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Monday, October 29, 2012

0249: The Self-Evident Connotation of the Actus Essendi (XV)





Entry 0249: The Self-Evident Connotation of the Actus Essendi (XV)


Noted scholars on Aquinas have offered their own accounts of how the human intellect grasps the notion of ens which, according to Aquinas, prevents human knowledge from falling into an infinite regress. Many of them, including John F. Wippel, are inclined to think that ens and esse are grasped through the so called second operation of the intellect or judgment. I have indicated in this blog that the position of Cornelio Fabro, on the other hand, is that ens and esse are grasped through the operation of simple apprehension.

The issue is not an easy issue to elucidate and proof of this are the following remarks by Wippel, which I interpret to express support for Fabro’s position.

“What one discovers through original judgments of existence can be summed up, as it were, under the heading being, or reality, or something similar.

“This may be expressed in explicit terms such as ‘This x is,’ or ‘This man is,’ or perhaps in some other way. 

In any event, one will now be intellectually aware that the thing in question is real in the sense that it actually exists.

“This procedure would seem to be presupposed for any intellectual awareness on our part of something as real, whether or not we spell this out in so many words by saying ‘this thing exists.’”

See John F. Wippel, The Metaphysical Thought of Thomas Aquinas (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2000), 38 and 44.