In this course, we cannot offer a complete study of the logical universal and its implications. We limit ourselves to analyzing briefly the various instances which correspond to the makeup of the universal. A text of St Thomas will set us on our way:
When one says ‘a thing which is actually being understood’ (intellectum in actu), there are two things implied, viz., (a) the thing which is being understood and (b) the fact that it is being understood.
Similarly, when one says ‘the abstracted universal’, there are two things implied, viz., (a) the nature itself of the thing and (b) its abstractness or universality. Therefore, the nature which happens to be understood intellectively (or to be abstracted or to be an intention of universality) does not itself exist except in singular things; but its being understood (or being abstracted or being an intention of universality) exists in the intellect.
We can see this by a comparison with a sensory power. For the power of sight sees the color of the apple without seeing its smell. Therefore, if someone asked where the color is that is seen without the smell, it is obvious that the color which is seen exists only in the apple; however, the fact that it is perceived without its smell happens to it because of the power of sight, since in the power of sight there exists a likeness of its color but not of its smell.
Similarly, the human-ness (humanitas) that is understood intellectively exists only in this or that man; but the fact that human-ness is apprehended without individual conditions—i.e., the fact that human-ness is abstracted, and that an intention of universality follows upon it—happens to human-ness insofar as it is perceived by the intellect, in which there is a likeness of the nature of the species without a likeness of the individual principles.
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cum dicitur intellectum in actu, duo importantur: scilicet res quæ intelligitur, et hoc quod est ipsum intelligi.
Et similiter cum dicitur universale abstractum, duo intelliguntur: scilicet ipsa natura rei, et abstractio seu universalitas. Ipsa igitur natura cui accidit vel intelligi vel abstrahi, vel intentio universalitatis, non est nisi in singularibus; sed hoc ipsum quod est intelligi vel abstrahi, vel intentioni universalitatis, est in intellectu.
Et hoc possumus videre per simile in sensu. Visus enim videt colorem pomi sine eius odore. Si ergo quæratur ubi sit color qui videtur sine odore, manifestum est quod color qui videtur, non est nisi in pomo; sed quod sit sine odore perceptus, hoc accidit ei ex parte visus, inquantum in visu est similitudo coloris et non odoris.
Similiter humanitas quæ intelligitur, non est nisi in hoc vel in illo homine: sed quod humanitas apprehendatur sine individualibus conditionibus, quod est ipsam abstrahi, ad quod sequitur intentio universalitatis, accidit humanitatis secundum quod percipitur ab intellectu, in quo est similitudo naturæ speciei, et non individualium principiorum .
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