A translation of Fr Alain Contat's Logica


02 February 2009

II. The Universal Concept, Formally Considered (5)

We should now further distinguish two aspects in the natura ut in anima:


-Common nature ----> fundamental universal [γ1]

-Predicability ----> formal universal [γ2]

Let us explain per partes.

[γ1] The fundamental universal is the nature itself as presented to the human intellect, and as such abstracted and capable of being attributed to concepts of lesser extension. Cf SM 7. lect. 13, n. 1570:

Sciendum est autem, ad evidentiam huius capituli, quod universale dupliciter potest accipi. Uno modo pro ipsa natura, cui intellectus attribuit intentionem universalitatis: et sic universalia, ut genera et species, substantias rerum significant,

For the clarification of this chapter it must be noted that the term universal can be taken in two senses. First, it can be taken to mean the nature of the thing to which the intellect attributes the aspect of universality, and in this sense universals such as genera and species signify the substances of things inasmuch as they are predicated quidditatively;
SM 7. lect. 13, n. 1570:

Taken in this sense, the universal signifies the essence of the thikng; therefore it conicides with the universal in essendo. It is also called the metaphysical universal, because it corresponds to the ontological foundation of universality. For example, the notion of 'man' considered in its meaning is a metaphysical universal, since it signifies human nature as it is in individual men as well as being predicated of them.

[γ2] The formal universal is the nature as explicitly considered under the aspect of its predicability. Cf loc. cit.:
Alio modo potest accipi universale inquantum est universale, et secundum quod natura praedicta subest intentioni universalitatis: idest secundum quod consideratur animal vel homo, ut unum in multis.

See also SA 2, lect. 12, n. 378.

Second, a universal can be taken insofar as it is universal, and insofar as the nature predicated of a thing falls under the aspect of universality, i.e., insofar as animal or man is considered as a one-in-many.
loc. cit.

Taken in this sense, the universal signifies the logical relation of universality applied to a determinate abstract nature; therefore the universal in predicando consists formally in this. It is also called the logical universal, because it coincides with the logical universality of a notion of human reason. For example, the notion of 'man' considered in his "attributability" to men (that is, as a species) is a logical universal, since it makes explicit the universality which is applied.

c) Summary

--in dicendo (in speaking) = universal term

--in praedicando (in predicating) = universal concept

----universal in essendo

------fundamentaliter = meaning of the concept
------formaliter = predicability of the concept

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