Thomas Taylor: Aristóteles – O Bem

Again, it is evident that what Aristotle now says, does not by any means subvert the subsistence of the first good, and which is nothing else than the good. For that it is this which benefits all things; and that every thing by an analogous participation of it is said to be good, will not be doubted by any one endued with intellect. For what if one thing is more good, but another less; or if one thing is nearer to, but another more remote from it; or if one thing is good per se, i. e. essentially, as health of body, and virtue of soul; but another thing is something which contributes to these, as diet and exercise, and a certain medicine and remedy ; or as sortie malady, and severe discipline of the body, in order that the soul may become robust and impassive ? For there is an order in all things, so that among them one thing is more honourable, but another is second, and another is third in honour, and so on. The participation of good also is present with every thing according to its order. And if order is good, as disorder is evil to beings, how is it reasonable to suppose that good should not be imparted to things in an orderly manner ? Or will any one require that all things should be co-ordinate, of a similar form, and a similar nature ? But if this were the case, the difference of all beings, their essence, and their order, would be subverted; nor would there be any order or harmony in them, but all things would be casually confused. Or if there is order and ornament in them, and all things are from one, except that they are not the same either according to species or genus, but there is a great difference in them, so that some are subordinate but others transcendent,—if this be the case, some things will be superior, but others inferior, and some will be nearer to, but others more remote from the good, and the participation Of the first will be analogous in each. If, therefore, natures are different, and the honour and order adapted to each, is it not necessary that the soul, in contemplating each, should apply itself appropriately to each, and appropriately survey each, and that it should frame arts and sciences conformably to the genera and species of things, and survey their natures according to that which is analogous in each ? For intellect being liberated from matter and body, surveys all things collectively and at once, and comprehends things multiplied unitedly, impartibly, things which are numerated specifically, and indivisibly things which are divisible. But soul desires indeed to comprehend the collected energy of intellect, aspiring after the perfection it contains, and the one simple form of its intellection. Not being able, however, to obtain the at-once-collected intelligence of intellect, it runs and as it were circularly dances round intellect, and by the transitions of its projections divides the impartibility of forms. Hence, it conceives different modes of knowledge, in order that applying itself appropriately to each object of knowledge, it may acquire a knowledge of all things. For as a different nature and order are adapted to a different thing, so likewise a different mode of knowledge is adapted to a different thing, viz. when the knowledge is co-ordinate to the thing known. As, therefore, there is not the same co-ordinate knowledge of all beings so far as beings, so neither of all partial goods is there one co-ordinate knowledge so far as they are good, nor of occasions, so far as they are occasions, nor of things moderate, so far as they are moderate, nor of other things which are assumed similarly to these. And as it is by no means wonderful if each being, so far as each is this thing or that, as for instance, physical, or mathematical, or divine, and still farther celestial or terrestrial, aquatic or aerial, or fiery, and so of the rest, and that they are known by different modes of knowledge ; thus also the mode of co-ordinate knowledge by which occasion, or the moderate, or any thing else is known, is different. Hence, all goods as participating of one first good are referred to one, and it will be the province of the same science to know all of them, as referred to and participating of it; but so far as each has a subsistence by itself, and so far as it is this particular thing, it pertains to a different art and science adapted to its proper nature and perfection.