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The Unmoved Mover and Pure Act - Printable Version

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Re: The Unmoved Mover and Pure Act - Geremia - 02-22-2013

(02-21-2013, 03:04 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: He can't move because He's already everywhere present.
He can't have locomotion because He's not a body.


Re: The Unmoved Mover and Pure Act - Doce Me - 02-23-2013

(02-22-2013, 09:43 PM)Geremia Wrote:
(02-21-2013, 03:04 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: He can't move because He's already everywhere present.
He can't have locomotion because He's not a body.

Good point.

But is St. Thomas talking only about locomotion or about any kind of change?  He says " motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality".

Our souls change, angels change (at least in their one choice), even though they are not bodies.


Re: The Unmoved Mover and Pure Act - per_passionem_eius - 02-23-2013

God cannot change because by changing He would either be increasing or decreasing in perfection.

And angels move, although they have no bodies.

I confess to being somewhat mystified as to how God can move something or someone without Himself moving.  But He cannot be fully understood by us, so maybe that's all there is to that mystery.


Re: The Unmoved Mover and Pure Act - Geremia - 02-23-2013

(02-23-2013, 01:43 AM)Doce Me Wrote: But is St. Thomas talking only about locomotion or about any kind of change?
When he says "motion" he means any kind of change.


Re: The Unmoved Mover and Pure Act - Geremia - 02-23-2013

(02-23-2013, 12:51 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: And angels move, although they have no bodies.
Angles move in a difference sense than do corporeal bodies. Angels move by changing their influence on different matter.
(02-23-2013, 12:51 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: I confess to being somewhat mystified as to how God can move something or someone without Himself moving.
Nothing can influence Him while He influences everything outside Himself.


Re: The Unmoved Mover and Pure Act - Parmandur - 02-23-2013

(02-23-2013, 12:51 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: God cannot change because by changing He would either be increasing or decreasing in perfection.

And angels move, although they have no bodies.

I confess to being somewhat mystified as to how God can move something or someone without Himself moving.  But He cannot be fully understood by us, so maybe that's all there is to that mystery.

That's why His being "pure Act" is important.  He is not a passive God, though he is unchanging.  He has one pure, simple Act, which is Himself.  That Act is what all of creation springs from, and continues to interact with.


Re: The Unmoved Mover and Pure Act - GUDC - 02-24-2013

Scotus,

There is a principle in Thomistic metaphysics which says that the activity of a being proceeds from its nature (agere sequitur esse).  For example, from the fact that human beings can carry out immaterial activities, like knowing universal ideas and concepts, or reflecting upon their own act of thought, we can conclude that the principle from which these actions proceed (the human soul) must also be spiritual and immaterial.  A purely material principle would be unable to produce immaterial actions.  This principle is also expressed famously in the liturgical idea that what we believe influences how we pray (Lex credendi statuit legem orandi). 

Carrying this principle over to St. Thomas's prima via, since the argument concludes from a series of potentiality-to-actuality reductions to some actuality which has not been reduced from a prior potentiality, but which is (at least as an activity) pure act, it follows that the One from Whom such action proceeds must be pure actuality in His Being.  Otherwise you would have a composite of act-potency in esse nevertheless exercising the perogatives of pure actuality in actu, a contradiction in terms.  From the nature of a being follows its activity.  Something which is not Pure Act in its being cannot carry out the activities of Pure Act in its operation.  Since God is pure act/unmoved/immoveable in His activity, so, too, He is pure act/unmoved/immoveable in His Being.  In fact, St. Thomas says that in God there cannot be any distinction between activity and being, nor between essence and existence, nor any composition of any kind, since a composite thing is dependent and contingent upon its parts, whereas God cannot be contingent on anything, since He is the Necessary Being (which is proved in St. Thomas's third way).

Msgr. J. Wippel also points out, if I recall, that the first way shows that God is the First Mover.  But if God were only unmoved but not also immoveable, then He could only be moved by something other than Himself, in which case that other thing would be the real "First" Mover, contrary to the argument's conclusion.  Since the proof shows that God is the First Mover, there isn't any prior mover available which could move Him. 

By the way, since these are very dense metaphysical proofs which would probably be far over the heads of a typical parish discussion group, personally I would advise using the third proof from contingency and necessity, which is easier to understand and doesn't get into some of the vexed questions which this thread discloses.  I hope the above will be of use.


Re: The Unmoved Mover and Pure Act - Papist - 02-25-2013

The second way can also be constructed as an argument from contingency, which most will understand.


Re: The Unmoved Mover and Pure Act - Doce Me - 02-26-2013

Scotus,

If you're already satisfied with the answers to your first few posts, you may not want to read this.
If not here are some thoughts on those posts.   
(02-14-2013, 01:28 PM)Scotus Wrote: [...]
Certainly, it is clear that this Unmoved Mover is not moved by any other (as we would carry on with our infinite regress), but it does seem to me that there is a jump from proving that there is an Unmoved Mover to stating that this Mover is immovable. In the order of causes this being must be in act in such a way that it is has not been reduced to that act by any other being. But how can we prove that there is no potency in this being, even though these potencies might never be reduced to act?

From St Thomas' Compendium:

"We clearly infer from this that God, who moves all things, must Himself be immovable. If He, being the first mover, were Himself moved, He would have to be moved either by Himself or by another. He cannot be moved by another, for then there would have to be some mover prior to Him, which is against the very idea of a first mover."

(02-18-2013, 07:45 AM)Scotus Wrote: I've read St Thomas's argument from the Compendium a number of times now and it seems that in the first paragraph quoted shows that the First Mover is not moved but not that He is immovable. Unless, I am missing something? If, so, please show me!

You say that St. Thomas seems to be proving that God is unmoved, but not that He is immovable.  But, even before considering God's unmovabilty, you're overlooking something. St. Thomas isn't only proving that God is unmoved; He is also showing that saying otherwse is a self-contradiction.  A moved First mover is a self-contradiction since it would mean there was some mover prior to the first.

Now, to generalize, if X is simply NOT Y, there may be potency in X to become Y (which may or may not happen).  But if "X is Y" is a self-contradiction, there can't be any potencecy in X to become Y.

For example, if water is not hot, it may be made hot (there is a potency, even if it is never heated).  But "Water that is simultaneously hot and cold" (2 temperatures in identical water) is a self-contradiction; there can be no potency to it.

"God is moved" is a self-contradiction. There can be no potency to a self-contradiction. God is immovable.   

=====
Please point out any mistakes in reasoning
 



Re: The Unmoved Mover and Pure Act - Scotus - 02-26-2013

(02-24-2013, 03:39 PM)GUDC Wrote: Otherwise you would have a composite of act-potency in esse nevertheless exercising the perogatives of pure actuality in actu, a contradiction in terms. 

This seems to be the crux of your argument. Yet, I'm afraid I do not see how a composite of act and potency never having that potency reduced to act is a contradiction.