ON METHOD ACCORDING TO ST.

THOMAS AQUINAS
(c) 2013 Bart A. Mazzetti

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ON METHOD ACCORDING TO ST. THOMAS AQUINAS. 1. A statement of method in Aristotle. Aristotle, On the Parts of Animals, I.1 (639 b 4-11) (tr. William Ogle). We must, then, have some clear understanding as to the manner in which our investigation [5] is to be conducted ; whether, I mean, we are first to deal with the common or generic characters, and afterwards to take into consideration special peculiarities; or whether we are to start straight off with the ultimate species. For as yet no definite rule has been laid down in this matter. So also there is a like uncertainty as to another point now to be mentioned. Ought the writer who deals with the works of nature to follow the plan adopted by the mathematicians in their astronomical demonstrations, and after considering the phenomena presented by [10] animals, and their several parts, proceed subsequently to treat of the causes and the reason why; or ought he to follow some other method? 2. Note. According to Aristotle, a method is the manner in which an investigation is to be conducted. It being the case that the manner in which an investigation is conducted is its method, we can see the rightness of St. Thomas’s speaking of it as a ‘mode’. method: the way of conducting an investigation mode: the way of considering a subject 3. Method as a form of consideratio. St. Thomas Aquinas, In II Phys., lect 15, n. 1 (tr. B.A.M.). And so he says first that, since it has been shown that change of place is first among all the species of motion, now the change of place which is first must be shown, since there are also many species of it, as has been shown in the seventh book. And also at the same time according to the same method, i.e. art—that is to say, according to the same artificialem considerationem [‘consideration in accordance with the rules of art’1]—what was said above will now be somewhat clear, as well as what was supposed earlier at the outset of this eighth book, that some motion happens to be continuous and everlasting. St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Pol., lect 1, n. 8 (tr. B.A.M.). And he says that the things that have been said are not true: and this will be obvious to someone who wishes to examine the subject according to a method, that is, according to the art of considering such things , which will be set down below. But the mode of this art is such….
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Cf. Lewis and Short, Latin Dictionary, s.v. artificialis : “according to the rules of art”.

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St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Sent., dist. q. 1, art. 5, ad 1 (tr. B.A.M.). To the first, then, it must be said that a mode is called artificialis which suits the matter [competit materiae];2 and so the mode that is artificialis in geometry is not artificialis in ethics. And in this respect the mode of this science is most artificialis because it is most suitable to the matter. St. Thomas Aquinas, In Librum Boetii de Trinitate, ps. 3, qu., art, pr. 2 (tr. B.A.M.). And he says these two things because the way in which something is examined ought to be suited [congrueret] both to things and to us. For unless it were suited to things, they could not be understood; but unless it were suited to us, we could not grasp them, as divine things by their nature are such as cannot be known except by the intellect. St. Thomas Aquinas, Super ad Corinthos, cap. 1, lect. 3 (tr. B.A.M.). With respect to the first, one must consider that even in philosophical teachings the same mode is not suitable [conveniens] to any teaching whatsoever. And so discourses [or ‘lectures’, sermones] are to be received in accordance with the matter, as is said in the first book of the Ethics (ch. 2, 1094 21 ff.). But then some mode of teaching is most unsuitable to the matter when what is principal in that matter is destroyed by such a mode, which would be the case if in intellectual matters one were to use demonstrations involving metaphors, which do not transcend imagined things, to which the understanding ought not be led back, as Boethius shows in his book on the Trinity ( De Trin., ch. 2). But principal in the doctrine of the Christian Faith is the salvation accomplished by the cross of Christ. And so, in chapter ii, 2 he says, I have not judged myself to know anything among you but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. But he who in his teaching principally relies on the wisdom of the word, considered in itself, empties the cross of Christ. Therefore, to teach in the wisdom of the word is not a mode suitable to the Christian Faith. St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Sent., dist. 1, art. 5. c. I reply that it must be said that the mode of any science ought to be looked into according to the conditions of its matter, as Boethius says, and the Philosopher. Now the principles of this science are received through revelation; and so the mode of receiving the principles themselves ought to be by way of revelation on the part of those in whom they are infused, as in the revelations of the Prophets; and by way of prayer on the part of the ones receiving it, as is clear in the Psalms. But since, besides the infused light, the habit of faith must be distinguished to determinate objects of belief by the doctrine of its preachers,3 according to what is said in Romans [10:14]: How are they to believe who have not heard? just as also the understanding of principles naturally placed within us is determined by sensibles that have been received, but the truth of preaching is confirmed by miracles, as it is said in Mark at the end [16:20]:
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Hence a mode that is artificialis, or “according to the rules of art”, is one which “suits the matter”. From the foregoing texts, then, one may conclude that a method is a mode in accordance with the rules of art, insofar as it suits the matter with which it is concerned. 3 That is, determinate objects of belief must be produced within the habit of faith by the doctrine of its preachers.

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But they going forth preached everywhere: the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed—the mode of this science must also be narrative of signs, which make for the confirmation of faith. And since such principles are also not proportioned to human reason according to the state of the way [i.e. to heaven], which is accustomed to receive [knowledge] from sensibles, it is therefore necessary that, for knowledge of them, one be led by the hand by sensible likenesses. For this reason, the mode of this science must be metaphorical, or symbolic, or parabolic. Now from such principles Sacred Scripture proceeds to three things, [first,] to the destruction of errors, which cannot be done without arguments; and so the mode of this science sometimes is argumentative, at times by [using] authorities; at times by reasons [arguments] and natural likenesses. It also proceeds to the instruction of morals. For this reason, with respect to this its mode ought to be preceptive, as in the Law; by way of warning and promising, as in the Prophets; and narrative of examples, as in the Historical books. Third, it proceeds to the contemplation of the truth in questions of Sacred Scripture; and for this the mode must be by way of argument, which is principally observed in the original [writings] of the saints and in this book, which is, as it were, conflated from them. And according to this one can take a fourfold mode of expounding Sacred Scripture: Insofar as the truth itself of faith is taken, there is the historical sense. But insofar as one proceeds from it to the instruction of morals, there is the moral sense. But insofar as one proceeds to the contemplation of the truth of those thing which are of the way [to heaven], there is the allegorical sense. And insofar as one proceeds to the contemplation of the truth of those things which are of the fatherland, there is the anagogic sense. For the destruction of errors, however, one does not proceed except by the literal sense, because the other senses are taken through likenesses and an argument cannot be taken from expressions in the manner of likenesses. For this reason, Dionysius (in his Epistle to Titus, at the beginning) says that symbolic theology is not by way of argument. 4. St. Thomas Aquinas on method in sum. In his commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, St. Thomas Aquinas glosses the word methodus by the word ars, which he explains as an artificialis consideratio (In II Phys., lect 15, n. 1). Supposing, then, that by artificialis, St. Thomas means “according to the rules of art” (cf. Lewis and Short, Latin Dictionary, s.v. artificialis), the Angelic Doctor understands a ‘method’ to be a consideration in accordance with the rules of art ; the latter phrase presumably corresponding to the similar phrase “the art of considering such things” in his commentary on the Politics (In I Pol., lect 1, n. 8). St. Thomas also speaks of a method in terms of a ‘mode’ when he says “the mode of this art is such” (ibid.). But, as he also explains, that modus is artificialis which “suits the matter” (In I Sent., dist. q. 1, art. 5, ad 1). Now a mode is a “way of proceeding” to something; but, as St. Thomas also explains, “the mode of any science [requiring] to be looked into according to the conditions of its matter” (In I Sent., dist. 1, art. 5. c.). Therefore, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, a method is a consideration which suits the matter, for which reason it is artificialis, or in accordance with the rules of art, and so consists in a certain ‘mode’, or ‘manner of proceeding’. But he defines a mode as “a determination or commensuration of [a thing’s] principles, whether material or efficient” (Summa Theol., Ia, q. 5, art. 5, c.).

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Now with respect to an object of consideration, its efficient and material principles may be considered with respect to that object’s separation from matter and motion, the efficient principle being the agent intellect, and the material principle being the thing separated (or not separated) from matter and motion. In this way, a principle for distinguishing the objects proper to the three theoretical sciences will be arrived at: • • • Separated from both matter and motion: the object of metaphysics. Separated from neither matter nor motion: the object of physics. Separated from motion, but not from matter: the object of mathematics.

St. Thomas Aquinas, In Boetii De Trinitate, lect. II, q. II, art 1, ad tertiam quaestionem (tr. B.A.M.). And thus it is clear that a rational consideration is terminated at an intellectual one according to the way of resolution, inasmuch as reason, out of many things, gathers one simple truth. Moreover, an intellectual consideration is the starting-point of a rational one according to the way of composition or discovery, inasmuch as the intellect comprehends many things in one.4 St. Thomas Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 15, q. 4, art. 1a, c. (tr. B.A.M.). Now reason has two acts, even according as it is speculative. The first is to compose or divide; and this act of reason is expressed by the mouth through the oratio [= “speech”], which the Philosopher describes in the first book of the Peri Hermeneias. But the second act of reason is to discourse from one thing into another for the sake of making something known. And according to this the syllogism is called a certain oratio [= “speech as discourse”].5 5. The principles of the definition of ‘method’: genus: consideratio (an act of understanding or reason applied to a subject) difference: artificialis (that consideration being artificialis which suits the matter) 6. A division of consideratio: artificialis inartificialis
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Sic igitur patet quod rationalis consideratio ad intellectualem terminatur secundum viam resolutionis, inquantum ratio ex multis colligit unam et simplicem veritatem. Et rursum, intellectualis consideratio est principium rationalis secundum viam compositionis vel inventionis inquantum intellectus in uno multa comprehendit. 5 habet autem ratio duos actus, etiam secundum quod est speculativa. primus est componere et dividere; et iste actus rationis exprimitur ore per orationem, quam philosophus in 1 periherm. describit. secundus actus rationis est discurrere de uno in aliud innotescendi causa; et secundum hoc syllogismus oratio quaedam dicitur.

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7. Another division of consideratio: intellectualis rationalis 8. An act of understanding: simple apprehension (the apprehension of indivisibles) 9. A division of ‘an act of reason’: to compose or divide to discourse from one thing into another for the sake of making something known ON THE QUASI-INTEGRAL PARTS OF AN ART. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., IIa-IIae, q. 48, art. 1, c. (B.A.M.). I reply that it must be said that ‘part’ is threefold, namely, integral, as the walls, the roof, and the foundation are parts of a house…. So the parts of any virtue can be assigned in three ways. In one way according to a likeness of integral parts, so that, namely, those things are said to be parts of any virtue which must come together for the perfect act of that virtue. [Likewise the quasi-integral parts of an art are those which must come together for the perfect act of that art, one such part being its method.] 1. On the fourfold order considered by ‘method’. As St. Thomas Aquinas notes, there is an art of considering certain things (cf. In I Pol., lect 1, n. 8), and that according to a certain order (cf. In I De Caelo, lect. 2). But the consideration of something according to a certain order is fourfold (ibid.): there is a consideration according to (1) the order of apprehension, (2) the order of intention, (3) the order of composition, and (4) the order of maintenance. Now an orderly proceeding, as is such a consideration, is a method.6 Hence, the art of considering something may consist of these four parts. 2. The consideration of an object according to a certain order. The consideration of something according to a certain order is fourfold (ibid.): (1) (2) (3) (4)
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the order of apprehension the order of intention the order of composition the order of maintenance

Cf. Marie I. George, “Aristotle on Paideia of Principles” ( Ancient Philosophy, Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, Boston, Massachusetts, August 10-15, 1998): “… every method or orderly proceeding has a principle or starting point”.

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3. On the kinds of consideration. consideration speculative practical of an object speculable (able to be an object of speculation) operable (practicable) 4. The four kinds of consideration in sum. a speculative consideration of a speculable object a speculative consideration of an operable object a practical consideration of a speculable object a practical consideration of an operable object On this procedure, cf. the following: Bro. Edmund Dolan, “Resolution and Composition in Speculative and Practical Discourse”, Laval Théologique et Philosophique 6, 1950, p. 19. It would seem, then, that according to the general doctrine of the distinction of speculative and practical knowledge, the resolutive or analytic process abstracts the universal formal principles of objects—whether operable or non-operable. It proceeds by defining its object according to genus and differentia, dividing its object and demonstrating its proper passions. To proceed compositively or synthetically, on the other hand, is to proceed in the direction of the physical existence of an operable object, toward constructing it by the application of form to matter. In sum: the resolutive or analytic process abstracts the universal formal principles of objects— whether operable or non-operable it proceeds by defining its object according to genus and differentia, dividing its object and demonstrating its proper passions. Compare Poetics 1: “…and [about] whatever other things belong to this method let us speak, beginning according to nature first from first things…” Aristotle takes the genus “the poetic art” and divides it into the following species: epic poetry, tragedy, comedy, dithyrambic poetry and the kitharistic and auletic arts; the first three being the principal species of the poetic art; dithyrambic poetry being representative of ‘lyric’ or ‘melic’ poetry (which includes the nome); whereas the kitharistic and auletic arts are the principal forms of instrumental music (the two instruments, the kithara and the aulos, being the primary accompaniment of the dithyramb). 7

He then defines the art by genus and differentia, a work of the poetic art being an imitation (genus) of certain things (difference), using certain means (difference), in a certain manner (difference); the first of these being the specific difference. Afterwards, he demonstrates its proper passions, for example, the species ‘tragedy’ carries out a purgation of the passions of fear and pity. 5. On Aristotle’s method in the Poetics. In the Poetics, Aristotle undertakes a speculative consideration of an operable object—that is, he considers the poetic art in itself and its forms. Aristotle employs the resolutive or analytic process by abstracting the universal formal principles of its objects, which in this case are operable. He proceeds by defining this object according to genus and differentia, dividing the object, and demonstrating its proper passions, which are its attributes or properties. The genus is mimesis, “imitation”, “way of imitating”: “[cf. the several species of the poetic art]…all, considered as a whole, turn out to be ways of imitating”. The differences are: “certain things”, understood as the object of imitation; “in (or “by means of”) certain things”, understood as the means of imitation; “in a different and not in the same way”, understood as the manner of imitation. The division primarily is into: “epic poetry” “the making in which the poetry of tragedy consists” “as well as that of comedy” “the dithyrambopoetic art” “the auletic and citharistic arts (for the most part)” The demonstration of its proper passions: the art of tragedy produces its “proper pleasure” by “completing its purgation” of the passions of pity and fear a definition is virtually a demonstration ***

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LOGICAL PRINCIPLES. M. Glutz, The Manner of Demonstrating in Natural Philosophy. There must be…a necessary connection manifested between the subject and predicate of a scientific conclusion. (p. 11) Nothing is so contingent as not to have some necessary aspect to it. (ST Ia, q. 86, art. 3) Any proposition, of which the predicate is in the ratio of the subject, is immediate and per se known, with respect to it in itself. (In I Post. Anal., lect. 5, n. 7) Now what is necessary must be predicated of a subject per se, either as a definition or property of it. Any attribute of a subject that is not per se, is merely contingent: it can be absent. (p. 16) The first manner of predicating per se is to attribute to a subject something that pertains to its form or essence, that is, a definition or part of a definition. The second manner takes the preposition per as signifying material cause, that is, the proper subject of some form or attribute that cannot be defined without reference to its subject of inherence. Such a “proper passion” depends for its being on its subject, and so can be understood only in relation to it, as “equal” includes “number” and “isosceles” includes “triangle” in their definitions. A third mode is mentioned only to exclude it. The fourth kind of essential predication is most important for demonstration, because it points formally to the causal relation between subject and predicate, rather than to the relation of predicating, as does the second mode. (pp. 16-17) Demonstration is the conclusion of a syllogism in which an attribute is predicated commensurately of its proper subject. Now the proper subject is included in the definition of the attribute, as was shown above, and the proposition containing them both is in the second mode of essential predication. The subject is also the cause of the attribute, in the fourth mode of predication. “Hence, conclusions of demonstration include a twofold manner of essential predication, namely the second and the fourth.” (In I Post. Anal., lect. 10, n. 8)

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Formally, however, the conclusion is in the second mode. (p. 21) This conclusion is proved through a middle term that is a definition of both the subject and the attribute, a definition that tells us quid and propter quid. The major premise, then, whose predicate is the attribute and whose subject is the definition expressing the cause of the attribute and whose subject is the definition expressing the cause of the attribute is in the fourth mode of essential predication. The minor premise contains the subject of the conclusion, to which it is predicated, in the first mode of predication, its own definition. The conclusion, then, is in the second mode. An example will help to clarify the above principles. Let us take the syllogism: “every rational animal is capable of science. Man is a rational animal; therefore, man is capable of science.” The conclusion is the second kind of essential predication, where a property is ascribed to a commensurate subject. The middle term, rational animal, is a definition indicating quid, or the essential definition of man in the minor premise (first mode) and propter quid of the attribute in the major premise (fourth mode). For the essence of the subject is the cause of all the properties that naturally flow from it. 1. An example from poetics. Every art of imitating an action using certain means in a certain manner produces the purgation of certain passions. Tragedy is an art of imitating an action using certain means in a certain manner. Therefore, tragedy produces the purgation of certain passions. Michael Augros, Notes on the Posterior Analytics of Aristotle, Book II, Chap. 10. The real definition demonstrates the quid est, and differs from the propter quid demonstration by position only (p 194). P 195 “why it is” and “what it is” differ by grammatical positioning. “Thunder is due to the fact that fire is quenched in the clouds” says why, as if it were a continuous demonstration not broken down into explicitly separate premises, whereas “thunder is the sound of fire quenched in the clouds” says what, signifying simply in the manner of a definition, which is opposed to saying merely “thunder is sound in the clouds”, stating only the conclusion of the propter quid demonstration. 10

2. The propter quid demonstration of thunder stating “why it is” what it is. Thunder is due to the fact that fire is quenched in the clouds. 3. The quid est demonstration of thunder stating “what it is”. Thunder is the sound of fire quenched in the clouds. 4. Statement of the conclusion of a propter quid demonstration of what thunder is. Thunder is sound in the clouds. 5. The propter quid demonstration of tragedy stating “why it is” what it is. Tragedy is due to the fact that an action serious, and, as having magnitude, complete and whole, is imitated in seasoned speech, with each of the forms used separately in the parts, by persons acting and not by narration, through pity and fear completing its purgation of such passions. (after Aristotle, Poetics 6, 1449b 24-29) 6. The quid est demonstration of tragedy stating “what it is”. Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action serious, and, as having a certain size, complete and whole, in seasoned speech, with each of the forms used separately in the parts, by persons acting and not by narration, through pity and fear completing its purgation of such passions. (Aristotle, Poetics 6, 1449b 24-29) 7. Statement of the conclusion of a propter quid demonstration of what tragedy is. Tragedy is an imitation of a serious action producing the purgation of the passions of pity and fear. Michael Augros, Notes on the Posterior Analytics of Aristotle, Book II, Chap. 10. [1] LOGICAL PROOF OF QUOD QUID. P 187 bottom. Just as the propter quid (reason why) gives the cause of the quia (fact that something is so), so the quid est (what it is) gives the cause of the an est (fact that something is). For what something is is the cause of all that belongs to it universally (the "what" of a thing is the same as all the causes of its existence). P 188 top. Now the cause of a thing can either be the same as the essence (i.e. the matter or form, the parts of the essence), or it can be something other than the essence (i.e. the agent or the end, the agent uniting the matter and the form, the end being the reason it does so). Now from the extrinsic (i.e. outside of the “what”) causes, one can prove the intrinsic ones, e.g. because a knife is “a tool used for cutting” (end), it is also “composed of a blade inserted in a handle” (matter or parts), and because a marriage is “for the sake of children” (end), and because marriage is “for the sake of raising children” (end), it is also “the stable union between man and woman” (form), it is also “between man and woman” (matter or parts), and because a demonstration is “for the sake of knowing a necessary conclusion” (end), it is also “composed of true, necessary, and primary premises” (matter or parts). Hence, on the supposition of one quod quid, one may prove another. And there is no begging of the question, because a thing may have many different causes. 11

From the extrinsic (i.e. outside of the “what”) causes, one can prove the intrinsic ones, e.g. because a knife is “a tool used for cutting” (end), it is also “composed of a blade inserted in a handle” (matter or parts); e.g. because a tragedy is an imitation of an action producing the purgation of the passions of pity and fear (end), it is also composed of pragmata (things done or suffered the dramatis personae) which are spoudaios (serious)—that is, it is composed of evils either painful or destructive. Because a method is a consideration in accordance with the rules of art, which is to say, one suitable to the matter, it is composed of a mode, or manner of proceeding. art method process or procedure Method: a consideration in accordance with art Method a consideration in accordance with art but a consideration in accordance with art is one that suits the matter; e.g. the method of metaphysics must suit an object separated from matter and motion, either because the thing exists apart from them, or because it may be found separated from them. a process or procedure involving a road St. Thomas uses the phrase “the art of considering” as equivalent to the phrase artificialis consideration. a considering that has the form of art Now such an art has a ‘mode’ or ‘manner of proceeding’. For example, there is an art of considering natural things, and this art has a characteristic manner of proceeding. One may proceed by definition or division, by demonstration, and in other ways. ***

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DEFINITIONS OF ‘MODE’, ‘METHOD’, AND ‘ART’. MODUS (‘MODE’). (1) “A mode is a determination lying next to a thing” (St. Thomas Aquinas, De propositionibus modalibus); (2) “a mode is what a measure fixes” (St. Augustine, Super gen. ad litteram); (3) “a mode is a certain determination according to some measure” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Ia-IIae, q. 49, art. 2, c., ad 1); (4) “the determination or commensuration of (a thing’s) principles, whether material or efficient,…is signified by ‘mode’” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Ia, q. 5, art. 5, c.); (5) “the mode of each thing is fixed by its proper measure” (St. Thomas Aquinas, In III Sent., dist. 34, q. 1, art. 3, c.). METHODUS (‘METHOD’). (1) An ars—that is, an artificialis consideratio (St. Thomas Aquinas, In II Phys., lect 15, n. 1)—which is to say, in regard to a subject to be investigated, “the art of considering such things” (St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Politic., lect. 1, n. 8), that mode being artificialis which “suits the matter” (St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Sent., dist. q. 1, art. 5, ad 1), the artificialis being that which is “according to the rules of art” (Lewis and Short Latin Dictionary, s.v. ‘artificialis’); and so, inasmuch as the condition of the matter acts as a measure, it consists in a mode, or manner of proceeding ( In I Pol., lect 1, n. 8); hence, in sum, according to St. Thomas Aquinas a method is (2) a consideration which suits the matter, for which reason it is artificialis, or in accordance with the rules of art, and so consists in a ‘mode’, or ‘manner of proceeding’ (implied by St. Thomas Aquinas, but worded by B.A.M.). ARS (‘ART’). (1) “Art appears to be nothing other than a certain ordination of reason whereby human acts arrive at their due end through determinate means” (St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Post. An., lect. 1, n. 1); (2) “art is the same thing as a making habit with true reason” (St. Thomas Aquinas, In VI Ethic, lect. 3, n. 12); (3) “art is nothing other than right reason about any works that are to be made” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., q. 57, art. 3, c.); (4) “every application of right reason to something that can be made pertains to art” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., q. 47, art. 2, ad 3); (5) “art implies a rightness of reason with respect to things that can be made; that is, with respect to things that can be done in exterior matter, such as to cut and other works of this sort in which art gives direction” (St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Post. An., lect. 44, n. 11). ON ARTIFICIALIS CONSIDERATIO. “And also at the same time according to the same method, i.e. art—that is to say, according to the same artificialem considerationem (= “consideration in accordance with the rules of art”)—what was said above will be somewhat clear….” (St. Thomas Aquinas, In II Physic., lect. 15, n. 1)

“To the first, then, it must be said that a mode is called artificialis which suits the
matter; and so the mode that is artificialis in geometry is not artificialis in ethics. And in this respect the mode of this science is most artificialis because it is most suitable to the matter.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Sent., dist. q. 1, art. 5, ad 1) According to Lewis and Short’s Latin Dictionary, artificialis also means “according to the rules of art”.

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method, i.e. art, i.e. artificialem considerationem—that is, a consideration in accordance with the rules of art); but what is artificialis suits the matter a consideration in accordance with the rules of art but the rules of art are an ordinatio A ‘sensible example’ of a method as a manner of proceeding: a labyrinth. Imagine a complicated maze or labyrinth, with many dead ends and wrong paths. Imagine that someone found a way through it and left visible footprints from the beginning to the end. Another person could then follow in those footsteps in order to get to his goal in the most efficient manner. Now the steps are determinate because there is only one right road (of course I am assuming the case where there is only one way through a labyrinth). The road over which the steps are taken is analogous to a method involving determinate steps. The series of steps is a determination which a measure establishes beforehand, and is therefore a mode, in the sense of a manner of proceeding. St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Sent., dist. q. 1, art. 5, ad 1 (tr. B.A.M.).
DS QU1 AR-5 RA1 ad primum ergo dicendum, quod modus artificialis dicitur qui competit materiae; unde modus qui est artificialis in geometria, non est artificialis in ethica: et secundum hoc modus hujus scientiae maxime artificialis est, quia maxime conveniens materiae. To the first, then, it must be said that a mode is called artificialis (i.e. in accordance with the rules of art) which suits the matter; and so the mode which is artificialis in geometry is not artificialis in ethics. And in this respect the mode of this science is most artificialis because it is most suitable to the matter.

First, on the meaning of ‘method’, cfr. Politics I i. 1252a 18 ff. where A. speaks of examining a position about the po/lij “according to our regular method of investigation”— kata\ th\n u(fhghme/nhn me/qodon. He goes on to say, w(/sper ga\r e)n toi=j a)/lloij to\
su/nqeton me/xri tw=n a)sunqe/twn a)na/gkh diairei=n žtau=ta ga\r e)la/xista mo/ria tou= panto/jŸ, ou(/tw kai\ po/lin e)c w(=n su/gkeitai skopou=ntej o)yo/meqa kai\ peri\ tou/twn ma=llon, ti/ te diafe/rousin a)llh/lwn kai\ ei)/ ti texniko\n e)nde/xetai labei=n peri\ e(/kaston tw=n r(hqe/ntwn. ei) dh/ tij e)c a)rxh=j ta\ pra/gmata fuo/mena ble/yeien, w(/sper e)n toi=j a)/lloij, kai\ e)n tou/toij ka/llist' a)\n ou(/tw qewrh/seien.

—“For, just as in every other [matter] it is necessary to analyze a composite into its elements, which are the smallest parts of the whole, so by looking closely at the elements of a polis, we will be better placed to observe how these elements differ from one another and, if possible, to grasp something about each of the above-mentioned arts. If someone were to examine the growth of things from their beginning [or principles], just as in other things, he would best be able to consider them.” ***

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BROTHER EDMUND DOLAN ON RESOLUTION AND COMPOSITION. St. Thomas Texts: In I Ethicorum lect. 3, n. 35 Ia IIae q. 14, a. 5, obj. 1 and ad 1: “…et ideo ordo ratiocinandi de operationibus, est contrarius ordini operandi.” Ia q. 14, a. 16, c.: “…operabile est aliquid per applicationem formae ad materiam.” Something is ‘workable’ by the application of form to matter. Dolan, Resolution and Composition, p. 19: “It would seem, then, that according to the general doctrine of the distinction of speculative and practical knowledge, the resolutive or analytic process abstracts the universal formal principles of objects—whether operable or non-operable. It proceeds by defining its object according to genus and differentia, dividing its object and demonstrating its proper passions. To proceed compositively or synthetically, on the other hand, is to proceed in the direction of the physical existence of an operable object, toward constructing it by the application of form to matter.” Ibid., pp. 55-6: “Aristotle, in explaining the way in which artificial things are generated, points out that the active principle of an artificial product is the factive species which is in the mind of the artist. By factive species is meant the quiddity of whatever thing art can produce. The species of art-works, in contrast to the species of natural things, are first in our minds and are principles and causes of the existence of the art-work. Here, ‘health’ is adopted as an example through which this general doctrine is explained. [he quotes In VII Meta. lect 6, nn. 1406-1407] St. Thomas then introduces a distinction with which we are already somewhat familiar: the distinction between the order of reasoning about an operable and the order of operation [see his p. 4]. Here these diverse orders within the practical are founded upon diverse principles. The principle of the order of reasoning about an operable is the factive species of the operable itself. But that which can be done immediately is the principle of the order of operation.” (he quotes In VII Meta. lect 6, n. 1408) art is ratio factiva, ‘productive reason’ N.B. St. Thomas, In VII Meta., lect. 8, n. 20:
quare patet, quod sicut in syllogismis, omnium principium est substantia, idest quod quid est rei (nam syllogismi demonstrativi sunt ex quid est, cum in demonstrationibus medium sit definitio), Wherefore it is clear that, just as in syllogisms, the principle of everything is substance, i.e. the ‘what it is’ of the thing (for demonstrative syllogisms are from the quid est (the ‘what it is’) since in demonstrations the middle term is a definition),

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et hic, scilicet in operativis, generationes sunt ex quod quid est. in quo ostenditur similitudo intellectus speculativi et practici.

and here, namely, in the operative [i.e. in operative syllogisms], generations are from the quod quid est [i.e. the ‘what it is’], in which the likeness of the speculative intellect to the practical is shown. For just as the speculative intellect proceeds to the demonstration of passions of its subject from the consideration of its quod quid est, so the [practical] intellect proceeds to its operation from the form of the artifact, which is its quod quid est, as was said above.

sicut enim intellectus speculativus procedit ad demonstrandum passiones de subiectis ex consideratione eius quod quid est, ita intellectus procedit ad operandum ex specie artificii, quae est eius quod quid est, ut supra dictum est.

***

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ON THE COMPARISON OF ARS AND METHODUS. 1. Definitions. ARS. A certain ordination of reason whereby human acts arrive at their due end through determinate means; a making habit with true reason; right reason about any works that are to be made; any application of right reason to something that can be made; right reason about things that can be done in exterior matter.
nihil enim aliud ars esse videtur, quam certa For art appears to be nothing other than a certain ordinatio rationis quomodo per determinata ordination of reason whereby human acts arrive media ad debitum finem actus humani at their due end through determinate means. perveniant. (St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Post Anal., lect. 1, n. 1) videmus enim quod aedificativa est ars quaedam, et iterum quod est habitus quidam ad faciendum aliquid cum ratione. et nulla ars invenitur cui hoc non conveniat, quod scilicet sit habitus factivus cum ratione, neque invenitur talis habitus factivus, scilicet cum ratione, qui non sit ars. unde manifestum est quod idem est ars et habitus factivus cum vera ratione. (St. Thomas Aquinas, In VI Ethic., lect. 3, n. 12) For we see that house-building is a certain art, and again, that it is a certain habit for making something with reason. And no art is found to which this does not belong, namely, that it be a making habit with reason; neither is there found such a making habit, namely, with reason, which is not an art. Wherefore it is obvious that art is the same thing as a making habit with true reason.

respondeo dicendum quod ars nihil aliud est I reply that it must be said that art is nothing quam ratio recta aliquorum operum other than right reason about any works that are faciendorum. to be made. (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Ia-IIae, q. 57, art. 3, c.) ad tertium dicendum quod omnis applicatio rationis rectae ad aliquid factibile pertinet ad artem. sed ad prudentiam non pertinet nisi applicatio rationis rectae ad ea de quibus est consilium. To the third it must be said that every application of right reason to something that can be made pertains to art. But nothing pertains to prudence except an application of right reason to those things about which there is counsel.

et huiusmodi sunt in quibus non sunt viae And of this sort are the things in which there are determinatae perveniendi ad finem; ut dicitur in no determinate roads for arriving at the end, as iii ethic.. is said in the third book of the Ethics. (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Ia-IIae, q. 47, art. 2, ad. 3) ars autem importat rectitudinem rationis circa factibilia, idest circa ea quae aguntur in exteriorem materiam, sicut est secare et alia huiusmodi opera, in quibus dirigit ars. But art implies a rightness of reason with respect to things that can be made—that is, with respect to things that can be done in exterior matter, such as to cut and other works of this

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sort, in which art gives direction. (St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Post. Anal., lect. 44, n. 11)

METHODUS. A consideratio artificialis, or art of considering something suitable to the matter; that is, a consideration of some subject in accordance with, or under the direction of, the rules of art such that it suits the matter; the mode of an art (a mode being a way of proceeding to something).
dicit ergo primo, quod cum ostensum sit quod loci mutatio est prima inter omnes species motus, nunc ostendendum est quae loci mutatio sit prima; quia eius etiam sunt multae species, ut in septimo ostensum est. et simul etiam secundum eandem methodum, idest artem, idest secundum considerationem, eandem artificialem And so he says first that, since it has been shown that change of place is first among all the species of motion, now the change of place which is first must be shown, since there are also many species of it, as has been shown in the seventh book. And also at the same time according to the same method, i.e. art— that is to say, according to the same consideration in accordance with the rules of art — what was said above will be somewhat clear, as well as what was supposed earlier at the outset of this eighth book, that some motion happens to be continuous and everlasting.

erit manifestum id quod nunc paulo supra diximus, et quod etiam prius suppositum est in principio huius octavi, quod contingit aliquem motum esse continuum et perpetuum. (St. Thomas Aquinas, In II Physic., lect. 15, n. 1)

et dicit quod ea quae dicta sunt non sunt vera: et hoc erit manifestum si quis velit intendere secundum subiectam methodum, idest secundum artem considerandi talia quae infra ponetur. modus autem huius artis est talis…. (St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Politic., lect. 1, n. 8)

And he says that the things that have been said are not true: and this will be obvious to someone who wishes to examine the subject according to a method, that is, according to the art of considering such things, which will be set down below. But the mode of this art is such….

est ergo prima difficultas, quia nos nescimus per quam viam procedendum sit ad definitionem: quia quidam dicunt, quod demonstrando: quidam, quod dividendo: quidam vero, quod componendo.

And so the first difficulty is that we do not know by what road one is to proceed to the definition, because some say that (one must proceed) by (the road of) demonstrating; some, by dividing; but some, by composing.7

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(St. Thomas Aquinas, In I De Anima, lect. 1, n. 9)

PROCESSIONIS. That form of local motion according to which something passes in an orderly manner from one place through well-ordered means to an extreme; anything in which there is an order of one thing from another, or after another.
similiter autem nomen processionis primo est inventum ad significandum motum localem, secundum quem aliquid ordinate ab uno loco per media ordinatim in extremum transit; et ex hoc transumitur ad significandum omne illud in quo est aliquis ordo unius ex alio, vel post aliud; et inde est quod in omni motu utimur nomine processionis; Likewise the name ‘procession’ has been devised in the first place to signify local motion, insofar as something passes in an orderly manner from one place through well-ordered means to an extreme; and from this it is carried over for signifying everything in which there is an order of one thing from another, or after another. And so it is that in every movement we use the name ‘procession’,

sicut dicimus, quod corpus procedit ab albedine just as we say that a body ‘proceeds’ from white in nigredinem, et de parva quantitate ad to black, and from a small amount to a large, magnam et de non esse in esse, et e converso. and from not being to being, and conversely. (St. Thomas Aquinas, Qu. Disp. de Pot., q. 10, art. 1, c.)

***

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N.B. In this passage St. Thomas is discussing which modus definiendi one is to use in the investigation of the soul, modus here translating methodos in Aristotle’s text (cf. De Anima, I, 1, 402a 14).

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1. On processus. St. Thomas Aquinas, Qu. Disp. de Pot., q. 10, art. 1, c. (tr. B.A.M.). I reply that it must be said that intellectual knowledge in us takes its beginning from the phantasm and sense, which of themselves do not extend beyond the continuous. And so it is that we carry over names from things found in the continuous to everything we grasp by the intellect; as is clear in the name of “distance” [distantiae], which is first found in place, and from that is carried over to any difference of forms whatsoever, on account of which all the contraries in any genus are said to be ‘most distant’ [ maxime distantia], although distance is first found in [the category of] “where”, as the Philosopher says in the tenth book of the Metaphysics. Likewise the name of “procession” has been devised in the first place to signify local motion, insofar as something passes in an orderly manner from one place to an extreme through an orderly arrangement of intermediates; and from this it is carried over for signifying everything in which there is an order of one thing from another, or after another. And so it is that in every movement we use the name of “procession”, just as we say that a body “proceeds” from white to black, and from a small amount to a large, and from not being to being, and conversely. And likewise we use the name of “procession” where there is any emanation of one thing from another, just as we say that a ray “proceeds” from the sun, and every doing from the doer, and even the thing done, as the artifact from the artisan, or the begotten from the begetter—and universally by the name of “procession” we signify every order of this sort. 2. What processio means. St. Thomas Aquinas, Qu. Disp. de Ver., q. 10, art. 1, c. (tr. B.A.M.).
QU10AR1 CO similiter autem nomen processionis primo est inventum ad significandum motum localem, secundum quem aliquid ordinate ab uno loco per media ordinatim in extremum transit; et ex hoc transumitur ad significandum omne illud in quo est aliquis ordo unius ex alio, vel post aliud; et inde est quod in omni motu utimur nomine processionis; sicut dicimus, quod corpus procedit ab albedine in nigredinem, et de parva quantitate ad magnam et de non esse in esse, et e converso. Likewise the name ‘procession’ has been devised in the first place to signify local motion, insofar as something passes in an orderly manner from one place through well-ordered means to an extreme; and from this it is carried over for signifying everything in which there is an order of one thing from another, or after another. And so it is that in every movement we use the name ‘procession’, just as we say that a body ‘proceeds’ from white to black, and from a small amount to a large, and from not being to being, and conversely.

From the foregoing definition we may conclude that processus means “the passing of something in an orderly manner from one place through well-ordered means to an extreme”.

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Note the correspondences between the phrases aliquid ordinate ab uno loco per media ordinatim in extremum transit and the phrase per determinata media ad debitum finem…perveniant in the text from In I Post. Anal., and the phrase viae determinatae perveniendi ad finem used in the Summa text on the application of reason etc. If art is “a certain ordination of reason whereby human acts arrive at their due end through determinate means”; and if “the passing of something in an orderly manner from one place through well-ordered means to an extreme” is a procession, then a procession is a quasi-integral part of an art. But a method is a way of proceeding to something ; therefore a method is a quasi-integral part of an art. per media ordinatim per determinata media (ad debitum finem perveniant) viae determinatae (perveniendi ad finem) N.B. Examine the notion of “steps”: first said of bodily motion; then transferred to the motion of art. “Steps” is one meaning of media. (See file on the twofold mean, second text on media as instruments.) Note that one can arrive at the end of an art in many ways. Employing a ‘way’ that “suits the matter”, and hence is the best or most expedient ‘road’ to arriving at one’s end, pertains to ‘method’. 3. On the nature of a road (hodos, via). A road is an objective cause; that is, an extrinsic formal cause. The order and nature of the intermediate parts of the road determine the order and quality of the journey ( iter, cursus, via) or procession (processus) over the road. Now a method looks to the latter, as the etymology of the name indicates: meta-hodos meaning “over a road” or “following a road”. Glossary (from a website) method. Method originally meant the way or the road in Greek. It signifies the way in which a certain question is to be raised and investigated.

As a translation of methodos, modus here means “the road by which one is to proceed to something”; in this case, the road by which one is to proceed to the definition of the soul. But according to this text there are three “ways of proceeding” to a definition: by demonstrating by dividing by composing.

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Since procedendum is in the definition of modus, we must ask what processus means. To know this, we must consider the following definition of processionis:
Likewise the name “procession” has been devised in the first place to signify local motion, insofar as something passes in an orderly manner from one place through well-ordered means to an extreme; and from this it is carried over for signifying everything in which there is an order of one thing from another or after another. And so it is that in every movement we use the name “procession”, just as we say that a body “proceeds” from white to black, and from a small amount to a large, and from not being to being, and conversely. (Qu. Disp. de Pot., q. 10, art. 1, c.)

N.B. In his commentary on Boethius’s De Trinitate, St. Thomas divides the ways of proceeding demonstratively into: quia propter quid per signis ***

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Eiichi Shimomissé, “Methods in Philosophy”, Lecture 2 …“methodos” as a composite word from “meta” and “hodos” signified and understood as “in pursuit of (a certain end) along side with the (specified and controlled) way.” a method is the pursuit of a certain end along side with (involving) the specified and controlled way (determinatae viae, an extrinsic formal cause) The activity to pursue a certain plan or goal in accordance with the controlled procedure. method is the procedure directed to the good with choice (i.e. involving choice, which in turn involves deliberation) which is controlled on the basis of insight (= achinoia?) and can be obtained by study and which belongs in general to art Progressus pro = before, in front of gressus = a step or advance a pro-gressus is a step before media = means, middles, intermediates in the progressus of knowledge, reason goes forward by steps; that is, by intermediate movements, which are determinate: one puts his foot here, then there, then there, etc. Processus cedus = to cede, to give ground, to go pro-cedus = to go before or in front of Just as if one wishes to go from Athens to Sparta he must take steps over a road to get there; so, too, if he wishes to go from what he knows to what he does not know he must take certain steps in a certain order. to arrive at knowledge of the unknown starting from the known to take steps in front of = to progress to follow a method = to go over a road According to St. Thomas Aquinas, to ‘proceed’ is to pass in an orderly manner from one place through well-ordered means to an extreme. If one passes in a disorderly manner, he is not said to ‘proceed’, but to ‘wander’ or ‘err’ (errare).

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***** (c) 2013 Bart A. Mazzetti. All Rights Reserved

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