God As Pure Act, Part

God As Pure Act, Part II

Act as Completion

An act, in English, has many meanings, but we are focusing on one of the first, which relates to action: the act of stealing, of building, of seeing, of declaring something illegal. The difference between “stealing” and “the act of stealing” is that “the act of” draws out the idea that the action is continuous and a sort of whole, i.e. an act is something being done.

All the acts that are being done can be viewed as continuous, but some of them are continuous like seeing, sensing, and thinking, and others are continuous like building and declaring something illegal. While I perform the act of seeing, it is true to say during that very act, that I have seen before; but while I perform the act of declaring something illegal, it’s not true to say that during that very act I have declared something illegal. An Act, then, is either something immediately complete, like seeing, or it is an imperfect act that aims towards completion.

An act, then, denotes completion of the continuous, i.e. completion of something being done. Either the act is complete throughout, or it aims at some completion. But the act cannot be understood apart from the completion, for the completion fixes the nature of the act (there are other causes too, but the completion is necessary). What I mean, for example, is that the final structure determines that the worker performs the act of building (as opposed to some other unrelated act, like writing, or flying, or eating) Because the completion, the thing built, is necessarily related to the act of building. The act of anything is defined by its completion.

Because act necessarily relates to completion, English uses “an act” to also mean the very completion itself, as when it talks about “an act of Congress”. This sense of act means something that has been done.

And so the first thing to point out about the word “act” when used as an English noun, is that it is a continuous thing necessarily related to completion, either a completion already present, in the act, or a completion coming to be from the act, or a completion that has come to be from the act.


God as Pure Act, Part

God as Pure Act, Part One

No one has yet explained what it means to call God “pure act” in English. In explanations of God as pure act, the word “act” is used as a quasi Latin word- which makes it worse than simply unintelligible, it makes it jargon. All good philosophy should detest jargon. If we thought about philosophy the way the Greeks did in their Golden age or the way the Medievals did at the University of Paris, we English speakers would chastise anyone who used an idiom like “pure act”: what kind of act is ‘pure’? Is a pure act like a stage act? Like an act of Congress? Is the third act of Hamlet a pure act, or is the thing the actor does an act? A good amount of wonderful philosophy never gets done because people never bother to ask dumb sounding questions about the root meaning of words. In fact, let me be the first to lay down an objection to calling God “pure act”:

1.) An act is something that is done or performed
But God is not something done or performed
God, therefore, is not pure act.

or another one:

2.) No person is an act.
God has personhood
God, therefore, is not an act.

If you counter that the word “act” here means “perfection”, I can only ask for one instance, in the whole history of English, where “act” has meant “perfection”*. For that matter, I can’t think of a sincle time in Latin Literature when “actus” or any of the derivatives of “agere” meant “perfection”.

Why, in light of so damning an objection, does it make sense to call God “pure act” in English? This series of posts will give an argument for why an Engligh speaker can prove the existence of a being who he can call “pure act”.

*Let’s lay to rest the possibility right now- and so, from the OED:


1. a. A thing done; a deed, a performance (of an intelligent being). c1384 CHAUCER H. Fame 347 And al youre actes red and songe [MS. Bodl. actys]. c1460 FORTESCUE Abs. & Lim. Mon. (1714) 99 Thay have no Hertys to do so terryble an Acte. 1535 COVERDALE Ps. lix. 12 Thorow God we shal do greate actes, for it is he that shal treade downe oure enemies. 1584 D. POWEL Lloyd’s Cambria 99 The prowesse and worthie Actes of the ancient Brytaines. 1611 BIBLE Transl. Pref., As worthy an acte as euer he did. 1678 BUTLER Hudibras III. i. 925 An act and deed that makes one heart Become another’s Counter-part. 1807 CRABBE Par. Reg. III. 74 And snatch some portion of their acts from fate. 1832 J. AUSTIN Lect. Jurispr. xviii. (1879) I. 427 The only objects which can be called acts are the consequences of volitions..The involuntary movements which are the consequences of certain diseases are not acts.
b. A thing done as the result, practical outcome, or external manifestation of any state, and, whence the state may be inferred. 1751 JORTIN Serm. (1771) I. ii. 27 God required of him this act of obedience. 1768 BLACKSTONE Comm. II. 477 This hath been declared by the legislature to be an act of bankruptcy, upon which a commission may be sued out. Mod. It would be the act of a madman.
c. Any operation of the mind, as distinguished from the content or object of that operation. Also attrib., as act psychology, psychology regarded as the study of such acts; = INTENTIONALISM. 1694 LOCKE Essay (ed. 2) II. xxi. §30. p. 134 Desiring and willing are two distinct Acts of the mind. 1890 W. JAMES Princ. Psychol. II. xx. 168, I can[n]ot feel them by a pure mental act of attention unless they belong to quite distinct parts of the body. a1927 E. B. TITCHENER Systematic Psychol. (1929) iii. 194 The importance of the ‘act’ in modern psychology derives from the work of Brentano. 1934 H. C. WARREN Dict. Psychol. 5/1 Act psychology. 1. A system of psychology which holds that every psychical phenomenon is characterized by the intentional inherence of an object. 2. A system..in which the data are psychic activities, usually of a subject upon an object. 1936 A. J. AYER Lang., Truth & Logic vii. 188 We do not accept the realist analysis of our sensations in terms of subject, act, and object.
d. spec. The act of procreation; sexual intercourse. With the. 1596 SHAKES. Merch. V. I. iii. 84 When the worke of generation was Betweene these woolly breeders in the act. 1611 BIBLE John viii. 4 This woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 1923 H. CRANE Let. 9 May (1965) 133 They do everything but the Act itself right on the stage. 1930 D. H. LAWRENCE A Propos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover 12 Balance up the consciousness of the act, and the act itself. 1959 N. MAILER Advts. for Myself (1961) 177 They do not talk about the act when it has failed to fire.
2. A state of accomplished fact or reality, as distinguished from subjective existence, intention, possibility, etc. Obs. 1398 TREVISA Barth. De P.R. IV. i. (1495) 78 The noblest thynges of shappes of kynde and of crafte that be hydde comyth forth in acte and in dede. 1595 SHAKES. John IV. iii. 135 If I in act, consent, or sinne of thought Be guiltie. 1662 MORE Antid. agst. Ath. Ep. Ded. (1712) 2 Plato, if he were alive again, might find his timorous supposition brought into absolute Act. 1677 HALE Prim. Orig. Man. 109 They are only in possibility, and not in act.
3. ? Activity, active principle. Obs. 1398 TREVISA Barth. De P.R. III. xxiv. (1495) 74 The soule is acte and perfeccion of the body. 1652 J. BURROUGHES Exp. Hosea v. 92 Grace is called the Divine nature, and God (we know) is a pure act, and it is called the life of God. 1694 LESTRANGE Fables clxv. (1714) 179 Nothing can be more contrary to God Himself, who is a Pure Act, then the Sleeping and Drowsing away of our Life and Reason. 1730 BEVERIDGE Priv. Thoughts I. 18 But my Reason tells me, God is a pure Act, and therefore How can He suffer any Punishments.
4. a. The process of doing; acting, action, operation. (L. actus.) arch. exc. in Act of God: action of uncontrollable natural forces in causing an accident, as the burning of a ship by lightning. 1494 FABYAN VII. 579 The acte of Frenshmen standynge moche in ouer rydynge of theyr aduersaryes by force of speremen. 1594 DRAYTON Idea 860 Wise in Conceit, in Act a very sot. 1635 J. SWAN Spec. Mundi v. §2. (1643) 130 The Materiall cause [of the rainbow] is not water in act. 1732 POPE Ess. on Man ii. 105 The rising tempest puts in act the soul. 1784 COWPER Task VI. 340 To give such act and utt’rance as they may To extasy too big to be suppress’d. 1850 MRS. BROWNING Poems II. 193 And hear the flow of souls in act and speech. 1882 Charter-party: The Act of God, the Queen’s Enemies, Fire, and all and every other Dangers and Accidents of the Seas..always excepted.
b. in the act: in the process, in the very doing; in the interval, however momentary, between the inception and completion of the deed; on the point of. (L. in actu.) 1596, 1611 [see sense 1d above]. 1678 BUTLER Hudibras III. i. 666 And off the loud oaths go, but, while They’re in the very act, recoil. c1746 J. HERVEY Medit. & Contempl. (1818) 220 It is in the very act to fly. 1826 SOUTHEY Vind. Eccl. Angl. 86 He was in the very act of death. 1874 BOUTELL Arms & Armour v. 78 When armour was in the act of ceasing to be worn.
5. Something transacted in council, or in a deliberative assembly; hence, a decree passed by a legislative body, a court of justice, etc. (L. actum, pl. acta.) 1458 in Dom. Archit. III. 43 This was preved acte also in the perlement. 1535 COVERDALE Josh. xxiv. 26 Iosua wrote this acte in the boke of the lawe of God. 1593 SHAKES. 3 Hen. VI, II. ii. 91 You..Haue caus’d him by new act of Parliament, To blot out me, and put his owne Sonne in. 1640-1 Kirkcudbright War-Com. Min. Bk. (1855) 98 All fugitives must be apprehendit and punished conforme to the actes. 1693 Mem. Count Teckely II. 91 The Male-contents demanded a general Act of Indempnity. a1704 T. BROWN Praise of Wealth Wks. 1730 I. 83 Before this proclamation passed into an irrevocable act. 1795 SEWEL tr. Hist. Quakers II. VII. 66 They asked him if he knew not of an act against meetings. 1839 KEIGHTLEY Hist. Eng. I. 373 An act of attainder was passed against York, Salisbury, their wives and children.
6. a. A record of transactions or decrees; any instrument in writing to verify facts. (L. actum, pl. acta.) 1535 COVERDALE Ezra vi. 2 A boke, & in it was there an acte wrytten after this maner. 1663 BUTLER Hudibras I. i. 143 He could reduce all things to Acts. 1704 NELSON Festiv. & Fasts (1739) 7 In the Acts of the Martyrdom of St. Ignatius we find. 1726 AYLIFFE Parergon 27 Judicial Acts are said to be all those Writings, and matters which relate to Judicial Proceedings, and are sped in open Court at the Instance of one of the Parties Litigant; and, being reduced into writing by a Publick Notary..are recorded by the Authority of the Judge. 1789 Constit. U.S. iv. §1 Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state. 1821 BYRON Mar. Fal. I. i. (1868) 315 The ducal table cover’d o’er With..petitions, Despatches, judgements, acts, reprieves, reports.
b. Acts (of the Apostles), name of one of the books of the N. Test. 1539 TONSTALL Serm. on Palme sondaye (1823) 55 It appereth playnly in the x. of the actes. 1549 COVERDALE Erasm. Paraphr. Rom. Argt., As Luke in the xxi chapiter of thactes reherseth. 1833 CRUSE tr. Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. II. x. 59 It is also recorded in the book of Acts.
c. act and deed, part of a formula used when signing a legal instrument and putting a finger on the seal at the end of the transaction. 1756 D. GARRICK Let. in C. Oman David Garrick (1958) 177 The act and deed of the wife, in such cases [sc. business matters], pass for nothing. 1827 BARNEWALL & CRESSWELL Reports V. 671 [He] produced the parchment, placed it on the table, signed his name, and then said, ‘I deliver this as my act and deed’, putting his finger at the same time on the seal. 1877 W. S. GILBERT Sorcerer I. p. 9 They deliver itthey deliver it As their Act and Deed! 1910 Encycl. Brit. I. 156/2 In law it means any instrument in writing, for declaring or justifying the truth of a bargain or transaction, as: ‘I deliver this as my act and deed.’
7. a. A ‘performance’ of part of a play; hence, One of the main divisions of a dramatic work, in which a definite part of the whole action is completed. Also often fig. (L. actus.) ?1520 Terens in Englysh (Andria) The furst scene of the furst Act. 1549 CHALONER tr. Erasmus’s Praise of Folie sig. N iv verso, Resteth now the fifte acte or parte, wherein it behoueth them to shew foorth all their cunning and profunditie. 1565 NORTON & SACKV. Gorboduc (title-p.), The Tragedie of Gorboduc Where of three Actes were wrytten by Thomas Nortone, and the two laste by Thomas Sackuyle. Ibid., sig. A iiv The Order of the dme shewe before the firste Acte. 1613 SHAKES. Hen. VIII, Epil. 3 Some come to take their ease, And sleepe an act or two. c1615 FLETCHER Mad Lover I. 21 Away then: our Act’s ended. 1751 JOHNSON Rambler No. 156 8 An act is only the representation of such a part of the business of the play as proceeds in an unbroken tenor, or without any intermediate pause. 1769 Junius Lett. xxiii. 112 Can age itself forget that you are now in the last act of life? 1858 DE QUINCEY Grk. Trag. in Wks. IX. 64 The very meaning of an act is, that in the intervals, the suspension of the acts, any possible time may elapse, and any possible action go on. 1876 FREEMAN Norm. Conq. II. x. 507 We are approaching the close of the first act of our great drama.
b. An interval or interlude in a play. Obs. 1606 J. MARSTON Parasitaster Actus Quintus. Whilest the Act is a playing, Hercules and Tiberio enters, Tiberio climes the tree, and is received above by Dulcimel. 1611 COTGRAVE Dict., Acte..an Act, or Pause in a Comedie, or Tragedie. 1623 SHAKES. Mids. N. III. ad fin., They sleepe all the Act. 1653 MIDDLETON & ROWLEY Changeling III. i (stage-direction) In the act-time De Flores hides a naked rapier behind a door.
c. One of a series of short performances in a variety programme, circus, etc. Also, the entertainer or entertainers (considered collect.) by whom an act is performed. Cf. double act s.v. DOUBLE a. 6. 1890 ‘BIFF’ HALL Turnover Club vi. 63 The usual attraction was ‘Professor Etherio, the flying man’, who did a rope~walking act. 1912 Stage Year Bk. 1912 39 The boom in bare flesh..Even those managers who..had refused to give engagements to this class of ‘act’, were soon tumbling over one another. 1933 P. GODFREY Back-Stage xviii. 228 Their act was booked for a tour by the African theatres. 1959 Times 16 Oct. 12/3 The team had completed their twists, loops and all the tricks of their acts which had been seen..in..other air shows. 1919 F. HURST Humoresque 300 Two specialty acts and a pair of whistling Pierrots. 1929 Daily Express 12 Jan. 3/5 New comedy acts are needed most. These, if found, will be helped to find better material and to buy attractive costumes. 1971 Rolling Stone 24 July 12/2 The customers..aren’t going to be able to take a chance on the unknown or lesser known acts if the record is priced too high.
d. transf. An imitation of a theatrical part, a piece of acting; a display of exaggerated behaviour; pretence (of being what one is not); esp. to put on an act (colloq.), to show off, to talk for display, to behave insincerely, to act a part. Also in other phrases: to get into the act (colloq., orig. U.S.), to become a participant; to involve oneself in some (successful, fashionable, etc.) venture or activity; also (to be) in on the act; to get one’s act together (colloq., orig. U.S.), to (re-)organize effectively one’s (muddled or disorganized) life, business, etc. 1928 BARRIE Peter Pan in Plays 20 We are doing an act; we are playing at being you and father. 1934 F. BALDWIN Innocent Bystander (1935) viii. 145 When he spoke of the theatre he wasn’t putting on an act. He was himself. 1934 J. O’HARA Appointment in Samarra (1935) viii. 235 You put on some kind of an act with Caroline, and..she fell for it. 1939 A. HUXLEY After Many a Summer II. v. 220 It was such a relief not to have to put on that act with Pete for the benefit of uncle Jo. 1946 M. DICKENS Happy Prisoner viii. 158 This girl’s not naturally like that. She’s putting on an act. 1953 X. FIELDING Stronghold III. ii. 192 This might have been an act designed to impress us. 1959 Times 1 Apr. 8/3 Some men were injured and some were ‘putting on an act’. (b) 1947 Current Biog. 1946 168/1 The Durante quips (‘I’ve got a million of ’em’, ‘Everybody wants to get into da act,’..) are ‘timelessly colorful’. 1951 ‘J. TEY’ Daughter of Time viii. Morton had been very much ‘in on the act’. 1958 Spectator 22 Aug. 239/1 President Chamoun got back into the act by announcing that they would not be asked to withdraw from the Lebanon. 1967 Listener 22 June 835/2 No one for a moment supposes that Friendly will not be in on the act. 1969 M. PUZO Godfather II. xiii. 188 The author..came west on Johnny’s invitation, to talk it over without agents or studios getting into the act. (c) 1976 Billings (Montana) Gaz. 17 June 1-G/1 (caption) Winfield, after giving it careful consideration, I have decided to get my act together and split! 1977 C. MCFADDEN Serial (1978) iv. 15/1 Like, I can’t get my act together… Leonard, I need you. I want you to help me get clear. 1984 Times 22 May 3/1 We need to get our act together… Users have been divided so far and are being picked off by the publishers one by one.
e. attrib. act-drop = DROP n. 16. 1884 [see EXECUTE v. 2]. 1890 G. B. SHAW in Star 28 Apr. 2/3 She made a very marked impression which the audience gave vehement emphasis to after each descent of the act-drop. 1896 [see DROP n. 16]. 1960 Times 29 Sept. 16/7 An act-drop is lowered to display a multicoloured abstract design.
8. In the Universities, a thesis publicly maintained by a candidate for a degree, or to show a student’s proficiency. At Oxford, the Act took place early in July. The graduates kept Acts, or discussed theses, on Saturday and Monday; on the intervening Act Sunday, two of the new Doctors of Divinity preached Act Sermons before the University. The Act was last held after long interruption in 1733; in 1856 the name, with all that related to the ceremony, was removed from the Statute-book, and only survives in the appellation Act Term sometimes given to Trinity Term. At Cambridge, the name is still given to the thesis and accompanying examination required for the obtainment of the doctor’s degree in Divinity, Law, and Medicine. 1549 CHALONER tr. Erasmus’s Praise of Folie sig. M iv verso, At their Actes and Comencements ye dooe see theim swadled in with so many cappes, coyues, and furde hoodes as they weare. 1592 T. NASHE Strange News I. 279 Acts are but idle wordes, and..Pumps and Pantofles…therefore do no Acts..onelie..to Oxford they trudge,..and there are confirmed in the same degree they took at Cambridge. 1607 [R. PARKER] Scholas. Disc. agst. Antichrist I. ii. 89 For proofe heereof, what need I goe further then to an Vniuersitie Acte, where before a confluence and concourse of people,..a Doctor incipient in Diuinitie publisheth these verses. 1641 F. GREVILLE Disc. Nat. Episc. II. vii. 118 They desire they may have leave (as Probationers) to exercise, or keepe Acts, before the Church; ’till the Church shall approve of them. 1654 GATAKER Disc. Apol. 42 At the time..were divers created Doctors without attendance to keep Acts. 1691 WOOD Ath. Oxon. II. 182 Upon Act Sunday the same year he preached the University Sermon at S. Maries. 1695 KENNETT Paroch. Antiq. II. 58 This method was first reflected on by Mr. Peter Heylin, in an Act sermon at St. Mary’s in Oxon, July 11, 1630. 1713 Guardian No. 72 (1756) I. 320 This paper is written with a design to make my journey to Oxford agreeable to me, where I design to be at the Publick Act. 1733 BERKELEY in Fraser Life vi. 207 The approaching Act at Oxford is much spoken of. 1877 Camb. Univ. Calend. 51 The Degree of Bachelor in Divinity, for which the requisite Exercises are, one Act, and an English Sermon. The Act is required to be kept in the following manner:..The Candidate shall read a thesis composed in Latin by himself on some subject approved by the Professor; the Professor or graduate presiding, shall bring forward arguments or objections in English for the Candidate to answer, etc.
9. An auto da fé, or act of faith; a burning of heretics. Obs. 1709 STRYPE Annals of Ref. xx. 228 In this act also were burnt the bones and picture of D. Ægidio.

act, n.
Add: [7.] [d.] a hard (or tough) act to follow: an outstanding performance, one which is difficult to rival; hence, someone or something hard to equal. colloq. (orig. U.S.). 1975 Chemical Week 12 Mar. 22/1 Tough acts to follow:..companies in three other principal CPI segments are somewhat less sanguine about topping last year’s results. 1975 Business Week 3 Nov. 24 (heading) A hard act to follow; after the third-quarter surge in GNP, growth is sure to be slower. 1981 P. F. BOLLER Presidential Anecdotes ii. 24 It was not easy being the second President of the United States; George Washington was a hard act to follow. 1983 Listener 29 Sept. 24/3 But Olivier, to say the least, was a hard act to follow. 1986 Sunday Express Mag. 6 Apr. 18/4, I was rash enough to remark that Wogan was a hard act to follow, and Jameson jumped down my throat.

act, n.
Act of State (also with lower-case initials), an act passed (or occas. performed) by the executive power of an independent state, esp. an act which relates to foreign affairs or foreign citizens. 1605 BACON Of Aduancem. Learning II. sig. I, It was giuen, not by a formall Decree or Act of State, as it was used amongst the Romane Emperours; but by an inward assent and beleefe. 1684 T. SOUTHERNE Disappointment III. i. 31 And by an act of State, this very day We are oblig’d, as all good Subjects ought, To bring by turns our Wives and Daughters in. 1780 Parl. Hist. Eng. (1814) XX. 1167 The idea of an act of state, or the resolution of the Crown. 1883 J. F. STEPHEN Hist. Criminal Law II. xvi. 61 The question to which I refer is, whether the criminal law applies to what have sometimes been described as acts of State? 1942 H. BYAS Govt. by Assassination xxiv. 324 The Japanese Emperor is not an autocrat; every act of state must be made on the advice and responsibility of an official person. 2004 Herald Sun (Melbourne) (Nexis) 24 Jan. 16 He also said he needed to make a proper examination of the facts before being able to decide on whether the alleged false imprisonment of the asylum-seekers amounted to an act of state.


ContemplationAll engaged people think at


All engaged people think at some time after the proposal “It just hit me, we’re getting married”.

Did they not know that they were getting married before? Obviously, they did in some sense know- but just as obviously, they didn’t understand marriage as deeply as they came to understand it. In fact, it’s true to say after one gets this kind of deeper appreciation of marriage “I never understood marriage until now”.

This deepening understanding of things already known, called contemplative, is what makes for philosophical understanding most fully. Philosophy is based on obvious things that we can easily fail to appreciate (e.g. I am one man; some things can be, other things are; “human” is said fully of Peter and Socrates, of each and both together; all knowledge is based in the senses; a thing acts insofar as it is in act; the good is diffusive; all act for the good etc… all these and many, many more.) The growth of philosophical knowledge doesn’t come so much by learning some exiting, novel, and unthought of idea; but by coming to appreciate the depth of the certain truths we knew all along- truths we saw as relatively trivial or as mere formulated axioms.

Those who don’t want to contemplate (for whatever reason- impatience, arrogance, love of novelty, or the hatred of everyday knowledge that drug-lovers cultivate*) will tend to view philosophy as a meaningless word game, or as an unfulfilling vanity. One common response to this perceived vanity is to seek out one of the flashy, exiting philosophies that demands no meditation and can be perfectly learned even by the young. There is no point in giving examples of such flashy philosophies- they will be replaced by others momentarily. The books that now command the heights of the bestseller lists and are taught at all the great universities are destined to soon be nothing more than the forgotten items of a garage sale.

And it wouldn’t matter even if somehow, per impossibile, some of these flashy, non-contemplative philosophies were taught even to the end of the world, because it is only through contemplation that we can escape the vanity of the saeculum that human life and human thought finds itself in. We don’t need new axioms or new systems or new philosophies. We need to come to a deeper and more profound realization of the things we already know.

Much the same applies even to supernatural theology. What takes the place of “the obvious” that the philosopher should contemplate is “the familiar orthodoxies” of theology. Many people can imagine nothing more stifling than the Creed- How basic! How shallow! Why not seek out the deeper meaning of Christianity? But this is all vanity- The deeper meaning of Christianity, the “new perspective on the faith” isn’t found apart from the Creed, but within it, and in continual return to it by contemplation.

* In general, the love of extreme sensation of any kind will choke off the desire to contemplate- pornography, gluttony, rap and club music, etc. All of them lead to a devaluing and disinterest in common, everyday reality. We can no longer find delight in anything that is not extreme, over the top, revolutionary, etc.


Perennial Philosophy in Riddle Form.”Riddle

Perennial Philosophy in Riddle Form.

“Riddle form” is an idiom I made up after about two minutes of thought about what to call the mode of teaching common to the Pre-Socratics, Christ, and eastern philosophers. If there is a commonly accepted name for this form of teaching, please tell me what it is. The mode of teaching is characterized by paradox, parable, and enigmatic statements- and above all, by brevity.

Nothing impedes certain ideas of Plato, Aristotle, and Thomas Aquinas from being put in riddle form, so I thought I’d try it.


1.) How many hammers replace the smith? To what fruit does the blossom grow?

2.) Do I choose that these seeds hit the earth, and this one hits the stone?

3.) Without the shrine, neither the pilgrim. Without heating, neither heat.

4.) The blind man can awake midday, and the man with sight, midnight.

5.) Listeners don’t divide the words among them.

6.) How many pictures are in the model, or loaves in the pan?

7.) One is left, another right, which is “hand”?

8.) How large is stone? could we make stone, to measure stone?

9.) If all is this, then these are not human.

10.) I define an extinct, and a kind that will not be.


Thesis: Every completed action is

Thesis: Every completed action is perfect


1.) Terms used contrary to common usage are used improperly. Not every completed action is called perfect: a completed test is not necessarily a perfect test, in general a completed act is not a perfect act.

2.) Perfection connotes goodness or desirability. But completed things can be neither good nor desirable, e.g ugly and evil things.

3.) A perfect thing is a thing which lacks nothing due to it. But completed actions can lack things due to them, even by intention: as when we choose the lesser of two evils.


Perfection means lacking nothing due. Completion means attaining a term.

Things directed by intelligence, as such, intend a completed action that lacks nothing due,
but every attaining of a term is directed by intelligence

To the major: Problem #3
I respond: What is due follows what is possible, for nothing impossible can be said “to be due” to something. But what is possible can mean two things: what is possible simply, and what is possible in certain circumstances. If intention to the imperfect is understood as the most perfect possible, yet relatively imperfect, I concede, if imperfect in its mode, I deny.

To the minor:

a.) Whatever had existence in the mind alone as directive, directs by intelligence.
b.) but every term attained had existence in the mind alone as directive.

a. is evident.
b. follows from a term taken per se, not per accidens. For to attain a term, per se, means to attain a term that is the per se term of the action, e.g. a book is not called “complete” if the author abandons it, or dies before he finishes- for the story terminates writing. A rose does not attain the term growth if it dies before flowering- for maturity terminates growth.

These per se terms, therefore, must be viewed as directive, for growth is defined in relation to maturity, and story writing is defined in relation to the story. The terms of these actions, then, are therefore causes of the action. But to be a cause is to be responsible for existence. But the term of action does not exist in reality (otherwise it would not be tended toward, but attained), and so it follows that per se terms of action exist in mind.

to problem #1
If completions is said per accidens I concede, if it it is said of completions per se, I deny. Completed actions are only called “imperfect” per accidens, as when a paper is called “complete” because it is a certain number of pages long. But the proper completion of a paper is not a word count or a length. It cannot be the term of the action as such, other wise “a paper” could not be defined apart from a word count.

If evil is understood to be something intended per accidens, I concede, if per se intended, I deny.


Imagination An Intellect: a note

Imagination An Intellect: a note seeking an article

Much of what gets called philosophy resolves to the imagination, and goes no further. The knowledge is not properly of intellect, but of sense. Some examples:

1.) The account of universals as classes or collections.
2.) The attempt to account for knowledge as a mode of consciousness (consciousness is a kind of sense knowledge).
3.) Calling consciousness “the sum of mental states”.
4.) The belief that the greatest goods are material goods.
5.) The denial of substance, causality, and the things which relate necessarily to these.
7.) The preference of history over nature (history is properly in memory).
8.) In general, the denial of metaphysics.


The sense in which intellect more manifests what things are. How is intellect more like things? Why is it that an immaterial mode more manifests what a material thing is?

Idea: A thing is its nature. nature is neither particular or universal…


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