- constat - it is plain,evident
- accidit - it happens
- placet - it pleases
- patet - it is clear, evident, well known
- decet - it is becoming, proper
- refert - it concerns
- relinquitur - it remains
- licet - it is allowed (not to be confused with the adverb, licet, ‘although’)
- libet - it pleases
- videtur - it seems
- oportet - it is fitting, one ought
- interest - it concerns
For translating exercises Meissen has selected from Josef Donat's 1914 Ontologia, a work hearkening back to the golden age of the manualists. (You can find the full text at archive.org.) Perhaps it will make for a nice complement to Mercier's Manual of Modern Scholastic Philosophy.
In reading Mercier I have discovered there the same basic difficulty I find in Aquinas and Augustine, namely that their references to physical phenomena are all couched in defunct scientific theories. So that time and again I have to undergo the acrobatics of cashing out "fire tends upwards" and the like in terms of a contemporary theory. For his part, Mercier signed off on the manual in 1915, three years before Eddington vindicated Einstein's then still fringe ideas. At that point the work linking physics and chemistry was all the rage, but, taking Mercier as a guide here, there seemed to prevail the pre-Bohr assumption that the atom was homogeneous on the inside and that atoms of different kinds differed only in atomic number and weight. Clearly this left the gaping problem of why different kinds of atoms behave so very differently, and others besides. And a rather mind numbing section from D. Nys' Cosmology section of Mercier's manual takes advantage of the manifest shortcomings of the reigning model to showcase the strengths of the scholastic approach to matter. Yes, since the divorce of philosophy and so-called science in the early modern age philosophers of whatever stripe have been doing the same basic thing (action at a distance, anyone? actual infinities?) There's really no way around it. I only wish Dr. Nys, or so many other scholastics for that matter, wouldn't ride the excluded middle quite so hard when they hit such an impasse in the contingent state of the natural sciences. It discredits what they set out to defend.
A classic example of this is the tendency out there to dismiss the Mind-Body Problem with an appeal to De Anima: hylemorphism takes care of that! Of course it does, if by that you mean the erroneous positing of two substances having no conceivable way of interacting. To note that powers flow from properties, which in turn flow from essences, does in fact take care of that. But to go one step further, as tacitly happens, and declare yourself exempt from the diabolical details of neuroscience is a mistake. Because, we have to ask, how exactly do immaterial mental powers flow from physical properties? Indeed, to note that all physical beings possess a basic directionality, such that the intentional, irreducibly directional mind is part and parcel of a universal natural tendency and not a freakish anomaly, does do well to lay the teleological framework within which mind and body ought to reconcile. But this seems to be the high water mark of hylemorphic thought on the matter, after which sympathetic minds retreat to their favorite problems of ethics, transubstantiation and risibility. Would that--and here I am no less guilty--someone of hylemorphic persuasion would actually take on the problems of neuroscience, or the double-slit experiment, or the quantum froth! I mean, what if the talent pool of hylemorphists was brimming over to the point that the runoff would fill the ranks of the particular sciences? And we'd be spared the bubble-gum atheism of those convinced that cyclotrons have something to do with theology? To dream...