Lesson III. How These Common Heads of Notions are to be Divided

Lesson III: How These Common Heads of Notions are to be Divided

  1.  Differences that divide each Common Head must be Intrinsecal to it. For, since * {Less. 2. Sect. 5} we cannot discourse of two Disparate Notions at once; and since were those Heads divided by Differences that are Extrinsecal to the Common Genus, (or taken from another Head) each Species of it would consist of two Disparate Notions; hence it is absolutely necessary to Science that the Differences which divide these Common Heads be such as belong to no other Common Head, but be within the Limits of that Head, or Intrinsecal to it. Again, since the Difference is most Formal in constituting the Species, and the Genus only Material; were the Differences Extrinsecal or Borrow’d from another Head, it would follow, that all the Species of the Head divided by such Differences would belong to another Head, viz. to that Head whence those Differences are taken: Which would put all our Notions into Confusion, and involve a direct Contradiction, as making Substances to be Quantities, Qualities, &c.
  2. Intrinsecal Differences can be no other but more and less of the Common Notion: For since, being Intrinsecal,† {S. 1.} they cannot be taken from any other Head, it follows, that they must partake of the Common Notion of their own respective Heads. Again, since, if they did partake of the Common Notion Equally, they would not differ in that Notion, and so would not be Differences of it; it follows, that they must partake of it Unequally; that is, they must be more and less of the Common Notion.
  3. Hence the Common Notion of Ens, Thing or Substance being that which is capable of Existence, is Immediately, Intrinsecally, or Essentially divided into what’s more and less capable of Existence. Wherefore,
  4. Divisible and Indivisible, which constitute Body and Spirit, are the proper and intrinsecal Differences of the Common Head of Substance: For, since Actual Division of the Entity makes the thing to be no longer indivisum in se {Latin: ‘undivided in itself’}; that is, to be unum; that is, to be Ens; that is, to be capable of Existence; it follows, that that Ens which is Divisible (or Body) is less capable of Existence, that is, has less of the nature of Ens or Substance; and the Ens that is Indivisible (or Spirit) has more. Again, since Things Divisible, or Bodies, can only have their own Being or Existence, whereas Things indivisible, or Spirits, are capable of being Other things also, or of having in them the Natures and Existences of all the things they know; hence they have a greater Capacity of Existence than Bodies have; since they have enough for themselves, and can impart it to Millions of Other things besides; and, consequently, Body and Spirit are constituted by Divisible and Indivisible, as by the proper, immediate, and Intrinsecal Differences that divide Substance or Ens.
  5. The Divisibility and Indivisibility that are the Intrinsecal Differences of Ens, are not those of being Quantitative and not Quantitative. For, were it so, it would follow, that some Intrinsecal Differences of Ens in Common would be taken from some other Head, viz. that of Quantity, and * {S. 1.} so, the Differences being what’s most Formal in the Species, hence those Species of Ens would rather be under that Head than its own. Again, that Divisibility, which is of Quantity, may oftentimes be put into Act, and yet the same Ens remain; v. g. a Man may lose the Quantity of an Arm; a Tree, of a Branch, &c. and yet remain still the same Things; whereas, if Quantitative Divisibility were the Intrinsecal Difference which constituted it such an Ens, Quantitative Division must by consequence make it cease to be that Ens.
    Moreover, since Quantity (as will be † {Less. 4., Sect. 2, 4} shortly seen) is Divisibility, and Divisibility in Unity, in case Quantity did Intrinsecally divide Ens, and constitute Body, where-ever there were Quantity there would be Unity under that notion; and so all Quantitative things would be but one Ens or one Body; which is the highest absurdity. Therefore the Divisibility and Indivisibility which are the intrinsecal Differences of Ens, are not those of being Quantitative and not Quantitative.
  6. Therefore the Divisibility and Indivisibility which divide Ens Intrinsecally, must be the Divisibility and Indivisibility of the Constituents of Ens, as such; that is, the Divisibility of it into Matter and Form, and Indivisibility of it into such Constituent parts: Which differences do Essentially divide the Genus of Ens, and constitute the species of Body and Spirit. For, since we see Bodies chang’d into one another, and therefore, the former Body had really somewhat in it determining it to be actually what it was, which we call the Form; and somewhat by which it could be Another, which we call the Power to be another, or Matter: Again, since we see that the Form, which made the former Thing be what it was, is gone when ‘tis made Another Thing, and a New Form succeeds into the same Matter; hence we can frame diverse Conceptions of Body, which belong to it as such an Ens, viz. Matter and Form; and have a Ground in Nature to say there is a Real divisibility between them. Wherefore since that Ens call’d Body, by being divisible into Matter and Form, becomes liable to have the Form, that constituted it such an Ens, separated from the Matter, and so to lose its being the same Ens it was, and incapable of existing any longer; and, for the same reason, a Spirit, by its not being divisible into Matter and Form, has not in its Essence any Principle giving it a Capacity not to Exist, as had the other; but has in its self, or rather is of its self a more simple and more perfect kind of Unity, and consequently a more Noble kind of Entity or Capacity of existing, than is the other; Therefore the Divisibility and Indivisibility which divide Ens Intrinsecally, must be the Divisibility and Indivisibility of it into Matter and Form; which we call Metaphysical Divisibility, because it is the divisibility of the parts of Ens as such; that is, of Ens under the Notion of Ens.
  7. For the same Reason given above, (Sect. 1, 2.) Mixt and Simple are the Intrinsecal Differences of Body: For, since Simple Bodies, which we call Elements, have in them but the Nature or Essence of One kind of Body only, and Mixt Bodies have both the nature of That Kind, and of other Elements besides; it is manifest that they divide the Common Notion of Body by more and less, which are Intrinsecal Differences.
  8. For the same reason Mixt Body is divided into Living Bodies, and not Living by Intrinsecal Differences; because Those are more mixt, These less.
  9. For the same Reason, a Living Body, being that which has a Principle of Motion in it self, is divided, as by Intrinsecal Differences into Animal, which is more Living, or more moving it self (viz. by every slight Impression on the Senses) and Plant, or Vegetable, which is less-moving it self.
  10. For the same Reason, Animal, which is a Body moving it self by Impression on the Senses, is intrinsecally divided into Brutes, which do thus move themselves onely to a set Determinate number of Actions, which is to be less moving it self by impressions on the Senses; and Man, who by his Reason and Knowledge is apt to move himself to a kind of Universality of Action, which is to be more moving himself by means of such impressions.
  11. For the same Reason, Man, or Rational Animal, is divided intrinsecally and essentially into those who have more and less the Faculty or Power of Reasoning; who are, therefore, properly and essentially more and less Men.
    1. Note, That Common Logicians, because we cannot descend or reach to those particular intrinsecal Differences which constitute Individuals, do therefore make [Man] the lowest species: But ‘tis one thing what may serve for Logical Speculation; another, what the nature of the thing bears, and the right division of the Commoner Notion by Intrinsecal differences requires: Wherefore, tho’ not able to discern the intermediate Species, and (as far as I have observ’d) not reflecting that more and less of the common Notion do make the Intrinsecal and Essential Differences that constitute its Species, Common Logicians do content themselves to put Individuums immediately under Man, and thence mistake Man to have no Essential Differences at all, but Accidental ones only; yet ‘tis manifest, that, since all Individuums are diverse Entia or Things, and Essence does formally Constitute an Ens, the Differences that constitute diverse Entia must necessarily be Essential. So that amongst Men there may be many Degrees of more or less Rational, constituting diverse under-Species of Man, could we have light to distinguish them; as well as there are diverse species of Dogs, Horses, Trees, and Flowers.
  12. Particular or Singular Things are properly call’d Individuums, because they cannot be divided into more of the same Notion, as all others in the same Line could. For Socrates cannot be divided into more that have the particular Nature of Socrates in them, as Man could into more that have the Common Nature of Man.
  13. Individuals only are properly and compleatly Entia or Things, and capable of existing. For, since the Notion of Thing is [Capable of Existing] and all Notions that are superiour to the Individuum are Inadequate or Partial Notions of it, as is manifest; and the Individuum is the Whole, as comprizing all those Parts; and no Part can exist by its own Virtue, or out of the whole; in regard it would then be of it self a whole Ens and not a Part onely; it follows, that onely Individuals are properly and compleatly Entia or capable of Existing.
  14. Individuals are the proper Subject or Suppositum of all other Notions or Natures both of its own Line, and of all the rest. For, * {Sect. 13} since Individuals onely are properly Things, or capable of Existing; it follows, that both all in its own Line, and much more in all the other Lines (which have not at all in their peculiar Notions any Order or Title to Existence) must exist and subsist in Individuals, as in their suppositum or subject; which lends them to be, and sustains them in Being.


Corol. I. Hence, ‘tis Logically demonstrated that every individual Man is but One Ens or Thing; since he descends Lineally from that Common Head by intrinsecal Differences of more and less, which constitute him truly One in that Line; that is, one Ens, or one Thing. Whence the contrary Position ravels all the Well-Order’d Frame of Human Notions, and the Division of them by intrinsecal Differences; which (as * {L. 2. Sect. 12, 13} has been shewn) must needs put all our thoughts into Confusion, and wholly obstruct the Way to Science. Nor matters it that there are two contrary Natures in him, Corporeal and Spiritual; since the Notion of Ens is not the Notion of the Nature,* {Sect. 14.} but of the suppositum which has the nature in it. Add, that the notion of Ens is indifferent to both Natures; and therefore, if they may be co-ordinate to one End, and that it wrong no other Principle, they may both club into one Thing, and compound one Ens: As appears in the Incarnation, in which the Second Person of the Trinity assum’d Human Nature, and joyn’d it to it self in the same suppositum.

Corol. II. The Notion of Rational (which is in some sort truly Spiritual) may be Co-ordinate to the Notion of some kind of Body. For, since Animal is directly subsum’d under the Notion of Body, and the Notion of Animal (or of a Thing moving it self by Impressions on the Senses) is Intrinsecally divided by less-moving it self thus, which constitutes Brutes; and more-moving it self thus, which is manifestly done by its being Rational, that is in part spiritual; It follows, that the Notion of Rational or Spiritual may be Co-ordinate to some Body, (viz. to Animal) as one of the Proper and Intrinsecal Differences of that Genus, as is shewn above.

Corol. III. Notwithstanding Man cannot be both Body and Spirit formally. For, then he must necessarily be Two Entities in distinct Lines of Substance; the one under the Genus of Body, the other of Spirit. Whence, he would be Unum and non-Unum, in the same regard, or according to the same Formal Notion; that is, he would be Ens and non Ens; and consist formally of two Things as perfectly distinct as an Angel and an Ape; and even be more monstrous than a Hircocervus or Chimaera; because he would be formally, that is essentially, made up of two more-generically-opposit Things than these are conceiv’d to be. Wherefore, the Notion of Man being deduced by Intrinsecal Differences from the Genus of Body, he is formally a Body, tho’ his Soul be of a spiritual Nature, which makes him virtually a Spirit. Whence also, the manner of Existence following from what’s Formal in the Thing, he has, in this State, a Corporeal Manner of Existence; as appears by his gleaning Knowledge by the Senses; his being Measurable by Quantity, Alterable by Corporeal Qualities; nay, even his peculiar and proper Action of Discourse attends the slow pace of Fancy and Bodily Motion; none of which could be competent to a Pure Spirit that exists after a Spiritual and Indivisible manner. Nor does this more prejudice the Spiritual Nature of a Soul that it exists and works in some regards after the manner of a Body, than it does prejudice the Nature of a Body, (a Stone, for example) that it exists in us spiritually; as it does when we know it, or have the Notion or Nature of it in our Understanding.

Corol. IV. Hence is seen what Notions do formally belong to the Line of Substance, or to Ens as Ens, viz. the several species of it descending downwards from the Common Head, till we come to the Individuum; which therefore is a compleat Ens, as including all those Superiour or partial Notions; and * {marginal note missing} therefore it only is in proper speech, an Ens or Thing; in regard It onely being ultimately determin’d to be This or That, only It is, by consequence, capable of existing, which is the Definition of Ens. Whence all Potential or Indeterminate Notions of Ens, such as are Ens, Corpus, Vivens, or Animal in Common, are, for the same reason, incapable of Existing, otherwise than as they are Parts of the compleat Ens or Individuum; and therefore they are phras’d by the Schools, Substantiae Secundae {Latin: ‘secondary substances’}, and the Individuum Substantia Prima {Latin: ‘primary substance’}. Lower than the Individuum in the Line of Ens we cannot go, nor can any Notion be superadded to it that belong Properly to Ens, but that of Existence, of which Ens is a Capacity. Whence we do not call Existence a Form (or Act,) for This joyn’d with the Matter (or Power) does constitute that compound Ens call’d Body, and, therefore, are both presuppos’d to Existence; but we call it the last Formality of every created Ens, because it has no Potentiality at all in that Line, but is Pure Actuality; and therefore most resembles GOD, our Creator and the sole Giver of It, whose very Essence is Self-Existence.

Corol. V. All those Notions before said, taking them precisely as determining the common Notion of Ens, and belonging to it (even to the last Actuality of it [Existence] inclusively) are Metaphysical Notions: The proper Object of which Science is Ens; not taken as it abstracts from Existence, but as it abstracts from all the other Predicaments or common Heads of Notions; that is, from all Matter and Motion, and all Modes or Manners of them. For which Reason Existence, which more perfectly abstracts from both, does more formally belong to the Object of Metaphysicks.

Edited by Jonathan Vajda, 2021 (c). Last rev. 2021-02-23.