Why there is no natural potency to an artificial form

In the second book of the Physics, Aristotle says that to move from an interior principle is unique to natural things. St. Thomas objects to thisand says thatsome natural motions, like gravitational motions or the evaporation of water occur wholly from the outside. St. Thomas answers his own objection by saying that even though artificial things have some matter, there is no natural potency to an artificial form. Even in the evaporation of water, there is a passive principle in the water that by nature gives rise to steam, as opposed to giving rise to something else. But why is it the case that no natural potency could give rise to an artificial thing?

1.) It is evident that nature and art are different at the root. Our fist understandings of the natural are of what happen apart from human activity, and all art is a human activity.

2.) The only reason to speak of “natural potency” is to indicate what is able to become some nature. Even if, per impossibile, some artifact came to be from a natural potency, it would only come to be per accidens, like a plummer that doing heart surgery (after he went to medical school).

3.) If there were some natural potency to an artificial form, then this artificial form would come to be either by an artist, or not. If not by an artist, then some art would not depend on an artist, which is absurd. If an artist made it, he only did so by giving some accident to a subject that was already constituted in nature, and which thereofre is already essentially complete without the artist’s activity.

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