Behind the Scenes of the Intellectivity Argument

Although this outcome looks like success for the intellectivity argument, it might disappoint someone who has been following the argument carefully, for of course this derivation of step 6 really uses only steps 1 and 5. If we take step 1 as our first premiss and consider an underived instance of step 5

as our second premiss for the conclusion, step 6, we have the same sort of argument from perfection as the ones we glanced at from the commentary on the Sentences and the Compendium theologiae. For although steps 3 and 4 do indeed support step 5, the only piece of it they support is the claim that among specific perfections intellectivity is 'the one with the most power'; and that piece isn't needed in this derivation of step 6. The other component of step 5, the one that is needed here, is the claim that being intellective is one of the perfections of things. And although we've seen good reasons to accept that claim, nothing in the intellectivity argument itself expressly supports it. So, for purposes of this derivation of step 6, not only step 2 but also steps 3 and 4 (not to mention step 4a) and the part of step 5 that is supported by them seem superfluous. If this derivation of step 6 is, as I think it is, an acceptable way of showing that universally perfect God must be intellective, then the intellectivity argument that contains it looks like an extravagance half the components of which are merely ornamental.

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However, as my discussion of the argument should have shown, I'm unwilling to accept that appraisal of it. While I have no explanation of Aquinas's uncharacteristically allowing the stronger, more interesting features of this argument to remain partially behind the scenes and logically superfluous, I think none of those pieces of the argument are irrelevant to providing a preliminary sketch of the importance of God's intellectivity to the theory of God's nature, even though they aren't really needed for the derivation of the conclusion 'God is intellective'. Since I've been bringing out that relevance of theirs in my discussion of Aquinas's intellectivity argument, I think I can provide a summary conclusion to this chapter by simply offering a radical but recognizable recasting of his argument.

The Intellectivity Argument Recast

1 {1} No perfection that may be found in any natural kind of beings is absent from God.

2 Of perfections that may be found in any natural kind of beings, all and only those that do not entail any mode of being that is peculiar to creatures are predicated of God literally (albeit analogically).

3 Of perfections that may be found in any natural kind of beings, intellectivity is one that does not entail any mode of being that is peculiar to creatures.

4 {6} God is (perfectly) intellective.

5 {3'} On the basis of being intellective something is in a certain way all things in the sense that it is potentially informed intellectively by a form of any and every thing.

6 {4'} Something's being in a certain way all things on the basis of being intellective is its intellectively having within itself the perfection of all things.

7 God intellectively has within himself the perfection of all things.

8 God's being (perfectly) intellective is God's essence.

9 {2} There is no complexity in God as a consequence of the presence of all those perfections (that is, his intellectively having within himself the perfection of all things).

10 {4a} A perfection the possession of which involves the possessor's intellectively having within itself the perfection of all things is the one that has the most power.

end p.195

Kretzmann, Norman , (deceased) formerly Susan Linn Sage Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Cornell University, New York

The Metaphysics of Theism

Print ISBN 9780199246533, 2001 pp. [196]-[200]

11 {5} Among the perfections of things the one with the most power is being intellective.

The conclusion of this recast argument is obviously well suited to some important results noted in Chapter Five: namely, that among the perfections of things, being intellective is most like God's causal power (sect. 7) and that God's causal power is infinite (sect. 10).

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Seven Will

Norman Kretzmann

Abstract: Since intellect and will are conceptually distinct, and since intellect without will would not constitute a person, showing that personhood must be attributed to reality's ultimate principle remains incomplete until it can be shown to be characterized essentially by will as well. Before taking up Aquinas's arguments for will in God, his conception of will generally is examined, as the absolutely universal appetitus for what is good, associated with all being. Aquinas's arguments proposing to derive divine will from divine intellect as well as the argument from freedom are presented. The Dionysian principle, which Aquinas accepts: goodness is by its very nature diffusive of itself and (thereby) of being, commits him to a necessitarian explanation of God's willing of things other than himself.

Keywords: appetitus, Aquinas, Dionysian principle, divine intellect, divine will, freedom of choice, God, necessitarian explanation, personhood

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