being of reason with real being, so that what is perfectly clear becomes obscure. We, on the other hand, would say that unity is in no way to be distinguished from the thing itself, and that it adds nothing to being. But it is only a mode of thought by which we separate one thing from another, when they are similar or for some reason occur together.
MT106-P03. PREV - NEXT - THIS - UPPER - TOPTo the term Unity we oppose the term Plurality, which clearly adds nothing to things but is only a mode of thought which assists us in understanding the objects of our experience. Nor do I see that anything remains to be said concerning a matter as self-evident as this. We may add, however, that God so far as we separate Him from other objects may be said to be one. But so far as we think of His nature as many-sided He cannot be called simple Unity (unum et unicum). If we examine the matter more accurately, we can show that God is improperly called simple unity. But this is not of sufficient importance to make it worth the discussion; it is a matter that affects not the reality but the names. Therefore we pass to the second point and explain what we mean by 'false.'
What Plurality is, and in what sense God may be said to be one, and in what sense sui generis.
MT106-P04. PREV - NEXT - THIS - UPPER - TOPIn order to properly understand the terms true and false we will begin with their signification from which it will appear that they are not names of qualities in the things themselves nor attributes at all except rhetorically. Since general usage first fixed their meaning, and they were only used afterward by philosophers, it seems best to inquire for their primary significance. Especially is this necessary since other sources from the very nature of language, are wanting. The significance of true and false seemed to have first arisen from narration. That narration was true which was in accord with the facts which it concerned; that was false which was not in accord with the facts of the case. This use of these terms was then borrowed by philosophers for denoting the correspondence of the idea with the thing it represents, and the contrary. Therefore, that idea is said to be true which represents the thing, as it is in itself. That idea is false which does not so represent its object. For ideas are nothing else than mental narratives or histories of nature. Afterward these are metaphorically applied to other things. As for example, that gold is true or false if we thought that gold which we perceive might tell us what was in itself, or what is not.
What is true and what is false, as generally understood and as understood by philosophers.
Concerning the cause of the true and the false we have already spoken;
therefore nothing remains to be noted which
would be worth the while, if writers, "seeking a knot in the bulrushes,"
did not so far entangle themselves in similar
folly that they are unable to extricate themselves.
MT106-P07. PREV - NEXT - THIS - UPPER - TOPThe properties of truth or of a true idea are: 1. That it is clear and distinct. 2. That it is beyond all doubt, or, in a word, that it is certain. Those who seek for certainty in the things themselves are deceived in the same way as when they seek there for truth. Although we say a thing is uncertain, we rhetorically take the object for the idea, and in the same way we say that a thing is doubtful. Unless, perchance, we understand by uncertainty, contingency or the thing which makes us uncertain or doubtful. But there is no need to delay about this point. Therefore we proceed to the third point and will explain what is meant by this term and its opposite.
What are the Properties of Truth? Certitude is not in things.
MT106-P10. PREV - NEXT - THIS - UPPER - TOPIn order to understand this we will notice a very simple example. Motion has the power of preserving itself in statu guo; this power clearly is nothing else than the motion itself, i.e., it is in the nature of motion to do so. If I say that in A there is nothing else than a certain amount of motion, it follows that as long as I consider only this body A, I must consider it as moving. For if I should say that it has lost its power of motion, I necessarily attribute something else to it than that which, from the hypothesis, it possessed, and through this, it has lost its power of motion. If this reason seems obscure --well then we will concede that this conatus of self-movement is something more than the laws and nature of motion. If, therefore, you suppose this conatus to be a metaphysical good, from necessity you must suppose that this conatus will have in it a conatus of self-preservation, and this another, and so on to infinity, than which I do not know anything more absurd. The reason some distinguish between the conatus of an object and the thing itself is this, namely, because they find in themselves the desire of conserving themselves, they imagine the desire is present in everything.
How the thing itself, and the conatus by which every object endeavors to conserve itself in its present state, are to be distinguished.
MT106-P11. PREV - NEXT - THIS - UPPER - TOPMoreover, it is asked whether God could have been called good before creation. From our definition it would seem that we could not predicate such an attribute as belonging to God, for we said that a thing considered in itself alone can neither be said to be good or evil. This will seem absurd to many; but for what reason I do not know. We attribute many things of this kind to God, which, before creation, could not exist except potentially; as for example, when He is called Creator, Judge merciful, etc. Wherefore similar arguments should be allowed us here.
Whether God could have been called good, before creation.