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Monday, July 23, 2012

0235: The Self-Evident Connotation of the Actus Essendi (XIII)



Entry 0235: The Self-Evident Connotation of the Actus Essendi (XIII)

Not everyone understands what is conveyed by the highly sophisticated technical term “actus essendi.”

However, in the implied awareness that everyone has of the real, everyone is in touch with the actus essendi without necessarily knowing it explicitly.

The actus essendi of extramental subsisting things is as self-evident to us as the principle of non-contradiction is self-evident to us.

In his thorough way of dealing with important questions, Aquinas posits that “the first indemonstrable principle cannot be the conclusion of any demonstration, nor the conclusion of any science” (ST.I-II.13.3: “Primum tamen principium indemonstrabile non potest esse conclusio alicuius demonstrationis vel scientiae”).

And elsewhere he stresses that “there cannot be strictly true science if a right estimate of the first indemonstrable principle is lacking” (ST.II-II,23.7.ad 2: “Non potest esse simpliciter vera scientia si desit recta aestimatio de primo et indemonstrabili principio”).

Expressed more clearly, if only a right estimate of the first indemonstrable principle is needed for the proper operation of the intellectual faculty, then this strongly suggests that in the initial grasping of the truth of the first principle, an explicit access to the refined metaphysical formulations of the principle is not required. An implied awareness of this standard of truth seems to suffice.

“The existence of extramental reality is self-evident” (Jacques Maritain and the Many Ways of Knowing, ed. Douglas A. Ollivant, [Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2002], 139).