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Monday, July 30, 2012

0236: The Self-Evident Connotation of the Actus Essendi (XIV)



Entry 0236: The Self-Evident Connotation of the Actus Essendi (XIV)


In Being and Predication, Ralph McInerny writes:

"What in the text of Boethius is listed as the first axiom—[diversum est esse et id quod est]—is actually a meta-axiom which makes the familiar distinction between conceptions self-evident to all and conceptions self-evident only to the learned.

"Propositions will be evident to all when they are composed of terms no one can fail to understand. 'Ea autem quae in omni intellectu cadunt, sunt maxime communia quae sunt: ens, unum et bonum. Et ideo ponit hic Boethius primo quasdam conceptiones pertinentes ad ens. Secundo quasdam pertinentes ad unum, ex quo sumitur ratio simplicis et compositi …'

"[Diversum est esse et id quod est] … in our list pertains to being [ens]."

Ralph McInerny, Being and Predication: Thomistic Interpretations (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1986), 98.

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).

Monday, July 16, 2012

0234: The Non-Contradictory Character of Being




Entry 0234: The Non-Contradictory Character of Being 

Common expressions of the non-contradictory character of being:

1. “What exists cannot not exist.”

2. “Whatever exists exists and cannot not exist.”

3. “That which exists cannot not exist and that which does not exist cannot exist.”

4. “That which is, is; and that which is not, is not.”

5. “It is impossible for a thing to exist and not exist at the same time.”

6. “Id quod est praesens, non potest non esse praesens,” (Summa Theologiae, I-II, 39, 3, c).

7. “Quod est, necesse est esse quando est,” (De Veritate, 2, 12, ad 2).


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.”

Monday, July 2, 2012

0232: Existence and Non-Contradiction




Entry 0232: Existence and Non-Contradiction 


Observations:


1. An existing thing, by the very fact that it exists, excludes its simultaneous non-existence.

2. “Let us consider any being. That being, by the very fact that it exists, cannot simultaneously not exist. Its very existence excludes its simultaneous non-existence” (Jose Sanchez Villasenor, Ortega y Gasset Existentialist: A Critical Study of His Thought and Its Sources, trans. Joseph Small [Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1949], 205).

3. An existing thing manifests its existence.

4. “The existence of a thing implies the manifestation of its existence” (Paul Carus, Fundamental Problems: The Method of Philosophy as a Systematic Arrangement of Knowledge [Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1903], 155).

5. Everything that exists manifests its existence somehow. No matter how hard it is for us to get to know the existence of a thing, an existing thing cannot hide its existence.

6. “Each individual thing manifests its own existence clearly” (http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2008_11_01_archive.html, accessed 30 June 2012).

7. It is self-evident that things actually present to our external senses are real existing things.