Friday, May 28, 2010

Suarez on the Compound and Divided Sense

However, the action itself must not be counted among the things that are necessary for acting. This is evident per se, since otherwise one would not be asserting anything special about the causes under discussion; instead, one wold be making a claim that to all things - not only to all agents but to all entities as well- namely, that if they have a form whereby they are constituted with such and such an esse or under such an such a notion, then the consequent that they are of that sort follows necessarily. For just as if someone has whiteness, then he is necessarily white, so too if someone exercises an action, then he necessarily effects something-where this is merely the necessity of the consequence (as they say): that is, a conditioned necessity, and not the necessity of the consequent-that is, an absolute necessity. The former kind of necessity is irrelevant in the present context, since causes cannot be distinguished with respect to it.1 Therefore, in order for the discussion to be dealing with true and proper necessity, the action itself must not be included when a cause is said to act necessarily once all the required things are present.

From this it follows, a fortiori, that whatever is posterior to the action or consequent upon it must not be included either. This is obvious per se. Indeed, properly speaking, nothing of the sort can be said to be necessary for the action; rather, it is said to be necessary given the action. (Fransisco Suarez. On Efficeint Causality. p 271. Translated by Freddoso.)

1 It is trivially and universally true that necessarily, if a given agent acts, then it acts. In the present context, by contrast, we are interested in the conditions under which it is true that a given agent acts necessarily, where the necessity attaches to that action itself absolutely.

1 comment:

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