Questions on the Categories
Translated by John Longeway
There is a doubt concerning this which is said: a primary substance is that which is strictly and principally and to the greatest degree called substance. And it seems that this is false, for that which is in the genus of substance is more a substance, but genera and species are in the genus of substance, and individuals are not, since they are indefinite <in number>; therefore it seems that genera and species are more substance than a primary substance.
It must be said as regards this that ‘substance’ is said from two acts, namely the act of subsisting and the act of standing beneath. Primary substance subsists strictly speaking, and therefore it is strictly called substance from the act of subsisting. It also principally stands beneath, and therefore it is principally substance from the act of standing beneath. It stands beneath to the greatest degree, for it stands beneath both secondary substances and accidents, and therefore it is called substance to the greatest degree in the same way from the act of standing beneath.
In response to the argument, when it is argued, “that is more substance etc.,” I reply that individuals can be considered in two ways, either according to what they are, or as they are indefinite. If they are considered according to what they are, in this way they are in a category, and in this way genus and species are not more substances than individuals, for these subsist strictly speaking, and to the greatest degree and principally. If they are considered as they are indefinite, they are not in a category, for as such they cannot pass into the understanding; and it is as they are indefinite that the argument draws its conclusion. These words are customarily explained in another way, but it is not preferable to this.
It is asked why, in giving examples of primary substances, he says this: Some human being, some horse—and he does not say, “Socrates, Plato.”
I reply that this is since every imposition is from a form. The reason for this is that the same is signified by the name and the definition, and definition arises from a form, and therefore imposition does. And since the same is the form of the species and of the individual, and this essentially, therefore from the same, as it were, there will be imposition. But since that which indicates a species in an indeterminate mode indicates an individual in a determinate mode, a particular sign is added to designate this determination. Therefore, we say “some human being,” and not “Socrates,” for “Socrates,” as this is signified, belongs accidentally to what is supposited in this way by “human being.” But “some human being” is necessarily its suppositum because of the agreement in form which it expresses.
It is doubted concerning this, which he says, that if primary substances are destroyed it is impossible for any other to remain.
And it seems that this is false, since when destructible things are destroyed, indestructible things are not necessarily destroyed. But primary substances are destructible things, and secondary substances indestructible. Therefore etc.
Regarding this it must be held that when destructible things are destroyed it is not necessary that indestructible things be destroyed without qualification. But it is necessary that destructible things be destroyed as far as that being they have in destructible things is concerned. Therefore, although it is not necessary that they be destroyed without qualification when primary substances are destroyed, still it is necessary that they be destroyed insofar as that being which they have in primary substances is concerned.
It is doubted concerning what he says, that species is more substance than genus, for he says afterwards that substance is not susceptible of more or less, and so he seems to contradict himself.
Regarding this it must be said that substance can be considered in two ways, according to what it is, or as far as the act of standing under is concerned. So I maintain that as far as this act of standing under is concerned a species is more a substance than a genus, for its stands under more. And the Philosopher understands it thus. So far as what it is is concerned, it is not susceptible of more or less, for something is called more which is such that it goes over more to one contrary than another; for instance, something is said to be whiter which has black less mixed with it; and since nothing is contrary to substance according to what it is (even though, as it is considered as divided through opposites of which one has a more perfect form and the other a less perfect form, since it is impossible for two species under one genus to be equally perfect, in this way there is a contrary to it), as such, substance is not susceptible of more or less. But there will be discussion of this later.
Note that substance is not in a subject; for a subject names some being in actuality, but that which is in being in actuality is an accident, and since substance is not an accident it is not in a substance.
Note concerning this that he says that great and small are not contraries, for great and small can be considered in two ways, either as great is related to another as exceeding it and small as exceeded by it, and in this way they are contraries, or insofar as they are quantities, and in this way they are not contraries.
Against the last property of substance, which is that although substance is one and the same in number, it is susceptible of contraries, Albert introduces four objections: (1) Substantial form according to its change is not susceptible of contraries, and yet it is substance; therefore etc. (2) Again, god is a substance and yet is not susceptible of contraries. (3) Again, intelligences are substances and yet are not susceptible of contraries. (4) Again, the heavens is a substance and yet does not receive contraries, for it does not receive wandering impressions according to Aristotle.
Because of the first objection it must be considered that this properties only agree with what can be ordered per se within the genus of substance, but substantial form is not such, since it is simple; therefore this property does not agree with substantial form.
In response to the second, I reply that God is not in a genus, but above every genus, and therefore even though He is a substance, it is not necessary that He receive contraries.
But concerning intelligences there is a difficulty, since there are in the genus of substance but still do not receive contraries. Therefore it must be said that one pair of contraries belongs to intelligences as they are in themselves, since they arise from nothing, and consequently can be converted to nothing, as they are in themselves. And this is what Plato says, “O divine gods, of whom I am the workman, just as by your nature you are dissoluble, so by my will you are indissoluble .” Therefore, as they are in themselves they are susceptible to contraries, namely, to being and non-being.
In response to the last, I reply that celestial bodies are susceptible of contraries because of the different positions they have, for sometimes they are in the eastern, sometimes in the western part, and as such, they are susceptible of contraries. Therefore everything which is per se in the genus of substance is susceptible of contraries.
It should also be known that truth is in a reality as in a cause, in an utterance as in a sign, in the understanding as in a subject; and therefore, it is not strictly said that a phrase is susceptible of the contraries, true and false, since a phrase is not their subject.
Next it is asked concerning the part “of those which are said according to no complexity,” in which the Philosopher posits the number of categories. Therefore we inquire concerning the number and the sufficiency of them.
And it seems that there are more than ten, for is one of a pair of opposites is said in several ways, the other is too. But substance and accident are opposites. Since there are nine genera of accidents, there will be nine genera of substances. In the same way it can be shown that there are only two genera, since if one of the opposites is not said in several ways, neither is the other, but substance is only one genus; therefore there will be only one genus of accident, since substance and accident are opposites.
Again, it is argued that there are more than ten, since just as acting is distinct from receiving action, so is having distinct from being had, but acting and receiving action are different categories; therefore etc.
On the other hand, it is clear through the Philosopher, who says there are only ten categories, namely substance, quantity, etc.
It must be said in response to this that there are ten categories and no more nor less. To make this clear it must be considered that all things other than primary substances are either said of primary substances or are in primary substances. If they are said of primary substances they are either said of them according to name, or according to formula, for that is strictly said of another what is said according to name and formula, as the Philosopher says in the text. If, then, another than primary substance is said of primary substance according to name and formula, in this way it is in category of substance. If they are in primary substances, then, since such things are accidents, they are in them either through something extrinsic or through something intrinsic. If through something intrinsic, they are either in them absolutely or in relation to another. If absolutely, either through the nature of matter, and in this way it is quantity, or through the nature of form, and in this way it is quality, since quality is what informs and denominates. If they are in them in relation to another, in this way it is relation. But if accidents are in primary substances through something extrinsic, that extrinsic thing is related to primary substances either as measure to measured, or as agent to patient, or as something that is had to what has it. If it is related to primary substance as agent to patient, or conversely, in this way two categories result, namely action and passion, for the action of an agent on a patient causes a certain motion, which is called action from the agent, and passion from the patient. If that extrinsic thing is related to primary substance as measured to what is measured, since an extrinsic measure is not unless it is two, namely place and time, therefore an extrinsic accident can be related to a primary substance as place to what is placed in it, and in this way it is the category where. For where is a ceratin way of being which is caused in what is in a place from the relation place has to it—and this is what the author of the Six Principles wished to signify when he said that where is a limiting etc., according to which we say up and down are distinct. But if place is not related to what is located in it, in this way it is the category which is position. For position is nothing except a certain way of being caused in a body located in a place from the relation which place has to it and its parts, according to which we say something is seated or standing because its parts are disposed in the whole differently when it is seated and when it stands. And the author of the Six Principles wished to signify this when he said that position is a situation etc. If an extrinsic accident is related to primary substance as time to a temporal thing, in this way the category when results. For when is not unless a certain way of being is caused in a temporal thing from the relation which time has to it. And this is what the author of the Six Principles wished to signify when he said that when is what is left etc., according to which manner of denomination something is said to be on one day, or of one year. But if the extrinsic accident is related to primary substance as having is related to what has it, in this way the category of having results. And it is in this way that we say the attire of Socrates is related to Socrates when he is dressed. So the having caused in Socrates when he is dressed from the clothing which he has is said be his habit. And this is what the author of the Six Principles says, that having is of a body and of those round about the body, so that having consists in a certain application of those which are around the body to the body—and this category of having is not found in animals other than human beings except when they enter into the customs of human beings. Therefore Thomas says on Physics III that being attired and such as pertain to having clothing, as they are said of other animals than human beings that belong to the category of substance, they are in the category of having.
In this way, then, the number and sufficiency of the categories is received, so that categories are distinguished into three ways of being: being not in another, being in another, and being in relation to another. Being not in another belongs to substance, being in another merely absolutely belongs to quality and quantity, but being in another and in relation to another is with respect to relation and the other six categories. For the other six are certain relations, or are caused from certain relations. So although it can be granted that depending on another is of the essence of seven categories, still I do not believe is of the essence of quantity and quality. Even though quality and quantity agree in this, that both indicate being in another absolutely, still there is no reality found except in these two. They differ, however, in this, that quantity measures a substance and quality informs a substance.
In response to the arguments. In response to the first, when it is argued, “if one opposite is said in several ways so are the others,” I reply that this is true as far as what is signified is concerned, but as far as supposita are concerned. For if different things are opposites it is necessary that as many as are signified by one opposite be signified by the other. And let the minor premise be granted. Still it does not follow that as many are contained under the subject as are contained under accident. And therefore although accident contains nine genera, it does not follow that substance contains that many; and the reason that there are many genera of accidents is that many things can belong to one thing. Therefore, although there is one genus of substance, there can be many genera of accidents. That many belong to one is obvious, for some belong to substance as dispositions, some as effects, and so on for the rest.
And in the same way the second argument is apparent. For it was seen how the proposition is to be understood, for if one opposite etc.
In response to the other, when it is argued, “just as acting is distinct from suffering action, etc.,” I reply that it is so in a certain way, and in a certain not. Just as acting is not suffering action, thus having is not being had. Nevertheless, there is not so much difference between having and being had as there is between acting and suffering action, for between acting and suffering action there is enough difference for the distinction of categories, but between having and being had there is not. And the reason for this is that categories are distinguished within ways of being, since they are distinguished within ways of predicating. Because of this substance is distinguished from the others. But ways of predicating arise from ways of being as ways of signifying, and because of this categories are distinguished within ways of being but not within all ways of being but only those ways which agree in nothing, and of which one does not reduce to the other. Now the ways of being of action and passion agree in nothing, for according to the way of being of action the cause gives being to the effect, and according to the ways of being of passion an effect receives being from the cause. Therefore action and passion are distinguished as cause and caused, but cause and caused are of different primary being, and agree in nothing, nor does one reduce to the other, and therefore from such different categories can arise. From this sort of different ways of being, then, different categories arise, but what has and what is had do not distinguish being in this way, nor do they arise from ways of being which distinguish a being as being; but these ways of being which are of what has and what is had are reduced to other ways of being, and so do not constitute different categories; and this way of being to which what has and what is had reduces is called having.
Next it is asked whether that substance which is the most general genus, is simple or composite substance.
And it seems that it is simple substance, since the composite is not predicated of the simple, but that substance which is the most general genus is predicated of simple substances, for instance, of intelligences, for intelligences are simple substances, since, as Avicenna says in The Book of Causes, an intelligence is a substance which is not divided; therefore etc.
Again, the primary is related to the manner of a form, but substance which is the most general genus is primary, and therefore it is related to the manner of form. But form is something simple, therefore that substance which is the most general genus is something simple.
On the other hand, it is argued that the simple is not predicated of the composite, but that substance which is the most general genus is predicated of composite substances, for instance, of human beings, donkeys, cows, and such; therefore etc.
It must be understood here that the substance which is the most general genus can be considered as it really is, or as falling under the form of the most general genus, or as regards it essence. If it is considered as falling under the form of the most general genus, I hold that the substance which is the most general genus considered thus is simple and not composite. This is explained thus: that of which the form is not divided into other things prior according to understanding, nor into others prior in reality, is something simple and not composite. But the form of most general genus is not divided into others prior according to understanding, for instance, into genus and differences, since it does not have a genus and differences, since it is the most general genus, above which no other genus is found. And since it is not divided according to understanding, it is obvious that it is not divided in reality, since the understanding is well able to divide in accord with a formula even what is undivided in reality. Therefore etc.
Now if that substance which is the most general genus is considered in respect of its essence absolutely, I hold that it is not simple, nor composite. For substance is the most general genus in relation to its species, but in the essence of the genus considered as genus neither one nor several species is included. This is clear, since if you were to define some genus, for instance, animal, you would not receive any substance, for instance donkey or human being, though this essence is not in reality other than these, since a single reality does not make a genus. Therefore etc.
But if that substance which is the most general genus is considered in connection with its being one, thus it can be considered either as regards being in the understanding or as regards real being. If it be considered as regards being in the understanding, thus I hold it is neither simple nor composite, since as that substance which is the most general genus as regards its real being it is neither simple absolutely nor composite absolutely, and thus neither is it composite or simple considered as regards being understood, since a reality has the same disposition in being and in truth. If it be considered as to its real being, thus I hold it is both simple and composite, and we hold the same concerning animal in respect of human being and donkey. For the genus in its real being is nothing other than all its species. Now that substance which is the most general genus is related to simple and composite substance as genus to its species, and therefore in real being it is both simple and composite.
Thus three things are apparent, namely, that is the substance which is the most general genus be considered as to its form, thus it is something simple; if it be considered as to its essence absolutely, thus it is neither simple nor composite; in the same way, if it be considered as to its being understood, it is neither simple nor composite; and if it be considered as to its real being, thus it is both simple and composite.
But you will reply that Boëthius says in his comment here, that even though substance is threefold, matter and form and the composite, Aristotle treats the extremes here through the middle, which is the composite, and therefore according to Boëthius that substance which is the most general genus is a composite substance.
To understand this, it must be considered that everything contained in the category of substance is composite on two grounds, namely in reality, and from the manner in which accidental being is added to it. Hence these two, namely reality and form, structure (integrant) the category. What I call the form is the manner of being which belongs to the reality. Therefore the category of substance is constructed from the reality and the form, or the manner of being, that is, not being in another. For the Philosopher says in the text that it is proper to every substance not to be in any subject. That substance, therefore, which is the category is not some composite from matter and form, but is a composite from something material and something formal, or from essence and being, for every substance other than the First is composed from essence and being, and therefore every substance other than the First is contained under the category of substance. This, then, is what Boëthius understands, that although substance is threefold, namely matter, form and composite, he treats of the extremes through the middle.
From this I argue: That substance which is the most general genus is that which is the middle between matter and form, but this can only be the composite of matter and form, therefore etc. But I hold that Boëthius does not understand by form the form that comes into being and is destroyed, but the First form, which is God, who is His own being from Himself. But by matter he understands the primary subject with which being does not coincide from itself, and by that middle substance, which is treated here, he understands another essence with which being does coincide. And so that substance which is the most general genus is the composite from essence and being. Therefore Boëthius intends to say that the other extremes, namely the naming and prime matter which are both per se in the genus of substance, are to be treated through the middle, namely through the substance which is essence with which being coincides.
Next it must be understood that even though everything which is contained in the category of substance is composed from essence and being, still some of these, in addition to being composed from essence and being, are also composed from matter and form, and such can come to be and be destroyed, and are called composite substances. Others are composed only from essence and being, and such are called simple substances. For this reason, then, we hold that substance which is the most general genus contains under itself composite and simple substances, since it contains substance composed from matter and form, and that which is composed only from essence and being, but is not composed from matter and form. Both can be explained. As to the first, it is explained that it is not composed from matter and form. For an intelligence is an intellectual nature to a higher degree than our understanding. Now our understanding is assumed to be immaterial so that it might understand all things, and therefore the Philosopher says in De Anima III that it is necessary for our intellect to be unmixed, so that it might understand all things. Since then the intelligences are the greatest intellectual substances, they must be immaterial and simple, and must not be composed from matter and form. But they are composed from essence and being. The proof of this is because it belongs to the what-it-is of each thing not to be caused in it through anything extrinsic, since if it were, what it is would be demonstrable of that of which it is. But being is created in an intelligence from without, namely from the First being, and the intelligence has a capacity to receive that being; and this is what he says in Comment 9 on the Book of Causes, that an intelligence has being and form, understanding by form its whatness. Thus it is apparent that that substance which is the most general genus is something composite, not a composite from matter and form, but from a reality and a mode of being added to it.
In response to the arguments: As to the first, when it is argued, “a composite is not predicated” etc., I grant this. And then I reply to the minor premise, what intelligences in a certain way are simple, and in another way composite. They are simple because they are not composed from matter and form, but are composed from essence and being. And therefore, although that substance which is the most general genus is composite, it can be proved of intelligences.
In response to the other, I grant the whole argument, since nothing is concluded except that the most general genus is something simple as regards its form, and this is granted. Or it can be held that even though that substance which is the most general genus is related to the manner of form, it is not necessary that it be as simple as the form, and so it can be composed from essence and being.
In response to the arguments on the other hand, when it is argued, “The simple is not predicated of the composite,” I grant it, and when it is said that that substance which is the most general genus is predicated of composites, I hold that it is not predicated of composites as they are composed of matter and form, but as the are composed of essence and being. And this is the common from through which substance is predicated of all those of which it is predicated. And therefore that substance which is the most general genus is simple insofar as in does not include in its form composition from matter and form, but only includes composition from being and essence.
Next it is asked about the chapter on substance, namely, whether primary substance is more substance than secondary substance.
And it is argued that secondary substance is more substance than primary, since that because of which it is such is itself more such. But primary substance is substance because of secondary substance, since some human being is a human being and a human being is a substance, therefore some
human being is a substance; therefore secondary substance is more substance than primary.
Again, what is more a being is more a substance. But secondary substance is more a being than a primary substance, for a secondary substance is of the number of realities that remain and are indestructible, but a primary substance is able to come to be and to be destroyed; therefore etc.
On the other hand, it is argued: That substance which is substance strictly and principally and maximally is more substance; but primary substance is strictly and principally and maximally substance; therefore etc.
It must be understood here that a primary substance adds something over and above secondary substance. Primary substance is related to secondary as an individual to a species, but an individual adds something over and above its species; and therefore a primary substance adds something over and above a secondary substance, and I don’t care right now if it is a reality or only a conception (ratio). Now primary substance names two things, namely the whatness of a species and an accident of that whatness; therefore a primary substance can be considered either in relation to its whatness or in relation to an accident. If it be considered in relation to its whatness, which is none other than the whatness of its species, in this way I hold that a primary substance is not more a substance than a secondary substance, nor conversely. And the reason is that whatever things are so related that they are one whatness and nature, one is no more substance than the other. But a primary substance considered as regards its whatness and a secondary substance as regards its whatness are one essence and one nature. Therefore the Philosopher says in the text that secondary substances indicate primary substance, what they are, and nothing is properly introduced in picking out primary substances except species or genus; therefore etc.
Now if a primary substance is considered as it joins to itself some accident outside its whatness, in this way secondary substance is more substance than primary substance. This is explained thus: That which is a being in itself is more a substance than what is a being accidentally; but primary substance, if it be considered not only as to its whatness but as to an accident of its whatness, is a being accidentally, since it joins in itself two, one of which is an accident of the other. But a secondary substance includes nothing except its whatness. Therefore in this way secondary substance is more substance than primary substance, for secondary substance includes nothing except that which is per se in the category of substance, but a primary substance includes another that is not per se in the category of substance, since it includes both the whatness and an accident of the whatness. And therefore according to this secondary substance is more a substance than primary substance.
But if primary substance is considered as regards this act which is to stand under, in this way primary substance is more substance than secondary; for what stands under more things is more a substance, but primary substance stands under more things than a secondary substance; therefore etc.
But it must be noted that even though secondary substances include nothing except what is per se in the category of substance, but primary substance includes something else, even so, that which is signified primarily by the name of substance is primary substance. And the reason for this is that names are imposed more primarily on what is better known to us, but a particular, designated primary substance is better known to us than a secondary substance, and therefore of those things signified by the name of substance, that substance which is primarily signified is primary substance. And therefore the Philosopher says in the text that primary substance is what is strictly and principally and maximally called substance. “It is called,” that is, signified, he says “ it is called,” and not “it is.” And because of this argument composite substance is always taken to be more primarily signified by the name “substance” than form or matter, as appears in the Philosopher, Metaphysics VII.
Thus it is clear that in one way primary substance is more substance than secondary substance, and in a second way secondary substance is more substance than primary, and in a third way neither is more substance than the other.
In response to the arguments: In response to the first, when it is argued, “that because of which etc.” this is true, that because of which something is such, that is itself more such, formally or affectively. And as for the minor, when it is said that “primary substance etc.,” I reply that if primary substance is considered as regards what it is, thus it is not substance because of secondary substance, since in this way it is the same as secondary substance. If it is considered as regards its whatness and as regards an accident which it names, in this way primary substance is substance because of secondary substance, and in that, not by reason of its whatness, conveyed through the primary substance, but by reason of an accident.
As for the second argument, when it is argued, “what is more a being etc.,” I grant it. And when it is said that “secondary substance is more a being,” I reply that is primary substance is considered as regards what it is, thus secondary substance is not more a being than primary substance, indeed, just as secondary substance is not able to come into being and cannot be destroyed, so primary substance is not able to come into being and cannot be destroyed taken in this way; but if it is considered as it joins whatness and accident in itself, thus I hold that secondary substance is more being than primary, since primary substance in this way can come into being and be destroyed.
Next it is asked about the part, “but it is in substances.” Now the Philosopher says there that an accident is not predicated of a subject according to its name and according to its formula. Therefore it is asked whether an accident pertains to the what it is of its subjects.
And it is argued that it is, since each thing is cognized through its what it is. From this it is argued: That through which something is cognized belongs to its what it is, but a subject is cognized through its accidents, because the accidents to a great extent lead us to cognizing what it is, as is said in De Anima I; therefore etc.
Again, that through which something is defined pertains to its what it is; but substance has its being defined through its accidents; therefore etc. The minor is proved: since in a perfect definition all the causes must be present, but, now, some accidents are causes of their subjects, for head and cold are causes of the subjects in which they are, therefore the subjects have their being defined through accidents.
On the other hand, it is argued: That which comes to something after it is an actual being does not pertain to its what it is, but accidents come to substances after they actually are; therefore etc.
It must be said to this that accidents do not pertain to the what it is of their subjects, for what it is does not differ really from that of which it is, but only conceptually. And this is apparent, since “what it is” is said from whatness, just as “a being” is said from essence. Now whatness and essence are the same in reality, but differ conceptually. What ever indicates essence absolutely, indicates whatness in the order of understanding, and because of this I hold that whatness is an object of the understanding. Hence whatness is called a subject which is actually predicated of a reality. Whatness is the same as essence, then. Consequently, what it is, and that of which the what it is is, are the same. And so the major premise is apparent. Now an accident is other in reality than that of which it is. It is because of this that it is called an accident, because it is an added nature. Therefore an accident does not pertain to the whatness of that of which it is an accident.
Again, this can be explained thus: Whatever is must be given through something prior. From this it is argued that posterior things do not belong to the what it is of prior things. Now accidents are posterior to substances, for every accident comes to a substance after it is in actuality; therefore etc. Because of this the Philosopher says in the text that accidents are not predicated of their substances either according to name or concept, since if they were predicated of them according to concept, they would belong to their what it is. That, therefore, is predicated according to concept of something which belongs to its substance, and to it alone. But accidents are not predicated according to name and formula, and therefore they do not belong to the what it is of their subjects.
In response to the argument: As for the first, when it is argued, “That through which something is cognized etc.,” reply that cognition is twofold, essential and accidental. Essential cognition is obtained through essential principles of the reality; accidental cognition is obtained through accidents. Then, when he says, “That through which something is cognized etc.,” it is true if it is cognized through essential cognition, but not when we cognize a substance thus through its accidents, but we cognize it by an accidental cognition through accidents.
As for the other, when it is argued, “That through which something is defined etc.,” I grant the major premise. And when it is said that “subject is defined etc.,” I deny it. As for its proof, when you say that every cause is taken into the definition of a reality, I reply that this is true. But causes are twofold, namely some per se and some accidental. And I hold that per se causes must be placed in the definition of the reality of which they are causes, but not accidental causes, and it is in this way that accidents are causes of substances.
Certain questions concerning the text of the chapter on relation are asked, and first it is asked why he does not define relation, but relatives. For he says, “But that to which another etc.”
I reply to this that if relation were defined, it would either be defined through its essential principles, which cannot be the case here, for a logician does not consider the essences of things, or through its genus and differences, which cannot be, since relation is a highest genus. So, in neither of these ways does he defined relation or relatives. Or through a subject, but it can’t be done in this way, either, for the proper formula of relation is not being in a subject, but being in relation to another. Therefore the Philosopher, wishing to denote relation, denotes the extremes of relation, and he notes through this that relation has an essential dependence on its extremes, and therefore he says “But such are said in relation to something etc.”
And it must be noted that relation, which is a category, is not in relation to another, but is that by which something is referred to another, for if it were in relation to another, then that in relation to which it was would be a nature simultaneous with it, and would be a highest genus for this reason, and there would be more than ten categories.
It is doubted concerning this which he says, that relatives are simultaneous in nature, for since prior in nature and posterior in nature are relatives, prior in nature and posterior in nature will be simultaneous in nature, which seems to be false.
It must be understood that “relatives being simultaneous in nature” can be understood in two ways, either as regards the being of actual existence, or as regards being relative. Hence it is not necessary that they be simultaneous in nature as regards the being of actual existence because father and son are relatives, and it is not necessary that if the son is according to actual existence, the father is according to actual existence. But as regards relative being, it is necessary that relatives be simultaneous in nature, for just as this refers to that according to its nature, so that depends on that or refers to it according to its nature. For just as father refers to son, so son refers to father, and simultaneously, since whenever son refers to father, immediately father refers to son.
Then as regards the form of the argument: “Relatives are simultaneous in nature”—this is true as regards relative being, and when you say “prior nature etc.,” I grant it. And therefore they are simultaneous in nature as regards relative being, but not as regards the being of actual existence.
Note concerning this, that he says that when knowables are destroyed knowledge is destroyed, and not conversely; for a knowable can be considered in two ways, either formally, as under the formula by which it is a knowable, or materially, and this is to consider it as regards that which it is that is knowable. It if is considered as regards that which is knowable, and so materially, in this way it is in the genus of substance or quality or quantity, according as those which are known are in different genera, and in this way it is not a relative; and when a knowable taken in this way is destroyed, knowledge is not destroyed, nor conversely. And what is knowable can be considered in yet another way, namely as it is in its essential principles, and if a knowable taken in this way is destroyed, knowledge is destroyed, but not conversely. If a knowable is considered formally, then if a knowable is destroyed, knowledge is destroyed and conversely. And in this way a knowable and knowledge are strictly relatives, and this property, namely that relatives are simultaneous in nature, agrees with them and with every relative if it is considered formally. So a knowable can be considered really or as regards its being outside, or as regards the being it has in its principles, or as regards being understood simultaneously, that is, as it is formally knowable.
Next, a conclusion of a demonstration can be called knowable insofar as it is knowable. For there is knowledge of a conclusion just as there is understanding of principles. In another way a subject of which a passion is proved through demonstration is called that which is knowable. If a knowable taken in the first way is destroyed insofar as it is knowable, the knowledge which is had of it is destroyed, for if a triangle’s having three angles equal to two right angles, which is the conclusion of a demonstration, is destroyed, the knowledge of it is destroyed, too. But if that which is knowable in the second way is destroyed, knowledge is not destroyed, since if rain is destroyed in some region, knowledge of rain is not destroyed because of this, for it still remains in its essential principles.
Note concerning this which he says, that a hand is not a hand of someone even though a hand can be a hand of someone, because a hand as it is substance is not so-called in relation to anything, but a hand as it is part of an organic whole, in this way can be so-called in relation to something. But a given hand is not so-called in relation to anything, since even though the part is referred to the whole, still a part is not referred to a part, and since primary substance has the formula of a part with respect to absolute substance, therefore a given hand, which has the formula of a part, is not strictly speaking referred to it.
Note that relatives can be considered in two ways: as they are of one another, and so substances are something in relation to one another, or as their being is related to another, and in this way no substance is related to another, since the being of no substance is related to another. And therefore, in order to exclude substance from a relation of relatives, and this according to the strict view, for the first was given according to Plato’s view, as Albert says.