Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q15

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Q14 Q16



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IIª-IIae q. 15 pr. Deinde considerandum est de vitiis oppositis scientiae et intellectui. Et quia de ignorantia, quae opponitur scientiae, dictum est supra, cum de causis peccatorum ageretur; quaerendum est nunc de caecitate mentis et hebetudine sensus, quae opponuntur dono intellectus. Et circa hoc quaeruntur tria. Primo, utrum caecitas mentis sit peccatum. Secundo, utrum hebetudo sensus sit aliud peccatum a caecitate mentis. Tertio, utrum haec vitia a peccatis carnalibus oriantur. Question 15. The vices opposed to knowledge and understanding Is blindness of mind a sin? Is dullness of sense a sin distinct from blindness of mind? Do these vices arise from sins of the flesh?
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod caecitas mentis non sit peccatum. Illud enim quod excusat a peccato non videtur esse peccatum. Sed caecitas excusat a peccato, dicitur enim Ioan. IX, si caeci essetis, non haberetis peccatum. Ergo caecitas mentis non est peccatum. Objection 1. It would seem that blindness of mind is not a sin. Because, seemingly, that which excuses from sin is not itself a sin. Now blindness of mind excuses from sin; for it is written (John 9:41): "If you were blind, you should not have sin." Therefore blindness of mind is not a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, poena differt a culpa. Sed caecitas mentis est quaedam poena, ut patet per illud quod habetur Isaiae VI, excaeca cor populi huius; non enim esset a Deo, cum sit malum, nisi poena esset. Ergo caecitas mentis non est peccatum. Objection 2. Further, punishment differs from guilt. But blindness of mind is a punishment as appears from Isaiah 6:10, "Blind the heart of this people," for, since it is an evil, it could not be from God, were it not a punishment. Therefore blindness of mind is not a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, omne peccatum est voluntarium, ut Augustinus dicit. Sed caecitas mentis non est voluntaria, quia ut Augustinus dicit, X Confess., cognoscere veritatem lucentem omnes amant; et Eccle. XI dicitur, dulce lumen, et delectabile oculis videre solem. Ergo caecitas mentis non est peccatum. Objection 3. Further, every sin is voluntary, according to Augustine (De Vera Relig. xiv). Now blindness of mind is not voluntary, since, as Augustine says (Confess. x), "all love to know the resplendent truth," and as we read in Ecclesiastes 11:7, "the light is sweet and it is delightful for the eyes to see the sun." Therefore blindness of mind is not a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod Gregorius, XXXI Moral., caecitatem mentis ponit inter vitia quae causantur ex luxuria. On the contrary, Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) reckons blindness of mind among the vices arising from lust.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod sicut caecitas corporalis est privatio eius quod est principium corporalis visionis, ita etiam caecitas mentis est privatio eius quod est principium mentalis sive intellectualis visionis. Cuius quidem principium est triplex. Unum quidem est lumen naturalis rationis. Et hoc lumen, cum pertineat ad speciem animae rationalis, nunquam privatur ab anima. Impeditur tamen quandoque a proprio actu per impedimenta virium inferiorum, quibus indiget intellectus humanus ad intelligendum, sicut patet in amentibus et furiosis, ut in primo dictum est. Aliud autem principium intellectualis visionis est aliquod lumen habituale naturali lumini rationis superadditum. Et hoc quidem lumen interdum privatur ab anima. Et talis privatio est caecitas quae est poena, secundum quod privatio luminis gratiae quaedam poena ponitur. Unde dicitur de quibusdam, Sap. II, excaecavit illos malitia eorum. Tertium principium visionis intellectualis est aliquod intelligibile principium per quod homo intelligit alia. Cui quidem principio intelligibili mens hominis potest intendere vel non intendere. Et quod ei non intendat contingit dupliciter. Quandoque quidem ex hoc quod habet voluntatem spontanee se avertentem a consideratione talis principii, secundum illud Psalm., noluit intelligere ut bene ageret. Alio modo, per occupationem mentis circa alia quae magis diligit, quibus ab inspectione huius principii mens avertitur, secundum illud Psalm., supercecidit ignis, scilicet concupiscentiae, et non viderunt solem. Et utroque modo caecitas mentis est peccatum. I answer that, Just as bodily blindness is the privation of the principle of bodily sight, so blindness of mind is the privation of the principle of mental or intellectual sight. Now this has a threefold principle. One is the light of natural reason, which light, since it pertains to the species of the rational soul, is never forfeit from the soul, and yet, at times, it is prevented from exercising its proper act, through being hindered by the lower powers which the human intellect needs in order to understand, for instance in the case of imbeciles and madmen, as stated in I, 84, 7,8. Another principle of intellectual sight is a certain habitual light superadded to the natural light of reason, which light is sometimes forfeit from the soul. This privation is blindness, and is a punishment, in so far as the privation of the light of grace is a punishment. Hence it is written concerning some (Wisdom 2:21): "Their own malice blinded them." A third principle of intellectual sight is an intelligible principle, through which a man understands other things; to which principle a man may attend or not attend. That he does not attend thereto happens in two ways. Sometimes it is due to the fact that a man's will is deliberately turned away from the consideration of that principle, according to Psalm 35:4, "He would not understand, that he might do well": whereas sometimes it is due to the mind being more busy about things which it loves more, so as to be hindered thereby from considering this principle, according to Psalm 57:9, "Fire," i.e. of concupiscence, "hath fallen on them and they shall not see the sun." On either of these ways blindness of mind is a sin.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod caecitas quae excusat a peccato est quae contingit ex naturali defectu non potentis videre. Reply to Objection 1. The blindness that excuses from sin is that which arises from the natural defect of one who cannot see.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod ratio illa procedit de secunda caecitate, quae est poena. Reply to Objection 2. This argument considers the second kind of blindness which is a punishment.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod intelligere veritatem cuilibet est secundum se amabile. Potest tamen per accidens esse alicui odibile, inquantum scilicet per hoc homo impeditur ab aliis quae magis amat. Reply to Objection 3. To understand the truth is, in itself, beloved by all; and yet, accidentally it may be hateful to someone, in so far as a man is hindered thereby from having what he loves yet more.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod hebetudo sensus non sit aliud a caecitate mentis. Unum enim uni est contrarium. Sed dono intellectus opponitur hebetudo, ut patet per Gregorium, in II Moral.; cui etiam opponitur caecitas mentis, eo quod intellectus principium quoddam visivum designat. Ergo hebetudo sensus est idem quod caecitas mentis. Objection 1. It seems that dulness of sense is not a distinct sin from blindness of mind. Because one thing has one contrary. Now dulness is opposed to the gift of understanding, according to Gregory (Moral. ii, 49); and so is blindness of mind, since understanding denotes a principle of sight. Therefore dulness of sense is the same as blindness of mind.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, Gregorius, in XXXI Moral., de hebetudine loquens, nominat eam hebetudinem sensus circa intelligentiam. Sed hebetari sensu circa intelligentiam nihil aliud esse videtur quam intelligendo deficere, quod pertinet ad mentis caecitatem. Ergo hebetudo sensus idem est quod caecitas mentis. Objection 2. Further, Gregory (Moral. xxxi, 45) in speaking of dulness describes it as "dullness of sense in respect of understanding." Now dulness of sense in respect of understanding seems to be the same as a defect in understanding, which pertains to blindness of mind. Therefore dulness of sense is the same as blindness of mind.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, si in aliquo differunt, maxime videntur in hoc differre quod caecitas mentis est voluntaria, ut supra dictum est, hebetudo autem sensus est naturalis. Sed defectus naturalis non est peccatum. Ergo secundum hoc hebetudo sensus non esset peccatum. Quod est contra Gregorium, qui connumerat eam inter vitia quae ex gula oriuntur. Objection 3. Further, if they differ at all, it seems to be chiefly in the fact that blindness of mind is voluntary, as stated above (Article 1), while dulness of sense is a natural defect. But a natural defect is not a sin: so that, accordingly, dulness of sense would not be a sin, which is contrary to what Gregory says (Moral. xxxi, 45), where he reckons it among the sins arising from gluttony.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod diversarum causarum sunt diversi effectus. Sed Gregorius, XXXI Moral., dicit quod hebetudo mentis oritur ex gula, caecitas autem mentis ex luxuria. Ergo sunt diversa vitia. On the contrary, Different causes produce different effects. Now Gregory says (Moral. xxxi, 45) that dulness of sense arises from gluttony, and that blindness of mind arises from lust. Now these others are different vices. Therefore those are different vices also.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod hebes acuto opponitur. Acutum autem dicitur aliquid ex hoc quod est penetrativum. Unde et hebes dicitur aliquid ex hoc quod est obtusum, penetrare non valens. Sensus autem corporalis per quandam similitudinem penetrare dicitur medium inquantum ex aliqua distantia suum obiectum percipit; vel inquantum potest quasi penetrando intima rei percipere. Unde in corporalibus dicitur aliquis esse acuti sensus qui potest percipere sensibile aliquod ex remotis, vel videndo vel audiendo vel olfaciendo; et e contrario dicitur sensu hebetari qui non percipit nisi ex propinquo et magna sensibilia. Ad similitudinem autem corporalis sensus dicitur etiam circa intelligentiam esse aliquis sensus, qui est aliquorum primorum extremorum, ut dicitur in VI Ethic., sicut etiam sensus est cognoscitivus sensibilium quasi quorundam principiorum cognitionis. Hic autem sensus qui est circa intelligentiam non percipit suum obiectum per medium distantiae corporalis, sed per quaedam alia media, sicut cum per proprietatem rei percipit eius essentiam, et per effectus percipit causam. Ille ergo dicitur esse acuti sensus circa intelligentiam qui statim ad apprehensionem proprietatis rei, vel etiam effectus, naturam rei comprehendit, et inquantum usque ad minimas conditiones rei considerandas pertingit. Ille autem dicitur esse hebes circa intelligentiam qui ad cognoscendam veritatem rei pertingere non potest nisi per multa ei exposita, et tunc etiam non potest pertingere ad perfecte considerandum omnia quae pertinent ad rei rationem. Sic igitur hebetudo sensus circa intelligentiam importat quandam debilitatem mentis circa considerationem spiritualium bonorum, caecitas autem mentis importat omnimodam privationem cognitionis ipsorum. Et utrumque opponitur dono intellectus, per quem homo spiritualia bona apprehendendo cognoscit et ad eorum intima subtiliter penetrat. Habet autem hebetudo rationem peccati sicut et caecitas mentis, inquantum scilicet est voluntaria, ut patet in eo qui, affectus circa carnalia, de spiritualibus subtiliter discutere fastidit vel negligit. I answer that, Dull is opposed to sharp: and a thing is said to be sharp because it can pierce; so that a thing is called dull through being obtuse and unable to pierce. Now a bodily sense, by a kind of metaphor, is said to pierce the medium, in so far as it perceives its object from a distance or is able by penetration as it were to perceive the smallest details or the inmost parts of a thing. Hence in corporeal things the senses are said to be acute when they can perceive a sensible object from afar, by sight, hearing, or scent, while on the other hand they are said to be dull, through being unable to perceive, except sensible objects that are near at hand, or of great power. Now, by way of similitude to bodily sense, we speak of sense in connection with the intellect; and this latter sense is in respect of certain primals and extremes, as stated in Ethic. vi, even as the senses are cognizant of sensible objects as of certain principles of knowledge. Now this sense which is connected with understanding, does not perceive its object through a medium of corporeal distance, but through certain other media, as, for instance, when it perceives a thing's essence through a property thereof, and the cause through its effect. Consequently a man is said to have an acute sense in connection with his understanding, if, as soon as he apprehends a property or effect of a thing, he understands the nature or the thing itself, and if he can succeed in perceiving its slightest details: whereas a man is said to have a dull sense in connection with his understanding, if he cannot arrive at knowing the truth about a thing, without many explanations; in which case, moreover, he is unable to obtain a perfect perception of everything pertaining to the nature of that thing. Accordingly dulness of sense in connection with understanding denotes a certain weakness of the mind as to the consideration of spiritual goods; while blindness of mind implies the complete privation of the knowledge of such things. Both are opposed to the gift of understanding, whereby a man knows spiritual goods by apprehending them, and has a subtle penetration of their inmost nature. This dulness has the character of sin, just as blindness of mind has, that is, in so far as it is voluntary, as evidenced in one who, owing to his affection for carnal things, dislikes or neglects the careful consideration of spiritual things.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 2 ad arg. Et per hoc patet responsio ad obiecta. This suffices for the Replies to the Objections.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod caecitas mentis et hebetudo sensus non oriantur ex vitiis carnalibus. Augustinus enim, in libro Retract., retractans illud quod dixerat in Soliloq., Deus, qui non nisi mundos verum scire voluisti, dicit quod responderi potest multos etiam non mundos multa vera scire. Sed homines maxime efficiuntur immundi per vitia carnalia. Ergo caecitas mentis et hebetudo sensus non causantur a vitiis carnalibus. Objection 1. It would seem that blindness of mind and dulness of sense do not arise from sins of the flesh. For Augustine (Retract. i, 4) retracts what he had said in his Soliloquies i, 1, "God Who didst wish none but the clean to know the truth," and says that one might reply that "many, even those who are unclean, know many truths." Now men become unclean chiefly by sins of the flesh. Therefore blindness of mind and dulness of sense are not caused by sins of the flesh.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, caecitas mentis et hebetudo sensus sunt defectus quidam circa partem animae intellectivam; vitia autem carnalia pertinent ad corruptionem carnis. Sed caro non agit in animam, sed potius e converso. Ergo vitia carnalia non causant caecitatem mentis et hebetudinem sensus. Objection 2. Further, blindness of mind and dulness of sense are defects in connection with the intellective part of the soul: whereas carnal sins pertain to the corruption of the flesh. But the flesh does not act on the soul, but rather the reverse. Therefore the sins of the flesh do not cause blindness of mind and dulness of sense.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, unumquodque magis patitur a propinquiori quam a remotiori. Sed propinquiora sunt menti vitia spiritualia quam carnalia. Ergo caecitas mentis et hebetudo sensus magis causantur ex vitiis spiritualibus quam ex vitiis carnalibus. Objection 3. Further, all things are more passive to what is near them than to what is remote. Now spiritual vices are nearer the mind than carnal vices are. Therefore blindness of mind and dulness of sense are caused by spiritual rather than by carnal vices.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra est quod Gregorius, XXXI Moral., dicit quod hebetudo sensus circa intelligentiam oritur ex gula, caecitas mentis ex luxuria. On the contrary, Gregory says (Moral. xxxi, 45) that dulness of sense arises from gluttony and blindness of mind from lust.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod perfectio intellectualis operationis in homine consistit in quadam abstractione a sensibilium phantasmatibus. Et ideo quanto intellectus hominis magis fuerit liber ab huiusmodi phantasmatibus, tanto potius considerare intelligibilia poterit et ordinare omnia sensibilia, sicut et Anaxagoras dixit quod oportet intellectum esse immixtum ad hoc quod imperet, et agens oportet quod dominetur super materiam ad hoc quod possit eam movere. Manifestum est autem quod delectatio applicat intentionem ad ea in quibus aliquis delectatur, unde philosophus dicit, in X Ethic., quod unusquisque ea in quibus delectatur optime operatur, contraria vero nequaquam vel debiliter. Vitia autem carnalia, scilicet gula et luxuria, consistunt circa delectationes tactus, ciborum scilicet et venereorum, quae sunt vehementissimae inter omnes corporales delectationes. Et ideo per haec vitia intentio hominis maxime applicatur ad corporalia, et per consequens debilitatur operatio hominis circa intelligibilia, magis autem per luxuriam quam per gulam, quanto delectationes venereorum sunt vehementiores quam ciborum. Et ideo ex luxuria oritur caecitas mentis, quae quasi totaliter spiritualium bonorum cognitionem excludit, ex gula autem hebetudo sensus, quae reddit hominem debilem circa huiusmodi intelligibilia. Et e converso oppositae virtutes, scilicet abstinentia et castitas, maxime disponunt hominem ad perfectionem intellectualis operationis. Unde dicitur Dan. I, quod pueris his, scilicet abstinentibus et continentibus, dedit Deus scientiam et disciplinam in omni libro et sapientia. I answer that, The perfect intellectual operation in man consists in an abstraction from sensible phantasms, wherefore the more a man's intellect is freed from those phantasms, the more thoroughly will it be able to consider things intelligible, and to set in order all things sensible. Thus Anaxagoras stated that the intellect requires to be "detached" in order to command, and that the agent must have power over matter, in order to be able to move it. Now it is evident that pleasure fixes a man's attention on that which he takes pleasure in: wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. x, 4,5) that we all do best that which we take pleasure in doing, while as to other things, we do them either not at all, or in a faint-hearted fashion. Now carnal vices, namely gluttony and lust, are concerned with pleasures of touch in matters of food and sex; and these are the most impetuous of all pleasures of the body. For this reason these vices cause man's attention to be very firmly fixed on corporeal things, so that in consequence man's operation in regard to intelligible things is weakened, more, however, by lust than by gluttony, forasmuch as sexual pleasures are more vehement than those of the table. Wherefore lust gives rise to blindness of mind, which excludes almost entirely the knowledge of spiritual things, while dulness of sense arises from gluttony, which makes a man weak in regard to the same intelligible things. On the other hand, the contrary virtues, viz. abstinence and chastity, dispose man very much to the perfection of intellectual operation. Hence it is written (Daniel 1:17) that "to these children" on account of their abstinence and continency, "God gave knowledge and understanding in every book, and wisdom."
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 3 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, quamvis aliqui vitiis carnalibus subditi possint quandoque subtiliter aliqua speculari circa intelligibilia, propter bonitatem ingenii naturalis vel habitus superadditi; tamen necesse est ut ab hac subtilitate contemplationis eorum intentio plerumque retrahatur propter delectationes corporales. Et ita immundi possunt aliqua vera scire sed ex sua immunditia circa hoc impediuntur. Reply to Objection 1. Although some who are the slaves of carnal vices are at times capable of subtle considerations about intelligible things, on account of the perfection of their natural genius, or of some habit superadded thereto, nevertheless, on account of the pleasures of the body, it must needs happen that their attention is frequently withdrawn from this subtle contemplation: wherefore the unclean can know some truths, but their uncleanness is a clog on their knowledge.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 3 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod caro non agit in partem intellectivam alterando ipsam, sed impediendo operationem ipsius per modum praedictum. Reply to Objection 2. The flesh acts on the intellective faculties, not by altering them, but by impeding their operation in the aforesaid manner.
IIª-IIae q. 15 a. 3 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod vitia carnalia, quo magis sunt remota a mente, eo magis eius intentionem ad remotiora distrahunt. Unde magis impediunt mentis contemplationem. Reply to Objection 3. It is owing to the fact that the carnal vices are further removed from the mind, that they distract the mind's attention to more remote things, so that they hinder the mind's contemplation all the more.

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