reality constitutes [something] in formal being (because in quidditative being), the reality of the individual constitutes [the thing] precisely in material being (that is, in contracted being). And from this follows the logical [doctrine] that the former [the specific nature] is essentially formal, the latter [the individuating entity] material', for the latter constitutes in the ratio of subjectable and the former in the ratio of predicable precisely; but the formal predicate has the ratio of form, the subjectable has the ratio of matter.

[183] Comparing, third, the specific difference [c] to what is alongside it, namely to another specific difference, though sometimes it could be not primo diverse from the other as it is the entity that is taken from form, [Note 19] nevertheless the ultimate specific difference is primo diverse from the other, that namely which has a concept simply simple. And in this respect I say that the individual difference is assimilated to the specific difference taken universally, because every individual entity is primo diverse from every other.

[184] And from this appears [an answer] to the following objection. For it is objected: Either this entity and that one are of the same ratio or not. If they are, then some entity can be abstracted from them, and this a specific entity; and concerning this it must be asked: through what is it contracted to this entity and that one? If of itself, then by like reasoning there could have been a stand in the nature of stone; if through another, therefore a process to infinity. If those entities are of different ratio, therefore also the [things] constituted will be of different ratio, and thus they will not be individuals of the same species.

[185] I answer. The ultimate specific differences are primo diverse, and therefore nothing one per se can be abstracted from them; however, it does not follow because of this that the [things] constituted are primo diverse and not of some one ratio. For that some [things] are equally distinct can be understood in two ways: either because they are equally incompossible (namely, because they cannot be in the same subject), or because they equally do not agree in anything. And in the first way it is true that the distinct [things] are equally diverse as those distinguishing [entities] (for the distinguishing [entities] cannot be incompossible without the distinct [things] also being incompossible). In the second way universally it is impossible, because the distinct [things] include not only the distinguishing [entities] but something else that is quasi-potential with respect to the distinguishing entities, and yet the distinguishing entities do not agree in it.

[186] As it was answered concerning the primo diverse differences [above, 185], so I answer concerning the individual entities, that they are primo diverse (i.e. agree in nothing the same), and yet the distinct [things] need not be simply diverse; however, just as those entities are incompossible, so also the individuals that have those entities.

[187] And if you ask me what is this individual entity from which the individual difference is taken, is it matter or form or composite? I answer: Every quidditative entity (whether partial or total) of any kind {genus} is of itself indifferent, as quidditative entity, to this entity or that, so that, as quidditative entity, it is naturally prior to that entity as it is 'this'; and as it is naturally prior, just as it does not befit {convenire} it to be this, so the opposite [i.e. not to be this] is not repugnant with it by its ratio; and just as the composite does not, as it is a nature, include its entity by which it is formally 'this', so neither does the matter, as it is a nature, include its entity by which it is 'this matter', neither does the form, as it is a nature, include its [entity by which it is 'this form'].

[188] Therefore this entity is not matter or form or composite, as any of those is a nature, but it is the ultimate reality of the being which is matter, or which is form, or which is the composite; so that everything common and yet determinable can be further distinguished (however much it is one thing) into several realities formally distinct, of which this [the individuating entity] is formally not that [matter, form, or composite of matter and form]: and this is formally the entity of singularity, and that is formally the entity of nature. And these two realities cannot be thing and thing, as the reality from which the genus is taken and the reality from which the difference is taken (from [both of] which the specific reality is taken) can be - but in the same [thing] (whether part or whole) they are always formally distinct realities of the same thing.


[189] And from this appears [the answer] to the first [143] beginning argument {argumentum principale}. For when it infers that every individual in which the nature is contractible is composite by its nature, [Note 20] I say that composition can be understood properly, as it is from an actual thing and a potential thing, or less properly, as it is from reality and reality, actual and potential, in the same thing. In the first way the individual is not composite with respect to the specific nature, because it adds [to the specific nature] no reality (because neither matter nor form nor composite, as the argument [in 143] proceeds). In the second way it is necessarily composite, because the reality from which the specific difference is taken is potential with respect to the reality from which the individual difference is taken, as if it were thing and thing; for the specific reality does not from itself have that by which it includes through identity the individual reality, but only some third [thing] includes those both through identity.

[190] And this composition is such that is cannot stand with the perfect divine simplicity. For it [divine simplicity] not only does not accept with itself a composition of thing and thing, actual and potential, but neither also actual reality with potential reality: for comparing anything essential to anything in the divine [persons], the essential is formally infinite, and therefore has from itself that by which it includes through identity whatever can be with it (as was often touched on above in book I); and those extremes are not precisely the same perfectly, because some third [thing] includes them both perfectly. But in the present case the specific entity does not include through identity the individual entity, nor the converse, but only some third [thing], of which both are quasi per se parts, includes them both through identity, and therefore removes that most perfect composition that is from thing and thing. But not all [composition]: for universally whatever nature is not of itself this, but determinable to being this (whether as determined through another thing, which is impossible in anything, or as determined through another reality), is not simply simple.

[191] To the second [144], I concede that the singular is per se intelligible, on its part (and if it is not per se intelligible to some intellect, for example ours, concerning this elsewhere); at least, there is not, on its part an impossibility preventing its being understood, just as it is not on the sun's part that seeing and vision are impossible in the owl, but on the part of the owl's eye. [Note 21]

[192] To the argument concerning definition [146], I say that if some ratio can express whatever concurs to the entity of the individual, yet that ratio will not be a perfect definition; because it does not express that-which-it-was-to-be, and according to the Philosopher in Topics I, 'definition expresses' etc. And therefore I concede that the singular is not definable by a definition other than the definition of the species, and yet there is a being per se adding some entity to the entity of the species; but the per se entity that it adds is not quidditative entity.

[193] Through this is clear to the other concerning science and demonstration [145], because the definition of the subject is the medium in the strongest demonstration; but the singular does not have its own definition, but only the definition of the species; and thus there is no proper demonstration concerning it, but only the demonstration that is of the species (for it does not have its own passiones, but only the passiones of the species).


To the arguments for the opinion.

[194] When first it is said [149] that the species is atoma, I say that it is atoma, i.e. it is not divisible into several species; but it is not purely atoma, i.e. simply indivisible: for indivisibility into several species accepts with itself {compatitur secum} divisibility into several of the same species.

[195] And when indivisibility is proved [150] by that [view] of Plato, which Porphyry states, I say that artificial division has a 'stand' at the most specific species, because to go further is to proceed to infinities, which are to be left alone by art, according to him; for it is not from something on the part of the individual that their number is certain, but they could be infinite without repugnance with their ratio.

[196] And if division is taken strictly, as it is in [division] that seeks parts determinate in multitude and magnitude, in this way a species is not divided into individuals; but the genus requires a determinate multitude of species (because, according to Boethius, the first is divisible into two), and 'quantity' requires determinate magnitude, and those are presupposed in the whole terminating the mediates, because two. And if division is taken strictly as it is into parts having a proportion to the whole, which either they constitute, or they are contained under it in determinate multitude or magnitude: the species per se is not divided into individuals. And through this both Plato or Porphyry can be explained. But if division is taken generally, as it is into whatever [things] share in the nature of what is divided (whether they have such proportion to the whole in integrating or in subjecting, or not), the species per se is divided into individuals; and that division is reduced to the genus, in Boethius [Book on Division], because the conditions and properties that Boethius assigns in the division of a genus befit this division of species into individuals.

[197] To the other, 'species expresses the whole being' [152], I say that there 'being' means quidditative being, as Porphyry speaks in the chapter 'Concerning Difference', where he maintains that difference per se does not receive more or less. He proves this: 'For the being of any one [thing] is one and the same, and does not receive intensification or remission' (he takes being for quiddity, as does the Philosopher in Metaphysics VIII [?], 'The Soul and the soul's being are the same'). And because the entity that the singular adds over and above the species is not quidditative being - I say that the whole quidditative entity that is in the individual is the entity of the species, and therefore the species expresses the whole being of the individuals; but not thus does the genus express the whole being of the species, because the species adds quidditative entity.

[198] To the argument for the other member concerning quantity [153], I say that the proposition 'the principle of divisibility is the same as the principle of distinction of those that divide' is false. Indeed, the concept that is according to itself common to the species is the ratio of its divisibility into species, but it is not the ratio of distinguishing the species from one another; but this species is distinguished from that one by the difference. But in quantitative division, the whole quantity, as it confusedly contains all the parts, is the ratio of divisibility in the whole quantity: but not thus is it the ratio of the distinction of parts from one another, but as 'this quantity' distinctly in act is not that one in act which is in the whole.

[199] When, also, it is further alleged that when the whole is divided by homogeneous quantity, the division is had through quantity [153]: let it be thus. Yet that division is not the first division of individuals, but this substance and that one have a division from one another and a distinction, as this and this, that is naturally prior to the distinction as they were distinct quantitative parts per accidens (for it happened to them to be parts); yet when the division is made according to quantitative parts, per accidens a division comes about according to subjective parts.


[200] To the preceding fifth question, concerning matter, the solution is clear from the arguments against the opinion [136-141]. For I concede that matter absolutely, as it is the nature, is not the ratio of distinction or individuation; for whatever is a nature is whatever genus, total or partial, is not of itself this - and therefore one must ask through what is it this.


[201] To the Philosopher's text in Metaphysics V ('One in number' etc. [130]) I answer: I say that here he takes matter for the individual entity which constitutes in material being, but not in formal being (in so far as quiddity expresses form), because that entity is not quidditative. And this interpretation is clear from what he adds: '[one] in species those of which the ratio is one' etc. Here ratio is taken for quiddity, which is called form in respect of individual being.

[202] Through the same [the answer] is clear to the text from De Caelo et Mundo concerning the heaven and this heaven [135], which confirms the point.

[203] Through the same [the answer] is also clear to the text from Metaphysics XII [134]. For I concede that there cannot be several first movers, because in a first mover there is not matter: that is, there is not in it something contracting, such as matter or anything else - but it is of itself 'this', without anything else contracting it; for such contraction does not stand with perfect simplicity; and therefore the quiddity of the first is 'this' of itself.

[204] To the text from Metaphysics VII - in those [things] that are without matter, the 'what-something' of the thing is the same as that of which it is [133] - I say that the 'what-something' of a thing can be compared to that of which it is per se and primo, and to that of which it is per se and not primo; and, universally, in the way in which it is of something, in that way it is the same as it - as the Philosopher argues in VII ch .3 [1031 a17-18]: 'Each [thing] [is thought to be not different from its substance], and the "that which something was to be" is said to be the substance of each [thing]' (for if the 'what something is' is not being, nothing is). However, the 'what-something' is what the thing primo is, and therefore what the 'what something is' belongs to per se is the same as it per se, what [it belongs to] per accidens is the same as it per accidens and is therefore not simply the same (and thus he maintains in ch. 3 that in [things] said per accidens the 'what something is' is not the same as what it belongs to - and no wonder, because in ch. 2 he has explained that of those nothing is 'what something is' nor a definition).

[205] What has a 'what something is' can mean either the nature itself of which it primo is the 'what something is', or the supposit of the nature, of which it is per se though not primo. In the first way 'what something is', both in material and in immaterial [things], is the same as that of which it is even primo, because primo it has the 'what something is'. In the second way, what has is not the same, when it includes some entity outside the ratio of its quiddity; for then it is not the same as the 'what something is' primo, because the 'what something is' is not its primo, because what has includes some entity outside the ratio of that which is 'what something' primo.

[206] To the Philosopher's point, therefore, I say that in [things] not conceived with matter (i.e. not with an individual entity contracting the quiddity), the 'what something is' is primo the same as that of which it is, because the 'such' of which it is does not have any ratio besides the ratio of that which is the 'what something is'. But in [things] conceived with matter (i.e. with an individual entity contracting the quiddity), the 'what something is' is not primo the same as that of which it is, because a [thing] first conceived thus would not have a 'what something is' from itself, but only through a part, namely through the nature that is contracted by that individual entity.

[207] It is therefore not established from that that the matter that is the other part of the composite is outside the ratio per se of the quiddity; indeed, the matter truly pertains to the quiddity, and the species (and in general {in universali} what has the form) has primo the 'what something is' and is primo the same as it; and therefore it does not follow that the matter that is the other part of the composite is what individuates, but that follows only of the matter that is the entity contracting the quiddity, which I have conceded [206]. But whether according to the Philosopher lack of the matter that is the other part implies lack of such an individual entity will be discussed in a later question.

[208] To the Philosopher's statement that the generator generates another because of matter [132], I say that the Philosopher's meaning here is that the ideas are not necessary to generation, because both the distinction of generator from generated and the resemblance {assimilatio} of generated to generator (both of which are needed for univocal generation) can be had without ideas. For the particular agent has from its form that by which the affected resembles it, and the generator [that by which] the generated [resembles it], and it has from matter that it is distinct from the generated: not principally, though (however) it follows necessarily that it is distinguished through matter from the generated, because it perfects a matter not its own but another through the form that is the terminus of generation (for its own is already perfected by its form); and from the fact that it resembles through the form it perfects another matter than its own, and thus its own is other than that which is without such form. But whatever has another matter, since the matter is an essential part of the thing, is itself other than it.

[209] I say, then, that the principal reason {ratio} for the resemblance or likeness {assimilatio, similitudo} between generator and generated is the form itself, and this not according to individual unity and identity as this form, but according to the unity and identity that is less, as it is the form; and according to this it is the ratio of generating; the form is also the more principal ratio of distinction than the matter, because just as the form is the more principal by which the composite is than the matter, so it is the more principal by which the composite is one, and consequently undivided in itself and distinct from something else.

[210] By appropriation, however (distinguishing assimilative from distinctive), the form is assimilative, so that not the matter properly, because it is not a substantial or accidental quality; but the matter is distinctive (properly speaking), because necessarily, from the fact that it lacks form, it distinguishes from that matter that already has form, and so composite from composite.

[211] The composite can in another way be understood to be other because of matter, as because of a preexistent cause of otherness; for although the form of the generated is the more principal cause of otherness in the composite than the matter is, it is, however, not the preexistent cause of this otherness, but the matter is - and this because it preexists without the form; and therefore it cannot be the same as the informed matter.

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