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Why wise men and philosophers very often generate foolish children.
Next one inquires why wise men and philosophers quite commonly generate foolish and ignorant children.
1. And it seems the opposite is the case. For nature is more solicitous of nobler things. But it is true for brute beasts that nobler parents generate better and nobler young, as is evident among horses. Therefore, this will be even more true for the human, who is nobler than these others.
2. In addition, not only the power of the body but even the power of the soul is in the sperm; otherwise, it would not produce something animated. Therefore, since children generally resemble their parents in the bodily dispositions, they will, for the same reason, resemble them in the soul's dispositions, in terms of wisdom, knowledge, etc.
The opposite is clear to the senses.
One must respond that wise men very often do generate foolish children since, according to Avicenna, the operation of one very intense power prevents another from operating. Now, then, wise men are very prone to imagination and reason, and they engage in very deep thoughts and meditations. Thus the natural power in them is usually weakened, and this is why their sperm is frequently bad and undigested, and this is why they produce poor children, since one who is good at study is bad at business and at generation, that is, at making love. This is why, etc. Other animals are more prone to the natural power and they are not impaired by the depth of their thoughts, and this is why good progeny come from good [animals]. This is why the offspring of one horse is more desirable than that of another.
1. And with this a response to the first argument is clear, since it is not the same for brute animals and the human and because humans are entirely straightforward with respect to the natural power, and this is why they digest sperm well. Thus an intelligent offspring is generated.
2. To the second argument one must respond that wise men think very deeply about noble matters, and for this reason a measure of their power is transmitted with the sperm. And this is why, etc.
Whether anything like a monster exists in nature.
Next one inquires about monsters. And first, whether anything like a monster exists in nature.
1. It seems not. For a monster does not come forth from that whose operation always tends toward the good. But nature's operation is always for the good, because an end possesses the definition of the good and nature operates for the sake of an end. Therefore, etc.
2. In addition, there can be no monster where nothing is superfluous and nothing is diminished. But nature is such as this, because "nature does nothing in vain, nor does it lack anything necessary." Therefore, there is nothing superfluous in nature, and nothing is diminished. Therefore, etc.
The opposite is evident.
One must say that it is possible for a monster to exist in nature. And the reason for this is as follows: there are certain agents, like the superior agents, that do not accept any hindrances to their operations, and there are some agents, like all those which act on matter supplied to them, that can accept hindrances. This is because an agent can be frustrated with respect to its appropriate end by the recalcitrance of matter. But natural agents are of this sort, and they can thus be hindered from accomplishing the end principally intended. But that which happens beyond the appropriate end is an evil in nature and possesses the definition for a monster. Therefore, a monster is possible in nature.
1. On to the arguments. To the first, one must reply that nature's operation is ordered toward the good unless it is hindered, but it can be hindered, and this is why, etc. Or one can say that although a monster is an evil when compared to the effect intended per se, nevertheless the monster itself, insofar as it possesses the definition of being [ens], is good.
2. To the second argument one must respond that nature does nothing in vain intentionally, nor does it lack things that are necessary. But if something such as this comes to be, then this occurs outside of its intent and owing to some hindrance it encounters.
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