Prima Via: Part I

The Prima Via seeks to demonstrate the existence of a Prime Mover, who itself does not exist in a state of motion, as derived from the plurality of motion that exists in the cosmos. The objection arises, however, when one considers the implicit assumption of the Prima Via; namely, that some thing cannot give what it does not already have (e.g., one cannot impart knowledge of a given subject without already possessing knowledge of the given subject).

This objection seeks to demonstrate the impossibility of a Prime Mover as such. Still, should we consider the aforementioned objection successful?

I don’t believe so and below you will find my attempt at responding to the aforementioned objection as inspired by my reading of Michael Augros’s article Ten Objections to the Prima Via (much of what I have written will be appear as a direct representation of Augros’s central responses).

Specifically, the process of motion must be considered imperfect insofar as the process of motion considered is incomplete. To illustrate my point, consider the example of eating. For insofar as it is true that I am about to finish my meal, still it is true that I have not yet finished my meal. Likewise, so long as it is true that I have finished my meal, still it is true that I am no longer finishing my meal. The examples given demonstrate that while the act of motion exists, the act of motion, nevertheless, must be considered as incomplete or imperfect.

Yet, what is required for a cause to transition some thing from potency to act is that the cause of the thing be perfectly actual relative to its effect and not the inverse (i.e., that the cause be just as imperfectly actual as the effect). Therefore, it is not categorically essential for every cause of motion to exist in a state of motion so as to impart some desired effect on another thing.

“A fire does not have to be increasing in temperature in order to increase the temperature of another thing—it needs only to have at least the same temperature to which it will heat up the other thing. Again, teachers do not need to be coming to know in order to cause their students to come to know—they need only to know, to have actual knowledge, since coming to know is like an imperfect possession of knowledge.” (p. 61-2, Ten Objections to the Prima Via)


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