some background ideas
Maimonides is the first philosopher among the Jews who takes account of the teaching of the Mitakallimun
. Their famous propositions are:
The entire universe is made up on indivisible bodies having no magnitude (atoms).
- The atomic theory extended from magnitude (which is produced by the combination of atoms) to time.
- Motion is the passage of one atom of matter from one atom of place to the next, during an atom of time.
- The atom is made complete by 'accidents' (as in substance/accidents), and is thus composite. Quantity and magnitude are not 'accidents'.
- 'Accident' does not last more than one moment of time. The accident disappears at the end of the moment unless God creates another accident.
- In other words, creation is a continuous and continuing process. God is active everywhere and always.
- All that is not 'atom' is 'accident'. All 'forms' are accidents. Three are no 'essential forms' [This is anti-Platonic].
- Man has no power of agency at all. 'Constancy' and 'regularity' in nature is nothing but the will of God in action [This is anti-Stoic]
- The infinite is impossible, whether actual or potential or accidental [This is anti-Epicurean].
The Twenty-Six Propositions from the Physics
- There can be no infinite object possessing magnitude.
- There cannot be an infinite number of bodies possessing magnitude all at the same time.
- There cannot be an infinite chain of cause and effect. [a first-cause is required].
- Change is of four kinds: substance (genesis and decay), quantity (growth and diminution), quality, and motion.
- All motion is change, and is the realization of potential.
- Motion may be motion per se, per accidens, forcible, partial.
- Every changeable thing is divisible. Every movable thing is divisible.
- That which is moved per accidens is necessarily at rest because its motion is not in itself. [the opposite of Newton's First Law of Motion]
- A body moving another body must be moving itself.
- Being in a body is either a matter of accident or of essence.
- Some things in the body are divisible,some are not (intellect, soul).
- Every power in a body is finite.
- No change is continuous except movement, and only circular movement.
- Motion of translation is the first of the changes.
- Time is an accident following motion and connected with it. No time without motion, no motion without time.
- Whatever is incorporeal cannot be subject to number.
- Everything that moves must have a mover. Outside or inside mover.
- If a thing passes from potentiality to actuality, the agent that causes the pasing must be outside the thing.
- Whatever has a cause for existence is a 'possible' existent thing in itself. If the cause is there, the thing exists. Possible vs. necessary.
- Whatever is a 'necessarily' existent thing has no cause for its existence. [First Cause]
- Every composite has the cause of its existence in the composition. It is not 'necessarily' existent.
- All 'body' is composed of matter and form, i. e. is composite, i.e. is 'not necessary'.
- Whatever has 'possible existence' also has 'possible non-existence' at some time.
- Possiblilty is always in matter.
- In a compound 'body' there must always be an agent, an outside mover.
- Time and motion are eternal and actual. There must therefore be a body moving eternally and actually. This is the matter constituting the substance of the Heavenly Bodies. The heavens are not subject to genesis and decay, but are eternal. God is the prime outside mover.
January 22, 2010 8:43 PM
John Paul Adams, CSUN