View Articles

Monday, July 21, 2008

0028: Actus Essendi and Existence (I)

Entry 0028: Actus Essendi and Existence (I)


Although connected with actus essendi, the meaning of the term ‘existence’ does not denominate the metaphysical principle of actus essendi. Fabro indicates this clearly.

In his “The Intensive Hermeneutics of Thomistic Philosophy: The notion of Participation,” (The Review of Metaphysics, 1974, Vol. 27, p. 470), Fabro writes:

The authentic notion of Thomistic participation calls for distinguishing actus essendi as ‘act’ not only from ‘essence’ which is its ‘potency,’ but also from ‘existence’ which is the ‘fact of being’ and hence a ‘result’ rather than a metaphysical principle.

Then in the article on “Participation” that he wrote for The New Catholic Encyclopedia (2nd ed., Detroit, 2003, Vol. 10, pp 905-910) he adds,

For St. Thomas the difference between ‘to be’ and ‘to exist’ is founded on being—as ‘intensive emergent act’—that is diversely shared by each being.

Fabro’s command of the notion of participation in Aquinas allows him to easily identify the interpreters who “stop at ‘existence’ as a fact and a positing of reality,” and to easily set them apart from interpreters who “are willing to probe into the profundity of Thomistic speculation concerning ‘act.’” (See “The Transcendentality of Ens-Esse and the Grounds of Metaphysics”, International Philosophical Quarterly, 6, pp 389-427, 1966.)