« PreviousContinue »
method here, by telling us, it is a simple idea, and therefore cannot be defined. Others, with more reason, have called it hard to be defined; a circumstance not unusual with other subjects equally obvious, there being nothing more different both in accuracy and truth, than that apprehension which is adequate to the purposes of the vulgar, and that which ought to satisfy the investigation of a philosopher.
In the first place, if we consider motion as an object of sensation, we shall discover it to be the object not of one sense, but of all. In a ring of bells we hear it; in a succession of savours we taste it; of odours, we smell it; and that we feel or see it, there needs no example. Thus is it distinguished from those objects, that are peculiar to one sense alone; as from colours, which we only see, or from sounds, which we only hear. Simple therefore as it is, it is not only an object of sensation, but stands distinguished, as a common object, from other objects that are peculiar.
And are there then (it may be demanded) no other objects of the same character? It is answered, there are; as bulk and figure, common objects to the sight and feeling; rest and number, common objects, like motion, to every sense.a
And how (it is asked again) is motion distinguished from these? We reply, from rest, by contrariety; from number, by continuity; from bulk and figure, as the parts of motion are never permanent, never co-exist. What speculations does this idea, simple as it is called, open, even while we consider it no further than as an object of sensation?
But we must not stop here, even while we consider it as physical. As such we shall find it connected with a body which moves; and as such, necessarily performed through space, and in time; so that these also, and their attributes of infinite and continuous, must be added to its theory, as so many necessary speculations.
We cannot therefore but observe, that if it be a simple idea, it is strangely complicated with a multitude of others; such
ι Χαλεπὸν λαβεῖν αὐτὴν (scil. κίνησιν) Tí OT: "It is hard to comprehend what it is:" so says the Stagirite, and gives his reasons, which we postpone for the present, that we may not anticipate. Phys. 1. iii. c. 2. p. 45. edit. Sylb.
a Κοινὰ δὲ, κίνησις, ἠρεμία, ἀριθμὸς, σχῆμα, μέγεθος· τὰ γὰρ τοιαῦτα οὐδεμιᾶς ἐστιν ἴδια (scil. αἰσθήσεως :) “The common objects of sensation are motion, rest, number, figure, bulk: for these are peculiar to no one sense." Arist. de Anima, l. ii. c. 6. p. 34. These common objects are well worthy of attention in explaining the
doctrine of the senses and sensation.
b See the beginning of the third book of Aristotle's Physics, ch. i. where being about to treat of motion, he shews with what
other subjects it is necessarily connected, such as continuous, infinite, place, time, &c., and where accordingly, after he has given us the opinions of his predecessors in philosophy concerning these subjects, he proceeds in due order to explain what he thinks himself. His words are, as they here follow: Δοκεῖ δ ̓ ἡ κίνησις εἶναι τῶν συνεχῶν· τὸ δ ̓ ἄπειρον ἐμφαίνεται εὐθὺς ἐν τῷ συνεχεῖ· διὸ καὶ τοῖς ὁριζομένοις τὸ συνεχές, συμβαίνει προσχρῆσθαι πολλάκις τῷ λόγῳ τῷ τοῦ ἀπείρου, ὡς εἰς ἄπειρον διαιρετὸν τὸ συνεχὲς ὄν. Πρὸς δὲ τούτοις ἄνευ τόπου, καὶ κενοῦ, καὶ χρόνου ἀδύνατον κίνησιν εἶναι: “Motion appears to be in the number of things continuous: now infinite immediately shews itself in that which is continuous; for which reason, when they
as space, time, infinitude, continuity, together with body, and its visible attributes both of quantity and of quality. But to proceed in our speculation.
That there are things existing in act, in reality, in actuality, (call it as you please,) we have the evidence both of our senses and of our internal consciousness; so that this is a matter of fact, which we take for granted. That there also are things. which actually and really are not, is equally evident as the former, and requires no proving. A Sphinx, for example, actually is not; a Centaur, actually is not; for these we may call phantoms, in the language of Lucretius:
Quæ neque sunt usquam, neque possunt esse profecto.
Lastly, every substance that actually is, by actually being that thing, actually is not any other. A piece of brass, for example, actually is not an oak; an acorn, not a vine; a grape-stone, not
There is a difference however here; I mean, a difference in the last mode of actually not being; for though the brass is no more a statue than it is an oak, yet has it a capacity to become the one, and none to become the other. The same may be said of the acorn, with respect to the oak; of the grape-stone, with respect to the vine. Were it not for this definite nature of capacity, which as much distinguishes the invisible powers, as actuality distinguishes the visible attributes, there would be no reason why an acorn should not produce a statue, as well as it produces an oak; or why any thing (to speak more generally) should not be able to produce any thing.d
What, then, if there were no capacity existing in the universe? Could there be generations, corruptions, growths, diminutions, aliations, or change of place? Impossible. But if these are all the species of physical motion, it follows, that without capacity there can be no such motions.
And is motion, then, for this reason, pure capacity, and that only? Let us examine. A man, being in Salisbury, has a capacity of travelling to London. Is he, therefore, for merely possessing such capacity, upon the road thither? He is not. Motion, therefore, though capacity, is not capacity alone: there
define continuous, they have often occasion to employ withal the character of infinite, inasmuch as continuity is that which is divisible to infinite. Add to this, without place, and vacuum, and time, it is impossible that motion should have existence." Physic. 1. iii. c. l.
< This last species of nonentity should be carefully attended to, as the doctrine of motion wholly depends upon it, and as it is so essentially distinguished both from the fantastic nonentities (the Sphinx, the Cen
taur, &c.) immediately preceding, and from that strongest of all nonentities, the nonentity of impossibility, such as that the diameter of the square should be commensurable with its sides, or that the same number should be both even and odd. See before, p. 362.
d This distinction of τὸ ἐντελεχείᾳ and Tò duvάue, "of that which is in actuality, and that which is in power," is the basis of all the Peripatetic reasoning upon this subject. See p. 333, &c. also p. 292, 3.
must be some degree of actuality, or else motion can never exist. Shall we, then, call it pure actuality? We cannot assert that, when we have made capacity one of its requisites. Besides, how should motion be seen in pure actuality; an actuality which never exists, till motion is at an end? A man surely can no more be called moving towards London, who is actually arrived there, than he who, possessing the capacity of going thither, forbears to exert any of his motive powers.
If motion, therefore, be neither capacity alone, nor actuality alone, and yet both (as it appears) are essential to it; it is in both we must look after it, as deriving its existence from both.
Such, in fact, it will appear; something more than dead capacity, something less than perfect actuality: capacity roused, and striving to quit its latent character: not the capable brass, nor yet the actual statue, but the capacity in energy; that is to say, the brass in fusion, while it is becoming the statue, and is not yet become. Thus, too, when a complexion is actually red, we say not that it reddens; much less do we assert so, while it remains perfectly pale; but as every pale complexion implies a capacity to become red, it is in the energy of this capacity exists the reddening, that is, the motion.
In the account of motion here given, we see the doctrine of the Peripatetics. The more ancient sects of Pythagoreans and Platonics, though they give different descriptions, seem to have deduced them all from the same principles. Thus, because whenever any thing is moved, it is some way or other diversified either in quantity or in quality, or at least in place; for this reason they called motion diversity. Again, because while opposite forces are equal, then is motion suspended, and revives not till inequality destroys the equilibrium; for this reason they called motion inequality. Again, because every thing which is moving is not, in some certain attributes, either what it was or what it will be; for this reason they called motion nonentity, not nonentity absolute, but with a peculiar reference.
All these descriptions of motion naturally flow from one source, and that is, from its indefinite and unascertainable appearance. Now the reason why it so appears, is, as we have said, because we cannot place it either in the simple capacity of things, or in the simple actuality. The bow, for example, moves not, because it may be bent; nor because it is bent; but the motion lies between; lies in an imperfect and obscure union of the two together; is the actuality (if I may so say) even of
eἜλεγον δὲ οἱ Πυθαγόρειοι τὴν κίνησιν εἶναι ἑτερότητα, καὶ ἀνισότητα, καὶ τὸ μὴ ov. Philop. in Physic. p. 144. For nonentity, see before, p. 365.
· Αἴτιον δὲ τοῦ εἰς ταῦτα τιθέναι αὐτοὺς
ὅτι ἀόριστόν τι δοκεῖ εἶναι ἡ κίνησις. Phys. p. 45. edit. Sylb.: “The cause of their placing motion among these things, is, that it appears to be something indefinite
capacity itself; imperfect and obscure, because such is capacity to which it belongs.
And so much for motion physical, its different species, and its general character. We are now to inquire concerning motion of another kind.
CONCERNING MOTION NOT-PHYSICAL. THIS MEANS METAPHYSICAL, AND WHY SO CALLED. SPONTANEITY-WANT-PERCEPTION, CONSCIOUSNESS, ANTICIPATION, PRECONCEPTION - - APPETITE, RESENTMENT, REASON. MOTION PHYSICAL AND METAPHYSICAL, HOW UNITED. DISCORD AND HARMONY OF THE INTERNAL PRINCIPLES-POWERS VEGETATIVE, ANIMAL, RATIONAL-IMMORTALITY. REST, ITS SEVERAL SPECIES. MOTION, TO WHAT PERCEPTIVE BEINGS IT APPERTAINS; TO WHAT NOT—AND WHENCE THE DIFFERENCE.
OUR contemplation hitherto may be called physical, because it is about physical motions that the whole has been employed, and it is from physical observations that the whole has been deduced. But he who stops here, has but half finished his work, if it be true that corporeal masses only move, because they are moved; and therefore cannot be considered as the original source of motion.
We have just before styled it, the energy of capacity; here, the actuality of capacity. These expressions are difficult, unless we attend to the manner in which they are used. The original Greek expresses the sentiment thus: 'H TOû duváμει ὄντος ἐντελέχεια, ᾗ τοιοῦτον, κίνησίς OT: "The energy of what exists in power, considered as so existing, is motion." Arist. Physic. 43. edit. Sylb. And soon after, p. 45, Тoû de doкeîv àópioтov εἶναι τὴν κίνησιν αἴτιον ὅτι οὔτε εἰς δύναμιν τῶν ὄντων, οὔτε εἰς ἐνέργειάν ἐστι θεῖναι αὐτὴν ἁπλῶς· οὔτε γὰρ τὸ δυνατὸν εἶναι ποσὸν κινεῖται ἐξ ἀνάγκης, οὔτε τὸ ἐνεργείᾳ ποσόν· ἥτε κίνησις ἐνέργεια μέν τις εἶναι δοκεῖ, ἀτελὴς δέ· αἴτιον δ ̓ ὅτι ἀτελὲς τὸ δυνατὸν οὗ ἐστιν ἐνέργεια κίνησις· καὶ διὰ τοῦτο δὴ χαλεπὸν αὐτὴν λαβεῖν τί ἐστίν· ἢ γὰρ εἰς στέρησιν ἀναγκαῖον θεῖναι, ἢ εἰς δύναμιν, ἢ εἰς ἐνέργειαν ἀπλῆν τούτων δ ̓ οὐθὲν φαίνεται ἐνδεχόμενον· λείπεται τοίνυν ὁ εἰρημένος τρόπος, ἐνέργειαν μέν τινα εἶναι, τοιαύτην δ ̓ ἐνέργειαν, οἵαν εἴπομεν, χαλεπὴν μὲν ἰδεῖν, ἐνδεχομένην δ ̓ elvai. Arist. Phys. 1. iii. c. 2.: "The reason why motion appears to be indefinite, is, that there is no placing it simply, either in the capacity of things, or in their energy: for neither is that necessarily moved which
is capable of becoming a certain quantity; nor that which is a certain quantity in energy and act. Indeed, the motion itself appears to be a certain sort of energy, but then it is an imperfect one; and the reason of this is, the capacity itself is imperfect, of which it is the energy. Hence, therefore, it becomes hard to comprehend its nature: for it is necessary to place it either in privation, or in capacity, or else in simple energy, and yet no one of these appears to be possible, The manner, therefore, which we have mentioned, is the only one remaining, which is, that it should be a peculiar sort of energy, and that such a one as we have described; hard to discern, and yet possible to exist.” Page 45, ut supra. edit. Sylb.
h Τὸ κινοῦν φυσικῶς, κινητόν· πᾶν γὰρ τὸ τοιοῦτον κινεῖ, κινούμενον καὶ αὐτό: “That which gives motion physically, is itself moveable: for every thing which gives motion in this manner, is moved also itself” And soon after, Τοῦτο δὲ ποιεῖ θίξει· ὥστε ἅμα καὶ πάσχει: “This (namely, the giving motion) it does by contact; so that at the same time (while it acts) it is acting upon." Aristot. Physic. 1. iii. c. 1. p. 44, 45. edit. Sylb.
When a boy carries about with him an insect in a box, we call not this motion the insect's motion as an animal, because a nut or a pebble would have moved in like manner. When the same boy, piercing a wing of this insect, makes it describe a circular motion round a pin or needle, even this cannot well be called the insect's motion; for its motion, as an animal, is not, like a planet, round a centre. So far however the motion differs from that in the box, that by being a mixed motion, the centrifugal part is the animal's own, the centripetal is extraneous. But if ever the wing detach itself, and the fortunate insect fly off; at that instant the mixture of extraneous is no more, and the motion thenceforward becomes properly and purely animal.
And what is it which gives the motion this proper and pure character? It is spontaneity, that pure and innate impulse arising from the animal itself, by which alone its flight is then produced and conducted.
And thus, while we pass from flying to innate and spontaneous impulse, that is to say, in other words, from flying to its cause, we pass also insensibly from motion physical to metaphysical; for metaphysics are properly conversant about primary and internal causes. We call not such impulse metaphysical, as if it were μετὰ τὴν φυσικὴν κίνησιν, “ something subsequent to natural motion," that is, to flying, (for this would set effect before cause, a preposterous order indeed;) but we call it metaphysical,* because though truly prior in itself, it is subsequent in man's contemplation, whose road of science is naturally upward, that is, from effect to cause, from sensible to intelligible.'
Spontaneous impulsem is to the insect the cause of flying; so it is to the dolphin, of swimming; to the man, of walking. But what is the cause of this impulse itself? And why do animals possess it, more than stocks or stones?
i Ἐοίκε δὴ τὸ βίαιον εἶναι, οὗ ἔξωθεν ἡ ἀρχὴ, μηδὲν συμβαλλομένου τοῦ βιασθένTOS: "That seems to be forced, or compelled, of which the principle or moving cause is from without, while the being compelled contributes nothing from itself." Ethic. Nic. 1. iii. c. 1. p. 37. edit. Sylb.
j Tò èkovσlov dóželev av elvai, où àрxù èv auTậ: "That should seem to be spontaneous, of which the principle or moving cause is in the being itself." Eth. Nic. 1. iii. c. 1. p. 38. edit. Sylb.
Philoponus, in a very few words, well explains the term metaphysical. Speaking of the first and supreme cause of all things, he adds, Пepl pèv ovv èkelvov eiñeiv, Ts πρώτης ἔστι φιλοσοφίας· θεολογίᾳ γὰρ οἰκεῖον, καὶ τῇ μετὰ τὰ φυσικὰ πραγματείᾳ. μᾶλλον δὲ πρὸ τῶν φυσικῶν, πρὸς ἡμᾶς γὰρ VσTEρа τà T púσει πрóтeρa: “To speak concerning this principle, is the business of
the first philosophy, for it is a subject belonging to theology, and to that speculation which is metaphysical, that is to say, subsequent to matters physical, or rather indeed it is a subject prior to matters physical, inasmuch as those things with regard to us are subsequent, which are by nature prior." Philop. in Aristot. de Gen. et Corr. p. 12. edit. Ald. Venet, 1527.
1 See Hermes, p. 119. See also p. 26, note; and of the present treatise, p. 350,
'Opuh. Diog. Laert. vii. 85. Una pars in appetitu posita est. Cic. de Offic. i. 28. Appetitionesque, quas illi ópuàs vocant, obedientes efficere rationi. De Offic. ii. 5. Animalia, quæe habent suos impetus et rerum appetitus. Ejusd. ii. 3. Naturalem enim appetitionem, quam vocant ὁρμὴν, itemque, &c. De Fin. iv. 14. Seneca uses the words, spontaneos motus. Epist. cxxi.