Ars Brevis

bullet1 11. Questions

bullet2 2. The Second Figure

2. Questions about the Second Figure

There is a threefold way of making questions with the second figure. For instance, a man and a lion belong to different species on account of difference; and on account of concordance they belong to the same genus; and contrariety makes them contrary by reason of corruptibility and incorruptibility. And so with other subjects and triangles, each in its own way.

8. Question: is difference more general than concordance and contrariety? The answer is yes, because wherever there is concordance and contrariety, there is difference, but not vice versa in every case. In many instances, difference is found together with concordance, without any natural presence of contrariety, like in spiritual beings.

9. Question: which is the greater principle, concordance or contrariety?  We must say it is concordance, because positive principles are derived from concordance, but privative ones from contrariety.

10. Question:  Do the definitions "man is a man reproducing animal" or "man is a being that functions by reproducing men" say more than "man is a mortal rational animal"? The answer is yes, given that men can only be reproduced by men, whereas rationality and mortality are common to many other beings.

There is a threefold way of making questions with the triangle of beginning, middle and end. In the first way, we ask:

11. Why is there one and no more than one prime cause? We answer that it is so that there be one single infinite end.

In the second way, we ask:

12. Does the medium between the subject and the predicate have both continuous and discrete quantity? We answer that it has continuous quantity as the medium between extremes, and discrete quantity as the medium of conjunction and measure.

In the third way, we ask:

13. What kind of end is the ultimate one in a subject? The answer is that it is the proper end, and not the appropriated one.

With the triangle of majority, equality and minority, questions can be made in three ways. With majority, we can ask:

14. Why is God above the angels, and angels above man? The answer is that God is above angels because divine goodness, greatness etc. are removed from quantity by infinity and from time by eternity, which is not the case with the goodness, greatness etc. of angels, which are above the goodness, greatness etc. of man because the subjects in which they exist cannot be divided or assumed like the human body can.

In the second way, we ask:

15. Why are the intellect, the will and the memory essentially equal in the soul? We answer that this is because the prime cause is to be understood, remembered and loved equally due to the equality of its goodness, greatness etc. And here the intellect realizes that demonstrations can be made in three ways: from the cause, from the effect, and by equal parity.

In the third way, we ask:

16. Why is sin closer to nothingness than to any other being? We say it is because sin is most repugnant to the purpose of being.

17. Question: is the difference between sensual and sensual greater than the one between sensual and intellectual, or the one between intellectual and intellectual?

18. Further: is the difference between the beginning and the middle greater than the one between the middle and the end?

19. We can likewise inquire about the difference between substance and substance etc. And the answer is found in the things signified in the said triangles subjectively and objectively, by means of rule B.