Authors/Ockham/Summa Logicae/Book I/Chapter 25

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Latin English
[1.25. DE ACCIDENTE] [Chapter 25. On accident]
Accidens ponitur esse quintum contentum sub universali. Et definiunt philosophi sic accidens: “Accidens est quod adest et abest praeter subiecti corruptionem”. ‘Accident’ is supposed to be the fifth item subsumed under ‘universal’. And philosophers define accident as follows: “An accident is what is present or absent without the corruption of the subject”.
Ad cuius definitionis evidentiam sciendum est quod accidens quadrupliciter accipi potest. Uno modo dicitur accidens aliqua res realiter inhaerens substantiae, ad modum quo calor est realiter in igne et albedo in pariete. Et sic accipiendo ‘accidens’ verificatur praedicta definitio, quia nullum accidens est in aliquo subiecto quin saltem per divinam potentiam possit ab illo subiecto auferri sine corruptione subiecti. Sed sic accipiendo ‘accidens’ pro aliquo extra animam, non ponitur quintum universale, nam accidens quod est unum quinque universalium est praedicabile de pluribus quale non est accidens extra animam, nisi forte vox vel aliquod signum voluntarie institutum. For evidence of this definition, it should be known that ‘accident’ can be understood in four ways. In one way, an ‘accident’ is some thing really inhering in substance, in the manner in which heat is really in fire, and whiteness in a wall. And, understanding ‘accident’ in this way, the previous definition is verified, because no accident is in any subject but that, at least by some divine power, it could taken away without the corruption of the subject. But in taking ‘accident’ as something outside the soul, a fifth universal is not given, for an accident which is one of the five universals is predicable of several, of which sort is not an accident outside the soul, unless perhaps an utterance or some sign instituted by convention.
Aliter dicitur accidens omne illud quod contingenter potest praedicari de aliquo, ita quod stante veritate propositionis in qua enuntiatur esse de subiecto potest illud praedicari et non praedicari de illo. Et tam generaliter accipiendo accidens non est inconveniens attribuere aliquod accidens Deo, immo tale accidens attribuit Anselmus Deo, sicut patet Monologion, cap. 24. In another way, an ‘accident’ is all that which can contingently be predicated of another, so that, consistent with the truth of the proposition in which the being of the subject is asserted, it can be predicated and not predicated of it. And by understanding ‘accident’ as generally as this, it is not inconsistent to attribute some accident to God, indeed Anselm attributes such an accident to God, as is clear from the Monologion, chapter 24.
Verumtamen Deus non suscipit tale accidens realiter in se, sicut declarat ibidem, quia accidens sic dictum non est nisi quoddam praedicabile quod potest contingenter praedicari de aliquo. Et tunc in definitione accidentis non accipitur ‘adesse et abesse’ pro advenire et recedere realiter, sed pro advenire et recedere per praedicationem, hoc est quod aliquando praedicatur et aliquando non praedicatur. But nevertheless God is not receptive of such an accident really in himself, just as Anselm makes clear in the same place, because ‘accident’ meant in this way is only a certain predicable that can be contingently predicable of something. And then in the definition of ‘accident’, ‘presence and absence’ is not understood for coming and going in reality, but for coming and going by predication, that is, that it is sometimes predicated and sometimes is not predicated.
Tertio modo dicitur accidens aliquod praedicabile quod contingenter praedicatur de aliquo et potest successive affirmari et negari de eodem, tam per mutationem propriam illius quod importatur per subiectum quam alienam. Et sic, secundum Anselmum, relationes multae sunt accidentia, quia possunt advenire et recedere, hoc est praedicari et negari per mutationem illius quod importatur per subiectum et per mutationem alterius. In the third way, an ‘accident’ is something predicable that is contingently predicated of something, and can successively be affirmed and denied of it, by proper change which is born by the subject, as well as belonging to another. And so, according to Anselm, many relations are accidents, because they can come and go, that is, can be predicated and denied by the change of that which is born by the subject, and by change of another thing.
Quarto dicitur accidens aliquod praedicabile quod non importat aliquam rem absolutam inhaerentem substantiae, sed potest contingenter praedicari de aliquo, sed nonnisi per mutationem illius quod importatur per subiectum. Et sic dicerent tenentes quod quantitas non est aliqua res distincta a substantia et qualitate quod quantitas est accidens, quia non potest successive affirmari et negari de subiecto nisi per mutationem, saltem localem, illius quod importatur per subiectum. In the third way, an ‘accident’ is something predicable that does not carry some absolute thing inhering in a substance, but which can be contingently predicated of something, but not unless by the change of that which is carried by the subject. And thus the persons holding that quantity is not some thing distinct from substance and quality would say that quantity is an accident, because it cannot be successively affirmed and denied of a subject except by change, at least local change, of that which is carried by the subject.
Unde dicerent quod aliquid est maior quantitas nunc quam prius, per hoc solum quod partes illius magis distant nunc quam prius, quod per solum motum localem partium contingere potest secundum eos. Hence they would say that something is more a quantity now than before, only because the parts of that thing are more distant now than before, which can only happen through local motion of the parts, according to them.
Verumtamen sciendum quod quamvis secundum veritatem nullum est accidens quin possit per divinam potentiam auferri a substantia, ipsa manente, tamen Philosophus hoc negaret. Unde diceret quod multa sunt accidentia in corporibus caelestibus quae ab eis auferri non possunt. Nevertheless it should be known that although, according to truth, nothing is an accident but that it could be removed from a substance by divine power, with the substance remaining, still the Philosopher denies this. Hence he would say that many things are accidents in celestial bodies which cannot be taken away from them.
Accidens autem dividitur in accidens separabile et accidens inseparabile. Accidens separabile est quod per naturam auferri potest sine corruptione subiecti; accidens autem inseparabile est illud quod per naturam auferri non potest sine corruptione subiecti, quamvis per divinam potentiam possit auferri. But ‘accident’ is divided into separable and inseparable accident. A separable accident is what by nature can be removed without the corruption of the subject. But an inseparable accident is what by nature cannot be removed without the corruption of the subject, although by divine power perhaps it could be taken away.
Differt autem accidens inseparabile a proprio, quia quamvis accidens inseparabile non possit auferri naturaliter a subiecto illo cuius dicitur accidens inseparabile, tamen consimile accidens auferri potest ab alio subiecto sine illius corruptione. Sicut quamvis nigredo corvi non possit naturaliter auferri a corvo sine corruptione corvi, tamen nigredo potest naturaliter auferri a Sorte, sine corruptione Sortis. Proprium autem de nullo potest auferri sine corruptione rei, ita quod non plus est separabile ab uno quam ab alio sine corruptione rei. But an inseparable accident differs from a property, because although an inseparable accident cannot be removed naturally from that subject of which it is called an inseparable accident, still a similar accident can be taken away from another subject without its corruption. For example, although the blackness of a crow could not naturally be taken away from a crow without the corruption of the crow, blackness can still be taken away from Socrates without the corruption of Socrates. But a property cannot be taken away from anything without the corruption of the thing, so that it is no more separable from one than from the other, without the corruption of the thing.
Recapitulando igitur aliqua quae dicta sunt de universalibus, dicendum est quod quodlibet universale est quaedam intentio animae significans plura, pro quibus significatis potest supponere. Et ideo una intentio distincta ab alia praedicatur de ea, non quidem pro se sed pro re quam significat. Et ideo per tales propositiones ubi una intentio praedicatur de alia non denotatur quod una intentio sit alia, sed denotatur frequenter quod illud quod importatur per unam intentionem est illud quod importatur per aliam. Therefore, by way of recapitulating some of the things which were said about universals, it should be said that every universal is a certain intention of the soul signifying several things, for which it can supposit. And therefore one intention distinct from another is predicated of it, not of course for itself, but for the thing which it signifies. And therefore by such propositions where one intention is predicated of another, it is not denoted that one intention is another, but it is frequently denoted that what is conveyed by one intention is that which is conveyed by the other.
Huiusmodi autem universalia non sunt res extra animam. Propter quod non sunt de essentia rerum nec partes rerum extra, sed sunt quaedam entia in anima, distincta inter se et a rebus extra, quarum aliqua sunt signa rerum extra, aliqua sunt signa illorum signorum. Sicut hoc nomen ‘universale’ est commune ad omnia universalia, et per consequens est signum omnium aliorum universalium a se. Et ideo potest concedi quod illud universale quod est praedicabile de quinque universalibus, non tamen pro se sed pro universalibus, est genus ad universalia; sicut aliqua dictio praedicabilis de omnibus dictionibus est nomen, et non verbum, nec participium, nec coniunctio etc. But universals of this sort are not things outside the soul. Because of this, they are not of the essence of things nor parts of things outside, but are a sort of things in the soul, distinct from one another and from things outside, of which some are signs of things, others are signs of those signs. For example, the name ‘universal’ is common to all universals, and as a consequence is a sign of all other universals apart from itself. And therefore it can be conceded that the universal that is predicable of the five universals, yet not for itself but for universals, is the genus to the universals, just as an expression predicable of all expressions is a name, and not a verb, nor a participle, nor a conjunction etc.
Et haec de universalibus sufficiant. Qui autem pleniorem notitiam voluerit habere de universalibus et proprietatibus eorum, poterit legere librum Porphyrii, ubi istam materiam multo diffusius pertractavi. Ideo illa quae sunt hic dimissa, ibi poterunt inveniri. And let these remarks suffice about universals. Those who wish to have fuller knowledge of universals and their properties, could read [my] book on Porphyry, where I have dealt with that material much more diffusely. Therefore the things which I have passed over here, can be found there.

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