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Monday, November 14, 2011

0199: Transcendental Perfections and Actus Essendi

Entry 0199: Transcendental Perfections and Actus Essendi

Concerning Aquinas’ treatment of the transcendental perfections, Edward A. Synan directs attention towards a distinction proposed by Aquinas in the Proemium of the Exposition of pseudo-Dionysius’ Divine Names. Synan attributes to Aquinas the view that

"Despite the superiority of an Aristotelian understanding of things in this world over that of the Platonists, Plato’s followers had done better on what is above this world: an implicit acceptance of Aristotelian earthly science but an explicit rejection of his views on higher things."

Here is the text on which Synan based his conclusion:

This reasoning of the Platonists, therefore, with respect to what it contains concerning separate, natural, specific forms, is in harmony with neither faith nor reason; but with respect to what they were accustomed to say about the First Principle of things, their opinion is the highest of truth and in harmony with the Christian faith. (Haec igitur Platonicorum ratio fidei non consonat nec veritati, quantum ad hoc quod continet de speciebus naturalibus separatis, sed quantum ad id quod dicebant de Primo rerum Principio, verissima est eorum opinio et fidei Christianae consona [Thomas Aquinas, In librum Beati Dionysius De divinis nominibus expositio, prooemium, 2.])

Edward A. Synan, “Albert and the Two Burleys: Citations and Allusions,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 70, (1996): 168-169.