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Whether male and female co-exist in one and the same thing.

Why a male whose generative members have been cut off can become effeminate, whereas a female does not become virile.

One inquires further whether male and female co-exist in one and the same thing.

1. It seems not. A contrary acts on its contrary, and this is why contraries do not co-exist in one and the same thing. But male and female are contraries, because they divide sex. Therefore, they cannot co-exist in one and the same thing.

2. In addition, if they were to co-exist in something, this would occur especially in plants. The conclusion is false. For the Philosopher says in the book On Plants that male and female

8. Although it comes second in the text, this response clearly refers to the third argument listed at the beginning of this question.

9. "Principal efficients" and "instrumental efficients": Conrad of Austria's shifts of gender throughout this passage make clarity elusive are distinct in plants, because plants are hard on account of the male and soft on account of the female.

The Philosopher says the opposite. For he says that sex is confused in plants, but it is distinct in animals.

In conjunction with this, one can ask why a man whose generative members have been cut off can become effeminate, whereas a female does not become virile, when the same reasoning [ratio] would seem to be at work in both cases.

To the first, one must reply that sex is confused in plants and as a result male and female co-exist in them, whereas these are distinct in animals. And the reason for this is that a plant does not require a great diversity of parts for the sake of its perfection, but rather a generative power exists in each of its parts; nevertheless, this is for a different reason, because in plants heat is like the father and earth is like the mother. Therefore, the fruit and seed are produced from an earthy and watery moisture by the action of the natural heat. But a sensitive soul is more perfect, and requires greater diversity in the parts, and this is why in all those that are generated by propagationthat is, intercoursethe sexes are distinct.

One can, however, make the distinction that sex is distinct in two ways: either in terms of the thing or in terms of the operation. In terms of the thing it is distinct in animals and confused in plants, but in terms of the operation sex is distinct in plants just as it is in animals, because plants are fertile with respect to the female and sterile with respect to the male. And in like manner they are hot and hard with respect to the male, and cold and soft with respect to the female.

I. On to the arguments. To the first, one must reply that contraries, in their extremes or most intense forms, do not exist in the same thing at the same time; nevertheless, they can co-exist when they are broken up, as is apparent in something dusky, with respect to the white and the black.[1] But yet, for various reasons, male and female can occur in the same one owing to a flaw in nature, as is evident among hermaphrodites, who have each member. But this is a monster in nature.

One can respond another way to the argument that the powers of contraries are well able to exist at the same time in the same one, although their acts cannot.

2. To the second argument one must reply that the Philosopher says in the book On Plants that sex is distinct in plants in terms of operation. Here, however, he says that sex is confused in them in terms of the thing itself.

One can respond to the question that is asked in conjunction with this in two ways: In one way, one can respond that a female is related to a male just as a privation is related to a property [habitus],[2] and a transition can occur from a property to its privation, but not the other way around, as blindness can occur in one who sees, but not the other way around. And this is why a male can be made effeminate, but not the other way around.

One can respond better in another way that principal members can be lost, but once they have been lost, they cannot be restored. But in the first generation a female is deprived of the principal members of generation, namely, the testicles, at least externally, although they exist internally at the base of the womb.[3] Therefore, for this reason the male can lose the principal members, but the female cannot recover those members of which she was deprived during generation, and this is why a male can be rendered effeminatebecause once the members in which heat and power flourish have been cut off, he is reduced to the female's complexion, and from that point on he becomes cold and moist like a female. But these members cannot be generated in a female after her generation is completed, and this is why she cannot be rendered virile.

  • [1] "Dusky": fusco, may refer to a dark-complexioned individual.
  • [2] "Property:" habitus, derived from habeo, implies the possession of a property, quality, or characteristic. A privation, privatio, is therefore its opposite.
  • [3] On female testicles in relation to the womb, see especially A., DA 15.1.6.30 (SZ 2: 1098).
 
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