Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bonaventure on the Compound and Divided Sense

Moreover, for an understanding of the objections it must be noted, that there is a twofold necessity, namely, the absolute, and the respective. An absolute necessity, which is opposed to contingency, is said (to be) the necessity of the consequent. A respective necessity is said (to be) the necessity of the consequence, and this is not opposed to the contingent. For something contingent necessarily follows, so that if one walks, it necessarily follows, that he moves.

It must be said, therefore, that in the foreknown there is no absolute necessity, but only (a necessity) of consequence, because there necessarily follows: ‘God foreknows this, therefore this will be’....

4. To that which is objected per impossibile, that if it could be otherwise, It could fail; it must be said, that1 falsehood [falsitas] comes from the discord of an intellect regarding the cognized, similarly the potency to fail [potential fallendi] from the potency to be discordant [potential discordandi]. Therefore, I say, that since (it is) necessarily foreknown: it follows after the Foreknowledge, for that reason they cannot be discordant: and for that reason It never fails, nor can It fail.

5. What, therefore, is objected, whether it can be otherwise; it must be said, that it can be otherwise, because God could have foreknown (it) otherwise; and when it is posited, that it is otherwise, it is posited, that He foreknows (it) otherwise. Therefore when it is inferred: ‘it can be otherwise, than it is; and God thus foreknew (it): therefore (this can be) otherwise, than God foreknows (it)’, the conclusion must be distinguished: because it can be understood separately [divisim], and thus it is true: and the sense is: ‘God foreknows that this comes forth’, and ‘it is possible, that it does not come forth’; but if conjunctively, (it is) false; and the sense is: ‘it is possible, that God foreknows (it) in one manner, and it turns out in another’. And there is a fallacy of composition in that (manner of) proceeding, just as here: ‘the one running can not move: therefore it is possible, that someone runs and does not move’; (which) does not follow....

I. Each opinion which either denies the liberty of the creature, to save the Divine Foreknowledge, or takes away the Foreknowledge, to save the liberty, it is established by the Catholic Faith, that it must be rejected as impious....

It is entirely established, that that causality, by which God influences [influit in] second causes and cooperates with the free acts of intellectual creatures, is congruent with the nature of (free) agents and does not take away (their) liberty, but rather posits (it); yet concerning the manner, in which this concursus comes to be and in which liberty is saved, there is a debate among Catholic theologians. — However, the first difficulty is evidently solved here together with the common sentence, by employing that distinction between the necessity of a consequent and of a consequence, which the Catholic Schools received from (St. Severinus) Boethius under various names.

The words of (St.) Boethius (On the Consolation of Philosophy, Bk. V, pros. 6) are these: « There are two necessities: one simple, as that it is necessary, that all men are mortal; the other of a condition, such as whether you know that someone is walking, when it is necessary that he is walking. For it is not possible, that anyone knew, that it was other than it was known. But this condition draws with it that simple (necessity) least of all. For its own nature does not cause the latter necessity, but the adjunction of a condition (does). For no necessity compels that one walking voluntarily go forward, though it is necessary, however, that when he walks, he goes forward ». Then the same author employs this distinction to demonstrate, that the Divine Providence does not injure created liberty.

II. The solutions to nn. 2 and 3 are founded on the distinction of a thing exiting in act [rei actu existentis] and of a thing going to be [rei futurae]. In regard to the existing thing the sentence of Aristotle is true, that everything which is, when it is, it is necessary that it is, by a necessity, namely, which is consequent from the supposition, that the subject now exists (whence it is called by the Seraphic Doctor « the necessity as now »), because existence excludes non-existence; but it is not true of that, which is not yet, but is going to be, because in virtue of the now nothing is posited in the thing about the subject. — In the 5th opposed argument there is supposed, that something has been foreknown by God, and yet is not going to be. To elude the sophism of the objections, the Seraphic Doctor uses the celebrated distinction of the composed and the divided, as is clear from the text. St. Thomas (here in a. 5, in reply to n. 5) solves the same objection, by employing the distinction, « that (the proposition) can concern the saying, and/or the thing; and if it concerns the saying, it is true (that is, that it is necessary, that everything known by God, be), and if it concerns the thing, it is false. (Bonaventure. Sentance Commentary. Distinction 38.)


A.M. Mallett said...

Dan, I have come to greatly appreciate Picirilli's distinction between certainty and necessity. Foreknowledge speaks to the certainty of an event without demanding necessity hence men make freed will choices free of causal determinism.

Odeliya said...

Very interesting and explanatory. Was of help to me.

Godismyjudge said...

Thanks Trav, I like that distinction as well. Of course, Calinists like Charles Hodge have tried to piggy back on it by attempting to redefine certainty.

God be with you,

Godismyjudge said...

My pleasure Odeliya!

God be with you,