Sed contra est quod Philosophus dicit, in III de Anima, quod sicut in omni natura ita et in anima est aliquid quo est omnia fieri, et aliquid quo est omnia facere. Est ergo ponere intellectum agentem.
On the contrary, The Philosopher says (De Anima iii, 5), As in every nature, so in the soul is there something by which it becomes all things, and something by which it makes all things. Therefore we must admit an active intellect.
Respondeo dicendum quod, secundum opinionem Platonis, nulla necessitas erat ponere intellectum agentem ad faciendum intelligibilia in actu; sed forte ad praebendum lumen intelligibile intelligenti, ut infra dicetur. Posuit enim Plato formas rerum naturalium sine materia subsistere, et per consequens eas intelligibiles esse, quia ex hoc est aliquid intelligibile actu, quod est immateriale. Et huiusmodi vocabat species, sive ideas, ex quarum participatione dicebat etiam materiam corporalem formari, ad hoc quod individua naturaliter constituerentur in propriis generibus et speciebus; et intellectus nostros, ad hoc quod de generibus et speciebus rerum scientiam haberent.
I answer that, According to the opinion of Plato, there is no need for an active intellect in order to make things actually intelligible; but perhaps in order to provide intellectual light to the intellect, as will be explained farther on (A. 4). For Plato supposed that the forms of natural things subsisted apart from matter, and consequently that they are intelligible: since a thing is actually intelligible from the very fact that it is immaterial. And he called such forms species or ideas; from a participation of which, he said that even corporeal matter was formed, in order that individuals might be naturally established in their proper genera and species: and that our intellect was formed by such participation in order to have knowledge of the genera and species of things.
Sed quia Aristoteles non posuit formas rerum naturalium subsistere sine materia; formae autem in materia existentes non sunt intelligibiles actu, sequebatur quod naturae seu formae rerum sensibilium, quas intelligimus, non essent intelligibiles actu. Nihil autem reducitur de potentia in actum, nisi per aliquod ens actu, sicut sensus fit in actu per sensibile in actu. Oportebat igitur ponere aliquam virtutem ex parte intellectus, quae faceret intelligibilia in actu, per abstractionem specierum a conditionibus materialibus. Et haec est necessitas ponendi intellectum agentem.
But since Aristotle did not allow that forms of natural things exist apart from matter, and as forms existing in matter are not actually intelligible; it follows that the natures or forms of the sensible things which we understand are not actually intelligible. Now nothing is reduced from potentiality to act except by something in act; as the senses as made actual by what is actually sensible. We must therefore assign on the part of the intellect some power to make things actually intelligible, by abstraction of the species from material conditions. And such is the necessity for an active intellect.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod sensibilia inveniuntur actu extra animam, et ideo non oportuit ponere sensum agentem. Et sic patet quod in parte nutritiva omnes potentiae sunt activae; in parte autem sensitiva, omnes passivae; in parte vero intellectiva est aliquid activum, et aliquid passivum.
Reply Obj. 1: Sensible things are found in act outside the soul; and hence there is no need for an active sense. Wherefore it is clear that in the nutritive part all the powers are active, whereas in the sensitive part all are passive: but in the intellectual part, there is something active and something passive.
Ad secundum dicendum quod circa effectum luminis est duplex opinio. Quidam enim dicunt quod lumen requiritur ad visum, ut faciat colores actu visibiles. Et secundum hoc, similiter requiritur, et propter idem, intellectus agens ad intelligendum, propter quod lumen ad videndum. Secundum alios vero, lumen requiritur ad videndum, non propter colores, ut fiant actu visibiles; sed ut medium fiat actu lucidum, ut Commentator dicit in II de Anima. Et secundum hoc, similitudo qua Aristoteles assimilat intellectum agentem lumini, attenditur quantum ad hoc, quod sicut hoc est necessarium ad videndum, ita illud ad intelligendum; sed non propter idem.
Reply Obj. 2: There are two opinions as to the effect of light. For some say that light is required for sight, in order to make colors actually visible. And according to this the active intellect is required for understanding, in like manner and for the same reason as light is required for seeing. But in the opinion of others, light is required for sight; not for the colors to become actually visible; but in order that the medium may become actually luminous, as the Commentator says on De Anima ii. And according to this, Aristotle’s comparison of the active intellect to light is verified in this, that as it is required for understanding, so is light required for seeing; but not for the same reason.
Ad tertium dicendum quod, supposito agente, bene contingit diversimode recipi eius similitudinem in diversis propter eorum dispositionem diversam. Sed si agens non praeexistit, nihil ad hoc faciet dispositio recipientis. Intelligibile autem in actu non est aliquid existens in rerum natura, quantum ad naturam rerum sensibilium, quae non subsistunt praeter materiam. Et ideo ad intelligendum non sufficeret immaterialitas intellectus possibilis, nisi adesset intellectus agens, qui faceret intelligibilia in actu per modum abstractionis.
Reply Obj. 3: If the agent pre-exist, it may well happen that its likeness is received variously into various things, on account of their dispositions. But if the agent does not pre-exist, the disposition of the recipient has nothing to do with the matter. Now the intelligible in act is not something existing in nature; if we consider the nature of things sensible, which do not subsist apart from matter. And therefore in order to understand them, the immaterial nature of the passive intellect would not suffice but for the presence of the active intellect which makes things actually intelligible by way of abstraction.
Utrum intellectus agens sit aliquid animae nostrae
Whether the active intellect is something in the soul?
Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod intellectus agens non sit aliquid animae nostrae. Intellectus enim agentis effectus est illuminare ad intelligendum. Sed hoc fit per aliquid quod est altius anima; secundum illud Ioan. I, erat lux vera, quae illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum. Ergo videtur quod intellectus agens non sit aliquid animae.
Objection 1: It would seem that the active intellect is not something in the soul. For the effect of the active intellect is to give light for the purpose of understanding. But this is done by something higher than the soul: according to John 1:9, He was the true light that enlighteneth every man coming into this world. Therefore the active intellect is not something in the soul.
Praeterea, Philosophus, in III de Anima, attribuit intellectui agenti quod non aliquando intelligit et aliquando non intelligit. Sed anima nostra non semper intelligit; sed aliquando intelligit et aliquando non intelligit. Ergo intellectus agens non est aliquid animae nostrae.
Obj. 2: Further, the Philosopher (De Anima iii, 5) says of the active intellect, that it does not sometimes understand and sometimes not understand. But our soul does not always understand: sometimes it understands, sometimes it does not understand. Therefore the active intellect is not something in our soul.
Praeterea, agens et patiens sufficiunt ad agendum. Si igitur intellectus possibilis est aliquid animae nostrae, qui est virtus passiva, et similiter intellectus agens, qui est virtus activa; sequitur quod homo semper poterit intelligere cum voluerit, quod patet esse falsum. Non est ergo intellectus agens aliquid animae nostrae.
Obj. 3: Further, agent and patient suffice for action. If, therefore, the passive intellect, which is a passive power, is something belonging to the soul; and also the active intellect, which is an active power: it follows that a man would always be able to understand when he wished, which is clearly false. Therefore the active intellect is not something in our soul.
Praeterea, Philosophus dicit, in III de Anima, quod intellectus agens est substantia actu ens. Nihil autem est respectu eiusdem in actu et in potentia. Si ergo intellectus possibilis, qui est in potentia ad omnia intelligibilia, est aliquid animae nostrae; videtur impossibile quod intellectus agens sit aliquid animae nostrae.
Obj. 4: Further, the Philosopher (De Anima iii, 5) says that the active intellect is a substance in actual being. But nothing can be in potentiality and in act with regard to the same thing. If, therefore, the passive intellect, which is in potentiality to all things intelligible, is something in the soul, it seems impossible for the active intellect to be also something in our soul.
Praeterea, si intellectus agens est aliquid animae nostrae, oportet quod sit aliqua potentia. Non est enim nec passio nec habitus, nam habitus et passiones non habent rationem agentis respectu passionum animae; sed magis passio est ipsa actio potentiae passivae, habitus autem est aliquid quod ex actibus consequitur. Omnis autem potentia fluit ab essentia animae. Sequeretur ergo quod intellectus agens ab essentia animae procederet. Et sic non inesset animae per participationem ab aliquo superiori intellectu, quod est inconveniens. Non ergo intellectus agens est aliquid animae nostrae.
Obj. 5: Further, if the active intellect is something in the soul, it must be a power. For it is neither a passion nor a habit; since habits and passions are not in the nature of agents in regard to the passivity of the soul; but rather passion is the very action of the passive power; while habit is something which results from acts. But every power flows from the essence of the soul. It would therefore follow that the active intellect flows from the essence of the soul. And thus it would not be in the soul by way of participation from some higher intellect: which is unfitting. Therefore the active intellect is not something in our soul.
Sed contra est quod philosophus dicit, III de Anima quod necesse est in anima has esse differentias, scilicet intellectum possibilem, et agentem.
On the contrary, The Philosopher says (De Anima iii, 5) that it is necessary for these differences, namely, the passive and active intellect, to be in the soul.
Respondeo dicendum quod intellectus agens de quo Philosophus loquitur, est aliquid animae. Ad cuius evidentiam, considerandum est quod supra animam intellectivam humanam necesse est ponere aliquem superiorem intellectum, a quo anima virtutem intelligendi obtineat. Semper enim quod participat aliquid, et quod est mobile, et quod est imperfectum, praeexigit ante se aliquid quod est per essentiam suam tale, et quod est immobile et perfectum. Anima autem humana intellectiva dicitur per participationem intellectualis virtutis, cuius signum est, quod non tota est intellectiva, sed secundum aliquam sui partem. Pertingit etiam ad intelligentiam veritatis cum quodam discursu et motu, arguendo. Habet etiam imperfectam intelligentiam, tum quia non omnia intelligit; tum quia in his quae intelligit, de potentia procedit ad actum. Oportet ergo esse aliquem altiorem intellectum, quo anima iuvetur ad intelligendum.
I answer that, The active intellect, of which the Philosopher speaks, is something in the soul. In order to make this evident, we must observe that above the intellectual soul of man we must needs suppose a superior intellect, from which the soul acquires the power of understanding. For what is such by participation, and what is mobile, and what is imperfect always requires the pre-existence of something essentially such, immovable and perfect. Now the human soul is called intellectual by reason of a participation in intellectual power; a sign of which is that it is not wholly intellectual but only in part. Moreover it reaches to the understanding of truth by arguing, with a certain amount of reasoning and movement. Again it has an imperfect understanding; both because it does not understand everything, and because, in those things which it does understand, it passes from potentiality to act. Therefore there must needs be some higher intellect, by which the soul is helped to understand.
Posuerunt ergo quidam hunc intellectum secundum substantiam separatum, esse intellectum agentem, qui quasi illustrando phantasmata, facit ea intelligibilia actu. Sed, dato quod sit aliquis talis intellectus agens separatus, nihilominus tamen oportet ponere in ipsa anima humana aliquam virtutem ab illo intellectu superiori participatam, per quam anima humana facit intelligibilia in actu. Sicut et in aliis rebus naturalibus perfectis, praeter universales causas agentes, sunt propriae virtutes inditae singulis rebus perfectis, ab universalibus agentibus derivatae, non enim solus sol generat hominem, sed est in homine virtus generativa hominis; et similiter in aliis animalibus perfectis. Nihil autem est perfectius in inferioribus rebus anima humana. Unde oportet dicere quod in ipsa sit aliqua virtus derivata a superiori intellectu, per quam possit phantasmata illustrare.
Wherefore some held that this intellect, substantially separate, is the active intellect, which by lighting up the phantasms as it were, makes them to be actually intelligible. But, even supposing the existence of such a separate active intellect, it would still be necessary to assign to the human soul some power participating in that superior intellect, by which power the human soul makes things actually intelligible. Just as in other perfect natural things, besides the universal active causes, each one is endowed with its proper powers derived from those universal causes: for the sun alone does not generate man; but in man is the power of begetting man: and in like manner with other perfect animals. Now among these lower things nothing is more perfect than the human soul. Wherefore we must say that in the soul is some power derived from a higher intellect, whereby it is able to light up the phantasms.
Et hoc experimento cognoscimus, dum percipimus nos abstrahere formas universales a conditionibus particularibus, quod est facere actu intelligibilia. Nulla autem actio convenit alicui rei, nisi per aliquod principium formaliter ei inhaerens; ut supra dictum est, cum de intellectu possibili ageretur. Ergo oportet virtutem quae est principium huius actionis, esse aliquid in anima.
And we know this by experience, since we perceive that we abstract universal forms from their particular conditions, which is to make them actually intelligible. Now no action belongs to anything except through some principle formally inherent therein; as we have said above of the passive intellect (Q. 76, A. 1). Therefore the power which is the principle of this action must be something in the soul.
Et ideo Aristoteles comparavit intellectum agentem lumini, quod est aliquid receptum in aere. Plato autem intellectum separatum imprimentem in animas nostras, comparavit soli; ut Themistius dicit in commentario tertii de Anima. Sed intellectus separatus, secundum nostrae fidei documenta, est ipse Deus, qui est creator animae, et in quo solo beatificatur, ut infra patebit. Unde ab ipso anima humana lumen intellectuale participat, secundum illud Psalmi IV, signatum est super nos lumen vultus tui, domine.
For this reason Aristotle (De Anima iii, 5) compared the active intellect to light, which is something received into the air: while Plato compared the separate intellect impressing the soul to the sun, as Themistius says in his commentary on De Anima iii. But the separate intellect, according to the teaching of our faith, is God Himself, Who is the soul’s Creator, and only beatitude; as will be shown later on (Q. 90, A. 3; I-II, Q. 3, A. 7). Wherefore the human soul derives its intellectual light from Him, according to Ps. 4:7, The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod illa lux vera illuminat sicut causa universalis, a qua anima humana participat quandam particularem virtutem, ut dictum est.
Reply Obj. 1: That true light enlightens as a universal cause, from which the human soul derives a particular power, as we have explained.
Ad secundum dicendum quod Philosophus illa verba non dicit de intellectu agente, sed de intellectu in actu. Unde supra de ipso praemiserat, idem autem est secundum actum scientia rei. Vel, si intelligatur de intellectu agente, hoc dicitur quia non est ex parte intellectus agentis hoc quod quandoque intelligimus et quandoque non intelligimus; sed ex parte intellectus qui est in potentia.
Reply Obj. 2: The Philosopher says those words not of the active intellect, but of the intellect in act: of which he had already said: Knowledge in act is the same as the thing. Or, if we refer those words to the active intellect, then they are said because it is not owing to the active intellect that sometimes we do, and sometimes we do not understand, but to the intellect which is in potentiality.
Ad tertium dicendum quod, si intellectus agens compararetur ad intellectum possibilem ut obiectum agens ad potentiam, sicut visibile in actu ad visum; sequeretur quod statim omnia intelligeremus, cum intellectus agens sit quo est omnia facere. Nunc autem non se habet ut obiectum, sed ut faciens obiecta in actu, ad quod requiritur, praeter praesentiam intellectus agentis, praesentia phantasmatum, et bona dispositio virium sensitivarum, et exercitium in huiusmodi opere; quia per unum intellectum fiunt etiam alia intellecta, sicut per terminos propositiones, et per prima principia conclusiones. Et quantum ad hoc, non differt utrum intellectus agens sit aliquid animae, vel aliquid separatum.
Reply Obj. 3: If the relation of the active intellect to the passive were that of the active object to a power, as, for instance, of the visible in act to the sight; it would follow that we could understand all things instantly, since the active intellect is that which makes all things (in act). But now the active intellect is not an object, rather is it that whereby the objects are made to be in act: for which, besides the presence of the active intellect, we require the presence of phantasms, the good disposition of the sensitive powers, and practice in this sort of operation; since through one thing understood, other things come to be understood, as from terms are made propositions, and from first principles, conclusions. From this point of view it matters not whether the active intellect is something belonging to the soul, or something separate from the soul.
Ad quartum dicendum quod anima intellectiva est quidem actu immaterialis, sed est in potentia ad determinatas species rerum. Phantasmata autem, e converso, sunt quidem actu similitudines specierum quarundam, sed sunt potentia immaterialia. Unde nihil prohibet unam et eandem animam, inquantum est immaterialis in actu, habere aliquam virtutem per quam faciat immaterialia in actu abstrahendo a conditionibus individualis materiae, quae quidem virtus dicitur intellectus agens; et aliam virtutem receptivam huiusmodi specierum, quae dicitur intellectus possibilis, inquantum est in potentia ad huiusmodi species.
Reply Obj. 4: The intellectual soul is indeed actually immaterial, but it is in potentiality to determinate species. On the contrary, phantasms are actual images of certain species, but are immaterial in potentiality. Wherefore nothing prevents one and the same soul, inasmuch as it is actually immaterial, having one power by which it makes things actually immaterial, by abstraction from the conditions of individual matter: which power is called the active intellect; and another power, receptive of such species, which is called the passive intellect by reason of its being in potentiality to such species.
Ad quintum dicendum quod, cum essentia animae sit immaterialis, a supremo intellectu creata, nihil prohibet virtutem quae a supremo intellectu participatur, per quam abstrahit a materia, ab essentia ipsius procedere, sicut et alias eius potentias.
Reply Obj. 5: Since the essence of the soul is immaterial, created by the supreme intellect, nothing prevents that power which it derives from the supreme intellect, and whereby it abstracts from matter, flowing from the essence of the soul, in the same way as its other powers.
Utrum intellectus agens sit unus in omnibus
Whether the active intellect is one in all?
Ad quintum sic proceditur. Videtur quod intellectus agens sit unus in omnibus. Nihil enim quod est separatum a corpore, multiplicatur secundum multiplicationem corporum. Sed intellectus agens est separatus, ut dicitur in III de Anima. Ergo non multiplicatur in multis corporibus hominum, sed est unus in omnibus.
Objection 1: It would seem that there is one active intellect in all. For what is separate from the body is not multiplied according to the number of bodies. But the active intellect is separate, as the Philosopher says (De Anima iii, 5). Therefore it is not multiplied in the many human bodies, but is one for all men.
Praeterea, intellectus agens facit universale, quod est unum in multis. Sed illud quod est causa unitatis, magis est unum. Ergo intellectus agens est unus in omnibus.
Obj. 2: Further, the active intellect is the cause of the universal, which is one in many. But that which is the cause of unity is still more itself one. Therefore the active intellect is the same in all.
Praeterea, omnes homines conveniunt in primis conceptionibus intellectus. His autem assentiunt per intellectum agentem. Ergo conveniunt omnes in uno intellectu agente.
Obj. 3: Further, all men agree in the first intellectual concepts. But to these they assent by the active intellect. Therefore all agree in one active intellect.
Sed contra est quod philosophus dicit, in III de Anima, quod intellectus agens est sicut lumen. Non autem est idem lumen in diversis illuminatis. Ergo non est idem intellectus agens in diversis hominibus.
On the contrary, The Philosopher says (De Anima iii, 5) that the active intellect is as a light. But light is not the same in the various things enlightened. Therefore the same active intellect is not in various men.
Respondeo dicendum quod veritas huius quaestionis dependet ex praemissis. Si enim intellectus agens non esset aliquid animae, sed esset quaedam substantia separata, unus esset intellectus agens omnium hominum. Et hoc intelligunt qui ponunt unitatem intellectus agentis. Si autem intellectus agens sit aliquid animae, ut quaedam virtus ipsius, necesse est dicere quod sint plures intellectus agentes, secundum pluralitatem animarum, quae multiplicantur secundum multiplicationem hominum, ut supra dictum est. Non enim potest esse quod una et eadem virtus numero sit diversarum substantiarum.
I answer that, The truth about this question depends on what we have already said (A. 4). For if the active intellect were not something belonging to the soul, but were some separate substance, there would be one active intellect for all men. And this is what they mean who hold that there is one active intellect for all. But if the active intellect is something belonging to the soul, as one of its powers, we are bound to say that there are as many active intellects as there are souls, which are multiplied according to the number of men, as we have said above (Q. 76, A. 2). For it is impossible that one same power belong to various substances.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod philosophus probat intellectum agentem esse separatum, per hoc quod possibilis est separatus; quia, ut ipse dicit, agens est honorabilius patiente. Intellectus autem possibilis dicitur separatus, quia non est actus alicuius organi corporalis. Et secundum hunc modum etiam intellectus agens dicitur separatus, non quasi sit aliqua substantia separata.
Reply Obj. 1: The Philosopher proves that the active intellect is separate, by the fact that the passive intellect is separate: because, as he says (De Anima iii, 5), the agent is more noble than the patient. Now the passive intellect is said to be separate, because it is not the act of any corporeal organ. And in the same sense the active intellect is also called separate; but not as a separate substance.
Ad secundum dicendum quod intellectus agens causat universale abstrahendo a materia. Ad hoc autem non requiritur quod sit unus in omnibus habentibus intellectum, sed quod sit unus in omnibus secundum habitudinem ad omnia a quibus abstrahit universale, respectu quorum universale est unum. Et hoc competit intellectui agenti inquantum est immaterialis.
Reply Obj. 2: The active intellect is the cause of the universal, by abstracting it from matter. But for this purpose it need not be the same intellect in all intelligent beings; but it must be one in its relationship to all those things from which it abstracts the universal, with respect to which things the universal is one. And this befits the active intellect inasmuch as it is immaterial.
Ad tertium dicendum quod omnia quae sunt unius speciei, communicant in actione consequente naturam speciei, et per consequens in virtute, quae est actionis principium, non quod sit eadem numero in omnibus. Cognoscere autem prima intelligibilia est actio consequens speciem humanam. Unde oportet quod omnes homines communicent in virtute quae est principium huius actionis, et haec est virtus intellectus agentis. Non tamen oportet quod sit eadem numero in omnibus. Oportet tamen quod ab uno principio in omnibus derivetur. Et sic illa communicatio hominum in primis intelligibilibus, demonstrat unitatem intellectus separati, quem Plato comparat soli; non autem unitatem intellectus agentis, quem Aristoteles comparat lumini.
Reply Obj. 3: All things which are of one species enjoy in common the action which accompanies the nature of the species, and consequently the power which is the principle of such action; but not so as that power be identical in all. Now to know the first intelligible principles is the action belonging to the human species. Wherefore all men enjoy in common the power which is the principle of this action: and this power is the active intellect. But there is no need for it to be identical in all. Yet it must be derived by all from one principle. And thus the possession by all men in common of the first principles proves the unity of the separate intellect, which Plato compares to the sun; but not the unity of the active intellect, which Aristotle compares to light.
Utrum memoria sit in parte intellectiva animae
Whether memory is in the intellectual part of the soul?
Ad sextum sic proceditur. Videtur quod memoria non sit in parte intellectiva animae. Dicit enim Augustinus, XII de Trin., quod ad partem superiorem animae pertinent quae non sunt hominibus pecoribusque communia. Sed memoria est hominibus pecoribusque communis, dicit enim ibidem quod possunt pecora sentire per corporis sensus corporalia, et ea mandare memoriae. Ergo memoria non pertinet ad partem animae intellectivam.
Objection 1: It would seem that memory is not in the intellectual part of the soul. For Augustine says (De Trin. xii, 2,3,8) that to the higher part of the soul belongs those things which are not common to man and beast. But memory is common to man and beast, for he says (De Trin. xii, 2, 3, 8) that beasts can sense corporeal things through the senses of the body, and commit them to memory. Therefore memory does not belong to the intellectual part of the soul.