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159 MET.

Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS


GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
Met. Z ZZ ZZ 13 in the Contemporary Debate
and in Aquinass Interpretation*
I NTRODUCTI ON
Metaphysi cs Z 13 can be regarded as one of the most debated texts i n the
enti re Ari stoteli an corpus. I n the chapter, Ari stotle argues at length for the
clai m that no uni versal can be substance. Modern i nterpreters di sagree on the
exact meani ng and i mport of the clai m at i ssue. Some of them contend that
i t i mpli es that Ari stoteli an forms, i f they are, as they are, substances, must be
parti cular and not uni versal. Others, on the contrary, go out of thei r way to
show that the thesi s defended i n the chapter i s compati ble wi th a theory of
uni versal forms. Most of the latter, i n parti cular, i nsi st that Ari stotles
cri ti ci sms are not addressed to forms but concern other types of uni versals.
Aqui nass i nterpretati on of Met. Z 13 di ffers from modern ones i n two basi c
respects. (i ) For one thi ng, the possi bi li ty for the chapter to deal wi th
Ari stoteli an forms i s not even acknowledged as an opti on by Aqui nas. Thi s i s
due to Aqui nass vi ews on what counts as a substance i n the sensi ble world.
Accordi ng to hi m, i n fact, a substance i n the stri ct sense of the term i s a
concrete i ndi vi dual composed of matter and form. Therefore, i f Met. Z 13
i nqui res i nto the ontologi cal status of uni versals, i t must be concerned wi th
what i s uni versally predi cated of an i ndi vi dual composi te of matter and form,
namely speci es and genera. Form, on the contrary, i s not predi cated of the
i ndi vi dual composi te. For i t i s a part of the composi te and a part i s never
predi cated of the whole i t i s a part of. I n a sense, therefore, Aqui nass
i nterpretati on ends up bei ng closer to that of the supporters of uni versal
forms. For they too hold that Ari stoteli an forms are somehow out of the
pi cture, whi le the mai n focus of the chapter i s on other types of uni versals, i n
* I take the opportuni ty to thank the members of the semi nar at Scuola Normale Superi ore,
Pi sa (J uly 2002) for di scussi ng the structure and the content of thi s paper. I am also parti cularly
grateful to M. Frede and C. Tri fogli for readi ng and commenti ng on i t. Of course, I take full
responsi bi li ty for any mi stake I may have left.
160 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
parti cular speci es and genera.
(i i ) Aqui nass readi ng parts company wi th modern ones also i n so far as the
assessment of the theoreti cal poi nt di scussed i n the chapter i s concerned. For
the problem of parti cular/uni versal forms i s mai nly a problem of i ndi vi duati on
of form i tself, whereas Aqui nas sees Met. Z 13 as concerned wi th the tradi ti onal
problem of uni versals. I n other words, accordi ng to Aqui nas what i s at stake
i n the chapter i s the questi on as to whether the natures of sensi ble substances
exi st separate from thei r parti cular i nstances or merely i n them. Thi s
i nterpretati on i s, at least i n part, the result of the anti -Platoni c character
Aqui nas attri butes to the chapter. I n the case of the parti cular/uni versal
forms i ssue, on the contrary, all parti es i n the di spute agree that forms only
exist in particulars, but disagree on the status forms have within the particulars
they exi st i n.
Although he i s not i nterested i n the problem of the i ndi vi duati on of forms
when i t comes to commenti ng on Met. Z 13, Aqui nas di scusses thi s i ssue i n a
number of di fferent texts. Accordi ng to the categori es of the modern debate
about Aristotelian forms, Aquinas can be ranged among supporters of universal
forms. However, he has some di ffi culti es i n worki ng out the case of the human
soul, whi ch does not fi t i n very well wi th hi s general posi ti on concerni ng the
i ndi vi duati on of form.
The ai m of thi s paper i s to analyse Aqui nass commentary on Met. Z 13 i n
the li ght of the modern debate concerni ng Ari stotles ontology. Therefore, i t
falls i nto two parts. I n the fi rst one, I shall try to reconstruct the modern
controvercy concerni ng Ari stoteli an forms and the role played i n i t by Met. Z
13. My focus wi ll be on both the i nterpretati ve opti ons that have been comi ng
out over ti me and the theoreti cal problems at i ssue. The second part, on the
contrary, wi ll be devoted to a detai led analysi s of Aqui nass commentary on
Met. Z 13. I n thi s part, I shall attempt to hi ghli ght si mi lari ti es and di fferences
between Aqui nass approach and that of modern commentators. Parti cular
attenti on wi ll be pai d to Aqui nass general reasons for i nterpreti ng the
chapter i n the way he does. Moreover, Aqui nass i nterpretati on wi ll be
evaluated of some key noti ons and di sti ncti ons i n Ari stotles ontology such as
the noti on of :: . or the di sti ncti on between substance and substance of.
Fi nally, I shall i llustrate Aqui nass posi ti on wi th regard to the i ndi vi duati on
of forms. I n thi s case as well, my focus wi ll be on Aqui nass general opti ons
and assumpti ons.
On a whole, the paper hopes to show the i mportance of Aqui nass
commentary on Metaphysi cs Z as both i nterpretati ve text i n the stri ct sense of
the term and testi mony of the phi losophi cal vi ews of i ts author. As a matter
of fact, although attempti ng a personal i nterpretati on of Ari stotles text,
161 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
Aqui nas i s gui ded i n hi s understandi ng of the text by hi s general phi losophi cal
vi ews. I n thi s sense, he often ends up wi th fi ndi ng i n Ari stotles text di rect or
i ndi rect support for hi s phi losophi cal presupposti ons. Thi s does not prevent
hi s works from bei ng genui ne i nstances of Ari stoteli an commentari es.
Aqui nass commentary on Met. Z 13 should provi de a good i nstance of thi s
i nterweavi ng of exegeti cal and doctri nal i ssues.
PART ONE. THE MEANI NG OF MET. Z 13 WI THI N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE ABOUT THE
STATUS OF ARI STOTELI AN FORMS
1. Z 13s problem
Z 13 i s doubtless one of the most di ffi cult texts i n Book Seven of Ari stotles
Metaphysi cs. As a matter of fact, the overall structure of the chapter i s by no
means clear nor are the extent and the meani ng of the si ngle arguments i t
presents. What seems to be certai n i s that the chapter i s supposed to start a
di scussi on of one of the four candi dates for the ti tle of substance li sted by
Ari stotle i n Z 3, i .e. the uni versal. Thi s di scussi on, moreover, extends i n one
way or another unti l Chapter 16. Among the other candi dates li sted i n Z 3,
substrate i s taken up, as i s well known, i n Chapter 3 i tself, whereas the
di scussi on of essence occupi es the mai n secti on of the book, namely Chapters
4-6 and 10-12 (Chapters 7-9 are usually regarded as a later i nserti on probably
made by Ari stotle hi mself). Genus, on the contrary, does not recei ve separate
treatment, but gi ven i ts close si mi lari ty to the uni versal we can reasonably
suppose i t to be i ncluded wi thi n the di scussi on of the uni versal i n Chapters
13-16, as Ari stotle hi mself seems to acknowledge i n the summary of Book Zs
results proposed i n Met. | 1 (1042a21-22).
Among scholars i nterested i n Ari stoteli an ontology, however, Met. Z 13 has
deserved speci al attenti on for the contri buti on i t does or would offer to the
debate about parti culari ty versus uni versali ty of Ari stoteli an forms. Roughly,
the problem at i ssue may be formulated i n the followi ng way. On the one
hand, there are those who mantai n that, accordi ng to Ari stotle, each i ndi vi dual
substance belongi ng to a gi ven speci es possesses a proper substanti al form,
numeri cally di sti nct from that of the other i ndi vi duals belongi ng to the same
speci es. On the other hand, there are people defendi ng the i dea that for each
speci es there i s just one substanti al form that consti tutes di fferent i ndi vi duals
by bei ng joi ned to di fferent porti ons of matter.
Although i mportant scholars have taken part i n the controversy, there sti ll
some uncertai nty about the theoreti cal poi nt at i ssue and the questi on the
Ari stoteli an text i s supposed to answer. Therefore, before assessi ng the role
162 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
played by Met. Z 13 wi thi n the questi on of the status of Ari stoteli an forms, i t
i s necessary to make three preli mi nary remarks i n order to set the problem
and prevent some mi sunderstandi ngs. (i ) Fi rst of all, both parti es i .e.
supporters of parti culari ty as well as those of uni versali ty of Ari stoteli an
forms agree on the fact that Ari stoteli an forms, whatever thei r ontologi cal
status i s, exi st only i n parti culars, namely i nsi de the concrete i ndi vi duals
composed of matter and form. I n fact, even i f separabi li ty i s recommended by
Ari stotle as one of the di sti ncti ve cri teri a for substanti ali ty (Z 3, 1029a27-28),
form does not sati sfy thi s cri teri on by enjoyi ng some i ndependent exi stence
i n the way the composi te does (| 1, 1042a26-31). On the contrary, form i s
separable only i n formula, i .e. i t i s able to be conceptually taken apart from
the other parts of the composi te (| 1, 1042a29). I n any case, as can be noted,
the ki nd of separabi li ty enjoyed by form i mpli es that no reference to matter
has to be made i n the defi ni ti on of form i tself. Accordi ngly, though not
exi stenti ally, form i s at least defi ni ti onally i ndependent of matter.
(i i ) Second, i t must be acknowleged that there i s a deri vati ve sense
accordi ng to whi ch even supporters of uni versal forms or at least some of
them
1
allow themselves to speak of parti cular forms, namely i f all that i s
meant by thi s expressi on i s parti culari sed forms or forms made parti cular by
matter. I n other words, accordi ng to the tradi ti onal doctri ne of the uni versal
or general character of substanti al form, two i ndi vi duals belongi ng to the
same speci es possess the same form and di ffer from one another for the fact
that thi s form i s exempli fi ed i n (or, i n an equi valent way, i s predi cated of)
di fferent porti ons of matter. On thi s vi ew, therefore, i t i s matter that i s
responsi bl e for the i ndi vi dual i ty of the composi te and that somehow
parti culari ses the form gi vi ng ri se to di fferent tokens of i t. So, once the
parti culari si ng role of matter i s taken i nto account but only then one i s
allowed to speak of the form of thi s or that i ndi vi dual, for i nstance Calli as or
Socrates. I n the li ght of these remarks, i t turns out to be perfectly clear that
the problem of the status of substanti al form needs to be reformulated i n the
followi ng way. I s form i n i tself, i .e. i ndependently of i ts uni on wi th matter,
uni versal or parti cular ? I f one answers that form i s uni versal, then what one
mai ntai ns i s that matter i s responsi ble for the deri vati ve parti culari ty of form
i tself and hence for the parti culari ty of the composi te as well. I f, on the
contrary, one answers that form i s already parti cular i n i tself, one i s clearly
favouri ng the i dea that i t i s form that i s responsi ble for the i ndi vi duali ty of the
whole composi te of form and matter. I thi nk i t must be credi ted to Frede-
1
Cfr. J . DRI SCOL L, |lA| i n Ari stotles Earli er and Later Theori es of Substance, i n Studi es i n
Ari stotle, ed. D. OMEARA, Catholi c Uni versi ty of Ameri ca Press, Washi ngton 1981, p. 144.
163 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
Patzi gs commentary on Book Z to have called attenti on to the exact theoreti cal
i mport of the noti on of parti cular forms
2
.
(i i i ) To conclude the preli mi nary remarks, I would li ke to stress a poi nt
that should already be clear. The questi on we are concerned wi th i s not an
epi stemologi cal, but an ontologi cal one. I n other terms, what i s asked for i s not
what enables us to di sti ngui sh, for i nstance, two members of the same speci es
at a gi ven poi nt i n ti me, but what really makes these two i ndi vi duals two
i ndi vi dual objects, whether i t i s thei r form or thei r matter, both or nei ther.
Accordi ngly, i n the case of parti cular forms, the questi on comes to be what
makes parti cular form parti cular and not how we are able to di sti ngui sh
one parti cular form from another. Thi s poi nt i s clear both to Frede-Patzi g and
to some of thei r opponents
3
.
I ndeed, the problem of the status of pri nci ples of a concrete object i s a
genui nely Ari stoteli an one. At Met. 3 4, 999b24-1000a4, for i nstance, Ari stotle
rai ses a problem about whi ch ki nd of uni ty pri nci ples enjoy, whether (only)
a numeri cal uni ty or (only) a speci fi c one. Moreover, the questi on as to
whether pri nci ples are uni versal or parti cular i s presented as the last of Book
Bs apori ae at 3 6, 1003a5-17 and i s taken up agai n and di scussed at length i n
Met. M 10
4
. Confining ourselves to 3 6s di scussi on, we can noti ce how the
apori a focuses on some of Book Zs mai n concerns and di ffi culti es
5
. (i) I f, on
2
Cfr. M. FREDE - G. PATZI G, Ari stoteles Metaphysi k Z. Text, bersetzung und Kommentar, 2
vols., Beck, Mnchen 1988. For others who have brought forward a theory of parti cular forms
cfr. : W.S. SEL L ARS, Substance and Form i n Ari stotle, J ournal of Phi losophy , 54, 1957, pp. 688-
689 ; E.D. HARTER, Ari stotle on Pri mary Ousi a, Archi v fr Geschi chte der Phi losophi e, 57,
1975, pp. 1-20 ; E. HARTMAN, Ari stotle on the I denti ty of Substance and Essence, Phi losophi cal
Revi ew , 85, 1976, pp. 545-561 ; J . WHI TI NG, Form and I ndi vi duati on i n Ari stotle, Hi story of
Phi losophy Quaterly , 3, 1986, pp. 359-377 ; C. WI TT, Substance and Essence i n Ari stotle: An
I nterpretati on of Metaphysi cs VI I -I X, Cornell Uni versi ty Press, I thaca 1989, pp. 143-179. I t i s not
possi ble i n thi s paper to spell out all the di fferent versi ons of the theory of parti cular forms. At
present, we wi ll especi ally deal wi th Frede-Patzi gs posi ti on si nce i t i s both the most full-fledged
from a theoreti cal poi nt of vi ew and i s defended i n a extensi ve li teral commentary on Met. Z.
3
Cfr., i n parti cular : T. SCAL TSAS, Substances und Uni versals i n Ari stotles Metaphysi cs,
Cornell Uni versi ty Press, I thaca-London 1994, pp. 229-251.
4
WI TT, Substance and Essence, pp. 143-179, bui lds up her versi on of the theory of parti cular
forms also by means of a certai n readi ng of Met. M 10. For other proposals that see i n Met. M 10
a doctri ne of parti cular forms : cfr. J . ANNAS, Ari stotles Metaphysi cs. Books M and `, Oxford
Uni versi ty Press, Oxford 1976 ; FREDE-PATZI G, Ari stoti les, vol. I , p. 56. For scholars who play down
the role of M 10 i n the controversy at i ssue : A. CODE, The Aporemati c Approach to Pri mary Bei ng
i n Metaphysi cs Z, i n New Essays on Ari stotle, eds. J . PEL L ETTI ER - J . KI NG-FARL OW, Canadi an
J ournal of Phi losophy , suppl. vol. 10, 1984, pp. 5-7 ; SCAL TSAS, Substances und Uni versals, pp.
252-258. The questi on cannot be di scussed i n thi s paper.
5
For an approach whi ch pays parti cular attenti on to 3s apori ae i n setti ng up the problem
of the status of forms see : CODE, The Aporemati c Approach, pp. 1-20. See also : R. HEI NAMAN, An
164 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
the one hand, pri nci ples are uni versal Ari stotle argues they wi ll not be
substances : none of the common thi ngs, i n fact, si gni fi es a thi s ( :: .), but
a such (. ::), whereas substance si gni fi es always a thi s. I ndeed, i f one
supposes that what i s predi cated i n common i s also a thi s and a uni ty, then
one wi ll face the di ffi culty that a concrete ani mal, for i nstance Socrates, wi ll
turn out to be consti tuted of many ani mals, i .e. hi mself, the man i nsi de hi m
and the ani mal i nsi de hi m. I n the case at i ssue, i n fact, both ani mal and man,
i n addi ti on to bei ng common predi cates, wi ll be also a thi s and a uni ty.
Accordi ngly, they wi ll be other substances of the same ki nd as Socrates but
present i n Socrates hi mself. (i i ) I f, on the other hand, pri nci ples are parti cular,
they wi ll not be knowable si nce knowledge i s uni versal (and hence, i t i s
i mpli ed, of the uni versal). Therefore, i f there must be as i s thought to be the
case knowledge, then there will have to exist in any case universal principles,
whi ch wi ll be pri or to the parti cular pri nci ples of whi ch they are uni versally
predi cated and consti tute the actual object of knowledge i tself.
As a matter of fact, there i s a certai n agreement among scholars on the fact
that also Met. Zs di scussi on concerni ng the status of substanti al form presents
a somewhat aporemati c structure. I ndeed, the book seems to present several
li nes of thought that do lead or seem to do so to di fferent soluti ons to the
problem of the parti culari ty/uni versali ty of substanti al form. The contrast
among the different lines can be highlighted by appealing to three characteristic
Z-theses whi ch form, as i s easi ly reali sed, an i nconsi stent set
6
:
T1) form i s substance ;
T2) no uni versal i s substance ;
T3) form i s uni versal.
That T1) represents Ari stotles posi ti on can be assumed as the starti ng
poi nt of di scussi on wi thout further quali fi cati on. T2) i s, of course, the
conclusi on of Z 13s di scussi on (restated also at Z 16, 1041a3-5). I t must be at
least parti ally true, si nce Ari stotle presents i t as one of Zs results at | 1,
1042a21-22 and l 2 1053b16-18 and puts i t forward, although i n an aporemati c
Argument i n Metaphysi cs Z 13, Classi cal Quaterly , 30, 1980, pp. 72-85 ; F.A. LEWI S, Substance
and Predi cati on i n Ari stotle, Cambri dge Uni versi ty Press, Cambri dge-New York-Port Chester-
Melbourne-Sydney 1991, pp. 308-348.
6
Cfr. J . H. LESHER, Ari stotle on Form, Substance, and Uni versals : a Di lemma, Phronesi s ,
16, 1971, pp. 169-178 ; H. TELOH, Ari stotles Metaphysi cs Z 13, Canadi an J ournal of Phi losophy ,
9, 1979, pp. 77-89 ; I D., The Uni versal i n Ari stotle, Apei ron , 13, 1979, pp. 70-77. See also : R.D.
SYK ES, Form i n Ari stotle: Uni versal or Parti cular ?, Phi losophy , 50, 1975, pp. 311-331 ; G.E.L.
OWEN, Parti cular and General, Proceedi ngs of the Ari stoteli an Soci ety , 79, 1978/79, pp. 279-
294 ; M.J . LOUX, Pri mary Ousi a. An Essay on Ari stotles Metaphysi cs Z and |, Cornell Uni versi ty
Press, I thaca-London, 1991, pp. 197-199 ; LEWI S, Substance and Predi cati on, pp. 309 ff.
165 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
context, i n 3 6 (1003a8-9) and M 10 (1087a2). T3), on the contrary, i s not
li terally found i n Met. Z but, nevertheless, recei ves support from di fferent
ki nds of evi dence. Apart from a very i mportant passage i n Z 8 (1034a5-8)
concerni ng the problem of i ndi vi duati on, that wi ll be taken i nto account
later
7
, T3) i s strongly suggested by a seri es of remarks about knowledge and
defi ni ti on. I n Z 15, for i nstance, Ari stotle proposes a seri es of arguments
agai nst defi nabi li ty of parti culars. Some of them (li ke the one put forth at
1039b27-1040a7 and previ ously stated at Z 10, 1036a2-12) concern only
particulars subject to generation and corruption. Others (like the ones proposed
at 1040a9-14 and 1040a33-b2), however, extend to any parti cular object
whatsoever. The general poi nt of the latter type of argument i s that a
defi ni ti on i s always composed of a fi ni te number of predi cates and that each
of these predi cates, i n so far as i t i s a predi cate, can always be appli ed to a
plurali ty of objects. Therefore, also the whole defi ni ti on, as a conjucti on of
such predicates, will be always applicable to a plurality of objects. Accordingly,
even i f i t may be the case that a defi ni ti on appli es, as a matter of fact, to just
one object, i n pri nci ple i t can always be appli ed to a plurali ty of them. I n thi s
sense, a defi ni ti on always descri bes a type of object and never one si ngle
object as such. Actually, the argument just reconstructed makes trouble for
supporters of parti cular forms. For, on the basi s of i t, parti cular forms would
seem to turn out to be i ndefi nable, whi le defi nabi li ty i s usually regarded as
one of the di sti ngui shi ng marks of substance
8
. Moreover, a connection
between substanti ali ty and uni versali ty i s also suggested by the fact that
Aristotle identifies primary substance, i.e. form, and essence, which is regarded
as the ontologi cal counterpart of defi ni ti on and hence as a uni versal
9
. Finally,
i t can be added that Ari stotle expli ci tly mai ntai ns at Z 11, 1036a28-29 but
i n fact also at Z 10, 1035b33-1036a1 that defi ni ti on belongs to form and to
the uni versal. On a natural readi ng of the text, thi s seems at least to i mply that
form i s somehow a uni versal, even i f, of course, the possi bi li ty cannot be
ruled out that there exi st some uni versal other than Ari stoteli an form.
Now, some scholars (e. g. Lacey, Lesher, Sykes, Graham
10
) simply maintain
7
Cfr. i nfra, pp. 174-175.
8
Cfr. Z 4, 1030b4-7 ; Z 5, 1031a7-14.
9
Cfr., for i nstance : Z 7, 1032b1-2 ; Z 10, 1035b14-16 ; Z 17, 1041a26-b11. But i denti ty
between form and essence i s also i mpli ci t i n Z 6s thesi s (1031a28-29 ; 1031b11-14 ; b18-20 ;
1032a4-6) accordi ng to whi ch thi ngs whi ch are fi rst and spoken of i n thei r own ri ght, i .e. pri mary
enti ti es, are i denti cal wi th thei r essence.
10
Cfr. A.R. LACEY, Ousi a and Form i n Ari stotle, Phronesi s , 10, 1965, pp. 54-69 ; LESHER,
Ari stotle on Form; SYK ES, Form i n Ari stotle; D. GRAHAM, Ari stotles Two Systems, Oxford Uni versi ty
Press, Oxford 1988.
166 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
that each of the three theses must be taken at face value. On thi s vi ew, the
opti on would not be open to us to rescue Ari stotle from contradi cti on by
reformulati ng or rei nterpreti ng one or other of the three theses. As a result of
thi s vi ew, Met. Z would contai n two qui te i rreconci lable metaphysi cal i nsi ghts,
one leadi ng to the thesi s that forms are parti cular, the other leadi ng to the
thesi s that forms are uni versal. The former would be mai nly supported by Z
13s arguments, whi le the latter would rest on a seri es of constrai nts on
knowledge and defi ni ti on. I n the followi ng, we wi ll not di scuss thi s ki nd of
i nterpretati on. On the contrary, we wi ll focus on the di fferent attempts made
by both supporters of parti cular forms and of uni versal ones i n order to
provi de a coherent readi ng of Ari stotles theory of substance. I n outli ne, a
supporter of parti cular forms needs to explai n the thesi s accordi ng to whi ch
knowledge always concerns uni versals wi thout bri ngi ng i nto hi s ontology
uni versal forms. A supporter of the general or uni versal status of substanti al
form, on the contrary, i s requi red to produce a readi ng of Z 13s arguments
according to which forms, although somehow universal or general in character,
are not subject to Ari stotles objecti ons.
2. The theory of parti cular forms
As i s well-known, a general reconstruci on of Ari stotles ontology whi ch
strongly favours the theory of parti cular forms has been defended by M.
Frede
11
i n several i mportant arti cles and joi ntly by M. Frede and G. Pazti g i n
thei r i nfluenti al commentary on Book Z of the Metaphysi cs. Accordi ng to
Frede-Patzi g, Z 13s mai n thesi s that none of the thi ngs whi ch are uni versally
predi cated i s substance must be accepted as i t stands. Uni versals i n fact are
not substances but are rather the products of our capaci ty of performi ng, for
classi fi catory purposes, generali sati ons from parti cular objects. As a result of
our generalisations, universal concepts may of course be applied to the
particular objects they are taken from, but no entity somehow distinguishable
from particular objects corresponds in reality to universal concepts
12
. According
to this reading, therefore, neither universal composites, i.e. man or horse
regarded as composites of matter and form taken universally, nor universal
forms are really part of Zs ontology. The former, indeed, are explicitly described
by Aristotle as non-substances at Z 10, 1035b27-31. Also the latter, however,
11
M. FREDE, I ndividuals in Aristotle, in Essays in Ancient Philosophy, Oxford University Press,
Oxford 1987, pp. 49-71 ; I D., Substance in Aristotles Metaphysics, in Essays in Ancient, pp. 72-80.
12
Cfr. FREDE-PATZI G, Ari stoteles, vol. I I , pp. 189-191.
167 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
should be regarded as products of generalisations carried out upon the particular
forms which the different members of a given species possess.
As previ ously noted, one of the mai n problems for such a reconstructi on
of Ari stotles vi ew on forms consi sts i n explai ni ng away Ari stotles thesi s that
form and defi ni ti on refer to what i s uni versal, whi le what i s parti cular i s
i ndefi nable. Frede-Patzi gs soluti on to thi s di ffi culty i s strai ghtforward
13
. Let
us take a gi ven speci es of i ndi vi duals, for i nstance human bei ng ; each
human bei ng possesses a form parti cular or i ndi vi dual by i tself, i .e. a soul
numeri cally di sti nct from the soul of any other human bei ng. All these souls,
although numeri cally di sti nct from one another, are nevertheless speci fi cally
i denti cal, i .e., i denti cal as souls. They share, accordi ngly, the same defi ni ti on.
I n thi s sense, defi ni ti on never characteri ses an i ndi vi dual form as such, but
always refers to the general type of form that co-speci fi c i ndi vi dual forms
exhi bi t. That does not mean, however, that there exi sts i n the world somethi ng
li ke uni versal forms, but si mply that ontology and epi stemology somehow
come apart, i n so far as the former embraces parti culars whi le the latter i s
mai nly di rected to uni versals.
I t may be thought that Frede-Patzi gs soluti on does not completely do
justi ce to those Ari stoteli an texts li ke Z 10, 1036a28-29 or 1035b33-1036a1
where defi nabi li ty and uni versali ty of form seem to be most closely
associ ated. I n any case, thei r soluti on turns out to be perfectly compati ble
with Z 15s thesis concerning the indefinability of particular objects. Moreover,
a theory of forms very si mi lar to the one outli ned by Frede-Patzi g seems to be
at work i n Met. A 5, 1071a27-29
14
. The passage in question is part of a broader
di scussi on whose ai m i s to understand i n what sense thi ngs can be sai d to
have the same causes. Ari stotle remarks that pri nci ples of thi ngs i denti cal i n
speci es for i nstance the matter, the form and the agent cause of human
bei ngs are di fferent not i n speci es, but because they are di fferent i n
di fferent i ndi vi duals. Nevertheless, they are i denti cal i n so far as thei r
uni versal formula i s concerned. For i nstance : my matter, my form and (i n
most cases) my agent cause are di fferent from the ones of other human
bei ngs, even i f they share the same uni versal formula. Admi ttedly, A 5s text
does support Frede-Patzi gs i nterpretati on of Ari stotles theory of forms.
However, a note of cauti on i s i n order here. Fi rst of all, i t i s not clear whether
to speak, i n the way Ari stotle does i n the text referred to, of numeri cally
di fferent pri nci ples necessari ly i mpli es that the form of an i ndi vi dual object
i s i ndi vi dual by i tself, i ndependently of i ts relati on to the matter i t i nforms.
13
Cfr. FREDE-PATZI G, Ari stoteles, vol. I , pp. 54-56 ; vol. I I , p. 202.
14
Cfr. FREDE-PATZI G, Ari stoteles, vol. I , pp. 48-52.
168 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
For, as we have earli er noted, also supporters of uni versal forms are ready to
speak of numeri cally di fferent pri nci ples, provi ded that matter i s taken i nto
account as well. But the mai n poi nt i s that, even i f A 5s text has to be
i nterpreted i n accordance wi th Frede-Patzi gs readi ng, i t cannot be assumed
wi thout further evi dence that Met. As ontology i s the same as Zs. As a matter
of fact, the doctri nal and chronologi cal relati onshi ps between the two texts
are too uncertai n to allow general i nferences from one text to the other
15
. This
entai ls that Frede-Patzi gs proposal has to be checked as an i nterpretati on of
Book Z i ndependently of any support i t can recei ve from A 5s text.
Roughly speaki ng, Frede-Patzi gs i nterpretati on rests on both a seri es of
assumpti ons concerni ng the role played by form wi thi n Zs ontology and Z 13s
arguments agai nst the substanti ali ty of uni versals. To start wi th general
assumpti ons, we can si ngle out four mai n i nsi ghts. (i ) Form i s the pri nci ple
of synchroni c i ndi vi duati on for the composi te. I n other terms, i t i s not the
composi te (i .e. the fact of belongi ng to a parti cular composi te) or i ts matter
that makes form i ndi vi dual, but i t i s, rather, the other way round. I t i s the
form that, bei ng i ndi vi dual on i ts own, makes a parti cular composi te the
particular composite it is. Accordingly, one particular composite is numerically
di fferent from another of the same speci es because i t possesses a di fferent
parti cular form
16
. (ii) Moreover, form is also the principle of di achroni cal
(both speci fi cal and numeri cal) i denti ty for the composi te. An object mantai ns
i ts i denti ty through ti me i f and only i f i t sti ll possesses i ts parti cular form
i ndependently of the changes of matter i t may undergo over the consi dered
stretch of ti me
17
.
(i i i ) As an i ndi vi dual, form i s i n every respect a real subject of predi cati on
(Z 3, 1029a3; | 1, 1042a28-29). I ndeed, i f we take ordi nary objects composed
of matter and form, we mi ght say that i t i s thei r form that i s the ulti mate
subject underlyi ng the properti es the objects possess. Thi s statement makes
sense i f we thi nk of the just menti oned i dea accordi ng to whi ch form i s
responsi ble for the i denti ty across ti me of ordi nary objects and, so to speak,
for thei r i ndi vi dual hi story. I f i t i s form that makes an object one and the same
thi ng despi te the di fferent changes i t can undergo over ti me, then i t i s form
that underli es all the properti es an object possesses at di fferent poi nts i n
ti me. Accordi ngly, all the truths about an object concern ei ther formal
properti es, whi ch are di rectly traceable to i ts form, or properti es whi ch are
15
Cfr. M. FREDE-D. CHARLES (eds.), Ari stotles Metaphysi cs Lambda. Symposi um Ari stoteli cum,
Clarendon Press, Oxford 2000.
16
Cfr. FREDE-PATZI G, Ari stoteles, vol. I , p. 48.
17
Cfr. FREDE, I ndi vi duals, pp. 63-71 ; I D., Substance, pp. 76-77.
169 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
explai nable i n terms of that object possessi ng a certai n form. From the
general poi nt of vi ew of Zs ontol ogy, thi s means that Ari stotl e sti l l
acknowledges i n Met. Z, as he di d i n the Categori es, the subject-cri teri on
(accordi ng to whi ch pri mary substance i s what underli es everythi ng else but
i s not underlai n by anythi ng else) as a mark of substanti ali ty. However, he
moves away from the ontology of the Categori es i n so far as he now clai ms that
i t i s form and not the whole concrete object that ulti mately underli es
properti es
18
. (iv) Finally, there is another important feature of form, which is
very closely connected wi th substanti ali ty and i ndi vi duali ty. Form i s not only
the substance of the composi te, i n the sense of bei ng the pri nci ple wi thi n the
composi te whi ch i s responsi ble for i ts substanti ali ty, but i s also i tself a
(i ndi vi dual) substance and essence. I n thi s sense, form i n every respect
replaces the composi te i n the role of pri mary substance that the Categori es
accorded to i t. The fact that i n the ontology of Z the noti ons of substance and
of substance of come to the same thi ng i n the case of pri mary substance
neatly di sti ngui shes Frede-Patzi gs i nterpretati on from any concordi sti c
attempt to reconci le the analysi s of Z wi th that of the Categori es. For many of
these attempts, i n fact, rest on a di sti ncti on between the noti on of substance
and that of substance of somethi ng else. I n other words, the questi on What
i s substance?, i .e. What objects are the basi c i tems of the world ? would fi nd
an answer i n the Categori es, whi ch si ngles out parti cular objects of ordi nary
perceptual experi ence as pri mary substances. Met. Z, on the other hand,
would undertake the task of answeri ng the further questi on What i s substance
of those objects whi ch the Categori es has poi nted to as the basi c i tems i n the
world ?, i .e. What aspect or consti tuent of these objects i s responsi ble for the
fact that they are substances ?. Zs answer to thi s second questi on would be
i n any case form. I n complete di sagreement wi th such a general outlook,
Frede-Patzig claim, on the contrary, that what is responsible for the composites
substanti ali ty i s also a substance to a hi gher degree and i n a stri cter sense
than the composi te i tself
19
.
There i s no doubt, however, that, apart from the general poi nts concerni ng
the role played by form i n Met. Z, Frede-Patzi gs i nterpretati on recei ves strong
support from Z 13s argument agai nst the substanti ali ty of uni versals. Usually,
18
Cfr. FREDE, I ndi vi duals, pp. 63 ff. ; I D., Substance, pp. 73-77.
19
Cfr. for these poi nts : FREDE, Substance, pp. 79-80 ; FREDE-PATZI G, Ari stoteles, vol. I I , pp. 11-
15. Actually, i n Frede-Patzi gs vi ew, i t i s not enti rely accurate to say that form i s both substance
of the composi te and substance i n i ts own ri ght, wi thout any other quali fi cati on. For thi s way
of speaki ng obscures the explanatory li nk between the noti on of substance and that of
substance of. I n fact, i t i s because form i s the substance of the composi te that i t i s also
substance to hi gher degree than the composi te.
170 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
Chapter 13 i s di vi ded i nto an i ntroducti on, a conclusi on (often called End
Di lemma) and ei ght arguments. I offer below, for the readers conveni ence, a
bri ef survey of the structure of the chapter and the content of i ts di fferent
arguments.
I ntroducti on (1038b1-8)
1 (1038b8-15). Peculi ari ty Argument : the uni versal cannot be substance, for the
substance of a thi ng i s peculi ar (or proper) to that thi ng i tself, whi le the uni versal i s
by nature common to many thi ngs.
2 (1038b15-16). Predi cati on Argument : substance i s sai d to be what i s not
predi cated of any subject, whi le the uni versal i s always predi cated of some subject.
3 (1038b16-23). Fi rst Part Argument : the uni versal cannot be substance and
essence even i n the sense of part of substance and essence, because also for the part
of the substance holds the peculi ari ty condi ti on stated i n (1), i .e. also the part of a
substance must be i n the relevant sense peculi ar.
4 (1038b23-29). Second Part Argument : the uni versal cannot be part of substance
because i t does not si gni fy a :: ., but a v. , and no substance can be composed
of non-substanti al parts. (Were thi s the case, non-substanti al enti ti es would be pri or
to substanti al ones).
5 (1038b29-30). Thi rd Part Argument : i f the uni versal i s substance, i t wi ll belong
to parti cular men li ke Socrates as well, and so i t wi ll turn out to be substance of two
thi ngs (presumably, of the man i n general and of Socrates).
6 (1038b30-34). Fourth Part Argument : i f man and the other thi ngs spoken of i n
the same way are substances, then i t i s clear that no part of the defi ni ti on of such
thi ngs can be substance of anythi ng; nor can i t exi st i ndependently of such thi ngs or
i n anythi ng else.
7 (1038b34-1039a3). :: ./. :: Argument : uni versals do not si gni fy :: .,
but . ::. I f thi s were not so, a seri es of di ffi culti es would ari se, among whi ch the
Thi rd Man.
8 (1039a3-14). No Composi ti on Argument : a substance cannot be composed of
other substances present i n i t i n actuali ty.
End Di lemma (1039a14-23). I f a substance cannot be composed of uni versals (for
they si gni fy a . :: and not a :: .) or of other substances present i n i t i n actuali ty,
then i t i s totally i ncomposi te. But i f i ncomposi te, substance i s also i ndefi nable. Yet,
i f substance i s not defi nable, nothi ng else can be, for defi ni ti on belongs only to
substance or especi ally to i t.
Both the general di vi si on of the chapter and each of the arguments li sted
would deserve careful analysi s, whi ch cannot be provi ded i n thi s paper. What
seems to me to be clear i s that arguments (1), (2), (7) are di rected agai nst any
171 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
kind of universal, whether generic or specific. Arguments (3)-(6)
20
, in so far as
they argue against the possibility for the universal to be part of substance and
essence, are mainly designed to call into question the substantiality of the
genus (or, at least, of a generic level universal)
21
. I n the following, I shall chiefly
confine my analysis to the first kind of arguments, since they turn out to be
more relevant to the problem of the ontological status of substantial form.
(1) Doubtless, among Z 13s arguments, the one that most strongly supports
parti cular forms i s the fi rst one, put forward by Ari stotle i n 1038b8-15
22
. I n
fact, the argument rests on a sort of peculi ari ty condi ti on whi ch must be
necessari ly sati sfi ed by what i s clai med to be substance. Accordi ng to the
condi ti on, the substance of a thi ng must be peculi ar (or proper) to i t. The
uni versal, therefore, cannot be substance for i t i s not able to sati sfy the
20
The meani ng of argument (8) i s not enti rely clear. The argument states that a substance
cannot be composed of other substances present i n i t i n actuali ty. Therefore, i f the argument
contri butes somethi ng to the problem of the substanti ali ty of uni versals, i t should conclude that
a uni versal cannot be an actual part of a substance. I n thi s sense, bei ng concerned wi th the
noti on of part, the argument should address a uni versal of generi c level. Contrary to the common
vi ew, Burnyeat (cfr. M. BURNYEAT, A Map of Metaphysi cs Zeta, Mathesi s Publi cati ons, Pi ttsburgh
2001, pp. 44-52) contends that the thesi s of argument (8), accordi ng to whi ch a substance cannot
be composed of other substances exi sti ng i n actuali ty, i s completely i ndependent of the one
defended i n arguments (1)-(7), accordi ng to whi ch the uni versal cannot be substance. Thi s
would emerge from the fact that the di ffi culty presented i n the End Di lemma (1039a14-23)
that substance i s i ncomposi te and hence i ndefi nable would stem from the conjuncti on of both
the thesi s concerni ng uni versals (arguments 1-7) and the one concerni ng actual substances
(argument 8). The two theses, therefore, would be treated by Ari stotle as di sti nct. Thi s i s so
because i n the End Di lemma Ari stotle would argue that substance can be composed nei ther of
non-substances nor of substances : i n other word, i f substance i s composed nei ther of uni versals
(whi ch are not substances) nor of other substances present i n i t i n actuali ty, then i t turns out
to be absolutely i ncomposi te and hence i ndefi nable. On thi s readi ng, Chapter 13 should contai n
two di fferent argumentati ve parts somehow culmi nati ng i n the End Di lemma. Burnyeats poi nt
of vi ew has been agreed to by Wedi n (M.V. WEDI N, Ari stotles Theory of Substance, Oxford
Uni versi ty Press, Oxford 2000, pp. 385-404).
21
Woodss opi ni on also must be recorded (cfr. M.J . WOODS, Problems i n Metaphysi cs Z,
Chapter 13, i n Ari stotle, ed. J .M.E. MORAVSCI K, Doubleday, New York 1967, pp. 215-238) accordi ng
to whi ch arguments (3)-(6) should be regarded as arguments i n favour of the substanti ali ty of
genus. They would be advanced by i deal Platoni c thi nkers i n order to preserve the substanti ali ty
of uni versals at least as parts of substances (because arguments (1)-(2) would have already
rejected the clai ms of speci es to substanti ali ty). As for arguments (3) and (4) Woodss posi ti on
has been endorsed by Bostock (cfr. D. BOSTOCK, Ari stotle: Metaphysi cs Books Z and |, Oxford
Clarendon Press, Oxford 1994, pp. 193-198). I n any case, Woods later on changed hi s mi nd (M.J .
WOODS, Uni versals and Parti cular Forms i n Ari stotles Metaphysi cs, Oxford Studi es i n Anci ent
Phi losophy , 9, 1991, pp. 41-56).
22
For an i nterpretati on of the fi rst argument whi ch supports parti cular forms see also :
HEI NAMAN, An Argument ; TEL OH, Ari stotles Metaphysi cs Z 13 ; BOSTOCK, Ari stotle, pp. 191-193.
172 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
peculi ari ty condi ti on i n so far as i t, by i ts own nature, belongs to a plurali ty
of objects. Admi ttedly, i t i s qui te natural to understand the peculi ari ty
condi ti on as a condi ti on establi shi ng the parti culari ty of Ari stoteli an form
23
.
I f form i s the substance of the object of whi ch i t i s form so the argument
seems to run then i t must be peculi ar to that object and cannot be shared
by any other object. More i n general, i t i s reasonable to thi nk that the
peculi ari ty condi ti on rules out any ki nd of uni versal, whatever i t may be, from
layi ng clai m to the ti tle of substance. Thi s would be confi rmed, accordi ng to
Frede-Patzi g, by the reducti o argument whi ch i mmedi ately follows the
statement of the peculi ari ty condi ti on (1038b12-15)
24
. I f the universal is
actually the substance of somethi ng so the reducti o can be reconstructed ,
then i t wi ll be the substance (i ) ei ther of all the thi ngs i t belongs to (i i ) or of
none of them, for the uni versal has to bear the same relati on to all the thi ngs
i t belongs to. Ari stotle would di scard alternati ve (i ) because i t vi olates the
peculi ari ty condi ti on and would endorse alternati ve (i i ) : the uni versal i s not
the substance of any of the thi ngs i t belongs to. Stri ctly speaki ng, the
argument does not conclude that the uni versal i s not substance at all, but only
that i t cannot be the substance of any of the thi ngs i t belongs to. But thi s fact
i s, from Frede-Patzi gs poi nt of vi ew, qui te i rrelevant. For, i f the uni versal i s
not the substance of any of the thi ngs i t belongs to, then i t wi ll be the
substance of nothi ng at all : i f there i s anythi ng the uni versal i s the substance
of, i t must be among the thi ngs the uni versal belongs to and nowhere else.
Moreover, i f we further assume, as Frede-Patzi g expli ci tly do, that Ari stotle
i n Z makes no di fference between the monoargumental noti on of substance (x
i s a substance) and the bi argumental one (x i s the substance of y), then what
i s not the substance of anythi ng i s not even substance i n any sense at all
25
. Of
course, the assumpti on accordi ng to whi ch i n Z the noti on of substance and
that of substance of would come to the same thi ng i s a really strong one
26
; but
no less strong i s the i dea that Ari stotle neatly and systemati cally di sti ngui shes
between the two noti ons, to apply the former to the case of composi te and the
latter to the one of form.
(2) At 1038b34-1039a3, wi thi n the seventh argument of the chapter,
Ari stotle challenges the clai m of uni versals to substanti ali ty on the basi s of
the fact that substance i s a :: ., whi le none of the uni versals si gni fi es a ::
., but rather a . ::. The same argument agai nst the substanti ali ty of
uni versals i s presented also i n the context of the last apori a of Met. 3 6
23
Cfr. FREDE-PATZI G, Ari stoteles, vol. I , pp. 53-54.
24
Cfr. FREDE-PATZI G, Ari stoteles, vol. I I , pp. 248-251.
25
Cfr. n. 19 for the ri ght understandi ng of thi s assumpti on.
26
Cfr. Wedi ns (Ari stotles Theory, pp. 374-378) cri ti cal remarks on thi s assumpti on.
173 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
(1003a8-9). I t actually rests on a contrast, i .e. that between :: . and
. ::, that i s usually thought to be parti cularly i mportant i n Ari stotles
ontology
27
. I n the Categori es, i t i s only pri mary substances, i .e. ordi nary
parti cular objects, that si gni fy a :: ., whereas secondary substances, i .e.
substanti al uni versals, are sai d to si gni fy a v. ., a certai n quali fi cati on.
Accordi ngly, i n the Categori es bei ng a :: . seems to si gni fy bei ng an
i ndi vi dual, at least i n the relevant case of substances. But, as the case of
secondary substances plai nly shows, substanti ali ty i s not li mi ted i n the
Categori es to what i s :: . and i ndi vi dual
28
. According to Frede-Patzigs
poi nt of vi ew, i n Metaphysi cs Z bei ng a :: . sti ll si gni fi es bei ng a parti cular,
but Ari stotle has meanwhi le become more demandi ng and restri cti ve about
the noti on of substance
29
. As a matter of fact, in the new ontology, only what
counts as a :: . can also count as a substance. Therefore, uni versals, that
si gni fy a . ::, i .e. a type of thi ng and not an i ndi vi dual token of a certai n
type, are si mply not substances. Form, on the contrary, whi ch Ari stotle many
ti mes descri bes as a :: . (A 8, 1017b24-25; | 1, 1042a29; 7, 1049a35; A
3, 1070a11 and 13) i s i n every respect a substance and, as a :: ., also an
i ndi vi dual. Thi s connecti on between form and i ndi vi duali ty seems to be
borne out also by Ari stotles appeali ng, i n the course of the seventh argument,
to the Thi rd Man Argument. I f the uni versal were a substance Ari stotle
concludes (1039a2-3) many di ffi culti es would ari se and among them the
problem of the Thi rd Man. Now, i n the most common analysi s of i t, di ffi culti es
i nvolved i n the Thi rd Man Argument stem from treati ng uni versals as the
particulars of which they are predicated, namely from thinking that universals,
i n addi ti on to functi oni ng as common predi cates, can be numbered among
the particulars they are predicated of
30
. I n other words, the argument originates
from treati ng a . ::, a type of thi ng, as a :: ., a parti cular and i ndi vi dual
token of such a type
31
. All this seems to speak in favour of interpreting the
noti on of :: . as i ndi vi dual.
I n Met. Z 1, 1028a11-12, Ari stotle refers to the category of substance by the
27
Cfr. on thi s aspect : J . KUNG, Ari stotle on Thi ses, Suches, and the Thi rd Man Argument,
Phronesi s , 26, 1981, pp. 207-247.
28
As i s well-known, i n the Categori es (5, 3b10-23), Ari stotle mai ntai ns that secondary
substances si gni fy a v. ., a certai n quali fi cati on . Thi s does not mean as Ari stotle
hastens to explai n (3b18-21) that secondary substances are quali ti es i n an absolute sense, but
only that they do not refer to objects, but merely speci fy whi ch type of object, i .e. of substance,
we are each ti me confronted wi th.
29
Cfr. FREDE-PATZI G, Ari stoteles, vol. I , p. 52 ; FREDE, I ndi vi duals, p. 64.
30
Cfr., for i nstance : J . KUNG, Ari stotle on Thi ses. For some compli cati ons that do not affect
the poi nt at i ssue, cfr. : LEWI S, Substance and Predi cati on, pp. 13-48.
31
Cfr. also : Z 14, 1039a24-26 ; 30-33 ; Z 16, 1040b25-30.
174 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
complex expressi on : . : c. -a. :: .. From Frede-Patzi gs poi nt of
vi ew, Ari stotles expressi on makes perfect sense, for, accordi ng to them, i t i s
one and the same thi ng, form, that i s an essence, and hence a . : c., and an
i ndi vi dual substance, and hence a :: .. Form i n fact i s not only the essence
and the substance of the composi te, but i s also and fi rst of all an i ndi vi dual
essence and substance. Bei ng what accounts for the exi stence and the
properti es of the composi te, form completely replaces the composi te i t
accounts for i n the role of pri mary substance, i .e. the basi c i tem on whose
exi stence the exi stence of anythi ng else depends
32
.
3. Uni versal forms : the di sti ncti on between form and speci es
As previ ously noted, the mai n problem for supporters of uni versal forms
i s to provi de an i nterpretati on of Chapter 13 that does not completely rule out
the possi bi li ty of i ntroduci ng general forms i n Ari stotles ontology. The
trouble wi th such efforts of playi ng down the i mport of Z 13s arguments i s
that they seem to make Ari stotle say what he strongly deni es, i .e. that some
uni versal eventually turns out to be substance. The reason, however, why
many contemporary scholars have actually undertaken the task of provi di ng
such an i nterpretati on i s that the uni versali ty of forms seems to be backed up
by many pi eces of evi dence, most of whi ch are completely i ndependent of Z
13s arguments. We have already i llustrated the poi nts concerni ng knowledge
and defi ni ti on. I t i s useful here to say somethi ng about the pri nci ple of
i ndi vi duati on. I n the fi nal part of Z 8 (1034a5-8), Ari stotle clearly mai ntai ns
that i t i s matter that i s the synchroni c pri nci ple of i ndi vi duati on for the
composi te. Ari stotles words seem to i mply that form i s not i ndi vi duated by
i tself and i s accordi ngly capable of occurri ng i n di fferent lumps of matter. A
composi te Ari stotle argues i s consti tuted by a certai n ki nd of form (
32
Cfr. FREDE-PATZI G, Aristoteles, vol. I I , pp. 11-15. D. ROSS, Aristotles Metaphysics. A revised text
with introduction and commentary, 2 vols., Clarendon Press, Oxford 1924, vol. I I , pp. 159-160, thinks
that the complex expression : . : c. -a. :: . does not refer to one item alone but contains
a reference to two different ones : :: . would refer to the individual substance of the Categories,
to the concrete object, while . : c. would point to the essence of this individual itself. This reading
clearly presupposes a compatibilist assumption : the Categories answers the question which entities
are substances ?, while the Metaphysics takes on the task of inquiring which is the substance of those
objects the Categories has singled out as primary substances. As will be seen, however, for one to
have a compatibilist approach it is not necessary to interpret the complex expression : . : c.
-a. :: . as not referring to one single thing. I n fact it is possible to think and many supporters
of universal forms in fact do so that the inquiry of the Metaphysics concerns the notion of
substance of and still to contend that it is one and the same thing, i.e. form, that is . : c. -a. ::
.. This can be so since the expression :: . is here not interpreted as meaning individual.
175 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
. :: :. :;) whi ch occurs i n thi s (parti cular) flesh and bones. Calli as and
Socrates, for i nstance, are di fferent by vi rtue of thei r matter, whi ch i s
di fferent i n each of them, but are the same i n form, si nce thei r form i s
i ndi vi si ble (a ). The most natural readi ng of the text under exami nati on
i s that form i s somethi ng common and repeatable i n character ; therefore, i ts
numeri cal di fferenti ati on, i .e. i ts becomi ng the form of thi s or that i ndi vi dual
object, i s completely dependent on the di fferent lumps of matter i t occurs i n.
To come back to Z 13s problem, among scholars who have tri ed to work
out an i nterpretati on of the chapter i n accordance wi th the theory of uni versal
forms a promi nent posi ti on must surely be assi gned to M. Woods
33
. I n spite
of the defects i t plai nly exhi bi ts, hi s soluti on has provi ded a general scheme
of i nterpretati on that other scholars have later on deci ded to follow and
i mprove. Woodss i dea i s si mply to di sti ngui sh between two types of uni versals
and to suppose that Z 13s cri ti si sms exclude from substanti ali ty only one of
them. I n parti cular, Ari stotle would di sti ngui sh between what i s si mply
uni versal ( -a) `u), whi ch i s i ndeed speci es, and what i s uni versally
predi cated ( -a) `u `:, :), that i s genus. He would further mai ntai n
that only the latter type of uni versal, i .e. what i s uni versally predi cated,
cannot be substance. From Woodss poi nt of vi ew, speci es i s certai nly a
uni versal ( -a) `u), si nce i t i s exempli fi able i n di fferent parcels of matter
and i s thereby common to many i ndi vi duals. However, i t i s not uni versally
predi cated of the i ndi vi duals i t belongs to ( -a) `u `:, :). For a real
predi cati on to take place, i n fact, i t must be the case that the subject of whi ch
somethi ng i s predi cated already enjoys i ts i denti ty as an object of a certai n
ki nd. But, i n the case i n whi ch i t i s speci es that works as a predi cate, thi s
condi ti on i s not met, si nce speci es i s actually what i nforms a determi nate
porti on of matter and turns i t i nto an object of a certai n ki nd. I n other words,
bei ng what i s responsi ble for the i denti ty of objects, speci es cannot presup-
pose thi s very i denti ty and i s not predi cated of i denti fi able objects. On the
contrary, speci es i s predi cated of matter, whi ch i s not an i ndependent object.
33
Cfr. WOODS, Problems i n Metaphysi cs, pp. 215-238 (but see also : M.J . WOODS, Substance
and Essence i n Ari stotle, Proceedi ngs of the Ari stoteli an Soci ety , 75, 1974-75, pp. 167-180).
Later on (cfr. WOODS, Uni versal), Woods has modi fi ed some aspects of hi s i nterpretati on i n
parti cular (i ) hi s clai m to fi nd i n the Ari stoteli an text the very di sti ncti on between -a) `u and
-a) `u `:, : and, as previ ously noted (cfr. supra, n. 21, p. 171), (i i ) the thesi s that the
central part of Z 13 (1038b16-30) must be i ntended as bri ngi ng forth arguments i n support of the
substanti ali ty of genus wi thout alteri ng hi s general posi ti on. For some recent works of
Woodss on the same themes cfr. : M.J . WOODS, Parti culars Forms Revi si ted, Phronesi s , 36,
1991, pp. 75-87 ; I D., The Essence of a Human Bei ng and the I ndi vi dual Soul i n Metaphysi cs Z and
|, i n Uni ty, I denti ty and Explanati on i n Ari stotles Metaphysi cs, eds. T. SCAL TSAS-D. CHARL ES-M.L.
GI L L , Oxford Uni versi ty Press, Oxford 1994, pp. 279-290.
176 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
I n a predi cati on li ke Socrates i s a man, for i nstance, the subject i s not i n the
relevant sense somethi ng di sti nct from the predi cate, somethi ng, that i s,
whi ch can be i denti fi ed i ndependently of i t, si nce the speci es man i s exactly
what turns a gi ven pi ece of matter i nto Socrates
34
.
The case of genus i s, on the contrary, qui te di fferent. Genus i n fact i s
predi cated of objects of a certai n ki nd, namely of objects already provi ded by
speci es wi th a gi ven i denti ty. Accordi ngly, the genus predi cati on i s a
predi cati on i n the stri ct sense of the term and genus can be li kened to a sort
of acci dental property whi ch modi fi es an object whi ch already possesses i ts
own i denti ty. Therefore, i n the li ght of these di sti nti ons, i t would be the
substanti ali ty of genus, i .e. the substanti ali ty of what i s i n the stri ctest sense
uni versally predi cated ( -a) `u `:, :), to be challenged i n Met. Z 13.
To the Platoni sts, who regard genus as a substance, Ari stotle would reply that
what they concei ve of as a substance i s actually nothi ng but a sort of
acci dental property of i ndi vi dual objects. Speci es, on the contrary, although
uni versal i n character, i s not subject to Z 13s cri ti ci sm because i t i s not
predi cated of the i ndi vi dual whi ch i t consti tutes.
As i s easi ly noted, Woodss reconstructi on has two mai n defects. Fi rst of
all, the di sti ncti on on whi ch Woodss i nterpretati on rests, i .e. the one between
-a) `u and -a) `u `:, :, has, as a matter of fact, no textual basi s.
I n the course of Z 13s di scussi on, Ari stotle employs both expressi ons qui te
i nterchangeably and i ncludes, accordi ngly, both the uni versal and what i s
uni versally predi cated among the thi ngs whi ch are not substances accordi ng
to Z 13s arguments. Second, Woods does not draw any di sti ncti on between
form and speci es. The di sti ncti on, by contrast, i s expli ci tly i ntroduced by
Ari stotle (Z 10, 1035b27-31; Z 11, 1037a5-10) and i s by now thought to be
fundamental i n understandi ng Ari stotles ontology, whatever posi ti on one
chooses to endorse concerni ng more speci fi c i ssues. Bri efly, form i s the
substance and essence of the composi te, namely what combi nes wi th a gi ven
pi ece of matter and turns i t i nto an i ndi vi dual provi ded wi th a speci fi c nature.
Accordi ngly, form i s i n a way a part or i nner pri nci ple of the i ndi vi dual
composi te. Speci es, on the contrary, i s a uni versal composi te of matter and
form and hence i ncludes, besi des speci fi c form, also the type of matter whi ch
i s proper to the class of i ndi vi duals i t belongs to. Speci es, therefore, i s not an
i nner pri nci ple of the i ndi vi dual composi te, but i s the i ndi vi dual composi te
taken universally. Moreover, genus is like species in being a universal composite
of matter and form, although at a hi gher degree of generali ty than speci es.
34
The thesi s accordi ng to whi ch Socrates i s a man i s to some extent an i denti ty statement
i s defended i n WOODS, Substance and Essence.
177 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
Not bei ng armed wi th a clear di sti ncti on between form and speci es, Woods i s
compelled to concei ve of the di sti ncti on between two types of uni versals
whi ch mi ght be concei ved of as a di sti nti on between form on the one hand and
speci es/genus on the other as a di sti ncti on between speci es and genus. But
thi s cannot be ri ght si nce some of Z 13s arguments, for i nstance the fi rst
(1038b8-15), the second (1038b15-16) and the seventh (1038b34-1039b3), are
clearly addressi ng any ki nd of uni versal, whether of speci fi c or generi c level.
Moreover, the fi rst and most i mportant of them i s best i nterpreted as an
argument concerni ng uni versals of speci fi c level and nothi ng else.
The second defect of Woodss i nterpretati on, but not the fi rst one, i s
parti ally present also i n D. Modraks poi nt of vi ew
35
. Quite rightly, Modrak
clai ms that Woodss di sti ncti on between -a) `u and -a) `u `:, :
cannot be found i n Ari stotles text. Nevertheless, she mai ntai ns that a
di sti ncti on between two ki nds of uni versals i s to some extent i mpli ci tly
present i n Ari stotles text and i s accordi ngly fundamental i n graspi ng Zs
posi ti on. The two ki nds of uni versal at i ssue are the uni versal i n the stri ct
sense of the term, whi ch i s i ndeed genus, and the so-called type, whi ch i s
i nstead form or speci es-form. The former ki nd of uni versal i s the one Ari stotle
refers to when he i nterchangeably speaks i n Z 13 of -a) `u and -a) `u
`:, : and i s the only one, therefore, that i s subject to the cri ti ci sms of the
chapter. The way Modrak draws her di sti ncti on between the two ki nds of
uni versals i s stri ctly dependent on the way Woods drew hi s own. The former
ki nd of uni versal, genus, i s not a substance and turns out to be only a property
of the individual it is predicated of. The reason is, predictably, that predications
where genus works as a predi cate have as a subject an object endowed wi th
i ts own i denti ty and i ndi vi duali ty. Accordi ngly, the genus whi ch i s predi cated
of such an i ndi vi dual wi ll be added to i t as a sort of property pretty much i n
the way acci dents are added to the subjects they belong to. The relati onshi p
between speci es-form and i ndi vi dual object i s, on the contrary, di fferent i n
many fundamental respects. Speci es-form i s nothi ng but the type of structure
or i nner organi sati on belongi ng to a gi ven class of i ndi vi duals, and i ndi vi duals
themselves are nothi ng but the reali sati ons of thi s type of structure i n
di fferent porti ons of matter. Borrowi ng the termi nology of modern li ngui sti cs,
Modrak descri bes the relati onshi p between speci es-form and i ndi vi duals as a
type/tokens relati onshi p, i .e. the one that obtai ns between a certai n type of
phoneme and i ts concrete reali sati ons i n the speakers parti cular utterances.
35
D.K. MODRAK , Forms, Types, and Tokens in Aristotles Metaphysi cs, J ournal of Phi losophy ,
17, 1979, pp. 371-381 (cfr. also D.K. MODRAK , Forms and Compounds, i n How Thi ngs Are, eds. J .
BOGEN - J .E. MCGUI RE, Rei del, Dordrecht 1985, pp. 85-89).
178 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
Concei ved of as a substance-type, speci es-form can be descri bed as a uni versal,
i f all that i s meant by uni versal here i s somethi ng of such a nature as to be
exemplified (or to occur) in many things. But species is not what Aristotle
himself means by universal in Z 13. By this term, on the contrary, Aristotle
would refer to universals that are like properties of the subject they are
predicated of. This is not the case with species-form. Unlike genus predications,
in fact, species-form predications like Socrates is a man do not have as subject
anything identifiable independently of species-form itself. For species-form is
what organises matter and turns it into an individual. Accordingly, species-
form predication does not predicate a property of an individual, but merely
serves to place a given token, e. g. Socrates, under its own type, e. g. man.
Admi ttedly, Modrak seems to come close to the noti on of form si nce she
descri bes speci es-form or type as the i nner organi sati on of a certai n class of
i ndi vi duals and exempli fi es i t wi th the soul. But the fact that she restri cts, as
Woods di d, the ki nd of predi cati on i nvolved i n Z 13s arguments to generi c
ones clearly shows that she does not completely di sti ngui sh between form and
speci es. I n fact, once thi s di sti ncti on i s set to work, no more di sti ncti on can
be drawn between genus and speci es because both terms si gni fy, although at
di fferent levels of generali ty, composi tes of matter and form. I t i s true, of
course, that Ari stotle someti mes mai ntai ns that uni versal terms li ke man or
ani mal can be i nterpreted both ways as referri ng to uni versal composi tes and
as si gni fyi ng forms alone
36
. But the real point is that, whether they signify
uni versal composi tes or forms, speci fi c and generi c terms go together and
share, so to speak, the same desti ny.
I n any case, however, the value and i mportance of Woodss and Modraks
i nsi ghts i s not di mi ni shed by the li mi ts thei r reconstructi ons so plai nly
present. As a matter of fact, many scholars, and among them for i nstance
Dri scoll and Code
37
, have attempted to repropose the distinction between two
types of uni versals wi thi n a general framework that does not confuse speci es
wi th form. What Ari stotle calls -a) `u and -a) `u `:, : and so
strongly deni es to be a substance i n Z 13 i s i ndeed the uni versal composi te,
whether of a speci fi c or generi c level. I t i s speci es and genus, i n other words,
that are uni versally predi cated of i ndi vi duals ; moreover, i t i s they that are
thought to be substances wi thi n the Platoni c tradi ti on Ari stotle always bears
i n mi nd all through Book Z. These ki nds of uni versals Z 13s arguments
would contend cannot be substance, because they are only general concepts
36
Cfr. i n parti cular | 3, 1043a29-1043b4, but the doctri ne i s probably present i n Z 10,
1035a7-9 ; 1036a13-25 ; | 2, 1043a14-18 as well.
37
DRI SCOL L, |lA| i n Ari stotles Earli er ; CODE, The Aporemati c Approach.
179 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
abstracted from i ndi vi dual substances. But form i s not predi cated of the
i ndi vi duals i t belongs to, namely i t i s not predi cated of i ndi vi dual substances
exi sti ng i n actuali ty. For form i s predi cated only of matter, along wi th whi ch
i t consti tutes the composi te substance, and matter i tself i s not somethi ng
exi sti ng i n actuali ty. Therefore, form cannot be what Ari stotle means i n Z 13
by uni versal. When defi ni ng uni versal as what by i ts own nature belongs to
many thi ngs, Ari stotle must i ntend what i s predi cated of or belongs to thi ngs
exi sti ng i n actuali ty. But form does not fi t thi s descri pti on and hence i s not
uni versal i n thi s sense. Thi s does not prevent form from bei ng uni versal i n
another, weaker, sense accordi ng to whi ch somethi ng i s uni versal i f i t i s of
such a nature as to occur or to be exempli fi ed i n a plurali ty of thi ngs. Form
fi ts thi s descri pti on si nce i t can occur i n di fferent pi eces of matter.
I t i s i mportant to noti ce that the i nterpretati on we are outli ni ng puts
emphasi s on the anti -Platoni c character of Chapters 13-16. I n other terms, the
uni versals Ari stotle addresses hi s cri ti ci sm to i n these chapters are the
traditional ones, species and genus, which Platonists conceived of as paradigms
of sensi ble substances and separate substances themselves. Agai nst Platoni sts
Ari stotle would show i n Z 13-16 that speci es and genus, regarded as uni versals,
are nothi ng but what i s predi cated of parti culars. They are, accordi ngly, by
nature posteri or to the parti culars they are predi cated of. As Ari stotle already
states i n Z 10 and 11, speci es and genus are nothi ng but parti culars taken i n
general, i .e. uni versal composi tes of matter and form. Now, Ari stoteli an
forms are completely free from these ki nds of cri ti ci sms. As i nner pri nci ples
of the objects they belong to, they do not bear to the objects themselves the
same relati on as speci es and genus do. Forms do not classi fy objects i n the
same way as speci es and genus, for part-li ke pri nci ples i n general do not
classi fy the wholes they belong to. Accordi ngly, Ari stoteli an forms are not
subject to Z 13 arguments. Thi s bei ng sai d, the questi on can be rai sed as to
whether thi s i nner pri nci ple of concrete objects i s of such a nature as to
occur i n more than one of such objects. A posi ti ve answer to thi s questi on
i s not prevented, accordi ng to thi s li ne of i nterpretati on, by Z 13s argument.
I n addi ti on to the one j ust poi nted out, there i s another i mportant
aspect of thi s l i ne of i nterpretati on that i s worth menti oni ng. I t i s a
questi on of the rol e thi s vi ew assi gns to Ari stotl es di sti ncti on at Z 13,
1038b4-5 between two (al l egedl y) i rreduci bl e ki nds of predi cati ons and,
consequentl y, two ki nds of subj ects. On the one hand, we have the matter/
form predi cati on, where i t i s the matter that works as a subj ect, and on the
other the i ndi vi dual /property (whether essenti al or acci dental ) predi cati on,
where the subj ect i s the concrete i ndi vi dual . The i mportance of thi s
di sti ncti on becomes evi dent i n the case of a speci al versi on (Loux, Lewi s,
180 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
Wedi n
38
) of the general li ne of i nterpretati on we are presenti ng, whi ch i s
mai nly based on the di fference between the noti on of substance and that of
substance of. Accordi ng to thi s posi ti on, Z 13s thesi s must not be understood
as clai mi ng that no uni versal can be substance, but as suggesti ng that no
uni versal can be substance of what i t i s predi cated of. Accordi ng to thi s
proscri pti on, form cannot be the substance of matter of whi ch i t i s predi cated
nor can the speci es and the genus be substance of i ndi vi duals. For the former
are predi cated of the latter. However, accordi ng to thi s very proscri pti on,
nothi ng prevents form from bei ng a uni versal and bei ng substance of the
i ndi vi duals of whi ch i t i s form. For form i s not predi cated of the i ndi vi duals
of whi ch i t i s form, whi le the proscri pti on at i ssue only rules out the
possi bi li ty for a uni versal to be substance of what i t i s predi cated of. Perhaps,
thi s posi ti on sli ghtly di ffers from the one defended by people li ke Dri scoll and
Code. For accordi ng to the latter, form i s not uni versal i n exactly the same
sense as speci es and genus, but only i n the sense i n whi ch all that may to some
extent occur i n more than one thi ng can be called uni versal. Accordi ng to the
posi ti on at i ssue, i nstead, form i s a uni versal i n an unquali fi ed sense, but i t
i s such wi th reference to di fferent tokens (parcels of matter) from the ones
(i ndi vi dual objects) wi th reference to whi ch speci es and genus are uni versal.
I n any case, the two positions share the same attitude towards Z 13s arguments.
Therefore, i t can be useful to conclude our survey by taki ng a look at the way
supporters of uni versal forms try to explai n away some of Z 13 arguments.
Predi ctably, thei r strategy heavi ly rests on the di sti ncti on between speci es
and form and on the one between substance and substance of.
(1) The fi rst argument of the chapter (1038b8-15), whi ch i s often thought
to commi t Ari stotle to parti cular forms, i s i nterpreted as suggesti ng that what
i s predi cated of i ndi vi duals cannot turn out to be substance of the i ndi vi duals
i t i s predi cated of. Accordi ngly, the argument would be challengi ng the
substanti ali ty of speci es, but would not concern form, that i s not predi cated
of i ndi vi dual objects at all. Admi ttedly, i t i s true that there i s at work i n the
argument a sort of peculi ari ty condi ti on accordi ng to whi ch the substance of
a thi ng must be peculi ar to i t. But thi s condi ti on can be regarded as sati sfi ed
by uni versal form as well. I n fact, i n Met. Z 6 Ari stotle establi shes that a
pri mary substance must be i denti cal wi th i ts essence or, to put i t di fferently,
must be the essence i t possesses. Stri ctly speaki ng, therefore, form, as pri mary
substance, before bei ng substance and essence of the composi te, i s fi rst of all
38
Cfr. M.J . LOUX, Form, Speci es, and Predi cati on i n Metaphysi cs Z, |, and , Mi nd , 88,
1979, 1-23 ; I D., Pri mary Ousi a, pp. 197-235 ; LEWI S, Substance and Predi cati on, pp. 308-348 ;
WEDI N, Ari stotles Theory of Substance, pp. 362-385.
181 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
substance and essence of itself. Thi s makes form meet the peculi ari ty condi ti on
i n the sense of maki ng form peculi ar to i tself
39
. Of course, in a derivative
sense, we can also say that each i ndi vi dual has a proper and peculi ar form, i f
all that i s meant by thi s i s that each i ndi vi dual possesses a form that i s made
i ndi vi dual by the parti cular porti on of matter form occurs i n.
As a matter of fact, Ari stotle i n Z 16, 1040b23-24 seems to play down a li ttle
the force of the peculi ari ty condi ti on. He says that substance belongs to
nothi ng but to i tself and that whi ch has i t, i .e. that of whi ch i t i s the
substance. Admi ttedly, the passage can also be i nterpreted as supporti ng the
exi stence of parti cular forms. However, the i dea that substance pri mari ly
belongs to i tself i s easi ly read as a reference to Z 6s thesi s that pri mary
substance must be i denti cal to i ts own essence. Moreover, the further remark
to the effect that substance also belongs to that whi ch has i t, can be a hi nt at
the i dea that form, when joi ned to the matter i t occurs i n, becomes peculi ar
to the object of whi ch i t i s form. I n other words, supporters of uni versal form
may mai ntai n that uni versal form sati sfi es the peculi ari ty condi ti on i n two
di fferent ways. Fi rst of all, when taken apart from the matter i t i s joi ned to,
form i s peculi ar to i tself i n the sense of bei ng i denti cal wi th i ts own essence.
Thi s ki nd of i denti ty i s supposed to be a defi ni ti onal i denti ty and hence an
i denti ty that obtai ns between uni versals. Second, when taken together wi th
the matter i t exi sts i n, form i s peculi ar to the i ndi vi dual of whi ch i t i s form,
even i f i ts peculi ari ty i n thi s case i s completely dependent on matter. Thi s way
of looki ng at the peculi ari ty condi ti on i s suggested, although not expli ci tly
endorsed, by M. Burnyeat
40
.
39
Z 6s thesi s surely holds for uni versals, whereas i t i s not enti rely clear (1032a6-11) whether
i t could hold for parti culars. Z 11, 1037b4-7 strongly suggests that the thesi s does not hold for
i ndi vi dual composi tes contai ni ng matter, whereas Z 11, 1037a7-10 can perhaps be exploi ted to
mai ntai n that i denti ty obtai ns for the i ndi vi dual composi te when i t i s understood accordi ng to
i ts form. Also i n thi s case, however, the form spoken of mi ght be the uni versal one.
40
BURNYEAT, A Map. I t could be useful to hint at Burnyeats overall interpretation of Z 13,
which differs from the ones so far outlined not for its position about form (Burnyeat can be ranged
among supporters of universal forms) but for its general outlook. From Burnyeats point of view,
it is incorrect to see Z 13 as the decisive chapter for the determination of the status of forms, since
the chapter does not actually speak of forms. To Burnyeat, in fact, each of the candidates to the
title of substance listed in Z 3 receives separate treatment in a section of Book Z, without the
results of one of the sections influencing or being presupposed by those of the others. Thus,
substratum is discussed in Z 3 itself, essence in Z 4-6 and Z 10-11 (Z 7-9 and Z 12 are successive
insertions), universal and genus in Z 13-16 ; Z 17, instead, represents a fresh start with respect to
Z 3s list in so far as it goes through the idea that the substance of a thing is its cause. I n addition
to not presupposing anything of the others (non-linearity thesis), each of the sections dedicated
to Z 3s candidates falls into two different parts (two levels thesis) : in the first one, Aristotle would
carry on a logical analysis, i.e. an abstract analysis which leaves out of consideration the
182 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
(2) An i nterpretati on along the same li nes can be put forward i n the case
of Z 13s second argument (1038b15-16) as well. Accordi ng to thi s argument,
i t wi ll be recalled, the uni versal cannot be substance because substance i s
never sai d of an underlyi ng subject, whi le the uni versal i s always sai d of some
underlyi ng subject. The trouble wi th thi s argument i s that i t seems to rule out
from substanti ali ty any i tem that can i n one way or another work as a
predi cate for somethi ng else. To thi s extent, however, i t makes trouble for
both parti es i n the controversy, si nce matter/form predi cati on, where form
fi gures as a predi cate, i s wi dely attested to i n the body of Books Z-|- and
cannot be easi ly di smi ssed as a mi nor pi ece of doctri ne
41
.
I ndeed, the argument at i ssue excludes form from substanti ali ty only i f by
subject i s meant any ki nd of subject, i ncludi ng matter form i s predi cated of.
But the possi bi li ty cannot be completely ruled out that Ari stotle i s here usi ng
a narrower noti on of subject, accordi ng to whi ch by subject i s meant the
concrete i ndi vi dual that enjoys actual exi stence
42
. I f this were true, all that
Aristotle would mean to deny here is that the universal predicates of individuals
si gni fy substances. Thi s i s obvi ous i n the case of acci dental predi cates, but i s
parti cularly meani ngful to mai ntai n i n the case of substanti al uni versal
predi cates, i .e. speci es and genus. Form, as already sai d, i s not among the
uni versal predi cates of the i ndi vi dual and, accordi ngly, i s not subject to the
argument. Thi s readi ng makes sense i f we reflect upon the fact that, i n the
case of the matter form i s predi cated of, we are not confronted wi th a subject
i n the stri ct sense of the term, i .e. somethi ng endowed wi th a proper essence,
actuali ty and determi nateness. On the contrary, matter actually possesses
metaphysical notions of matter and form and makes mainly recourse to the conceptual framework
of Aristotles logical works. I n the second one, by contrast, Aristotle would carry on a metaphysical
analysis, that brings in, in order to solve the difficulties raised by the logical part, the notions of
matter and form. Since Z 13 belongs to the logical part of the section devoted to universals, it does
not contain any reference to the notion of matter and form and hence cannot be the decisive text
in determining the status of form itself (cfr. WEDI N, Aristotles Theory of Substance, pp. 344-354 for
a critisim of the non-linearity thesis). I n accord with such a general interpretation, Burnyeat does
not regard Z 13 as mainly aimed at bringing forward arguments against the substantiality of
universals, but as chiefly concerned with the construction of the End Dilemma (1039a14-23),
according to which substance turns out to be indefinable (cfr. supra, n. 20, p. 171, for the End
Dilemma). Such a logical difficulty raised in the End Dilemma would find a solution in Z 15, with
the introduction of the metaphysical notions of matter and form and, in particular, with the
distinction between substance in the sense of composite and substance in the sense of form (for
another reading that stresses the importance of the End Dilemma cfr. : WEDI N, Aristotles Theory
of Substance, pp. 385-404, who, however, places the solution in Z 16).
41
Cfr. Z 3, 1029a23-24 ; Z 17, 1041b4 ff. ; | 2, 1043a5-6 ; 7, 1049a27-b3.
42
Cfr. i n parti cular : DRI SCOL L, |lA| i n Ari stotles Earli er, pp. 152-153. But also see: WOODS,
Problems i n Metaphysi cs, p. 230 ; D.K. MODRAK , Forms, Types, p. 375.
183 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
these features only i n so far as i t i s joi ned to a determi nate substanti al form.
Therefore, matter, although worki ng someti mes as a logi cal subject, cannot
be regarded as the ontologi cal kernel of the composi te object, i .e. what
accounts for i ts mai n properti es. Thi s role, on the contrary, i s played by form,
that turns matter i nto an object endowed wi th essence, actuali ty and
determi nateness. Thi s can i n part explai n why Ari stotle does not regard
matter as a real subject. I n the case of matter/form predi cati on, i t i s rather the
logi cal predi cate, form, and not the logi cal subject, matter, that i s causally
responsi ble for the mai n features of the object i tself
43
.
(3) The last remarks can help us to understand how i t i s possi ble, from the
poi nt of vi ew of uni versal forms, to tackle the :: . problem. The poi nt, as
explai ned, i s that some of Z 13s arguments seem to descri be the contraposi ti on
between substance and non-substance as a contraposi ti on between :: .
and . ::. Moreover, wi thi n Z 13 as well as elsewhere, Ari stotle remarks
that uni versals never si gni fy a :: ., but always a . ::. Therefore, forms
i t can be argued , i f they are :: ., cannot be uni versal but must be
parti cular. Thi s also squares wi th the use of the noti on of :: . i n the
Categori es, where the noti on seems to be confi ned to i ndi vi dual substances. I n
reply to thi s argument, M. Loux poi nts out
44
, as D. Ross
45
did before him, that
form mi ght be labelled a :: . merely i n a deri vati ve sense of the term, i .e.
i n so far as i t i s that by vi rtue of whi ch a determi nate thi ng i s properly called
a :: .. Thi s suggesti on recei ves some support from De An., 3 1, 412a6-9,
where Ari stotle seems to mai ntai n that form i s called a :: . because i t bears
a certai n relati on to what i s properly called a :: ., namely i t i s what makes
the composi te enjoy those properti es that enable i t to be labelled as a :: ..
But Louxs argument could go on form i n i tself possesses the character
of a . ::, that i s, i t i s a uni versal that can be predi cated of di fferent
porti ons of matter. The trouble wi th thi s suggesti on i s that, i f i t were true, i .e.
i f form were i n i tself a . ::, i t would be di ffi cult to see how form could
escape Ari stotles objecti on to the effect that what i s a . :: cannot be
regarded as a substance and i s ulti mately reduci ble to a mere property
46
. This
43
Cfr. LEWI S, Substance and Predi cati on, pp. 321-324, who thi nks that the u v-:. : of
1038b16-17 does not refer to the composi te alone, but i ncludes i n i ts meani ng matter as well,
mai ntai ns that Ari stotle wants merely to deny that a thi ng can be substance of what underli es
i t as a subject. Accordi ng to thi s general rule, form i s not substance of matter (just as speci es or
genera are not substances of i ndi vi duals), but can sti ll be substance of the composi te whi ch does
not underli e i t as a subject.
44
Cfr. LOUX, Pri mary Ousi a, pp. 143-146.
45
Cfr. ROSS, Ari stotles Metaphysi cs, vol. I , p. 310.
46
Cfr., for such a quali tati ve character of uni versals, Z 13, 1038b23-29.
184 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
fact leads us to suppose that form can be concei ved of as a :: . i n a more
basi c and pri mary sense.
A proposal i n thi s di recti on has been put forward by F. Lewi s
47
. According
to hi m, Ari stotle does not mean to hold that a uni versal cannot be a :: .,
but merely that, i f somethi ng i s predi cated of many thi ngs whi ch are a ::
., then i t i tself cannot be a :: .. Accordi ng to thi s general pri nci ple,
speci es and genera, si nce they are predi cated of i ndi vi dual objects whi ch are
:: ., cannot be themselves :: .. Form, on the contrary, though a
uni versal, i s predi cated of matter whi ch i s not a :: . (Z 3, 1029a27-30; | 1,
1042a27-28) and can accordi ngly i tself be regarded as a :: .. Thi s relati onal
noti on of :: . i s i nteresti ng because i t clearly bri ngs to li ght the fact that
i n both ki nds of predi cati on si ngled out by Ari stotle, i .e. i ndi vi dual/property
and matter/form predi cati on, only one of the terms i n each couple can be
regarded as a :: .. However, as a whole the suggesti on has the defect of not
maki ng i t clear what preci sely i t means for a form to be a :: .. I n other
words, i t fai ls to poi nt to a sense of bei ng a :: . di fferent from that of bei ng
parti cular or i ndi vi dual.
I ndeed, the best move i n the di recti on of provi di ng such a sense of the
expressi on :: . when appli ed to form has been made by M. L. Gi ll
48
.
Accordi ng to her general reconstructi on, there are at work i n the central
books of the Metaphysi cs two di fferent (though connected) senses of :: .,
the one referring to the composite and corresponding to the idea of individual,
the other referri ng to form and correspondi ng to the i dea of fully determi na-
te. The former sense would be, of course, the one at work i n Met. Z 13.
Ari stotle would underli ne the fact that speci es and genera, as mere general
concepts drawn out from parti cular objects, do not possess the same degree
of reali ty as the i ndi vi duals they are predi cated of. I n thi s sense, they are not
:: ., i ndi vi dual objects, but can be classi fi ed as . ::, i .e. types of
objects. However, the fact that Ari stotle refers to i ndi vi dual objects as :: .
does not prevent form from bei ng a :: .. For form i s not a :: . i n the very
same sense as the composi te i s and hence need not be an i ndi vi dual. I ndeed,
form i s a :: . si nce i t i s a fully determi nate enti ty, i .e. an enti ty whi ch i s not
further determi nable from a formal poi nt of vi ew. I n a descendi ng scale of
generali ty, under a form there are only i ts concrete occurrences or tokens,
namely the form i tself as occurri ng i n di fferent pi eces of matter. Concei ved
47
Cfr. LEWI S, Substance and Predi cati on, pp. 327-336 (who explai ns also why form i ntended
as a :: . i s not open to the Thi rd Man Argument).
48
Cfr. M.L. GI L L , Ari stotle on Substance. The Paradox of Uni ty, Pri nceton Uni versi ty Press,
Pri nceton 1989, pp. 31-38.
185 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
of i n thi s way, form can be at the same ti me :: . and general i n character,
even i f i t i s made parti cular by the di fferent porti ons of matter i t i s
predi cated of. I t can be added to parti ally do justi ce to Lewi ss poi nt of
vi ew that form i s also a :: . i n relati on to the matter i t i s joi ned to, for
form i s the only cause of determi nateness wi thi n the predi cati ve structure
of the composi te substance and accordi ngly i s related to matter as determi -
nate to i ndetermi nate
49
.
Actually, at Z 3, 1029a27-28, Ari stotle sets out two condi ti ons somethi ng
has to sati sfy i n order to be regarded as a substance, i .e. bei ng separate or
separable (..c ) and bei ng a :: .. I t i s Ari stotle hi mself, however, who
points out at | 1, 1042a26-31 that there are two different senses of separateness
(or separabi li ty), the one applyi ng to the composi te and the other applyi ng to
form. The composi te i s separate (or separable) i n an unquali fi ed sense, i .e. i t
enjoys an exi stence i ndependent of the other objects of the same ki nd. Form,
by contrast, whi le not enjoyi ng an i ndependent exi stence, si nce i t exi sts only
i n matter, i s nonetheless separate i n formula, i .e. may be conceptually taken
apart from the matter i t i s joi ned to. Therefore, why could there not be, as Gi ll
maintains, two different senses of the notion of :: ., perfectly corresponding
to the two senses of the noti on of ..c , the one applyi ng to the composi te
and the other to form?
PART TWO. Z 13 I N THOMAS AQUI NASS I NTERPRETATI ON
1. The role played by Z 13 wi thi n Book Z. The problem of Platoni sm.
Li ke many contemporary i nterpreters, Aqui nas also thi nks that Ari stotle
comes back i n Z 13 to Z 3s li st of candi dates for the ti tle of substance and pi cks
out of i t a new subject for i nvesti gati on, i .e. the uni versal
50
. The discussion of
the new theme extends unti l Chapter 16 so that the whole secti on Z 13-16
turns out to be enti rely devoted to the uni versal and i ts clai m to substanti ali ty.
49
Thi s way of looki ng at the noti on of :: . may also account for a well-known text of
7 (1049a27-b3) where Ari stotle expli ci tly di sti ngui shes between i ndi vi dual/property predi cati on
and matter/form one. I n the former case, i t i s the subject, i .e. the i ndi vi dual, that i s a :: .,
si nce i t i s i t that i s determi nate wi th respect to the property whi ch i s predi cated of i t. I n the case
of matter/form predi cati on, i nstead, i t i s the predi cate that i s a :: . : thi s does not mean that
form i s i ndi vi dual but that i t i s form and not matter that i s the determi nate pri nci ple wi thi n the
composi te substance. Perhaps, the passage shows that the two senses of :: . share as i n a
common root i n a general i dea of determi nateness whi ch i s then di fferently reali sed by form and
by the composi te.
50
Cfr. S. THOMAE AQUI NATI S I n Duodeci m Li bros Metaphysi corum Ari stoteli s Exposi ti o, Li b.
VI I , Lec. 13, ed. R. SPI AZZI , Mari etti , Tauri ni -Romae 1964, nn. 1566-1568.
186 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
At Z 13, 1038b6-8 Ari stotle puts forward as a justi fi cati on for the di scussi on
of the new subject the fact that the uni versal i s thought by some people to be
to the hi ghest degree a cause and a pri nci ple. I n commenti ng on thi s text
51
,
Aqui nas has no di ffi culty i n i denti fyi ng the people i n questi on wi th Platoni sts
and i n regardi ng, accordi ngly, the whole secti on Z 13-16 as a extensi ve
cri ti ci sm of the Platoni c concepti on of substance
52
. Aquinass identification
i s, of course, correct and consi stent, moreover, wi th the way he i nterprets
some i mportant apori ae of Book 3, whi ch are regarded as di ffi culti es
concerni ng uni versals i n thei r role of pri nci ples
53
and, in particular, Platos
concepti on of these uni versals themselves. We may menti on the apori ae of 3
3, 998a20-998b14 (whether i t i s genera, i .e. uni versals, or elementa, i .e. the
i nternal consti tuents of a thi ng, whi ch are substances to a hi gher degree), of
3 3, 998b14-999a23 (whether, among uni versals, i t i s hi ghest genera or lowest
speci es whi ch are substance to a hi gher degree), 3 4, 999a23-32 (whether
uni versals are separate from parti culars), 3 4, 999a32-999b20 (whether there
i s somethi ng formal whi ch exi sts separate from the composi tes of matter and
form) and 3 6, 1003a5-17 (whether pri nci ples are uni versal or parti cular). I n
the fi nal notes, that usually follow the exposi ti on of each of these apori ae,
Aqui nas remarks that the soluti on to the di ffi culti es rai sed by Ari stotle i s to
be found i n the seventh Books di scussi on about the substanti ali ty of
uni versals
54
. I n parti cular, i t li es i n the i dea that uni versals are not substances
i n the way parti culars are, i .e. are not per se exi sti ng and separate i n the way
parti culars they are predi cated of are.
I f Chapters Z 13-16 as a whole represent an attack on Platos concepti on of
uni versals, Aqui nas then, by di vi di ng the text, assi gns di fferent roles to the
different chapters of the section. What is noteworthy from our point of view is
51
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, n. 1568.
52
For Aqui nass general atti tude towards Platoni sm, see the fundamental work by R.J .
HENL E, Sai nt Thomas and Platoni sm. A Study of the Plato and Platoni ci Texts i n the Wri ti ngs of
Sai nt Thomas, Ni jhorff, The Hague 1970.
53
As i s well-known, i n the fi rst chapter of Book 3, Ari stotle presents the di fferent apori ae,
whi ch are then di scussed i n detai l i n Chapters 2-6. Accordi ng to Aqui nas, the di scussi on of
apori ae can be subdi vi ded, followi ng a themati c cri teri on, i n three di fferent groups : (i ) apori ae
concerni ng metaphysi cs (3 2, 996a18-997a34) ; (i i ) apori ae concerni ng substances (3 2, 997a34-
3 3, 998a21) ; (i i i ) apori ae concerni ng pri nci ples of substances (3 3, 998a21-B 6). The apori ae
about uni versals belong to thi s last secti on. I t can be sai d that, accordi ng to Aqui nas, the
di scussi on of each apori a i s bui lt up li ke a quaesti o (cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. I I I , lec. 4, n. 369)
whose arguments pro e contra are put forward by Ari stotle i n 3 and whose soluti ones (whi ch
Thomas summari ses i n advance i n a bri ef note concludi ng hi s commentary on the di scussi on of
the si ngle apori ae) are proposed i n other books of the Metaphysi cs.
54
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. I I I , lec. 8, n. 442 ; lec. 9, nn. 446 ; 455 ; lec. 15, n. 528.
187 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
that Thomas distinguishes between Z 13 on the one hand, that challenges the
general idea that universals can be substances, and Z 14-15 on the other, that
would be directed against the more specific thesis that universals are not
substances separate from particular sensible substances
55
. The importance of
this distinction, however, must not be exaggerated. I t is true that Aquinas sees
in Z 14-15s arguments the clearest statement of the thesis that Platonic I deas
cannot be at the same time separate individuals and universals (or One over
Many)
56
. However, it must be noted that this thesis is at work in most of Z 13s
arguments as well. Two of the arguments of the chapter call in question,
according to Aquinas, the idea that the universal can be an individual substance
in the very same way as the sensible substances it is predicated of
57
. Moreover,
within his commentary on Z 13, Aquinas portrays the doctrine of Platonists as
one that conceives of universals as res quaedam or aliquae res vel naturae aliae
a singularibus and explicitly contrasts it with the one that maintains that
universals do not exist except in particulars (and are, to some extent at least,
identifiable with them)
58
. That universals cannot exist except in particulars is
also, according to Aquinas, a direct consequence of the peculiarity condition
first formulated at Z 13, 1038b9-10 and restated at Z 16, 1040b23-24
according to which the substance of a thing must be peculiar or proper to it
59
.
I n conclusion, therefore, despite Aquinass divisio textus, there is a unique
thesis that is being criticised throughout the whole section Z 13-16.
Aquinass divisions, however, are important because they show how for the
Dominican Master, much more than for modern interpreters, Chapters 13-16
really represent a unitarian section with its own inner structure, where following
chapters deepen and bring into focus what is implicitly contained in the
previous ones. This datum, for instance, accounts for the emphasis Aquinas
puts on the final section of Z 16 (1040b27-1041a5), where Aristotle explains
what is right and what is wrong with positing I deas. Naturally enough from
Aquinass point of view, this section can be interpreted as a sort of summary
section where Aristotle re-assesses the outcomes of the different arguments
presented in the whole section on universals and gives his final word.
I n general, the i mportance of the anti -Platoni c polemi c wi thi n Thomass
Commentary on the Metaphysi cs can hardly be overesti mated. We have already
referred to Aqui nass commentary on Book 3s apori ae concerni ng the problem
of universals. We might add the aporiae about the status of mathematical
55
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, n. 1569 ; lec. 14, n. 1592.
56
Cfr., i n parti cular : Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 14, nn. 1593-1594.
57
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, nn. 1579-1580 ; 1585-1586.
58
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, nn. 1582-1583.
59
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, nn. 1572-1573 ; lec. 16, n. 1640.
188 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
entities or the ones concerning the existence of separate substances, which are
of course closely related to the question of I deas. Moreover, the importance is
well-known of Aquinass commentary on Chap. 6 (where Aristotle presents the
Platonic position) and 9 (where Aristotle criticises it) of Book A of the
Metaphysics. I n these texts Thomas gives his account of the origin of the
Platonic doctrine of I deas and of the mistakes involved in it. What is, perhaps,
not so well-known is that, apart from the section (Z 13-16) explicitly devoted to
the problem of universals, the whole structure of the seventh Book centres
around some important anti-Platonic attacks. I n his commentary on Met. Z 10,
at the end of an important aside concerning essence and definition, Aquinas
remarks that in the first ten chapters of Book Z Aristotle has already put
forward three important criticisms of the Platonic doctrine of I deas
60
. (i) The
first criticism is a consequence of Z 6s thesis according to which a thing must
be identical with its essence. The essence, in order to perform its function as
the cause of being and knowability of a given thing, must not be, at least to
some extent, di fferent from the thi ng i t i s the essence of. So much the less, can
i t exi st separate and i ndependently of that of whi ch i t i s essence. The Platoni c
I deas, therefore, i n so far as they are separate from parti culars, cannot be the
essence of them
61
. (i i ) The second cri ti ci sm i s put forth i n secti on Z 7-9,
chi efly devoted to the generati on of natural substances, and i n parti cular i n
Z 8. I n thi s chapter, Ari stotle would show that I deas cannot be causes of the
generati on of natural substances ei ther as real effi ci ent causes (per modum
generantis) or as exemplary causes (per modum exemplaris). They are, therefore,
at least from the poi nt of vi ew of generati on, completely useless
62
. (iii) The
two aforementioned criticisms would be already sufficient to deny the existence
of I deas. For they deny the possibility for I deas to function as causes of being,
knowabi li ty and generati on of natural enti ti es and hence eli mi nate any
theoretical reason for introducing them. Nevertheless, Aristotle adds, according
to Aquinas, a third attack. I t addresses in particular the Platonic thesis
according to which the essence of a given natural species would not contain
matter at all and hence the definition expressing the essence at issue would
include only the formal aspects of the species itself.
All three cri ti ci sms are relevant to the questi on of uni versals dealt wi th i n
Z 13, but i t i s the thi rd one that turns out to be especi ally si gni fi cant when i t
comes to understandi ng both Aqui nass poi nt of vi ew concerni ng the speci fi c
object of the chapter and the di fferences between Aqui nass and modern
60
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 9, n. 1470.
61
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 5, nn. 1367-1371.
62
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 7, nn. 1427-1431.
189 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
scholars i nterpretati ons. I n presenti ng the questi on of essence and defi ni ti on
of natural substances i n a well-known remark at the begi nni ng of hi s
commentary on Z 10, Aqui nas di sti ngui shes two basi c posi ti ons
63
. (i) The
fi rst, whi ch the Domi ni can Master attri butes to Averroes, mai ntai ns that the
whole essence of a speci es i s to be i denti fi ed wi th i ts form alone. Accordi ngly,
the defi ni ti on of a speci es only contai ns formal aspects wi thout referri ng to
any ki nd of matter, nei ther to the matter of si ngle i ndi vi duals belongi ng to the
speci es nor to the common matter of the speci es. The essence of a human
bei ng, for i nstance, has to be i denti fi ed wi th hi s soul. Accordi ngly, the
definition of a human being only includes reference to functions and properties
of the soul. The posi ti on at i ssue also entai ls the real (secundum rem) i denti ty
of the so-called forma parti s whi ch i n the case of human bei ngs i s si gni fi ed
by the name ani ma and the so-called forma toti us whi ch i n the case of
human bei ngs i s si gni fi ed by the name humani tas. I n other words, the formal
principle that joins matter and actualises it and the essence regarded as that
which places an individual in a given species are one and the same thing (since
the essence does not contain the matter form is joined to). As a matter of fact,
they merely differ secundum rationem, i.e. in so far as the same thing can be
described as performing different functions like the one of having matter
actualised and the one of placing an individual in a given species
64
. (ii) The
second position, which Aquinas abscribes to Avicenna, holds, on the contrary,
that the essence of sensible substances does contain, in addition to form, also the
matter of these substances themselves not, of course, the matter belonging to
this or that individual, but the so-called common matter, i.e. the type of matter
proper to a given species. Accordingly, also the definition of sensible substances
must include matter. Predictably, this position entails a real distinction between
forma partis and forma totius, which in fact are related as part to whole in so far
as form is just a part of the essence of sensible substances
65
.
As i s wel l -known, Avi cennas posi ti on i s shared by Aqui nas and i s al so
the one the Domi ni can Master attri butes to Ari stotl es Metaphysi cs and to
the seventh Book i n parti cul ar
66
. Averroess position, on the contrary, is
l i kened by Aqui nas to Pl atos. Accordi ng to the l atter, i n fact, the speci es
of sensi bl e substances are themsel ves i ndi vi dual substances. They exi st
63
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 9, nn. 1467-1469.
64
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 9, n. 1467.
65
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 9, n. 1468.
66
For an assessment of the attribution to Aristotle of the position at issue cfr. : G. GALLUZZO, I l
problema delloggetto della definizione nel commento di Tommaso dAquino a Metafisica Z 10-11,
Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale, 12, 2001, pp. 417-465. See also : A. MAURER,
Form and Essence in the Philosophy of St. Thomas, Medieval Studies , 13, 1951, pp. 165-176.
190 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
separate from the i ndi vi dual s they are speci es of and are compl etel y
i mmateri al . Moreover, they are the real obj ects of knowl edge and defi ni ti on
i n the sense that, for i nstance, the defi ni ti on of a human bei ng i s i n fact the
defi ni ti on of the I dea of human bei ng
67
. Now, the I dea or Speci es bei ng
compl etel y i mmateri al and separate from the obj ects i t i s the i dea or
speci es of, i ts defi ni ti on, too, does not contai n matter, whi ch comes i nto
pl ay merel y at the l evel of i ndi vi dual s parti ci pati ng i n the I deas
68
. I n thi s
sense, Pl atos posi ti on i s si mi l ar to Averroess.
I n a previ ous paper, I have tri ed to analyse Thomass doctri ne of essence
and defi ni ti on and to eluci date the di fferences between i t and Ari stotles
posi ti on i n Z 10-11, despi te Aqui nass fi rm convi cti on to be i n perfect
agreement wi th the Phi losopher
69
. Now, I am chi efly i nterested i n spelli ng
out i n detai l Aqui nass understandi ng of Platoni c I deas as speci es of sensi ble
substances. Li ke Ari stotle, Aqui nas draws a sharp di sti ncti on between form
and speci es
70
. The former is just a part of the latter, which must rather be
67
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. I , lec. 10, nn. 153 ; 164 ; lec. 11, n. 176 ; lec. 14, n. 219 ; Li b. 4, lec.
10, n. 584 ; Li b. VI I , lec. 15, n. 1606 ; SANCTI THOMAE DE AQUI NO Exposi ti o Li bri Posteri orum, Li b.
I , lec. 16, Opera Omni a, t. I * 2, cura et studi o fratrum Praedi catorum, Comm. Leon.-Vri n, Roma-
Pari s 1989, pp. 61-62, ll. 97-115 ; SANCTI THOMAE DE AQUI NO Super Boeti um De Tri ni tate, q. 5, a. 2,
Opera Omni a, t. L, cura et studi o fratrum Praedi catorum, Comm. Leon.- Les di ti on du CERF,
Roma-Pari s 1992, pp. 142-143, ll. 54-66 ; S. THOMAE AQUI NATI S Summa Theologi ae, I
a
, q. 84, aa. 1
and 4, cura et studi o P. CARAMEL L O, Mari etti , Tauri ni -Romae 1952.
68
I t woul d be a mi stake to thi nk that Z 10-11s cri ti ci sm of the i denti fi cati on between
form and essence of sensi bl e substances merel y affects, accordi ng to Aqui nas, Pl atos
posi ti on concerni ng defi ni ti on. I t represents, on the contrary, a real refutati on of the
doctri ne of I deas and a proof of the i mpossi bi l i ty of thei r exi stence (Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b.
VI I , l ec. 9, n. 1469). I n general , i t i s possi bl e for a thi ng to concretel y exi st i n a certi an way
and to be then conceptual i sed and defi ned wi thout some of i ts concrete exi stence condi ti ons :
thi s i s the case, for i nstance, wi th mathemati cal enti ti es, whi ch cannot exi st except i n
sensi bl e matter, but are defi ned maki ng compl ete abstracti on from i t. But i t i s qui te
i mpossi bl e for a thi ng to be defi ned i n a certi an way and then to exi st wi thout some of the
properti es speci fi ed i n i ts defi ni ti on. (Cfr. S. THOMAE AQUI NATI S Li ber De Veri tate Catholi cae
Fi dei Contra Errores I nfi deli um seu Summa Contra Genti les, I , cc. 51-52, ed. C. PE RA, 3 vol s.,
Mari etti , Romae-Tauri ni 1961, vol . I , n. 431). Thi s i s so because the essence expressed i n the
defi ni ti on fi xes the way i n whi ch an i ndi vi dual bel ongi ng to a certai n speci es exi sts, i f i t
exi sts. The fact that an i ndi vi dual exi sts or not i s not i mpl i ed by i ts essence, but, i f the
i ndi vi dual at i ssue does exi st, i t must possess the properti es speci fi ed i n i ts essence.
Therefore, i f i t turns out that the speci es human bei ng contai ns matter i n i ts defi ni ti on,
then i t i s absol utel y i mpossi bl e for a separate human (i .e. a human bei ng depri ved of sensi bl e
matter) to exi st : a human bei ng, when he exi sts, exi sts onl y i n fl esh and bones.
69
Cfr. GAL L UZZO, I l problema.
70
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 9, nn. 1467-1469 ; lec. 10, nn. 1482 and 1490-1491 ; lec. 11,
nn. 1523-1524.
191 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
concei ved of as a uni versal composi te of matter and form, namely a composi te
of the type of form and matter proper to a gi ven speci es. On the contrary,
Aqui nas reproaches Pl atoni sts and Averroi sts for not drawi ng such a
di sti ncti on. I n the case of Averroi sts, as noted, Aqui nas tal ks of a mi staken
i denti fi cati on of forma parti s and forma toti us. Such a wordi ng i s, of
course, compl etel y i nadequate for Pl atos case, but there i s no doubt that,
i n Aqui nass eyes, Pl atoni c I deas perform functi ons proper to both form
and speci es. There are, for i nstance, a number of passages, both i n hi s
Commentary on the Metaphysi cs and i n hi s theol ogi cal or doctri nal works,
where Aqui nas reports the Pl atoni c way of reconstructi ng the consti tuti on
of sensi bl e substances
71
. They come i nto bei ng because a l ump of sensi bl e
matter acqui res di fferent properti es parti ci pati ng i n di fferent separate
Forms (or I deas). For i nstance, i t acqui res the properti es of l i vi ng, bei ng
an ani mal and bei ng a human bei ng by parti ci pati ng i n the Forms of Li fe,
Ani mal , Human Bei ng, respecti vel y. The outcome of matter parti ci pati ng
i n Forms or I deas i s the i mpressi on on matter i tsel f of a seri es of l i kenesses
of separate Forms and the consequent emergi ng of a seri es of parti ci pated
forms, i .e. forms exi sti ng, unl i ke separate Forms, i n sensi bl e matter. Si nce
there are di fferent separate Forms for di fferent properti es or perfecti ons,
the theory at i ssue entai l s, accordi ng to Aqui nas, a pl ural i ty of substanti al
parti ci pated forms i n the structure of sensi bl e substances
72
. I n any case,
what i s more i mportant i s that Pl atoni c I deas are regarded by Thomas as
produci ng materi al forms and these materi al forms themsel ves pl ay a rol e
anal ogous to the one pl ayed by Ari stotel i an forms i n so far as they perfect
and actual i se the matter they are i n.
However, by far the most fundamental outcome of the parti ci pati on of
matter i n I deas i s the fact that the uni versals correspondi ng to the di fferent
separate I deas may be predi cated of the i ndi vi dual that results from such a
parti ci pati on
73
. I n so far as they are predicated of the individuals they are
parti ci pated i n, I deas may be regarded as the speci es of the i ndi vi duals
71
Cfr, for i nstance : Exp. Metaph., Li b. I I I , lec. 3, n. 360 ; lec. 9, n. 447 ; Cont. Gent., I I I , c.
24, n. 2047 ; c. 69, n. 2433 ; S. Th., I
a
, q. 65, a. 4 ; q. 115, a. 1.
72
Cfr. SANCTI THOMAE DE AQUI NO Quaestio Disputata De Spiritualibus Creaturis, a. 3, Opera
Omnia, t. XXI V, 2, ed. J . COS, Comm. Leon.-Les dition du CERF, Roma-Paris 2000, pp. 40-42, ll.
283-330 ; SANCTI THOMAE DE AQUI NO Quaestiones Disputatae De Anima, q. 11, Opera Omnia, t. XXI V,
1, ed. B.-C. BAZN, Comm. Leon.-Les dition du CERF, Roma-Paris 1996, p. 99, ll. 181-193.
73
As regards the fact that I deas are predi cated of sensi bles cfr. : Exp. Metaph., Li b. I , lec. 10,
n. 154 ; lec. 14, n. 209 ; Li b. I I I , lec. 3, n. 360 ; lec. 9, n. 447 ; Li b. VI I , lec. 2, n. 1271 ; lec. 14, n.
1595 ; Q. De An., q. 11, p. 99, ll. 183-188 ; THOMAS AQUI NATI S, Super Li brum De Causi s Exposi ti o,
prop. 12, ed. H.D. SAFFREY, Pari s, Vri n 2002, p. 79, ll. 14-19.
192 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
themsel ves
74
. I deas, therefore, turn out to be i n every respect separate
uni versals, i .e. the ontologi cal counterparts of the substanti al predi cates
whi ch fi gure i n ordi nary genus or speci es predi cati ons. And, i ndeed, the fact
that I deas are the speci es of i ndi vi duals fi ts very well wi th Platos basi c reason
for postulati ng I deas as i t i s someti mes reported by Thomas
75
. For Platonists
posi t an I dea correspondi ng to each term whi ch i s uni vocally predi cated of a
class of i ndi vi duals, i .e. posi t an I dea for each group of i ndi vi duals shari ng the
defi ni ti on of thei r essence and hence belongi ng to the same speci es or genus.
Now, for thi s general theory to work, there must be a certai n uni voci ty
between parti culars and the I dea whi ch i s predi cated of them. And, as a
matter of fact, the I dea of human bei ng, although a uni versal, i s also a
parti cular separate human bei ng, i .e. somethi ng of the same speci es as the
parti culars i t i s predi cated of
76
. From another point of view, however, there
must be also a neat di fference between the way a substanti al term appli es to
the I dea and the way i t appli es to sensi ble i ndi vi duals. The I dea of human
bei ng, i n fact, i s per se (or totali ter or agai n essenti ali ter) human bei ng, whi le
sensi ble i ndi vi duals or parti culars are so only per parteci pati onem
77
. I n other
terms, the I dea of human bei ng i s everythi ng that belongs to human nature
and only what belongs to human nature, wi thout addi ti ons or remai ns.
Sensi ble human bei ngs, by contrast, are not only what belongs to human
nature, but are human nature plus somethi ng extraneous to i t, i .e. the matter
they are consti tuted of. I n thi s sense, therefore, sensi ble i ndi vi duals recei ve
human nature i n a parti ci pated form, namely as contracted and restri cted to
a determi nate pi ece of matter : properly speaki ng, i n fact Aqui nas remarks
i n hi s commentary on Met. A 6 , x i s sai d to parti ci pate i n y when x i s not
totally y, but i n addi ti on to bei ng y i s also somethi ng else
78
.
We are now i n a posi ti on to evaluate Aqui nass general readi ng of Z 13
(and, wi th i t, of the whole secti on Z 13-16) and to bri ng to li ght the di fferences
between i t and contemporary scholars i nterpretati ons. As explai ned i n the
fi rst part of thi s paper, most contemporary scholars see i n Met. Z 13 a cruci al
74
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. I , lec. 10, n. 153 ; Cont. Gent., I I , c. 92, n. 1791 ; I I I , c. 41, n. 2186 ;
S. Th., I
a
, q. 50, a. 3 ; q. 88, a. 2 ; q. 110, a. 1, ad 3 ; S. THOMAE DE AQUI NO De Substanti i s Separati s,
c. 4, Opera Omni a, t. XL, cura et studi o fratrum Praedi catorum, Ad Sanctae Sabi nae, Romae
1969, p. D47, ll. 28-30.
75
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. I , lec. 10, n. 154 ; lec. 14, n. 209.
76
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Lib. VI I , lec. 16, n. 1645; Cont. Gent., I I , c. 92, n. 1791 ; I I I , c. 41, n. 2186.
77
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. I , lec. 10, n. 153-154 ; Li b. VI I , lec. 16, n. 1645 ; S. THOMAE AQUI NATI S,
I n Li brum Beati Di onysi i De Di vi ni s Nomi ni bus, Proem., cura et studi o C. PERA, Mari etti ,
Tauri ni -Romae 1950, p. 2.
78
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. I , lec. 10, n. 154.
193 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
text for determi ni ng the status of Ari stoteli an form (whi ch could be li kened,
i n medi eval terms, to forma parti s). Some of them mai ntai n that the arguments
of the chapter provi de conclusi ve evi dence i n favour of parti cular forms,
whi le others i nsi st that they do not prevent form from bei ng general or
uni versal. I n any case, both groups argue that the chapter has somethi ng to
do wi th questi ons concerni ng the i ndi vi duati on of Ari stoteli an forms (are
they i ndi vi dual by themselves or by vi rtue of matter ?). Now, Aqui nas does not
even menti on the possi bi li ty that Z 13 deals wi th Ari stoteli an form. The
reason for thi s li es i n both Aqui nass personal vi ews concerni ng substance
and the strong anti -Platoni c flavour of Z 13 i tself. I n other words, Aqui nas
cannot i n any way thi nk that by uni versal or by what i s uni versally predi cated
Ari stotle means form. I n fact, accordi ng to Aqui nas, substance, at least
among sensi ble enti ti es, i s the i ndi vi dual composi te of matter and form.
Therefore, by uni versal i t must be i ntended what i s uni versally predi cated
of an i ndi vi dual composi te. Form, however, i s just a part of the i ndi vi dual
composi te and as a part cannot be predi cated of the composi te i tself.
Accordi ngly, form cannot be referred to as what i s uni versally predi cated of
i ndi vi duals and cannot be the object of Z 13s di scussi on. What i s the object
of di scussi on i n the chapter, i nstead, i s the status of the uni versals whi ch are
predi cated of i ndi vi duals, that i s speci es and genus : do they only exi st as
nature or essences present i n i ndi vi duals or do they also exi st, as Platoni sts
mai ntai n, separate from the parti culars they are predi cated of ? Admi ttedly,
as previ ously stated, i t i s true that Platoni sts confuse form and speci es
(because they clai m that only form enters i nto speci es) but thi s does not affect
Aqui nass general i nterpretati on. For he i s mai nly concerned, i n commenti ng
on Z 13, wi th I deas regarded as uni versals whi ch are predi cated of i ndi vi duals,
i .e. as speci es and genus. I deas as produci ng forms i n matter, i .e. sensi ble or
parti ci pated forms, are not taken i nto account i n thi s conjuncti on. Thi s
seems, i n any case, sound enough si nce I deas, i n addi ti on to bei ng substances
i n thei r own ri ght, were especi ally concei ved of as speci es and genera of
sensi ble substances, that i s as uni versals.
The contrast between Aqui nass concern and that of contemporary scholars
can be hi ghli ghted also from another, more theoreti cal, poi nt of vi ew.
Although i n both cases the problem at i ssue i s cast i n the language of
uni versal versus parti cular, the phi losophi cal poi nt at stake i s actually
di fferent from one case to the other. Under the pressure of the anti -Platoni c
pol emi c, Aqui nas i s mai nl y concerned wi th the cl assi cal probl em of
uni versals : do natures or essences exi st i n separati on from thei r tokens or
just i n them? As I have tri ed to make clear i n the fi rst part of the paper,
modern schol ars, on the contrary, are concerned wi th a probl em of
194 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
i ndi vi duati on : are forms i ndi vi dual by themselves or are they made so by
matter ? Whatever be the answer to thi s questi on, i t i s already assumed that
forms can exi st only i n i ndi vi duals. Supporters of the uni versal character of
Ari stoteli an forms do not mai ntai n that they exi st separate from the thi ngs
they are forms of, but only that there i s a sense i n whi ch i t i s the same form
that exi sts i n di fferent parti culars.
That bei ng sai d, even i f Aqui nas i s not concerned wi th the problem of the
status of forms, i t can be noted that hi s general pattern of i nterpretati on i s
somehow closer to the one provi ded by supporters of general forms. For they
also thi nk that by uni versal or by what i s uni versally predi cated Ari stotle
cannot mean hi s own forms, but must refer to speci es, genera and Platoni c
I deas. Therefore, they mai ntai n that the gi st of Z 13 i s not i ncompati ble wi th
the general character of Ari stoteli an forms, because the chapter i s mai nly
concerned wi th refusi ng speci es, genera and I deas the status of substances.
The di fference remai ns, of course, that, accordi ng to modern i nterpreters
speci es and genera, even when understood i n an Ari stoteli an way, do not
turn out to be substances at all. As we shall see, on the contrary, accordi ng
to Aqui nas speci es and genus are substances when understood as natures
and essences present i n i ndi vi duals. Also thi s di fference wi th modern
scholars can be explai ned by poi nti ng to the fact that Aqui nas i ncludes
matter as well i n the essence and hence concei ves of uni versal composi tes of
matter and form as essences. Modern scholars, by contrast, mai ntai n that
Ari stoteli an essences are forms and hence di squali fy uni versal composi tes
from bei ng genui ne essences.
I n any case, some i mportant noti ons that pl ay a rol e i n the modern
debate are at work i n Aqui nass readi ng of Z 13 as wel l . For i nstance,
Aqui nas charges Pl atoni sts of not di sti ngui shi ng between the noti ons of
substance and that of substance of. As a matter of fact, Aqui nas sharpl y
di sti ngui shes between the two noti ons. The qual i fi cati on of substance
appl i es onl y to i ndi vi dual composi tes of matter and form, i .e. to the obj ects
that enj oy a sel f-contai ned and i ndependent exi stence. The noti on of
substance of concerns, on the contrary, pri nci pl es l i ke essence or form
whi ch merel y exi st wi thi n the i ndi vi dual substances and account for the
i ndi vi dual possessi ng certai n rel evant properti es. Predi ctabl y, the
di sti ncti on between substance and substance of i s al so expl oi ted by Aqui nas
to reconci l e the anal ysi s of the Metaphysi cs wi th that of the Categori es. The
l atter work undertakes the task of establ i shi ng whi ch enti ti es are pri mary
i n an absol ute sense, whi l e the former i nqui res i nto what accounts for the
pri ori ty these enti ti es enj oy. Moreover, i n Aqui nass eyes the di sti ncti on
between the noti on of substance and that of substance of i s deepl y rooted
195 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
i n the Metaphysi cs i tsel f. I n Met. A 8, for i nstance, Ari stotl e woul d reduce
to these two al l the vari ous senses of the term substance
79
. Furthermore,
i n Z 1, 1028a11-12, Ari stotl e poi nts to substance by means of the phrase
: . : c. -a. :: . (hoc qui d est et hoc ali qui d). Accordi ng to Aqui nas
as, among modern scholars, to Ross the reference here cannot but be to two
i rreduci ble senses of substance, si nce :: . (hoc ali qui d) poi nts to the
concrete i ndi vi dual, whi le the label . : c. hi nts at the essence, that i s the
substance of a concrete i ndi vi dual
80
.
I n an i mportant di gressi on wi thi n hi s commentary on Met. l 2, Aqui nas
stresses the fact that Platoni sts thought uni versals were substances not only
i n the sense of substance of but also i n the sense of substance, tout court
81
.
I n other words, Platoni sts mai ntai ned that uni versals are both (i ) i ndi vi dual
substances separate and per se subsi sti ng i n the way sensi ble parti cular
substances are and (i i ) substances i n the sense of speci es and essences of
sensi ble parti cular substances. Accordi ng to Aqui nas, therefore, Ari stotles
strategy i n Z 13-16 i s to show that assumpti ons (i ) and (i i ) are i n fact
i ncompati ble, that i s uni versals mi ght not be concei ved of as both separate
substances and substances of sensi ble parti culars. As Aqui nas remarks,
however, i n commenti ng on the aforementi oned text of l 2, bri ngi ng out the
contradi cti on between (i ) and (i i ) mai nly serves to reject assumpti on (i )
82
. I t
i s the fact of concei vi ng uni versals as i ndi vi dual separate substances that
prevents one from ri ghtly understandi ng them as substances and essences of
parti culars. When the i dea that natures si gni fi ed by uni versal terms are
enti ti es separate from parti culars i s gi ven up i n favour of the i dea that they
merely exi st i n them, then i t i s possi ble to thi nk of natures as substances and
essences of parti culars themselves
3
. Rejection of assumption (i) and right
understandi ng of assumpti on (i i ) are, accordi ng to Aqui nas, Z 13s mai n
results. I n the next secti on, we shall see i n some detai l how they are achi eved.
2. Z 13 and the problem of uni versals
Apart from a short introduction (1038b1-8), which has the task of connecting
the di scussi on of the chapter wi th the rest of Book seven, Met. Z 13 i s made
up, accordi ng to Aqui nas, of a long (1038b8-1039a23) argumentati ve secti on,
whi ch contai ns two di fferent groups of arguments. (i ) The fi rst group contai ns
79
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. V, lec. 10, nn. 903-905.
80
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 1, n. 1247.
81
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. X, lec. 3, n. 1979.
82
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. X, lec. 3, n. 1979.
83
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. X, lec. 3, n. 1979.
196 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
two arguments (1038b8-15; 1038b15-16) and the reply to an objecti on rai sed
against them by a hypothetical Platonic interlocutor (1038b16-23). The general
ai m of thi s secti on of the text i s to prove that the uni versal i s not substance
starti ng from the agreed assumpti on that i t i s predi cated of many thi ngs. The
arguments si ngled out by Aqui nas are actually the same as the ones i denti fi ed
by modern scholars, namely the argument based on the so-called peculi ari ty
condi ti on and the one that establi shes that substance cannot be a predi cate.
What Aqui nas, correctly enough, regards as a reply to the fi rst argument i s
often consi dered by modern scholars also as the fi rst of the arguments
challengi ng the i dea that uni versals can be substance i n the sense of part of
a substance. Thi s aspect i s underesti mated by Aqui nas, accordi ng to whom
the di scussi on of the uni versal as part of substance starts only wi th the second
group of arguments. (i i ) I n parti cular, thi s second group of arguments i s
composed of four actual arguments (1038b23-29; 1038b29-1039a2; 1039a2-
3; 1039a3-14) and a fi nal di ffi culty (1039a14-23). I n general, the arguments
conclude that the uni versal cannot be substance starti ng from the i dea that i t
i s a part of defi ni ti on and essence. The arguments si ngled out by Aqui nas are
i denti fi ed also by modern scholars, except for the fact that Thomas does not
regard 1038b29-30 as an i ndependent argument and sees, on the contrary,
1038b29-1039a2 as a si ngle secti on of the text. I n thi s chapter, I shall focus
on the fi rst group of arguments and especi ally on di gressi ons wi thi n them
and on the fi rst of those of the second group si nce they are by far the most
i mportant for settli ng the questi on of the status of uni versals.
1. The fi rst argument of Z 13, i t wi ll be remembered, states that the
uni versal cannot be substance of somethi ng si nce the substance of a thi ng i s
peculi ar to i t, whi le the uni versal i s always common to many thi ngs. Before
actually commenti ng on thi s argument, Aqui nas proposes an i ntroductory
note i n order to eluci date the content of the whole chapter (sci endum est
autem, ad evi denti am hui us capi tuli ). I ndeed, Aqui nass note and the
di sti ncti ons i t draws are fundamental for understandi ng the whole secti on Z
13-16 and must be accordi ngly regarded as one of the mai n achi evements of
the enti re di scussi on on uni versals.
Thomas distinguishes, in the note at issue, between two ways of considering
the uni versal
84
. (i) I n one way, one can mean by universal the very nature to
whi ch the i ntellect then attri butes the characteri sti c of uni versali ty. I n that
way, i .e. regarded as natures di sti nct from the characteri sti c of uni versali ty
attri buted by the i ntellect, uni versals si gni fy substances, i .e. essences, of
84
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, n. 1570.
197 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
parti cular objects and are essenti ally (i n qui d) predi cated of them. Ani mal
and human bei ng, for i nstance, si gni fy the substance of what they are
predi cated of. (i i ) I n another way, one can understand by uni versal the
uni versal as such, that i s a nature i n so far i t i s subject to the characteri sti c
of uni versali ty (i ntenti o uni versali tati s) and hence i s somethi ng uni que whi ch
may be found i n many thi ngs (unum i n multi s). Now, the Platoni sts posi ti on
was that the uni versal can be substance i n thi s second way, i .e. i n so far as
uni versal, and thus exi st as uni versal i n the same way as thi ngs exi sti ng extra
ani mam, i .e. ordi nary parti cular objects, do. Accordi ng to Aqui nas, therefore,
Ari stotles mai n ai m i n Ch. 13 (and i n the whole secti on 13-16) i s to call i nto
questi on the Platoni c posi ti on, namely to show that uni versals understood as
somethi ng common (the second way above) are not parti cular substances
exi sti ng outsi de the human soul or i ntellect. On the contrary, a gi ven nature
acqui res the characteri sti c of uni versali ty only i n the human soul, that
recei ves and understands forms as common to many thi ngs si nce i t abstracts
them from the individuating conditions under which they exist in particulars
85
.
The di sti ncti on between two ways of regardi ng uni versals i s found i n other
late texts of Aqui nass
86
. I t, however, cannot be adequately understood without
taki ng i nto account the analysi s of the noti on of essence provi ded by one of
Aqui nass earli est work, De ente et essenti a, Ch. 3
87
. I ndeed, as I shall explain
i n more detai l later, the analysi s of the De ente et essenti a does not completely
square wi th that of the Commentary on Metaphysi cs. However i t helps us to set
up the general framework wi thi n whi ch the di scussi on of the latter work has
85
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, n. 1571.
86
Cfr. SANCTI THOMAE DE AQUI NO Sentenci a Li bri De Ani ma, Li b. I , c. 1, Opera Omni a, XLV 1,
Comm. Leon.-Vri n, Roma-Pari s 1984, p. 7, ll. 213-230 ; Li b. I I , c. 12, pp. 115-116, ll. 95-151 ; S.
Th., I
a
, q. 85, a. 2, ad 2 ; a. 3, ad 1 ; ad 4 (wi th an expli ci t reference to Z 13) ; I
a
I I
ae
, q. 29, a. 6.
87
On Aqui nass theory of essence see : J . OWENS, Common Nature: a Poi nt of Compari son
between Thomi sti c and Scoti sti c Metaphysi cs, Medi eval Studi es , 19, 1957, pp. 1-14 ; M.
MCCORD ADAMS, Wi lli am Ockham, 2 vols., Uni versi ty of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame 1987, vol.
I , pp. 1-69 ; J .J .E. GRACI A, Cutti ng the Gordi an Knot of Ontology : Thomass Soluti on to the
Problem of Uni versals, i n Thomas Aqui nas and hi s Legacy, ed. D.M. GAL L AGER, The Catholi c
Uni versi ty of Ameri ca Press, Washi ngton, D.C. 1994 ; A. DE LI BERA, La querelle des uni versaux.
De Platon la fi n du Moyen ge, Seui l, Pari s 1996, pp. 262-283 ; D.B. BL ACK , Mental Exi stence
i n Thomas Aqui nas and Avi cenna, Medi eval Studi es , 61, 1999, pp. 45-79 ; J .F. WI PPEL , The
Metaphysi cal Thought of Thomas Aqui nas. From Fi ni te Bei ng to Uncreated Bei ng, The Catholi c
Uni versi ty of Ameri ca Press, Washi ngton, D.C., 2000, pp. 197-208 ; 238-253 ; F. AMERI NI ,
Ari stotle, Averroes and Thomas Aqui nas on the Nature of Essence, i n thi s volume, pp. 79-122 ;
G. PI NI , Scotuss Essenti ali sm. A Cri ti que of Thomas Aqui nass Doctri ne of Essence i n the
Questi ons on the Metaphysi cs, i n thi s volume, pp. 227-262 ; G. GAL L UZZO, Aqui nas on Common
Nature and Uni versals, forthcomi ng.
198 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
to be placed. The mai n ai m of Ch. 3 of De ente i s to show that the labels of
speci es, genus as well as uni versal apply to a gi ven essence only as a result
of the way of bei ng i t enjoys i n the i ntellect
88
. I n order to come to such a
conclusi on, Aqui nas embarks on a detai led analysi s of the di fferent ways a
gi ven nature or essence may be consi dered.
Now, i n general, an essence can be consi dered i n two di fferent ways : (1)
secundum propri am rati onem, i .e. accordi ng to an absolute consi derati on of
i t or (2) accordi ng to the bei ng i t enjoys i n one thi ng or another (secundum
esse quod habet i n hoc vel i n i llo)
89
. I f one considers essence according to way
(1), i .e. i n i ts absoluteness and regardless of the di fferent modes of bei ng i t
can take on, then essence possesses only the properti es whi ch fall wi thi n i ts
defi ni ti on. For i nstance, the essence of human bei ng absolutely consi dered
onl y possesses as pr oper ti es ani mal i ty and r ati onal i ty. Al l other
determinations, i.e. the ones not included in the definition, cannot be attributed
to an essence i n so far as i t i s absolutely consi dered, but they belong to i t only
i n so far as i t enjoys thi s or that mode of bei ng. Hence, they are somehow
acci dental to essence consi dered i n i tsel f. Wi th regard to al l these
determi nati ons, therefore, essence i s i ndi fferent. We cannot say, for i nstance,
that essence consi dered i n i tself i s one or that i t i s many. I n fact, were i t one
i n i tself, i .e. accordi ng to i ts defi ni ti on, then i t could not exi st as many (as i t
does, as a matter of fact, i n i ndi vi duals) si nce thi s would entai l contradi cti on.
Vi ce versa, were i t i n i tself many, i t could not exi st as one (as i t does, i nstead,
i n the i ntellect). Essence, therefore, does not i nclude i n i tself any of these
determi nati ons but does not exclude them, ei ther
90
.
Essence regarded i n way (2), i .e. as exi sti ng i n one thi ng or another, can
i n turn enjoy two di fferent modes of exi stence: (2.1) i n si ngulars, i .e. i n
concrete i ndi vi duals, and (2.2) i n the soul, i .e. i n the knowi ng i ntellect.
Accordi ng to ei ther mode of exi stence, essence acqui res acci dental properti es
that do not bel ong as such to i t when absol utel y consi dered
91
. The
di sti ngui shi ng mark of essence as exi sti ng outsi de the soul i s that of bei ng
multi pli ed i n di fferent parti culars. Human bei ng, for i nstance, exi sts outsi de
the soul merely as Socrates or Calli as or whoever else. Of course, accordi ng
to the i ndi fference cri teri on outli ned above, the fact of bei ng i n Socrates does
not belong to the essence of human bei ng as such (otherwi se, how mi ght i t be
i n Calli as as well ?) just as the fact does not belong to i t of not bei ng i n hi m
88
Cfr. S. THOMAE DE AQUI NO De ente et essenti a, c. 3, Opera Omni a, t. XLI I I (Opuscula I V),
Edi tori di S. Tommaso, Ad S. Sabi nae, Roma 1976, p. 375, ll. 147-155.
89
Cfr. De ent. et ess., c. 3, p. 374, ll. 26-51.
90
Cfr. De ent. et ess., c. 3, p. 374, ll. 68-70.
91
Cfr. De ent. et ess., c. 3, p. 374, ll. 52-54.
199 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
(otherwi se, how mi ght i t be there?). I t i s clear, vi ce versa, that Socrates and
Calli as do possess all that belongs to a human bei ng as such, i .e. all that
belongs to the essence of human bei ng absolutely consi dered. For they are per
se human and hence possess the properti es whi ch fall wi thi n the defi ni ti on of
human bei ng. Accordi ngly, i t i s the essence absolutely consi dered that i s
predi cate of the di fferent parti culars i t exi sts i n
92
.
The di sti ngui shi ng mark, i nstead, of essence as exi sti ng i n the i ntellect i s
uni versali ty, whi ch i s defi ned i n terms of uni ty (uni tas) and commonness
(comuni tas). I n general, i n fact, a nature i s recei ved i n the i ntellect as free, i .e.
abstracted, from all i ndi vi duati ng condi ti ons whi ch characteri se i ts materi al
exi stence. Thi s i s due to general constrai nts on both knowledge i n general and
the nature of the i ntellect. As a result, a nature i s i n the i ntellect uni versal i n
character, i .e. one and common to many thi ngs. That these characteri sti cs do
not belong to a gi ven nature, for i nstance human nature, i n i tself i s easi ly
reali sed. For, i f they di d, then a gi ven nature should exi st as uni versal
wherever i t exi sts. But thi s i s not the case because i n i ndi vi duals, for i nstance,
human nature exi sts as completely i ndi vi duated
93
.
To come back to the questi on of genus and speci es De ente et essenti a, Ch
3 starts from, Aqui nass conclusi on i s clearly that these labels, speci es and
genus, can be appli ed to a nature only by vi rtue of i ts exi stence i n the i ntellect.
I n other words, they can be appli ed to a nature only i n so far as i t i s regarded
as a concept that bears a certai n relati on to the thi ngs exi sti ng outsi de the
i ntellect. Si nce human nature, for i nstance, i s present i n the i ntellect as free
from i ndi vi duati ng condi ti ons, i t bears the same relati on to all i ndi vi dual
human bei ngs, i .e. i t i s a concept or li keness (si mi li tudo) whi ch represent
every i ndi vi dual human bei ng ali ke. The i ntellect consi ders thi s uni form
relati on between human nature as exi sti ng i n the soul and i ndi vi dual human
bei ngs exi sti ng outsi de; i t di scovers thereby the noti on of speci es and
appli es i t to human nature i tself
94
. An analogous reasoning might be made, at
a di fferent level of generali ty, for the case of genus.
I t i s i mportant, before connecti ng the analysi s of the De ente et essenti a
wi th the note i n the Commentary on Metaphyi si cs, to prevent a possi ble
mi sunderstandi ng wi th regard to the noti on of uni versali ty. To start wi th, the
noti on of uni versal, as well as that of speci es, genus or predi cable, has to
be ranged among the so-called second i ntenti ons
95
. The main characteristic
92
Cfr. De ent. et ess., c. 3, p. 374, ll. 55-72.
93
Cfr. De ent. et ess., c. 3, p. 374, ll. 73-82.
94
Cfr. De ent. et ess., c. 3, p. 375, ll. 91-107.
95
Cfr. SANCTI THOMAE DE AQUI NO Expositio Libri Peryermenias, Lib. I , lec. 10, Opera Omnia, t. I *
1, cura et studio fratrum Praedicatorum, Comm. Leon.-Vrin, Roma-Paris 1989, p. 51, ll. 137-143.
200 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
of these concepts i s that, unli ke so-called fi rst i ntenti ons si gni fi ed by terms
li ke human bei ng or horse, etc., they do not di rectly represent thi ngs
exi sti ng outsi de the soul (extra ani mam). On the contrary, they are attri buted
to thi ngs only i n so far as they are known by the i ntellect and hence exi st i n
i t
96
. Since things in so far as they exist in the intellect are first intentions like
human bei ng or horse, second i ntenti ons are not, properly, attri butes of
thi ngs exi sti ng outsi de the soul, but are attri butes of the concepts whi ch
represent them. Accordi ngly, they can be regarded as second level concepts.
As for the way such concepts are formed, Thomas i s pretty clear i n mai ntai ni ng
that the i ntellect di scovers them by reflecti ng upon thi ngs as far as they are
known, i.e. upon first level concepts, and upon the mode of such a knowledge
97
.
I n some texts, Aqui nas suggests also that thi s act of reflecti on consi sts i n an
assessment of the relati on obtai ni ng between thi ngs as known and thi ngs
exi sti ng ousi de the soul
98
. The kind of relation obtaining in the different cases
characterises the intention discovered each time and forms part of its definition.
The intellect, for instance, attributes to a concept the label of universal when
it recognises its character of one (predicated) of many (unum de multis) with
respect to the things of which it represents a likeness
99
.
Wi thi n thi s general framework, I would li ke to stress a poi nt whi ch i s
somehow i mpli ci t i n Aqui nass treatment of second i ntenti ons. We should
di sti ngui sh between the noti on of uni versal (i ntenti o uni versali tati s) and the
exi stence of an essence as uni versal i n the i ntellect. I n other words, the fact
that the noti on of uni versal i s a second i ntenti on, i .e. i s di scovered by the
i ntellect only by means of a second act of knowledge, does not prevent us from
sayi ng that an essence or nature, by vi rtue of the very fi rst act of knowledge,
i s uni versal, i .e. one and common. Thi s clearly emerges from the texts where
Aqui nas underli nes that concepts li ke second i ntenti ons are a consequence of
the way the i ntellect knows thi ngs exi sti ng outsi de the soul
100
. This suggests
that a nature i s somehow uni versal for the very fact of bei ng i n the i ntellect
and bei ng known. I n other words, the i ntellect can, by a second cogni ti ve act,
96
Cfr. S. THOMAE AQUI NATI S Scri ptum Super Li brum Sententi arum, Li b. I , d. 2, q. 1, a. 3, ed.
R. P. MANDONNET, 2 vols., Lethi elleux, Pari s 1929, vol. I , p. 67 ; S. THOMAE AQUI NATI S Quaesti ones
Di sputatae De Potenti a, q. 7, a. 6, i n Quaesti ones Di sputatae, cura et studi o P. BI AZZI et ali i ,
Mari etti , Tauri ni -Romae 1965, p. 201 ; a. 9, pp. 207-208.
97
Cfr. Q. De Pot., q. 7, a. 6, p. 201 ; a. 9, pp. 207-208.
98
Cfr. De ent. et ess., c. 3, p. 375, ll. 96-99 ; Exp. Peryerm, Li b. I , lec. 10, p. 51, ll. 137-143.
99
Cfr. Sent. Li b. De An., Li b. I , c. 1, p. 7, ll. 217-218 ; Li b. I I , c. 12, p. 116, ll. 141-142 ; S. Th.,
I
a
, q. 85, a. 3, ad 1.
100
Cfr. I n I Sent., d. 2, q. 1, a. 3, vol. I , p. 67 ; Q. De Pot, q. 7, a. 9, p. 201. For the i ntenti o
uni versali tati s i n parti cular cfr : S. Th., I
a
, q. 85, a. 2, ad 2 ; a. 3, ad 4.
201 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
attri bute to a gi ven nature the i ntenti o uni versali tati s only because such a
nature already exi sts i n the i ntellect as one and common by vi rtue of the
i ntri nsi c features of the fi rst cogni ti ve act
101
.
The last remarks show how the distinctions in the De ente et essentia already
suffice to explain the root of the Platonic error as it is presented in Aquinass
commentary on Z 13. As already said, Platonists maintained common or
universal natures to be substances existing in the natural world. I n the light of
the analysis of the De ente et essentia, it is perfectly clear that their mistake
consists in not being able to distinguish between the esse in intellectu and the
esse extra animam of a given nature. I n other words, they did not realise that a
nature possesses a universal and common character only in so far as it exists
in the intellect and not in so far as it exists in the extramental world. As a matter
of fact, Aquinas often remarks that Platonists are unable to recognise that the
mode in which a thing (extramentally) exists is not identical to the way it is
known
102
. They di d not reali se that the features enjoyed by the object of
knowledge are due to the very nature of the intellect and to the way things must
be received in it if they want to be known. Because of this failure, they required
an object with the same features as the mental concept (stability, immateriality,
universality, unity, unicity, etc.) to exist in the extramental world as well
103
.
However, at fi rst glance, there seem to emerge some di fferences between
the analysi s of the De ente et essenti a and that of the Commentary on
Metaphysi cs. Fi rst of all, i n the former work, we have a di sti ncti on concerni ng
nature or essence, whereas i n the latter the di sti ncti on properly concerns the
uni versal. Besi des, also the classi fi cati ons provi ded i n the two works are i n
fact di fferent. I n the De ente et essenti a Aqui nas di sti ngui shes fi rst of all
between (1) essence absolutely consi dered and (2) essence as exi sti ng i n thi s
or that thi ng. But essence consi dered i n the second way, i n turn, can be
regarded ei ther (2.1) as exi sti ng i n the soul or (2.2) as exi sti ng outsi de i t. I n
the Exposi ti o Metaphysi corum, i nstead, the di sti ncti on i s between (i ) the
uni versal as such and (i i ) the nature to whi ch the i ntellect then attri butes
uni versali ty. As can be noted, among other thi ngs, i n the Exposi ti o no expli ci t
menti on i s made of the absolute consi derati on of an essence.
As previ ously noted, the di sti ncti on between two ways of consi deri ng
uni versals can also be found i n other texts of Aqui nass. I n these texts as well,
there i s no expli ci t menti on of the absolute consi derati on of an essence or
101
Cfr. Sent. Li b. De An., Li b. I I , c. 12, p. 116, ll. 139-143.
102
Cfr. among the many texts : Exp. Metaph., Li b. I , lec. 10, n. 158 ; Cont. Gent., I I , c. 75, n.
1551 ; S. Th., I
a
, q. 76, a. 2, ad 4 ; q. 84, a. 1 ; Q. De Spi r. Creat., a. 8, p. 98, ll. 448-472. For an
analysi s of such a questi on cfr : HENL E, Sai nt Thomas, pp. 323-350.
103
For a di scussi on of such aspects cfr. : HENL E, Sai nt Thomas, pp. 323-333.
202 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
nature. Admi ttedly, i n hi s commentary on Z 13 Aqui nas remarks that nature
i s predi cated i n qui d of i ndi vi duals and thi s remark could be i nterpreted as a
hi nt at nature absolutely consi dered. For i n the De ente et essenti a i t i s nature
absolutely consi dered that i s predi cated of i ndi vi duals. I n Sent. De An., I I , 12,
moreover, we are expli ci tly told that a nature can enjoy two di fferent modes
of bei ng and thi s can suggest that i t i s the nature as such Aqui nas i s talki ng
about. However, i n other texts such as S. Th., I
a
, q. 85, a. 2, ad 2; a. 3, ad.
1; ad 4 (whi ch expli ci tly refers to Z 13) the contrast i s, doubtless, between
the uni versal as such and the nature as exi sti ng i n parti culars or si ngulars.
I ndeed, none of the differences between the aforementioned texts and the
De ente et essentia should be overestimated
104
. Let me start with the simple fact
that the discussion of the De ente et essentia concerns the notion of essence and
not that of universal. With regard to this, it must be observed that a classification
perfectly alike to that of the De ente et essentia can be found in two other texts,
i.e. Q. De Quo., VI I I , q. 1, a. 1 and Q. De Pot., q. 5, a. 9, ad 16
105
. Both of them
make reference to nature in its absolute consideration. I n the latter text,
Aquinass classification is explicitly presented as a classification of the notion
of universal. I n this sense, the shift from talking of essence to talking of
universal has no particular significance. Besides, whereas the text of the
Quodlibet VI I I is, from a chronological point view, very close to the De ente et
essentia, since it belongs to Aquinass first teaching in Paris, the text of the
Potentia is later and not far removed from the Prima Pars of the Summa
Theologi ae. Thi s suggests that Aqui nas has not completly abandoned or
superseded in later works the doctrine he brought forward in the De ente et
essentia and in particular the reference to essence in its absolute consideration.
I cannot i nvesti gate here i n detai l the reasons why Aqui nas does not
make reference i n most l ater works to the absol ute consi derati on of
essence. I shal l confi ne mysel f to a coupl e of remarks
106
. First of all, none
104
For an account of Aqui nass doctri ne of common nature whi ch puts emphasi s on the
di fferences between Aqui nass later texts (especi ally those belongi ng to the Summa Theologi ae
and concerned wi th Aqui nass psychology) and the De ente et essenti a, see BL ACK , Mental
Exi stence, pp. 65-74. Blacks mai n contenti on i s that i n later works Aqui nas no longer sees the
essence i n i ts absolute consi derati on as the subject of mental exi stence, but i denti fi es such a
subject wi th the i ntellegi ble speci es. For some comments on such a proposal, see GAL L UZZO,
Aqui nas on Common Nature.
105
SANCTI THOMAE DE AQUI NO Quaesti ones De Quoli bet, VI I I , q. 1, a. 1, Opera Omni a, t. XXV,
vol. 1, cura et studi o fratrum Praedi catorum, Comm. Leon.-Les di ti ons du Cerf, Roma-Pari s
1996, p. 51-53, ll. 53-117 ; Q. De Pot., q. 5, a. 9, ad 16, p. 155.
106
For a general analysi s of Aqui nass doctri ne of essence, whi ch speci fi cally addresses thi s
problem of consi stency i n Aqui nass thought, I take the li berty of referri ng to my GAL L UZZO,
Aqui nas on Common Nature. For a di fferent proposal see : BL ACK , Mental Exi stence, pp. 65-74.
203 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
of the l ater texts presents pi eces of doctri ne whi ch are i ncompati bl e wi th
the i dea of an absol ute consi derati on of essence. On the contrary, the
cl assi fi cati on of Sent. De An., I I , 12 seems to l eave room for such a
doctri ne. For the text asks us to di sti ngui sh between the nature whi ch i s
subj ect to the i ntenti o uni versali tati s and the i ntenti o uni versali tati s i tsel f,
to begi n wi th. Then, we are tol d that the nature can enj oy two types of
bei ngs, the mental and the extramental one
107
. As can be noted, it is not
i mpossi bl e to i nterpret the nature i n questi on here as the nature i n i ts
absol ute consi derati on. For i t i s perfectl y natural to thi nk that i t i s the
nature i n i ts absol ute consi derati on whi ch enj oys two di fferent types of
bei ng, as Aqui nas mai ntai ns i n the De ente et essenti a.
Second, i t i s not i mpossi ble that i n some contexts Aqui nas deli berately
wants to leave out of the pi cture nature i n i ts absolute consi derati on to stress
the contrast between mental and extramental bei ng. Thi s would make perfect
sense i n contexts such as the Commentary on Z where an attack on Platoni c
doctri nes i s under way. For Platos mi stake preci sely consi sted i n confusi ng
mental and extramental bei ng. I n thi s sense, a reference to the i ndi fference of
essence i s not, stri ctly speaki ng, requi red i n order for Aqui nas to make hi s
point. All is needed is to point to the difference between mental and extramental
exi stence. But nothi ng i n Aqui nass language clashes wi th the doctri ne of the
i ndi fference of essence.
Aqui nass general posi ti on concerni ng the problem of uni versals accounts
for the absolutely non-problemati c way he i nterprets the fi rst of Z 13s
arguments and the peculi ari ty condi ti on on whi ch i t rests. Accordi ng to the
argument, the substance of a thi ng must be peculi ar to i t ; therefore, the
uni versal cannot be substance. For i t i s by i ts nature common to many thi ngs.
I n the li ght of the aforementi oned di sti ncti ons, the fact that the substance
must be peculi ar to that of whi ch i t i s a substance cannot but mean, accordi ng
to Aqui nas, that the substance of a thi ng must exi st i n the thi ng i tself
108
. The
nature or essence predi cable of parti culars cannot exi st except i n parti culars
themselves. To some extent, i t i s the parti culars themselves, at least i n so far
as human nature, for i nstance, does not exi st extramentally except as thi s or
that i ndi vi dual human bei ng
109
. Accordi ng to the peculi ari ty cri teri on,
therefore, the uni versal cannot be substance. For i f the uni versal were
substance of all parti culars i t i s predi cated of, then, si nce the uni versal i s one,
all parti culars would share the same substance and would be, accordi ngly,
107
Cfr. Sent. Li b. De An., Li b. I I , lec. 12, pp. 115-116, ll. 95-107.
108
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, n. 1572. But cfr. also : Exp. Metaph., Li b. I , lec. 15, n.
228 ; Li b. VI I , lec. 16, n. 1640.
109
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, n. 1583.
204 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
one and the same thi ng
110
. But the universal cannot be the substance of just
one of the parti culars i t refers to, ei ther. For, then, i t would be substance of
the other parti culars as well, gi ven that the uni versal bears the same relati on
to all the parti culars i t belongs to. I n thi s case, therefore, we would face the
same di ffi culty as we di d i n the previ ous one. Therefore, we are left wi th the
conclusi on that the uni versal cannot be substance of any of the thi ngs i t i s
predi cated of
111
.
As can be noti ced, Aqui nas i nterprets the fi rst argument of Z 13 and the
peculi ari ty pri nci ple i t rests on i n the li ght of hi s concerns about the status of
uni versals. I t i s not possi ble to make of the uni versal the substance of the
parti culars i t i s predi cated of, si nce i t i s not possi ble to reconci le the
numeri cal di versi ty of parti culars wi th the uni queness of the uni versal whi ch
should be the alleged substance. The di ffi culty can be solved i f one gi ves up
the Platoni c assumpti on accordi ng to whi ch the uni versal i s a substance and
accepts the peculi ari ty condi ti on : the substance or essence of a gi ven thi ng
cannot but exi st i n a parti culari sed form i n parti culars themselves. Once the
Platoni c i dea that uni versals are substances i s gi ven up, i t i s possi ble to
concei ve of essences and natures as substances of parti culars. For i n thi s way
essences and natures end up wi th bei ng i nner pri nci ples of substances and not
further substances di sti nct from i ndi vi duals.
2. The second, bri ef argument of Z 13 states that substance i s what i s not
predi cated of any underlyi ng subject. The uni versal, accordi ngly, cannot be
substance si nce i t i s always predi cated of some underlyi ng subject. Thomas
remarks that the present argument seems not to be vali d i n so far as i t i s
strongly at odds wi th Ari stotles analysi s i n the Categori es. For the latter work
merely rules out from substanti ali ty what i s present i n a subject wi thout
preventi ng thi ngs whi ch are predi cated of a subject from bei ng substances.
Secondary substances, for i nstance, are substances because they are not i n a
subject but, nevertheless, they have subjects they are predi cated of, i .e.
pri mary substances
112
.
Aqui nas repli es to thi s di ffi culty by stressi ng that Ari stotle proceeds i n the
Categori es accordi ng to a logi cal poi nt of vi ew, whi le i n the Metaphysi cs he
endorses a metaphysi cal one. A logi ci an i n fact does not consi der thi ngs i n so
far as they exi st outsi de the human i ntellect, but only i n so far as they are i n
the i ntellect and hence are subject to the i ntenti o uni versali tati s. Therefore,
110
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, n. 1572.
111
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, n. 1573.
112
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, n. 1575.
205 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
when a logi ci an says that somethi ng i s predi cated of a subject, he means to
refer to a purely i ntellectual act, i .e. predi cati on, whereby a concept, i .e. a
mental enti ty, i s appli ed to a subject, i .e. an object exi sti ng outsi de the
human i ntellect. I n other words, he does not i ntend to refer to a relati on
between two extramental enti ti es. A metaphysi ci an, by contrast, consi ders
thi ngs i n so far as they are bei ngs. From hi s poi nt of vi ew, therefore, there i s
no di fference between esse i n subi ecto and esse de subi ecto : by both these
expressi ons he means that there exi sts (i n reali ty) a gi ven enti ty and that thi s
very enti ty i nheres i n a gi ven subject exi sti ng i n actuali ty. And thi s i s the sense
the expressi on to be sai d of a subject carri es i n Z 13s argument. Therefore,
accordi ng to thi s sense of the expressi on, a metaphysi ci an can ri ghtly conclu-
de that nothi ng that i s sai d of a subject can be a substance si nce no substance
has i ts own bei ng i n a subject, but enjoys an i ndependent way of bei ng
113
.
Apparently strai ghtforward, Aqui nass rejoi nder needs, on the contrary, a
note of clari fi cati on. To start wi th a general poi nt, one should make i t clear
that the attempt to reconci le the analysi s of the Categori es wi th that of the
Metaphysi cs must be regarded as one of the characteri sti c marks of Aqui nass
commentary on the latter work. To confi ne ourselves to the seventh Book, we
can menti on as a good example of thi s general strategy Aqui nass effort to
reconci le Met. Z 3s di vi si on of substance wi th the one i mpli ci tly proposed i n
the Categori es
114
. I n the case of the text in Z 13 under scruti ny, reconci li ati on
i s brought about by referri ng to the fact that the Categori es endorses a logi cal
approach, whi le the Metaphysi cs exhi bi ts a metaphysi cal one. I n a celebrated
text i n hi s commentary on Met. | 2
115
, Aquinas explains in some details what
uni tes and what sets apart a logi ci ans and a metaphysi ci ans poi nt of vi ew.
Although they share Aqui nas remarks the fact of deali ng wi th the whole
of bei ng or reali ty, a logi ci ans poi nt of vi ew di ffers from a metaphysi ci ans for
the fact that the former deals wi th ens rati oni s, i .e. mental bei ng, whi le the
latter i s concerned wi th ens naturae, i .e. extramental bei ng. Such a di sti ncti on
i s further eluci dated by the remark that a logi ci an deals wi th those i ntenti ones,
i .e. concepts, whi ch the i ntellect di scovers reflecti ng upon the thi ngs i n so far
as they are consi dered and known, whereas a metaphysi ci an deals wi th thi ngs
i n so far as they exi st i n nature. I n other words, Aqui nass di sti ncti on seems
to entai l that a metaphysi ci an i s concerned wi th so-called fi rst i ntenti ons, i .e.
113
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, n. 1576.
114
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 2, nn. 1273-1275.
115
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. I V, lec. 4, n. 574. I n the passage commented on by Aqui nas (| 2,
1004b17-26), Ari stotle means to prove that phi losophy deals wi th per se attri butes of bei ng by
poi nti ng to the fact that di sci pli nes for some relevant aspects aki n to i t do so. Thi s proof leads
Ari stotle to provi de a survey of the relati onshi ps among phi losophy, di alecti c and sophi sti c.
206 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
fi rst level concepts whi ch di rectly represent extramental objects, whi le a
logi ci an i s mai nly i nterested i n so-called second i ntenti ons, i .e. second level
concepts whi ch the i ntellect attri butes to fi rst i ntenti ons. I n so far as they are
attri buted to fi rst order concepts whi ch represent external thi ngs, these
second order concepts can be regarded as the result of a reflecti on upon the
way thi ngs exi st i n the i ntellect i tself.
Actually, signs of this way of describing the difference between logic and
metaphysics can be detected also in the text of the commentary on Z 13 under
examination. First, Aquinas reminds us that, generally speaking, a logician is
interested in substances only in so far as they exist in the intellect and are
subject to the concept (intentio) of universal. Second, the Dominican Master
maintains that the relation being said of, in so far as it is studied by a logician
as is the case for Categories, entails a purely mental act, i.e. that of predication.
Such a relation, accordingly, ends up being the attribution of a concept to an
extramental entity (that is the subject indicated in the predicate being said of
a subject). Also in the text at issue, therefore, a logicians point of view seems
to be closely connected with the level of mental existence and second intentions.
I n general, a metaphysi ci ans poi nt of vi ew and for that matter also a
physi ci sts, whi ch i s often associ ated by Aqui nas wi th the formers presents
a reali sti c character, whi le the logi ci ans poi nt of vi ew has a more conceptual
turn. For i nstance, from a physi ci sts and metaphysi ci ans poi nt of vi ew,
separate substances are not analysable i n terms of genus and di fferenti a. For,
accordi ng to a reali sti c poi nt of vi ew, genus and di fferenti a have always to be
grounded on really di fferent natures or pri nci ples such as, e.g., matter and
form. From a logi ci ans poi nt of vi ew, i nstead, separate substances are
analysable i n genus and di fferenti a si nce a logi ci an can consi der one and the
same nature from two di fferent poi nts of vi ew. He can consi der i t, for
i nstance, from the poi nt of vi ew of what thi s nature shares wi th other si mi lar
natures and thus to get the genus or from the poi nt of vi ew of what sets
i t apart from other natures of the same type and thus to get the di fferenti a
116
.
Si nce thi ngs as exi sti ng i n the i ntellect, i .e. concepts, bear a uni form relati on
to thi ngs exi sti ng outsi de i t, a logi ci an tends to uni fy under a common concept
thi ngs whi ch turn out to be di vi ded i n reali ty. A metaphysi ci an or a physi ci st
consi ders them as they really are, i nstead. As a good example of thi s the fact
can be menti oned that a logi ci an ranges i n one and the same genus, e.g.
substance, objects that a metaphysi ci an and a physi ci st place i n di fferent
genera, li ke sublunar substances, heavenly bodi es and angels
117
. However, it
116
Cfr. Q. De An., q. 7, ad 17, p. 62, ll. 475-489.
117
Cfr. S. Boet. De Tri n., q. 4, a. 2, p. 124, ll. 159-185.
207 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
can also happen that a logi ci an i ntroduces di sti ncti ons whi ch, from a
metaphysi ci ans and physi ci sts poi nt of vi ew, have not to be i ntroduced. Thi s
i s the case, at least i n part, wi th the text of the commentary on Z 13 under
exami nati on, where a logi ci an bri ngs i n a di sti ncti on between bei ng i n and
bei ng sai d of whi ch, from a metaphysi ci ans poi nt of vi ew, i s not i n order.
Now, wi th regard to the very di sti ncti on between bei ng i n and bei ng sai d
of, i t must be remarked that Aqui nas, i n stressi ng that a metaphysi ci an does
not draw any di sti ncti on between the two concepts, i s by no means denyi ng
a real di sti ncti on between substance and acci dents. Thomass poi nt i s a
di fferent one and concerns the noti on of substance. As wi ll be remembered,
the troubl e wi th i t l i es i n the fact that the Categori es excl udes from
substanti ali ty only what i s i n a subject but not all that i s predi cated of a
subject. For secondary substances are substances and are nonetheless
predi cated of pri mary substances. I n Aqui nass vi ew, the fact that i n the
Categori es secondary substances are characteri sed by means of the noti on of
bei ng predi cated of makes perfect sense, gi ven the general method of the
Ari stoteli an treati se. Bei ng a logi cal treati se, the Categori es i s concerned wi th
substances as present i n the i ntellect, i .e. as uni versal concepts. I n thi s
sense, the relati on x i s predi cated of y refers to the relati on between a
concept, i .e. a mental enti ty, and thi ngs exi sti ng outsi de the mi nd.
Accordi ngly, the Categori es i s qui te ri ght i n si ngli ng out the fact of not bei ng
i n a subject as one of di sti ngui shi ng marks of substance, but thi s does not
prevent the rel ati on between concepts of substances and extramental
substances from bei ng i ndi cated by means of the relati on bei ng predi cated
(or sai d) of. From a metaphysi ci ans poi nt of vi ew, however, who does not
consi der thi ngs accordi ng to thei r mental exi stence but accordi ng to thei r
natural one, the only di sti ncti on that matters i s the one between exi sti ng by
i tself (=bei ng a self-subsi sti ng thi ng) and exi sti ng i n somethi ng else. Thi s
latter relati on i s referred to i n Met. Z 13 by the generi c expressi on esse de
subi ecto and i s i ncompati ble wi th bei ng a substance also accordi ng to the
Categori es. And that i s the extent to whi ch esse i n subi ecto and esse de
subi ecto come to the same thi ng.
Accordi ng to a metaphysi ci ans poi nt of vi ew, therefore, i f the uni versal i s
a determi nate enti ty somehow present i n parti culars, i t cannot be substance.
For the fact of bei ng i n somethi ng else and not subsi sti ng by i tself i s
i ncompati ble wi th the noti on of substance. Of course, Platoni sts are left wi th
the possi ble reply that thei r uni versal i s present i n parti culars only i n a
deri vati ve sense, i .e. by bei ng parti ci pated by them. Thi s ki nd of presence
they would say does not entai l the ontologi cal dependence of I deas on
parti culars. For, on the contrary, i t i s I deas that shape parti culars and not the
208 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
other way round. Be that as i t may, Thomass argument attempts to emphasi se
the di ffi culty to hold both that the references of substanti al predi cates are
themselves self-subsi sti ng substances and that these substances are also
substances of other objects exi sti ng i n actuali ty. The soluti on to the di ffi culty
consi sts, also i n thi s case, i n gi vi ng up thi nki ng of references of substanti al
predi cates as per se subsi sti ng substances. Once thi s assumpti on i s dropped,
references of general terms can be concei ved of as substances of parti cular
objects, i .e. essenti al consti tuents present i n parti culars.
Let me end my analysi s of Aqui nass i nterpretati on of Met. Z 13s second
argument wi th a fi nal remark concerni ng the relati onshi p beween Platoni sm
and the poi nt of vi ew of a logi ci an. As a matter of fact, Aqui nas descri bes the
Platoni sts posi ti on as rooted i n a logi cal consi derati on of thi ngs
118
. By itself,
however, a logi cal approach does not entai l any Platoni c poi nt of vi ew; nor
does i t necessari ly lead to metaphysi cal mi stakes. On the contrary i t can turn
out to be of much help to the metaphysi cal i nvesti gati on. Followi ng a remark
present i n Averroess Commentary on the Metaphysi cs
119
, Aquinas underlines
an i mportant affi ni ty between metaphysi cs and logi c : i t consi sts i n the fact
that both sci ences deal wi th the whole of reali ty, although they do so from
di fferent poi nts of vi ew
120
. This affinity explains why metaphysics frequently
employs logi cal arguments, i .e. arguments resti ng on predi cati on and the
relati onshi p obtai ni ng between concepts and thi ngs they represent. One can
look for thi s i n Z 3s argument to the effect that matter i s i ndetermi nate i n
character. Aqui nas descri bes the argument at i ssue as properly logi cal i n
character and strongly contrasts i t wi th the physi cal one, i .e. the one based on
movement, put forward by Ari stotle i n Physi cs A
121
. I ndeed, according to
Aqui nas, the whole of Book Seven of Ari stotles Metaphysi cs i s characteri sed
by a logi cal i nqui ry (i .e. one mai nly based on predi cati on) i nto the noti ons of
substance and essence. A more physi cal-metaphysi cal i nqui ry, whi ch centres
around the i nner pri nci ples of a concrete substance such as matter and form,
would be entrusted to Book Ei ght
122
. This does not mean, of course, that Book
118
Cfr. for i nstance : Exp. Metaph., Li b. XI I , lec. 1, n. 2423. See also : Q. De Spi r. Creat., a.
3, p. 40, ll. 275-282 (where i t i s sai d that Platoni sts proceeded i n thei r i nqui ry i nto the nature
of thi ngs ex rati oni bus i ntelli gi bi li bus, whi le Ari stotle proceeded ex rebus sensi bi li bus ; such a
di sti ncti on i s then traced back by Aqui nas to Si mpli ci uss Commentary on the Categori es).
119
Cfr. AVERROI S CORDUBENSI S I n Ari stoteli s Metaphysi corum Li bros Commentari um, Li b. I V,
t.c. 5, i n Ari stoteli s Opera cum Averroi s Commentari i s, apud J unctas, Veneti i s 1562-1574 (ri st.
anast. Mi nerva, Frankfurt a. M. 1962), vol. VI I I , p. 70H.
120
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. I V, lec. 4, nn. 573-574 ; Li b. VI I , lec. 2, n. 1287.
121
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 2, n. 1287.
122
Accordi ng to Aqui nas, therefore, the consi derati ons of logi cal character (`,.-. ;) whi ch
Ari stotle starts at 1029b13 extend to the whole of Book Seven : cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec.
209 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
Seven does not put to use the noti ons of matter and form, but, rather, that i t
comes to these noti ons by an analysi s of predi cati on and not by an i nqui ry
i nto moti on and change.
Generally speaki ng, therefore, the mi stake of Platoni sts does not li e i n
thei r endorsi ng a logi cal poi nt of vi ew, but i n mi stakenly extendi ng to reali ty
logi cal and cogni ti ve di sti ncti ons. As Aqui nas stresses especi ally i n hi s
commentary on Met. A, the mai n mi stake of Platoni sts consi sts i n parti cular
i n rei fyi ng concepts obtai ned through a process of abstracti on
123
. I n other
words, they believe that to every mental entity obtained by means of abstraction
there corresponds a real enti ty wi th the same properti es as the correspondi ng
mental one. Accordi ng to Platoni sts, the general pri nci ple seems to hold such
that i f x i s thi nkable (or conceptuali sable) wi thout y, then x does exi st or can
anyway exi st wi thout y . Si nce i t i s possi ble to thi nk of a human bei ng wi thout
thi nki ng of the i ndi vi duati ng condi ti ons whi ch turn i t i nto a parti cular
human being, there must exist a common human being separate from individual
ones. Li kewi se, si nce i t i s possi ble to thi nk of genus wi thout thi nki ng of i ts
di fferent speci es, there must exi st an I dea of genus di sti nct and separate from
the I dea of i ts di fferent speci es. Fi nally, si nce i t i s possi ble to thi nk of
quanti tati ve di mensi ons of bodi es wi thout maki ng reference to the sensi ble
matter i n whi ch they are reali sed, then there must exi st geometri cal-
mathemati cal enti ti es separate from sensi ble bodi es.
I ndeed, what li es at the root of Platoni sts error concerni ng abstracti on i s
the mi staken attri buti on of an asserti ve character to abstracti on along wi th
the concern to preserve, i n accordance wi th a correspondence theory of truth,
the truth of i ntellectual knowledege
124
. Let me spell out what I mean. I n
general terms, Platoni sts thought that to concei ve of x wi thout concei vi ng of
y entai ls to state that x i s (or exi sts) wi thout y : to concei ve of human bei ng
i n general wi thout needi ng to concei ve of parti cular human bei ngs would
entai l to state that human bei ng i n general exi sts separate from parti cular
human bei ngs. Therefore a Platoni st reasons i f there di d not exi st i n
reali ty a common human bei ng separate from parti cular human bei ngs,
3, n. 1306 ; Li b. VI I I , lec. 1, n. 1681 (cfr. also : Li b. VI I , lec. 2, n. 1280, concerni ng the logi cal
defi ni ti on of substance). However, the physi cal-metaphysi cal i nqui ry of Book Ei ght i s somehow
foreshadowed by the study of substance as cause whi ch i s under way i n Z 17 : cfr. Exp. Metaph.,
Li b. VI I , lec. 17, n. 1648.
123
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. I , lec. 10, n. 158.
124
Cfr. S. Boet. De Tri n., q. 5, a. 3, p. 149, ll. 275-290 ; S. THOMAE AQUI NATI S I n Octo Li bros
Physi corum Ari stoteli s Exposi ti o, Li b I I , lec. 3, cura et studi o P. MAGGI OL O, Mari etti , Tauri ni -
Romae 1965, nn. 161-162 ; S. Th., I
a
, q. 85, a. 1, ad 2. See also : Sent. Li b. De An., Li b. I I , c. 12,
p. 116, ll. 118-139.
210 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
i ntellectual knowledge would turn out to be false, because truth consi sts i n a
correspondence relati on between thought and reali ty. Such an argument,
accordi ng to Aqui nas, completely blurs the li ne of demarcati on between the
level of conceptualisation (which Aquinas labels first operation of the intellect)
and the one of proposi ti onal judgment (whi ch Aqui nas labels second operati on
of the i ntellect). More i n parti cular, i t i gnores the di sti ncti on between the act
by whi ch our mi nd tells apart one thi ng from another (the so-called abstracti o)
and the negati ve proposi ti onal judgment that asserts that one thi ng i s actually
separate from another (the so-called separati o). I n fact, one thi ng i s the
operati on whereby the i ntellect obtai ns, through abstracti on processes,
concepts correspondi ng to extramental objects, qui te another the operati on
whereby the i ntellect puts together the concepts obtai ned through the fi rst
operati on and forms proposi ti ons about reali ty. The fi rst operati on only
entai ls that a thi ng x i s thi nkable wi thout thi nki ng of another thi ng y, but does
not i mply asserti ng that x exi sts i n reali ty wi thout y. I t, accordi ngly, cannot
i nvolve stri ctly speaki ng truth or falsi ty, because truth and falsi ty presuppose
the statement that somethi ng or somethi ng else i s the case. I t i s only by means
of the second operati on, whi ch i nvolves a composi ti on of concepts obtai ned
by abstracti on, that the i ntellect concei ves of statements or proposi ti ons
concerni ng reali ty, li ke for i nstance the statement that x i s not y, i .e. i s
separate i n reali ty from y. Falsi ty can occur only at thi s second level, si nce
here the i ntellect actually states that somethi ng or somethi ng else i s the case.
3. As previ ously remarked, the two arguments I have analysed above try to
prove that uni versals are not substances starti ng from the fact that they are
predi cated of many thi ngs. From 1038b23 onwards, i nstead, Ari stotle puts
forward, accordi ng to Aqui nass reconstructi on, four arguments whi ch show
the non-substanti al character of uni versals starti ng from the fact that they are
part of essence and defi ni ti on. The fi rst of them (1038b23-29), whi ch wi ll be
shortly di scussed below, i s the most i nteresti ng one, not i n i tself, but i n so far
as i t bri ngs out the contrast between uni versali ty and substanti ali ty by havi ng
recourse to the Ari stoteli an noti on of hoc ali qui d ( :: .). The structure of
the argument can be reconstructed i n the followi ng way
125
. (A) (i) I t is
i mpossi ble for what i s substance and hoc ali qui d to be consti tuted by what i s
not substance and hoc ali qui d but si gni fi es a quale. (i i ) Otherwi se, si nce what
consti tutes somethi ng i s pri or to i t, what i s not substance but quale would be
pri or to substance. Thi s, however, cannot be the case because substance
enjoys every ki nd of pri ori ty over i ts affecti ons. (B) Now, uni versals do not
125
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, nn. 1579-1580.
211 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
si gni fy a substance and a hoc ali qui d, but a quale qui d, as Ari stotle hi mself
mai ntai ns i n the Categori es tal ki ng about secondary substances. (C)
Therefore, parti culars, whi ch are substances and hoc ali qui d, cannot be
composed of uni versals.
As i n the case of the previ ous argument, Aqui nas i mmedi ately rai ses a
di ffi culty concerni ng Ari stotles appeal to a characteri sti c doctri ne i n the
Categori es, that i s the thesi s accordi ng to whi ch secondary substances do not
si gni fy a hoc ali qui d but a quale qui d. I n parti cular, Thomas wonders whether
i n the current argument such a doctri ne i s reported i n an enti rely correct way.
For, accordi ng to the doctri ne i n the Categori es, secondary substances, even
i f they do si gni fy a quale qui d and not a hoc ali qui d, do not actually si gni fy
acci dental quali ti es but substanti al ones. I n other words, they refer to the
type of nature belongi ng to a certai n class of substanti al i ndi vi duals and
hence speci fy the type of substance an i ndi vi dual i s. The Ari stoteli an argument
proceeds, i nstead, as though secondary substances were acci dents
126
.
Aquinass reply makes it clear that the argument must be read within the
context of the anti-Platonic polemic. I f universals are, as Platonists maintain,
things (res) distinct from particulars or singulars, then they cannot signify
substantial qualities but must refer to accidental ones. I n fact, every quality,
which is also a thing distinct from what it is a quality of, is an accident.
Accordingly, if universals are res different from singulars and also signify
qualities of singulars themselves, then they must signify accidental qualities
127
.
For those, instead, who maintain that universals like genus and species are not
things or natures different from singulars, but are the singulars themselves (at
least in so far as, for instance, there is no human being that is not a singular
human being), secondary substances do not signify accidental qualities
128
.
As a matter of fact, Aqui nass reply has no effecti veness agai nst the
Platoni st posi ti on, si nce i t rests on the assumpti on that substanti al predi cates
in any case signify qualities, whether substantial or accidental an assumption
a Platoni st cannot agree wi th. However, Aqui nass argument can be assessed
i n a di fferent way i f one takes i nto account the fact that Thomas possesses
i ndependent reasons for clai mi ng i ncompati bi li ty between the noti on of
uni versal and the one of :: . (hoc ali qui d). As wi ll become clearer i n the
next secti on of the paper, accordi ng to Aqui nas the label of :: ./hoc ali qui d
can be appli ed i n the full sense only to i ndi vi duals belongi ng to the category
of substance. Accordi ngly, the noti on of :: ., at least when understood i n
126
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, n. 1581.
127
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, n. 1582.
128
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, n. 1583.
212 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
i ts pri mary sense, seems to entai l that of i ndi vi duali ty. But, on the other hand,
i ndi vi duali ty and uni versali ty are completely i ncompati ble
129
. For the idea
(rati o) of i ndi vi duali ty consi sts i n not bei ng i n somethi ng else and hence i n
not bei ng able to be parti ci pated
130
. Universality, on the contrary, consists in
bei ng i n many thi ngs or, at least, i n bei ng able i n pri nci ple to be parti ci pated
by many thi ngs.
Besi des, i n so far as i t i s appli ed to concrete i ndi vi duals, the noti on of hoc
ali qui d comes together wi th the noti ons of per se subsi stence, separateness
and, of course, numeri cal uni ty. Now, accordi ng to Aqui nas the fact of bei ng
a per se subsi sti ng and separate i ndi vi dual and the fact of bei ng a uni versal,
i .e. somethi ng common to many thi ngs, are plai nly i ncompati ble just as are
the fact of bei ng numeri cally one and that of bei ng common to many thi ngs
131
.
Especi ally the i ncompati bi li ty between enjoyi ng per se subsi stence and
separateness and bei ng a uni versal i s clearly stated by Aqui nas i n hi s
commentary on Met. Z 16, 1040b27-1041a5. I n thi s text, Ari stotle concludes
the secti on devoted to uni versals by explai ni ng what i s ri ght and what i s
wrong wi th the Platoni c posi ti on. Aqui nas remarks, followi ng Ari stotle i n
thi s, that the mi stake of Platoni sts does not li e i n concei vi ng of I deas as
subsi sti ng and separate enti ti es. Thi s, on the contrary, i s a perfectly natural
move to make i f I deas are thought to be substances, si nce subsi sti ng per se and
bei ng separate are di sti ngui shi ng marks of substance. The Platoni sts error
li es, rather, i n mai ntai ni ng that such subsi sti ng enti ti es are also common to
many thi ngs
132
. Thomas adds some personal remarks on the reasons why this
posi ti on cannot be correct
133
. He seems in particular to think that, if an
extramental enti ty whi ch subsi sts per se were also common to many thi ngs, i t
mi ght be so only by a form of presence or i nherence i n these thi ngs themselves.
But Thomas mai ntai ns thi s possi bi li ty as well has to be ruled out for at
least two reasons. (i ) Fi rst of all, the fact of bei ng i n somethi ng else would
depri ve the alleged substance of the property of per se subsi stence. (i i )
Moreover, the fact of i nheri ng i n a parti cular object would prevent the alleged
substance from i nheri ng i n others. As for thi s second objecti on, Aqui nas must
be thi nki ng of the fact that, i n general, when a nature i s recei ved i n a
parti cular object, i t i s contracted and li mi ted accordi ng to the way of exi stence
129
Cfr. S. Boet. De Tri n., q. 4, a. 2, p. 125, ll. 194-203.
130
Cfr. S. Th., I I I
a
, q. 77, a. 2 ; Q. De Spi r. Creat., a. 8, ad 4, p. 83, ll. 350-365 ; S. THOMAE DE
AQUI NO De uni tate i ntellectus contra Averroi stas, c. 5, Opera Omni a, t. XLI I I (Opuscula I V),
Edi tori di S. Tommaso, Ad S. Sabi nae, Roma 1976, pp. 310-311, ll. 50-70.
131
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 16, n. 1641.
132
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 16, n. 1642.
133
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 16, nn. 1642-1643.
213 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
of that parti cular object. But a parti cular i s such si nce i t cannot be i n
somethi ng else; therefore, also the common nature loses, by i nheri ng i n a
parti cular object, i ts characteri sti c of bei ng parti ci pable.
As i n the case of the previ ous argument, di ffi culti es are overcome by gi vi ng
up the assumpti on that uni verals are per se subsi sti ng enti ti es and hoc ali quod
and sti cki ng to the i dea that they are somehow quale qui d. I n other words,
uni versal terms do not si gni fy objects, but only the natures of objects, i .e. the
type of substance an object i s or has. Although quale qui d i n character,
uni versals are not acci dents si nce, regarded as natures whi ch are present i n
si ngulars and do not subsi st per se, they can be concei ved of as the substances
and essences of si ngulars themselves
134
. What this means is that individual
substances really possess the natures uni versal terms si gni fy. These natures,
however, exi st as i nner pri nci ples of parti cular objects and not as substances
over and above the parti culars themselves. As can be noted, once agai n
mi stakes can be avoi ded i f one keeps apart thi ngs whi ch are substances from
thi ngs whi ch are only substance of somethi ng else.
3. The status of forms and the questi on of the hoc ali qui d ( :: .).
1. As I have tri ed to show, Aqui nass general i nterpretati on of Met. Z 13
di ffers i n some i mportant respects from the ones advanced by the majori ty of
contemporary scholars. Fi rst of all, accordi ng to Aqui nas the chapter does not
concern form i n the Ari stoteli an sense of the term. I t deals, on the contrary,
wi th essence whi ch, to Aqui nas, i s not to be i denti fi ed wi th form alone, but
i ncludes common matter as well. Moreover, also from the poi nt of vi ew of the
problems i nvolved, Aqui nas stops hi s analysi s much before the problem many
scholars see i n the chapter i n fact ari ses. Under the pressure of anti -Platoni c
polemi c, Aqui nas sees the chapter as chi efly concerned wi th the questi on as
to whether the essences or natures of composi tes exi st separate from them or
only i n them. Most modern i nterpreters, on the contrary, are searchi ng i n the
chapter for an answer to the problem concerni ng i ndi vi duati on of forms (but
the same thi ng would hold for the case of essences i n general), i .e. whether the
forms of sensi ble substances are i ndi vi dual by themselves or by vi rtue of the
matter they are joi ned to. I n the way the problem i s put, however, i t i s clearly
already i mpli ed that forms cannot exi st except i nsi de the parti cular objects
they are forms of.
However, the fact that Aqui nas does not regard Z 13 as mai nly concerned
wi th the problem of the i ndi vi duati on of substanti al forms does not mean that
134
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. X, lec. 3, n. 1979. See also : Li b. VI I , lec. 7, n. 1428.
214 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
he i s not i nterested i n the questi on or that he i s not aware of the presence of
the problem wi thi n the very Book Seven of Ari stotles Metaphysi cs. Now, i t i s
useful, before exami ni ng a seri es of relevant texts, to bri efly state what i s i n
general Aqui nass poi nt of vi ew concerni ng the status of substanti al forms.
Thi s wi ll enable us to prevent some mi sunderstandi ngs whi ch have occurred,
as noted i n the fi rst part of the paper, also i n the case of contemporary studi es.
A restri cti on of the scope of my i nqui ry i s i mmedi ately i n order here. As i s
well-known, the problem of i ndi vi duati on of sensi ble substances i s much
debated among Aqui nas scholars, especi ally i n so far as the role played by
di mensi ons (whether determi nate or undetermi nate) i s concerned. I n the
followi ng, I do not mean to make any menti on of thi s ki nd of di scussi on. I
shall generically speak of matter or individual matter or, again, of a given
portion of matter as the principle of individuation, without further determining
what makes matter di vi si ble or hence able to perform the functi on of
individuating. The reason for this choice is that I am much more interested in
Aquinass position concerning the status of form as it emerges from Aristotelian
texts and problems than I am in a complete reconstruction of Aquinass view
regarding what makes the reception of forms in matter possible.
To start wi th the questi on at i ssue, Thomas mai ntai ns that each
i ndi vi dual bel ongi ng to a gi ven speci es possesses a proper substanti al
form, numeri cal l y di sti nct from the ones of the other i ndi vi dual s bel ongi ng
to the same speci es. For i nstance, the cel ebrated text of A 5, 1071a27-29
whi ch represents one of the mai n texts supporti ng the theory of parti cul ar
forms i s i nterpreted by Aqui nas i n the sense that the pri nci pl es, i ncl udi ng
substanti al forms, of thi ngs di fferent i n number are themsel ves di fferent
i n number. I n Cont. Gent., I I , Ch. 73 and S. Th., I
a
, q. 76, a. 2, the Domi ni can
Master bri ngs forward al so an argument backi ng the thesi s at i ssue: i f two
thi ngs had the same form, si nce form i s that by vi rtue of whi ch a thi ng has
i ts esse, then these two thi ngs woul d have the same esse; thus, they woul d
be one and the same thi ng and no l onger two, contrary to our i ni ti al
assumpti on. An anal ogous argument i s presented al so i n Q. De Spi r. Creat.,
a. 9, where the thesi s concerni ng numeri cal di fference of pri nci pl es i s
traced back to Met. Z
135
. And, in fact, within his commentary on Met. Z,
Aqui nas often makes reference to the fact that the pri nci pl es of i ndi vi dual s
are themesel ves i ndi vi dual
136
.
However, the fact that Aqui nas speaks i n such a way of numeri cally
di sti nct forms for each i ndi vi dual does not mean that he can be ranged among
135
Cfr. Q. De Spi r. Creat., a. 9, p. 94, ll. 266-278.
136
Cfr., for i nstance, Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 10, n. 1490 ; lec. 11, nn. 1523-1524.
215 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
the supporters of parti cular forms i n the modern sense of the term. I ndeed,
the real questi on modern scholars are confronted wi th i s not whether an
i ndi vi dual belongi ng to a gi ven speci es possesses a form numeri cally di fferent
from that of another co-speci fi c i ndi vi dual, but what makes thi s form
numeri cally one and parti cular. Accordi ngly, the bi g contenti on i s between
people who mai ntai n that each i ndi vi dual possesses a form whi ch i s i ndi vi dual
or parti cular by i tself, i .e. i ndependently of the matter i t i s joi ned to, and
those who hold, on the contrary, that i t i s the matter that, as i t were,
multi pli es and makes parti cular a gi ven substanti al form. Accordi ng to the
latter, therefore, i f the form of a gi ven speci es could exi st separate from the
di fferent pi eces of matter i t occurs i n, then i t would only be one.
Now, there i s no doubt that i t i s the latter posi ti on that represents
Aqui nass vi ew concerni ng forms of sensi ble substances. I ndeed, Aqui nass
posi ti on i s parti cularly useful to grasp the full i mpli cati ons of the modern
debate, because i n i t a doctri ne of uni versal forms i n the modern sense of the
term combi nes wi th the i dea that forms of sensi ble substances do not exi st
except as parti culari sed. I n other words, the fact that forms of sensi ble
substances are particular does not imply that they are particular by themselves,
i ndependently of the matter along wi th whi ch, i n Aqui nass perspecti ve, they
are created. Wi th respect to the general pi cture I have been sketchi ng, the case
of the human soul, namely the case of a human bei ngs substanti al form,
undoubtedly represents an excepti on. For the i ndi vi duali ty of the human
soul, although somehow related to the body, does not depend on i t. I n the
followi ng, I shall try to i llustrate i n some detai l both Aqui nass general
posi ti on concerni ng forms and the parti cular case of the human soul. Thi s
wi ll enable us also to assess Aqui nass treatment of the cruci al noti on of ::
. (hoc ali qui d i n the Lati n traslati on read by Aqui nas).
2. Let me start again from Aquinass commentary on Met. Z. As will be
remembered, concluding a note within his commentary on Z 13 Aquinas stresses
the fact that, according to Aristotles conception, the natures or essences of
sensible particulars are not entities (res) different from particulars, but just the
particulars themselves (ipsamet particularia)
137
. As may be inferred from Thomass
explanation, this statement must not be taken in the strong sense that a
particular or individual is strictly identical to its essence, but in the weaker sense
that an essence does not exist except in its particular tokens (there exist no
human beings, who are not particular human beings). I ndeed, according to
Aquinas, in the case of material substances there is no identity between an
137
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 13, n. 1583.
216 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
individual and its essence
138
. This can be grasped from the Dominican Masters
treatment of the doctrine of the identity between a thing and its essence, put
forward by Aristotle in Met. Z 6 and taken up again at the end of Z 11 (1037a32-
b7). I n commenting on this passage, Thomas proposes his general reconstruction
of Aristotles strategy concerning the identity-thesis: in Met. Z 6 Aristotle would
have ruled out from identity with their own essence only accidents and accidental
composites, granting on the contrary the identity at issue to material particular
substances; in the final section of Z 11, instead, Aristotle would deny the identity
between a thing and its essence also in the case of material substances to restrict
it merely to the case of substances separate from matter.
From Aquinass point of view Z 11s position is the right one. I n fact, in the
case of material substances, i.e. of concrete individuals, there is no identity
between a thing and its essence. The general reason Aquinas proposes for this
lack of identity can be formulated in the following way: essence is what is
signified by definition ; but a definition always refers to a species and not to this
or that individual belonging to the species; therefore, the individual must
contain something that exceeds species as such
139
. This something cannot be
common matter, which is part of the essence of species, but must be the
individual matter of each individual, which is actually what individualises
common essence. Since the species of natural things cannot exist except in
individuals, then one can conclude that each natural substance, in so far as it
contains matter, is not identical with its essence but is just what possesses an
essence. The case of separate substances is considerably different. These, in
fact, are pure forms and subsist by themselves. I n other words, they do not
contain matter (like material substances) nor are they joined to matter in order
to subsist (like material forms or essences). Therefore, they have no means of
being individuated and hence each of them is identical with its essence
140
.
138
On the relati onshi p between a natural substance and i ts essence see: GAL L UZZO, Aqui nas
on Common Nature.
139
Cfr. Exp. Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 11, nn. 1535-1536.
140
Thomas (Exp. Metaph., Lib. VI I , lec. 11, n. 1535) explains the differences between the
analysis of Z 6 and that of Z 11 by means, once again, of the distinction between a logical and a
natural, i.e. physical, point of view. As previously stressed, the whole of Book Seven of Aristotles
Metaphysics carries on an analysis of substance which is based on a logical point of view and, in
particular, on the theory of predication. A section in which the logical character of the inquiry is
particularly evident is represented by Z 4-6. Accordingly, in Z 6, Aristotle takes up the problem of the
identity between a thing and its essence from a logical point of view. From this particular viewpoint,
the identity at issue holds also in the case of natural substances, for a human being considered from
the point of view of knowledge is identical to his essence in so far as he is present in the intellect in
abstraction from individuating conditions. I n Z 10-11, however, where matter and form have already
been brought in, natural substances are excluded from identity since they contain individual matter.
217 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
The text analysed provi des some i mportant i nsi ghts i nto the problem of
i ndi vi duati on of essences, but i t i s easy to show that what Thomas i s sayi ng
extends to the case of forms as well. For i n the case of the essences of sensi ble
substances, Aqui nas i s perfectly clear i n clai mi ng that thei r pri nci ple of
i ndi vi duati on, whi ch turns out to be i ndi vi dual matter, i s completely external
to them. Thi s must all the more be the case wi th forms of sensi ble substances,
whi ch are completely free from matter whether common or i ndi vi dual (even
i f they are joi ned to matter). Moreover, separate substances, i n addi ti on to
bei ng essences, are also pure forms and hence also i n thei r case the condi ti ons
of i ndi vi duati on for essence and form come to the same thi ng.
I n the li ght of these consi derati ons, i t i s now possi ble to lay down the
general assumpti ons that seem to govern Aqui nass vi ew concerni ng the
problem of i ndi vi duati on. (i ) The i ndi vi duati on of the concrete composi te
depends on a factor i nternal to the composi te i tself, i .e. i ndi vi dual matter. (i i )
The case of form i s, admi ttedly, more compli cated. I n general, however, i t
seems correct to say that the numeri cal multi pli cati on or pluri fi cati on of a
form, i .e. the si mple fact that there exi st several (numeri cally) di sti nct forms
of the same ki nd, can take place only by means of factors external to the form
i tsel f
141
. The reason for thi s pri nci ple i s that di versi ty of formal features
yi elds di versi ty i n speci es and not i n number, si nce formal features always
concern essence and a vari ati on i n essence always bri ngs along wi th i t a
vari ati on i n speci es as well
142
. Therefore, it is only matter, which is extrinsic
to form, that i s able to bri ng about the numeri cal multi pli cati on of a gi ven
form. Thi s general pri nci ple has two i mportant consequences : (a) materi al
forms, i .e. forms whi ch exi st i n matter and not by themselves, are always i n
pri nci ple multi pli able i n number, si nce they can i n pri nci ple always occur i n
di fferent pi eces of matter
143
. (b) I nstead, in the case of separate substances,
i .e. of forms whi ch by vi rtue of thei r own nature subsi st by themselves and not
i n somethi ng else, there cannot exi st more than one form wi thi n a gi ven
speci es
144
. This is so because separate forms, existing totally separate from
141
Cfr. Q. De An., q. 3, ad 13, p. 29, ll. 421-424. See also : S. Boet. De Tri n., q. 4, a. 2, p. 125,
ll. 194-203.
142
Cfr. I n I I Sent., d. 3, q. 1, a. 4, vol. I I , p. 97 ; d. 17, q. 2, a. 1, ad 5, vol. I I , p. 430 ; Cont.
Gent. I I , c. 81, n. 1621 ; c. 93, n. 1797 ; Q. De Pot., q. 3, a. 10, p. 71.
143
Cfr. Exp. Peryer., Li b. I , lec. 10, p. 50, ll. 71-103.
144
Cfr. I n I I Sent., d. 3, q. 1, a. 4, vol. I I , p. 97. Thomas someti mes eluci dates the fact that
separate substances are only one i n a speci es wi th recourse to the mental experi ment accordi ng
to whi ch, i f there could exi st a whi teness separate from matter, i t would only be one : cfr. Exp.
Peryer., Li b. I , lec. 10, p. 50, ll. 95-103 ; Q. De Spi r., a. 8, p. 80, ll. 189-204. I n the latter passage
the general doctri ne i s confi rmed also by the remark that i n the i ntellect, where i t i s abstracted
from materi al i ndi vi duati ng condi ti ons, form i s actually just one.
218 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
any materi al subjects, are not able to be numeri cally multi pli ed
145
. Therefore,
di fferences between one separate substance and another wi ll turn out to be
exclusi vely formal i n character and thi s i mpli es that separate substances wi ll
di ffer from each other i n speci es and not i n number
146
.
(i i i ) Poi nt (i i b) above, however, clearly shows that materi ali ty i s a necessary
and suffi ci ent condi ti on for numeri cal multi pli cati on, but i s just a suffi ci ent
condi ti on for i ndi vi duali ty : not all that i s i ndi vi dual i s materi al as well and
not all that i s i ndi vi dual i s the result of numeri cal multi pli cati on. Thomas
i nsi sts, i n fact, that separate substances, although not numeri cally many i n a
speci es, are nevertheless i ndi vi dual
147
. This is reasonable if one pays attention
to the fact that separate substances are angeli c substances, i .e. creatures
capable of acts of knowledge and wi ll whi ch belong as such to i ndi vi duals
al one
148
. Therefore, i t i s clear that, accordi ng to Aqui nas, there exi sts a
general concept of i ndi vi duali ty, whi ch i s di fferently exempli fi ed i n the case
of materi al forms and i n that of separate substances
149
. According to this
general concept, bei ng an i ndi vi dual means bei ng unable to exi st i n somethi ng
else. Materi al forms meet thi s general requi rement si nce, when they are
exempli fi ed i n thi s or that porti on of matter, they cannot be i n another one.
I mmateri al substances, on the contrary, meet the requi rement si nce they, as
enti ti es that subsi st by themselves, cannot by nature exi st i n somethi ng else.
I n conclusi on, therefore, i f the multi pli cati on of a gi ven form i s always due to
extri nsi c or external factors, i ts i ndi vi duali ty can also be i ntri nsi c, as the case
of separate substances plai nly shows.
The speci al case of the rati onal soul creates problems for the general
pi cture we have outli ned. Roughly speaki ng, the problem with the human soul
is the following. On the one hand, the human soul is the form of the body.
Therefore, the fact that there exist numerically different souls seems to be
accounted for by the different bodies the souls are joined to, in exactly the same
way as individuality is explained in the case of material forms. On the other hand,
145
Cfr. Cont. Gent., I I , c. 93, n. 1797 ; S. Th., I
a
, q. 50, a. 4 ; Q. De Spi r. Creat., a. 9, p.
96, l l . 347-352.
146
Cfr. De ent. et ess., c. 4, p. 376, ll. 79-89 ; Cfr. I n I I Sent., d. 3, q. 1, a. 4, vol. I I , p. 97 ; S.
Th., I
a
, q. 50, a. 4 ; Q. De Spi r. Creat., a. 8, pp. 80-83, ll. 182-315.
147
Cfr. De Uni t. I nt., c. 5, p. 311, ll. 63-67 ; 71-74 ; S. Th., I
a
, q. 76, a. 2, ad 3 ; Q. De An., q.
2, ad 5, pp. 19-20, ll. 361-392 ; Q. De Spi r., a. 8, ad 8, p. 63, ll. 312-324 ; Exp. Peryer., Li b. I , lec.
10, p. 50, ll. 95-103. Wi th the excepti on of the text of the Summa, all the texts quoted make
reference wi th approval to Ari stotles argument i n Met. Z (probably Z 15, 1040a8-9 ; a20-25) to
the effect that, were I deas separate and per se subsi sti ng, they would be i ndi vi dual.
148
Cfr. De Uni t. I nt., c. 5, p. 310, ll. 55-58 ; Q. De Spi r. Creat., a. 9, ad 15, p. 100, ll. 575-593.
149
Cfr. S. Th., I I I
a
, q. 77, a. 2 ; Q. De Spi r. Creat., a. 8, ad 4, p. 83, ll. 350-365 ; De Uni t. I nt.,
c. 5, p. 311, ll 63-67 ; 71-74.
219 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
however, human souls remain individual even after they part from the body. This
fact by itself suggests that the individuality of the human soul after all does not
depend on the body, even if this leaves open the problem of understanding how
the human soul can be multiplied independently of the action of matter.
I n order to be i n a better posi ti on to evaluate Aqui nass soluti on to thi s
di ffi cult questi on, i t i s fi rst of all i mportant to bear i n mi nd that, wi th
reference to a seri es of relevant ontologi cal properti es (bei ng a hoc ali qui d,
i ndi vi duali ty, generabi li ty, corrupti bi li ty) the human soul seems to occupy a
mi ddle posi ti on between composi tes and ordi nary materi al forms. I can start
my analysi s wi th a noti on very cruci al for the modern controversy on the
status of Ari stoteli an form, i .e. the noti on of :: . (hoc ali qui d). As noted i n
the fi rst part of the paper, among modern scholars there are fundamentally
three posi ti ons wi th regard to the relati onshi p between form, :: . and
composi te. (j) Form and composi te are :: . i n the same sense, i .e. the one
of i ndi vi dual ; (jj) form and composi te are :: . i n two di fferent, but ali ke
pri mary, senses and only the sense i n whi ch the composi te i s :: . i mpli es
the noti on of i ndi vi dual ; (jjj) only the composi te i s called :: . i n a pri mary
sense, i .e. that of i ndi vi dual, whi le form i s :: . at most i n a secondary
sense, i .e. i n so far as i t i s that by vi rtue of whi ch the composi te acqui res the
features whi ch enable i t to be descri bed as a :: ..
Predi ctably, i n so far as ordi nary materi al forms are concerned, Aqui nass
posi ti on i s the thi rd one. Thi s i s made clear by hi s most comprehensi ve
treatment of the noti on of :: .-hoc ali qui d, whi ch i s found i n Q. De An., q.
1
150
. Generally speaki ng, i n Aqui nass vi ew a thi ng i s a hoc ali qui d i n the full
sense i f and only i f i t sati sfi es both of two condi ti ons : (i ) i t subsi sts by i tself,
i .e. i ts bei ng i s absolute and does not depend on anythi ng else; (i i ) i t i s a
complete and full-fledged i nstance of a certai n nature or speci es. The concre-
te composi te, i .e. the i ndi vi dual belongi ng to the category of substance,
sati sfi es both condi ti ons and i t i s, accordi ngly, a hoc ali qui d i n the fullest
sense of the term. As for substanti al uni versals li ke genus and speci es, i t has
already been seen that they do not si gni fy a hoc ali qui d, but, accordi ng to the
doctri ne i n the Categori es, a quale qui d. They do not si gni fy an object, but the
type of thi ng an object i s. Materi al substanti al forms, i .e. substanti al forms
other than the human soul, do not sati sfy ei ther condi ti on. As for the fi rst one,
stri ctly speaki ng, i t i s not the fact of exi sti ng i n matter that makes materi al
forms enti ti es that do not subsi st by themselves
151
. Rather what matters is the
150
Cfr. also : Sent. Lib. De An., Lib. I I , c. 1, p. 69, ll. 96-117 ; S. Th., I
a
, q. 75, a. 2, ad 1 ; I n I I
Sent., d. 17, q. 1, a. 2, ad 1, vol. I I , p. 418 (where Aquinass discussion seems to be less accurate).
151
Cfr. for thi s quali fi cati on : Q. De An., q. 1, ad 9, p. 12, ll. 411-416.
220 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
fact that materi al forms depend on matter for all thei r operati ons and hence
depend on i t also for thei r bei ng, for the operati ons of a gi ven type of thi ng
di rectly follows upon the type of bei ng enjoyed by the thi ng i tself. Materi al
forms, therefore, not only are i n ali o, but are also per ali ud, i .e. depend for
thei r own exi stence on somethi ng else. As regards the second condi ti on, I
have already stressed i n 2.1 that forms by themselves do not represent a
complete essence or nature, i f i t i s true that the essence of a sensi bi le
substance contai ns both form and matter. Form, therefore, i s just part of
essence and can be placed i n a gi ven speci es only i n so far as the composi te
of whi ch i t i s form can be placed. I n conclusi on, materi al forms, i f they can
be sai d to some extent to be hoc ali qui d, can be so only i n a deri vati ve sense,
that i s i n so far as they are that by vi rtue of whi ch the composi te acqui res
certai n properti es, li ke bei ng i n actuali ty or bei ng separate, whi ch enable i t
to be descri bed as a hoc ali qui d
152
.
The case of the rati onal soul i s di fferent si nce i t sati sfi es the fi rst condi ti on,
even i f i t does not sati sfy, li ke the other materi al forms, the second one. That
i t does not sati sfi es the second one i s perfectly clear because the essence of a
human bei ng, accordi ng to Aqui nas, contai ns also the common matter of
human bei ngs and thus the human soul by i tself cannot represent a complete
natural essence. But the fact i s much more i nteresti ng, from our poi nt of vi ew,
that the human soul sati sfi es the fi rst condi ti on and turns out to be a per se
subsi stens form. Actually, that the human soul i s a per se subsi stens form can
be i nferred from the nature of i ts characteri sti c operati on, i .e. i ntellectual
knowledge
153
. Such an operation, in fact, is performed by the soul independently
of the body and is, accordingly, an operation that the human soul performs by
itself. But if the human soul has the capacity of operating by itself, then it must
also possess a per subsistens being to ground such a capacity. Therefore, even
if the human soul, like any other soul, exists in the body, it does not depend on
the body in so far as its being is concerned, as the fact plainly shows that it can
keep on existing even after separation from the body.
The aforementi oned di fference between the human soul and the other
forms as regards the fi rst hoc ali qui d-condi ti on i s someti mes expressed by
Aqui nas by maki ng reference to hi s metaphysi cs of essence and exi stence. The
human soul Thomas explai ns for i nstance i n Q. De An., q. 14 i s actually
what has bei ng (habens esse), whi le the other materi al forms are merely that
by vi rtue of whi ch the composi te i s (quo composi tum est)
154
. The main point
152
Cfr. Sent. Li b. De An., Li b. I I , c. 1, p. 69, ll. 100-102 (comm. on De An. B 1, 412a8-9) ; Exp.
Metaph., Li b. VI I , lec. 2, nn. 1292-1293 (comm. on Met. Z 3, 1029a27-28).
153
Cfr. Q. De An., q. 1, p. 8, ll. 217-250 ; S. Th., I
a
, q. 75, a. 2.
154
Cfr. Q. De An., q. 14, pp. 125-126, ll. 163-185.
221 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
of such a di sti ncti on i s that i n natural substances other than human bei ngs i t
i s the composi te that recei ves (from God) the act of bei ng and hence i t i s the
composi te that exi sts i n the stri ct sense. Form, i nstead, exi sts only i n so far
as the composi te does si nce i t possesses an esse only i n so far as the composi te
does. Nonetheless, form plays a very i mportant role wi thi n the composi te
because i t actuali ses matter, thereby provi di ng the composi te wi th the
properti es that place i t i n a gi ven speci es. Therefore, even i f form i s not the
subject of the act of bei ng, because the composi te i s so, Aqui nas can say all
the same that form i s that by vi rtue of whi ch the composi te i s or that the
composi te recei ves the act of bei ng through form
155
. For it is form that places
the composi te i n a gi ven speci es and i t i s form i tself that determi nes the way
the act of bei ng i s recei ved by the composi te and, accordi ngly, the way the
composi te exi sts, i f i t exi sts. I n the case of materi al objects other than human
bei ngs, therefore, form i s just the i nner aspect or pri nci ple of an object whi ch
i s responsi ble for i ts mai n properti es, but i t i s not li ke an object i n i ts way of
bei ng and exi sti ng
156
. The case of the human being and human soul to come
back to Aqui nass di sti ncti on i s remarkably di fferent. Unli ke materi al
forms, the human soul possesses a proper act of bei ng and hence does not
depend for i ts own exi stence on the exi stence of the composi te. Actually, i t i s
rather the human soul that communi cates to the composi te the act of bei ng
i t possesses i n the fi rst place and i t i s thus the bei ng of the composi te that
depends on that of the soul. I n the particular case of human beings, accordingly,
form, i .e. the human soul, i s an enti ty whi ch subsi sts by i tself and not only
that by vi rtue of whi ch somethi ng else, i .e. the composi te, exi sts. Form, to
use Thomass words, does have esse.
The fact that the human soul, like the other forms, does not satisfy the
second condition for being a hoc aliquid has important consequences from
both a philosophical and a theological point of view. From a philosophical
point of view, for instance, it is clear that the definition of the human soul, like
the definition of the other material forms, will be an imperfect one. For it will
have to make reference to something external to the nature of the human soul,
i.e. to the body, without which the human soul cannot be regarded as a
complete member of a certain species. From a theological point of view,
instead, the fact that the human soul is not by itself a complete nature entails
that it cannot be created before the body
157
. For a thing, in general, is created
155
Cfr. Q. De Spi r. Creat., a. 1, pp. 13-14, ll. 357-408 (esp. p. 14, ll. 386-395) ; De Sub. Sep.,
c. 8, p. D55, ll. 199-235 (esp. ll. 210-212).
156
Thi s perfectly squares wi th the sharp di sti ncti on Thomas draws between substance and
substance of, for whi ch cfr. supra, pp. 194-195.
157
Cfr. Cont. Gent., I I , c. 83 (esp. n. 1660) ; S. Th., I
a
, q. 90, a. 4; Q. De Pot., q. 3, a. 10, pp. 69-72.
222 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
in the perfection of its nature and the human soul possesses the perfection of
its nature only when united with the body, since it is only in union with the body
that the human soul counts as a complete member of a species.
From the poi nt of vi ew of i ndi vi duati on, however, the fact turns out to be
much more i mportant that the human soul, unli ke the other materi al forms,
sati sfi es the fi rst condi ti on and possesses, accordi ngly, a bei ng whi ch i s
i ndependent of the body. I t i s not possi ble here to bri ng to li ght all the
consequences of the fact that the human soul sati sfi es the fi rst condi ti on. I t
could be useful, however, to touch on some relevant aspects of the questi on.
An i mportant consequence, for i nstance, i s that the human soul cannot be i n
any way generated or corrupted
158
. The human soul, in fact, does possess a per
se bei ng; therefore, i f i t were i n any way generable and corrupti ble, i t could
be so only i n the sense of generati on and corrupti on per se and not per
acci dens. I t i s materi al forms that are generated or corrupted per acci dens i n
concurrence wi th the generati on or the corrupti on per se of the composi te:
si nce thei r bei ng i s deri vati ve and depends on the bei ng of the composi te,
thei r generati on and corrupti on are deri vati ve and depend on the generati on
and the corrupti on of the composi te, too. But the human soul cannot undergo
a process of generati on and corrupti on per se, ei ther. For these processes
consi st i n the acqui si ti on and i n the loss of a form, respecti vely, and therefore
seem to presuppose that the object the generati on results i n or the corrupti on
starts from i n fact possesses a hylemorphi c structure or at least an i nner
composi ti on. But the human soul does not have such an i nner composi ti on
and hence cannot undergo such processes. The fact that the human soul does
not undergo processes of generati on or corrupti on i mpli es that, on the one
hand, i t i s absolutely i ncorrupti ble and, on the other, that i t i s di rectly created
by God. For generati on per se, generati on per acci dens and creati on exhaust
the ways a thi ng can come i nto bei ng.
As anti ci pated, the fact that the human soul i s per se subsi stens sets i t apart
from the other sensi ble forms from the poi nt of vi ew of i ndi vi duati on as well.
Generally speaki ng, i n the texts where he takes up the problem of the
i ndi vi duati on of the human soul, Aqui nas seems to be concerned wi th
safeguardi ng two confli cti ng exi genci es. (i ) On the one hand, he wants to sti ck
to the fact that human souls di ffer i n number and not i n speci es, as i s the case,
i nstead, wi th separate substances. But thi s seems to be attai nable only i f one
somehow relates the i ndi vi duati on of the human soul to the body and the
di vi si on of matter. (i i ) On the other hand, he wants to grant the human soul
158
For the problem of generati on cfr. : Cont. Gent., I I , 87 ; S. Th., I
a
, q. 90, a. 2 ; De Pot., q.
3, a. 10, pp. 70-71. For corrupti on cfr. : Cont. Gent., I I , cc. 79-81 ; S. Th., I
a
, q. 75, a. 6.
223 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
a way of bei ng i ndi vi duated that makes i t perfectly clear that the human souls
esse i s di fferent from that of the other substanti al forms, as i s shown by the
fact that the human soul can survi ve separati on from the body.
The attempt to hold on to both poi nts i s already evi dent i n the early
Commentary on Sentences, even though Aqui nass treatment i n thi s work
stresses more the numeri cal plurali ty of souls and hence the si mi lari ti es
between the human soul and the other substanti al forms. I n I n I Sent., di st.
8, q. 5, a. 2, ad 6, for i nstance, Thomas remarks that human souls are made
many only i n so far as they are i nfused i nto a plurali ty of bodi es. However
Aqui nas goes on even i f the i ndi vi duati on of the soul depends on the body
as far as i ts begi nni ng i s concerned, i t does not depends on i t as far as i ts end
i s. Thi s enables the soul to remai n i ndi vi duated even after the di si ntegrati on
of the body. I ndeed, the reason for thi s peculi ari ty of the human soul li es i n
the fact that i t, li ke all forms, i s recei ved i n matter accordi ng to the capaci ty
of matter. Therefore, i t acqui res a di fferent, determi nate, bei ng accordi ng to
the di fferent body i t i s the form of. But even i f the human soul acqui res such
a determi nate, i .e. parti cular, bei ng i n the body, i t does not recei ve i t from the
body (ex corpore) and wi th dependence on i t (per dependenti am ad corpus).
Therefore, the human soul can keep such a determi nate bei ng, along wi th the
affecti ons and di sposi ti ons i t has enjoyed as the form of thi s or that body,
even after i t departs from the body.
The trouble wi th the soluti on presented i n thi s text i s not that i t makes use
of the Avi cenni an scheme pri nci pi um/fi ni s, to whi ch Aqui nas has recourse
even i n hi s later works
159
, but that it does not make it completely clear to what
extent the i ndi vi duati on of the human soul depends on the body. Admi ttedly,
i n some bri ef texts belongi ng to the second book of hi s Commentary on
Sentences, Aqui nas strongly assi mi lates the case of the human soul and that
of other substanti al forms i n that both are multi pli ed accordi ng to the
di vi si on of matter
160
. But it is quite clear that in these texts, devoted to the
problem of the uni ci ty of the possi ble i ntellect, Aqui nas i s chi efly concerned
wi th stressi ng that souls, unli ke separate substances, di ffer i n number and
not i n speci es. Accordi ngly every human bei ng possesses hi s own soul and
i ntellect. Thi s i s needed i n order to safeguard i ndi vi dual free-wi ll and
responsi bi li ty. Besi des, i n the above analysed text of Book I of the Commentary
on Sentences, Thomas expli ci tly underli nes the i dea that the i ndi vi duati on of
the soul, though i n the body, i s not from the body or dependi ng on i t.
Therefore, Aqui nass remark to the effect that the i ndi vi duati on of the soul
159
Cfr. Q. De Pot., q. 3, a. 10, ad 16, p. 72.
160
Cfr. I n I I Sent., d. 17, q. 2, a. 1, vol. I I , pp. 417-418; ad 1, vol. I I , p. 418; ad 5, vol. I I , p. 419.
224 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
depends on the body for i ts begi nni ng can be i ntended to avoi d a sort of
Ori geni an theory of soul. I n other words, Aqui nas can be wi lli ng to rule out
the possi bi li ty for the soul to be created as an i ndi vi dual before bei ng i nfused
i nto the body and not at the same ti me. Thi s, however, does not i mply that the
body causes the i ndi vi duati on of the human soul.
I n any case, whatever mi ght be the posi ti on i n hi s Commentary on the
Sentences, Aqui nass fi nal soluti on to the problem of the i ndi vi duati on of the
soul emerges from Book I I of Summa Contra Genti les onwards. The soluti on
reli es on the pri nci ple that a di fferent ki nd of i ndi vi duati on corresponds to a
di fferent ki nd of bei ng. Therefore, si nce the bei ng of the human soul i s
subsi stent and does not depend on the body, i ts i ndi vi duati on must not
depend on the body, ei ther
161
. Cont. Gent., I I , 75 makes i t clear that i n thi s
context does not depend means i s not caused
162
. So, if the individuation of
the human soul i s not caused by the body, i t cannot but be di rectly caused
from the creati ve act of God, whi ch gi ves the soul, i n addi ti on to exi stence,
i ndi vi duali ty as well. Thi s poi nt i s made expli ci t i n Q. De Pot., q. 3, a. 10.
The fact sti ll remai ns, however, that the human soul, although enjoyi ng a
subsi sti ng bei ng, i s essenti ally form of the body. Accordi ngly, i ts i ndi vi duali ty,
even i f i t does not depend on the body from a causal poi nt of vi ew, wi ll sti ll
have to bear a certai n relati on to the body. I n Cont. Gent., I I , 81, for i nstance,
Aqui nas explai ns that the human soul, although not dependi ng on matter for
i ts own bei ng, i s nevertheless a form uni ted wi th and proporti onate to a
certai n matter, i .e. the body. Accordi ngly, even i f the multi pli cati on of the
soul does not depend on the multi pli cati on of matter, i t i s nonetheless
secundum multi pli cati on materi ae, that i s, as Aqui nas hastens to add,
concomi tant wi th matters multi pli cati on
163
. I n Q. De Pot., q. 3, a. 10, i t i s
further maintained that numerical differentiation must be related to difference
of matter. I n the case of the human soul, numeri cal di fferenti ati on cannot
take place, as i t does i n the case of the composi te, by vi rtue of a matter whi ch
i s part of i t si nce the soul i s completely i mmateri al but must do so by
vi rtue of the matter the human soul occurs i n as a form. Therefore, even i f the
effi ci ent pri nci ple of the i ndi vi duati on of the human soul remai ns the creati ve
act of God, the materi al pri nci ple of i ts i ndi vi duati on i s i ts uni on wi th the
body. From thi s Aqui nas can soundly conclude that we could not have
numeri cally di sti nct (but speci fi cally i denti cal) souls, were we not to suppose
161
Cfr. Q. De An., q. 3, p. 28, ll. 313-318 ; Q. De Spi r. Creat., a. 9, ad 3, p. 96, ll. 353-364. Cfr.
also : S. Th., I
a
, q. 76, a. 2, ad 2.
162
Cfr. Cont. Gent., I I , c. 75, n. 1549.
163
Cfr. Cont. Gent., I I , c. 81, nn. 1620-1621.
225 MET. Z 13 I N THE CONTEMPORARY DEBATE AND I N AQUI NAS
that human souls are from the very begi nni ng uni ted wi th a body.
I t seems correct to say that i n keepi ng a certai n role for the body i n the
i ndi vi duati on of the human soul Aqui nas i s chi efly moti vated by concerns
about the uni ty of human bei ng. I f the i ndi vi duati on of the human bei ng bore
no relati on to the body, then the uni on of soul and body could seem to be
acci dental and useless. On the contrary, uni on wi th the body i s necessary on
account of the very nature of the human soul and i ts mode of knowledge. The
human soul i s created i n the body si nce only i n the body i t can achi eve the
perfecti on of i ts nature and perform the ki nd of cogni ti ve acti vi ty whi ch i s due
to i t on account of the posi ti on i t holds i n the hi erarchy of bei ngs, i .e. a
cogni ti ve acti vi ty grounded i n sense percepti on. Wi thi n thi s framework, also
the i ndi vi duati on of the human soul, although not dependi ng on the body,
must be somehow related to i t. Moreover, i nsi sti ng on the fact that the human
soul i s the form of the body i s the only way of obtai ni ng a plurali ty of
numeri cal di fferent souls. Thi s i s made clear by the text of Cont. Gent. I I , 81
and by the fi nal secti on of Q. De An., q. 3, where Aqui nas gi ves more detai ls
about the i dea that the i ndi vi duali ty of the human soul i s related to and
concomi tant wi th the body
164
. Thomass reasoning can be summarised in the
followi ng steps : (i ) at the level of speci es, any ki nd of form i s by i ts own nature
proporti onate to a certai n type of matter : the human soul, to speak of the case
at i ssue, i s proporti onate to a certai n type of body. (i i ) Therefore, what
di sti ngui shes one soul from another of the same speci es cannot but be the fact
that one i s proporti onate to one body, another to another. (i i i ) Thi s does not
mean, however, that the i ndi vi duati on of the soul depends on the body,
because i t i s God who creates souls as proporti onate to thi s or that body. Thi s
means, however, that a relati on to a determi nate body enters i nto the essence,
so to speak, of an i ndi vi dual soul i n the same way as a reference to a certai n
ki nd of body enters i nto the essence of the human soul, taken i n general. (i v)
Moreover, the di fference among the souls that i s i ntroduced by thei r relati on
to di fferent bodi es i s actually a numeri cal one. For, i f the fact of bei ng uni ted
to a certai n ki nd of body i s part of the essence of the soul at a speci fi c level,
the fact of bei ng uni ted to thi s or that body of a gi ven ki nd can only
di sti ngui sh the di fferent souls numeri cally and not speci fi cally
165
. (v) This
last point constitutes also a partial exception to the general principle according
to whi ch formal di fferences determi ne a di fference i n speci es and not i n
number. The excepti on, as noted, i s merely parti al si nce the di fference
between one i ndi vi dual form and another, although a di fference between
164
Cfr. in particular : Cont. Gent., I I , c. 81, nn. 1620-1621; Q. De An., q. 3, pp. 27-28, ll. 292-318.
165
Cfr. Q. De An., q. 3, pp. 27-28, ll. 297-313.
226 GABRI ELE GALLUZZO
forms, does not concern the general type these forms exhi bi t : di fferent
i ndi vi dual souls di ffer i n so far they are related to di fferent bodi es, but not i n
so far as the type soul they are i s concerned. I t i s, however, the latter type of
formal di fference that determi nes a speci fi c di fferenti ati on
166
.
I n conclusi on, accordi ng to the categori es of the contemporary debate
about Ari stoteli an forms, Aqui nas can be ranged among supporters of the
general or uni versal character of Ari stoteli an form. He comes closer, however,
to a theory of parti cular forms i n tryi ng to deal wi th the case of the human
soul, whose i ndi vi duali ty does not depend on the body but i s i ntri nsi c to the
soul i tself as di rectly caused by the act of creati on by God. Nevertheless,
Aqui nas, under the pressure of i mportant theologi cal and anthropologi cal
assumpti ons, does not renounce keepi ng a certai n connecti on between
corporei ty and i ndi vi duati on even i n the peculi ar case of the human soul.
166
Cfr. Cont. Gent., I I , c. 81, n. 1620.