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  • Robert Baron

1.1 De Disciplinis in genere, & in specie De Metaphysica

De Disciplinis in Genere, & in Specie De Metaphysica

On Disciplines in General & on Metaphysics in Particular


Section I, Part I.

1. Disciplinarum aliae versantur circa res necessarias, aliae circa res contingentes. Quae versantur circa res necessarias pro fine ultimo habent contemplationem: quia enim res necessariae à nobis non pendent, & à nobis ne{que} fieri neque alterari possunt; ideo in earum cognitione acquiescimus, nec ultra progredimur.

​1. Some disciplines are concerned with necessary things, while others are concerned with contingent things. Those concerned with necessary things have contemplation as their ultimate end, because necessary things do not depend on us, and they cannot be produced (fieri) or altered by us; therefore, we rest in the knowledge of them, and we do not progress further.

Disciplini diviso

2. Disciplinae quae versantur circa res contingentes, in earum cognitione non acquiescunt, sed post requisitam cognitionem ad operationem progrediuntur; idque quia res illae contingentes à nobis pendent, & à nobis fieri possunt. Hinc intelligitur divisio Disciplinarum in speculativas & operatrices: quae quidem divisio est partim ab objecto, partim à fine petita.

Division of Disciplines

2. Disciplines that deal with contingent things do not rest in their knowledge, but they progress to action after acquiring knowledge. This is because those contingent things depend on us and can be produced (fieri) by us. Hence, the division of disciplines into speculative and operative can be understood, which is partly from the object and partly from the intended end.

​3. Disciplinae speculativae Scientiae appellantur, & numero tres sunt: Physica nimirum, quae acquiescit in cognitione corporis Naturalis, qua tale est; Mathematica, quae contemplatur quantitatem à materia abstractam; & Metaphysica, quae contemplatur ens qua ens est.

​3. Speculative disciplines are called Sciences, and they are three in number: namely, Physics, which rests in the knowledge of natural bodies as such; Mathematics, which contemplates quantity abstracted from matter; and Metaphysics, which contemplates being as it is being.

​4. Hic diligenter notandum est, nomen θεωρίας seu Contemplationis non accipi pro qualibet cognitione, sed pro ea sola in qua quiescimus, & quam ad Praxim non dirigimus; quia alioqui quaelibet Disciplina poterat contemplativa appellari. Notandum item est, nomen Operationis stricte & proprie à nobis accipi, cum dividimus Disciplinas in speculativas, & operativas: non enim accipitur operatio pro qualibet animi aut corporis functione, sic enim ipsa contemplatio est operatio quaedam; sed pro ea actione quae cognitione posterior est, quaeque subdividitur adaequata divisione in Praxin & ποἰησιν.

​4. Here it must be diligently noted that the term theoria or “contemplation” is not taken for any kind of knowledge, but only for that in which we find rest and which we do not direct towards practice; for otherwise, any discipline could be called contemplative. It should also be noted that the term “operation” is strictly and properly understood by us when we divide disciplines into speculative and operative. For, operation is not taken for any mental or physical function—since, in this way, contemplation itself is a certain operation—but it is taken for the action that follows knowledge and is subdivided into praxis and poiesis.

Distin disc. operatricium

5. Disciplinarum operatricium aliae sunt πρακτικαί, i. pro fine habent actionem, aliae sunt ποιητικαί, & pro fine habent effectionem. ubi observanda est distinctio inter actionem & effectionem; actio enim nullum relinquit post se opus, effectio vero relinquit post se aliquod opus. Verum quia haec distinctio inter actionem & effectionem non est perpetua (saltatio enim, quae est finis artis saltandi, est ποιησις, nullum tamen relinquit post se opus arte factum) interpretes Aristot. alia excogitarunt discrimina inter actionem & effectionem, quorum praecipuum est hoc, quod ex ipso Aristot. colligitur, Actionis principium est praeelectio ad voluntatem pertinens; qui enim agit secundum virtutem, ex rebus faciendis certam rem praeeligit, quae videtur maxime utilis ad acquirendum finem ultimum. Effectionis vero principium est intellectus & vis imaginandi; sutor enim cum efficit calceum, habet in intellectu suo ideam calcei, secundum quam calceum efficit.

Distinction of operative disciplines

5. Operative disciplines are either practical (πρακτικαί), i.e., they have action as their end, or poietic (ποιητικαί), and they have production as their end. Here, the distinction between action and production should be observed; action leaves no product (opus) behind, whereas production does leave some product (opus) behind. However, because this distinction between action and production is not universal (for example, dancing, which is the goal of the art of dancing, is a kind of production but leaves no product (opus) behind), interpreters of Aristotle have devised other distinctions between action and production, the main one of which, drawn from Aristotle himself, is this: the principle of action pertains to pre-selection by the will, for he who acts virtuously pre-selects a definite thing from things to be done, which seems most useful for acquiring the ultimate end. The principle of production, on the other hand, is the intellect and the power of imagining, for a shoemaker, when producing a shoe, has in his intellect the idea of the shoe, according to which he produces the shoe.

​6. Cum Disciplinarum operatricium aliae effectivae sint, aliae activae, tenendum est unicam tantum esse Disciplinam activam, quae Moralis Philosophia dicitur; multas vero esse effectivas, easque Artes vocari, quarum aliae sunt Ancillares & Instrumentales, aliae Ancillares non sunt, omnes videlicet aliae artes praeter has duas, Grammaticam & Logicam.

​6. Since some of the operative disciplines are productive and others are active, it must be understood that there is only one active discipline, which is called Moral Philosophy; however, there are many productive disciplines, and they are called Arts. Among them, some are servile and instrumental, while others are not servile, namely all other arts except for these two: Grammar and Logic.

7. Aristoteles 6. Eth. cap. 6. enumerat quinque habitus Mentis, Intellectum, Scientiam, Sapientiam, Prudentiam, & Artem. ex his tres comprehenduntur in hac divisione Disciplinarum, Scientia videlicet, Prudentia, i. disciplina moralis, & Ars. Quaeret ergo aliquis an Intellectus & Sapientia etiam comprehendantur in hac Divisione.

​7. Aristotle, in the Nicomachean Ethics (VI.vi), enumerates five habits of the mind: Understanding, Science, Wisdom, Prudence, and Art. Among these, three are included in this division of disciplines: Science, Prudence (i.e., moral discipline), and Art. One may wonder, therefore, whether Understanding and Wisdom are also included in this division.

Resp de Intellectu.

8. Quod ad Intellectum attinet, notandum est primo, Intellectum ab Aristot eo loco accipi pro habitu Principiorum. 2. Intellectum esse habitum natura distinctum ab habitu Scientiae: Scientia enim proprie est habitus per demonstrationes acquisitus, & versatur circa conclusiones necessarias; Intellectus vero est habitus principiorum indemonstrabilium, atque adeo longe alio modo gignitur quam Scientia. 3. notandum est, Intellectum non constituere certam Disciplinam per se; sed Disciplinas contemplativas complecti, & Scientiam, seu habitum Conclusionum, & Intellectum, seu habitum Principiorum: ea Disciplina v. c. quae Physica dicitur, complectitur & habitum conclusionum Physicarum, & habitum principiorum Physicorum. & quamvis illae Disciplinae ita aggregatae ex duobus habitibus proprie scientiae non sint, sed potius habitus constantes ex scientiae intellectu, à philosophis tamen Scientiae appellari consueverunt.

Concerning Understanding

8. With regard to Understanding, it should be noted first that (1) in that passage Aristotle uses Understanding to refer to the habit of principles. (2) Secondly, Understanding is a habit distinct in nature from the habit of Science, for Science is properly a habit acquired through demonstrations and is concerned with necessary conclusions, while Understanding is a habit of indemonstrable principles and is thus generated in a far different way than Science. (3) Thirdly, it should be noted that Understanding does not constitute a specific discipline by itself (per se), but contemplative disciplines comprehend both Science, or the habit of conclusions, and Understanding, the habit of principles. For example, the discipline called Physics comprehends both the habit of physical conclusions and the habit of physical principles. And even though those disciplines, thus composed of two habits, are not properly sciences, but rather habits consisting of science from understanding, they have nonetheless been accustomed to be called sciences by philosophers.

Resp. de Sapientia.

9. Quod ad Sapientiam attinet, tenendum est primo, eam duobus praecipue modis accipi, ut docte observavit Picolominaeus; 1. enim accipitur Sapientia pro habitu constante ex intellectu & scientia, 2. accipitur pro habitu conclusionum necessariarum acquisito per principia absolute prima & suprema. Primo modo omnes Disciplinae contemplativae sunt Sapientiae: Secundum vero posteriorem acceptionem sola Metaphysica est Sapientia, ea enim sola est habitus acquisitus per principia absolute prima & maxime universalia. Secundo, notandum est illud dictum Aristotel. de Sapientia, quod dicit Sapientiam esse Scientiam capite praeditam.

Concerning Wisdom

9. With regard to Wisdom, it should be noted first that it is primarily understood in two main ways, as Francesco Piccolomini (1523–1607) astutely observed. (1) Firstly, Wisdom is understood as a habit consisting of understanding and science. (2) Secondly, it is understood as a habit of necessary conclusions acquired through absolutely first and supreme principles. In the first way, all contemplative disciplines are Wisdom. In the second way, however, only Metaphysics is considered Wisdom, as Metaphysics alone is a habit acquired through absolutely first and most universal principles. Furthermore, what Aristotle says concerning Wisdom should be noted: he says that Wisdom is Science crowned with a head.


Cur Sapientia capite praedita dicatur.

Posset id accommodari Sapientiae primo modo acceptae, & Sapientiae secundo modo acceptae. Sapientia enim primo modo accepta est scientia capite praedita, quia est scientia habens adjunctum intellectum: Sapientia posteriori modo accepta dicitur praedita capite, quia est habitus acquisitus per principia absolute prima, at{que} adeo est caput & fastigium cognitionis humanae.

Why Wisdom is said to be crowned with a head

This could apply to Wisdom in both its first acceptation (modo acceptae) and its second acceptation (modo acceptae). According to its first acceptation, Wisdom is Science crowned with a head because it is Science having Understanding as an adjunct. According to its first acceptation, is said to be crowned with a head because it is a habit acquired through absolutely first principles, making it the head and highest extremity of human knowledge.

Tertio, notandum est Sapientiam, cum statuitur ab Aristotel. 5. habitus à reliquis distinctus, non accipi priori sed posteriori modo, ut accipit Picolominaeus: Sapientia enim priori modo accepta non debet distingui à reliquis habitibus, quoniam Composita non augent numerum simplicium, ut loquuntur;

Sapientia vero posteriori modo accepta in hoc differt à Scientia, quod sit habitus conclusionū necessariarum acquisitus per principia suprema & maxime universalia; Scientia vero, * prout ab Aristotele ibi accipitur, est habitus conclusionum necessariarum acquisitus per principia inferiora & minus communia.

​(3) Thirdly, it should be noted that when Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics, V.) establishes Wisdom as a habit distinct from the rest, it is not understood in the first mode but in the second mode, as Piccolomini understands it. Wisdom, according to its first acceptation, should not be distinguished from the other habits since composites do not increase the number of simples, as they say. However, Wisdom, according to its second acceptation, differs from Science in that it is a habit of necessary conclusions acquired through the highest and most universal principles, while Science, as understood by Aristotle, is a habit of necessary conclusions acquired through lower and less common principles.

​​Resp. ad quaest. Supre. propositam.

10. Quocunque modo accipiatur Sapientia, comprehenditur in hac divisione Disciplinarum. si enim priori modo accipiatur, omnes Disciplinae quae Scientiae appellantur sunt Sapientiae: si vero posteriori modo accipiatur, solus habitus conclusionum Metaphysicarum Sapientia est; ille autem habitus est pars illius Disciplinae quae Metaphysica dicitur, pars, inquam, qua praeter illum habitum Metaphysica includit habitum Principiorum Metaphysicorum: ipsa autem Metaphys. ut jam dictum est, comprehenditur sub Disciplina contemplativa, ut inferius sub superiori.

Response to the question proposed above.

10. In whichever way Wisdom is understood, it is comprehended in this division of disciplines. If understood according to its first acceptation, all disciplines called Sciences are Wisdom. If understood according to its second acceptation, only the habit of the Metaphysical conclusions is Wisdom. However, that habit is a part of that discipline which is called Metaphysics, a part, I say, by which I mean that Metaphysics includes, besides that habit, the habit of Metaphysical principles. Metaphysics itself, as was already said, is comprehended under the contemplative discipline as the lower under the higher.



Artes non comprehenduntur sub divisione philosophiae

11. Cum Disciplinarum aliae Speculativae, aliae Activae, aliae Effectivae sint, tenendum est solas speculativas & activas comprehendi nomine Philosophiae, quae dividitur adaequata divisione in Practicam & Theoricam: & ratio est, quia Disciplinae effectivae vel sunt sordidae artes, scilicet Mechanicae, vel ita se habent, ut earum cognitiones non appetamus propter seipsas, sed propter reliquas Disciplinas, ut Grammatica & Logica; sive autem sint hujus generis sive illius, indignae sunt nomine Philosophiae. Atque haec de Disciplinis in genere.

Arts are not comprehended under the division of philosophy.

11. Since some disciplines are speculative, others are active, and others are productive, it should be understood that only the speculative and active disciplines are comprehended under the name “Philosophy,” which is divided by an adequate division into Practical and Theoretical. The reason for this is that productive disciplines are either mean arts, namely mechanical arts, or they are such that their knowledge is not sought for its own sake but for the sake of other disciplines, such as Grammar and Logic; whether they belong to this kind or that, they are unworthy of the name Philosophy. And thus have we treated the principles concerning disciplines in general.

Section I, Part II.

Origa nominis metaphysica.

12. IN altera parte hujus sectionis statuimus afferre Definitionem Metaphysicae, eamque explicare: priusquam vero adferamus definitionem, nonnihil notabimus de nomine. Inscribitur ergo haec disciplina, προ του μετα τα φυσικα, non quod ea quae considerantur in Metaphysica sint posteriora rebus aut natura aut dignitate, utroque enim modo sunt priora rebus Physicis; sed quod ordine inventionis & doctrinae posteriores sunt; quia enim sunt remotissima à sensibus, non tam facile nec tam cito acquiritur eorum cognitio.

Origin of the name metaphysics

12. In the second part of this section, we decide to present the Definition of Metaphysics and to explain it. However, before we present the definition, we will note something about the name. Therefore, this discipline is titled, “προ του μετα τα φυσικα,” not because the things considered in Metaphysics are posterior in reality, nature, or dignity, for in each way they are prior to physical things, but because they are posterior in the order of discovery and teaching; for since they are far removed from the senses, their knowledge is not acquired as easily or as quickly.

Synonyma.

13. Dicitur autem haec disciplina ab Aristot. Philosophia* simpliciter & κατ᾽ ἐξοχήν ob dignitatem suam: ob eandem rationem dicitur Scientiarum Domina & Princeps: dicitur Philosophia Prima & Theologia, denominatione petita à rebus tractatis.

Synonyms

13. However, this discipline is called by Aristotle “Philosophy” simply and “κατ᾽ ἐξοχήν” on account of its dignity: for the same reason, it is called the Mistress and Ruler of Sciences. It is also called the First Philosophy and Theology, which titles are derived from the things treated.

Definitio metaphysicae

14. Metaphysicae definitionem ex Aristotel. colligimus, dicente Metaphysicam esse Scientiam quae contemplatur Ens quatenus est Ens. in qua definitione nostram mentem de duabus Controversiis proponimus; prior est de Genere Metaphysicae, posterior de Objecto. Quod ad Genus attinet, nonnulli statuunt Genus Metaphysicae esse Artem, alii Sapientiam, alii Scientiam.

Definition of metaphysics

14. We gather the definition of Metaphysics from Aristotle, who says that Metaphysics is the Science that contemplates Being insofar as it is Being. In which definition, we present two controversies for our consideration (mentem): the first concerns the genus of Metaphysics, and the second concerns the object. Concerning the Genus, some state that the genus of Metaphysics is Art, others Wisdom, and others Science.

Timpleri opinio

Timplerus statuit esse Artem: cui si objicias Metaphysicam esse Disciplinam non Operatricem sed Speculativam, atque adeo non esse Artem; ille respondebit, se non definire Metaphysicam prout est in mente, i. prout est habitus, sed prout est in systemate; dicet item se non accipere Artem pro Disciplina effectiva, sed generaliter pro qualibet Disciplina systemate comprehensa. Veru, quamvis admittendum sit Metaphysicam esse Artem, secundum illam acceptionem Artis & Metaphysicae, non tamen putarem ita definiendam esse Metaphysicam: idque quia accidit Metaphysicae quod systemate comprehendatur, ejusque natura in eo est posita quod sit talis mentis habitus; Definitio vero debet explicare rei naturam.

The Opinion of Timpler

Clemens Timpler (1563–1624) stated that Metaphysics is an Art [cf. Metaphysicae systema methodicum (Hanoviae: Antonius, 1616), I.i.1]. If you object that Metaphysics is not an operative but a speculative discipline, and therefore it is not an Art, he would respond that he does not define Metaphysics as it is in the mind, i.e., as a habit, but as it is in a system. He would also say that he does not take Art as a productive discipline, but generally as any discipline comprehended in a system. Indeed, although it may be admitted that Metaphysics is an Art according to that understanding of Art and Metaphysics, I would not deem Metaphysics to be thus well-defined. This is because it is by accident that Metaphysics is comprehended in a system, and its nature lies in the fact that it is such a habit of the mind. The definition should explain the nature of the thing.

Marinii opinio

15. Martinius in sua Metaphysica dicit Sapientiam esse genus, ut patet ex definitione ab eo allata. Verum quamvis nemo negare possit Metaphysicam esse Sapientiam, non tamen putamus Sapientiam posse dici Genus Metaphysicae, sumendo nomen Sapientiae prout ab eo sumitur eo loco: ex conditionibus enim Sapientiae ab eo enumeratis, certum est eum accipere Sapientiam pro Habitu acquisito per Principia absolute prima; Sapientia autem sic accepta non latius patet ipsa Metaphysica, atque adeo non est ejus genus. Dicimus ergo potius cum Aristot. Metaphysicam esse ἐπισήμλω η θεωρες τὸ ὂν ἧ ὂν:

Opinion of Marinus

15. Jacob Martini (1570–1649), in his Metaphysics states that Wisdom is the genus, as is evident from the definition provided by him [Disputationum Metaphysicarum Prima De Natura Metaphysices (Wittebergae: Henckelius, 1610), Thesis 1]. However, although no one can deny that Metaphysics is Wisdom, we do not judge that Wisdom can be called the genus of Metaphysics, taking the name Wisdom as he takes it in that place. For from the conditions of Wisdom enumerated by him, it is certain that he takes Wisdom as a habit acquired through absolutely first principles, but Wisdom thus understood is not broader than Metaphysics itself, and so it is not its genus. Therefore, we rather say with Aristotle that Metaphysics is the “ἐπισήμλω η θεωρες τὸ ὂν ἧ ὂν,” the science or contemplation of Being as Being.

Objectum.

Prima opinio nimis latum objectum illi tribuens

16. Quod ad Objectum Metaphysicae attinet, magna est varietas opinionū de materia circa quam versatur Metaphysica. Alii enim nimis amplum constituunt subjectum, Ens scilicet in tota latitudine acceptum, prout complectitur entia per se, entia per accidens, entia realia, & rationis. Verum haec opinio rejicienda est, quoniam entia per accidens, ut homo albus & musicus, non possunt una proprie dicta definitione definiri aut describi, nec possunt una divisione dividi; at{que} adeo non possunt esse objectum, aut pars objecti alicujus Sciētiae. Item Entia rationis, quia valde improprie entia dicuntur, &, ut postea patebit, solo fere nomine entia sunt, non digna sunt quae comprehendantur sub objecto nobilissimo hujus Disciplinae.

The Object of Metaphysics:

the first opinion assigning too broad of an object

16. As for the object of Metaphysics, there is a great variety of opinion concerning the matter with which Metaphysics is concerned. Some, indeed, establish the subject too broadly, namely, as Being taken in its entire extent as it includes essential beings, accidental beings, real beings, and beings of reason. This opinion should be rejected since accidental beings, like a white or musical man, cannot be defined or described by a single proper definition, nor can they be divided by a single division; therefore, they cannot be the object or part of the object of any science. Likewise, beings of reason, since they are improperly called beings and, as will become evident hereafter, are beings in name only, are not worthy of being comprehended under the most noble object of this discipline.

Secunda opinio nimis angustum illi tribuens.

17. Alii objectum hujus Disciplinae nimis contrahunt: & hi in varias opiniones dividuntur. eorum enim alii statuunt Deum adaequatum Metaphysicae subjectum esse; alii Substantiam immaterialem prout complectitur sub se Deum & Angelos; alii Substantiam in genere ad excludendum Deum. Contra has omnes opiniones una sufficit demonstratio, haec videlicet; Ens reale & per se unum, prout sub se complectitur Deum & creaturas, habet certa Principia per quae potest cognosci, & certas affectiones quae de eo demonstrari possunt; Ergo considerabitur in aliqua Scientia: At in nulla alia quam in Metaphysica: Ergo Metaphysicae adaequatum Objectum erit Ens ita acceptum.

The second opinion assigning too narrow of an object

17. Others, on the contrary, restrict the object of this discipline too much, and they are divided into various opinions. Some of them state that God is the adequate subject of Metaphysics; others consider immaterial Substance, as it includes God and Angels under itself, to be the adequate subject; and still others consider substance in general to be the subject, to the exclusion of God. Against all these opinions, one demonstration suffices, namely this: real and per se Being, as it comprehends both God and creatures under itself, has certain principles by which it can be known and certain properties (affectiones) that can be demonstrated about it; therefore, this will be studied in some science, but in no other science besides Metaphysics. Therefore, Being understood in this way will be the adequate object of Metaphysics.

​18. Ratio illa supra allata, qua ostendebamus entia per accidens & entia rationis non contineri sub subjecto Metaphysicae, satis efficax videtur ad diluendam sententiam Timpleri, asserentis omne intelligibile contineri sub subjecto Metaphysicae. Aliae etiam rationes ad illam sententiam destruendam afferri solent, quarum praecipua videtur ea, qua ita argumentantur; Subjectum adaequatum alicujus Scientiae ita se habet respectu eorum quae sub subjecto continentur, ut sit eorum genus vel univocum vel analogum. Sed Intelligibile respectu specialium entium non est quid univocum vel analogum, imo non essentialiter de iis praedicatur, sed est eorum affectio quae eorum essentiam consequitur; à natura substantiae e. c. profluit ejus intelligibilitas, & quia est substantia vel ens ideo est intelligibile. quod si intelligibile non includatur in essentia specialium entium, ut jam probatum est, intelligibile nullo modo erit quid superius essentialiter, sed tantum erit affectio; quod pugnat cum conditione & qualitate veri Objecti alicujus Scientiae.

​18. That reason mentioned above, by which we demonstrated that accidental beings and beings of reason are not included under the subject of Metaphysics, seems quite efficacious in refuting the opinion of Clemens Timpler, who asserts that every intelligible thing is included under the subject of Metaphysics. Other reasons are also often put forth to refute that opinion, the chief of which seems to be the one with which they argue thus: the adequate subject of any science stands in such a relation to the things comprehended under the subject that it is either its genus, whether univocal or analogical. But the intelligible, with respect to specific beings, is neither a univocal nor analogous term, indeed it is not essentially predicated of them, but it is an attribute that results from their essence; from the nature of substance, etc., its intelligibility proceeds, and because it is a substance or being, therefore it is intelligible. However, if the intelligible is not included in the essence of specific beings, as has already been proven, then the intelligible will in no way be essentially superior, but it will only be an attribute. This contradicts the condition and quality of the true object of any science.


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