Proper to Intellect

0.) Wise men order. The reason for this is that wisdom is the loftiest perfection of reason, to which it peculiarly belongs to know order. For even though sense powers know some thing absolutely, still, to know the order of one thing to another belongs to intellect or reason alone.

[S]apientis est ordinare. Cuius ratio est, quia sapientia est potissima perfectio rationis, cuius proprium est cognoscere ordinem. Nam etsi vires sensitivae cognoscant res aliquas absolute, ordinem tamen unius rei ad aliam cognoscere est solius intellectus aut rationis.

Commentary on Nicomachean Ethics. c. 1. l. 1

1.) Whenever knowing something requires judging that one thing is another, knowing it requires intellect.

2.) Substances are known as grounds of accidents and so are non-complex but require judging one thing is another, e.g. this unity of colors, movements, smells, bark-sounds is a dog, and it is known as dog only as this.

3.) Though they are not substances secundum se, accidental wholes also require an act of intellect: e.g. this positioning of cloth and boards is a couch.

4.) Relation exists only by co-existence, and so requires a judgment that this co-exists with that, which also requires an act of an intellect.

5.) Voluntary action does not require judgment. An action is voluntary so far as an agent is doing something he wants, and we wanted all sorts of things as two-week-old children without deliberating or making any judgments of choice. Parents can wonder what their child wants when it’s screaming at two in the morning but they can’t wonder about the kid’s choices. Though all of us lived for years in this state of voluntariness-without-deliberation-or-choice, and though all non-human animals live in it permanently, such non-reflective consciousness is unrecoverable to us now. To speak of it is already to have overcome it.

6.) Speech is not simply communication but a judgment relating noun and verb and so is a relation (cf. #4.) Communication or signaling does not require judgment: a monkey doesn’t need to know what a roar means to run from a lion, and little Albert didn’t need to know what a loud bang meant to cry when he heard it. In fact, neither the roar nor the bang meant anything at all.


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