Authors/Ockham/Summa Logicae/Book I/Chapter 12

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Latin English

[What a first intention is, & what a second is, and in what way they are distinguished from one another]

Et quia dictum est in praecedenti capitulo quod quaedam sunt nomina primae intentionis et quaedam secundae intentionis, et ignorantia significationum vocabulorum multis est errandi occasio, ideo incidenter videndum est quid sit intentio prima et quid secunda, et quomodo distinguuntur.

And because it was said in the preceding chapter that certain names are of first intention and certain of second intention, and ignorance of the significations of words is the occasion for error for many, therefore it should be seen, incidentally, what is a first intention and what a second, and in what way they are distinguished.

Est autem primo sciendum quod intentio animae vocatur quiddam in anima, natum significare aliud. Unde, sicut dictum est prius, ad modum quo scriptura est secundarium signum respectu vocum, quia inter omnia signa ad placitum instituta voces obtinent principatum, ita voces secundaria signa sunt illorum quorum intentiones animae sunt signa primaria. Et pro tanto dicit Aristoteles quod voces sunt "earum quae sunt in anima passionum notae".

And it should first be known that we call an ‘intention of the soul’ a certain thing in the soul, naturally signifying another thing. Hence, as was said before, regarding the way in which an inscription is a secondary sign in respect of utterances (because among all the signs instituted by convention, utterances hold first place), so utterances are secondary signs of those things of which intentions of the soul are the primary signs. And Aristotle says as much, saying that utterances are ‘the marks of affections that are in the soul’.

Illud autem exsistens in anima quod est signum rei, ex quo propositio mentalis componitur ad modum quo propositio vocalis componitur ex vocibus, aliquando vocatur intentio animae, aliquando conceptus animae, aliquando passio animae, aliquando similitudo rei, et Boetius in commento super Perihermenias vocat intellectum.

Now that which exists in the soul which is a sign of a thing, from which a mental proposition is composed, in the manner in which in which a spoken proposition is composed of utterances, is sometimes called an ‘intention of the soul’, sometimes a ‘concept of the soul’, sometimes an ‘affection of the soul’, sometimes a ‘similitude of a thing’. In his commentary on the Perihermenias, Boethius calls it an ‘understanding’.

Unde vult quod propositio mentalis componitur ex intellectibus: non quidem ex intellectibus qui sunt realiter animae intellectivae, sed ex intellectibus qui sunt quaedam signa in anima significantia alia et ex quibus propositio mentalis componitur.

Hence he wishes that a mental proposition is composed of understandings. Not, of course, out of the understandings which are really of the intellective soul , but rather out of understandings that are certain signs in the soul, which signify other things, and from which a mental proposition is composed.

Unde quandocumque aliquis profert propositionem vocalem, prius format interius unam propositionem mentalem, quae nullius idiomatis est, in tantum quod multi frequenter formant interius propositiones quas tamen propter defectum idiomatis exprimere nesciunt. Partes talium propositionum mentalium vocantur conceptus, intentiones, similitudines et intellectus.

Hence, whenever someone utters a spoken proposition, first he forms within him a mental proposition that does not belong to any language, to the extent that often many persons form propositions within them that nevertheless they do not know how to express, because of a defect of their language. The parts of such mental propositions are called ‘concepts’, ‘intentions’, ‘similitudes’ and ‘understandings’.

Sed quid est illud in anima quod est tale signum?

But what is it in the soul that is such a sign?

Dicendum quod circa istum articulum diversae sunt opiniones. Aliqui dicunt quod non est nisi quoddam fictum per animam. Alii, quod est quaedam qualitas subiective exsistens in anima, distincta ab actu intelligendi. Alii dicunt quod est actus intelligendi. Et pro istis est ratio ista quia ‘frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora’.

It should be said that there are different opinions about this issue. Some say that it is nothing but a certain thing made up by the soul. Others, that it is a certain quality subjectively existing in the soul, distinct from the act of understanding. Others say that is the act of understanding. And for these, there is the reason that it is vain to bring about through more what can be brought about through fewer’.

Omnia autem quae salvantur ponendo aliquid distinctum ab actu intelligendi possunt salvari sine tali distincto, eo quod supponere pro alio et significare aliud ita potest competere actui intelligendi sicut alii signo. Igitur praeter actum intelligendi non oportet aliquid aliud ponere.

Now all things which are kept by supposing that there is something distinct from the act of understanding can be kept without such a distinct thing, in that to stand for one thing and to signify another can belong just as much to the act of understanding as to another sign. Accordingly, we do not have to suppose there is anything else besides the act of understanding.

De istis autem opinionibus inferius perscrutabitur, ideo pro nunc sufficiat quod intentio est quiddam in anima, quod est signum naturaliter significans aliquid pro quo potest supponere vel quod potest esse pars propositionis mentalis.

And we will closely examine these opinions below. Therefore, let it be sufficient for now that an intention is a certain thing in the soul, which is a sign naturally signifying something for which it can stand for, or which can be part of a mental proposition.

Tale autem signum duplex est. Unum, quod est signum alicuius rei quae non est tale signum, sive significet tale signum simul cum hoc sive non, et illud vocatur intentio prima; qualis est illa intentio animae quae est praedicabilis de omnibus hominibus et similiter intentio praedicabilis de omnibus albedinibus et nigredinibus et sic de aliis.

Now such a sign is twofold. One, which is a sign of some object which is not such a sign, whether it signifies such a sign together with it or not. And this is called a ‘first intention’. Of such a kind is an intention of the soul that is predicable of all men, and similarly the intention [that is] predicable of all whitenesses and blacknesses, and so on.

Verumtamen sciendum est quod ‘intentio prima’ dupliciter accipitur: stricte et large. Large dicitur intentio prima omne signum intentionale exsistens in anima quod non significat intentiones vel signa praecise, sive sit signum stricte accipiendo ‘signum’ pro illo quod sic significat quod natum est supponere in propositione pro suo significato sive sit signum large accipiendo ‘signum’, illo modo quo dicimus syncategorema significare. Et isto modo verba mentalia et syncategoremata mentalia et coniunctiones et huiusmodi possunt dici intentiones primae. Stricte autem vocatur intentio prima nomen mentale, natum pro suo significato supponere.

Nevertheless, it should be known that ‘first intention’ is taken in two senses: broadly and narrowly. Broadly, every intentional sign existing in the soul which does not precisely signify intentions or signs is called a ‘first intention’, whether it is a ‘sign’, taking sign narrowly for that which signifies so that it naturally stands for what it signifies in a proposition, or whether it is a ‘sign’, taking sign broadly in that manner in which we say that syncategoremata signify. And in this manner, mental verbs and mental syncategoremata and conjunctions and things of this kind can be called ‘first intentions’. But narrowly, what is called a ‘first intention’ is the mental name that naturally supposits for what it signifies.

Intentio autem secunda est illa quae est signum talium intentionum primarum, cuiusmodi sunt tales intentiones ‘genus’, `species’ et huiusmodi. Sicut enim de omnibus hominibus praedicatur una intentio communis omnibus hominibus, sic dicendo iste homo est homo’, ‘ille homo est homo’, et sic de singulis, ita de illis intentionibus quae significant et supponunt pro rebus praedicatur una intentio communis eis, sic dicendo ‘haec species est species’, ‘illa species est species’, et sic de aliis. Similiter sic dicendo ‘lapis est genus’, ‘animal est genus’, ‘color est genus’, et sic de aliis, praedicatur una intentio de intentionibus, ad modum quo in talibus ‘homo est nomen’, ‘asinus est nomen’, ‘albedo est nomen’ praedicatur unum nomen de diversis nominibus.

Now a ‘second intention’ is one that is a sign of such first intentions, of which sort are intentions such as ‘genus’, ‘species’, and the like. For just as one intention common to all men is predicated of all men by saying ‘This man here is a man’, ‘That man there is a man’, and so of each individually, so of those intentions that signify and supposit for things, one intention common to them is predicated of them by saying ‘this species is a species’, ‘that species is a species’, and so on. Similarly, by saying ‘stone is a genus’, ‘animal is a genus’, ‘colour is a genus’, and so on, one intention is predicated of intentions in the manner by which in ‘man is a name’, ‘donkey is a name’ ‘whiteness is a name’, one name is predicated of diverse names.

Et ideo sicut nomina secundae impositionis significant ad placitum nomina primae impositionis, ita secunda intentio naturaliter significat primam. Et sicut nomen primae impositionis significat alia quam nomina, ita prima intentio significat alias res quam intentiones.

And therefore, just as names of second imposition signify names of first imposition by convention, so a second intention naturally signifies one of the first. And just as a name of first imposition signifies other things than names, so a first intention signifies other things than intentions.

Potest etiam dici quod intentio secunda potest accipi stricte pro intentione quae significat praecise primas intentiones, vel large pro intentione quae significat intentiones et signa ad placitum instituta, si tamen sit aliqua talis.

It can also be said that second intention can be understood narrowly for an intention that signifies precisely first intentions, or broadly for an intention which signifies intentions and interpreted signs, if there is still some such thing.


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