being, essence and existence for Aquinas_2.pdf

Being, Essence and Existence for St. Thomas Aquinas (II): Being: That Which Is Author(s): William M. Walton Source: The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Sep., 1951), pp. 83-108 Published by: Philosophy Education Society Inc. Stable URL: Accessed: 15/10/2009 10:51 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at JSTOR's Terms and Condition
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  Being, Essence and Existence for St. Thomas Aquinas (II): Being: That Which IsAuthor(s): William M. WaltonSource: The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Sep., 1951), pp. 83-108Published by: Philosophy Education Society Inc.Stable URL: Accessed: 15/10/2009 10:51 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Philosophy Education Society Inc.  is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Review of Metaphysics.  The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. V, No. 1, September 1951. BEING, ESSENCE AND EXISTENCE FOR ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (II) BEING - THAT WHICH IS The first part of this discussion-1 was devoted to an anal ysis of the central intuition which is at the very heart of Thomistic philosophy, namely, the intuition of the basic in telligible reality of being as analogically permeating everything knowable, and especially of existence as the act of every act and the perfection of every perfection. This second and con cluding portion is devoted to the study of being not so much as intelligible but rather as existent. Here the notion of that which exercises the act of existing is the primary concern. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, that which is said to exist through any nature is called a suppositum or subject (suppositum vel hypostasis) of that nature. For example, that which has the nature of horse is said to be a subject or suppositum (hypostasis vel suppositum) of equine nature. 2 iThe Review of Metaphysics, III (1950) pp. 339-365. 2 De Rationibus Fidei C. 6, ed. Mandonnet p. 264. Cf. also Sum. Theol. I. 29. 2. Resp. ... In another sense, substance means a subject or suppositum, which subsists in the genus of substance. Sum. Theol. I. 39. l.#ad 3. ... individuals are called subjects, supposita, or hypos tases. So the divine persons are named supposita or hypostases, but not as if there were any real supposition or subjection here. On this latter point cf. Sum. Theol. I. 3. articles 6 and 7, where in the case of God St. Thomas denies any receptivity as regards even necessary (per se) accidents. Also, Sum. Theol. I. 29. 3. ad 3 ... the name hypostasis does not apply to God as regards its source of srcin, since He does not underlie accidents; but it applies to Him in its objective sense, for it is imposed to signify the subsistent thing. On the other hand, substance (etymologically the same formation as hypostasis) is commonly taken to mean essence. Ibid., ... inasmuch as the term substance, which corresponds to hypostasis in Greek is commonly taken among us to mean essence. In the preface of his treatise Against the Errors of the Greeks St. Thomas uses this example to illustrate the duty of a good translator... [83]  84 William M. Walton Subjects or supposita, moreover, occupy all the room there is in the Thomistic universe, since existence belongs properly only to individual subjects. These may be simple, as in the case of separate intelligences or composite as in the case of inanimate and animate substances: existence belongs properly to subsist ing things, whether they be simple, as in the case of separate substances, or composite, as in the case of material substances. For the act of existing belongs properly to that which has existence: that is, to that which subsists in its own existence. 3 We have seen, moreover, that existence is essentially distinct from that to which it is added and whereby it is determined. 4 In other words, St. Thomas distinguishes the act of existing from that to which that act is attributed. 5 The subject holds existence as something that is not an essen tial requirement of its intelligible constitution: existence . . . follows . . . the subject, as that which holds existence. 6 The act of existing cannot enter as a constituent element into the intelligible constitution of any created subject.7 to preserve the meaning while changing the mode of expression in ac cordance with the propriety of the language into which [the works] are translated. Our word subject which has an etymology similar to that of hypos tasis is more frequent than either hypostasis or suppositum. It is used here to signify the self-subsistent thing. 3 Sixth. Theol. I. 45. 4. Resp. Cf. also IX Quodl. a. 3, Resp_ Existence therefore is properly and truly attributed only to a thing that is subsisting in itself. Qu. Disp. De Unione Verbi Incarnati a. 4, Resp.... For existence is properly and truly predicated of a subsisting subject. Also In III Sent, d. 6, q. 2, Resp. Ori The Power of God III. 3. ad 2. Cf. also notes 23, 55, 72, 73, 74 below. 4 Part I, op. cit., p. 362. 5 On Truth I. 1. ad 3 Contr. Cf. De Substantiis Separatis C. 7, ed. Perrier n. 49... a certain common resolution must take place in the case of all such participated beings. In such a reduction, each of these beings is analyzed (resolvitur) into that which is and its act of existing. Also III Quodl. a. 20, Resp. ?Sum. Theol. III. 17. 2. ad 1. 7 Cf. II Quodl. a. 4, ad 2 ... although the act of existing does not belong to the constitutive intelligibility of the suppositum ... II Quodl.  Being, Essence and Existence 85 We have seen, also, that as the act of every act and the perfection of every perfection existence cannot have anything added to it that is more formal and determines it as act deter mines potentiality. 8 According to the universal principle it is potency which limits act: for no act is found to be limited except through a potency that is receptive of that act. 9 Potency implies both capacity to receive and limitation of the perfection received. Act is limited through potency which is capacity for perfection: every act inhering in something else receives its limitation from that in which it is : since that which is in another is in it according to the mode of the recipient. For this reason an act that exists in no subject is limited by nothing. 10 Hence existence as existence has no limit and no principle of limitation within itself: existence itself, considered absolutely, is infinite; for it can be participated by an infinite number of subjects and in an infinite number of ways. n The ultimate a. 3, Resp. ... no created subject is its existence, but is a possessor of existence (habens esse) any created thing that created subject which holds existence is distinct from its very act of existing ... wherefore it is participated as something not existing as an essential requirement of the essence of the thing (non existens de essentia rei). The Soul a. 1, ad 8 ... it does not belong to the constitutive intelligibility of that which is a particular thing (hoc aliquid) to be composed of matter and form, but only to be capable of subsisting in itself. On the last point cf. Sum. Theol. III. 77. 1. ad 2 ... the definition of substance is not: a being in itself (ens per se) without a subject... but it belongs to the quiddity or essence of a substance to have existence not in a subject. Also Sum. Theol. I. 3. 5. ad 1. In IV Senr., d. 12, q. 1, a. 1, Sol. 1, ad 2 and ad 3. IX Quodl. a. 5, ad 2. Cont. Gent. 1. 25, last paragraph. On the Power of God VII. 3. ad 4. 8 Part I, op. cit., p. 362. Cf. also Conr. Gent. I. 38 .. rthat which is can participate something, but existence itself can participate nothing: because that which participates is potency, whereas existence is act. ?Comp. Theol. C. 18. 10 Cont. Gent. I. 43. Cf. also Ibid., ... every act which exists in union with a potency has a limit to its perfection: while an act that has no admixture of potentiality has no limit to its perfection. Conr. Gent. I. 43. Cf. also Sum. Theol. III. 16. 9 ad 2... ro be simply is higher than to be man. In V Metaph., 9, n. 896... being (ens) is higher than any one being (unumquodque entium). Sum Theol. I a II ae. 2. 5. ad 2... existence taken simply, as including all perfection of
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