Home Philosophy The fathers of the church
Whether a male or a female can be generated by contrivance.
Further one inquires whether a male or a female can be generated by contrivance [ perartem].
1. It seems not, for what is determined by nature cannot be changed by contrivance. But the seed is naturally determined to be either male or female. Therefore, it cannot be changed.
2. In addition, whatever cannot exert power on the effect cannot exert power on the cause, because the cause is more powerful than its effect. But contrivance cannot change a male into a female, nor contrariwise. Therefore, it will not be able to change nature.
To the contrary. It takes greater power to produce a substance than to alter the action of the substance. But one who is sterile can give birth by contrivance, or a fetus can be produced from one who is sterile. And male and female differ only per accidens. Therefore, the material disposed to become a male can all the more be shaped into a female by contrivance, and contrariwise.
To this, one must reply that contrivance can contribute to the generation of a male or a female, because a strong heat is required for the generation of a male. But heat can be fortified and introduced to the semen by contrivance and medicine. Therefore, if the semen that is sent forth is disposed to become a female, it can be disposed to become a male by medicine, and contrariwise.
In addition, that which can alter the cause can also alter the effect. But a cause of a male is the strength of the heat, [living in] a frigid area, a northern wind, and the evocation of the sperm from the right testicle, as the physicians say, and all these can be achieved by art or medicine. Therefore, etc.
1. On to the arguments. To the first, one must reply that a natural disposition is of two types: either in the species, or in an accident containing the species. In one way, the male and the female do not differ by species, but only in terms of an accident containing the species; and although the species cannot be changed by contrivance, nevertheless a change can be made to the accidents of the species by contrivance.
2. To the second argument one must reply that something exists in potency in relation to another in two ways: either proximately or remotely. Whatever is proximate in potency and exists as if especially disposed to one effect cannot be altered. But whatever is remote in potency can readily be altered. Seen in one way, the matter for the production of a male or female is remote in potency, and this is why it can easily be altered. But those accidents by means of which they are present in act are present
On the birth of a woman and her circumstances.
One inquires further whether a woman has a determinate time for giving birth.
And it seems so. For a greater and nobler perfection is due to a nobler species. Other animals have a determinate time for giving birth. Therefore, so much more so will a woman.
The Philosopher says the opposite.
Second, one inquires whether a fetus brought forth in the eighth month is weaker than a fetus brought forth in the seventh month.
And it seems not. For that which is consolidated and arranged over a longer period of time does not seem to be weaker. But one brought forth in the eight month is like this, when compared to one brought forth in the seventh month. Therefore, etc.
The Philosopher says the opposite.
Third, one inquires whether a woman labors more giving birth than do the other animals.
And it seems not, because the end ought to be proportioned to the beginning. But a woman takes particular pleasure in intercourse and in conception. Therefore, she will suffer proportionally less in giving birth.
The Philosopher says the opposite.
Fourth, one inquires why a woman suffers a miscarriage more often in the beginning or the end of her pregnancy than during the middle.
Fifth, one inquires why, when a pregnant woman ingests salt, this should be the cause why the fetus is generated without nails.
To the first question one must reply that in those inferior species, the nearer something is to matter the more uniform it is, and the more remote it is from matter the more diverse [difformitate]. This is clear from comparing an element to compounds or homogenous parts to organic parts. Therefore, since a woman has more form than do other females in other species, she is more diverse. And in the same way reason and will are not subject to the impressions of celestial bodies in the same way other bodily powers are. But the life of other animals is ruled by sensation, which is an organic power, whereas reason and the will rule the power and life of a person. Therefore, because the other animals are ruled in a natural way, this is why they give birth uniformly, but a woman can govern herself by her will, so much so that she may give birth at different times, namely, in the seventh, eighth, ninth, or tenth month. In this way a solution is apparent to the argument.
To the second question one must reply that Saturn is the first among the planets in superior realms, and next is Jupiter, and then Mars, and so on for the others. But Saturn is cold and dry, and it is a malevolent planet. Thus, one born under Saturn is given to evil. Jupiter is warm and moist, and it is a benevolent planet, for it makes a person lovable, and so on for the others. Therefore, if the child that is born should come forth in the seventh month, and is then born under the moon, the birth will be for the good. If, however, the fetus has not been adequately arranged for its exit in the seventh month, and its exit is delayed until the eighth month, it is a sign of weakness in the fetus, and in the same way its birth will depend on Saturn, and under this planet the birth is bad or leads to something bad. And if it should come forth in the ninth month, it is born under
Jupiter, which is warm and moist, and the birth will be for the good. Thus the Philosopher says that, according to the opinion of the astrologers, if a woman should give birth in the eighth month the fetus will die or, if it lives, it will languish. And with this a solution to the argument is evident.
To the third question one must reply that pain is caused by the sensation of a contrary, according to Galen and to Aristotle in the fourth book of the Ethics, whereas pleasure is caused by the sensation of something agreeable. But now it is the case that among all the animals woman has more pleasure in conception, and this is only because she has a more subtle power of sensation, and pleasure during intercourse is caused by the movement of the sperm and its passage over the sensible members. But where there is greater pleasure there will also be greater suffering when suffering occurs. This is evident in the individual members, since the greatest pain occurs in the eye because it has the subtlest power of sensation. And this is why a woman suffers more in giving birth. And generally those that experience more pleasure during intercourse suffer more in giving birth. And another reason is that the woman abounds in spermatic blood when compared to other female animals, and this is why her fetus is relatively larger and the size of the fetus is the cause of her suffering during childbirth.
To the fourth question one must reply that the fetus in the uterus is just like a fruit on a tree. Now when fruit is new it quickly falls due to the movement of the wind, because its tether is not well consolidated, and it is the same at the end when it has ripened, because it is tied to the tree by moisture, and at the end the moisture has evaporated. But in the intermediate period it is well consolidated, and there is no defect in this middle period, and this is why it falls only with difficulty during this middle period. It is the same for the fetus, because in the beginning the cotyledons are weak and not well consolidated, and
To the fifth question one must reply that salt protects from putrefaction and consumes the viscous moistures, and nails are generated from these moistures. And this is why, if a pregnant woman uses salt, the moistures that should be converted into nails are consumed, and the fetus will lack nails.
|< Prev||CONTENTS||Next >|