Home Philosophy The fathers of the church
Whether nature intends the generation of a female.
One inquires further whether nature intends the generation of a female.
1. And it seems not. For nature intends nothing flawed, because the accidental and the natural are in opposition. But a female is a flawed man [vir occasionatus], as is said in the sixteenth book of this work. Therefore, nature does not intend to produce a female.
2. In addition, nature intends that which is better. But a defect and privation are not better than a property [habitus]. Therefore, nature does not intend a defect and privation. But a female is generated only from a defect and on account of a privation. Therefore, nature does not intend to generate her.
To the contrary. Nature only fails in a few cases. But a female is generated in many instances. Therefore, she is not generated contrary to the intent of nature.
To this, one must reply that nature is of two types: universal and specific [naturaparticularise. Universal nature intends to conserve the entire universe and its parts, and because species are parts of the universe and not individuals, this is why universal nature intends principally to conserve the species. But a species of animals cannot be conserved without the generation of individuals, and a female as well as a male are required for this generation. This is why universal nature intends the female as that without which the species cannot be preserved. Specific nature, however, intends to produce something like itself, and because the power of the male is the agent for the generation of the animal, and not the power of the female, this is why the one acting on a specific thing [agens particulare] principally intends to produce a male. If, nevertheless, there is a defect in terms of the material or the heat, which it uses like an instrument, and it cannot generate suitably according to its intent, then it intends what it can produce, and thus a specific nature principally intends a male, but nonetheless it secondarily and in a flawed way [occasionaliter] intends a female.
In this way a solution is apparent to the arguments. For the first two [arguments] proceed from a specific nature which does not principally intend a female, just as it does not intend a flaw or defect, but nevertheless it can intend to produce her secondarily.
Whether male and female diversify species.
One inquires further whether male and female diversify species.
1. It seems so. Diversity in essence causes diversity in species. But the efficient cause and matter are diversified in essence; and therefore they never coincide, as is held in the second book of the Physics. But the male is the efficient cause, and the female is just like matter. Therefore, etc.
2. In addition, diversity in form causes diversity in species. But male and female diversify form, for they are caused by the soul, since they are not found in inanimate things. Therefore, etc.
3. In addition, substance does not come to be from non-substances. But the fetus comes to be from male and female. Therefore, male and female are substances. But male and female are opposites and do not tolerate one another in the same animal and cannot be universally received. Therefore, they will necessarily diversify species.
To the contrary. In univocal generation, the one generating generates one like itself. But a human is generated from male and female. Therefore, male and female are alike in the human species.
To this, one must reply that white and black can be compared in various wayseither to the genus of color which they divide, or to the subject which they inform, like a wall, a horse, or a dog. If they are compared in the first way, they diversify species, but they do not if they are compared in the second way, because they follow upon the individual matter. One must speak in the same way about male and female, because if they are compared in terms of sex, they diversify species. For sex is a certain natural potential for generating in a second species of quality, and is divided into masculine and feminine just as color is divided into white and black. If, however, they are compared with respect to the subject in which they exist, then they do not diversify the species, because they are caused only by diversity in the material. For if the heat is tempered, a male can be produced from the same material which produces a female when there is weak heat, and this would not happen if the things which are attributes of masculinity and femininity differed in species.
1. On to the arguments. To the first, one must reply that male and female are not diversified in the essence of the species. And when it is said that they are disposed like agent and matter, one must add that this is not because of the substantial form or matter but because of an accidental disposition, just as hot water acts on cold water through an accidentally acquired disposition. And nevertheless it does not follow from this that they differ in essence, because this action exists only because of accidental dispositions. In like manner the male has the definition of the agent on account of the strength of his power and heat, and the female has the definition of one undergoing the action because of her cold and moistness.
3. To the second argument one must reply that when the phrase "from non-substances," etc., appears, the preposition "from" indicates the circumstance of the material cause, and thus substance (or a fetus) does not arise from male and fe-male.8 But if it should indicate the circumstance of the efficient cause, then this has to be understood of the principal efficient [cause] and not of the instrumental efficient [cause]. But male and female are not principal efficient but only instrumental ones, and acting instrumentally during natural generation is an accident.9 For it occurs in intermediate active and passive qualities just as through instruments.
2. To the third argument one must reply that although male and female are found only in animate things, nevertheless they follow more upon the dispositions of the body than of the soul. For although an organization of parts is found only in animate things, and is nevertheless a disposition of the body, it is owing to the soul. Just so male and female are dispositions of the body, and this is why diverse instruments are attributed to them, yet they proceed from the soul as if from a remote cause.
|< Prev||CONTENTS||Next >|