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Monday, July 9, 2012

0233: The Self-Evident Connotation of the Actus Essendi (XII)



Entry 0233: The Self-Evident Connotation of the Actus Essendi (XII)

Here are several places where Ralph McInerny states that the principle diversum est esse et id quod est is a self-evident principle:

1. Ralph McInerny, “Saint Thomas on De Hebdomadibus,”  Being and Goodness: The Concept of the Good in Metaphysics and Philosophical Theology, ed. Scott MacDonald (Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1991), 75-76:

“[Aquinas] accepts the Boethian suggestion that diversum est esse et id quod est is one of the commonplaces to which anyone assents upon hearing it uttered. That is, it is per se nota quoad omnes.”

“[Aquinas] noted that common conceptions gain universal consent because they are self-evident, per se notae.”

2. Ralph McInerny, Being and Predication: Thomistic Interpretations (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1986), 89-114.

3. Ralph McInerny, “Boethius and Saint Thomas Aquinas,” Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica 66 (1974): 219-245.

4. Ralph McInerny, Praeambula Fidei: Thomism and the God of the Philosophers (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2006), 303:

The axiom diversum est esse et quod est is just that, an axiom, and indeed per se notum quoad omnes.

5. Ralph McInerny and John O’Callaghan, “Saint Thomas Aquinas,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward N. Zalta, (First published online on Monday, 12 July 1999. Substantive revision on Wednesday, 30 September 2009. Accessed 3 August 2011):

“Thomas accepts from Boethius that it is self-evident that what a thing is and its existing differ (diversum est esse et id quod est).”

6. Ralph McInerny, Boethius and Aquinas (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1990), xiv:

“That the diversity between esse and id quod est is self-evident is one of the great overlooked claims of De Hebdomadibus and of Thomas's commentary on it.”

7. For an explanation of the meaning of esse in this context, see John F. Wippel, The Metaphysical Thought of Thomas Aquinas (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2000), 99. 

8. Of interest also is the following book review: R. D. DiLorenzo, “Boethius and Aquinas. By Ralph McInerny. Washington, D.C. The Catholic University of America Press, 1990. Pp. xiv + 268,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 67 (1993): 258-263.

R. D. DiLorenzo writes:

Diversum est esse et id quod est [is] the principal axiom in De Hebdomadibus. … It is self-evident to Boethius and Thomas that for a thing to be and what it is differ. …

“The tractate De Hebdomadibus … is designed to show that substances are good in that they are but are not, for all that, substantial goods and, furthermore, require, in order both to be and to be good, a first substantial good and existence that everyone calls God. The argument is developed according to a set of axioms which are self-evident. … Diversum est esse et id quod est is the first of these arguments. …

“As Aquinas sequentially brings the axioms to bear on one another, he shows how the diversity between esse and id quod est is, first, a diversity arising from different ways of signifying some one thing in speech. … However, the diversity is not only logical but real.”