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ON THE SIGN ACCORDING TO ST.

THOMAS AQUINAS
(c) 2013 Bart A. Mazzetti

I. ON THE SIGN CONSIDERED IN ITSELF. 1. The definition of the sign. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 1, art. 1b, obj. 1 (taken from St. Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, Book II, ch. 1, n. 1):
A sign is a thing which, besides the species it brings into the senses [ praeter speciem quam ingerit sensibus], makes something other than itself come into knowledge.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 1, art. 1b, ad 5 (tr. B.A.M.):
To the fifth it must be said that sign, considered in itself, implies something manifest to us by which we are led by the hand [maniducimur] to knowledge of something hidden.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 1, art. 1b, c. (tr. B.A.M.):
To the second question it must be said that, as has been said, sign implies something known to us by which we are led by the hand to knowledge of another thing. But the things first known to us are things falling under the senses, from which all our knowledge has its rise, and so sign as regards its first institution signifies some sensible thing according as by it we are led by the hand to knowledge of something hidden; and in this way the Master takes sign here. But it sometimes happens that something more known to us, even if it is not a thing falling under the senses, as if by a secondary signification is called a signas the Philosopher says in the second book of the Nicomachean Ethics (ch. 2, 1104b 4) that a sign of a habit engendered in us should be the pleasure the doer takes in the work , which is not a sensible pleasure, since it belongs to reason.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., IIIa, q. 60, a. 4, ad 1 (tr. unknown):
To the first, therefore, it must be said that each thing is principally denominated and defined according to that which belongs to it primarily and through itself [ primo et per se], but not by that which belongs to it through something else [ per aliud]. But a sensible effect has through itself [the power] to lead to the knowledge of another thing as if [ quasi] becoming known to man primarily and through itself, because all our knowledge has its beginning from sense. But intelligible effects do not have the power [ non habent quod possint] to lead to knowledge of something else except insofar as they are manifested through something elsethat is, through certain sensibles. And so it is that first and principally are called signs things which are offered to the senses, as Augustine says in the second book of On Christian Doctrine (ch. 1, n. 1), that a sign is that which, besides the species it brings into the senses, makes something other come into knowledge . But intelligible effects do not have the character of a sign [ rationem signi] except insofar as they are manifested through certain signs. And by this mode certain things which are not sensible are also in some way called sacraments, insofar as they are signified by certain sensibles, which will be treated below.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Qu. Disp. De Veritate, q. 9, a. 4, ad 4 (tr. B.A.M.):


To the fourth it must be said that something cannot be called a sign, properly speaking, unless from it one come into knowledge of another thing, as by discoursing. And according to this, there is no sign among the angels since their knowledge is not discursive, as has been

established in the preceding question. And on account of this, also among us signs are sensible, since our knowledge, which is discursive, arises from sensible things. But commonly we may call a sign anything known in which something [else] 1 is known, and in this respect an intelligible species can be called the sign of a thing which is known through it.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Sent., dist. 1, q. 4, art. 2, ex. (tr. B.A.M.):
To [the preceding objection] it must be said that this division [sc. of signs and things] is not given through opposite things, but through opposite accounts according to absolute and relative. For a sign is what has been instituted in order to signify something [ signum enim est quod est institutum ad aliquid significandum]; but a thing is what has absolute signification not related to something else. And so it is not unfitting that the same thing be a sign and a thing in respect of diverse things, as the same [man] is a father as well as a son.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., III, q. 6, art. 4, c. (tr. B.A.M.):
But a sign is that by means of which someone arrives at knowledge of another thing [signum autem est per quod aliquis devenit in cognitionem alterius ].

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., IIIa, q. 60, art. 4 (tr. English Dominican Fathers):
Article 4. Whether a sacrament is always something sensible? Objection 1: It seems that a sacrament is not always something sensible. Because, according to the Philosopher (Prior. Anal. ii), every effect is a sign of its cause. But just as there are some sensible effects, so are there some intelligible effects; thus science is the effect of a demonstration. Therefore not every sign is sensible. Now all that is required for a sacrament is something that is a sign of some sacred thing, inasmuch as thereby man is sanctified, as stated above (A[2]). Therefore something sensible is not required for a sacrament. Objection 2: Further, sacraments belong to the kingdom of God and the Divine worship. But sensible things do not seem to belong to the Divine worship: for we are told (Jn. 4:24) that God is a spirit; and they that adore Him, must adore Him in spirit and in truth; and (Rom. 14:17) that the kingdom of God is not meat and drink. Therefore sensible things are not required for the sacraments. Objection 3: Further. Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. ii) that sensible things are goods of least account, since without them man can live aright. But the sacraments are necessary for mans salvation, as we shall show farther on (Q[61], A[1]): so that man cannot live aright without them. Therefore sensible things are not required for the sacraments. On the contrary, Augustine says (Tract. lxxx super Joan.): The word is added to the element and this becomes a sacrament; and he is speaking there of water which is a sensible element. Therefore sensible things are required for the sacraments. I answer that, Divine wisdom provides for each thing according to its mode; hence it is written (Wis. 8:1) that she . . . ordereth all things sweetly: wherefore also we are told (Mat. 25:15) that she gave to everyone according to his proper ability. Now it is part of mans nature to acquire knowledge of the intelligible from the sensible. But a sign is that by means of which one attains to the knowledge of something else. Consequently, since the sacred things which are signified by the sacraments, are the spiritual and intelligible goods by
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Reading aliud for Busas aliquid, as is required by the sense.

means of which man is sanctified, it follows that the sacramental signs consist in sensible things: just as in the Divine Scriptures spiritual things are set before us under the guise of things sensible. And hence it is that sensible things are required for the sacraments; as Dionysius also proves in his book on the heavenly hierarchy ( Coel. Hier. i). Reply to Objection 1: The name and definition of a thing is taken principally from that which belongs to a thing primarily and essentially: and not from that which belongs to it through something else. Now a sensible effect being the primary and direct object of mans knowledge (since all our knowledge springs from the senses) by its very nature leads to the knowledge of something else: whereas intelligible effects are not such as to be able to lead us to the knowledge of something else, except in so far as they are manifested by some other thing, i.e. by certain sensibles. It is for this reason that the name sign is given primarily and principally to things which are offered to the senses; hence Augustine says ( De Doctr. Christ. ii) that a sign is that which conveys something else to the mind, besides the species which it impresses on the senses. But intelligible effects do not partake of the nature of a sign except in so far as they are pointed out by certain signs. And in this way, too, certain things which are not sensible are termed sacraments as it were, in so far as they are signified by certain sensible things, of which we shall treat further on (Q[63], A[1], ad 2; A[3], ad 2; Q[73], A[6]; Q[74], A[1], ad 3). Reply to Objection 2: Sensible things considered in their own nature do not belong to the worship or kingdom of God: but considered only as signs of spiritual things in which the kingdom of God consists. Reply to Objection 3: Augustine speaks there of sensible things, considered in their nature; but not as employed to signify spiritual things, which are the highest goods.

2. A definition equivalent to that of sign, commonly speaking. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentes, III, cap. 2, n. 7 (tr. B.A.M.):
A medium through the knowledge of which we arrive at knowledge of another thing [medio per cuius cognitionem devenimus in cognitionem alterius ].

3. On priority and posteriority in the character of the sign. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Qu. Disp. De Veritate, q. 4, art. 1, obj. 7, ad 7 (tr. B.A.M.):
obj. 7. Further, the more an effect is posterior, the more it has the character of a sign, just as wine is the final cause of the barrel, and finally of the hoop, which is hung up in order to designate it [sc. the wine]and so the hoop especially has the character of a sign. But the word which exists in vocal sound is the latest effect coming from the intellect. Therefore the character of a sign [ratio signi] belongs to it more than to the concept of the mind, and likewise the character of a word, which is imposed from manifestation. But everything which is in bodily things before spiritual things is not properly said of God. Therefore word is not properly said of God. <> ad 7. To the seventh it must be said that the character of a sign belongs to an effect before it belongs to a cause when the cause is the cause of the being of the effect, but not of its signifying, as happens in the example proposed. But when an effect has from a cause not

only that it is, but that it signify, then, just as the cause is prior to the effect in being, so it is in signifyingand so the interior word has the character of signification and of manifesttation before the exterior word does, the reason being that the exterior word is not established in order to signify except through the interior word.

4. On the difference between things signifying naturally and things signifying by institution. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Peri Herm., lect. 2, n. 8 (tr. B.A.M.):
Then when he says, And just as letters are not the same for all , etc., he shows the difference between the aforesaid things signifying and things signified with respect to this, that they either are or are not according to nature. And with respect to this he does three things. First, he puts down a sign by which it is made clear that neither vocal sounds nor letters signify naturally. For things which signify naturally are the same among all men. But the signification of letters and of vocal sounds, about which we now treat, are not the same among all men. But this was never in doubt among men with regard to letters, of which not only the rationale of signifying is from an imposition, but even their very formation is by art. But vocal sounds are formed naturally, and so among some men there was a doubt as to whether they signify naturally. But Aristotle determines here from the similar case of letters, which are not the same among all men, that so neither are vocal sounds. And so it clearly remains that just as neither do letters so neither do vocal sounds signify naturally, but by human institution. But vocal sounds which do signify naturally, like the groans of the sick and other such things, are the same among all men.

5. That the passions of the soul, insofar as they are likenesses of things, designate them naturally (that is, they are their natural signs). Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, In I Peri Herm., lect. 2, n. 9 (tr. B.A.M.):
Second, at but [the passions of the soul,] of which , etc., he shows that the passions of the soul exist naturally, as do things, from the fact that they are the same for all. And so he says, but [the passions of the soul,] of whichthat is, just as the passions of the soul are the same for all, of which firstthat is, of which passions firstthese, namely vocal sounds, are the tokensthat is, signs(for the passions of the soul are compared to vocal sounds as first to second: for vocal sounds are not uttered except in order to express the interior passions of the soul), so also the thingsare the same , namely, among all, of whichthat is, of which thingsthese, namely, passions of the soul, are likenesses. It should be observed here that he called letters tokensthat is, signsof vocal sounds and similarly vocal sounds [signs] of the passions of the soul; but passions of the soul he says are likenesses of things: and this is so because things are not known by the soul except by means of some likeness existing either in the sense or in the intellect. But letters are signs of vocal sounds, and vocal sounds of passions, which is not taken account of there by any rationale of likeness, but only by a rationale of institution, as is the case with many other signs, as the trumpet is a sign of war. But in the passions of the soul account must be taken of the rationale of likeness for expressing things, since they designate them naturally [naturaliter eas designant], not by institution.

6. Note on the meaning of first in the foregoing text.

With respect to St. Thomas understanding of Aristotles meaning of first here, the reader will note that he rightly takes Aristotle to be describing the passions of the soul as first in comparison to vocal sounds because the latter are not uttered except in order to express the interior passions of the soul. Consider, in this regard, the following schema: those that are written those that are in vocal sound the passions of the soul are tokens of are tokens of are things likenesses of The order here is as follows: (1) first there are things; then (2), there are the passions of the soul, which are likenesses of things; then (3), there are vocal signs signifying things (and doing so by means of the passions of the soul, of which they are the likeness); and finally (4), there are written signs signifying vocal signs. Now if, by saying but the passions of the soul, of which these are first the signs, Aristotle has in mind the signification of vocal sounds in reference to those that are written, it follows that those that are in vocal sound are first the signs of the passions of the soul, since nothing comes between the two; whereas those that are written can signify the souls passions only insofar as the written marks or letters are the signs of those which are in vocal sound, and so come second. But if Aristotle has in mind the signification of vocal sounds with regard to things (and this is the more likely case inasmuch as the relation of the signification of vocal sounds to things is of greater moment than the relation of that signification to written words); then, since spoken words signify the passions of the soul immediately, but the things of which these passions are the likenesses only by the mediation of our thoughts about them, it follows that vocal sounds are first the signs of the passions of the soul, as St. Thomas says, and would secondarily be the signs of things. 7. On an apparent contradiction in the foregoing texts. According to the text from the Summa Theologiae (IIIa, q. 60, a. 4, ad 1), the ratio signi, or character of a sign, first belongs to the sensible sign, since
each thing is principally denominated and defined according to that which belongs to it primarily and through itself [primo et per se], but not by that which belongs to it through something else [per aliud]. But a sensible effect has through itself [the power] to lead to the knowledge of another thing as if [ quasi] becoming known to man primarily and through itself, because all our knowledge has its beginning from sense .

But according to the text from the De Veritate (q. 4, art. 1, ad 7),
the character of a sign first belongs to the interior word because when an effect has from a cause not only that it is, but that it signify, then, just as the cause is prior to the effect in being, so it is in signifyingand so the interior word has the character of signification and of manifestation before the exterior word does, the reason being that the exterior word is not established in order to signify except through the interior word.

The first thing to notice here is that in the first text, ratio signi can only mean the ratio propria of the sign, whereas in the second text, ratio signi, inasmuch as it applies to the interior word or concept, can only mean the ratio communis, since, properly speaking, a sign includes the note of being perceptible to the senses, but the concept is imperceptible. The doctrine of St. Thomas needed to reconcile the competing claims of the foregoing passages may be gathered from the following text:
[I]t must be understood that bodily things are carried over to the spiritual by a certain likeness, which is in fact a likeness of proportionability. And this likeness must be reduced to some community of univocity or analogy; and this is the case in the point at issue: For that is called light in spiritual things that stands to intellectual manifestation in the same way as bodily light stands to sensible manifestation. But manifestation is more truly found in spiritual things. And with respect to this, what Augustine says is true, that light is more truly in spiritual things than in the bodily, not according to the proper account of light [ propriam rationem lucis], but according to the account of manifestation, as it is said in the Canonical Epistle of John,2 that all that is made manifest is light . (In II Sent., dist. 13, q. 1, art. 2, c., tr. B.A.M.)

Now just as light is more truly in spiritual things than in the bodily, not according to the proper account of light, but according to the account of manifestation (the latter being common to both spiritual and bodily light), so also sign is more truly in the interior word, not according to its ratio propria, but according to the ratio communis signi, which is anything known in which something else is known, and this is so for the reason St. Thomas gives in the De Veritate text, namely, that the exterior word is not established in order to signify except through the interior word, and so the latter must have the character of a sign before the former, just as any cause must first possess whatever it gives to its effect. But according to its ratio propria, sign is first found in sensible things, since all our knowledge has its beginning from sense, and we name things as we know them; and in this way the character of a sign is in the exterior word, which is something sensible, before it is in the interior word, which is not. 8. That being prior or posterior in nature is indifferent to the ratio signi. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, De Veritate, q. 9, art. 4, ad 5. (tr. B.A.M.):
To the fifth it must be said that although in natural things, the effects of which are more known to us than [their] causes, a sign is that which is posterior in nature; still, that it be prior or posterior in nature does not belong to the character of the sign properly taken, but only that it be foreknown to us [ nobis praecognitum]. And so sometimes we take effects as signs of causes, as the pulse is a sign of health; but sometimes causes as signs of effects, as the dispositions of the heavenly bodies are signs of storms and rains. 3

9. Note on the foregoing.

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In fact, the text is Ephesians 5:13. Cf. In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 1, art. 1b, ad 5: And since, as is frequently the case, effects are more manifest to us than causes, therefore sometimes sign is divided against cause. But sometimes the cause is manifest to us, as falling under the sense, but the effect is hidden, as if it were expected in the futureand then nothing prevents a cause from being called a sign of its effect. (tr. B.A.M.)

In the text just cited, St. Thomas presents a single opposition between effects taken as signs of causes and causes taken as signs of effects, but he also recognized a third possibility, as may be seen from the following text:
For every bodily sign is either an effect of that of which it is the sign, as smoke signifies fire, by which it is caused, or it proceeds from the same cause and so, while it signifies the cause, as a consequence it signifies the effect, as a rainbow sometimes signifies fair weather, inasmuch as its cause is the cause of fair weather. ( Summa Theol., IIa-IIae, q. 95, art. 5, c., tr. B.A.M.)

In sum, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, some effects are signs of their causes, as smoke is a sign of fire; but some causes are signs of their effects, as the dispositions of the heavenly bodies are signs of storms and rains; but some effects are signs of other effects, which happens when they proceed from the same cause, and so while signifying the cause, as a consequence they signify the effect, as does the rainbow, which at times is taken as the sign of fair weather, inasmuch as the same thing which causes the rainbow causes fair weather. Another example of this third case is the barometer, which indicates atmospheric pressure and, as a consequence, gives a sign of the likelihood of precipitation. 10. On the relation of sign to cause. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, In II Sent., dist. 15, q. 1, art. 2, ad 1 (tr. B.A.M.):
To the first it must be said that it sometimes happens that the same thing is a sign and a cause: a cause inasmuch as it acts to bring about an effect; a sign inasmuch as the thing represented to the senses leads to knowledge of the effect.

11. That every sign relation requires a foundation. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., IIIa, q. 63, art. 2, obj. 3-4, ad 3-4 (tr. English Dominican Fathers):
Objection 3. Further, character is defined by some thus: A character is a holy sign of the communion of faith and of the holy ordination conferred by a hierarch. Now a sign is in the genus of relation, not of power. Therefore a character is not a spiritual power. Objection 4. Further, a power is in the nature of a cause and principle (Metaph. v). But a sign which is set down in the definition of a character is rather in the nature of an effect. Therefore a character is not a spiritual power. Reply to Objection 3. The relation signified by the word sign must needs have some foundation. Now the relation signified by this sign which is a character, cannot be founded immediately on the essence of the soul: because then it would belong to every soul naturally. Consequently, there must be something in the soul on which such a relation is founded. And it is in this that a character essentially consists. Therefore it need not be in the genus relation as some have held. Reply to Objection 4. A character is in the nature of a sign in comparison to the sensible sacrament by which it is imprinted. But considered in itself, it is in the nature of a principle, in the way already explained.

12. On the two ways in which something signifies. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Qu. Disp. de Pot., q. 9, art. 4, c. (tr. B.A.M.):
But it must be understood that something signifies in two ways: in one way formally, and in another way materially. Formally, in fact, is signified by the name that for which the name is principally imposed in order to signify [ ad id quod significandum nomen est principaliter impositum], which is the ratio of [or the account lying behind] the name, just as the name man signifies something composed of a body and a rational soul. But materially is signified by the name that by which such a ratio is preserved [salvatur], just as the name man signifies something having a heart and a brain and parts of this sort, without which there cannot be a body animated by a rational soul.

13. On the relation of discourse to human and angelic knowledge. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Ia, q. 58, art. 3, ad 1 (tr. B.A.M.):
To the first it must be said that discourse names a certain movement. But every movement is from one thing coming before to something else coming after. And so discursive knowledge is observed according as from something known before one arrives at knowledge of another thing known after, which was previously unknown. 4 But if in one thing perceived [inspecto] something else were perceived, as in a mirror an image of a thing and the thing are perceived at the same time [simul],5 for this reason the knowledge is not discursive. And in this way angels know things in the Word.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Ia, q. 58, art. 3, c. (tr. B.A.M.):
And so the lower intellects, namely, of men, attain perfection in knowledge of the truth by means of a certain movement and discourse of intellectual activity, namely, when they proceed from one known thing to something else known. But if from the knowledge of a known principle they were at once to perceive as known all the consequent conclusions, in them discourse would have no place. And this is the case with angels, because in those things which they first know naturally they perceive all things whatsoever that can be known in them.

14. On the ratio signi. As regards the primary institution and secondary signification of signum. As St. Thomas teaches, sign implies something known to us by which we are led by the hand to knowledge of another thing. But the things first known to us are things falling under the senses, from which all our knowledge has its rise, and so a sign as regards its first institution signifies some sensible thing according as by it we are led by the hand to knowledge of something hidden. But it sometimes happens that something more known to us, even if it is not a thing falling under the senses, as if by a secondary signification is called a sign (In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 1, art. 1b, c., tr. B.A.M.).
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Cf. S.Th., Ia, q. 58, art. 3, obj. 1: For a discourse of the intellect is taken into account according to this, that one thing is known through something else. 5 Cf. ibid., Ia, q, 12, art. 9, sed contra.: By one species the mirror is seen, and the things which appear in the mirror. Cf. also Ia. q. 12, art. 4, obj.1: But each thing is seen when its mirror image (speculum) is seen.

As regards the proper and common accounts of signum. In human knowledge there is something known in which something else is known, as in discoursing, which necessarily takes place by means of things perceptible to the senses, since all our knowledge takes its beginning from sense (= the proper account of signum). In angelic knowledge there is something known in which something else is known without any discourse, as when a thing is seen in a mirror, 6 the thing and its image are seen simultaneously by a single species without any movement from the image to the thing (= the common account of signum). 15. Definitions of sign according to St. Thomas Aquinas. COMMONLY SPEAKING. (1) Commonly, we may call a sign anything known in which something else is known;7 (2) not first and principally, but as if by a secondary signification, we may call a sign something more known to us which, as not falling under the senses, has the power to lead to knowledge of another thing, not primarily and through itself, but only through something else, such as an intelligible effect, which requires something sensible in order to be manifested to us; 8 (3) a medium through the knowledge of which we arrive at knowledge of another thing;9 (4) said with respect to the intelligible species of an angel, an intelligible effect known primarily and through itself, and so having the power to lead to knowledge of something else; such an effect being one in which its cause is seen, inasmuch as a likeness of the cause results in the effect, 10 and hence not involving discourse;11 (5) said with respect to an image reflected in a mirror, a sensible effect known primarily and through itself, and so having the power to lead to knowledge of something else; such an effect being one in which its cause is seen, inasmuch as a likeness of the cause results in the effect, and hence not involving discourse; what is known being derived, not immediately from the known thing itself, but from a likeness of the thing resultant in the mirror.12

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I treat the case of a mirror at length in sec. II below. Communiter possumus signum dicere quodcumque notum in quo aliud cognoscatur. (idem, Lat. rev.) 8 Cf. In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 1, art. 1b, c., but worded by B.A.M. (as are the fourth and fifth definitions). 9 Medio per cuius cognitionem devenimus in cognitionem alterius . (SCG, III, cap. 2, n. 7. N.B. Though not applied, this definition is nevertheless applicable to sign, commonly speaking. Cf. the following: signum autem est per quod aliquis devenit in cognitionem alterius , But a sign is that by means of which someone arrives at knowledge of another thing (St. Thomas Aquinas, S.Th., III, q. 6, art. 4, c.). 10 Cf. De Ver., q. 9, art. 4, ad 4. For this last differentia, cf. SCG, III, cap. 49, n. 3, where St. Thomas goes on to say that in the effect itself the cause may be seen, as a man is seen in a mirror on account of his likeness; but the way in which a man is seen in a mirror is proportional to the way in which an angel knows things in the intelligible species, as St. Thomas explains in many places. 11 Cf. S.Th., Ia, q. 58, art. 3, ad 1: Discourse names a certain movement. But every movement is from one thing coming before to something else coming after. And so discursive knowledge is observed according as from something known before one arrives at knowledge of another thing known after, which was previously unknown. But if in one thing perceived ( inspecto) something else were perceived, as in a mirror an image of a thing and the thing are perceived at the same time ( simul), for this reason the knowledge is not discursive. And in this way angels know things in the Word. (tr. B.A.M.) 12 Cf. De Ver., op. cit. For the last part of the definition, cf. Super I ad Corinthos, cap. 13, lect. 4.

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PROPERLY SPEAKING. (1) A sign is a thing which, besides the species it brings into the senses, makes something other than itself come into knowledge; 13 (2) sign, considered in itself, implies something manifest to us by which we are led by the hand to knowledge of something hidden;14 (3) sign implies something known to us by which we are led by the hand to knowledge of another thing;15 (4) sign as regards its first institution signifies some sensible thing according as by it we are led by the hand to knowledge of something hidden;16 (5) something cannot be called a sign, properly speaking, unless from it one come into knowledge of another thing, as in discoursing.17 SAID QUASI TRANSUMPTIVE. Sign is said as it were transumptively when in its proper acceptation it is said of anything more known simply ( notiora simpliciter) which leads to knowledge of another thing, such as the speech of the angels.18 16. Notes belonging to the ratio signi. As regards its first institution. some sensible thing according as by it we are led by the hand to knowledge of something hidden As manifesting the proper account of signum. a thing which besides the species it brings into the senses makes come into knowledge something other than itself a thing from which one comes into knowledge of something else as in discoursing As manifesting the common account of signum.
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Signum est res praeter speciem quam ingerit sensibus, aliquid aliud ex se faciens in cognitionem venire . (In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 1, art. 1b, obj. 1, taken from St. Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, Book II, ch. 1, n. 1). St. Augustine also defines the sign as a thing which shows itself to the senses, and something besides itself to the mind (signum est quod et se ipsum sensui et praeter se aliquid animo ostendit , De Dialectica, cap. 5, tr. B.A.M.) 14 Signum, quantum est in se, importat aliquid manifestum quoad nos, quo manuducimur in cognitionem alicujus occulti. (In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 1, art. 1b, ad 5) 15 Signum importat aliquod notum quoad nos, quo manuducimur in alterius cognitionem . (In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 1, art. 1b, c.) 16 Signum quantum ad primam sui institutionem significat aliquam rem sensibilem, prout per eam manuducimur in cognitionem alicujus occulti. (idem) 17 Signum, proprie loquendo, non potest dici nisi aliquid ex quo deveniatur in cognitionem alterius quasi discurrendo. (De Veritate, q. 9, a. 4, ad 4) A related definition of the sign is the following: But a sign is that by means of which someone arrives at knowledge of another thing ( signum autem est per quod aliquis devenit in cognitionem alterius). (S.Th., III, q. 6, art. 4, c.) 18 Cf. In IV Sent., dist. 1, q. 1, art. 1b, ad 3, but worded by B.A.M.

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something known in which something else is known not as in discoursing (the intelligible species of an angel being something known in which everything that can be known through it is immediately known) As manifesting what is first and principally called signum as opposed to what is not. something known to us (something manifest to us) through itself and primarily (= what is first and principally called signum) through something else and secondarily (= what is secondarily called signum) by which we are led by the hand to knowledge of another thing (of something hidden) As manifesting the primary signification of signum. something first known to us (something more known to us) as falling under the senses As manifesting the secondary signification of signum. something not first known to us (not something more known in itself) and so not as falling under the senses (such as an intelligible effect) Said as it were transumptively. sign said according to its ratio propria of anything more known simply which leads to knowledge of another thing 17. An outline of alternatives belonging to sign taking into account the case of the mirror. If something is known: It is either something known in which something else is known or not. If it is something known in which something else is known: It is either known primarily and through itself (primo et per se) or not. If not, it is known through something else (per aliud). It is either perceptible to the senses or not. It either involves discourse or not (discourse being a movement from something known before to something else known after).

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If not, it is an effect in which its cause is seen. Sign properly speaking (which pertains to men): something known in which something else is known what is foreknown being known primarily and through itself for which reason it is perceptible to the senses and hence involving discourse 18. Sign commonly speaking: In men: something known in which something else is known what is foreknown being known not primarily and through itself but through something else being an intelligible effect needing something sensible to be manifested to us and hence involving discourse In angels: something known in which something else is known what is foreknown being known primarily and through itself being an intelligible effect in which its cause is seen, inasmuch as a likeness of the cause results in the effect and hence not involving discourse In the case of the mirror: something known in which something else is known what is foreknown being known primarily and through itself being a sensible effect in which its cause is seen, inasmuch as a likeness of the cause results in the effect and hence not involving discourse 19. Three ways in which something may be said transumptively. 1. As something physical is said of God. 2. As we are wont to say, this is the word I have said, or (this is the word) which the king has commanded, when something done is demonstrated which is signified or simply enunciated by the word, or even commanded. 3. As the generic part of the definition is let fall19

19

N.B. On this matter, see my separate discussion of properly and commonly speaking in The Opening of Genesis. Preliminaries I: The Mode of the Narrative (Exegetical Principles I), sec. II, n. 5.

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20. On light said properly and commonly. Properly speaking, light is that which manifests (makes something manifest) to the power of sight. Commonly speaking, light is that which manifests (makes something manifest) to any knowing power. 21. A division of the sign with respect to causes and effects. 1. Effects taken as signs of their causes. (The sign is posterior in nature.) 2. Causes taken as signs of their effects. (The sign is prior in nature.) 3. Effects taken as signs of other effects. which are more known to us which are more known simply something known which makes something other than itself come into knowledge something which, without itself being known, makes something other than itself come into knowledge as the light under which what is seen is seen the form by which what is seen is seen only the latter is called a sign 22. On representation.20 To represent something is to manifest it or to produce knowledge of it by means of a form. (cf. In I Sent., dist, 15, q. 4, art. 1, ad 1, tr. B.A.M.) to represent by a trace by an image to represent is to cause a things form or the likeness of its form to exist in a knowing power to represent to stand in place of (another) to signify the representer the vicegerent the sign 23. A division of sign by William of Ockham.
20

On this subject see also the paper linked in the preceding footnote.

14

Cf. William of Occam, Summa Totius Logic, I, i, trans. Philotheus Boehner, O.F.M., Philosophical Writings of Occam, p. 49:
For the sake of quibblers, however, it should be noted that sign can assume two meanings. In one sense it means anything which, when apprehended, makes us know something else; but it does not make us know something for the first time, as has been shown elsewhere; it only makes us know something actually which we already know habitually. In this manner, a word is a natural sign, and indeed any effect is a sign at least of its cause. And in this way also a barrel-hoop signifies the wine in the inn. Here, however, I am not speaking of sign in such a general meaning. In another sense, sign means that which makes us know something else, and either is able itself to stand for it, or can be added in a proposition to what is able to stand for something such are the syncategorematic words and the verbs and the other parts of a proposition which have no definite signification or is such as to be composed of things of this sort, e.g., a sentence.

N.B. Note that this is not a true division of sign, since the second member includes the first: categorematic words come under the first meaning Occam gives. But the latter division is helpful, since it brings out the difference between signs and co-signs. Cf. Notebooks, Semiotics 04 Mar 2004 11:33:21
A word or two should probably be said here about the distinction between signs like words or turn signals, and signs in the sense in which black clouds are a sign of rain, or something large, mean and toothy looking in your direction is a sign of danger. For the sake of quibblers, however, it should be noted that sign can assume two meanings. In one sense it means anything which, when apprehended, makes us know something else; but it does not make us know something for the first time, as has been shown elsewhere; it only makes us know something actually which we already know habitually. In this manner, a word is a natural sign, and indeed any effect is a sign at least of its cause. And in this way also a barrel-hoop signifies the wine in the inn. Here, however, I am not speaking of sign in such a general meaning. In another sense, sign means that which makes us know something else, and either is able itself to stand for it, or can be added in a proposition to what is able to stand for something such are the syncategorematic words and the verbs and the other parts of a proposition which have no definite signification or is such at to be composed of things of this sort, e.g., a sentence. William of Occam, Summa Totius Logic, I, i, trans. Philotheus Boehner, O.F.M., Philosophical Writings of Occam, p. 49. (Syncategorematic words are, roughly, those which give the sentence its form, or logical constants but, if, and, every, some, however, etc.).

N.B. On the subject of categorematic and syncategorematic words, see my paper, The Peripatetic Tradition on the Place of the Conjunction among the Parts of Speech (Papers in Poetics 10)

21

(http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/notebooks/semiotics.html [11/28/05])

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24. Supplement: Msgr. Maurice Dionne on the sign. Cf. Msgr. Maurice Dionne, The Problem of Analogy, pp. 11-12:22
II. THE ANALOGOUS AND THE ORDER WHICH IT INVOLVES A. TWO WAYS OF UNDERSTANDING PER PRIUS A point however to which it is necessary to pay close attention is that in analogy the per prius can be understood in two ways: either as regards us, secundum rationem nominis, or quantum ad rem nominis. If one asked us, for example, if the names which are common to God and to the creature, like science and wisdom, are verified at first of God or of us. Our science involves discourse, as well as involving distinct knowledge of the proper cause, in the case of demonstration propter quid. If, furthermore, one makes the comparison, one discovers that what man knows, the separated substance knows still better, and God, moreover, infinitely better. But if one tries to describe what is found in God, it will be necessary to let discourse fall, and other things as well. However, quantum ad rem nominis, science is said of God at first, even if secundum rationem nominis, to wit, according to the imposition <of the name>, science is said at first quoad nos. It is finally the things which we name; to be sure, the name signifies my concept, but my concept is the likeness of the thing. St. Thomas next applies this distinction to the problem of fatherhood in God and in creatures: He says next that the fatherhood which one finds in the creature, if one compares it to the divine fatherhood, est quasi nominalis seu vocalis. This does not mean to say that fatherhood amongst us is not veritable, but that is said in order to manifest the infinite distance between our fatherhood and the divine fatherhood. Ordinarily, however, the per prius will be said of the quoad nos. Thus, although poetry is a more noble art than that of house-building, it will never be called art per prius. Its that the ratio artis is applied less perfectly there. They are two levels altogether different: the ratio nominis on the one hand, the res nominis on the other.

2. On the meaning of signum and the ratio of proprie loquendi. Cf. Msgr. Maurice Dionne, The Problem of Analogy, pp. 18-21:
a) St. Thomas in front of the word sign. The very strong understanding of St. Thomas knew how to judge about an analogous word. Thus in the Sentences, with respect to the word sign, St. Thomas faces the following objection: It seems that sign is badly defined, when it is said that a sign is that which, beyond the species which it brings into the senses, form itself makes something else come into knowledge. [Def. of St. Augustine, II De Doctrina Christiana, ch. 1, n. 1] According to the Philosopher, in the Prior Analytics, every effect can be a sign of its cause. But certain effects are spiritual, which bring no species into the senses. (IV Sent. D. I, q. 1, a. 1, obj. 2 of 2nd grp.) St. Augustines definition would be bad, since one cannot disassociate sensible from sign as such according to the definition. Lets see St. Thomas reply:
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Lectures given in 1977-1978 transcribed by his students.

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sign imports something known to us ( quoad nos), by which we are led as by the hand (manuducimur) to the knowledge of another thing. But the things first known to us are the things falling under the sense, from which all our knowledge has its origin. And therefore sign, as regards its first institution, signifies some sensible thing, insofar as through it we are led (manuducimur) to the knowledge of something hidden. But it sometimes happens that something more known to us, even if it is not a thing falling under the sense, may be called a sign, as if by a secondary signification ( quasi secondaria); as the Philosopher says in Ethics II [1104b 4], that the sign of a habit engendered in us should be taken [to be] the pleasure in the act, which is not sensible pleasure, since it is of reason. (ibid. ad 2m q.) Notice this very interesting expression: institution of a word. The word is formed from an act of understanding which one can call impositio, but also institutio. From the fact that the word once formed possesses a certain permanence, something like an institution is involved. When the word is instituted for the first time, when such a sound of voice is destined by the practical intelligence to signify such a reality, one will speak of primam sui institutionem. When the word acquires a second signification, it becomes analogous. Thus the word sign, when it no longer designates something sensible, it is not employed in its first sense but in its second sense. For example, when Aristotle says about pleasure that it is the sign of an engendered habit, the word sign is taken in the second sense. In fact, the pleasure which follows upon the possession of the habit does not fall under the external sense; one experiences it in oneself. It cannot then be a matter of a first sense, since the notion of sign is too much bound to the manifest, to that which is first manifest, namely, the sensible. This does not exclude, however, calling what is not sensible a sign, on condition, however, that it always involve a praecognitum and a notum. Thus, the pleasure of which Aristotle speaks is more known than the habitus; otherwise, it absolutely could not be a sign of it. One finds the same doctrine again in the Summa Theologiae, IIIa, q. 60, a. 4, ad 1. There, St. Thomas puts to himself this truly theological question: Is a sacrament always a sensible thing? Here is the first objection: According to the Philosopher in the Prior Analytics [70a 8], every effect is a sign of its cause. But just as there are certain sensible effects, so also there are certain intelligible effects, just as science in the effect of demonstration. Therefore, not every sign is sensible. And here is the reply: Each thing is principally denominated and defined according to that which belongs to it primo et per se, but not by that which belongs to it per aliud. But a sensible effect has per se [the power] to lead to the knowledge of something else as if [ quasi] becoming known to man primo et per se, because all our knowledge has its beginning from sense. But intelligible effects do not have the power [ non habent quod possint] to lead to knowledge of something else, except insofar as they are manifested per aliud, that is, through some sensibles. And thence it is that first and principally are called signs the things which are offered to the senses, as Augustine says in II De Doctrina Christiana [ch. 1], that a sign is that which, beyond the species it brings into the senses, makes something other come into knowledge. But intelligible effects do not have the notion [rationem] of sign except insofar as they are [themselves] manifested through some signs. And through this mode also, certain things which are not sensible are called sacraments in some way, insofar as they are signified by some sensibles.

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b) The language to be held in speaking of an analogous word. Let us add again another text along the same lines, interesting because of the way St. Thomas names the analogous word. It is important to know, in fact, what language to hold when we speak of the analogous word. We have already spoken of a certain inequality in the relationship [rapport] between the common [something] and its inferiors, in opposition to the relationship of equality one finds in the case of the univocal. Inequality, from which dicitur per prius et posterius, an expression which constitutes a manifest sign that one is concerned with [il sagit de] an analogous word. St. Thomas uses this in the De Veritate, q. 9, a. 4, ad 4. Let us first see the objection: Does one angel speak to another? It seems that he does not For all language [ locutio] is through some sign. But sign is only [found] in sensible things Therefore, since the angels do not receive science through sensible things, they do not receive knowledge through any signs, and so neither through language. If there is not any sensible thing involved, neither, it seems, is there any sign. Here is St. Thomas reply, along with the expression we have mentioned before [ anonce]: A thing cannot be called a sign, properly speaking [ proprie loquendo], unless from it one come into knowledge of something else, as in discoursing [ quasi discurrendo]; and according to this, there is not any sign among the angels, since their science is not discursive. And on account of this, also among us signs are sensible, since our knowledge, which is discursive, arises from sense. Without seeing what follows in this text, without even knowing the doctrine of analogy, or that of the sign, what would one say proprie is opposed to, in the expression proprie loquendo? At first sight, one might say that it is imposed to improprie. One knows that as regards the sense or signification of the words, one speaks of the proper sense and of the improper sense. The improper sense will sometimes be called the metaphorical sense. In Scripture, one will say parabolical sense; it comes back to the same. So then, proper is opposed to the improper. But proper can in its turn be subdivided. To be sure, if the word is univocal, there is then no problem; that word will have only a proper sense. But in the case of the analogous word, one recognizes many proper senses, as opposed to improper. Then how [will one] signify per prius et posterius? In the case of the per prius, because one is concerned with the complete, perfect, and proper definition, one will say proprie loquendo. Proprie then means to say ratio propria. For example, sanum is said of the animal and also of the medicine. But the definition of health is not verified except of the animal. However, because the medicine ( medicina) is connected with health, one attributes the same name (healthy) to it. However, the ratio propria sanitatis is only verified of the animal. Animal is then said to be healthy per prius; one can also say: sanum proprie loquendo dicitur de animali. One will call healthy per posterius that which is sign or that which is cause of health. But sometimes, instead of saying per prius et posterius, one will make use of this expression, of this division of St. Thomas: proprie loquendo and communiter loquendo. Communiter is then opposed to ratio propria; it means that one has to let fall something of the perfect definition. As St. Thomas says, Si aliquid eorum quae sunt de ratione propria auferatur, jam non erit propria acceptio [If something of those which are of the ratio propria are taken away, the taking (of the word) will already not be proper.] ( De Veritate, q. 4, a. 2, c.): if one lets fall an element in the perfect definition, one will no longer have a proper sense. One will then be able to speak of per posterius and communiter.

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Sometimes, when for example an analogous word has four senses, it is better to reserve the expression communiter for the very last. Thus logic will be called art communiter loquendo, because one then lets fall too many things from the first definition of the word art, in order to keep only the aspect of opus. Logic bears upon the necessary, which art cannot; it is science, speculative virtue, etc. which art cannot be. In the case of the sign, signum proprie loquendo, means to say signum quantum ad rationem propriam, and also, non invenitur nisi in sensibilibus. Although communiter possumus signum dicere quodcumque notum in quo aliquid cognoscatur. ( De Veritate, q. 9, a. 4, ad 4): we can call sign, communiter, anything known in which something [else] is known. One then truly has something common, that guides us to something per posterius. One has something which one can call a sign, but it is not a sign in its ratio propria. One must not understand by communiter the ratio communis according to which animal, for example, is said [to be] common with respect to its inferiors. Communiter here possesses a very particular sense; it is opposed to proprie loquendo, which signifies per prius. Moreover, one remains always in the proper sense and not in the metaphorical sense. In this regard, St. Albert has some very interesting formulas, and furthermore, he speaks of the analogous word there where one must speak of it: in logic. And more precisely, since it concerns the first act of the reason, in regard to the treatise of the Predicaments, though as a notion required beforehand, since only things signified by a common name, whose definition is the same, will be able to be arranged under the predicaments. Each predicament is, to be sure, a genus; the supreme genus and that which follows upon it are of the univocal, pure and simple. Though if one wishes to go above the ten supreme genera and obtain something more common, one arrives at once at the analogous. One knows that often one will reserve the expression nomen multiplex.

3. On metaphor and the metaphorical sense. Cf. Msgr. Maurice Dionne, The Problem of Analogy, p. 21:
Without seeing what follows in this text, without even knowing the doctrine of analogy, or that of the sign, what would one say proprie is opposed to, in the expression proprie loquendo? At first sight, one might say that it is imposed to improprie. One knows that as regards the sense or signification of the words, one speaks of the proper sense and of the improper sense. The improper sense will sometimes be called the metaphorical sense. In Scripture, one will say parabolical sense; it comes back to the same. So then, proper is opposed to the improper. But proper can in its turn be subdivided. To be sure, if the word is univocal, there is then no problem; that word will have only a proper sense. But in the case of the analogous word, one recognizes many proper senses, as opposed to improper. Then how [will one] signify per prius et posterius? In the case of the per prius, because one is concerned with the complete, perfect, and proper definition, one will say proprie loquendo. Proprie then means to say ratio propria.

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II. ON WHAT IS SEEN PER SPECULUM (BY MEANS OF A MIRROR). 1. On the three ways in which something sensible can be seen. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Super I ad Corinthos, cap. 13, lect. 4) (tr. B.A.M.):
It must therefore be understood that something sensible can be seen in three ways, namely, by its own presence in the one seeing , like light itself, which is present in the eye; or by the presence of its likeness in the sense immediately derived from the thing itself , like whiteness which is seen in a wall, the whiteness itself not existing as present [ praesentialiter] in the eye, but by its likeness, although the likeness itself is not seen by itor by the presence of a likeness not immediately derived from the thing itself, but rather derived from a likeness of the thing in some other thing , just as when some man is seen by means of a mirror. For he is not immediately in the eye through the likeness of the man, but through the likeness of the man resultant in [reflected in] the mirror.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Ia, q. 53, art. 3, c. (tr. B.A.M.):
To see that this is so, one must consider that something can be known in three ways. In one way, by the presence of its essence in the knower , just as if light were seen in the eye, and in this way it is said that an angel understands himself. In another way, by the presence of its likeness in the knowing power, just as a stone is seen by the eye by the fact the its likeness results in the eye. In the third way, by the fact that a likeness of the thing known is not received immediately from the known thing itself, but from another thing in which it results , just as when we see a man in a mirror.

2. Comparison of texts:
(Super I ad Corinthos, cap. 13, lect. 4) (1) a thing is seen by its own presence in the one seeing (2) a thing is seen by the presence of its likeness in the sense immediately derived from the thing itself (Summa Theol., Ia, q. 53, art. 3, c.) (1) a thing is known by the presence of its essence in the knower (2) a thing is known by the presence of its likeness in the knowing power

(3) a thing is seen by the presence of a likeness (3) a thing is known by the fact that a likeness not immediately derived from the thing of the thing known is not received imitself, but rather derived from a likeness of mediately from the known thing itself, but the thing in some other thing from another thing in which it results

N.B. Just as something is seen by means of a mirror when the form existing in the eye by which the thing is seen is not derived immediately from the thing itself, but from a likeness of the thing existing in some other thing, namely, the mirror, so, too, God is seen by means of creatures when the form existing in his mind by which he sees God is not derived immediately from God Himself, but from the likeness of Him existing in creatures.

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3. On the three ways in which something sensible can be seen. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Super I ad Corinthos, cap. 13, lect. 4 (tr. B.A.M.):
Here he speaks of the vision which is the knowledge of God. And so all the preceding gifts found to be deficient are to be understood according as they are ordered to the knowledge of God. With respect to this he does two things. First, he proves in general what he intends; second, in particular of Himself, at Now I know, etc. So he says that we know in part because now we see as in a mirror, darkly, 23 but then, namely, in the fatherland [heaven], we shall see face to face. The first thing to be considered here is what it is to see as in a mirror, darkly; second, what it is to see face to face. It must therefore be understood that something sensible can be seen in three ways, namely, by its own presence in the one seeing, like light itself, which is present in the eye; or by the presence of its likeness in the sense immediately derived from the thing itself, like whiteness which is seen in a wall, the whiteness itself not existing as present [ praesentialiter] in the eye, but by its likeness, although the likeness itself is not seen by it; or by the presence of a likeness not immediately derived from the thing itself, but rather derived from a likeness of the thing in some other thing, just as when some man is seen by means of a mirror. For he is not immediately in the eye through the likeness of the man, but through the likeness of the man resultant in [reflected in] the mirror. So by this way of speaking of the vision of God I maintain that God sees Himself solely by a natural knowledge, the reason being that in God His essence is the same as His understanding. And so His essence is present to His understanding. But perhaps the angels see God by a natural knowledge in the second way, inasmuch as by a likeness of the divine essence it shines forth [relucet] immediately in them. But we know God in this life in the third way, inasmuch as we know the invisible things of God through creatures, as is said in Romans (i, 20). And so the whole creation is to us like a kind of mirror, since by the order, goodness, and greatness which are caused in things by God we shall come into knowledge of the divine wisdom, goodness, and eminence. And this knowledge is called a vision in a mirror. Finally, however, it must be understood that a likeness of this sort, which is a likeness shining forth in another thing, is twofold: since at times it is clear and open, like the things seen in a mirror; but at times obscure and dark, and then that vision is called dark [enigmatic], as when I say: My mother begot me, and the same is begotten by me . That is hidden by a similarity. And it is said of ice, which is begotten from congealed water, and water begotten from melted ice.24 And thus it is clear that a vision by means of a likeness of a likeness is in a mirror by a similarity hidden in an enigma [or riddle], but by a clear and open similarity it produces another species of allegorical vision. So inasmuch as we know the invisible things of God by means of creatures, we are said to see by means of a mirror. But inasmuch as those invisible things are hidden from us, we see in an enigma [or darkly].

23 24

Literally, we see by means of a mirror, in an enigmatic fashion. Cf. Donatus, Ars Grammatica, De Tropis: Aenigma est obscura sententia per occultam similitudinem rerum, ut mater me genuit, eadem mox gignitur ex me, cum significet aquam in glaciem concrescere et ex eadem rursus effluere, An enigma [or riddle] is a meaning that is obscure due to a hidden likeness of things, as the mother that begot me, the same directly is begotten of me, when it means water congealed into ice and melted in turn from the same. (tr. B.A.M.)

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Or taking it in another way, we see now by means of a mirrorthat is, by means of our reason, and then the by means of [ ly per] designates just the power, as if one were to say we see by means of a mirrorthat is, by the power of our soul. But with respect to the second it must be understood that God, insofar as He is God, does not have a face, and so when it is said [We shall see] face to face, this is said metaphorically. For when we see something in a mirror, we do not see the thing itself, but its likeness; but when we see something with respect to its face [ secundum faciem], then we see the thing itself just as it is. Therefore, when he says in the fatherland we shall see face to face, the Apostle wishes to say nothing other than that we shall see the very essence of God. We shall see Him just as He is, etc. (John III, 2)

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, In II Sent., dist. 23, q. 2, art. 1, c. (tr. B.A.M.):
But it must be understood that something can be seen in three ways. In one way by its essence; in another way by means of some effect of it flowing into the intellect of the one seeing. In a third way by means of some effect outside the intellect of the one seeing [shining forth in another thing, from which it results in the one seeing ].25 An example of this can be seen in bodily vision. For light is not seen by the eye by some likeness of it left behind in it, but rather by its essence informing the eye. And the first mode of divine vision is compared to this, which is by its essence ( per essentiam). And this mode from the condition of its nature is due to no nature except the divine, in which the known and the thing known are the same. But a stone is seen by the bodily eye by its likeness left behind in the eye, and the second mode is compared to this, which is by means of an effect left behind in the intellect of the one seeing. And this mode of seeing belongs to an angel in accordance with the condition of his nature, since, as is said in the Book of Causes, every intelligence knows what is above it by that which is the cause of it ; and so knowing the very light of his nature, which is a likeness of uncreated light, he sees God. But the face of a man shining forth [reflected] in a mirror is seen by the eye not indeed by a likeness of it immediately left behind in the eye, but rather by a likeness shining forth [reflected] in the mirror, from which it results in the pupil; and to this is compared the vision by which God is seen by means of an effect outside the intellect of the one seeingwhether by means of a natural effect, as by means of the knowledge of creatures philosophers arrive at God by a natural knowledgeor whether by means of a spiritual effect, just as in the vision of that faith which adheres to the things which are revealed to others by the influence of a spiritual lightand so we are said to see now as in a mirror, according to the Apostle. And this mode belongs to man according to the condition of his nature, since our intellect cannot understand itself except by means of the species of things which it possesses in itself since by means of objects it comes into knowledge of acts, and by means of acts it comes into knowledge of powers.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Ia, q. 53, art. 3, c. (tr. B.A.M.):
I reply that it must be said that the angels can have some knowledge of God by their own natural [principles]. To see that this is so, one must consider that something can be known in three ways. In one way, by the presence of its essence in the knower, just as if light were seen in the eye, and in this way it is said that an angel understands himself. In another way, by the presence of its likeness in the knowing power, just as a stone is seen by the eye by the fact that its likeness
25

The Busa text here has, in quo divina similitudo resultat, in which a divine likeness results, which makes no sense. I have corrected it to bring it in line with St. Thomas argument.

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results in the eye. In the third way, by the fact that a likeness of the thing known is not received immediately from the known thing itself, but from another thing in which it results, just as when we see a man in a mirror. Accordingly, divine knowledge is likened to the first knowledge, by which He is seen by His essence. And this knowledge of God cannot come to any creature by its own natural [principles], as has been said above. But the knowledge by which we know God in this life [ in via] is likened to the third knowledge, by means of His likeness resultant in creatures, according to the text of Romans (1:20) The invisible things of God are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. And so we are said to see God in a mirror. But the knowledge by which an angel knows God by his own natural [principles] is intermediate between these two, and it is likened to the knowledge by which a thing is seen by means of a species taken from it. For since the image of God is impressed in the very nature of the angel by his essence, an angel knows God insofar as he is a likeness of God. Still, he does not see the essence of God, since no created likeness is sufficient for representing the divine essence. And so this knowledge holds itself more on the side of the specular, since the angelic nature itself is a sort of mirror representing the divine likeness.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentes III, cap. 49, n. 3. (tr. B.A.M.):
For to know a cause from its effect happens in many ways. In one way, according as an effect is taken as the means for knowing about the cause that it is, and that it is of a certain sort, as happens in the sciences, which demonstrate a cause by means of an effect. In another way, such that in the effect itself the cause be seen, inasmuch as a likeness of the cause results in the effect, as a man is seen in a mirror on account of his likeness. And this differs from the first way. For in the first there are two knowledges, of the effect and of the cause, one of which is the cause of the other: for knowledge of the effect is the reason that its cause is known. But in the second way there is one vision of both: for while the effect is seen, at the same time the cause is seen in it. In the third way, such that the likeness itself of the cause in the effect is a form by which the effect knows its own cause: just as if a chest were to have an intellect, and by its own form were to know the art from which such a form, as from its likeness, proceeds.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Ia, q. 93, art. 8, c. (tr. B.A.M.):
But the mind is borne to something in two ways, in one way, directly and immediately; 26 in another way, indirectly and in a mediated fashion [ mediate], just as when someone seeing the image of a man in a mirror is said to be borne to the man himself.

4. On the way in which objects are seen in a mirror. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, In III Sent., dist. 14, q. 1, art 1d, ad 1 (tr. B.A.M.):
To the first it must be said that when things are seen in a mirror, the species of those things are not impressed on the senses by the things, but by the mirror. And so all those species are impressed on the senses as enclosed in one species of the mirror [ ut conclusae in una specie specula], not because there is one species of the mirror and another species of the things seen in the mirror.
26

Although St. Thomas does not say so here, it is clear from the first text cited above that this first division is itself divided into two, inasmuch as a thing may be seen by its own presence in the one seeing, as is the case with light, or by the presence of its likeness in the sense immediately derived from the thing itself, as is the case with whiteness seen in a wall (cf. Super I ad Corinthos, cap. 13, lect. 4).

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Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Ia, q, 12, art. 9, sed contra (tr. B.A.M.):
By one species a mirror is seen, and the things which appear in the mirror.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Ia, q. 12, art. 8, obj. 2 (tr. B.A.M.):
Again, whoever sees a mirror sees the things reflected in the mirror.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Ia, q. 12, art. 4, obj. 1 (tr. B.A.M.):
But each thing is seen when its mirror-image [ speculum] is seen.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Ia, q. 58, art. 3, ad 1 (tr. B.A.M.):
To the first it must be said that discourse names a certain movement. But every movement is from one thing coming before to something else coming after. And so discursive knowledge is observed according as from something known before one arrives at knowledge of another thing known after, which was previously unknown. But if in one thing perceived [inspecto] something else were perceived, as in a mirror an image of a thing and the thing are perceived at the same time [ simul], for this reason the knowledge is not discursive. And in this way angels know things in the Word.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., Ia, q. 58, art. 3, c. (tr. B.A.M.):
And so the lower intellects, namely, of men, attain perfection in knowledge of the truth by means of a certain movement and discourse of intellectual activity, namely, when they proceed from one known thing to something else known. But if from the knowledge of a known principle they were at once to perceive as known all the consequent conclusions, in them discourse would have no place. And this is the case with angels, because in those things which they first know naturally they perceive all things whatsoever that can be known in them.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Qu. Disp. De Ver., q. 20, art. 4, c. (tr. B.A.M.):
In reply it must be said that in order to make sense of this question one must understand what it means to see something in the Word. It must therefore be understood that nothing can be seen in something unless in the manner in which it is in that thing. But many things happen to be in one thing in two ways. In one way in a divided manner and plurally, just as many forms are reflected in a mirror each one in a divided manner, and thus many men are in a house. In another way uniformly and simply, just as many effects exist virtually in a cause, as well as conclusions in a principle, and limbs in seed [semine]. Accordingly, whenever something is looked at [ aliquid intuetur], it follows that the things which one sees in it exist in a manifold and divided manner, from the fact that each of them is offered to him as is the one thing in which they are contained, and in exactly the same way as [pro tanto] one who sees a mirror sees the forms resulting in the mirror. But he who sees something one need not see everything which is in it uniformly or in a united manner except when he comprehends the whole power of that one thing, just as one who sees some principle need not see all the conclusions virtually contained in it, unless

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perhaps he comprehends it.27 But created things are in God not in a manifold but in a united manner, as Dionysius says. And so when a thing is said to be in God, it is more like the way in which effects are in a cause, or conclusions in a principle, than the way in which forms are in a mirror. And so there is no need that whoever sees the Word see everything which the Word sees in itself, as some have said, bringing forward the example of forms of things seen which are seen in a mirror. For the Word itself comprehends itself, and so by seeing itself it knows everything which is contained in it virtually and in a united manner. But a created intellect, which does not comprehend the Word, need not by seeing the Word see everything which is in the Word.

5. Comparison of texts.
(Super I ad Corinthos, cap. 13, lect. 4) It must therefore be understood that something sensible can be seen in three ways, namely, by its own presence in the one seeing, like light itself, which is present in the eye; or by the presence of its likeness in the sense immediately derived from the thing itself, like whiteness which is seen in a wall, the whiteness itself not existing as present [praesentialiter] in the eye, but by its like-ness, although the likeness itself is not seen by it or by the presence of a likeness not immediately derived from the thing itself, but rather derived from a likeness of the thing in some other thing, just as when some man is seen by means of a mirror. For he is not immediately in the eye through the likeness of the man, but through the likeness of the man resultant in [reflected in] the mirror. (In II Sent., dist. 23, q. 2, art. 1, c.) But it must be understood that something can be seen in three ways. In one way by its essence; in another way by means of some effect of it flowing into the intellect of the one seeing.

In a third way by means of some effect outside the intellect of the one seeing [shining forth in another thing, from which it results in the one seeing]. An example of this can be seen in bodily vision. For light is not seen by the eye by some likeness of it left behind in it, but rather by its essence informing the eye. And the first mode of divine vision is compared to this, which is by its essence.

So by this way of speaking of the vision of God, I maintain that God sees Himself solely by a natural knowledge, the reason being that in God His essence is the same as His understanding. And so His essence is present to His understanding.
27

And this mode from the condition of its nature is due to no nature except the divine, in which the known and the thing known are the same.

That is, takes in all of it, leaving out nothing contained in it. Cf. Summa Theol., Ia, q. 12, art. 8, ad 2: To the second it must be said that when someone sees a mirror, it is not necessary that he see everything in the mirror, unless his sight comprehend the mirror. (tr. B.A.M.)

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But a stone is seen by the bodily eye by its likeness left behind in the eye, and the second mode is compared to this, which is by means of an effect left behind in the intellect of the one seeing. But perhaps the angels see God by a natural knowledge in the second way, inasmuch as by a likeness of the divine essence it shines forth [relucet] immediately in them. And this mode of seeing belongs to an angel in accordance with the condition of his nature, since, as is said in the Book of Causes, every intelligence knows what is above it by that which is the cause of it; and so knowing the very light of his nature, which is a likeness of uncreated light, he sees God. But we know God in this life in the third way, inasmuch as we know the invisible things of God through creatures, as is said in Romans (i, 20). But the face of a man shining forth [reflected] in a mirror is seen by the eye not indeed by a likeness of it immediately left behind in the eye, but rather by a likeness shining forth [reflected] in the mirror, from which it results in the pupil; and to this is compared the vision by which God is seen by means of an effect outside the intellect of the one seeing whether by means of a natural effect, as by means of the knowledge of creatures philosophers arrive at God by a natural knowledge or whether by means of a spiritual effect, just as in the vision of that faith which adheres to the things which are revealed to others by the influence of a spiritual light and so we are said to see now as in a mirror, according to the Apostle. And this mode belongs to man according to the condition of his nature, since our intellect cannot understand itself except by means of the species of things which it possesses in itself since by means of objects it comes into knowledge of acts, and by means of acts it comes into knowledge of powers.

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6. On the three means of knowledge. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, In IV Sent., dist. 49, q. 2, art. 1, ad 15 (tr. B.A.M.):
[22738] Super Sent., lib. 4 d. 49 q. 2 a. 1 ad 15 Ad quintumdecimum dicendum, quod medium To the fifteenth is must be said that the medium in visione corporali et intellectuali invenitur found in bodily or in intellectual sight is threetriplex. fold. Primum est medium sub quo videtur; et hoc est quod perficit visum ad videndum in generali, non determinans visum ad aliquod speciale objectum, sicut se habet lumen corporale ad visum corporalem, et lumen intellectus agentis ad intellectum possibilem. Secundum est medium quo videtur; et hoc est forma visibilis qua determinatur uterque visus ad speciale objectum, sicut per formam lapidis ad cognoscendum lapidem. Tertium est medium in quo videtur; et hoc est id per cujus inspectionem ducitur visus in aliam rem, sicut inspiciendo speculum ducitur in ea quae in speculo repraesentantur, et videndo imaginem ducitur in imaginatum; et sic etiam intellectus per cognitionem effectus ducitur in causam, vel e converso. In visione igitur patriae non erit tertium medium, ut scilicet Deus per species aliorum cognoscatur, sicut nunc cognoscitur, ratione cujus dicimur nunc videre in speculo; nec erit ibi secundum medium, quia ipsa essentia divina erit qua intellectus noster videbit Deum, ut ex dictis patet; sed erit ibi tantum primum medium, quod elevabit intellectum nostrum ad hoc quod possit conjungi essentiae increatae modo praedicto. Sed ab hoc medio non dicitur cognitio mediata, quia non cadit inter cognoscentem et rem cognitam, sed est illud quod dat cognoscenti vim cognoscendi. But from this medium knowledge is not called mediated because it does not fall between the knower and the thing known, but is that which gives to the knower the power of knowing. The first is the medium under which it is seen, and this is what perfects sight for seeing in general, not determining the sight to some particular object, as bodily light stands to bodily sight, and the light of the agent intellect stands to the possible intellect. The second is the medium by which it is seen, and this is the visible form by which each sight is determined to a particular object, as by the form of a stone [sight is determined] to knowing the stone. The third is the medium in which it is seen, and this that through whose inspection sight is led to another thing, as by inspecting a mirror one is led to those things which are represented in the mirror, and by seeing an image one is led to the thing imaged, and in this way the intellect is also led by knowledge of an effect to the cause, or vice versa.

27

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Qu. Disp. De Veritate, q. 18, art. 1, ad 1 (tr. B.A.M.):
[55484] De veritate, q. 18 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum igitur dicendum, quod in aliqua visione triplex medium considerari potest: unum est medium sub quo videtur; aliud quo videtur, quod est species rei visae; aliud a quo accipitur cognitio rei visae. Sicut in visione corporali medium sub quo videtur, est lumen, quo aliquid fit actu visibile, et visus perficitur ad videndum; medium vero quo videtur, est ipsa species rei sensibilis in oculo existens, quae, sicut forma videntis in quantum est videns, principium est visivae operationis; medium autem a quo accipitur cognitio rei visae, est sicut speculum, a quo interdum species alicuius visibilis, ut puta lapidis, fit in oculo, non immediate ab ipso lapide. Et haec tria etiam in visione intellectuali inveniuntur: ut lumini corporali respondeat lumen intellectus agentis, quasi medium sub quo intellectus videt; speciei vero visibili species intelligibilis, qua intellectus possibilis fit actu intelligens; medio vero a quo accipitur visi cognitio, sicut a speculo, comparatur effectus a quo in cognitionem causae devenimus; ita enim similitudo causae nostro intellectui imprimitur non immediate ex causa, sed ex effectu, in quo similitudo causae resplendet. To the first, therefore, it must be said that in any sight a threefold medium may be considered: one is the medium under which [something] is seen; another by which it is seen, which is the species of the thing seen; another from which knowledge of the thing seen is taken. Now just as in bodily sight the medium under which it is seen is a light by which something is made visible in act, and sight is perfected in order to see but the medium by which is the very species of the sensible thing existing in the eye which, as the form of the one seeing inasmuch as he is seeing, is the principle of the activity of sight but the medium from which knowledge is taken of a thing seen is like a mirror from which at times the species of something visible, like a stone, comes to be in the eye, not immediately from the stone itself. And these three things are found in intellectual sight: as to bodily light there corresponds the light of the agent intellect as the medium under which the intellect sees but to the visible species there corresponds the intelligible species by which the possible intellect comes to be understanding in act but the medium from which sight takes knowledge, like a mirror, is comparable to an effect from which we arrive at knowledge of a cause for thus the likeness of the cause is not impressed on our intellect immediately by the cause, but by the effect in which a likeness of the cause shines forth.

Unde huiusmodi cognitio dicitur specularis And so this knowledge is called specular bepropter similitudinem quam habet ad visionem cause of a likeness which it has the sight which

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quae fit per speculum. Homo igitur in statu post peccatum ad cognoscendum Deum indiget medio, quod est quasi speculum, in quo resultat ipsius Dei similitudo. Oportet enim ut per ea quae facta sunt, in invisibilia eius deveniamus, ut dicitur Rom. I, 20. Hoc autem medio non indigebat homo in statu innocentiae. Indigebat autem medio quod est quasi species rei visae; quia per aliquod spirituale lumen menti hominis influxum divinitus, quod erat quasi similitudo expressa lucis increatae, Deum videbat. Sed hoc medio non indigebit in patria, quia ipsam Dei essentiam per seipsam videbit, non per aliquam eius similitudinem vel intelligibilem vel sensibilem, cum nulla creata similitudo adeo perfecte Deum possit repraesentare, ut per eam videns ipsam essentiam Dei cognoscere aliquis possit. Indigebit tamen lumine gloriae in patria, quod erit quasi medium sub quo videtur, secundum illud Psalm. XXXV, 10: in lumine tuo videbimus lumen, eo quod ista visio nulli creaturae est naturalis, sed soli Deo: unde nulla creatura in eam ex sua natura potest pertingere; sed ad eam consequendam oportet quod illustretur lumine divinitus emisso. Secunda autem visio, quae est per medium, quod est species, naturalis est Angelo; sed est supra naturam hominis. Unde ad eam indiget lumine gratiae. Tertia vero est competens naturae hominis; et ideo ea sola sibi relinquitur post peccatum. Et ideo patet quod visio qua homo Deum in statu innocentiae vidit, media fuit inter visionem qua nunc videmus, et visionem beatorum.

comes about by means of a speculum or mirror.

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Patet igitur quod homo post peccatum triplici medio indiget ad videndum Deum: scilicet ipsa creatura, ex qua in divinam cognitionem ascendit; et similitudine ipsius Dei, quam ex creatura accipit; et lumine, quo perficitur ad hoc ut in Deum dirigatur: sive sit lumen naturae, ut intellectus agentis, sive gratiae, ut lumen fidei vel sapientiae. In statu vero ante peccatum indigebat duplici medio: scilicet medio quod est similitudo Dei; et quod est lumen elevans vel dirigens mentem. Beati autem uno tantum medio indigent, scilicet lumine gloriae elevante mentem. Ipse autem Deus seipsum videt absque omni medio, ipse enimmet est lumen quo seipsum videt.

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Qu. Quod., n. 7, q. 1, art. 1, c (tr. B.A.M.):


N.7QU-1AR-1 CO respondeo. dicendum, quod absque dubio tenendum est, quod divina essentia in patria immediate ab intellectu glorificato videatur. ad cuius evidentiam sciendum est, quod in visione intellectiva triplex medium contingit esse. unum, sub quo intellectus videt, quod disponit eum ad videndum; et hoc est in nobis lumen intellectus agentis, quod se habet ad intellectum possibilem nostrum, sicut lumen solis ad oculum. aliud medium est quo videt; et hoc est species intelligibilis, quae intellectum possibilem determinat, et habet se ad intellectum possibilem, sicut species lapidis ad oculum. tertium medium est in quo aliquid videtur; I reply that it must be said that without a doubt it is to be maintained that in the fatherland the divine essence would be seen immediately by the glorified intellect. To see that this is so it must be understood that in intellective sight the medium happens to be threefold. There is one under which the intellect sees, which disposes it for seeing, and in us this is the light of the agent intellect, which stands to our possible intellect as the light of the sun stands to the eye. There is another medium by which one sees, and this is the intelligible species which determines the possible intellect and stands to the possible intellect as the species of a stone stands to the eye. But third is the medium in which something is seen,

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et hoc est res aliqua per quam in cogniti-onem alterius devenimus, sicut in effectu videmus causam, et in uno similium vel contrariorum videtur aliud; et hoc medium se habet ad intellectum, sicut speculum ad visum corporalem, in quo oculus aliquam rem videt. primum ergo medium et secundum non faciunt mediatam visionem: immediate enim dicitur aliquis videre lapidem, quamvis eum per speciem eius in oculo receptam et per lumen videat: quia visus non fertur in haec media tamquam in visibilia, sed per haec media fertur in unum visibile, quod est extra oculum. sed tertium medium facit visionem mediatam. visus enim prius fertur in speculum sicut in visibile, quo mediante accipit speciem rei visae in specie vel speculo; similiter intellectus cognoscens causam in causato, fertur in ipsum causatum sicut in quoddam intelligibile, ex quo transit in cognitionem causae. et quia essentia divina in statu viae in effectibus suis cognoscitur, non videmus eam immediate; unde in patria, ubi immediate videbitur, tale medium penitus subtrahetur. similiter etiam non est ibi medium secundum, scilicet aliqua species essentiae divinae intellectum informans: quia quando aliquid videtur immediate per

and this is some thing by means of which we arrive at knowledge of another thing, as we see a cause in an effect, and in one of [two] similar things or [in one] of [two] contrary things something else is seen, and this medium stands to the intellect as a mirror stands to bodily sight in which the eye sees some thing. The first medium, then, and the second do not produce a mediated sight: for someone is said to see a stone immediately, even though he see it by means of the species of it received in the eye and by means of lightthe reason being that sight is not borne to these things as into visible things, but by these media is borne to one visible thing which is outside the eye. But the third medium makes the sight mediated. For the sight is first borne to the mirror as to something visible by whose mediation it receives the species of the thing seen in the species or in the mirror similarly, the understanding knowing a cause in the thing caused is borne to the thing caused itself as into something intelligible from which it passes into a knowledge of the cause.

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speciem suam, oportet quod species illa repraesentet rem illam secundum completum esse suae speciei; alias non diceretur res illa immediate videri, sed quaedam umbra eius; sicut si similitudo lucis in oculo fieret per modum coloris, qui est lux obumbrata. cum autem omne quod recipitur in aliquo, recipiatur in eo per modum recipientis, impossibile est in intellectu creato similitudinem divinae essentiae recipi, quae eam perfecte secundum totam suam rationem repraesentet. unde si per aliquam similitudinem talem essentia divina a nobis videretur, immediate non videremus essentiam divinam, sed quamdam umbram eius. restat ergo quod solum primum medium erit in illa visione, scilicet lumen gloriae, quo intellectus perficietur ad videndam essentiam divinam; de quo in psalm. xxxv, 10: in lumine tuo videbimus lumen. hoc autem lumen non est necessarium ad hoc quod faciat intelligibile in potentia esse intelligibile in actu, ad quod est nobis necessarium lumen intellectus agentis: quia ipsa divina essentia, cum sit a materia separata, est per se actu intelligibilis; sed erit necessarium tantum ad perficiendum intellectum, ad quod etiam nunc lumen intellecttus agentis valet. praedictum autem lumen gloriae sufficienter perficiet intellectum ad videndum divinam essentiam, eo quod ipsa essentia divina totaliter lux intelligibilis est. unde lumen gloriae ab ea in intellectum descendens facit hoc respectu divinae essentiae in intellectu quod facit

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respectu aliorum intelligibilium, quae non sunt lux tantum, sed species rei intellectae simul, et lumen; sicut si lux sensibilis per se existeret, ad eius visionem sufficeret lumen oculum perficiens sine aliqua similitudine. N.7QU-1AR-1 CO primum ergo medium et secundum non The first medium, then, and the second do not faciunt mediatam visionem: produce a mediated sight: immediate enim dicitur aliquis videre lapidem, quamvis eum per speciem eius in oculo receptam et per lumen videat: quia visus non fertur in haec media tamquam in visibilia, sed per haec media fertur in unum visibile, quod est extra oculum. sed tertium medium facit visionem mediatam. visus enim prius fertur in speculum sicut in visibile, quo mediante accipit speciem rei visae in specie vel speculo; similiter intellectus cognoscens causam in causato, fertur in ipsum causatum sicut in quoddam intelligibile, ex quo transit in cognitionem causae. for someone is said to see a stone immediately, even though he see it by the species of it received in the eye and by lightthe reason being that sight is not borne to these things as into visible things, but by these media is borne to one visible thing which is outside the eye. But the third medium makes the sight mediated. For the sight is first borne to the mirror as to something visible by whose mediation it receives the species of the thing seen in the species or in the mirror similarly, the understanding knowing a cause in the thing caused is borne to the thing caused itself as into something intelligible from which it passes into a knowledge of the cause.

7. On the medium in which. (a) That that in which something is seen is the ratio cognoscendi of that in which it is seen. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, In III Sent., dist. 14, q. 1, art. 1, c. (tr. B.A.M.):
DS14 QU1 AR1D CO ad quartam quaestionem dicendum, quod illud in quo aliquid videtur, est ratio cognoscendi illud quod in eo videtur. ratio autem cognoscendi est forma rei inquantum est cognita, quia per eam fit cognitio in actu: unde sicut ex materia et forma est unum esse; ita ratio cognoscendi et res cognita sunt unum cognitum: To the fourth question it must be said that that in which something is seen is the ratio cognoscendi that which is seen in it. Now the ratio cognoscendi is the form of the thing insofar as it known, since through it know-ledge results in act: And so just as from matter and form there is one being, so the ratio cognoscendi and the thing known are one known thing:

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et propter hoc utriusque, inquantum hujusmodi, est una cognitio secundum habitum et secundum actum: et ita non est alius habitus quo cognoscitur verbum et ea quae in verbo videntur; sicut nec alius habitus quo cognoscitur medium demonstrationis et conclusio, secundum quod medium ad conclusionem ordinatur.

And on this account, of either, inasmuch as they are of this sort, there is one knowledge with respect to habit and with respect to act: And thus there is not another habit by which the word is known and those things which are seen in the word, just as neither is there one habit by which is known the middle term and conclusion of a demonstration, according as the middle is ordered to the conclusion.

(b) On the two ways in which the intellect understands something. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Qu. Quod., n. 5, q. 5, art. 2, ad 1:
N.5QU-5AR-2RA-1 ad primum ergo dicendum, quod intellectus intelligit aliquid dupliciter: uno modo formaliter, et sic intelligit specie intelligibili qua fit in actu; alio modo sicut instrumento quo utitur ad aliud intelligendum: et hoc modo intellectus verbo intelligit, quia format verbum ad hoc quod intelligat rem. To the first it must be said that the intellect understands something in two ways: In one way formally, and thus it understands the intelligible species by which it is made in act; In another way as by an instrument which it uses in order to understand something: and in this way the intellect understands by a word, since it forms a word in order to understand a thing.

8. The three media of knowledge in sum. (1) medium sub quo (lumen intellectus agentis) (2) medium quo (species intelligibilis) (3) medium in quo seu a quo (principium seu quidditatis) 9. The two ways in which the intellect understands something: formally and instrumenttally. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Qu. Quod., n. 5, q. 5, art 2, ad 2 (tr. B.A.M.):
To the first therefore it must be said that the intellect understands something in two ways: in one way formally [formaliter], and thus it understands by means of the intelligible species by which it is made in act; in another way as by an instrument [ sicut instrumento] which it uses in order to understand something: and in this way the intellect understands by a word, since it forms a word in order to understand a thing.

(1) formaliter (2) sicut instrumento 10. On that by which and that in which the intellect understands. 34

Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Super Evang. Johan., cap. 1, lect. 1 (tr. B.A.M.):
Therefore that thing so expressedthat is, formed in the soulis called the interior word, and is therefore compared to the intellect not as that by which the intellect understands, but as that in which it understands, the reason being in the very thing expressed and formed it sees the nature of the thing understood. Thus, then, we have the meaning of the name word.28

(1) quo intellectus intelligit (= species intelligibilis) (2) in quo intelligit (= instrumento quo utitur ad aliquid intelligendum) that by which the intellect understands is also the medium by which that in which it understands is the verbum cordis. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, De Rationibus Fidei cap. 3 (tr. B.A.M.):
Now our intellect sometimes is understanding in potency, sometimes in act. But whenever it understands in act, it forms something intelligible, which is a sort of offspring of it, for which reason it is also called a conception of the mind. And this is, in fact, what is signified by the exterior vocal sound; and so, just as the vocal sound doing the signifying is called the exterior word, so the interior conception of the mind signified by the exterior word is called the word of the intellect, or of the mind. 29

11. Notes. that which is conceived the product of conception the product of thought conception offspring what the mind conceives of a thing something intelligible formed by the understanding when it understands in act is a sort of offspring of it a conception, a thing conceived by the mind for just as a child is the offspring of the father which begets it, so a conceptus is the offspring of the mind which conceives it Verbum (word):

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istud ergo sic expressum, scilicet formatum in anima, dicitur verbum interius; et ideo comparatur ad intellectum, non sicut quo intellectus intelligit, sed sicut in quo intelligit; quia in ipso expresso et formato videt naturam rei intellectae. sic ergo habemus significationem huius nominis verbum. 29 est autem intellectus noster aliquando quidem in potentia intelligens, aliquando vero in actu. quandocumque autem actu intelligit, quoddam intelligibile format, quod est quasi quaedam proles ipsius, unde et mentis conceptus nominatur. et hoc quidem est quod exteriori voce significatur: unde sicut vox significans, verbum exterius dicitur, ita interior mentis conceptus verbo exteriori significatus, dicitur verbum intellectus, seu mentis.

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the word of the mind (verbum mentis) the word of the heart (verbum cordis) (vs. the intelligible species) the interior word (verbum interior) (vs. the exterior word)

Note that the interior word is also called the word of the thing (verbum rei) since it immediately signifies the thing itself. Now when the mind turns itself to the actual consideration of any habitual knowledge, then a person speaks to himself; for the concept of the mind is called the interior word. (Summa Theol., Ia, q. 107, art. 1, c., tr. English Dominican Fathers) But according to the Sentences text on verbum, to speak involves ordering ones concept to another, or to ones self when he speaks to himself.

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12. On intellectual conception. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, De Rationibus Fidei cap. 3, tr. Joseph Kenny, O.P.):
CP3primum igitur considerandum est derisibilem esse irrisionem qua nos irrident, quod ponimus christum filium dei, quasi deus uxorem habuerit. cum enim sint carnales, non possunt nisi ea quae sunt carnis et sanguinis cogitare. quilibet autem sapiens considerare potest, quod non est idem modus generationis in omnibus rebus, sed in unaquaque re invenitur generatio secundum proprietatem suae naturae. in animalibus quidem quibusdam per maris et feminae commixtionem; in plantis vero per pullulationem, seu germinationem, atque in aliis aliter. deus autem non est carnalis naturae, ut feminam requirat, cui commisceatur ad prolis generateonem, sed est spiritualis sive intellectualis naturae, immo magis supra omnem intellectum. est igitur in eo generatio accipienda secundum quod convenit intellectuali naturae. et quamvis intellectus noster ab intellectu divino deficiat, non possumus tamen aliter loqui de intellectu divino nisi secundum similitudinem eorum quae in intellectu nostro invenimus. est autem intellectus noster aliquando quidem in potentia intelligens, aliquando vero in actu. quandocumque autem actu intelligit, quoddam intelligibile format, quod est quasi quaedam proles ipsius, unde et mentis conceptus nominatur. et hoc quidem est quod exteriori voce significatur: unde sicut vox significans, verbum exterius dicitur, ita interior mentis conceptus verbo exteriori significatus, dicitur verbum intellectus, seu mentis. hic autem mentis nostrae conceptus non est ipsa mentis nostrae essentia, sed est quoddam First of all we must observe that Muslims are silly in ridiculing us for holding that Christ is the Son of the living God, as if God had a wife. Since they are carnal, they can think only of what is flesh and blood. For any wise man can observe that the mode of generation is not the same for everything, but generation applies to each thing according to the special manner of its nature. In animals it is by copulation of male and female; in plants it is by pollination or generation, and in other things in other ways. God, however, is not of a fleshly nature, requiring a woman to copulate with to generate offspring, but he is of a spiritual or intellectual nature, much higher than every intellectual nature. So generation should be understood of God as it applies to an intellectual nature. Even though our own intellect falls far short of the divine intellect, we still have to speak of the divine intellect by comparing it with what we find in our own intellect. Our intellect understands sometimes potentially, sometimes actually. Whenever it actually understands it forms something intelligible, a kind of offspring, which is called a concept, something conceived by the mind. This is signified by an audible voice, so that as the audible voice is called the exterior word, the interior concept of the mind signified by the exterior audible word is called the word of the intellect or mind. A concept of our mind is not the very essence of our mind, but something accidental to it, be-

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accidens ei, quia nec ipsum intelligere nostrum est ipsum esse nostri intellectus, alioquin nunquam intellectus noster esset quin intelligeret actu. verbum igitur intellectus nostri secundum quandam similitudinem dici potest vel conceptus vel proles, et praecipue cum intellectus noster seipsum intelligit, inquantum scilicet est quaedam similitudo intellectus procedens ab eius intellectuali virtute; sicut et filius habet similitudinem patris, procedens ab eius generativa virtute. non tamen proprie verbum nostri intellectus potest dici proles vel filius, quia non est eiusdem naturae cuius est intellectus noster. non autem omne quod procedit ab aliquo, etiamsi sit simile ei, dicitur filius: alioquin imago sui, quam aliquis pingit, proprie filius diceretur. sed ad hoc quod sit filius, requiritur quod procedens et similitudinem habeat eius a quo procedit, et sit eiusdem naturae cum ipso. quia vero in deo non est aliud intelligere quam suum esse, consequenter neque verbum quod in intellectu eius concipitur, est aliquod accidens, aut aliquid alienum ab eius natura, sed ex hoc ipso quod verbum est, rationem habet procedentis ab altero, et ut sit similitudo eius cuius est verbum: hoc enim in verbo nostro invenitur. sed illud verbum divinum habet ulterius quod non sit aliquod accidens, neque aliqua pars dei, qui est simplex, neque aliquid alienum a divina natura, sed quoddam completum subsistens in natura divina habens rationem ab altero procedentis: sine hoc enim verbum intelligi non potest. hoc autem secundum humanae locutionis consuetudinem filius nominatur, quod procedit ab alio in similitudinem eius, subsistens in eadem natura cum ipso. secundum igitur quod divina verbis humanis nominari possunt, verbum intellectus divini dei filium nominamus; deum vero, cuius est

cause even our act of understanding is not the very being of our intellect; otherwise our intellect would have to be always in act. So the word of our intellect can be likened to a concept or offspring, especially when the intellect understands itself and the concept is a likeness of the intellect coming from its intellectual power, just as a son has a likeness to his father, from whose generative power he comes forth. The word of our intellect is not properly an offspring or son, because it is not of the same nature as our intellect. Not everything that comes forth from another, even if it is similar to its source, is called a son; otherwise a painted picture of someone would be a son. To be a son, it is required that the one coming forth from the other must not only resemble its source but also be of the same nature with it. But in God understanding is not different from his being. Consequently the word which is conceived in his intellect is not something accidental to him or alien from his nature but, by the very fact that it is a word, it must be coming forth from another and must be a likeness of its source. All this is true even of our own word. But besides this, the Word of God is not an accident or a part of God, who is simple, nor something extrinsic to the divine nature, but is something complete, subsisting in the divine nature and coming forth from another, as any word must be. In our human way of talking, this is called a son, because it comes forth from another in its likeness and subsists in the same nature with it. Therefore, as far as divine things can be represented by human words, we call the Word of the divine intellect the Son of God, while God,

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verbum, nominamus patrem; et processum verbi dicimus esse generationem filii immaterialem quidem, non autem carnalem, sicut carnales homines suspicantur. est autem et aliud in quo excedit praedicta filii dei generatio omnem generationem humanam, sive materialem, per quam homo ex homine nascitur; sive intelligibilem, secundum quam verbum concipitur in mente humana. in utraque enim illud quod per generationem procedit, invenitur posterius tempore eo a quo procedit. pater enim non generat statim a principio sui esse, sed oportet quod de imperfecto ad statum perfectum perveniat, in quo generare possit. nec iterum statim ut generationi operam dat, filius nascitur, quia carnalis generatio in quadam mutatione et successione consistit: secundum intellectum etiam non statim a principio homo est aptus ad intelligibiles conceptus formandos, et postquam etiam ad statum perfectionis venit. non semper actu intelligit, sed prius est potentia intelligens tantum, et postmodum fit intelligens actu, et interdum desinit actu intelligere, et remanet intelligens in potentia vel in habitu tantum. sic igitur verbum hominis posterius in tempore invenitur quam homo, et quandoque desinit esse antequam homo. impossibile est autem ista deo convenire, in quo neque imperfectio neque mutatio aliqua locum habet, neque etiam aliquis exitus de potentia ad actum, cum ipse sit actus purus et primus. verbum igitur dei coaeternum est ipsi deo. est autem et aliud in quo verbum nostrum differt a verbo divino. intellectus enim noster non simul intelligit omnia, neque unico actu, sed pluribus, et ideo verba intellectus nostri sunt multa;

whose Word he is, we call the Father. We say that the coming forth of the Word is an immaterial generation of a son, not a carnal one, as carnal men surmise. There is another way that this generation of the Son of God surpasses every human generation, whether material, as when one man is born from another, or intelligible, as when a word is brought forth in the human mind. In either of these cases what is born is younger than its source. A father does not generate as soon as he begins to exist, but he must first mature. Even the act of generation takes time before a son is born, because carnal generation is a matter of stages. Likewise the human intellect is not ready to form intelligible concepts as soon as a man is born, but when he matures. So he does not always actually understand, but after potentially understanding he actually understands and again stops actually understanding and remains understanding only in potency or with habitual knowledge. So a human word is younger than a man and sometimes stops existing before the man. But these two limitations cannot apply to God, who has no imperfection or change, or going from potency to act, since he is pure and first act. The Word of God, therefore, is co-eternal with God. Another difference of our word from the divine is that our intellect does not simultaneously understand everything, or with one act, but by many different acts; therefore the words of our intellect are many.

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sed deus omnia simul intelligit, et unico actu, quia eius intelligere non potest esse nisi unum, cum sit suum esse: unde sequitur quod in deo sit unum verbum tantum. ulterius autem est alia consideranda differentia: quod verbum intellectus nostri non adaequat intellectus virtutem, quia cum aliquid mente concipimus, adhuc possumus alia multa concipere: unde verbum intellectus nostri et imperfectum est, et in eo potest compositio accidere, dum ex multis perfectis verbis fit unum verbum perfectius, sicut cum intellectus concipit aliquam enuntiationem, aut definitionem alicuius rei. sed verbum divinum adaequat virtutem dei, quia deus per essentiam suam seipsum intelligit et omnia alia: unde quanta est essentia eius tantum est verbum quod concipit per essentiam suam, se et omnia intelligendo. est ergo perfectum, et simplex, et aequale deo: et hoc verbum dei filium nominamus ratione iam dicta, quem eiusdem naturae cum patre, et patri coaeternum, unigenitum, et perfectum confitemur.

But God understands everything simultaneously by one single act, because his understanding must be one, since it is his very being. It follows therefore that in God there is only one word. There is yet another difference: The word of our intellect does not measure up to the power of our intellect, because when we mentally conceive one thing we can still conceive many other things; thus the word of our intellect is imperfect and can be composed, when several imperfect notions are put together to form a more perfect word, as happens in the process of formulating a definition. But the divine Word measures up to the power of God, because by his essence he understands himself and everything else. So the Word he conceives by his essence, when he understands himself and everything else, is as great as his essence. It is therefore perfect, simple and equal to God. We call this Word of God a Son, as said above, because he is of the same nature with the Father, and we profess that he is co-eternal with the Father, only-begotten and perfect.

Cf. ibid., cap. 3:


CP3est autem intellectus noster aliquando quidem in potentia intelligens, aliquando vero in actu. quandocumque autem actu intelligit, quoddam intelligibile format, quod est quasi quaedam proles ipsius, unde et mentis conceptus nominatur. et hoc quidem est quod exteriori voce significatur: unde sicut vox significans, verbum exterius dicitur, ita interior mentis conceptus verbo exteriori significatus, dicitur verbum intellectus, seu mentis. Now our intellect sometimes is understanding in potency, sometimes in act. But whenever it understands in act, it forms something intelligible, which is a sort of offspring of it, for which reason it is also called a conception of the mind. And this is, in fact, what is signified by the exterior vocal sound; and so, just as the vocal sound doing the signifying is called the exterior word, so the interior conception of the mind signified by the exterior word is called the word of the intellect, or of the mind.

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(c) 2013 Bart A. Mazzetti. All rights reserved.

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