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Distinction of essence and existence in the philosophy of Francis Suarez

Author(s) Imprint Extent Topic Subject(s) Language ISBN Permalink Pages 1 to 1036 English Wells, Norman Joseph [1955]


Wells, Norman. Joseph

The distinction of essence and existence in the philosophy of Frsncis Suarez

On i/




Nonman J. Wells

A Thesis submitted in conformity vfith

the requireraents for the degree of Doctor of Ph ilosophy
in the University of Toronto, 1955
















Professor Professor Professor Professor Professor Professor Professor Professor Professor Professor



R. O'Donnell,

F. H.


E. Gilson T. Eschmann I. J. Oh ens




A. Irving M. Kelly

H. Mehlberg D. Savan

1926 1950 1952 1950-55

--Born, Boston, Massachusetts --B.A., Boston College --M.A.. University of Toronto --School of Graduate Studies, University



The Distinction Between Essence and Existence
in the Phil osophy of

Francis Suarez

The name of Francis Suarez is a famous one in the history of philosophy, not mention the histories of theology and law. Indeed, his position on the question of the distinction between essence and existence in creatures, the subject matter of this thesis, is especially notorious. However, though his final position on this question is quite well known, the philosophical milieu surrounding that decision and undoubtedly influencing it, is, in contrast, rather obscure. This dissertation is primarily concerned with the latter aspect of the problem.

Suarez himself is our best guide since he lists the three famous traditions on this question up to his day and cites men and arguments on behalf of each. The first tradition, that of the "Thomists", is the real distinction which maintains, for Suarez, that the essence and existence of a creature are really distinct as duae res or two beings, and mutually separable, each being able to exist apart from the
other. The second tradition, that of the modal distinction, also holds for a similar real distinction in creatures as between a res or a being and its mode which are not mutually separable. The third tradition, the distinction of reason and the position of Suarez, rejects any kind of real distinction of essence and existence in a creature and affirms a distinction which is the work of the intellect and is not at all present in the thing.

Research into the sources of the five arguments Suarez attributes to the "Thomists" he lists has found that the first two are explicit in such "Thomists" as Giles of Rome, John Capreolus, Paulus Barbus Soncinas, Cajetan, Sylvester of Ferrara and Chrysoslomus Javellus. The other throe arguments are not found in the texts of these men noted b.v Suarez, But the common denominator of all the argtimenls is that the.v affirm a real distinction between an uncreated esse essentiae or essence and a created esse existentiae or existence. That is, for Suarez, these


distinguish what comes to be by an efficient cause, namely, existence, and what does nol come to be by an efficient cause, namely, essence. Thus Suarez sees that the "Thomist" school undergoes the doctrinal influence of Avicenna and this Neo- Platonic tradition through St. Albert, Henry of Ghent, and possibly Meister Eckhart.

On behalf

of the

second tradition, Suarez cites some texts of John Duns Scotus,


Henry of Ghent and Dominicus Soto which purportedly support

In this tradition,



according to Suarez, is a mode which is a positive existential entity in iis own right as in the first tradition. However, unlike the latter, it cannot endure apart from the essence of which it is the mode. Thus, the second tradition differs from the first, not so much on the notion of essence which is the same, but on the degree of reality each will attribute to esse existentiae. Of interest is the fact that no such position is found in the texts of Scotus and Henry of Ghent. The texts of Soto do contain a doctrine of esse existentiae as a mode of essence but do not describe it as a positne existential reality.

esse existentiae

third tradition is manifested in the texts of the sixteen men cited by Suarez exponents although there is a variety of formulation as to the type of distinction of reason in question. However, this tradition is one in interpreting the real distinctions of the first two traditions to be between duae res or a res and its mode. Moreover, this third tradition is It is also one in rejecting these two traditions. one in holding that the essence and existence in question is the actual existing essence and esse in actu exercito. It is between these that there is only a distinction of reason. However, these men agree that the essence abstractly conceived or essence as possible is distinguished from actual existence or actual essence as nonbeing from being. The basic reason for their rejectionof a real distinction is that something cannot be intrinsically constituted in the existential order by something really distinct from it. For. each is a being in its own right as distinct from the other. More basic than this is the fact that there is no _esse existentiae in addition to the esse e ss entiae of a creature. Existence means nothing more than the actual existing essence and in no way signifies an existential actus essendi nor any accidental accretion. The men of this third tradition are characterized for Suarez by the fact that they are all opponents to sonie extent of any kind of a Platonic realism within being which is the most manifest feature of the first two traditions on this





explaining the principles behind this third tradition Suaruz first lakes steps actuality apart from the divine intellect since he sees very clearly that the first two traditions follow from their doctrine of the divine ideas. For them, the divine ideas are the essences of creatures endowed with an esse essentiae in themselves as in Henry of Ghent. In Suarez' eyes this looks too much like the divine ideas enjoying some eternal existential status apart from God or that they have been created from eternity. As his first principle, and that of the third tradition, Suarez maintains that the essences of creatures, prior to their creation, are absolutely nothing in the sense of enjoying no real existential status. Though a critic of this Avicennian tradition on the divine ideas, Suarez the still remains within that tradition since he endows the essences of creatures divine intellect with an esse possibile, an esse objectivum or an_ esse cognitum in much the same fashion as Duns Scotus in his critique of Henry of Ghent and as Durandus in his critique of the same doctrine. Thus, in his critique of any Platonic realism of essence Suarez remains within the tradition of Duns Scotus and Henry of Ghent but much farther along that doctrinal curve which leads to the nominalism of Ockham. Suarez, in his second principle, carries his critique of any realism of essence into the created order of existing things. For, this principle states that ens in potentia and ens in actu are immediately distinguished as non-being and being. In this Suarez counters those who maintained that ens in potentia or essence enjoys some positive mode of being, though diminished, within the existent creature and his critique follows the pattern of the defense of his first principle.


remove any autonomous essential

Suarez' criticisms even carry within the tradition on the distinction of reason, rejecting all except the one which enables him to deny that existence is of the essence of the creature. He finds this feature in what he calls a distinction of the reasoned reason -- a distinction of reason with a foundation in reality. Because a creature has been created or is contingent it can cease to be and can found a concept of itself as non-existent. This concept of a creature prescinded from existence outside its causes but apt to exist, unlike a chimera, is signified by essentia for Suarez. The same concept of that creature as existing and outside its causes is signified by existentia. Existentia is denied of essentia creaturae because the concept of the possible essence does not explicitly include what is signified by existentia or is included in the concept of the actual essence. In a word, the possible essence and the actual essence are mentally distinguished and the concept of the actual essence as possible and the concept of the same essence as actual are likewise so distinguished. Thus Suarez' distinction of reason is a result of a comparison between two concepts or rather, different degrees of contraction or adequation of one concept with respect to the actual existing essence, the one more confused and obscure and less contracted than the other. It is just such a distinction which enables

Suarez lo deny existcntia of essentia creaturae Hence, this distinction between essence and existence is said to be in the existent thing and founded on it by extrinsic denomination from the concepts of this one existent essence.

By way of this extrinsic denomination Suarez can maintain that the existent essence has some internal metaphysical structure of essence and existence. For, on the basis of the two concepts of essence and existence and their degrees of adequation 10 the existent essence, the concept of existence is said to contract and be contracted by the concept of essence. In this way existence is said to be added to essence. This conceptual structure of the contracted and the contracting is then imposed on the actual essence by extrinsic denomination from these concepts. Thus the constant insistence of Suarez on the intrinsic constitution of the actual essence by existence does not imply any metaphysical structure within the actual existent but is a conceptual structure imposed on this existent. Versus an order of essence Aithin being Suarez offers an order of a radically contingent essence which is be ng itself, impervious to any existential co principle as it is to any distinction within it. In this struggle against the Platonic realism of essence in the first two traditions, being, in the hands of Suarez, has lost its metaphysical dimension to the extent it has become an impenetrable, impervious, indistinct essence. Reality is only metaphysical by extrinsic denomination and the science of metaphysics itself becomt s nothing more than an analysis of concepts.

Ma.ior Subjeci:

Mediaeval Philosophy- - Professor E. Gilson, Professor C. B. Phelan, Professor A. C. Pegis

Minor Subjects:
Systemaiic Philosophy- -The Staff in Philosophy Latin Palaeography- -Professor J. R. O'Donncll




Those to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for my academic career and its trappings are legion and xmfortunately they cannot be mentioned here. Their absence in no way signifies my Ingratitude.
I should like especially to thank ray director. Professor Etienne Ollson for obvious treasons.; Dr. Anton C. Pegls for some interesting conversations, the generous loan of a precious old printed edition of Durandus and equally valuable microfilms of Petrus Aureolus and Gregory of Rimini; the staff of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies and the University of Toronto.

The names of Dr. James H. Robb and Rev. Joseph C, Wey, C.S.B. must be alsc mentioned the first for his generous offer of assistance while a Pulbright scholar in Paris and then for his procurement of the films of the many early printed editions used in this dissertation, all done with dispatch, thoroughness and exactlti'dei the second, for expediting the procurement of these films by a letter of introduction for Dr. Robb to the photographic department of the Biblioth6que National. I should also like to thanlc Rev, John F. Stapleton, C.S.B. , Librarian of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies for \intold assistance in the use of his library.
3, I should like to thank my wife, Lenore, who not only typed every wore. In this dissertation, a moniomental task in Itself, but who also endured the conception of It and its stumoling beginnings, an achievement which surpasses any acknowledgement I could attempt to render.









The Three Traditions


First Thomistic Argument John Capreolus 1, Patilus Barbus Sonoinas 2, Cajetan 3, --'h, "Sylvester of Perrara Chrysostoiuus Javellus 5.
Second Thomistic Argument Giles of Rome 1. John Capreolus 2. Paulas Barbus Soncinas 3. Cajetan 4. Sylvester of Perrara 5. Chrysostoraus Javellus 6.

5 9 20 23 26


3^ 36 39 42 45 46 48

D. E.

Third Thomiatic Argument

Fourth Thomistic Argument

53 54


Fifth Thomistic
Problem of the


Duae Res"


Critical Summary



Basis for Modal Distinction
Critical Summary











Proponents of Distinction of Reason






200 205


Confirmation of his Third Principle

Critical Svunmary




216 219 249


Comparison of Existence and Subsistence









Rejection of the Real Distinction

Critical SuBguary








Rejection of the Modal Distinction

Critical Sunanary









Critique of the Distinction of Reason
Critical Summary
293 320







3^6 397













The name of Francis Suarez is a famous one In the

history of Western thought as one of the eminent figures in

the tradition of Christian learning in the Spain of his day.

Theologian, philosopher, legist, he takes his place alongside

those great intellects of the Middle Ages who like so many

virtuosos can turn their hand to anything in the intellectual

milieu of their day and establish themselves as men to be

reckoned with.


in Granada in


on January 5th, Suarez was


directed to an ecclesiastical career at an early age.^


fulfilling this parental direction, he enters the young Society

of Jesus in 1564.

After an Initial difficulty in the studies


in which he was later to excell,

Suarez begins his eminent

teaching career as professor of philosophy at Segovia.


he goes to Valladolld and in 157^-1575 Is named professor of

theology at Segovia again, only to return to Valladolld in

the same capacity in 1576-1577.
Next, in I581 he is at Rome

and in I585 is professor of theology at Alcala where he remains until 1593* at which time he returns to his "Alraa Mater"

It is at Salpmanca that Suarez'




Metaphysicae" see the light of day in 1597.

In this famous work, which from 1605 to I610 went

through six editions,'-'' it is Suarez' purpose to do for the

science of metaphysics wtiat St. Thomas did for the science of

For Just as St. Thomas freed theology from the text













V-r^T' i/-- r- -f

^now OXcU oi cO^X



>iao jJQ(ni(1 aliii


of Peter Lombard, Suarez Intends to free metaphysics from the

text of the Philosopher and treat it according to its own

intrinsic nature as an intellectual discipline in its own


"And because I have always considered it a great advantage for comprehending ind penetrating metaphysical realities if they are examined and considered according to a suitable method, something I could pursue with difficulty or scarcely at all if, after the fashion of the commentators, I turned my hand to all the questions which arise by-the-by and almost willy-nilly from the text of the Philosopher, for this reason I have thought it would be more useful, and in keeping vjlth the procedure of such a discipline (servato doctrinae oixilne), to raise those questions for my reader's consideration which are usually Investigated and^sought in regard to the whole object of this wisdom,"^ '
As he says elsewhere the subject matter of the

Dlsputationes Metaphysicae " is not the text of Aristotle's


Metaphysics " but the very things with which metaphysical

knowledge is concerned.'''

And Suarez himself tells us in

Ad Lee to rem" how the fruit of his labors is contained in

two volximes and how the first disputation of the first volume

discusses the subject-matter of this science, its worth and

As well, this first tome contains discussions of

this same object, its properties and causes.


In the other

what he calls


inferiors " of this same object are

treated, taking its beginning from that division of being,


in creatum et creatorem "


It is precisely in the context of the former division

that Suarez' famous thirty-first disputation finds its place.

For, in this place Suai^z Intends to discuss finite and

created being and to explain that by which finite and created

being is finite and created, that is, to establish the "ratio"

of created being by noting what it is that makes finite being
to be finite.

In Suarez" eyes, the root of this whole


question is found in the relation of the essence and the

esse "

of the creature and in the manner in which they are distinguished.

This is the famous battleground of Thomlsts and

Suarezians in our day
but to my knowledge no one has

approached this text of Suarez through the men and works cited

by him in his description of the three historical positions on

the question.

Thus no one has sought the soiirces of the argu-

ments cited by Suarez for the Thomistic position, let us say,

in the very texts of the Thomlsts cited by Suarez at the outset of the thirty-first disputation.^ '-' ^

Such will be the

subject matter of this thesis

to seek out the Thomistic

arguments reported by Suarez in his explication of their position, as well as the argxiraents for the second and third posi-

tion, and to treat the position of Simrez himself in relation

to these three historical positions.








The Three Traditions

Before proceeding to an analysis of the first

historical position on the distinction between essence and


esse" as set down by Francis Sueirez in his famous 31st

Disputation, three positions.


let us note all the men he involves in the

Proponents of the real distinction,


lists the following men and the places where their

position finds its expression.


St. Thomas: ^^'


I S.Th. q.3 a.

c. d.



cap. 52

De Ente et Essentia C.5 IV Metaph. lect.2

Capreolus: Text A

In I Sent. d,8 a.l q.l


Cajetan: Text B

In S.Th. I q.3 a. In De Ente et Essentia cap.


Sylvester of Ferrarra: Text C




cap. 32





Soncinas: Text D

In IV Metaph. q.l2


Chrysostoraus Javellus:

Text E
a. 7.

Tract atus de Transcendentibus

Aegldius of Rome Text P


In I Sent . d.2




De Ente et Essentia q.9 et sequent

Quodllbet I q.7


St. Albert:

Super llbrum de Causls propos.8



V Metaph. cap.


Proponents of the modal distinction.


lists the following men and places.

1 Scotus":

Text G
a. 2.

In 3 Sent, d.6 q.l

Henry of Ghent: Text H


Quodllbet I qq: 9 & lO


Dominicus Soto: Text I



2 Phys. q.2^^^


In 4 Sent. d.lO q.2



f'^>a.-;'>f '^

.:-lf )



Proponents of the distinction of reason.


following men and places are listed by Suarez.


Alexander of Alexandria:^ Text J



7 Metaph. ad textxara 22


Aureolus:^ Text K

In I Sent, d.8 q.21 a. 1-4


Henry of Ghent: Text L


Quodlibet I q.9


Godfrey of Fontaine: (9) Text M


Quodlibet II qq: 2 & 3


Quodlibet III qq:

& 2

Gerard of Cannel: Text N


Quodlibet 5 q.9


Durand of St. Pourcain: (10) Text


In I Sent, d.8 q.2


Gabriel Biel: Text P


In 3 Sent, d.6 q.2


Hervaeus Natalis: Text Q


Quodlibet 7 q.8


Greco rj"- of Rimini .(12) Text R


In 2 Sent, d.l q.6 ad argumentvun Aureoli


io Hv

xo SJfxs-xoqc
























Antonlus Andreae: Text S


4 Metaph. q.3


Lychetus Text T

In 3 Sent, d.6


Alexander of Achlllinus .(13) Text U


Liber I De eleraentis, dubixam 23



Miciaael Miciaae] de Palacios:

Text V

In I Sent, d.8 disputatlo 2



Joannes Alensls:^

In lexlco theologico, verbo Esse


August inus Nlphus: Text W

a . 4 Metaph . dlsp


John of Jemdun: (16) Text X


4 Metaph, q.3


Petrus Fonseca:' Text Y


4 Metaph. c.2 q.4

These are the positions, the men and their works, which will
constitute the subject matter for discussion and analysis in
the first part of this presentation.

In treating such a large nvunber of men, the most

workable approach, lest our study get out of hand, seems to


988 "7








^n9w lo


be a method of working backwards froa Susirez,

For the

subject-matter of this dissertation is Suarez himself, and

any approach, which seeks to elucidate in detail the individual

doctrine of each of these men he mentions, would frustrate the

whole purpose of the work at hand.

initial part will be first

Hence, our procedure in this

to note and analyze the charac-

teristics of each of the many argvunents which Suarez cites for

the Thomists, the Scotists and for the proponents of the third

position, each in their turn, and second

to cite the Thomist

or Scotist or proponents of the third position to whom this

argument belongs (and whence Suarez very likely takes it) and
to remark how it manifests the characteristics of his resume.


First Thomistic Argument

Let us now proceed to apply this method to the

Thomists in order to see if what Suarez quotes as the first

Thomistic argument is to be found among the followers of St.

Thomas, recalling that this first argument is to prove that,

"existence is a certain thing altogether really distinct from

the entity of the essence of a creature"


Suarez reca-

pitulates the first argument of the Thomists as follows:

"The arguments for this position are many. The first is because the essential predicates belong to a creature apart from the intervention of an efficient cause. Wherefore it has been true from all eternity







man Is a rational animal. But existence does to say not belong to a creature except in virtue of an efficient cause. Axul for this reason a creature camnot be said to be in act unless it has been created (nisi facta sit). Consequently the esse of the creature Is a thing distinct (res distincta) from its essence because one and the SMJe thing cannot be and not be by an efficient cause." vl9;
' '

To this, Suarez appends a possible objection, the answer to

which must be accepted 3 part and parcel of the same

Thoraistlc argumentation as Suarez reports it.
It j^eads like

this "But if you say, when the creature comes to be, not only the esse comes to be but also the essence of the the essence does not creature the reply comes back come to be but rather the essence comes under esse or that the esseiice becomes existing. Thus, it does not follow that the created essence is absolutely distinguished from essence except by reason of existence, which It, created essence, adds to essence." v^O)
' *



A brief analysis will help to isolate and thereby

clarify the points made in this very succinct argument and in

the subsequent qualification of its conclusion in the face of
a possible objection.

The first feature worthy of note is the

emphasis placed on essence apart from any relation


esse " or an exlstentiaiL context i.e. efficient


This is most important as will become

more clear as we proceed.


Secondly, It must be remarked that the


contrast between essence and

esse" is made mani-

fest by the absence of an efficient cause in the




one case the


that of essence, other that of esse"


and its presence In

In the third place we must take note that this

presence and absence of an efficient cause is the

basis for the subsequent distinction between essence


The fourth aspect is the recourse to an


example of

per se" predication in which the

essential predicates of a creature i.e. the predicates which belong by nature to the very essence

or quiddity of a creature ^^' are cited in order

to show that the essence does not have an efficient cause.

The fifth point, closely related to the fourth,


is the affirmation of the eternal truth of such

se" propositions as


man is a rational animal, and

thus the implicit affirmation of the eternity of


Next, note the implicit emphasis placed on

the order of \increated truth in view of the

eternity of essence and essential predication.

For if an efficient cause is looked upon as the

purveyor of a created

esse" , which unlike the

essence, is not eternal, but rather temporal, coming







to 1



to be in time aa it does, the truth of such predi-

cation as

man is a rational, animal, can only be

an uncreated truth, since it does not come to be

by a creative efficient cause.

This is a most

important implication or will become more manifest

in time, when we come to Suarez' own refutation of

this argument .


seventh detail is the very objection itself,

the essence as well as



esse " is created,


that is, that the essence as well as

esse " is the

terminus of an efficient cause.

Hence, in taking

this stand the counter argument is putting forward

the claim of an order of created truth.

Lastly, we must be


of the qualification

that essence does not come to be i.e. does not have

an efficient cause but rather that essence comes


esse " i.e. is posited outside its causes.

In light of this Siiarez interprets the argument to

mean that the distinction between created essence

and essence as such is not an absolute distinction

based on something intrinsic to the nature of each. Rather they are distingiiished relatively in as much
as created essence is related to something extrinsic
to the order of essence, namely existence.






Now to search out and isolate what, if any, of

these features may be found amongst the Thoraists.


Text A: Joiin Capreolus

The first Thomlst we shall confront is John Capreolus

whose date and place of birth are unknown to us but is thought
to be Rodez in France around I38O.

He entered the Dominican

order and was reading the Sentences at Paris in 1409.


teaches at many different Dominican convents, among which is

Rodez, 1444, are the place and date of his death.

It is with his famous Commentary on the Sentences that we have

to deal, whose four books were completed in 1409, 1426, 1428

and 1432 respectively.

And their value, philosophical as


as historical, has been noted by Grabmann and Quetif and


Indeed, it has been said that with Capreolus we are

at the meeting ground of the primitive Thoraists and the later

classic ones.

That is, Capreolus is inspired of such men as

Hervaeus Natalis, Peter of Palud, Bernard of Auvergne and John

of Naples and in turn inspires such later Thoraists as Cajetan,

Sylvester of Ferrara, Javellus and Soncinas.^


A part of

the influence on these later men will become evident as we

proceed, so for now let us begin by noting the monumental, as

well as novel, task Capreolus sets for himself at the veryoutset of his famous work:
"In this question (a. I) there will be two articles, in



the first of which conclusions are osited and ' objections are moved in the second.' But before I come to the conclusions, I premise this one remark which I vrlsh to have understood (haberi volo pro supposito) throughout the whole reading (lectura) and it Is that I Intend to put forth nothing of ray own (et est quod nihil de proprio intend influere) but I intend only to reproduce the opinions which have seemed to me to have been according to the mind of St. Thomas. Nor do I intend to adduce any proofs for the conclusions but his own word, with rare exceptions. But the objections of Aureolus, Scotus, Durandus, Joannis de Rlpa, Henricus, Cuido de Carmelo, Gan:*o, Adam and other opponents of St. Thomas, I propose to set down in their places and to solve by the words of St. Thomas." (25)


he has set himself this task there can be no

doubt and we shall have occasion to see if and how he achieves

its fulfillment, at least in h s treatment of the problem of

the distinction between essence and


esse "

Capreolus in the place cited by Suarez (cf . Text A)

treats of the very question at issue, namely, the distinction

between essence and


esse" but phrased as follows:



creatura subslstens sit suum esse ex3lstentiae" .(2"^

position on this question includes his citation of numerous

authorities answering this question in the negative*
one argumentum



in opposittoa"

preceding five conclusions,

each followed by suitable arguments; all going to make up the

first article.


The second article contains the ai'guments

it is

of the adversaries and Capreolus* answer to them. (30)

the first argument for the first conclusion (no subsisting

creature is its own



which is the act by which it


subsisting creature

exists in reality) which interests us






With both sides of the question attested to,

Capreolus stx*aightway proceeds to an explication of his
first conclusions-^

by citing a text from St. Thomas the

burden of which is as follows:

"The substance of each thing belongs to it per se and not per aliud Whence to be actually illumined (esse lucidum actu) is not the very substance of air, for it belongs to it per aliud But the 'esse' of any creature belongs to it per aliud , otherwise it would not be created. Hence in no created substance is its esse the same as its essence." ^32j









To say the least this is a rather enigmatic text, especially

when quoted out of context.

Indeed, such a text would seem

to give some Justification to those who identify the notions of composition and creation. ^33)
Howver, without any attempt

at explanatory comment Capreolus complements this text with

a long citation from St. Albert, since, for him, ot. Albert argues in a manner similar to St, Thomas (consimiliter arguit


(34) '

Still Capreolus does not pause for an obvious

commentary as much as one might expect, and almost hope to

find, after his long citation of St. Albert.

Instead, he

posits a possible objection to the position set down in the

two prior citations.

Yet while there still is no direct

comment on Capreo'us' part the objecticn and his reply to it

furnish us with an evident indication to hie own interpretation

of these two authoritative passages.

Indeed this objection



is the key to Capreolus' interpretation of these two texts

and also the key to the pattern of Capreolus' subsequent

It reads as follows:

"It will be said, perhaps, that this argumentation is not conclusive because its major premise is false, namely, the essence of a thing belongs to it per se i.e. without any efficient cause. But this is denied (says the object-r) because Just as man owes the fact of his existence co an efficient cause (homo habet a causa efficiente quod existat vel quod sit in actu), so does he owe the fact that he is man to a cause, and the essence is not something per se and without any cause. Whence, Just as man was not existing before the creation of the world, so neither was there man (i.e. any essence 7%^) ^^*^ that proposition was false man is man."^-^-''

Let us note at once that this in subst2uice is the

very objection reported by Suarez in that both affirm that

not only the creature. the use of

esse " is created but also the essence of the

This adversary has confronted the notion behind


per se " in the text of St. Thomas and


a seipso "

by St. Albert, for as he sees it, the meaning is

an efficient cause,


{ non per se, hoc est, sine alia


This, the adversary refuses to accept, so

oh so

that any essential predication wherein the essence is predicated of itself, e.g. man is man, is false if no man exists prior
to its formulation. ^^'

Hence it is interesting to see just

how this possible refutation sets the pattern of Capreolus'

answer and is for him so to speak, the point of no return.

For if he himself holds that there is no efficient cause of

the essence, on the basis of his interpretation of the texts




of St, Thomas and St. Albert, he can only oppose this

refutation as best he can, whence there is no return short

of an upheaval of his metaphysical principles.

And Capreolus

does Just that i.e. oppose this refutation, for he

counter-attacks with citations from Aristotle and Grosseteste^^'

whose texts make clear to him that every proposition in the
first and second mode of predicating

per se" is necessary

and is perpetually true.^-^


We have here isolated two features of the argument

recapitulated by Suarez, namely, that it has been true from all

eternity to say
example of

man is a rational animal.

For this is an

per se " predication in the first mode and Capreolus

has said that such a mode of predication is necessary and

perpetually true,

"Prom these quotations it is manifest that every proposition of the first and second mode of predicating per se is necessary and is perpetually true. Consequently, since the quiddity of a rose belongs to the rose in the first mode of predicating per se , it follows that it necessarily belongs to it. And also Qrosseteste shows that the quiddity of a rose does not belong to a rose by some extrinsic efficient (agentem) cause, so that some. efficient cause is the cause that a rose is a rose." '39;
' '

Thus we have isolated another feature of Suarez'

summary argument, namely, that the essence does not come to be

by an efficient cause.
famous one^'^^' and

The example of the rose is a rather

bloom again in the same context as in



But now that we have undoubtedly found one of

V,xt:o ruco











el nam






lo sooji


ilowB Ji:j

axes Sdn

a o^


jw ;tan;J



the men Suarez had in mind, let us see if Capieolu5 can add

anything to the Intelligibility of the argument as set down

by Svarez.
A contribution in this regard is made by Capreolus'

qualifying remarks on the eternity of such



per se" propo-

For he tells us:

"And for this reason, I reiterate that man always is man is a rational man and this is immutably true animal, and its tnath Is eternally in the divine intellect, as St. Thomas holds in I S.Th. q.lO, a. 3* ad 3 pd in De Veritate q.l, a. 5, adj.''^^^^

And he bolsters this contention first with a very long text

from St. Albert' ^' bearing on eternal truth and eternal

propositions in the context of the Divine Ideas'


secondly with the famous text of Augustine on the niimber six

(45) along with St. Thomas' commentary on the same.^ ^'


Capreolus concludes:
"Just as the first -attempt at refutation was worthless, And so the second attack^^' is of no consequence. this is obvious. For if Grosseteste intends that in such propositions in the first mode of predicating man is a rational mortal per se of this type animal, the predicate is the precise (praecisa) formal cause of the subject, yet it is not the precise (praecisa) cause that it inheres in the subject, but demands an extrinsic cause in order that the predicate belong to the subject, it follows that that cause causes something after it already is, nay that such a thing is its effect and is not its effect. For even when that cause is causing nothing, the predicate still belongs to the subject, since, whether the subject is or is not, it is no less that which it is, as a rose is a rose. Hence no cause is the cause that the quiddity of a rose belongs to a rtsse for it was shown above that such propositions (i.e. 'per se' in the first mode) are eternally necessary b because their truth arises once the
' *




divlne ideas have been posited. For when the divine idea of man Is posited In God, at once the definition (ratio) of man is identical with the definition (ratio) of man, and so immutably man Is man. Likewise when that idea of man is set down, at once the definition |ratio) of animal is included within the definition (ratio) of man, and so man is an animal; so of the rest. To be sure, if any cause effects that man is an animal, that cause will be the cause why the idea of man includes the definition (ratio) of animal, which can be done neither by God himself nor by a creature. Consequently, it is clear that man is an animal, is per se * in this sense, that man is an animal by no extrinsic efficient cause. For its truth, it is sufficient that the predicate be of the definition of the subject. But this is immutably true and ineffectibly so, unless we imagine that the. divine ideas are effectible by some efficient cause." (^7)


All of this helps us to clarify matters a great deal

and also manifests all the features found in Suarez' summary.

For in seeking the basis of the distinction between essence



we have ended in the divine intellect and become

Yet how could

involved in the problem of the divine ideas.

Capreolus conclude otherwise if he has denied any such thing

as a created and thereby""a contingent essential order or a

croated order of essence within being?

And who would dare

say that the divine ideas are created, if that is what one
says when one states that essence has an efficient cause.' We shall have occasion to go into this more in detail later,
so for now let us be content to notice the whole trend and

broad characteristics of this argumentation; its emphasis on

the perseity of essence, with relatively little attention

paid to


esse" other than to point out that it is


per aliud" ;







the need of no efficient cause of the essence; the eternal

truth of


per se" predication; the reference to the divine

intellect and its ideas, and the fact that the answers to the

objections are on the level of vmcreated truth as found in

the divine intellect.

All of these or most of them will

appear again in all but one of the Thomists cited by Suarez.


have been unable to unearth


such presentation in

Giles of Rome in the texts cited by Suarez (cf. Text F).'^^'

And the reappearance of these highlights is so striking that

one would not be too far wrong in saying that Capreolus, or

someone before him has set the pattern for this particular

approach to the problem of essence and



In addition,

this manner of attack is important, for it will help explain

vhy Suarez begins his own formulation and solution where he

does begin it i.e. why Suarez establishes as his first

principle that the essence of a creature has, in itself, no


esse" before it is created by God, rather it is

absolutely nothing. ^^0)

indeed, Capreolus' approach would

seem to be behind the position, previously mentioned, which

reduces the problem of the real distinction to that of
It will not be amiss to remark that in the course

of this whole argumentation only four texts of St. Thomas

have been cited and three do not treat of the composition of

essence and "esse" in any direct way.
Indeed, St. Albert or






rather Avlcenna seem to bulk larger than St. Thomas.

in another context, that of creation,
(51) ^"^ '


Capi^eolus has left

us a remarkable witness to a doctrinal inspiration other than

St. Thomas. It is this:

"Hence it is clear at first glance (prima facie) that althoiigh no created essence has been a being(ens) from eternity, speaking of being (ens) as it designates the actus essendi ' or actual existence, still any essence has been always what it is now essentially and per se for example, man always is man, always is animal, always is a body, always substsmce, always essence or being (ens) which signifies essence. And this is in accord with the mind of Albert and many others. Also of this opinion is St. Thomas."


And then Capreolus brings himself up short, indicating some

hesitation at claiming this doctrine for St. Thomas.
obviously embarrassed as he writes
"Yet if this position does not please, what St. Thomas holds in De Potent! a Dei q.3 a. 5 is held, whex'ein St. Thomas argues as follows: 'All things created by God are said to be the creatures of God. But creation is terminated to " esse" for the first of created things " is esse" as the Liber de Causis has it. Hence, since " the quiddity of the thing is other than its esse ", it is clear (vldetur) that the quiddity of a thing is not from God." (52)

He is

Capreolus remarks that this is the argvunent and then cites St.
Thomas' reply (Ecce argumentum.

Sequitur responsio):

"From the very fact, he (St. Thomas) says, that esse is attributed to the quiddity, not only esse' but the very quiddity is said to be created, because before it has esse ', the quiddity Is nothing, except perchance in the intellect of the creator where it is not a creature but the creative (creatrix) essence."

And having quoted these texts, Capreolus goes on to make this


candid comment:
"And I think that this second way (St. Thomas' answer) Still the other way (the Is safer (securlor). "argumentiim" ) is not erroneous nor even close to error, except to the degree (pro quanto) it is seen to uphold that essence has some esse and not from God. But we should not feel disturbed over this (sed hoc non debet movere). For, just as Henry sa^s, and says well in my estimation (et bene raeo Judicioj, essence has a twofold esse' viz. esse essent lae and esse ex.. '.stGntiae *, and it has each of them from God. But the Tirst ^esse essentiae), it has from God as he is an exemplar cause, granting to each essence by his act of knowing (per suim intelligere ) , an intelligible and quidditative esse (esse intelligibile et quidditativum) ; he gives the second esse (esse exsistentiae) as he is an efficient cause. Thus, it does not follow that a creature has some esse * which is not from God, but it follows only that the creature is not said to be created in regard to the first (es'-e essentiae) but only in regard to the second (esse exsistentiae). On another score (item), there is no need for argument, for as v<as touched above, possible esse , since it is but a qualified esse (c\am non sit esse nisi secundum quid) it is not in vi3?tue of a creation, but it is sufficient that it be through the agency of divine iniellection, in the order (in genere) of formal cause." v53/











Now at last all the cards seem to be on the table

and we can now see, in retrospect, that we have been discussing
a distinction between an

esse essentiae" and an



existentiae" which in formulation at least is not the way St.

Thomas has chosen to express the composition between essence



That this is "according to the mind of St.

Thomas" can also be questioned, which at the same time calls

into question Capreolus' interpretation of these fundamental

texts of his master.

V/hat is

the nature of this exemplary


causality within God which issues In an

esse" which ultimately


belongs to a creature and yet is uncreated?

( sic non

sequitur quod creatura habeat allquod esse quod non sit a

Deo, sed solum quod non dicitur crearl quantum ad priraum, sed

quantum ad secundum esse).


What, also, is the nature of this


esse" which is caused yet not created?

then a creature

essentially such?

And has not Capreolus made of the real

distinction a distinction between essence as possible and

essence as actual, between essence as it exists within the

divine intellect and essence as it exists outside that intellect,

in reality?

This would help explain Suarez' remark to the

effect that created essence is not distinguished from un-

determined essence in any absolute way but only in so far as

created essence has the addition of existence i.e. is posited
outside its causes, which essence as such does not possess.
For, though it is Capreolus' explicit intention to talk of

the subsisting creature. Vet, in virtue of his principle

that essence is uncreated (though not uncaused nor unproduced)

and his subsequent emphasis of this thesis, he cannot help

but ascend, almost at once, to the uncreated order proper to the divine intellect and their ideas therein.




essentiae " v/ould seem to be his chief concern.

Given the fact that Capreolus has influenced the

niomists who succeeded him, we must then watch for the presence

of Henry of Ghent, and for that reason, the omnipresent Avicenna.





That is, from our analysis of Capreolus it vfould seem that

the essence and "esse" between which he affirms a real

distinction is an Avicennian essence and an Avicennian

" --".^^ 'esse



What then can be Capreolus' comprehension of the

texts of his master if he cites them in defense of a composition

esse essentiae" and

esse existentiae "?


Text D: Paulus Barbus Soncinas

Our second Thomlst is also a Dominican, Paulus

Barbus Soncinas., whose last name, and the one he is best

known by, is explained by the fact that he was

noble family at Soncino in Lombardy.


of a

He enters the Dominican

order and in succession teaches philosophy and theology at

Milan, Perrara and Bologna .

He dies on August 4, 1494 at

Cremona, the same year in which he was named lecturer in

theology and preacher at "the convent there.

He numbered the

Thomists, Dominic of Plandria and Peter Nigri among his

contemporaries and among his friends are the nominalist Mark

of Benevento and the fgunous hvunamist Pico della Mlrandola.
He writes a commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle,

published at Milan in 1488; compiles a complete edition of


Opuscula" of St. Thomas, containing many apocrypha, and

last but not least, writes a resume of the work of Capreolus

just studied, entitled


Epitonia quaestioniim in guatuor llbris


; auiSJB^i
jti Il5







-iJw --a.

Plfl n'^orriB

dm sum

3 jaOL'





Sententlarum a prlnclpe Thomlstaruin Joanne Capreolo Tolosano

dlsputatarum .

This last is published posthuiaously in 1522,

(55) ^^^'

8o it is that we can expect to find a man well acquainted with

the thought of Capreolus but whether or not he is influenced

by Capreolus will have to wait on our analyses.

But the text

for our discussion is not Soncinas sxanmary of the work of

Capreolus since Suarez cites his comment ar:,-^ on Aristotle.
is the latter which will concern us.

As nis second conclusion, Soncinas states that in all things beneath the prime cause is an entity really


esse "

(secundum rem) distinct from essence. ^^^

And the third proof

of it, a principal one (principal iter arguitur), goes as

the thlrni place it is a principal argument (principaliter arguitur) that what belongs to something perse' is really distinguished from what belongs to it 'per aliu d' , But esse belongs to things per aiiud ', namaly by tiie prime cause granting esse to thera. However, essence belongs to things per se because it is aaid of them essentially. For this is in man is a the first mode of predication per se rational animal 2_. Consequently esse and essence are not the same . " V 5









Here again, we have found another exponent of the

first argument repeated by Suarez, manifesting a niomber of the features found In Suarez' rendition.

For Soncinas also


emphasizes essence apart from a relation to

esse" , and though

he does not explicitlj mention an efficient cause, it is

implied in the use of


per aliud " and prime cause, thus re-

li^l" '^"^nlBiipOB Xle*







no ^iaw






.'ft*A i.N^y



J. \l.











-J 9cli

nl bsllqml


calllng some of the marks pr-evlously noted.

course is had to the example of
same example cited by Suarez

Then, too, re-

per se " predication by the

man is a rational animal.

However, in order to do justice to the man, let us note a

qualification of this argijment under the press of an objection

reminiscent of that found in Suarez, an objection to the effect

"Essence belongs to things per se in the order of formal cause (formallter) but per allud in the order of efficient cause (effective). f*or there is an efficient cause that man is an animal." v5o)
' '
' '

It is also worthy of note that this objection is a composite

of the two found in Capreolus.

Thus, vmder fire of such a

refutation Soncinas reacts as follows and qualifies somewhat

the stand he took initially:
"But against this objection it is countered (arguitur) And it is shown not, to be sure (non in three ways auidem), that essence does not have an efficient (effectivam) cause,- because it is certain that humanity and lapideity and whatever else is in things, is produced by the prime cause. Rather, it is shown that there is no efficient cause of the simplified connection of this proposition (connexionis significati hujus propositionis) man is a rational animal, whereais (sicut) there is an efficient cause of the signified connection of this proposition (connexionis significati hujus propositionis) man is. .For God, in producing man, conjoins esse to him." 159)



The question may well be asked if Soncinas is not

destroying his former position based on the absence of an
efficient cause of the essence and the presence of one in the
case of "esse"

For if, under the press of opposition.

..^ -Vi


SoncinaB qualifies his previous stand to say finally that

essence as well as

esse " has an efficient cause, has he not


qualified his original position out of existence?

becomes of the original position cited by Suarez?


Let us keep

these queries in mind for now, since we shall return to these

problems again when we treat Suarez' refutation of the first

Thomistic argument.

But before leaving Soncinas let us note

It is found in

another very likely indebtedness to Capreolus.

his third proof of the above qualification.

He argues:

"Thirdly; if man is an animal, has an efficient cause, it vfould follow that something would come to be after It already is. But this is false, otherwise it would twice receive ' esse * . Hence etc. The consequence (consequentia) is proved: when God* 3 efficient causality has ceased, this is still true man is an animal. Consequently If man is an animal, is from an efficient agent, it follows that it comes to be after it already is. The consequence (consequentia) is cleai'. The antecedent is made manifest.

That which results when the divine ideas are posited must be, though all causality has ceased. But when the idea of man and the idea of animal is posited, their connection (connexio) results iDecause the idea of man necessarily realizes (repraesentat) aniraallty. Hence etc."(^^0)
Again, in expounding a man's teaching on the distinction of

essence and


esse" we have ascended to the divine intellect and

to the ideas therein.

In brief, we have once more found our-

selves in the order of imcreated truth.


Text B: Cajetan

The next Thomist to be ti'eated, and one who scarcely

needs any introduction, is the famous Thomas De Vio Cajetanus,











so named by reason of his place of birth, Gaeta in Italy.


in 1469 he enters the Dominican order at the age of 16.

he teaches philosophy and theology at Pavia, Brescia, Padua and


In 1508 he is general of the order and in 151? is made

a cardinal.

Of his prolific works the most famous, of course,


is his commentary on the

Summa Theologiae " of St. Thomas.

Indeed, his literary output is truly remarkable when one realizes

that much of it was accomplished while he was the covinselor of several Popes, even to fulfilling many missions for them, as well as general of his order.'

For our needs it is his

commentary on the


De Ente et Essentia" of St. Thomas which

It is noteworthy that he has

contains something of interest.

recourse to St. Thomas' arguments as found in II Contra Gentiles

cap. 52 for a fuller clarification of the already demonstrated

distinction between essence and


esse ".

For he tells us:

"In regard to the s'fecond step in our procedure: the position (opinio) of St. Thomas, talcen by him in II Contra Gentiles (cap LII), is that in every creature, its quiddity and its actual existence (esse actualis existent iae) are really distinguished. And though this conclusion has already been made clear in the text (i.e. of the De Ente et Essentia) still (attamen), for a fuller exposition I shall excerpt (adducam) three proofs from St, Thoijias in that olace (i.e. the Contra Gentiles)." (027

The remarkable thing is that in the two men already

featured, Capreolus and Soncinas, and now Cajetan, a reference
to the second book of the Summa Contra Gentiles chapter 52,

explicit or implied, has always attended the facsimile of the



I low



first Thomlstlc argument resumed by Suarez.

For within that

very context we find Cajetan saying:

"The third argument Is this; Wliat belongs to a specific nature apart from any efficient (effectiva) cause is really distinguished from what belongs to that specific nature only by some efficient (effectivam) cause. But the quiddltative predicates belong to a thing without any efficient (effectiva) cause. Yet existence does not belong to a thing except by some efficient agent. Hence the quiddltative predicates and the existence of a thing are really distinguished. The major is per ae nota The minor also, in regard to the second part is most clear, but in regard to the second part, it is made clearer (declaratur) as follows: When all efficient (effectiva) causality is removed in respect to the rose, I ask whether this is true a rose is a corporeal substance. If so, I have my point (intentum). If not, then rose, taken absolutely, is not in a predicament &nd the predicates of the first mode can be understood not to be of the thing and the definition would be separated from the defined, all of which are unimaginable etc. Also, this opinion is clearly (videtur) derived from the ancients, namely Plato, Alpharabi, Avlcenna, Algazeli, Boethius, Hilarlus, Albert and their followers, although Aristotle has left us nothing clear on this."(o3)
' '

The similarity of this text to that written by Suarez

is so striking, with the same turns of phrase and choice of

words, that we may well have the prototype of Suarez* re-


Cajetan is likely one of the men Suarez had in

The large portion given
"esae." is patent;

mind when he quoted this argument.

over to essence apart from its relation to

the contrast of these two principles according to the presence

and absence of an efficient cause to found the distinction of

essence and


esse " is employed; recourse is had to an example

per se" predication pointing out that the essential



oe Bt



predicates, and hence the essence, have no efficient cause.

However, explicit reference to the eternal truth of such

a rose is a corporeal substance, is missing, though im-

plied, when he says that the truth of such a proposition has

no efficient cause.

Also, no explicit statement in regard to

the order of uncreated truth is to be found, though that too

must be implied in the absence of any efficient cause of the

truth of the above predication.

That Cajetan is in the same

tradition as Capreolus^^^' before him is made clear by his

reference to Avlcenna, Alpharabi, Algazel, Albert, Boethius

and St. Hilary, though Aristotle, says Cajetan, has left

nothing on this point.

The addition of Plato by Cajetan to

this tradition is very interesting.'*^^'


Text C: Sylvester of Ferrara

Pranciscus de Sllvestris Pen^ariensis is the fourth

Thomist we are to treat.

As in the case of his contemporary,

Cajetan, we are concerned with one of the classic commentators

of St. Thomas and, like Cajetan, he too is a general of the

Dominican order, having entered it at the age of 14.



Perrara in 1474 he enters the Dominican convent there.

year 1498 finds him teaching philosophy at Mantua; in 1503 he

teaches at Milan and in 1507 he is at Bologna.
Indeed, what

Cajetan is to the


Theologlae of St. Thomas, Sylvester is







to the S-umma Contra Gentiles

This famous commentary dates

from 1508 to 1517i the year in which it was finished, and it

is said that when Cajeteui, now master general, passed by the

convent at Bologna in 1313 and was presented this commentary

of Sylvester, he ordered them to be published, realizing their

great worth.

He dies in 1528 at Rennes while visiting the


convents in France.^

With Perrara we are again faced with that onuiipresent

chapter* in the second book of the Summa Contra Gentiles and,

more particulai'ly, at grips with the very argument which seems

to have inspired all the Thomists we have met thus far. As is

his custom, before commenting, Sylvester interprets the fifth

argument of St. Thomas thusly:

per se "Fifthly. Substance belongs to each thing cause. But esse ' belongs that is, not by a productive Hence etc. The to substance (sibij per aliud . by an argument from opposition emtecedent is made clear (ex opposite): for to be actually illumined is not of the substance of air because it belongs to it per allud '.n^J





The same interpretation of


per se" to mean


out an efficient cause, encountered previously in Capreolus,

Soncinas and Cajetsai, is here facing us again.

And just as

we saw in Suarez, the presence and absence of this efficient

cause is the basis for the distinction essence and

esse "

But just like Soncinas before him, Sylvester qualifies this

position as follows:
"It must be noted that it is one thing to say that the


essence of something has a productive cause and it Is another thing to say that the essence belonss to a thing hy an efficient (effectivam) cause. For the first is true and the second is false. Since every production is teiminated to actual existence (ad esse act\aalis existentiae), everything which has esse from another And thus, since is said to have a productive cause. every created essence has esse from another, it is necessary to say that every created essence has a man is an productive cause. But when it is said animal, no actual existence (esse actualis existentiae) is expressed, but merely the composition of predicate and subject and the relation (ordo) of one to the other. For it is an order or relation which belongs to a thing whether it really exists or not, as Avicenna, Algazel, whether man is or is not, Alpharabi, and Albert hold man man is an animal. Hence this is always true man is an animal, has no productive cause, but this Nor is it any obstacle that is, does have such a cause. sometime the Doctors say that God made man rational beas if God made cause it is not said for this reason rational belong to man, but because He produced the intellective, soul of man vrtience man formally (foiroaliter) is animal." (^o)




The same tradition of Avicenna, Alpharabi, Algazel,

and Albert is attested to once more.

And since the presence

of Soncinas seems obvious here, the same problems noted in

his regard confront us again.

For we must also ask if

Sylvester is not destroying the very position found in his

initial interpretation of the fifth argument of St. Thomas?

Such seems to be the case if, as he admits in this text, it is

necessary to say that every created essence has a productive
cause (cum omnls essentia creata ab alio habeat esse, necesse
est dicere omnem essentiam ci*eatara habere causam productivam),

for the point of his original interpretation was that the

created essence had no productive cause.
What then becomes of





the relation of this to Suarez' rendering?

We shall have

occasion later to return to these queries, so we shall leave

their resolution till then.

But it is to be remarked that,

in qualifying his stand, Sylvester has departed from the order

of created essence or created trxith and climbed to the level

of uncreated (because not caused by an efficient agent) essence

and xmcreated truth.

For, it is always true to say

man is

an animal.

Thus, in Spite of the different tack taken by

Sylvester, we have isolated two features of Suarez* original


A third and important one is instanced in his

quotation of and reply to the same objection which plagued

Capreolus and Sonclnas and was cited by Suarez.
is this:

The objection

"But someone may be able to say to the argument of St, Thomas that substance in truth (quldem) belongs to a thing 'perse* in the order of formal causality (formallter) but not so in the order of efficient causality (non aute effective). And for this reason, it (substantia) belongs to a thing in viii^ue of another just as esse does."T69)
' *

Here follows the rather lengthy reply of Sylvester containing

something we have already met in each of the three preceding

"But against this refutation (responsionem) it is ai^gued by the Thon^ists on these grounds. First, because when all causality has ceased, it is true tliat man is man and man is an animal. Otherwise, predicates in the first mode can be understood not to be present to the thing and the definition is separated from the defined. All of are contrary to every philosophy, (cf. Cajetan). Second, because something would come to be after it








.8 it


J J.



Because when all efficiency is removed, it would still be true that man is man, since the predicate belongs formally to the subject of itself and for this reason is of eternal truth. And thus if some cause makes man to be man, it follows that it causes something after it is. (cf. Capreolus and Soncinas). Third, because these are equally necessary man is man and God is one, since their opposites are equally impossible, viz, from the iii?)lication of contradiction. But that God is one, is established to have no efficient (effectivam) cause, (cf. Soncinas' note #39). Nor is it valid if it is said that pix>positions of this sort are necessary when the existence of the subject is supposed. Because then this two and three are five is no more necessary tlian this es.rth is. Heaven is and the like, which are established to be conditionally (ex suppositione) necessary. But this is both contrary to philosophy and contrary to Augustine de Libero-^bitrio (Lib. II cap VIII)." (cf. Capreolus note yTHl)K(^)

And he bolsters this position with a long text showing just

how "per se" propositions (in the first way) are eternally

"But for evidence of this how the already-mentioned propositions in which the predicate is of the definition of the subject are eternally trnie, and hov; (quoniara) they do not have an efficient (effectivam) cause of the inherence of predicate in subject, it must be pondered that, since a nature is subject to a threefold consideration viz. absolutely, abstracting from every esse both in an intellect and outside an intellect, as it has 'esse' in an intellect and as it has esse * outside an intellect in things themselves, the quidditative predicates belong to a nature not from the esse it has in an intellect, nor from the esse which the nature has in things but in itself (secundum se) as it abstracts from every esse . For when no intellect is considering or even when there is no man really (in rerum natiira) existing, man is a rational animal. Indeed, I say that predicates belong to a nature, not in respect to actual predication, because that does not come about except by the operation (opus) of an intellect, but fundamentally and in reality (quantum ad rem). But although such predicates do not belong fundamentally and in reality (secxindura rem) to the natuj^e by reason of (ex)











esse which they have in an intellect, as, namely, if the intellect were not, man would not be a rational animal, neverthless such an inherence of predicates in a subject is able to be known by an intellect, divine as well as created. And for this reason propositions of this type are eternally true in two ways. First, because for eternity (aeternaliter) the thing is what it is (talis) essentially and it is its true nature to be understood with the attribution of such a predicate. Secondly, because they are known eternally by the divine intellect to be true, not only on the part of the act of understanding (ex parte intelligent is) but also on the part of the thing understood (ex parte rei intellectae) For, since the ideas of all natures are in the divine mind eternally, when these ideas are posited, the connection of a substauitial predicate v;ith a subject results. For this reason (ideo) such propositions are known to be true from all eternity by the divine intellect, And, as a consequence, no efficient (effectiva) cause is required to make predicate belong to subject." (71)



Again we have come to the divine intellect and its

ideas, all in the context of the discussion of the distinction

of essence and


esse " which, after all, we must expect, since

in each man studied so far a retreat to the order of uncreated

truth has been the order of the day.

Let us see if our last

Thomist will fail to follow suit.


Text E: Chrysostomus Javellus

Our last Thomist to be discussed is Chrysostomus

Javellus, another Dominican friar, who is


in Piedmont

around 1470, was


because of the place in Piedmont where he


is known in religion as Chrysostomus Casalensis.

After teaching several years, he is appointed master of students

at Bologna by the general chapter of 1507.

In 1513 he is a


bachelor at the same convent and two years later, along with
his famous colleague at Bologna, Sylvester of Ferrara, receives
the title of master.
Indeed, his

university career was

spent at Bologna, at the time when Cajetan was directing the

intellectual life of the order.

Further, he plays an active

part in the controversy aroused by the publication of Peter



De Immortalitate Animae "

He has left us an

Ethica Christiana ", an Invaluable work entitled,


Rationalis, Naturalis, Divlnae ac Moralis Philosophiae

Compendium " , a commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle, a


Logicae Compendium Peripateticae " and a rare commentary on


the first part of the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas.

latter may be found in the 158I Lyon edition of the

He dies in 1538.^''^'


Like his predecessors in defending the doctrine of

St. Thomas, he too harks back to the words of his master in

II Contra Gentiles cap. 52, for he tells us:

"The third opinion, and the one we intend to maintain,

is that of St. Thomas in 2 Contra Gentiles, cap. 52. To make it clear (ad cujus evidentiam) we shall do three things. First, we shall discuss what essence is and what ' esse is. Second, in what genus they are. Third, I shall posit two conclusions in keepins_with what has been proposed (responsivas proposito) ."TT3)

As his first conclusion he states that in any being below the

prime cause,


esse " and essence are really distinguished, as


these two are taken


in concrete"

namely as


esse hominis "

id quod est homo"

It is his second proof of this











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conclusion which interests us in regard to the first argument

cited by Suarez.

For there Javellus argues:


"The first conclusion is proved a second time as Esse tias a productive cause, because it is follows. the effect of an agent which gives esse to its product. But essence does not have a productive cause. Hence, they ai'e not the same in reality (realiter). The consequence ( consequent ia) is clear. The second part of the antecedent is proved in many ways, for if the essence has a productive cause, then (ergo) the quldditative and essential predicates have a productive cause. But these predicates belong to a thing without any (omni) productive cause. For when all productive causality in relation to the rose is removed, I ask whether this is true a rose is a corporeal substsuice. If so I have ray point; if not, then one can have no science of the rose absolutely taken, but only of the rose as it exists. Yet this is fsdse, for, as it is had in the first book of the Posterior Analytics, science But the rose is of incorrupt ibles and necessary things. as it exists is corruptible and contingent. Hence, in order that there be science of the ixDse, this must be /k' the rose is a corporeal substance, perpetually true even though all productive causality is absent (remota)."^'
* ' *


The influence of Capreolus and of Cajetan, I think,

is obvious.

But more important we have londoubtedly found

another owner of the first Thomistlc argument reported by


The absence of an efficient cause of the essence is

clearly brought out in the text of Javellus revealing that

this presence and absence is the basis for the real distinction
of essence and

esse "

The position that essence has no

efficient cause is elucidated and demonstrated by recourse to

essential predication in the first mode, all of which

ingredients appeared in the recoxinting of the argument by


And though any explicit reference to eternal and un-



1 o-



created truth is lacking it seems implied as was the case with



Second Thomistic Argument

Now that


have completed our research into the

background of the first Thomistic argument cited by Suarez

and now that our method of procedure has proved workable and
also fruitful, let us go on to the second argument reported

by Suarez following the same method of approach by beginning with Suarez and working back.
The second argument is presented in the first person
(argumentor), indicating that Suarez is summing up these argu-

ments as if they were his own which as we shall ultimately see,

they are not.^'



The argument goes as follows:

' *

"The esse * of a creature is an esse received in something. Hence in the essence, for no other can be conceived into which it is received. Therefore it is a thing distinct from essence for the seune thing cannot be received into itself." (77)

But not content merely to state the argument in skeleton form,

Suax^z proceeds to put some flesh on the bones by giving a

proof of this argument.

cedent viz. that the In something.

Thus he sets about to prove the ante"

esse " of a creature is an

esse " received

"The first antecedent is proved because an imreceived esse is an esse * subsisting by itself, in virtue of its own actuality, for it is wholly abstracted from a
' ' '




subject or potency in which it may be received. Such an esse is therefore most perfect and the most supreme (suiiinuin)'^ and thus pure act and some thing Infinite in the order of being (infinitum quid in ratione essendi). Hence it is repugnant that the esse of a creature be altogether unreceived. Such a proof is confirmed because such an ' esse i.e. esse Irreceptum does not have any principle of limitation. For it is not limited by a potency in which it may be received, if it does not have any potency (si illam non habet). Nor is such an esse limited by an act or a difference which is related y mode of act vjith respect to existence ( existent lae). The reason is that since existence is the ultimate actuality, it is not constituted by an act by which it is limited. Therefore, in order that the 'esse' of a creature be finite and limited, it is necessary that it 1> the act of the essence which it is i*eceived, and ( by which it is limited." '^)










Let us now isolate the highlights of this second

argument as resumed by Suarez.


It emphasizes the following



esse" is a received




The relation of

esse " and essence in a creature

is that of received to receiver with essence acting as


The distinction of receiver and received is a

real distinction otherwise, if they were not so distinct,

but rather identical, it would amount to saying that the

same thing receives itself, which is absurd,


An unreceived


esse" is self-subsistent, lacks

no perfections, is pure act and thus infinite in the

order of being, all of which characteristics are repugnant to a creature.




That an unreceived


esse" should have these

is due to its lack of any limitation by a potency in


it might be received.

To say that this unreceived


esse " is limited by


another act or difference is to forget that such an

esse "

is the ultimate actviality which is not in potency to any

further act by which it might be limited.

Following our previous procedure let us look to the

Thomists to see if their texts Justify the attribution of such
an argument.


Text P: Giles of Rome

Though strangely absent from our research into the

sources of the first Thomistic argument according to Suarez,

nevertheless a number of texts in one of the works of Giles

of Rome cited by Suarez ^cf

Text P) lend themselves as

possible sources for Suarez' second summation.

With Giles, we

are dealing with one of the famous students of St, Thomas who

studied under him at Paris between 1269-1272, and yet one whose

allegiance to the master's doctrine is such that his

characterization as a faithful disciple is Justly suspect.

He teaches at Paris from 1285 to 1291 during which time he

disputes the problem of the distinction between essence and


esse " with one of the "magni" ^ ^^^ ^*y

Henry of Ghent.






In 1292 he becomes general of the Order of the Hermits of St,

Augustine of which he is a member.

Further, in 1295, he be-

comes bishop of Bourges and dies in 1316 at Avignon. '^9'

However, let it be noted at once that some texts of

Giles may be the sources for the second Thomistic argument,

though they do not seem to be part of one whole argument, such

as Suarez has it.

Giles, in citing the arguments which the

magni ", who oppose the real distinction, cite against them-

selves refers to the following:

"Versus themselves they offer three argtunents. The first If a creature were its esse ', then (c\jm) a creature would be something subsisting (quid subsistens). Hence the esse of the creature would be a subsistent But such an esse' is pure esse ' which belongs esse to God alone. Thus etcT "The second 2u?gument amounts to this. Since an esse of this sort is not something limited if the creature were its ' esse ' , the creature would not be something limited. And thus it would not be something finite, which is unfitting. . ."(80)
is this.







This in substance is the argument as cited by Suarez.

For Just as in Suarez, the emphasis is laid on the fact that a

esse" is a limited "esse"

(cf. d).

And that it is

essence which limits, is made clear farther on in the same


"Further, in the same book (De Hebdomadibus) it is said 'id quod est accepta essendi forma est atque subsistit*. But what is received is really other (aliud re) than what receives. Hence the essence v^lch receives esse is really different from esse ." (ol)
' ' '

That Suarez has made this same point I do not think can be

doubted (cf. a and b).

And Giles affirms the same point in

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other texts'"^' the most striking of which, as far as its

partial similarity to Suarez' account is concerned, is perhaps
the following:
"So also in the case of what is proposed (in proposito) the esse of the creature is a diminished esse (esse diminutura) because it is a received esse received in the creature. It has a diminished esse because it possesses something other than esse But if the creature's esse were not a received esse it would not be diminished. For act is not said to be diminished nor said to be something participated, except by reason of the potency in which it is received, vnience it would not be an act which would be received in a potency nor would it by nature (natus) be apt to be received. It would be but act and hence an infinite act in the manner we mentioned above in the eighth book of the De Trinitate c.3 where St. Augustine argues that God is infinite good because he is nothing but good. Thus iinless we grant that esse is something received in essence we say in effect that it is not son^thing participated, neither in itself nor with respect to another. For limitation accrues to act only by reason of the potency receptive of it. Nor can it be said that that is not a real difference, for if, on this basis (i.e. no real difference), we posit that a creature's esse is a certain diminished act because it is not received in a potency according to its fullness, it is necessary that the receiver be really different from the received. For otherwise it would not receive it in a diminished degree, for we shall not say that the ^ same thing receives itself in a diminished fashion." (S3)



















This, as well as other texts,



contain the highlights of

Suarez' recounting (cf. a-b-c-e) but I think it is unlikely

that Giles of Rome is a direct source for Suarez in this


Let us now look to Capreolus to see if we find

something more compact in the way of argxunentation and con-

taining the highlights reported in Suarez.




Text A: John Capreolus

In the second argument on behalf of his first

conclusion, Capreolus leads off with a text of St. Thomas

from II Contra Gentiles 3 cap. 32 which reads as follows:

"It is impossible that esse be wholly Infinite in two instances (duplex). For an esse which is absolutely (omnino) infinite comprehends every perfection of being (essendi). Thus, if infinity were present to two such esse's , that would not be found whereby the one would differ from the other. But subsistent esse must be infinite because it is not limited (tenainatur) by any recipient. Hence it is impossible to grant a subsistent esse besides the first." v85)
' '









Capreolus, in lieu of an outright coiranentary, cites

a possible objection taking issue with St. Thomas' assertion


a subsistent 'esse* must be infinite"

and records

the following reply:

"To this it is said that there is no groiinds for arguiment ( instant ia nulla est) because if it is established that an 'esse' subsists in the first way " (accepting " esse subsistens " for an esse " not received it in something distinct from it), it is " necessary that " way (accepting esse subsistens subsist " in the second for an esse" in no vjay contracted to a special grade of beingJI This is made clear as follows. No act, which, in as much as it is act (talis), does not have formal differences by which it may be divided, can be divided except by its receiver (susceptlvum ejus) which It is made clear in itself has a certain divisibility. third book of the Metaphysics c.ll vriiere (patet) in the Aristotle lays it dovm that everything divisible is divided either by form or quantity'. But esse as it is of this sort cannot have any formal difference. Hence it cannot be divided except by receivers (susceptiva). And if these receivers were of one order or genus (ratio), esse would be multiplied only by number. If they were esse would of one and another order or genus (ratio), many esse of another order. 6ut if be divided into some 'esse' were to subsist (subsisteret) so that it









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would not be received, it would have no distinctive formal or material principle. Thus it could in no way be divided. Consequently, it could in no way be contracted, for every contraction of something common finds that what is common (ipsugi) is in some way divided into many. Contraction cannot even be understood without division. Yet if it were in no way contracted it v/ould be subsistent in the second way and absolutely Infinite. But that esse cannot have any formal differences is clear because ens cannot have them as is manifest in Hence by much less can 'esse' have 3 Metaphysics c.lO them since the concrete is more divisible than the abstract just as man is more divisible than hiimanity. It is also clear because difference is such (cujusmodi) that it implies a lesser degree of purity and elevation than all outside its own order (ratio)." VoT)
' ' ' '

Let us note that the whole argument revolves around

the dictum of St. Thomas that


esse autem subsistens oportet

esse infinitum; quia non terminatur aliquo recipiente " , which

contains the implication that a received



esse " is not an

esse "

This finds its echo in the first character"

istic of Suarez' summation for the received

is that of the angel, and is thus a created

esse" in question


esse ", there being

only one subsistent




It also contains overtones

of some other points (cf. d and e).

Then the objector by call-

ing the dictum of St. Thomas into question, in turn calls forth the interpretation of Capreolus.
It is the point of the

objector that if the


esse subsistens " of St. Thomas is imder"

stood in the sense of an

esse " received in something not

distinct from it, i.e. if the "esse" of an angel is not distinct

from its essence, then the dictum of St. Thomas is not clear
(quia non apparet magis evidentia in ilia propositione, esse

subsistens oportet esse infinitum, acciplendo esse subsistens










pro esse quod non reclpltur in aliquo dlstincto, a se^ slcut

argumentum procedit).

But if St. Thomas means by this



subsist ens " an "esse" contracted to no special grade or level

of being, then his dictum is true, the point being that one who

holds that an angel is its own


esse" will not say that he sub-

sists in this second way, i.e. as contracted to no special grade

of being.

Rather, since it is an angelic


esse" and thus conirtio

tracted to the angelic order of being, one

holds no real

distinction will say it subsists in the first way, i.e. as


esse subsistens" is taken to mean an


esse" received in some-

thing not distinct from it.

But the implication of St. Thomas'


argument in itself and in view of the context is that the



quod-est " of an angel differ really as receiver and re"

ceived, otherwise, if

esse " is not received by a receiver


really distinct from it, then and hence infinite.

esse " can only be subsistent,

In short, St. Thomas does not hold for


the distinction made by the objector in resa3?d to


subsistsns "

Thus Capreolus retorts that for an


esse" to subsist

in the first way, i.e. as received in something not distinct

from it, is for that


esse" to subsist in the second way, i.e.

as contracted to no special grade of being.

The reason being

that act as such, lacking all formal differences (cf . f ) that

might divide or differentiate it


only be divided by what










Is receptive of it.

Accordingly, a divided, contracted and thus


a limited or created



is a received


esse" (cf. a), for

contraction and division go hand in hand.

So true is this that

what is not divided by a receiver is not contracted and hence

is infinite (cf. d and e).

In brief, Capreolus is holding that

to deny the real distinction is to propose that the creature's


esse" is an Infinite


esse ".

I do not

think we can doubt

that Capreolus is in this text one of the Thoraists present in

Suarez* recounting^ even though some of the details are lacking, and in spite of the fact that it appears that Capreolus is not a direct source for Suarez.

The important point is

that the argument is there in substance.


Text D: Paulus Barbus Soncinas

In our second Thomist we find, as we have learned

to expect, a striking similarity with the presentation offered

by Capi*eolus.
stating that

For in the second proof of his second conclusion,

ease" is an entity really (secundum rem) distinct

from essence in all beings below the first cause, Soncinas

argues as follows:
"If esse were identical with essence it would follow that esse would be subsisting per se This is false. Hence etc. The consequence (conaequentia) is proved: the essence of any separate substance is subsisting 'per se' since those substances are certain abstract formsT Hence whatever is Identical with such an essence is subsisting per se The falsity of the consequent (consequent is) is proved in two ways. First,
' '







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every *esse* subsisting per se is infinite In the order of beinn; (in rat lone essendi) but the esse of an abstract substance Is not Infinite in being (In essendo) otherwise it would have in itself all perfections (omnes perfectlones rerum) Hence it is not subsisting per se The minor is clear. The major is proved: when every principle of limitation is removed, the thinr; remains unlimited and infinite just as when a precise (praecisa) cause is removed, the effect would be removed. But every principle of limitation is removed from an esse ' subsisting per se . Hence It would be infinite. Tha major is clear. The minor is proved: no act is limited except by the subject in which it is received or by the differences which contract it. In the first way, whiteness in a subject is said to be limited to a certain grade because the subject does not receive it to every possible degree of intensity to be found in its cause. In the second way, the nature of heat is limited by blackness (in nigredine) because blaclcness does not have heat except as it is contracted to this determined level and degree (speciem) which is blacloiess. But subsistent esse is not determined in the first way since it is not received in anything, nor is it determined in the second way because it does not have differences. Hence it is absolutely unlimited." (3S)
' * '







It is not too difficult to see what has happened.

Vfhereas Capreolus began with a citation from St. Thomas

followed with a possible objection and then ariswered the

objection in defense of the text of St. Thomas, Soncinas begins his development with that very objection.
For, as in

Capreolus, the objection takes the stand that essence and


esse" are identical and thus the angelic



esse " in this case

is a

per se" subsisting




i.e., the essence of an

angel is subsisting

per se " in the sense that it is a

Hence, what is identical

separate or abstract, immaterial form.

to such an essence, namely


esse ", can only be

per se "



subsistent as this essence is.

Is saying that

Thus In Sonclnas the objector

esse " is


per se " subsistent If it is received

in something not distinct from itself. Just as was the case of

the adversary in Capreolus (of. note #86).

However, Soncinas

does not retain the two-fold distinction which the objector in

Capreolus applied to


esse subslstens "

That the position of

this adversary is false, Soncinas proves in two ways with words

reminiscent of Suarez* recapitulation.

For Soncinas, every




esse " is infinite in the order of being (cf


finitum quid in ratione essendi" and d).

Capreolus' point,

This also was

Soncinas also says that to be so infinite


is to be most perfect (cf

d), for it denotes that it is In no

way limited by any principle of limitation (cf. e), neither by

a subject or potency in which such an act might be received
(cf , e) or by differences within it which might contract such

an actuality as this subsistent


esse " (cf. f).

Thus one can


only conclude that a created

(cf. a), wherein


esse" is a received

esse "

esse ", lest it be subsistent, is limited

by its receiver, essence (cf. b).

Again a number of key

points check out, revealing again that Sxiarez is in touch

with the Thomist tradition, thovigh it does not seem to be as

directly as the first argument led us to believe, for it does
not seem likely that this second argument is cited directly

from Soncinas either.

Let us now go on to the next man.


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Text B: Cajetan
As we have seen, Cajetan, though comment ing on the


De Ente at Essentia" of St. Thomas, has recourse to the


second booic of the

Surama Contra Gentiles"

cap. 32 .

So, in

the second proof excerpted from there, we find Cajetan*

account of the same text of St. Thomas, cited at the outset of

the second argument of Capreolus.

Cajetan' s rendition reads

this way:
"Eveiy xinreceived ' esse is absolutely infinite (infinitum simpliciter). But no ci'eated esse (esse creaturae) is absolutely infinite. Hence, no created 'esse' (esse creaturae) is an vjireceived esse The minor is per se nota . The major is proved as follov/s: ever^' pure esse is absolutely infinite. But everj.- unreceived ' esse is pure esse Hence overy imreceivsd esse is absolutely infinite The major is clear from the terms themselves (in short, esse is limited for this reason -- because it is not pure but mixed with the predicaments). For esse is limited by the predicamental natures whose deprivation will result in its lacking all finltude and it thus will stand absolutely infinite (a quibus, si depuretur, omni finitate carens Infinitum omnino restabit). But the minor is also clear from the preceding argument and from the argi^raent made above in the text. Even so it is clarified by wai'' of example (exemplariter declaratur). If whiteness is posited as not received in something, it is pure whiteness and would have nothing besides Itself. In addition it would be Infinite in the species of whiteness, as is clear. For no one sound of mind can imagine a separated whiteness as limited to some aegree of vjhiteness. Indeed, everything which is essentially such (per se tale) has every perfection possible to its nature just as the separated msm for Plato has every perfection possible to human nature." (89)
' '















I think it can be safely said that Cajetan has the

third argument of St. Thomas In II Contra Gentiles cap. 52 in

mind as he proceeds with this argumentation, just as Capreolus







an ah



before him and, as is likely, Soncinas.

His opening syllogism

embodies at least two of Suarez' points (cf. a and d).

there Cajetan makes the point that a ci'eated


esse " is a re"

ceived and thereby a limited


esse "

An unreceived

esse" is

absolutely infinite and it is pure (cf, d and e), the burden

of the whole argument being that there is a real distinction

between essence acting as receiver and

(cf. b and c).


esse " as the received

These are the points which check with Suarez'

original formulation and indicate that ,Cajetan as well as

Soncinas and Capreolus, can be numbered among those Thoraists

who argue to the real distinction in this second manner,


Text C

Sylvester of Ferrara

As is his custom, Sylvester first interprets the

argument of St. Thomas and then proceeds to comment.

Thus he

interprets the third argument as follows, seemingly taking

his cue from the objection he alludes to in the case of the

second argument:
"Third. If it were so (i.e. if esse and essence were not really distinct but only distinct 'ox natura r-ei' as the objection maintains) there would be given many (multiplex) absolutely Infinite esse's *, since subsistent esse * must be infinite in as much as it is not limited (teminetur) by any recipient. But this is impossible because that whereby one would differ from another v/ould not be since an Infinite ' esse comprehends every perfection of being." \90)


But beginning as he does, Sylvester comes back immediately with





t'Mft- :*-^r,-a



an echo of his master



quia esse subslstens oportet esse

eo quod non termlnetur allquo reclplente etc. ".

And having said this he offers a possible objection to the

position of St. Thomas which, by the way, is a much clearer

presentation of the objection put forth by Capreolus:

"To this argument it can be said that not every subsistent ' esse is infinite but only that which so subsists that it is not limited to some grade of being (essendi). Now, although some esse is so subsistent that it is received in no subject really distinct from itself, as the ' esse of the separate substance if it were identical with its essence, still it can be limited to some grade of being, namely, as is the esse ' of Gabriel or Raphael. For this reason it is not necessary that it be Infinite." (91)



Now that we have found Capreolus' objection, let us

see if his answer finds its way into Sylvester's argumentation:

"But this refiTtation (responslc) does not destroy (tollit) the argument. For, since esse cannot be limited by formal differences by reason of the fact that nothing is more actual than it, it is necessarv, if it is to be determined to sane grade, that it be limited by a recipient (susceptivura). Hence if it is posited to have no real receiver (susceptivum) and, since this is not divisible by differences, it must be that it is limited to no grade of being (essendi) and consequently it is necessary that it be pure and infinite 'esse'. "(^2)
' '

Without doubt we can see here the formulation of


For he, like Sylvester, insisted that


esse " can-

not be limited by any formal differences after the fashion of

another act, for nothing is more actual than

be in potency to no further act.
same detail (cf. f).


esse " which can

Suarez has remarked on this

Thus it must be limited by the receiver


V N#


31 _-









of It.

CapreoluB also said this


Suarez reports it as

well (cf. a and b).

But if the position is taken that it has

no receiver J then one can only conclude that it is pure and





(cf. d and e).

So much for Sylvester who,

in his turn, bears witness to the influence of Capreolus on

the later Thoiaistic tradition.


Text E:

Chrysostomus Javellus

Our last Thomist, in his first proof of his first

conclusion to the effect that, in any being below the first,

esse" and essence ta^en


in cone ret o




esse hominis" smd

id quod est homo " are really distinct says:

"This is pr-oved in two ways. First, as follows (sic). suppose that essence in concreto is received by nothing (in nullo) since It is id~quod est * and is being (ens) per se * . Then I argue in this way (sic): If the esse oi man is the same as man, then just as man is not received in another, so neither is the esse of man. Then fui*ther, if esse is not received in another, it is therefore an unlimited esse ', since everything limited and contracted is thus limited and contracted because it is received by another, as an accident in a subject or form in matter, or it is limited by some contracting difference, as animal is limited to man by rational. But according to you, ' esse * is not received in something, since for you it is identical with essence which is not received in something nor has a contracting difference. For ens ' is taken from esse But 'ens' does not have contracting differences on the basis of 3 Metaphysics t.c. 10. Hence, ' esse remains unlimited; if unlimited, then infinite; if infinite, then there are given many infinite ' esse ', viz. the first esse ' and the esse of the produced thing. And since this is so obviously false, as is proved also in 12 Metaphysics , it follows that the 'esse' and essence of the produced thing are not iniH^ical."'^53)


' '














s ^1






Again there can be no doubt whence this argument

derives, given the fact that Javellus has explicitly told us

that he is raaintining the position of St. Thomas as formulated

in II Contra Gentiles cap. 52 .

He clearly has the third

argument of St. Thomas in mind, the very one cited by Capreolus. Like Soncinas before him, whom we have seen echoing Capreolus,

Javellus begins by stating the contrary position on the question and in his refutation of that position makes his own
stand clear,

Capreolus had given us a possible objection


whose owner held that

Soncinas did the same,

esse" and


essence " were identical.

now Javellus presents St. Thomas'

position in that third argument in the very same way.


in this way to his predecessors, who in turn manifest some of

the details of Suarez' summation, we must expect to find

Javellus incorporating a n-umber of the points found in Suarez.

This is certainly the case where Javellus implies that a



esse " is a received




(cf . a), and that the re-

lation of essence to
(cf. b).

esse " is of receiver to received

For him this demands a real distinction (cf. c),

given the difficulties of saying that they are identical.

For if they are identical, it means


esse" is not limited in

any way and is thus infinite (cf. d and e). any good to argue that

Nor will it do


if not received, nonetheless


has a contracting difference, for

esse" has no such

difference (cf. f).

That Javellus should quote Aristotle in












t.clO and take

the argument he does take from

there, offers another basis of comparison between his

argumentation and that of Capreolus.

For the latter also cites

the same place in Ai^istotle and the uses the same text in the
same way, though glossing it with a fuller comment.


Again Me find that, in substance, the Thomists referred to initially by Suarez bear out his recapitulation of

their argumentation.

Let us go on to his third argument which,

unlike the others so far, will offer some difficulty as far as

finding its Thomistic sources.


Third Thomistic Argument

The third argument quoted by Suarez reads as


"Every creature is composed by a true and real composition. But the first and general real composition can only be of esse and essence. Hence, every creature is composed of essence and esse , as of act and potency, which are really distinct , The major (i.e. every creature is composed by a true and real composition) is proved because if there were given any creature in which there were no real composition, a creature altogether simple would be given. Just as the substance of an angel existing in act, if it were not composed of essence and esse would be substantially and wholly simple and thus in some way (quodaramodo) would be equal to the divine perfection." V 95)
' '




At this point Suarez interrupts with a possible

objection and the answer to the objection.

It presupposes that

the objector rejects the real composition of essence and "esse"

lo n


:xir:,ij ,:r>i







but in order to maintain some kind of composition proper to

creatures, holds for a composition of either genus and

difference or nature and supposit or subject and accident.

Suarez presents it in this way:
"But if you say that there can remain in the creature a composition of genus and difference or of nature and supposit and of subject and accident, none of them is sufficient. For the first composition (genus and difference) is not a real composition but one of reason. Hence it does not exclude perfect real simplicity. The second composition (nature and supposit) in the first place, is not universal to all things because it does not apply to accidents, secondly it has the same difficulty (controversiam) as the composition of essence and ' esse (i.e. it too is a real composition and the assumption is that this objector vjants no part of any real composition in creatures). Thus if the former (nature and supposit) is admitted in created substsmces, why then not the latter (essence and ' esse ). The thiid type of composition (subject and accident) is rejected because such a composition is not for the constitution of substance and we are now concerned with substantial composition and simplicity. And thus there is taken that from these arguments (i.e. those of the adversary) possible, that it is it follows (sequitur), at least as not repugnant to creature as such to lack every real composition to such a degree (atque adeo) as to be eminently which is unfitting because this is seen (summe) simple And the consequence (sequela) v9^^ to be proper to God. is clear (i.e. what follows the 'sequitur' above) both because there is no reason why it is more repugnant that the rest of the compositions be excluded than that this composition of essence and esse * be excluded, and also because a simple substantial nature can be conserved without any accident, and esse is thought to be an accident."T97)




The text speaks for itself in as much as it presents

the position in a very clear and direct manner, but Suarez, in

attempting to clarify the position of the adversary and reduce

his argument to its most general formulation, tends to become




bni-if Sfpoe




ue to i:


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ie Xb9t



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9n^ asn 9i yl&noosa



lo JiBQ on



ai ^l



q as ;7es9l












luajx ici






His clarification of the


sequela " amounts to this:

the adversary says to the proponent of the real distinction of

essence and


esse "

"So it is repugnant to exclude from

creatures any real distinction of essence and "esse", well I

say it is no more repugnant to exclude this than to exclude
the other compositions, of which exclusion you are guilty.
So you too are guilty of a repugnance."

Admittedly, it is an

ad hominem" argtunent but Suarez presents it for what it is


The closing remarks are especially noteworthy for they


indicate that the adversary assxames that

esse" is an accident

which is the position of Avicenna, not St. Thomas.

But for

all this, the most perplexing feature of this argument is its

complete absence from any of the Thomists in the cited places,

and that of the five Thomistic arguments, this alone has no

explicit refutation.
In fact, it is strangely absent from

the overall tradition of the question, as manifested by men

and texts cited by Suarez in the other two positions.

As we

have seen before, we can usually find a facsimile of an argument used hj Suarez either in B'onseca, Aureolus, Alexander
Achillinus or in some of the others, but in this case of the third Thomistic argument there is silence.
This may point to

the fact that Suarez' source in all likelihood is not the

Thomists themselves directly but rather another man's catalogue

of the arguments for each of the three positions.
In this re-

lo n










a striking parallel to Suarez' references to men and


texts is given by Gabriel Vazquez ^

not point to a comracn source.

which fact may or may

Thus, we are presented with the

peiT)lexlng fact that Siiarez is not as oonpletelj'^ faithful to

the Thomlsts and texts mentioned as we were first led to

suspect in our research into the sources of the first two



Fourth Thomlstic Argument

The foui^th argvinent quoted

Suarez presents a

similar problem.

Suarez sets it down in this way;

"In a substance composed of matter and form, * esse * is something distinct from matter and from form and from the nature composed of both. Hence, it ia a thing distinct from the whole essence of such a substance. Therefore it will be the same (i.e. esse will be really distinct) in the case of the rest of created beings." v 990


Suarez at this point intersperses a comment on the

validity of this reasoning (consequentla), for he grants its

evidence in regard to less perfect beings but, in the case of
spiritual substance, more perfect beings, he asserts that it
is weak.

For with these latter substances, the more perfect


they are, the more simple they become.

from the

viewpoint of subject-matter (subjectam nxateria'n), Suarez says

it Is an excellent illation in aa much as if a real

distinction is admitted in any created beings no argument can


sw as






or:o,,i;'-^ y,;




be alleged

wliy It is

denied that It is foimd In others.


if It is not repiignant that they be distinguished by virtue of

essence and existence as such, it will not be repugnant that

they be distinguished by virtue of sach an essence and such

an existence.

Suarez also adds that further proof is given


by the argument that if a distinct

esse" and essence is found

in any creature, it is not from the fact that it is such

(talis), i.e. this particular kind of creature, but from the

fact that it is a creature.

Additional proof is had from the

other argument that in the creature, essence is compared to


esse " as potency to act which is outside its quiddity, and

without which it can be conceived, characteristics (rationes)

which are common to every creature.'


At this point Suarez


launches into his proofs, first showing that

esse " is simple

and yet not identified with form nor matter nor with the

composite, and second showing that


esse " is not composite at

rather great length by the device of assianing it is composite

and reducing such conclusions that follow from this assumption
to absurdity.


Fifth Thomistic Argument

The fifth argument belongs to the theological

implications of the problem of the distinction between essence


r, -!










esse * and as such, it Is outside the limits of our


That it is outside the scope of his ovm

Disputationes Metaphyslcae" has not escaped Suarez either,

for he explicitly tells his reader that this argtunent, unlike

the previous ones, is not metaphysical but theological, draw-

ing as it does on the mystery of Transufcstantiation and the

mystery of the Incarnation.

It reads as follows:

"Fifth, in addition to metaphysical arguments, we can offer a theological one, viz. because created essence Hence, is really (in re) separated from its existence. it is really distinguished from it. The consequence is proved from what has been said above about the distinction of things (rerum) (102) The antecedent is usually proved by saying that when creatures (res cre'dtae) are corrupted or annihilated, they lose existence but not essence. Whence by corruption of the thing existence is separated from essence. But that antecedent is better proven from two mysteries of Faith. One is the mystery of the Eucharist in which, through consecration, quantity loses the natural existence by which it exists in bread and acquires another which exists per se and can sustain other accidents. The other is the mystery- of the Incarnation in which the hiAmanity of Christ lacks a proper and natural existence and is assumed in order to exist by the uncreated existence of the Divine Word." (1037


Giles of Rome is the only one of the Thoraists cited who


ex professo " make use of an argxament from separability.^


Yet this is the third instance

argiunent which does not occur

Suarez recounts an

ex professo" in the texts he

has cited for the Thoraist tradition.





Problem of the "Duae Res"

In view of a problem we shall meet in recounting the

second position, at this

tinie I thlnl<

we must say something about

the attribution to the Thomists of the position that essence and


esse" are distinct as


duae res "


Suarez has this in mind when

he writes of the Thomists, that

existentiam esse rem quamdain "






esse" of a creature is a

res dlstincta" . ^^^^^


Giles of Rome To be sure, Giles of Rome is usually looked on as

the irjiovator of the


duae res


appreciation of the real


distinction between essence and "esse"

^ ^ '

But the rather

BXirprising fact is tixat no such formulation appears in the texts

of Giles cited by Suarez in the thirty-first Disputation,


fact, only one explicit r^i'erence is made to Giles of Rome in

Disputation VII which discusses the vaiious kinds of distinctions and it is none of the places mentioned in the

thirty-first Disputation.



Johannes Capreolus

Capreolus in the place cited by Suarez, on the

contrary, has left us some precious remarks on this problem
of tne

duae res" in his answer to some arguments of Aureolus,

Let us note the following:






axr tfsJ


"To the first argument of Aureolus it is said first that esse and essence are not properly called two things ( duae I'es) or two beings (duo entla). For Just as St. Thoinas in I Sentent. d.25 q.l art. 4 says and Avlcenna alleges, 'this name " res and this name " ens" differ in as much as there are two aspects (duo) to consider in a thing, namely, its quiddity or " ratio" and its " esse " And this name " res " is taken from the quiddity and from the " esse " of the thing, this name " ens " is tal<en.' It must be '.cnown also, as was touched above (p. 31 4b) that ens can be taken in two ways, namely as it signifies the essence of the thing and so It is divided into the ten predicaments, or secondly, as it signifies the act of being (actum essendi). Whence It Is clear that the esse of actual existence (esse actualls exsistentiae) is not a thing (res) properly speaking since it is not a quiddity, and consequently it is not another thing (alia res) from the essence of the creature. Likewise, it follov/s that it Is not properly an ens In as much as ens signifies the act of being (actiira essendi) since it is not what exists (cum non sit quod exslstlt) nor is it ens strictly spealcing as ens signifies essence. Yet it Is said of a being or of a thing (entls, vel rel). And for this reason it is not properly said to be another being (allud ens) from essence unless ens is said to be that which exists in its own esse '' or Is a principle of being (essendi) or is a disposition of being (entls) as has been mentioned above In the solution of the second argxiraent. But properly speaking It Is not another being (ens) especially as ' ens asserts the act of .existing (actum exslstendl) and is a substantive." (^^9)















Capreolus has some more to say on this point

have cited is sufficient for our purposes.


but what we

For, on the basis

of what this text states, we can say that Capreolus for one,
Is not guilty of the exaggeration of saying essence and


are distinct as two "res".


Paulus Barbus Sonclnas

Soncinas, In the place cited, does not contain any

such explicit defense against the charge of "duae res" as



lb sriR



Capreolus does.

Nor Is he guilty of using that expression.


He merely uses such expressions as,

Esse in omnibus cltra

primffm causam est entitas secundum rem distinctam ab essentia"



exlstentia addit rem super essentlam" which on the surface

do not seem to entail the exaggeration present in the use of


duae res ".^^^^^


His commentary on the De Ente et Essentia merely

contains the expression,


dlstlnpauntur reallter " but his


commentary on the first part of St. Thomas'

affords an intei*esting use of

Summa Theologiae"

res "


in Interpreting the

question asked by
as follows:


Thomas in that place, Cajetan interprets

"In the title the essentia * signifies 'deltas' which would be meant by the definition of God if He were to be defined. The esse means what is signified by the and the est' as second adjacent when we say Deus est like, homo est etc. The idem means resil identity. So the sense of the whol?> question is: Whether the thing (res) signified by the * Deus * is the thing (res) (113) signified by the est when it is said Deus est ."








But this usage offers no basis for the charge of exaggerating


res" to mean two things in the sense of two beings.^



the contrary, Cajetan explicitly defends himself against such

a charge in his Commentary on the De Ente et Essentia .^

Nor do we find any basis for such a use of

of Ferrara, nor in Chrysostomus Javellus.


res " in Sylvester





i no


ion Ob



''r --':):)







'<&.Xj O'


.s,1;^n3aaS ^9



'x^BevI-^S nl

ni It



Thus from an investigation of the Thomlsts cited by

Suarez we find that In the texts mentioned no exaggerated

appreciation of the real distinction is to be found, which is

a little suz'prisirig, to say the least, in view of Suarez'


It would seem then that Suai^z is, periiaps,

more influenced by the tradition of the men in the third

position on what it means to be really distinct than by any

direct evidence from the Thomlsts he cites.


Critical Summary
We have but briefly referred to the degree of fidelity

of the Thomlsts to St. Thomas, in the case of Capreolus at


Now that the Thomlst tradition is behind us let us

look at it as a whole.

The most ama2:ing highlight of the doctrine of these

men on the point at issue is the prominent place given to

Indeed, in the history of the first Thomistic argu-

ment essence receives the overall emphasis.

Existence for

these men is something which merely happens to essence and is

so unirai>ortant that v/hether it happens to the essence or not,

the essence continues to remain Just what it is.

Just what it is

A rose is

a rose, whether it exists or not.


nature and definition remain untouched by and impervious to

i I.JL

w a



r rTf>







Bt r






any such metaphysical principle as a contingent

essendi "



Nor let us think that this pre-eminence of essence

Rather, it is

is merely a matter of emphasis witn these men.

given first place in their ovei'all empxiasis because it enjoys

that position in nature.

That is^ there is a relationship of

priority in the instance of essence and existence and

For, does not the

essence holds the first place.


essentiae" of Capreolus and the ^est of his followers enjoy

an ontological priority even in the intellect of God?

should it be any different in the world of creatures?


if one were to ask the question as to whether essence were

more noble or more perfect than existence in such a tradition,

there does not seem to be any question as to the answer. And

Soncinas offers us Just such an answer.

For, in the context

of the question: Whether


esse " is more noble thsm essence?,

Soncinas gives no less than five arguments why essence is more

perfect, and each is more interesting than the next one.

us see the first at least:

"Whether esse ' and essence are distinct things (distinctae res) or only differ logically, I answer that essence is always more perfect than the esse of such an essence. And I say this (i.e. talis essentiae) because a particular esse , i.e. esse of a substance, is more perfect than a particular essence, i.e. the essence of an accident. Bxxt I intend to say that any essence is more perfect than its own proper esse e.g. the essence of Socrates is more peif^c'c than the ' e ss e of Soci^tes. For if they are really distinguished^ "the reality of essence is more perfect than the reality of its 'esse' But if they are only logically distinguished or conceptually, the










Q 8S 9





0^ BB nr





concept of essence is of higher dignity than the concept of ' esse . And when this second is proved, the first proof is also concluded in as much as a more noble entity demands the nobler concept. By way of proof it is argued first as follows: The concept which belongs to something primarily and in itself (per se primo) is raoi?e noble than that which belongs to it accidently (per accidens). But the concept of essence belongs to a thing primarily and in itself, yet the concept of esse ' belongs to it accidently. Therefore. The major is proved because what is more intimate and intrinsic to something is to that extent more perfect. But that is especially intimate to something which primarily and essentially belongs to it. The minor Is also proved because what is pr-edicated of something quidditatively, is predicated of it in the first mode of per se predication. But essence is predicated quidditatively of what has the essence, yet esse is not predicated quidditatively nor in the first mode of ' per se predication since it is not signified by tlje definition nor by any part of it. Therefore etc."Tllc>)






Rather than bearing a striking resemblance to St. Thomas, which one might expect from this Thomist, this doctrine of
Soncinas closely resembles Avicenna's doctrine of essence.
That this is its ancestry is seemingly corroborated by its

striking similarity to the doctrine of the Scotist, Anthony

of Brindlsi, on this point. ^^^''

Soncinas is only being true

to the tr'adition begiin by Capreolus when he attempted to

interpret St. Thomas through a text of St. Albert, itself

influenced by Avicenna and a Henry of Ghent, whose relationship to Avicenna needs no mentioning.
If then in this Thomist ic defense of the real

distinction the essence is no longer that of St. Thomas what

must be the notion of "esse" functioning in this same

a lo







In lieu of any further cornraentary on my part, let

me cite a profoimd observation just as it was vrrltten, and a

text which must introduce the as yet unwritten history of

"Plusieurs scavans Theologians, apres avoir admire un ouvrage, qui sembloit devoir finir les disputes, et reunir tous ceux, qui n'etudient que pour connoitre la verite, ont entrepris de le coramenter, et d'ajouter leurs reflexions k celles du Saint Docteur: mals le Commentaire na pas toujour repondu au texte. Souvent 1' explication a paru moins intellisible, que les paroles qu'on pretendoit expliquer. Et 1 'experience de plusieurs si^cles nous a enfin convaincus, que pour bien entendre S. Thomas il ne faut consul ter que S. Thomas meme: 11 na pas^besoin d'lnterprete, ou il est lul-meme son Interprete le plus clair, aussl-bien que le plus fiddle. A lui seul semble avoir 4te reserv^ le secret, ou d'abaisser les matieres, s'll est peirais de parler ainsi, et de mettre la verlte' a la partee des esprits les plus comraunsj ou d'elever les esprits a la qv connoissance des verites les plus sublimes. "Iil/









Now that we have seen something of the Thotnistlc

background to the ai^gtunents cited by Suarez in behalf of the

real distinction, we can now proceed to the arguments which

Suarez cites for the second historical tradition on the

distinction of essence and existence

the modal distinction.

Our procedure will have to be altered for reasons which will

become obvious.
Sua3?ez introduces this second tradition in the

following manner:
"The second position holds that created esse is distinguished from the nature of the case (ex natura rei) or (as some say) formally, from the essence whose esse it is, and it holds that created esse is not a proper entity altogether really distinct from the entity of essence but it is its raode."^^'
' ' '
' '


In other words, we are herein confronted with a real dis-

tinction but one


is not between


duae res " or two

proper entities in their own right.


Rather, in this real

esse " is not a proper entity in its own right

but is something less than a proper entity though nonetheless

real, namely a mode, "I assume that in created things, besides their entities which are, as it wore, substantial and (if I may use the terra) radical, there are apprehended















certain real modes that are something positive and of themselves modify the very entitles by conferring on them something that is over and above the complete essence as individual and as existing in nature. This is established by Induction. Thus in quantity, for example, v/hich inheres in a substance, two aspects may be considered: one is the entity of quantity itself, the other is the union or actual inherence of this quantity in the substance.... The second aspect, inherence, we call a mode of quantity. ..." (2)

With Suarez' allusion to


ut alii loquuntur,

formal iter" we are plunged into a problem that belongs properly

to the history of Scotism with reference to the formal dis-


For, as Suarez tells us elsewhere, the disciples of

Scotus are divided as to the correct interpretation of their


position on this point.

"A second opinion (as to whether or not there is an Intermediate distinction between a real and mental distinction) is this: there is in things prior to intellectual activity a certain actual distinction, which accordingly is greater than a mental distinction, but still is not so great as the real distinction between thing and thing. This theory is commonly attributed to Scotus, In I Sent., d.2, q,7, last paragraph; dist. 5> q.l; dist. 8, q.4j In II Sent., dist.3, q.l. The doctrine is also brought cut in innumerable other texts wherein Scotus discourses on the distinction between God's attributes, or the distinction between \miversals, and similar matters. In such passages, however, Scotus does not explain with sufficient clarity whether this distinction which he himself calls formal, is actual in the real order or merely fundamental or virtual. Sometimes he refers to it as virtual, and so there are various interpretations eiraong his followers. Some think that for Scotus himself the formal distinction is no other thsin the distinction of the reasoned reason, in the sense and manner explained by us. (3) They say that it is called formal because various definitions or formal aspects are conceived in it; and they say further that it Is called a distinction from the nature of the case because it has a foundation in



^r>^:tr-t-Tr '--rtnt







in things themselves and is virtually in them^ although actually it does not precede mental operation. According to this interpretation Scotus does not favor the second opinion; nor does there seem to be any doubt that in some passages this is the mind of Scotus, especially when he is treating of the divine attributes. Other disciples of Scotus understand him to speak of a true and actual distinction which is verified in reality antecedently to the advertence of the mind, and they think that it is found not only among creatures but also in God, at least between the divine relations and essence. In this matter Durandus holds the same opinion. In I Sent., dist.l, part. 2; d.5* q.2, ad.4j and at greater length in d.33* q.l. A number of others defend this view, but it would take too long to recount their explanations. In favor of this same opinion many could be cited who admit a distinction from the nature of the case, but not a real distinction, between various things, for example between essence and existence, nature and suppositxim, quantity and substsince, relation and its foundation, and the like, as we shall see later when treating of these topics." (^)

There can be no doubt that the men whom Suarez has in mind as
adherents of the modal distinction are this second group of

Nor does Suarez think that such a distinction is

\m Just if led, abstracting from the question as to whether or

not essence and existence are so distinct and from the

Question as to whether Scotus is the source of it:

"Notwithstanding, I think it is true without qualification that there is among created things a certain actual distinction which is found in nature pi'ior to any activity of the mind, and that such distinction is not so great as the distinction between two altogether separate things or entities. This distinction, to be sure, could be designated by the genex*al terra 'red.', inasmuch as it is truly verified in reality, and is not merely an extrinsic denomination issuing from the intellect. However, to differentiate it from the other, namely the major real distinction, we can aall it either a 'distinction from the nature of the case', thus applying to this Imperfect distinction a ter.u that is in common use, or more properly a



'modal distinction'. For, as I shall explain, this distinction is Invariably foiind to Intervene between a thing and its mode."v57

As for calling such a distinction a formal distinction, it is

not much to Suarez liking:

"The term formal distinction' is not much to my liking, as it is excessively equivocal. It is frequently applied to things really distinct, inasmuch as they are essentially distinct if they differ specifically; such objects have different formal unities, and hence differ formally. Even individuals of the same species may be said to be formally distinct, inasmuch as their individual formal unities are distinct as we said above.... Thus a formal distinction is of wider extension, and can be greater than the distinction from the nature of the case, of which we are speakinc. From another point of view it can be a lesser distinction, and this is the more common acceptation, for it is frequently applied to formalities as conceived in a state of precision by our minds. In this latter senta the dlstinctlon^does not exceed the level of a mental distinction." ^^
Thus, of the two traditions on the formal distinction of

Scotus among his disciples, Suarez would reduce one to the

mental distinction he calls a distinction of the reasoned

reason and the other to a distinction

ex natura rei

or the

modal distinction.

Just what tradition Suarez feels is the

one more faithful to Scotus himself affords an interesting

problem in view of the closing words of the above text and

the following one: "This theory (a distinction greater than a mental distinction and less than a real distinction between thing and thing) is based mainly on a suasive argument drawn from reason. VOiatever extends beyond the essential definition of a thing is in some sense really distinct from it; but many elements extend beyond the essence of a thing without being themselves things distinct




from the thing in question; therefore there; is a distinction in the veal order that is less than a real distinction. In other words: whatever aspects a3?e distinct by definition and objective concept, aire distinct by the nature of the case and prior to intellectual consideration; but many aspects are thus distinct, althoTogh they are not distinct as thins from thing; therefore. These and like arguments are advanced by Scotists, since this is about the way Scotus himself seems to propose his formal distinction. However, if we closely examine such arguments, we find either that the question is begged or that the formal distinction is substituted for the distinction of the reasoned reason through inadequate concepts; only virtually or fundamentally can this distinction be said to be based on the nature of the case." (7)

It would seem then that Suarez is of the opinion that the

formal distinction of Scotus is to be reduced to a mental

distinction but herein we are confronted with a very perplexing

difficulty for, in the context of modal distinction between
essence and existence, Suarez tells his reader that such a

distinction is attributed (tribuitur) to Scotus in the third

book of his commentary on the Sentences d.6, q,l.''


Suarez then think that Scotus* formal distinction is to be

inte]T)reted as a modal distinction or Is the significance of

tribuitur " that Suarez is taking someone else's attribution

in lieu of revealing his own personal interpretation of

Scotus' formal distinction?

Moreover, our difficulty is

conQ)licated still more by wliat Suarez has to aay in the course

of his comment on the argument of the famous Scotist, Iychetus,

in favor of a distinction of reason between essence and




(7!l^t^f reflect



oJ ai nolr




"So thlnl-cs Lychetus in 2 d.l q.2 where, in the first place, he says concerning the mind of Scotus that * esse existent lae and esse essentiae are the same and altogether Inseparable, although Scotus there Quantum ad istuia articulu?, does not say they are the same but that ^ esse essentiae is never really separated from esse existentiae Neverthelass., probably enough, this is concluded from the mind of Scotus, for when he says there that essence is not separable from existence and in 3, dist.6 ex professo ' teaches that the humanity of Christ has not been able to be existing; or be assumed without a proper existence, he plainly thinks it is not distinguished in the thing itself ."\9)






If Suarez thinks it probable that Scotus in




(Text G) teaches that essence and existence are really

identical and only distinct in reason, how is it that he cites

this same text of Scotus on behalf of the modal distinction

between essence and existence?

It would seem then that he is

taking someone else's catalogue of adherents to the modal

distinction of essence and existence in the sense that some

of Suarez' contemporaries




maintain this

position, as he himself says, and rather than oite these

contemporaries by name, since Suarez seems very reluctant to

do so at any time, especially if he opposes them, he cites

the men and texts which these contemporaries cite in their

own behalf.
That something like this has happened is borne out

when one actually checks the text of Scotus cited by Suarez,

as well as those of Henry of Ghent (Text H) and Dominicus

Soto (Text I).

For, in the place in Scotus


we find a

discussion of the question: "Utr-jm in Christo sit aliud esse


Verbl ab ease create? ", and at no time does he explicitly treat

the problem of the distinction between essence and existence.^

But that is not to say that such a metaphysical problem is not

in the background of this theological question, for, as

Suarez says in his comment on the text of Lychetus cited above,

the distinction of reason between essence and existence is

behind the theological position that the human natui'e of

Christ possesses its own proper existence. Here is


and if essence and existence are really identical, it must

have its own existence.
Thus, in the history of Scotisra,

someone in the second Scotist tradition on the formal distinc-

tion mentioned by Suarez, likely glossed this text of Scotus

in behalf of the modal distinction but Scotus himself says

absolutely nothing on this score.

Something similar must have taken place in regard to
the text of Henry of Ghent x*here, far from holding for a

modal distinction, he maintains in that place, as he clearly tells his reader, what he calls an "intentional" distinction.'

Dominicus Soto, of the three men Suarez cites for

this modal distinction, offers us the closest thing to a



ex natura rei" ,


formallter" or


modal iter"

For, in a short remark in his commentary on the fourth book of the


Sentence s" (Text lb), in the context of the question:

Utrum in hoc sacramentq quant itas dimensiva panis et vini sit




^^ ^#



H lo






allorum accldentium s-ubjectum ?", Soto says:

"Indeed, I have never understood that ' esse exlstentlae to be some entity distinct from a subject, as another. thing (Tein) but it is the mode and act of substance." (^2)

and again, in the second text mentioned by Suarez (Text la),

in the context of the question:

An forma artificialis

distinguatur a subjecto naturali? ", Soto remarks:

"By the same argument I am convinced to say esse existentiae is not another second thing (res j distinct from essence as many disciples of St. Thomas (I do not know about St. Tliomas) hold for certain. For, certainly, if existence were really distinguished from me, God could corirapt it while I am preserved (me salvo) and consequently then, I would exist without that thing (sine re ilia). To such a degree is it foolhardy (vanum) to posit another than me and parts of me by which I am. But esse is said to be distinguished from essence as the act of sitting (sedere) from man because it is not of the essence of man to be (ut sit) even though (quippe cum) before the creation of the world, man yaa.a rational animal. But of this elsewhere. "U3)
' '
' '

Notice that in each of these texts it is not Soto's explicit

Intention to treat the problem of the distinction between

eseence and existence, and as a result, these texts that
Sioarez does offer afford no definite proof that Soto maintains

a modal distinction after the fashion of this second tradition

on essence and existence.

For the notion of mode is a

flexible one as we can see in Suarez' recapitulation of

Fonseca's position on this matter and as we shall see

at length when explicitly treating Fonseca.



c> <i.^





i V.


Secondly, there are modes which not only are not distinct entities but are in no way really distinct from the things they are said to modify, but are only mentally distinct, as for example the modes whereby being is contracted to its inferiors. But we pass over these two classes of modes; the latter ar^.not modes except by intellectual perception. .. ."U*^)

Indeed, it is very possible to interpret Soto's texts in this

latter sense of "mode" and someone has done it.

For, the

apparent discrepancy we have noted in Suarez' citation of men

and texts in behalf of the modal distinction between essence

and existence is not even alluded to by Suarez himself but it

has not gone xmnoticed by Suarez* sharp-eyed, as well as

sharp-tongued, contemporary, Gabriel Vasquez.

In a very

interesting text, Vasquez makes much of such a discrepancy

as citing these three men in behalf of the modal distinction,

possibly having Suarez in mind, and intei^jrets those texts of

Soto in favor of a distinction of reason.


The important

part of this lengthy text, for our purposes is the following:

"Finally, of the authors cited for the second position (modal distinction) Scotus has said absolutely nothing on this score. But Henry, on the other hcind, in that first quodlibet, question 9* teaches that essence and existence are not distinguished from the nature of the case (ex natura rei) but in reason alone and so we shall cite him for the following position (the distinction of reason). Now Soto in 2 Physics , question 2, says only that esse existentiae is not a thing distinct (rem distinctamj from essence, as (he says) the disciples of St. Thomas think, inasmuch as, if it were distinguished in this way, God could corrupt ray existence while my essence would be preserved, which he considers impossible, But afterwards he adds these words, 'But " esse " is said to be distinguished from essence, as the act of sitting (sedere) from man, because it is not of the essence of









to be (ut sit) even thoxigh (quippe cxan) before the creation of the world, man was a rational animal, but of this elsewhere', by which words he does not contend to establish a distinction from the nature of the case (ex natura rei) between essence and existence as between a thing and a mode of a thing (inter rem, et modiun rei) because he does not have a distinction of this sort in mind, which would be frora the nature of the case (ex natura rei) and not of reason, but rather some distinction of reason. But In 4 Sentences , d.lO, q.2, art, 1 and 2 he also teaches nothing in behalf of the intermediate position. If he is rightly appraised in article 1, he says only that ' esse per se is a mode that belongs to the quiddity of substance, but esse in alio is a mode belonging to accidonts. He teaches the same thing in the second article concerning the mode of existing in another which belongs to accidents, and he says it is not a thing distinct (rem distinctam) from the subject, but THhezher it is distinguished 'ex natura rei , he does not determine. Furthermore, he is not concerned with existence absolutely, and of essence but of existence with the mode per se , we however, dispute of existence absolutely and not of that mode per se ,"(lo)
' '




Vasquez is here interpreting Soto in the same fashion as we

shall see Suarez himself interpret Fonseca

his position

on the modal distinction.

Deprived, then, of seeking out the arguments for
the modal distinction in the men cited by Suarez, let us at

least consider the arguments which Suarez rejxjrts.


Basis for Modal Distinction

After citing the three men and their texts where


this doctrine is purportedly contained, Suarez refers to the

basis for this position on the question:

"Their basis is that some distinction 'ex natura rei'

#< r

r .-^

/V"*-! f f












iKXw'tajjp siiv


between the essence and esse of a creature is seen to be absolutely necessary. But still it need not be greater than this modal or formal variety. Hence no greater must be affirmed since distinctions are not to be needlessly multiplied." U?)
' *


this presupposes is that the first position, holding as


It did for a distinction between essence and


esse" as between

res" and


res ", was positing a distinction


ex natura rei"

However, the proponents of the second position, while agreeing that the distinction between essence


existence must be

ex natura rei" , maintain it must not be of the sort that


distinguishes them as distinguishes them as

res" and


res ", but rather of the sort that


res" and


modus rei"

That this is the

point Suarez wishes to make is borne out by his remark to the

effect that:
"First, all the arguments adduced in favor of the first position are seen to prove the major (viz. nonnulla distinctio ex natura rei inter esse et essentiam creaturae videntur omnino necessarla. )," v^^/

What then complicates the Issue is that the tag


ex natura rei "

can and does mean a real distinction; in one case the

distinction between two



in the other the distinction

between a


res " and a mode.

Thus in these three positions we

would not seem to have a middle position between a real distinction and a distinction of reason but rather a comparison
of two kinds of a real distinction with a distinction of

reason but as Suarez tells us it all depends on how you understand "ensreale".^ '

But let us not delay on this problem.














For now let us be content to note the arguments he cites in

behalf of this second position.
As his second proof of the

aajor whose first proof was alluded to above, Suarez reports

as follows:

"In the second place it is effectively proven by the fact that what is outside the essence of a thing raust be distinguished ex natura rei at least formally (saltern fonnaliter) froa the essence of the thing. But esse is outside the essence of the thing, which is clearly evident since it is separable from it, vnience this proposition (enunciatio) Creatura est is not 'pervse' necessary and essential but contingent. Therefore." (20)





Here again we see an argument similar to the last

one cited for the Thomists, as we should expect, given that

Suarez has told us that these men make use of the argviments

for the first position.

But, though using these arg\iments,


they conclude to a distinction


ex natura rei" of another


Suarez here notes this qualification of


ex natura

rei " by the term

formaliter" indicating some sort of formal

distinction, which terminology Suarez himself has said is

excessively equivocal but likely malces use of it to remain

true to his sources.

The use of a contingent proposition to

make the point offers an interesting parallel with a similar

instance in Capreolus (cf. Note #41).

The major, viz, that some distinction


ex natura rei"

between essence and

proved a third time.


esse" is absolutely necessary etc. is

"Thirdly, it is proved because otherwise the creature




8d^ 101


Tncoe MTioe








3 cav<nq


would be its ovm esse and hence pure act. But this is to attribute to a cr^eature what ic, proper to God. Whence Hilary Bk. 6 De Trlnitate attributes to God as proper to Him quod esse nonaccidit illl but Kis is subsistent ' esse itself. And Boethius in his Ds Hebdomadibus cap.l says, in rebus oreatis diversum esse id quod est, ab esse* ." (21)



* ,



This is reminiscent of the second Thornist argument and even

cites authorities which we have found in Capreolus (cf. Note #2?)

But let us note that though using arg\iments which we have seen

cited for a distinction betv;een two


res " they are given a

different interpretation in as much as they are talcen to

prove a distinction

ex natura rei" of the modal or foiroal

That this is so is made more clear by the proof of

the minor (viz. non est autem necessaria major quara haec
Riodalis seu formalis.).

"The minor Is proved because this distinction (modal or formal) suffices in order that one be outside the essence of the other (22) and it is sufficient for true and real compositionj because wherever there is a distinction in things, (in rebus) a trje composition exists of extremes so distinct. Also that distinction (modal or formal) suffices that one extreme be separable from the other by divine power although it does not suffice for the mutual or convertible separation mentioned above." (23)

We here see again that the modal distinction here defended is

a true real distinction and is sufficient to fulfill the

requirements of the second and third proofs given of the

However, it is not a distinction between two


res ",

which distinction this argument maintains is unnecessary and




concludes beyond the evidence, Suarez In conclusion reports a conflrraatlon of what

was said In resard to mutual and convertible separation and

how a


distinction Is not sufficient for such:

"Wlionce this position can be coivflnned, for although a created essence is separable from a proper ' esse * rieverthclcss, the reverse (e converso) is not true, for 'esse is not separable from the essence of a creature. For up to now it has not happened,, noi* is it likely that

it can happen, that the existence of whiteness be conser-y'Cd v;iicn v;laiteness is not conserved and that roan have the existence of a white quality and not be white, and so with other exanpleG. Accordingly, the sign is that there is not a real distinction between essence and existence but only modal. I omit the other arguments that are wont to be put forth in behalf of this position because tiiey do not have a particular difficulty which the arguments cited do not contain." (2^)

Suarez is here explaining the non-mutual separability of

essence and

esse " according to this second position.


it means is a separation in which one exti^eme can I'emain with-

out the other but not conversely, i.e. created essence can

reaain without its proper





esse" cannot remain

without the created essence whose mode it is.

That this is

30 is exemplified by the fact that the existence of whiteness is not conserved when the essence of whiteness is not




Critical Summary

With respect to the proponents of the modal

distinction we can almost make the same remarks which we made






in the instance of the Thomlsts, even to citing Anthony of Brindisi, dspending on how he vrould understand "Intrinsic

For, Just as In the case of the Thoioists, the most

outstanding characteristic of the doctrine of these men is

the prominent place given to essence.
In this regard, we must

not forget that the first Thomistic argument is also used by

those who maintain the modal distinction, the only difference

is the degree of reality they give to existence

either a

proper entity, a



or a mode.

Thus, existence for these

men too, is something which merely happens to essence and is

so unimportant that, vjhcther it happens to the essence or not,

the essence continues to remain Just


it is.

For these

men too, a rose is Just what it is

or not.

a rose, uriiether it exists

Essence also in this position remains untouched by and

impervious to any such metaphysical principle as a contingent


actus ess end!" and enjoys an ontological priority over

existence even in the divine intellect. Just as in the first


Essence is undoubtedly more perfect than

existence in such a doctrine.

Again, ws find o\irselv3s in the presence of a vei*y

characteristic doctrine of essence, for here too, the essence

is none other than the Avlcennian essence.

And what else

could we expect from a tradition

thought of Scotus.


has its roots in the

It will be interesting to see whether or

not it is against this Avlcennian "esse essentiae" that the

oi n

St 1





Suarezlan rejection of any kind of real distinction between

essence and existence bases Itself.





At last we have reached Suarez* account of the

third and last position on the question.

And just as he has

done with the two preceding positions, he first reports it

and then proceeds to show what such a stand entails.

ports the third position thus

He re-

"The third position (opinio) asserts that the essence and existence, when proportionally compared, are not distinguished really (real iter) or ex natura rei as two real extremes but they are diEtin^^uished only in reason (distingui tantiiin ratione)."(lT
' '

Suarez aids us in interpreting correctly what he means by this



cum proportione comparata ", in regai^d to the


comparison of the essence and existence of a creature.

after citing the many proponents of this stand on the question,

he offers the following explication:
"This doctrine must be so explained that the comparison is between actual existence, which they call esse in actu exerclto * , and the actual existing essence (actualem es sent lam existentem) . Hence, this stand affinns that essence and existence are not distinguished in the thing itself (in i*e ipsa), although essence abstractly and precisely (praecise)(2) conceived, as it is in potency, is distinguished from actual existence as non-being from being." (3)

Thus, Suarez makes it clear that this third position is not

properly comparing essence and existence as abstract to

concrete,^'' or as non-being to being, which Suarez will grant


&1 SH


















-0 /!


to be a real distinction, but rather it is comparing, and

thus distinguishing, this essence actually existing and the



esse " it is exercising in this actual state.

We shall

see very soon whom Suarez thinks may well be comparing essence

and existence as non-being to being.

But for now, let us note


Suarez' reaction to this position and such an explication.

firmly gives it his whole-hearted approbation:

"And this position so explained (omnlno) true." (5)

consider to be utterly

Suarez then gives a brief explsuiation of the basis

for such an option on his part.

It amounts to this:

"And the foundation for this is, briefly, because something cannot be intrinsically and formSLlly constituted in the order of real, actual being by something else (per aliquid) distinct from it, for the following reason: By the very fact that one is distinguished from the other as being from being (ens ab ente), each is characterized by the fact that it is a being (utrumque habet quod sit ens) as co-distinct from the other, and hence, one is not formally nor intrinsically a being In virtue of that other (et cons^quenter non per illud formallter, et intrinsece)."(^^J
Thus, the shortcoming which Suarez perceives in the first two

positions is that


esse " does not and cannot intrinsically

formally constitute essence in actual existence amd

thereby make it actual, since each is a being and is so distinguisiied fixjm the other.

For, in view of such a distinction,




esse" as


ens ", cannot penetrate or enter


structure of finite being or of the actual essence as Suarez

would have it.'^'

For, how can it be that what is "ens" in


f.-tr? r V.-.


- :












its own right constitutes another as its own right?


ens" , which is


ens" in

How can it be that one is a being in virtue

This is Suarez* critique of the two kinds of

of the other?

real distinction viz. as between two

res " and as between a

"res" and a niode, but, in addition, it is the basis for his

option for the distinction of reason.

Thus, the distinction

of reason between essence and existence niust save this formal

and intrinsic constitution of actual essence by actual


How it does will be the subject of the remainder

Suarez' closing remarks of his recapitulation

of our research.

of the third position help us to keep this in mind: "The validity (vis) of this argiaioent and the complete determination (pleiia decisio) of this question, with the solution of the arguments, depends on mar.y principles. Tnus, to proceed raoi^e distinctly, aiid without any equivocation of terms, which I fear to be frequent In this laattei", one must proceed ^.radually and individual, principles must be explained in distinct

But before treating of the first principle involved

in this distinction of reason between essence and existence,
let us note the following higlilights of Suarez initial stand

on the distinction of reason, an important text with reference

to Suarez' appreciation of St. Thomas, and then look to the

men he cites for similar arguments,

Essence and existence are distinct only in a. reason (in rat lone).
b. Essence and existence are compared not as essence, abstractly conceived, with actual existence or as non-being with being but the comparison is made between the actual existing essence and actual







existence or


esse In actu exerclto"

c, A distinction of reason alone saves the principle that " esse" formally and intrinsically constltures essence in the order of real actual being.

The text I have reference to as being extremely

importsmt is from a work that actually ante-dates his

Disputationes Metaphysicae " , for it cones from his


commentary on the third par^ of the

Thomas, first published in 1590.^^'


Theologiae " of St.

Its importance arises

from the fact that it reveals a very definite appreciation of

the teaching of St. Thomas on the distinction between essence

and existence and thereby shows us just what it is Suarez

reacts against.
"To give a rational proof of this conclusion it is necessary not to fall into equivocation and that there be an agreement among the authors of each position as to the signification of the name, existence. I, for one, understamd by existence, that by which each thing is formally an actual entity 'n rerum natura and outside nothing or outside its causes j for example the soul of Christ or His humanity before it v;as created in act, was nothing and v;as only in potency. When, therefore, it is first imderstood to issue from this potency into act and to cease to be nothing, it is understood to be an existent in act (actu exlstens) and the existence of that existent will be that mode or that actuality by which it is intrinsically and formally constituted ' However, what this proper and precise extra nihil concept of existence may be, is shown at length in the proper metaphysical disputation about this matter. For novj, it is briefly manifested in the first place because a thing which is in act extra nihil and outside its causes, by this very fact is xxnder stood to be an existent in act, (actu existens). for what else can this VJord, existing (verbum exiatendi) signify. But existence is that by which the thing exists foiroally. Secondly, everything, when it is first understood to be
' '
' .






produced by Its cause and to be extra nihil , it is understood to have some esse which it did not have from eternity, ffiierefore that esse is an esse exlstentiae .... But the consequence Is proved because that esse is not an esse essentlae , as such, because th:; esse essentiae which is sometimes distinguished by St. Thomas from the esse existentiae in creature 9. is said to be eternal and Immutable and inseparable from essence. And further, it is said to be distinfjuished from the existence. But, indeed, this ne;' esse which a thing has, when it is first produced, or by its production, is temporal and separable from essence, for a thing can lose this ease although the essence of a thing always remains the same. Therefor tore this is not 'esse essentiae' but 'esse existentiae .."(10)















Notice then thao Suarez includes St. Thomas in the tradition

of the

esse essentiae"


esse existentiae " formulation of

the problem of the distinction between them.

From our

previous analysis we have seen that this is the Thomistic

formulation beginning with Capreolus but whose source is the

doctrine of Henry of Ghent.
There can be no doubt


reads St. Thomas in the light of this later Thomistic tradition

on the eternity and immutability of the



esse essentiae "


knowledge there is only one text in St. Thomas that


could be interpreted in the sense of a doctrine of




esse existentiae " after the fashion of Henry


of Ghent.

It is the text on the threefold meaning of


esse "

found in. In I Sent., d.33j Ql^ a.l, ad

which is not

necessary to discuss here as we shall meet it again in an objection that Suarez confrxjnts.
Howver, it is most impoiiisuit to realize that the

overall tradition against which Suarez maintains the distinction






of reason between his actual essence and Its actual existence

is the Avicennlan tradition of the

esse essentiae "


demands that created


esse " be intrinsic to ci*eated things and

in doing so must conf3?ont as his natural enemy, so to speak,



esse essentiae" of Avicenna, Henry of Ghent, Capreolus

and the other Thomlsts mentioned, as well as some Scotists.

For it is in just such a doctrine that created


ess e" cannot

be intrinsic to cr'eated thinps, gmd it cannot be by reason of an absolute necessity, for the very nature and existence of
such an

esse essentiae " depends upon it.

The Avicennlan

esse essentiae ". eternal, necessary/-, immutable, uncreated,

cannot live in intimate union with a temporal, contingent




It may be that Suarez' everlaisting con-


to see the incompatibility of the Avicennlan


esse essentiae " and the Thomist "esse", or Thomlstic


existent iae ", in terras of any kind of a real composition or in terms of being really distinct from one another.

Let us

wait and see.


Pi-^ponents of Distinction of Reason


Text J:

Alexander of Alexandria

The first name cited by Suarez is Alexander of

Alexandria whom Sioarez says expressly held this position and

declared it the best of any (Ita tenuit expresse et optime

declaravit Alexander Alensis 7 Metaph. ad textura 22), and whom


Ji'^VOViS il


i^'L tU





Suarez cites as Alexander of Hales


even though he had

been called


Alexander Junior " or

Alexander Minor" to disOf the Boninl family,

tinguiBh him from the latter from Hales.

he was


at Alexandria della Paglia at an unioiown date, At the end of the 13th C. he is a

though some say 12Y0.

Franciscan Prisir in the Province of Genes, later he studied at

Paris, conuaenting on the

Sentences" , and then Rome and on the

third day of June, 1313 he was elected General of his order.

He dies at Rome, October



For this information, we

are indebted to the study of Leon Veuthey which offers the

best introduction to the thougixt of Alexander.^


In addition,

the doctrine of Alexander on essence and existence and their

distinction as a source for Suarez* position has been recently

debated by Comelio Fabro


Ramon Cenal.'

Oddly enough, Suarez does not cite the usual text

of the commentary on the
essence and


Metaphysics" where the problem of

esse" and their distinction is usiially discussed.^ ^'

Rather, he cites another place where this question is asked

and discussed:
"Whether objective becoming (fieri objectlv^jra), which we call creation, requires a real distinction (seciindum rem) between essence and esse or one of reason (secundiira ratlonem) only?"'^^)


Alexander goes on to recount


positions (duo modi

dicendl), the first of which is very reminiscent of a similar

question discussed by Giles of Rome,^"^'' and which holds for

a real distinction; the second opts for the distinction of




' .i






Alexander himself opts for the distinction of

reason (cf. a):

"There are others who hold and believe, and indeed better, that with nothing to the contrary (quod non obst?Tite). eKr>enoG and esse * do not differ, and such a becoming (creation) can be saved. ...whence it is clear tlriat v/hether the first position is held or the second, creation is better saved in the second tJrian the first because according to the first position essence was seen to precede (praesupponer-e) and to receive an act. Bxit according to the second, essence is really the act and ' esse * Itself (essentia realiter est Ipse actus et ipsura esse )."(!)

His reasons for opting for the second i>osition are

interesting in view of the Interesting critique of the real

distinction alluded to in the last text

He defines his

opposition to the real distinction


insisting that this


objective becoming or creation presupposes nothing


this very fact, it is not necessary to think that this becoming or creation is impressed on something else like essence.
?or, if this were so, the essence would somehow p3?ecede its

creation and hence would not be cre?.ted:

"The proponents of the second position regard the * fieri ^ under discussion as an objective ' fieri' which. In so far as it is purely objective, presupposes nothing. But In so fai' as It prc3uppo>3e3 nc- taxing there is no need to consider that fieri as something /jnpressed oii anot-ier {n-^n oi>ort-t ijiia,j;lriai*l lllucl fieri ex' hoc, quod Ipsuin imprimatur alicul), for example on the essence. If this were so, sine, tiiat to which something Is impressed precedes and does not come to be, thv-^n t'le whole :r -ling '--;oulr: not jome to by that fieri ', and accordingly it would not be a purely objective fieri b-;-:a-!se s'lch a fl 'ri has to ^io wlt,h the whole thing (quia. fieri pure objeetivum super totam rem cadlt).'^U9)







i'J2.xJ .L-^"'


As Alexander sees it the whole thing (tota res) is

first in a potential state and afterwards is actual.

And in

that potential state, preceding its actuation, it is called

by some, and well, thinks Alexander,


esse non prohibitum ,

hoc est esse possibile " to which it is not repugnant to be in


But let us note this most important qvialification

which Alexander appends to these remarks:

"But this ens non prohibitum and esse in actu are not two beings (duo entia) but one and the same being, under one mode and under another, yet these modes are not two things (qui tamen alius et alius modus non est alia et alia res)." (21)


Thus we see that Alexander is equivalently accusing

the proponents of the real distinction of comparing essence
in its potential state and in its actual state and looking at

each state as a


res " or


ens " which is Just what Suarez re-

ports above (cf, b).

But Alexander himself uses the same


comparison which Suarez calls that between

ens " and


non ens" ,

though he concludes to a distinction of reason, since the

essence in one state Is the same as the other and each state

or mode is not a "res".


As he himself tells us:

"That fieri' can be saved because no more is required for it than that the same total reality first be in a state of possibility (sub natura possibilis) (which we call 'ens non prohibitum') and afterwards be in act. But some call this nature (rationem) as it precedes, essence, but as the same thing is the terminus of divine action they call it esse For we shall so imagine it that that reality, existing as a possible (sub natura possibilis), still is not being in act (ens in actu) but a certain similitude of the divine intellect and, on this basis, it can be called essence.
' ' .












riBO J


But that same essence, which first has been a similitude, afterv/ards has been the term of divine action and hence is called esse Therefore, we shall not imagine that that fieri has esse from the fact that essence receive s'"''sse' as something really diverse (quoddam diver sum re) tut from the fact that the same reality which first falls xmder the concept of doing or making (sub conceptu faciendi) is the term and object of the ssune action of making or doing. And from the fact that it first has been able to be and afterwards is the terra of this action it can be said to become (ootest dici fieri )."T227






That we should again find ourselves in the divine

intellect is more than coincidental and very reminiscent of

Capreolus and the otner Thoraists in the first argument.

is it unlike the position of Kenry of Ghent.


But in the

stand of Alexander of Alexandria there is no twofold causality, one of essence and one of "esse", in fact there Is no
All we have is essence here and essence there.


Essence has

completely devoured



We shall have occasion to return


to Alexander again, so for

let us note that he, like

Suarez, holds for a distinction of reason and he, like Suarez,

criticizes the exponents of the real distinction for looking

at essence and existence as two


But unlike Suarez,

Alexander mentions nothing of the intrinsic constitution of

essence by

esse " and how can he when




amy sort of

intrinsic constitution seem absent from his position on the


Unless, of course, by intrinsic constitution Suarez

means that essence is really the act, rather than the

recipient of it, and "esse" itself.





Text K: Petrus Aureolus

Our next mam cited by Suarez is Petrus Aureolus, a

Franciscan friar from Gouixian In the north of the duchy of
Quercy in France.
He was a master at the University of Paris

who lectured at the Studium Generale of his order at Bologna

in 1312 and at Toulouse in 1314 whence he returned to Paris
to receive his doctorate in theology in 1318.

In 1321, he is

made Archbishop of Aix-en-Provence .

He dies in 1322,'

However, Suarez does not cite him according to his own works.

Rather he cites him according to Capreolus

Aureolus as an adversary.


had cited

Thus, Suarez does not cite that very

lengthy section in Aureolus' Commentary on the Sentences and

one which, along with Suarez and Fonseca, offers one of the

best catalogues of positions on this question of the distinction

between essence and "esse",^^'

Let us then go to Capreolus

to see what he reports of Aureolus on this problem.

It is interesting to note that Capreolus does not

say whether these men hold the second position referred to by

Suarez, i.e. the modal distinction, or not.

He merely cites

them as adversaries of his first conclusion, viz.


conclusio; Nulla creatura subsistens est suum esse quo actu

exsistit in rerum natura."

Thus Suarez is citing Aureolus

not so much as a proponent of the distinction of reason which

he is nevertheless*
(26) '

but rather, as an adversary of the

real distinction, which even Aureolus admits is something less




998 C*


dlfflcult to be than expounding what distinction there really

Is between essence and "e ss e"

"Concerning our third division (where it is said affirmatively how 'e tsae and essenct are related) It is necessary to considerThat it is sufficiently clear what it is not (quod negative satis apparet), i.e. that there is no real distinction betv/een essence and esse , But how essence and esse are actually related (quomodo vero Be habeant essentia et esse affirmative) ia a difficult thing to see." ^ 27)
' '




Thus the attitude Suarez is familiar with, in the

case of Aureolua, is that of a man who is sufficiently con-

vinced that there can be no real distinction between essence


esse" but who finds it difficult to say just what kind

of a distinction there is.

And this is in haneaony with Suarez'

own critical appreciation of what it means to be really distinct.

That both Suarez and Aureolus share the same critical

view of the real distinction is made clear from this argument

of Aureolus cited by Capreolus, in which Aureolus shows that

esse et essentia non sunt duae realitates . "

. ^

^^ ^


writes "Aureolus also argues (l Sentent., dist.S, a.l, art. 2). First. No thing is other than that by which it is formally outside nothing (nulla res est alia ab eo quo formaliter est extra nihil) because granted that the opposite is true (date opposite), i.e. it is other than that by which it is outside nothing, it follows that, in as much as it is one thing (alia) it is outside nothing and in as much as it is another (alia) it is not outside nothing; for it is not one thing in as much as it is nothing, but if one (alia) is outside of nothing, still it is not outside nothing in virtue of the other; other** wise by that it will not be oxitside nothing. (29) But It is set down that essence is outside nothing by esse actualis exsistentlae' . For, by actual existence (per






lUm A 10


A lo 9as9


MT r

w nt


A:-i.vii 1"- ci ti










actualen exslstentiam) we understand nothing else than a position in reality (nisi positioner! in rerun natura) which is to be posited outside nothing. But every essence is formally posited outside nothing by a position outside nothing. 'n\ej:'efore, the position outside nothing will be actual existence and consequently, essence is posited outside nothing by actual existence. Accordinglyj it is necessary that the position outside nothing, or actual exititence, not be another thing (res) from, that which is posited outside nothing and exists by it. Nor is it valid, he says. If it is said that essence is some other thing (quaedam alia res) which is fonnally outside nothing by esse ' but subjectively it is outside nothing bv itself. Flor is it necessary that it be one thing (res), just as a tsiibject and that to which it Is subjected are not one thing (res). That, I say is not valid. Because the *esse' which perfects essence acting as subject and posits it outside nothing, subjectively on the part of the latter, i.e. essence, and formally in virtue of itself (esse); that esse ', I say, either perfects nothing as its proper subject and draws nothing outside nothing or it perfects the very essence which is outside nothing. But the first cannot be granted, otherwise nothing (nihil) would be under ' esse and nothing (nihil) vrould be drawn to ' esse * which is inpossible. If the second is granted my point is made Jhabetur propositum) because that substrate is a thing (res) pofsited outside nothing by itself. And consequently in a stone, the essence of stone (res lapidis) is not outside nothing by an added esse but it is formally outside nothing by itself (sed seipsa formal iter)." 130)





Just as In Suarez and Alexander of Alexandria we find

a view taken of the real distinction to the effect that essence


esse" are two "res", which is declared unacceptable.

Aureolus also accuses the proponents of the real distinction

of comparing essence and

esse" as non-being and being, as is

clear from what he says in his reconstruction of what

follows, if It Is held that a thing Is other than that by which
it is formally outside nothing (cf. b).

And like Suarez,








Aureolus Insists that essence i& formally outside nothliig by


esse ", but for Aureolus this is Just another way of saying

essence is outside nothing by itself, and hence there does

not seem to be any intx^ixisic constitution of essence as
existing; by

esse ", a point Suarez has Insisted upon.

esse" in Aureolus in the sense of an act


there is no


penetrating the metaphysical structure of finite being,

rather for him
viz. there,

esse " is merely an indication of place where,

r^t'-ira ",

in reraa

no more


no less, just as we

saw in Alexai'ider of Alexandria.

Is this then the

esse in

actu exercito" which Suarez is comparing to the actually

existlno essence?

And a^ain, could it be that by intrinsic


constitution of essonce by existence Suare^

more than essence as actual?



Text L; Heniy of Ghent

Of his life little is known and, to add to the

difficulty, it has to be sifted from the merely legendary.

He is born at Gh.ent or at Toumai at an uiiknown date and in

1267 he is canon of Tournal.
In 1276 he becomes its arch-

He dies on June 29, 1293.

He is a secular master

in theology at the University of Paris from 1276 to 1292 in

the Faculty of Theology though it scenjs tlmt he was teaching

in the Faculty of Arts there around 1270. Ke plays a






promlnent part in the Condemnation of 1277 as a member of the

Council of Theologians assisting Stephen Tempier, the bishop
of Paris and with the thinkers who come after


Influence is great.

It is an interesting sidelight that an

ambiguous text of Suarez influences the later historians of

Henry to think that he had subox'dinated God to the divine


Again, Suarez does not cite the wan dli-ectly but

refers his reader to Capreolus' reconstruction. strange


And it is

Suarez should include Henry under this third

position without comment, in view of the fact that he has

already said that he is usually put in the second position,
as we have seen.

Capreolus has merely cited him as an

adversary of the real distinction and as in the case of

Aureolus, Suarez accepts this and does not cite Henry according to the positive aspect of his doctrine on this point. '2^'
Thus, let us take a sample argument from Capreolus

and analyze it in relation to Suarez' ultimate position and

his critique of the real distinction.

Capreolus reports

Henry as follows:
argues as q.g follows.... Secondly. Because, if that esse is some thing (res allqua) added to (super) the essence of the creature, and since one does not grant that it is God and an uncreated thing (res increata), then it would be a created thing (res creata). But any created thing (res) of itself has non-being (non esse), but if it does have esse , this is a participated and an acquired

"Wlience Henry in his first Quodlibet.











Therefore if a participated and acquired 'esse' esse' . is always really other than that to vrtiich it accrues (semper aliud re est ab eo cui acquiritur) and by which it is participated, of that ' esse ' of that thing (de illo esse illius rei) added to the first creature and by which it had ' esse ', I ask whether it is really other (aliud re) than the ' esse ' of that thin^; to which it (cui acquiritur} . And then either it will be a case of proceeding to infinity (aut erit procedere in infinitum) or a stand will be taken (status erit) in some essence to which 'esse' accrues (cui acquiritur), which esse ' is in no way really other (aliud re) than that essence to which it accmios (cui acquiritur). And in virtue of the argument by which a stand is teOcen in

one created essence and nature, by that same argtoraent a stand is taken in any nature." (34)



find the same appreciation of what it means

to be really distinct, for Henrjr sees it in such a light as

to ask whether the


esse" of


esse ", as one


res ", is really


other than the


esse" of essence as the other


(de illo

esse illius rei additae primae creaturae per quam habuit esse

quaero utrum sit aliud re ab esse illius rei cui acquiritur).

It is this view which Suarez has taken, for he too sees

essence and


esse" as two


entia" if the real distinction is

Yet, Henry has nothing to say here of the formal

and intrinsic constitution of the one by the other as Suarez

explains it.




Godfrey of Fontaine

Our next proponent of the distinction of reason, or

more properly, our next opponent of the real distinction is
Godfrey of Fontaine.
His date of birth is unknown but has

as 3.;3xi



Jl scsa vinsh


xsan sa oj

YllBaa at






TR "





been gratuitously asserted to be 1225.

he was

It Is at least certain


in the first half of the 13th C.

He was a master

in the Faculty of Theology at Paris and a contemporary and foe of Henry of Ghent.
It is likely that he died in October,


It is interesting to note that Godfrey of Fontaine has been

cited as a basis for interpreting St. Thomas on the distinction

of essence and existence in teinus of a distinction of reason

by Fathers Pesch, Frick and Donat, in view of the Scholia to

the Svumna Contra Gentiles which Uccelll attributes to Godfrey in his edition of the latter work.
As Grabmann notes, the

Scholium vinder discussion actually contains the doctrine of

Henry of Ghent which is extremely interestir.g in view of our

discussion of the later Thoraist tradition. ^^^'
Again, Suarez chooses to cite a man according to

Capreolus in whom we have seen that the arguments attributed

to Godfrey "in Quodllbetis '', are taken word for word from

Aureolus' recapitulation.

The text in Capreolus most ex-

pressive of Suarez' attitude to the real distinction is the

following, which as a matter of fact, in Aureolus, is not

attributed to Godfrey at all, but is one of the arguments

Aureolus uses to show
differre realiter*


Quod essentia et esse non possint

It reads as follows:


"Seventh. If esse differs from essence as another thing (i*es alia}, it is either a creature or the " creative essence, as Boethius says in his book De Ortu Scientiarum" . (37; Biit it is established that existence is not the creative essence. Hence, it is a creature.





Accordingly, It is asked of that existence whether it If it is an essence, my point is an essence or not. is made (habetur propositiim) that essence and esse * are identical in the creature. But if it is no essence it is absolutely nothing according to Augustine. Hence 'esse' and essence cannot be really distinguTsKed." V3c5)

The same critique of


esse" as a "res" is here

exemplified as in


previous men and as in Suarez^ wherein

any notion of
seems lost.


esse " as an act most intimate to the being


For, if


is not an essence it is nothing

(...quod enira nulla essentia est penitus nihil est).


Text N: Gerard of Carniel

Our next man is Guido de Terrena or Gerai^ of Camel

whose date of birth is unknown hvt who entered the Cnnaelites
at an early age, studied at Paris and became bishop of Elne,

not far from Perpignan, his birthplace.

In 1318 he was made

Superior General of the CaxTflelites and he died at Avignon on

August 21, in 1342.

This man also is cited by Suarez

One of his argwaents reads

according to Capreolus' rendition.

as follovjo:

"Eight, he argues as follows. The resolution of a thing conies to a halt (stat) at thofic principles of which the thing consists. But an existing thing is not resolved except by the resolution of the principles belonging to its nature and quiddity. Just as the corruption oT Socrates v/hence he comes to be non-existent, consists only in the separation of the soul froin ths body. Accordlnsly, Socrates exists by nothing other than by the union of soul and body. Whence, for the exlGtcnoc of the thing no inore is required than the real entity of essential actuality


HA ^



(nlsl realls entitas essentialls actiialltatis). For, how is it (Quare) that the rose does not exist? because it is not a real entity according to its proper essence and nature but it is only in the potency of its causes. For which reason it is not a real essence except in potency. So that, the rose is according to esse existentiae in that way in v;hich it is according to esse essenfiae Vfhence, Just as a rose is an essence and a thing (i*es) not in act but in potency, so it exists in potency and not in act. Yet, because existence has more of the aspect of act than essence (exsistentia magls concemit actum quam essentia), for that reason essence, according to its rati o' (secundum rationem) is more verified of being not in act (de non ente actu) than 'existere' ." (^0)






Though we do not find any explicit reference to the

same view of what it means to be really distinct, we do see that

esse" is completely ruled out as a metaphysical principle

of an existing being.



esse" is reduced to being

realis entitas essentialls actualitatls " which is merely

another way of saying that now the essence is there, outside

its causes,

in rerum natura " just as Alexander of Alexandria

and Aureolus have explicitly taught.

if this is the

Thus we may ask again,

esse in actu exerclto " which Suarez is com-

paring to the actually existing essence?

And is this what he

means by the intrinsic constitution of actual essence by



Text 0: Durandus a Sancto Porciano

Our next man Is the famous Durandus who was



the end of the 13th century at the village of Saint-Fourgain

in the diocese of Clennont in Auvergne.

He enters the


s lo










Doralnican order at an early age at Clermont, studies at the

University of Paris and obtains his doctorate in 1313.

dies In 133^.


He was, so to speak, the stormy petrel of the

Dominican order of his day, for his commentary on the Sentences

has undergone three redactions In the face of seemingly constant opposition for his deviation from the doctrine of St.

Thomas v/hlch was the official teaching of the Dominican order

at this time.
It is only the third redaction of his

coaamentary that is available and in the words of his hlstoriaui,

J. Koch,

"is full of compromises".

In contrast to his academic

career, Durandus had a very distinguished ecclesiastical career,

becoming bishop of Limoux in 1317, bishop of Le Puy in 1318

and bishop of Meaux in 1326.^

Durandus discusses the point at issue in the context of the question


Utrum in solo Deo esse et essentia sint idem

real iter ", and, save for the argiments affirming that this is
so and his answer to them, we have no explicit appreciation

of the real distinction.

He merely alludes to that position

before describing and i*efuting the position of Henry of Ghent.

"In addition to the position which posits that esse and essence really differ in creatures and whose stronger arguments ax^ touched in arguing the position of those who say they do not really differ, there is a twofold response. For some say that esse ' adds nothing real and absolute to essence but only a relation to its producing cause."' ^2)
' ' '

And having disposed of ttenry of Ghent he outlines












the other position

the extinction of reason, deScrlhlng it

at length and noting that it is confirmed by many arguments.

This is what the distinction of reason means for him:

"But there are others who say that esse * is not something added to essence and really different from it, neither according to something absolute (secvmdura absolutum) nor according to something relative (secundum respectivum), but it differs only in reason (ratione). Essence signifies the nature of the thing in the abstract (in abstracto). But being (ens) says that seune thing concretely (in concreto). But esse exlstentiae says that same thing with the note of a verbal copula, as It is the same thing to be as to have an essence (ut sit idem esse quod habere essentiam) so that 'essentia* and 'ens' and esse veaW^r say the same thing" 'under diverse modes ot' signification (subdiversis raodls significandi) This position is founded on the dictum of Aristotle in 5 Metaphysics , who divides being (ens) into being according to the soul only (ens secundum animam tantum) and into being outside the soul only (ens extra animam tantvim), which being is divided into the ten predicaments, and to this being alone does the esse and essence outside the soul belong; and of this being are we now treating. Hence, Just as the being (ens; outside the soul which is divided into the ten predicaments, predicates the essence of each thing of which it is said and not something added, as the Philosopher says in 4 Metaphysics , so that man and being man are the same (ita quod idem sint homo et ens homo), nor do they say something diverse except according to the repeated expression (diet ionem)( i.e. homo, et ens homo et unus homo) as is said in the same place, so of whatever thing esse outside the soul (esse in re extra) is said, it does not say something really other (allud re) but it says the same thins (as essence and 'ens' do). For, Just as every being (ens) either is substance or quantity and so on (et sic de aliis), so every esse is either * esse substantiam or an esse quantum and so on (et sic de aliis j; and thus v;hen it is said man is (homo est), or a line is (linea est), and so on, esse says the very thing as the subject by reason of which is esse something contained under the esse * substantiam or esse quantitatem etc. So also is it the case when it is said man is a being or a line is a being (homo est ens, vel linea est ens). But Aristotle



















intiraates (innuit) this in 3 Metaphysics by distinguishing being outside the soul (ens extra) into the ten predicaments. He says so because then of the predicaments, one signifies substance (alia quid est significant), another quality (quale), one quantity (quantum), another relatioii (ad aliquld) one action (facere) another passion (pati) one place (ubi) another time (quando). .. And for each of these, esse' signifies the same thing." C^3)

We have here an explanation of a distinction of

reason which reduces the problem to a matter of signification

and predication and says nothing of the formal and intrinsic

constitution of essence in the order of actual being by


esse ',

which is the way Suarez would seem to have it.

Hence, it is

one species of the distinction of reason between essence and


esse ", as we shall see.

What we must find out is, if it is


the same distinction of reason affirmed by

This will

be discussed when Suai^^z himself catalogues and criticizes a

number of positions on the distinction of reason.'^'


Text P: Gabriel Biel


next cites Gabriel Biel, a German theologian

of the 15th centurj' who was


at Speyer around I42f5 and

who studies at Heidelburg and Erfurt.

His fame as an orator

is such that in l46o he is named preacher at the Cathedral of


He participates in a political and religious quarrel

between the papacy and anti-papal forces attempting to establish

a German national church, on the side of the papacy.


rather than accept the Pope's invitation to come to Rome, Biel





choosee to enter the Brethi:*en of the Common Life at

In 1484 he la naned professor of philosophy and

theologj' at the new University of Tubingen whei*e he professes

the modern theology of the day

the nominalism of Occam.


For, in his famous coiaraentary on the


he clearly

states that he tiikes Occam for his master and guide throughout
his commentary.

In this r-egard, it is interesting to note

the Occamists at the Universities of Erfurt and Wittenberg

were known as


Biel dies in 1495 at Tubingen.^

(45) '

Suarez, in citing him as a proponent of the

distinction of reason between essence and



sends his

reader to a place in Gabriel Biel where the context is that

of the question:

Utrum sicut in Christo est aliquod esse aliud

ab esse increatOj ita


i)osset catholice quod Christus sit

aliqua duo." which, nonetheless, is a traditional place for

discussion in regard to

esse" and essence^ as both Scotus

and Lychetus are cited in this place (cf. Text P).

Biel has these striking remarks to make on





"In regard to the first subdivision, it must be noted in reference to the term esse *, that esse , ens and 'essentia do not differ according to the thing signified (secundum rem significatam) because the esse of a thing, its entity and its essence, are really identical (quia idem est in re esse rei, entitas rei, et essentia rei). Otherwise, a thing could be, and not be nor have an essence, which is something unintelligible and implies a contradiction. For whatever is not a being (non est v^ns), is nothing. Likewise, what does not








9? aw

"AUneae^" boa

4 J.



have an essence is nothing, and what is nothing, does not exist. And so if something were and were not a being (ens), it would be and it would not be. Also, of whatever being (ens) is denied ^of that, every positive predicate is denied in as much as nothing is more common than being (eo quod nihil est comratinius ente). But nothing is being (ens) without essence, since essence is that by which something is formally called a being (ens). But ' esse is called everi'-thing vriiich has some reality outside its cause and outside an intellect. Or more properly speaking, esse * is a reality outside its cause and outside an intellect." v^^)

Indeed, this is similar to what we have Just met in


For, just like Durandus, Gabriel Biel treats the


problem of the distinction of essence and

esse " as a problem


of signification whei^in everything, including

essential ized, for only essences are.



In fact, the whole dis-

cussion seems to be i*educed to the competence of the

grammarian as Gabriel tells us:

"Nonetheless, these vocables ' esse ', 'ens', ' essentia le s as verb, differ according to the grammatical participle and novm.... Whence, it follows that existens , ens exigtentia and 'e ssentia are identical because just as existere Ts related to esse so existeng * is related to ens and existentia
' rn,*., '














to^^ssentia ^.M^V)
But we shall have occasion to see whether this type of a distinction between

esse " and essence is to Suarez* liking, when

he himself writes a critique of some proponents of certain

types of distinctions of reason between


esse " and essence.

However, it is noteworthy that here again we find a man cited

by Suarez in his own behalf, for whom

more than essence as actual.


esse" means nothing






Text Q: Hervaeus Natalia

Next, we shall treat Hervaeus Natalis, a Breton,

who was


of the noble family of Nedellec in the diocese

He entered the order of

of Treguier at an unknown date.

Friar Preachers at Morlaiac on April 29, 1276, according to


June 26, 1303 finds him in Paris at Saint-Jacques


during which time he reads the

Sentences" flrially becoming a

Master in Theologi' in 1307.

It is noteworthy that he is con-

sidered an ardent disciple of St, Thomas and defends him

against the attacks of the Augustinians, of Henry of Ghent

and James of Metz and yet he maintains a distinction of reason

between essence and existence.

Further, he engages in

polemical disputes with Scotus, Durandus and Petrus Aureolus,

On June 10, 1318 he is elected Minister General of the

Dominican order in which capacity he works for the canonization of St. Thomas.
In the case of Hervaeus we have an explicit treat-

Death takes him on August


I323, at

ment of the question of the distinction of essence and '"esse",

or as Kervaeus himself asks the question:

Utrum esse et

essentia in creaturis differant re."

Herein he outlines

three positions on the question, the first is the real distinction, the second is the position of Henrj' of Ghent, wherein

essence denotes a relation to God as exemplar cause and "esse"



".^f*^ fOQ[

tJL<l OO.!.'




specif ies that essence as related to God as efficient cause,


both of which he rejects, and the third is a familiar explanation of a distinction of reason:
"And for this reason there is a third position vrtiich seems to me to be more probable, namely, that ' esse ' and essence differ accordinc to diverse modes oT signifying, by the mode of verb and by the mode of noun. For whose evidence it must be ioiown that just as 'lux' lucere ' aind ' lucidum differ, so do ' essentia , esse and ons , so that essence says that by which something is a being, just as light says that by which something is lighted (lucidum). And esse is ' habere essent lam just as lucere is habere lucem ', but ens ' is habens essentiam Just as ' lucens is habens lucem . Or more specifically, in regard to creatures ( specificando autem istud ad creaturas), the essence of the ci^eature is that by which something is a created being (ens creatam). But the esse of the creature is to have a created essence (habere essentiam creatara) and ens creat^ora is habens essentiam creatam ." v50;





















Here is another grammarian of the distinction betv/een

essence and


esse" and the list is still open, as a discussion

-Till reveal.

of our next man


Text U: Alexander Achillinus

Alexander was


on October 29, 1463 at Bologna

and is famous as an exponent of the Averroistic interpretation

of Aristotle in company with such men as Cajetan of Thlene, Paul of Venice, Augustine Niphus and Niooletto Vernias.

Alexander teaches at Padua, the center of Averr-oism, and then

later at Bologna.
He is said to nave declared that Aristotle

must be corrected where he differs from the orthodox teaching






^r<^ ra


of the Church,

In his lifetime he was the philosophical

adversary of Pietro Pomponazzi an Alexandrlst, or follower of

Alexander of Aphrodisias.

Further, Alexander Achillinus was

a strong opponent of the impetus theory.


He dies August 2,

Our man wastes no time in setting forth his views, for immediately after asking this question in the place cited:

Utrum esse rei sit essentia?"

he says



"I answer that 'ens* and esse are separated by a grammatical distinction alone which is wont to be (afferri) between a participle and a verb, for ' ens is Likewise, that ens a participle but esse is a verb. say essence or existence (ens dicere essentiara et ens dicere existent lam) differs by the sole difference (alietate) of verbs. For 'sun' and 'existo' are substantive verbs which do not differ in re;;:ard to the thing signified. For Averroes in 2 Physics com. 71 has said that metaphysics considers existent s in as much as they exist. Whence (Ipso autem), quid and allquid must be used as synonyms. But ens ' and ' allquid ' are convertible In signification, yet separated by a grammatical difference, for aliquid ' is not a participle but a noiin. But ens ' is a psLrticiple and not a noun, for those who have wished ' ens * to be a noun, have no But on respect for grammar (grammaticara contempserunt) basis of 7 Metaphysics com. I accept ' ens as dethe rived from esse '. For there ought to be no question in anyone's mind (nulli enim dubium esse debet). that a participle has been derived from a verb."(>2)
' ' ' ' '
' ' '







By now this approach should be familiar and should

leave no doubt in our minds that *esse" is being totally

essentialized or formalized.

Alexander of Achillinus leaves

no room for doubt on this point:

" must be seen whether the form is esse (an forma sit ipsum esse) and I say, yes, (sic) because all that



al Q^li



by which something is, is a form. It is clear from the definition of form, but esse (Ipsum esse) Is that by which something is. Hence ' esse (ipsum esse) is the form. "(53)



We shall have occasion to mention these grammarieins just

studied again, when Suarez himself holds these renditions of

the distinction of reason between essence and

esse" up to a

critique and declares them reasonably probable (sane probabllis).'^^

However, he himself seeks a greater difference or a greater dis-

tinction of reason, '^^'


Text R: Gregory of Rimini

This man is a theologian and philosopher of Italian

origin and a member of the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine.

He came to Paris as a student in 1322 taking ten years to become a bachelor.

He teaches at Bologna, Padua




and in 13^0 returns to P2u?is to read the

Sentences " at a

convent of his order as well as to receive his doctorate. This he does receive in 13^5 on the particular recommendation
of Pope Clement VI.

In 1351 he is the Superior General of

his order and dies at Vienna in Austria a few days after November
20 in 1358.^^^^

In this instsuice of his reference to Gregory, Suarez

does not cite him where he


ex professo " treats the distinction

Rather, he cites him in a place

between essence and "esse".

where the context is that of creation and Gregory is disposing

io ar






of an objection of Aureolus

to hla second conclusion which

Secunda conclusio quod nulla res areatur a Deo


creatlone a se distincta"

His refutation of Aureolus contains


an incidental reference to the problem of essence and

esse ",

which is likely the text Suarez has in mind;

"In regard to the first proof, when it is said that a stone has esse from God by creation, I say that if this cited proposition is taken accurately (secundum proprletatem), so that the full value of the words, as the opponent has used them, is manifested, it is absolutely false (ita quod fiat vis in vocabulis ut facit sic arguens ipsa est simpliciter falsa). And it is so, first, because that proposition strictly taken, denotes that ' esse * is a certain entity distinct from the stone and that the stone has this entity from God, as we say air has light from the stin, which, to be sure, is false, even for that Doctor (Aureolus); the proposition is false in the second place because it means that creation is some entity by which a stone is from God, which certainly is false (quod utique falsum est). And for these reasons I deny that this proposition has been taken in its strictness (in sua proprietate ) , nor must it be taken in this way.''v5r}

It is interesting that Suarez should cite Gregory

where he affords a critique of an explanation of creation

wherein the real distinction of essence and



esse " is a con-

For, as we have seen in the case of Capreolus, the

problem of creation is the other side of the question of the

distinction between essence and



As we shall see,

has explicit reference to the problem of

creation in J.aying down the first principle of his option for

the distinction of reason.





XOftOO AftfU/C



'en ai'





art s'



9W 8A









Text S: Antonlus Andreas

This is the first


Scotista " cited by Suarez on be-

half of the distinction between essence smd existence and he

obviously belongs to the first tradition of the disciples of

Scotus, mentioned by Suarez in the text we cited in our dis-

cussion of the modal distinction.

For here we are confronted

with a Scotist who, in Suai*ez' eyes maintains a distinction of

reason between essence and existence unlike the other tradition

which would seem to maintain a modal distinction.

The absence

of Scotus in this third tradition is interesting in view of

what we noted in the discussion of the modal distinction.

With reference to Antonius Andreas, biographical information

is not too plentiful.

He was


in Aragon and died around


He was a recognized follower of Scotus who wrote


"Quaestiones " on the


Metaphysics" of Aristotle, as



Expos itio" on the same

This last work has been

(59) '

falsely attributed to Duns Scotus himself.^

Suarez refers to him in the traditional place and

context in the

Metaphysica" of Aristotle where the problem


of the distinction between essence and

esse " arises. ''^'

The question is;


Utrum unum et ens significant eamdem

naturam?" , and his treatment never strays from that context

to discuss the relation of

esse " and essence.

He does con-

tain some remarks on distinction, real, formal, essential and

of reason, but they are Incidental and always in the context











ena" and


unum "

It could be that Siiarez means to refer


to the

Expos Itlo " of Andreas on the

Metaphysics" rather thsui



Quaestiones" upon which my remarks are based.


Sxpoaitio" has not been available to me.

Then, too, Suarez

may have taken him from someone else's listing of authorities.


Text T: Franciscus Lychetus

Franciscus Lychetus, the second of the



noted by Suarez, and a Franciscan friar who dies In 1520 in

Budapest, was


at Lovario near Bergamo.

He taught

theology at Naples and wix)te important commentaries on the


Quodlibets " and

Metaphysics" of Scotus as well as on Scotus'

Opus Oxioniense" A^^^

The text cited by Suarez is Lychetus' commentary on

the place of Scotus mentioned in the second position, wherein

Scotus has asked the question:

esse Verbi ab esse creato? "


Utrum in Christo sit aliud

Upon Scotus' remarks concerning

the various meanings




esse ", Lychetus comments as follows:


In that text the Doctor Respondeo, quod in ista etc says many things. First, that esse can be taken in many ways. In one way, for esse essentiae ', just as we say that essence is said from esse (dlcitur ab esse), as wisdom (saplentia) is said from sapere , And then such an esse and essence differ in reason alone because they differ only in the mode of conceiving, for esse is taken in the concrete and essence in the abstract. It is also clear from the Doctor in I, dist.8 quaest. penult., concerning man and humanity, and of God and deity (Deus et deltas) which differ mutxially in this sense, which is concrete with respect to the abstract which is essence, as many essences there are in Christ,
' ' '


' '






















there are that many esse And there is no difficulty here because in Christ there is a divine. ^d human nature and so there are as many esse ."(o^T



He continues on with the same approach, taking


esse "



subslstere " and


esse " for the composition of the

Intellect or as it signifies the relation of predicate to subject, only to make this point:

"Of these esse mentioned above, it is not the intention of the question to ti^at. Rather, the question is concerned with the esse actualis exlstentiae which is really Mentical with the essence to which such an esse belongs (est realiter idem cum essentia cujus est), as is sufficiently clear in 2 dist.l. See there the gloss on essence and existence (vide ibi glossain de essentia et existentia.)."^^^;





Thus we see that he justifies Suarez' reference to

him, for he explicitly says that essence and existence or

esse actualis exlstentiae" are really identical.

But other

than this there are no clarifying remarks.

to go to the second book of the

Nor does it help

Sentences" in the first dis-

tinction, where Lychetus says there is a gloss on essence




At least it does not help to go there if one is

using the Vives edition, for there is no such gloss.


Suarez has knowledge of such a gloss, as he indicates in

another place:
"Some posit a distinction of i^ason between esse exlstentiae and esse essentiae because one is conceived as concrete (per mod\n;i concreti) and the other is conceived as abstract (per raodum abstracti). So thinks Lychetus in 2 d.l q.2 where, in the first place, he says concerning the mind of Scotus, that 'esse exlstentiae and esse essentiae are the same and altogether inseparable, although Scotus there, Quant\im ad Istuia articulum , does not say they are the same buf"












that esse essentlae is never really separated from Nevertheless, probably enough, esse exlstentiae this is concluded from the mind of Scotus, for when he says there that essence is not separable from existence and in 3 dist.b ex professo teaches that the humanity of Christ has not been able to be exist or be assumed without a proper existence, he plainly thinks it is not distinguished in the thing itself. Whence Lychetus above (in 2 d.l q.2), in a marginal note which is his " gloss adds: '" esse essentiae" and esse exlstentiae" signify one and the same reality and they are the ssune really and formally and are distinguished as concrete .^. which are only distinguished in reason." v^^^ and abstract
' ' '


In addition to Suarez and Lychetus himself we have

another luitness to this marginal gloss.

He is Ildephonsus

Brizenus or as he is also known, Alonso Briseno who, in noting

a position on the distinction of essence and existence that

removes every kind of distinction between essence and existence

prior to the action of the intellect, in order to reject the

formal distinction which Scotus constitutes between the grades of one and the same entity says:

"For this position of Francis Lychetus, one of us, is represented in 2 d.l q.2. Quantum ad istum articulum . In which place he says of the mind of Scotus: 'Here the Doctor posits his own position, saying that God can create something from nothing, i.e. not from something according to " esse exlstentiae" and consequently not " according to " esse essentiae"^ because esse essentiae" " and esse exlstentiae" are identical.' But these words express only a real lack of distinction (solum realera indiscretionem), unless the express testimony of Lychetus in this matter is to be sought in the marginal notes which are seen to assert that position clearly in " these words: '" Esse essentiae" and esse exlstentiae" say one and the same reality, they are really and formally the same and are distinguished as concrete and abstract which are only distinguished in reason.'. But this marginal annotation seems to be that of Cardinal Constantius Samanus who revised (recognovit) the works of Lychetus and glossed them for the schools (et scholiis

.- .tt



illustravlt). Yet Suarez, in the second tome of his Metaphysics, disp.31 sect. 6 and Vazquez tome I 3 part, disp.72 cap. 2 maintain this position which /g^N ' the modems commonly accept, and it can be proved."^
However, the fact that Lychetus himself has referred to a gloss

on essence and existence in the second book of the


Sentences ",

first distinction, makes one wonder if this twice quoted text

is that of Cardinal Samanus.

Nevertheless, the position of

Lychetus as known to Suarez is what is of immediate interest

here, and it is sufficiently clear for now.

But we shall

return to it as Suarez has a critique of such an interpretation

of the distinction of reason between essence and existence.


Text V: Michael de Palacios

Our next man for discussion is a conteraporaiv of

Suarez '

as he is included by Hurter in the section entitled


Theologi annorum 158l-l500 "

He is from Granada (Granatensis)

and is a professor of Theology at the University of Salamanca

as well as a magistral canon of Leon (Legionensis) and the

church of Civitatensisj and, according to Nicolaus Antonius,

a man of parts.


In addition, his Latin indicates a return

to a rich classical vocabulary. In his rather rare


Disputationes" on the


Sentences ",

at the traditional place of Book I, d.8 , he discusses the

problem of essence and "esse" in the context of this question:


esse seu existere Deo sit intrinsecum sive essentiale?"


xxQ^ *A



But he begins his quest for the answer to this on the level
of created essences for the following reason:
"No one, neither Theologian nor Philosopher, is unaware that the hidden things, such as are the invisible realities, are more to be sought out through the realities more known and familiar to those who are seeking. Wherefore, one must first consider created essences with their existence (Propterea opus facto est) in order that we may mount from them as on a step in the measure (promodulo) of our Infirmity to the superexcellent nature of God (ut in illis facto prius gradu, ad superexcelsissiraaui Dei naturam scandere ' promodulo infirmitatis nostrae liceat.)*"'

Thus, he first seeks to know if created


esse" is intrinsic to

the created essence and, after citing five arguments to the

contrary, which arguments are very reminiscent of some of the

Thoraists we have seen, he cites one argument

pro ", before

making this priceless remark:

"This question is extremely knotty and one that, involved with various twisting mazses, has more thsm enough winding (Quaestio haec nodosa quam maxime est hidden i^cesses. et quae moeandris variis implexa latebras habet sinousas plusquam satis). And for this reason, it seems right to repeat this from on high, if perchance we shall be^able to dissentangle the mazes of that same question." v9/
It will be necessary only to cite the first two of

the five conclusions set down by Michael de Palacios:

"Now, therefore, this is the first conclusion: possible essence and possible * esse are the same. This is evident since possible essence is an essence which can Second be. Hence, possible essence Is possible esse* . conclusion: Essence in act is esse in acTI I'his is manifest, for the htiman essence existing in act is the very existing substantial ' esse of man. For, take the essence of man, it is rational animal. But rational animal existing is the existent man himself. Hence, the essence existing in act is the very existing (est Ipsum existens) or as we have said, existere substantiale is
' ' ' '




not other than the very existing substance," '^^'

Again we find a man affirming that


esse" is nothing more than

the essence in act Just as Alexander of Alexandria, Aureolus

and Gerard of Carmel and as we shall see Fonseca.

It would

seem then that Suarez himself has a similar doctrine in mind.


Text X: John of Jandiin

Having cited some Scotists, some Nominalists and

others, Suarez now turns to the Aristotelians by citing John

of Jandun under the name of


Joannes Gandensis" or John of

Ghent, with whom John of Jandun is often confused because of

his birth place which is given in at least three different


de Janduno ",


de Genduno ",


de Ganduno "

This famous

Averroist was


there in the second half of the 13th

He studies at the University of Paris and teaches

In 1316, he is

there at the beginning of the l4th century.


Magister artist arum " at the College of Navarre and on November

13 of the same year. Pope John XXII makes him canon of the

chapter at Senlis,

He dies at Todi between the 10th and 15th

day of September in 1328,^'^^)

He is mentioned by Suarez among the proponents of

the third position when Suarez remarks that Niphus actually

is holding his position but words it differently than he does
and, that in addition, Niphus, following Aristotle and the







lo ei


Perlpatetlcs and distinguishing between corruptible and incorruptible creatures, says that existence is distinguished

from essence in the former but not in the latter.

Suarez says

that John of Jsindun makes a similar distinction and holds a

similar position in regard to it.

But Suarez prescinds from

this latter problem since he asserts that it depends on the

other question of whether these incorruptible creatures in the

Judgement of Aristotle have been produced by God or not

question he has already discussed,^'

(72) '

In his own treatment of this question John of

Jandun has described three positions, each restricting and

specifying the question more than the previous one.
The first,

attributed to Avicenna, holds that in every creature


and essence differ essentially (in omni causato esse et

essentia dif ferunt essentialiter)

The second position limits

and specifies the question to a greater extent, to say that in

every caused being,


esse" and essence do not differ,

still in

every subsisting, caused being as in every caused substance,


esse " is absolutely other than essence (licet in omni ente

causato esse non dif fe rat ab essentia, taraen in omni ente

subsistente causato ut in substantia omni causata esse

simpliclter est aliud ab essentia).

is the
" "

And the


esse" in question

esse" which is predicated, as

man is, which is

esse" as second adjacent.

This is the opinion of St. Thomas

(73) '

according to John of Jandun.*












The third position limits the question even more, to

say that in every generable and corruptible substance

esse "

differs from essence.

For John of Jandun this is more probable


than the two preceding renditions of the problem.


But Just what that difference is between the


esse "

and essence of generable and corruptible creatures is hinted

at in this precision of John of Jandiin^ appended to his state-

ment of the third position: "Gainful note must be taken in regard to that position that. Just as being (ens) is distinguished by being in act (ens in actu) and being in potency (ens in potentia), so essence is distinguished by essence in act and essence in potency. But when it is said that in generable and corruptible substance, esse differs from essence, it is not true if it is understood uniformly (i.e. as esse in actu and essentia In actu * ) because actual essence does not participate actual esse Rather, that actual ' esse is identical with the essence because actual essence is identical with the form which is esse and act. Similarly, potential essence as matter does not participate in potential ' esse ', but it is identical with it. Rather, the potential essence as matter participates actual ' esse as form, because, unless form were participated and received in matter, then in one species there would be but one individ\ial, which we see to be false .because there are many individuals in human nature." (75)
' * ' '






It would seem then that John of Jandiin is saying

that in generable and corruptible substance "esse" differs

from essence as the latter denotes the essence in potency

and as the former denotes that same essence now as actual.

Suarez himself even agrees that essence and


esse" really

differ when taken in this way but as non-being from being.

But if the comparison is made between the actual essence and


nL itsdt


actual existence there is no real distinction for John of

Jandun as there was none for Aristotle and as there is none

for Siiarez.

This seems confirmed when he says:

"But if the question (utrum esse et essentia differat) is asked of generable and corruptible substance, then it must be answered as before, that if esse and 'essentia are not taken uniformly, (difformiter) then they differ as actual esse ' which is the form differs from potential esse * which is matter. The proof: because that esse is either subsistent per se * or participated^ Tf it is subsistent per se then in one species there is not but one individual because the multitude of Individuals of the same species is only by matter per se . But we see that there are many individuals in one species. But if that esse is participated then ray point is made (tunc habetur propositum) because the participant really differs from the participated if it is true participation as was seen before. But if esse and essence are taken uniformly, as ' esse in act and essence in act and esse in potency and essence in potency, accordingly (sicut), they do not differ really because they are one, for essence in act And thus, essence does is the fonri which also is ' esse not participate ease since the same thing does not participate in itself. But essence and esse in act are participated by the matter which is essence in potency.... For if ' esse in act were to differ from essence in act there would be a process to infinity ...."( 76
' ' '





















I do not

think it can be doubted that this confirms

our analysis

of the previous text, for this last text reiterates the same

position, somewhat clarified.



esse" and essence differ

really in generable and corruptible substance, but this real

difference is actually between essence in potency and essence

in act.

This is tantamount to saying that in generable and

corruptible creatures there is no composition of essence and

esse "

There is just the one composition of matter and form.

And like Suarez, when comparing essence in act with "esse" in

viffti'T ta*>

Ob I





act, John of Jandxin also concludes to their identity.


Siiarez then conclude that there is only one composition in

material finite beings

that of matter and form?


Text W: August inus Niphus

As has been mentioned, Suarez says of Niphus that he

actually holds the distinction of reason, though his wording

of it is different.

But first let us say of Niphus or Nifo

He was the pupil of the famous

that his dates are IA73-I538.

Padiian Averroist, Nicoletto

Vemias and he himself edited the

In 1518 he writes

works of Averroes in the years 1495-1497.

a woi^ for Pope Leo X against Petro Pomponazzi's De Immortal itate

Animae in which he opposes Alexander of Aphrodislas' inter-

pretation by an appeal to that of St. Thomas Aquinas.


In the place mentioned by Suarez, Niphus treats the

problem of the distinction of essence and



esse" asking:

Num in quolibet causato distinguatur esse ab essentia? "


treatment is divided into five chapters.


The first is entitled

Caput 3>ubitationum " and catalogues eight arguments, affirming


a distinction and two arguments


in oppositura"

The second

Caput Tituli" , takes each word in the title-question

Thus, by essence is meant the

and explains its meaning.


ratio" by


something is a being (ens),


esse" is

accepted as that whence this name

ens" is taken; for

"causatum" Niphus understands every being (ens) below the first

















lo 788 aw t9f

b el



tiJ units i





A aairtwf


lo aMrtow


Ito i:

nl aaaiixA






.. ^


nl b^ow lioAd





whlch is caused as a


cjuod" ,\^^^

Chapter three Is entitled

Caput Posit ionum " and consists of four conclusions, the first

stating that

esse " and essence are not formally distinct,

the second affiiTaing that they are not really distinct, the

third declaring that existence differs from essence as a mode

from a quiddity, the fourth concluding from the third that

they thus differ

ex natura rei"

With this last Niphus dis-

agrees for various reasons and thus omits this last position,
stating that his question has to do with the proper essence

of Socrates and whether it differs from


esse existentiae"

He then mentions St. Thomas' position, declaring that Boethius,

Avicenna and Algazel hold the same.

Niphus cites eight arguments of the
us to his fourth chapter


But against this view



This brings


Caput Dilucidationls "

the heart

of Niphus' position, wherein he posits one very important

distinction, two vital suppositions and three conclusions, as

well as a solution of the disputation.

The fifth and last

chapter called


Caput Solut ionum" contains his reply to the

eight arguments posited in the beginning. In order to see just how Niphus corroborates Suarez*

contention that he holds the distinction of reason, thoiigh

his wording of it is different, we must look to his


Dllucldationis" and note first his distinction between the

two meanings of essence.




w^ ^ H

9riJ n-


"But because this disputation cannot be clarified except by distinctions and suppositions, let us first start with the distinction. And let us say that essence, according to common usage (apud usura gentium), usually has a double acceptation. For, sometimes it is taken for possible being (pro ente possibile) whence a thing is said to be possible, and this the yo;inger philosophers (juniores) call being in objective potency (ens in potentia objectiva). Such an essence the rose has now. For the rose now, in the winter, has no essence except the esse which is in the objective potency of its efficient causes (causarum agentium). But the esse opposed to this is ' esse actualis existentiae by which esse * a rose in the summer is said to be absolutely, and not to be relatively, in the potencies of its causes (et non secundxim quid in potentiis causarum) . In the second place, essence is taken for the nature, in keeping with which (ad quem sensura) some say that humanity is the essence of man and Averroes makes the form of man the essence of man. The esse distinguished from this is esse subsistentiae (esse huic condivisum est esse subsistentiae^ which belongs to the individual which is a subsistent substance (quod est hoc aliquid et subsistens),"(oO)









This first meaning of essence offers an interesting

comparison with the doctrine of the man Just treated, John

of Jandun, as well as with Alexander of Alexandria and Gerard

of Carmel.

The similarity to John of Jandun is even more


pronounced when we see that Niphus reduces actual

form and potential

esse" to

esse" to matter:

"Accordingly the fiist supposition is that esse in objective potency is identical with esse in the subjective potency of matter and they differ in i^ason alone. For the potency of matter, by which a rose is said to be possible, as it respects the agent is called subjective potency because in virtue of that potency the rose is transmutable by am agent. As it respects the form which is the object or thing intended it is called objective potency. Hence, as the potency of matter respects the agent by that potency it is called subjective; as it respects the object of the agent it is called objective. This we have explained in our


J w ,















Commentary on the Physics and we now presuppose it. Whence, it rollows that at the time when form is educed from the potency of matter a twofold composition results, one of matter and fomi whence something is called a composite of matter and form, the other of essence and esse because the composite of esse and essence is called existent (existens appellatur). It is proved because, since the potency of matter as subjective differs from potency as objective and the forai is the terminus of both the objective potency suid the subjecti'.ve potency, as esse it is the terminus of the objective potency (ut esse quidem objectivae) and as form inducible by an agent it is the terminus of the subjective potency, there have been in reason at least, in such a composition, two compositions, one of q essence and esse * and the other of matter auid forra."^^-'-'
' ' ' ' ' ' '

To be sure, Niphus identifies potential


esse" or

essence in potency, as John of Jandun had it, with matter at

the very outset of this text when he tells us that

esse" in

objective potency, which is also for Niphus the first

acceptation of essence, is identical with

jective potency of matter.


esse" in the sub-

Indeed, John of Jand\in said the

same thing when he noted that potential essence as matter does

not participate in potential



but is identical with it.

That Niphus has identified actual

esse" with form, the second

meaning of essence for him, can be concluded from his remark

that form is the terminus of both the objective potency and of
the subjective potency, and more particularly, that form as

esse" is the terminus of objective potency.

For, as we shall

see, form in relation to objective potency is called


in the doctrine of Niphus,

John of Jandun echoed this also


when he told us that actual

esse " is identical with the

essence because actual essence is identical with the form







which 13


esse" and act.

Thus, like John of



would seem to be holding the position that actual essence Is

really distinguished from potential essence Just as Suarez

That such is the case seems confirmed by the third

For, after concluding first, that

conclusion of Niphus.


and essence are identical in immaterial beings, no matter how

essence is accepted, and secondly, that even in eternal

corporeal substances, as the heavens, essence and


esse" do

not differ, again no matter how essence is taken, for he says:

"Third conclusion: in substances composed of matter and form, esse and essence, taken in either of its two senses, differ. This is demonstrated first if essence is taken in the first way (i.e. as ens posslblle or as ens in potentia objectlva ) because then essence is being in subjective potency, to which matter alone corresponds and nothing else. But ' esse * is in the act of existence (in actu existentlae), which, as it respects objective potency is called esse , and is called fonii as it Inspects subjective potency. Hence, they differ by as great a difference as matter differs from form. If essence is taken in the second way (i.e. as 'natura' or forma * ) esse * and essence also differ, for according to Averroes, essence is the forai and the esse is of the individual composite. But forro differs from the esse of the Individual composite. Whence, it follows that in amy individual composite there is a threefold composition, one of matter and form, another of individual and nature, and finally one of essence and esse ' . Yet all these compositions are one in subject and differ in reason (differunt ratione) because. for Averroes, ' esse , form and natur*e are Identical." (2)
' ' ' '











Accordingly there can be no doubt that Niphus is

holding a position like that of John of Jandun, when essence
is taiken in its first meaning of

ens in potentia objectlva"




ens in potentia subject iva" which are identical.




herein, the distinction between essence and


esse" reduces to

a distinction between essence as potential and essence as

actual which distinction is real as is the distinction of

matter and fonn for essence and

distinct from matter


esse" are only logically

form respectively.

However, the

distinction between essence and

esse" which arises when Niphus


takes essence, not in its first of

ens possibile"

but in its second meaning of form or nature, does not appear

in John of Jandun.

What this distinction amounts to is the

distinction between form and the composite, for Niphus, in

some clarifying remarks of his third conclusion when essence
Is taken in its second meaning says:

"Secondly it Is clear (i.e. the distinction between essence and ' esse ) in regard to essence if taken for the nature or quiddity, since thus, essence is the form and esse * is the composite or at least the composite corresponds to esse (vel saltern Ipsl esse compositum correspondet). rience essence taken in this manner differs from esse For in a substance, essence is the form, the * esse is the individual composite (Ipsum esse est compositum individuum)." (o3)
' ' ' *
' '

Whereas John of Jandun had held ihat between essence

taken in act and


esse" also taken in act there was a real

identity, because essence in act is the form vjhich is also



Niphus does not explicitly hold a comparable position.


Rather Niphus, when essence is taken as form, uses

esse ",

not in the sense of form as he had done previously but as

Indicating the composite.

of essence and

Thus he reduces the distinction

esse" to that of form and the composite or


] efi












i- nI












"icb ejsu-xi;-w.i


ol aB



boB anol

9 lO


nature and supposit.


But it remains to see the nature of that

For, in contrasting eternal realities and beings


newly caused,

the way in which essence and


esse" as form

and composite or nature and individual are distinct in each

instance, Niphus says:

"...further, the distinction of reason in newly caused (noviter causatis) beincs is greater than in eternial realities. For, in the latter this distinction is not founded on diverse parts, in the former it is fo\inded on diverse parts. Wherefore the younger philosophers (Juniores) call this distinction in the former a real distinction of reason (in his distinctionem rationis real era), in the latter they call it an intentional distinction of reason (in illis distinctionem rationis intent ionalem) . Thus, thei^fore, 'esse' and essence in new composites differ in real ratio and in subject (differunt ratione reali et subject) to the extent (pro quanto) they are the same in subject separably. But in eternally created things (In rebus vero causatis aetemis) ' esse * and essence differ only in intentional reason and in no way differ in subject. (8^)
' '

Thus we conclude to a real distinction of reason.

Very likely, than, this is the distinction

of reason Suarez

has in mind when he refers his reader to Niphus in this place.

And the fact that the distinction in question here is between

form and the composite is likely the basis for Suarez' charge
that Niphus differs in the wording of the problem.
As to

Saurez' contention that Niphus maintains that the controversy

is only over a manner of speaking (et in fine disputationis

contendat controversiam esse de modo loquendo) let us read

part of his answer to the

"To the rest of the arguments, it is answered tliat they Also their arguments are worthless are in our favor.



(nulla) for they all conclude that essence if taken for the nature, and esse if taken for the individual, do not differ absolutely, (simplicitor) yet according to Averroes they differ in the way in which form differs from the composite. And you must know that, perhaps, they do not differ from the expositors (ab expositoribus) since they would not deny that, when taking essence for esse In objective potency or for matter which corresponds to It guid esse for form outside the potencies of its causes, these differ really (secundum rem) in the way in which matter and form differ. Nor would Thomas deny that, when taking essence for the nature, nature is identical with the esse ', tal^en for the existence of the individual. And this is the understanding of those men (et hoc ad intellectum lllorura). For, Thomas would not say that that nature and esse differ in the way in which two things with diverse existences differ (eo modo quo differunt duae res diversarum existentiamim), but he would say that distinction is real in as much as it is outside the operation of the intellect, which they call real. And thus they conclude^to the same thing though they differ in their words." Vo::?J
' '







Here we find Niphus reconciling the men who asserted

the initial eight arguments for the distinction between

essence and



with the expositors, likely St. Thomas


and Averroes.

Both will hold that essence and

esse" are

really distinct as matter and form when essence is taken as

"esse" in objective potency and

esse " for that same essence

or form outside its causes and in act.

is a real distinction.

Suarez also says this

As for the distinction between nature


the composite or the

esse" of the composite, both would

agree that they are identical and yet, both would agree that

nature and


esse " are really distinct in as much as real

means outside the intellect.


But for these two

their identity and their real distinction, to







,nr>?'^l no.


stand at once, Niphus can only be talking of the real dis-

tinction of reason, mentioned above.

his different wording of the problem.

This also constitutes


Text Y: Petrus Fonseca

The last man to be treated and perhaps the most

important for am iinderstanding of Suarez' position, with the

exception of Alexander of Alexandria, is Petrus Fonseca, a

Portuguese philosopher and theologian
the year 1528,


at Cortizada in

He entered the Society of Jesus at Coimbra in

15^j studying at the University of Evora and later taught

philosophy at Coimbra,

He has been called the



In addition, he shares the fame of the

Conimbricenses" as it was during his office as provincial,

and through his initiative, that this work was undertaken by

the Jesuit professors at Coimbra.

Death takes him in 1597.^


The reason for his Importance for an understanding

of Suarez in this question, is the fact that Suarez himself
"It is seen that Fonseca in ^ Metaph., cap. 2, q.4 does not actually dissent from this opinion (nihil in re dissentire ab hac sententia) as we shall make clear, although he professes to follow the second verbally," (qT)

In this place cited by Suarez, Fonseca has a very extended

treatment of the distinction between essence and



citing three positions as Suarez does, and like Suarez he







mentions John of Jandun and Augustlnus Niphus, only to prescind from their nuance.
found in Suarez,

He even contains many of the references

two of the incorrect ones in Suarez are

found in Fonseca.^

Even the three positions, as described

in Ponseca, read very much like Suarez' rendition:

"Some say that existence in no way (nullo pacto) is distinguished from essence even though existentia is distinguished from existens and also essentia from esse and ens by a grammatical distinction alone, as abstract from concrete and verbal nouns from verbs and participles, which is a distinction found not in the things signified but in the manner of signifying and conceiving (sed in modo significsuidi et concipiendi). existentia auid ' essentia , as they say, signify For, the nature alone of any thing, but ' existere emd esse signify habere essentlam ', and finally, ' existens * and 'ens', if taicen as participles, signify habere essentieun in present time, but if they are talcen as nouns they signify habens essentiam absolutely, i.e. without the consignificatlon (sine adsignificatione) of present time . " (897
' ' ' ' *















The proponents of this position are the men we have Just

treated, Durandus, Gabriel Biel, Hervaeus Natalis and Alexander

Achillinus, the first three of whom are explicitly referred to

by Fonseca.

But unlike Suarez, he rejects this position.

His renditions of the second and third position

afford a fruitful comparison with Suarez' presentation:

"Some think that existence, although it is not really distinguished from essence in God (etsi in Deo non distinguitur ab essentia distinctione ulla inventa in rebus), nonetheless, it is distinguished from essence with a real distinction in the case of creatures, as t^x one thing from another thing (ut rem unam ab alia re)."^^'

"Others say that created existence is truly (quidem) distinguished in some way from essence to such a degree












^Q Si




that it is a real distinction (atque adeo distinct lone inventa in ipsis rebus) but still not as one thing from another thing (sed tainen non ut rem unam a re alia)." v 91)

His treatment of this third position, and the one

wherein Suarez has said Fonseca does not actually dissent

from the distinction of reason, though he professes to follow
the nK)dal distinction or distinction

ex natura rei ", opens

with these interesting words:

"At last (demum) the third position, which since it is the mean between the other two, so it is seen to attain the truth, is strongly that of the Scholastic Realists (est fenae Realium Scholasticorum) and thus (atque adeo) of certain recent Thomists. Soto, in 2 Physics q.2 and in h Sent. d.lO quaest. 2,(92) following Franclscus Victoria, Quodlib,9 and 10, who seem to have invited us to draw even St. Thomas into the same position (qui nobis videntur invitum etlam Divum Thomam in eandem sent ent lam trahere). But not all explain it in the same way," (93)

Fonseca then proceeds to explain and then refute

the position of Henry of Ghent,

Thus Fonseca, like Suarez,


Includes Henry in that camp where essence and

esse" really

differ but not as


duae res"

Next, he describes and refutes

a position that the existence of the creature adds nothing to

its essence except this only,

that it is outside its


Lastly, he exposes and criticizes the exponents of

the formal distinction, while noting also that some followers

of Scotus say that essence and existence are not formally

In regard to a positive stand on this third position,

Fonseca discloses the following, in his third proof of the





truth of this position:

"Third conclusion. The existence of creatures is distinguished from their essences ex natura rei yet not formally, (formal iter) but as its ultimate intrinsic mode . " w^ /

Thus Fonseca, Just as Suarez told us, is very

definitely holding to the modal distinction but whether it is
only verbally has to be seen.


Fonseca immediately explains

what he means by an intrinsic mode:

"But I call an intrinsic mode that which belongs to a thing by no other reality or entity, such as are the modes by which the highest genera are mutually distinguished and the mode by which the intensity of the three grades are distinguished from whiteness to which the intensity belongs. Wherefore, the qualities which are called the modes of substance, such as habitus ', figures and the like, for this reason are not intrinsic modes of substance, because they belong to substsmces by an entity other than the entity of substance, at least (nempe) by the entity of quality which is a true being (ens), distinct from the entity of substance. But this conclusion is that of Alexander of Alexandria' 95) in the seventh book of this work which he confesses to have received from others (quam fatetur se ab aliis accepisse), and afterwards, Scotus and many others have followed the same conclusion in text 22. See the ^. , addition of Scotus to his first question of Quodlibet I."v9i3)

This, in some ways. Is reminiscent of Suarez'

insistance that essence is intrinsically constituted in the

order of real, actual being by


esse " (cf, c).

And the fact

that Fonseca also refers to Alexander of Alexandria in the


text mentioned by Suarez, and wherein Suarez says that

Alexander expressly holds his position (i.e. the distinction

of reason) and has explained it the best of all (Ita tenult

expresse et optime declaravit Alexander Alensis 7 Metaph. ad





texttira 22)^

lends credence to Suarez* claim that Fonseca holds

For, as we have seen, we

the modal distinction only verbally.

found nothing of a distinction


ex natura rei" between essence



esse ", nor anything of


esse" as an intrinsic mode in

that text of Alexander.

The only text of Alexander which


could afford a basis for Fonseca'

interpretation is one we

have already cited, wherein Alexander, comparing the whole

nature of a thing (tota natura rei) as it is in a potential

state (sub natura potentlali), and then as it is in act, makes

this qualification:

"But this * ens non prohibitum (i.e. esse possibile) and ' esse in actu ' are not two beings but one and the same thing, first under one mode amd then under another, which neverhteless, one and another mode is not one and another thing (non sunt duo entia, sed unum et idem, sub alio et alio inodo qt'-i tamen alius et alius modus non est alia et alia res)." (97)

But note that there is no explicit mention of this mode being

intrinsic to the essence and formally constituting it in the

order of ve&l actual fceing.

However, before stating what

seems to have taken place in Fonseca' s reading of this text

of Alexander, let us listen to Fonseca as he sets about to

prove the conclusion set dowii in the beginning.

In order to prove the first part of that conclusion,

Fonseca makes use of the arguments he has catalogued in behalf of the real distinction, a practice alluded to by Suarez

with respect to the proponents of the modal distinction.





"sflao" Firm








"The first part of this conclusion (exlstentia creaturarura distlnguitur ab lllarura essentia ex natura rel) can be proved by the argijments for the second position (the real distinction as between two res * ), reduced to their true sense. For, these arguments conclude only that the existence of creatures Is distinguished frHjm their essence when every operation of the Intellect has been excluded, as will be clear from their solution. But this Is to be distinguished * ex natura rel * . The second part of the conclusion (non tamen f ormaliter) Is proved from the end of the above section." (98)

And It is in his proof of the third part of his

initial conclusion, viz. that the existence of crertures is

distinguished from their essence


ex natura rel " as the

ultimate intrinsic mode of that essence, that Fonseca has

something of interest:
"The third part of the conclusion is proved, because whatever is distinguished from something ex natura rel and not really (et non realiter), is either distinguished from it by reason of some reality, as man Is distinguished from animal by the addition of a difference, or it Is distinguished from it by reason of an intrinsic mode, as whiteness of a certain intensity is distinguished from vrtilteness, absolutely taken, by the addition of a detennination, or it is distinguished from it by reason of both (i.e. by some reality and by an intrinsic mode), whence, (quo pacto) similitude is distinguished from the whiteness in which it is groimded (fundatur), for it has not only a diverse reality or entity, but also a diverse mode of being since it belongs to amother predicament (i.e. ad aliquid). But the existence of creatures is distinguished from their essence ex natura rel and not really (nee realiter) as has been shown, and especially (insuper), it is not formally any reality or entity as may be formally distinguished from essence. Hence, it remains that it be distinguished from essence as an intrinsic mode of the latter. But that it be distinguished as the ultimate mode, is clear from this because whatever among creatures is conceived under any entity or mode of entity which is not actual existence, still in the order of some nature It can be conceived under actual existence (adhuc alterius naturae ordlne concipl potest
' * '




sub actuall existentia). Read St. Thom. In tractatu And this is the reason why the de formls q.3 art, theologians (among whom are St. Thomas, I S.Th, a. a. 4, Scotus, 2 Sent. d.3 Aegidius, quodl. I q.7) and the philosophers say that existence is the ultimate actuality of every form. I would rather say more generally, of every entity, because every entity has its own existence, as the entity of prime matter, as will be clear in the eighth book. But these, in part, speak more precisely of existence in that axiom and in part they are of the number of those who think every existence proceeds from form." (99)
' '

For all his twists and turns, Ponseca, in saying

that existence is

intrinsic mode of essence, is merely

asserting that existence expresses a certain intensity of

essence, as distinguished from essence, absolutely taken.

This seems to be the only conclusion to be drawn on the basis

of his remarks to the effect that


esse" is distinguished

from essence as its intrinsic mode and his example of how

something is distinct
of an intrinsic mode.


ex natura rei " from another by reason

For Ponseca, in that example, says that


whiteness of a certain intensity is distinguished

ex natura

rei" from whiteness, absolutely taken, by the addition of a


Thus, for Ponseca, the essence of the


creature or the created essence is distinguished

ex natura

rei" from absolute essence by the very fact that it is a

created essence, i.e. a certain grade of essence.

It would

seem then that in this he is faithful to the position of

Alexander of Alexandria


created essence is essence here

and now existing and essence, absolutely considered, is essence

there, in the mind of God.

Alexander has used the word










'f fl






modus " to characterize each of these states of essence and


it is this whence Fonseca derives his doctrine of

esse" as

an intrinsic mode and also very likely from the


additio " of

Duns Scotus to his first


Quodlibet" , first question, to which

Fonseca has referred his reader:

"Addition: To the second argument it can be said that essence and its existence in the case of creatures are related as quiddity and mode and for this reason they "(100) are distinguished

Fonseca is very apt to confuse his reader by his

insistance that

esse" is distinguished


ex natura rei " from

essence as an intrinsic mode of the latter, but when one

realizes that he masuis to give absolutely no reality, or entity

esse " it is to be concluded that, for him to say that



is an intrinsic mode of essence, is a roxmd about way of say-

ing that it is essence determined to a definite grade, i.e. it

is now a created essence.

Thus, he is faithful to Alexander

and the distinction of reason in the final analysis, and

Suarez* claim that Fonseca holds the modal distinction only

verbally seems very Just.

tailed yardstick and index

Moreover we now have a rather devriiereby

we can gauge Suarez* own

final position, for he has told us himself that Fonseca

actually holds his position

the distinction of reason.


shall soon have occasion to compare the two when we treat

Suarez position in its fullness, bolstered by all the

principles supporting it.



Pinally, In addition to these seventeen men, Suarez

alleges the support of all those Theologians who think that

the humanity has not been able to be assumed by the Word with-

out a proper existence, since that position cannot be correctly foxonded except in the identity of the essence and the

existence of a created nature.^



Critical Summary
In the men cited on behalf of the distinction of

reason between essence and existence we have witnessed a

unanimity with respect to the conclusion but a diversity with

respect to its formulation.
That is, we have seen some main-

tain the distinction of reason to be of the grammatical variety,

others have maintained it to be that between the individual,

signified by existence, and the specific nature, signified by

essence, still others understand it to be that between the

abstract and the concrete and finally some hold essence to be

distinguished from existence as its intrinsic mode.


addition, Suarez has cited men of the Aristotelian tradition,

the Scotistic tradition and the Nominalistic tradition.

view of this the pressing question is, though Suarez agrees with the conclusion of these men and their various traditions,
does he agi^e with the formulation of each or is his

formulation something else again?

We shall see that Suarez








al n^

TTQ f.v




is highly critical of many of these formulations.


it remains to be seen whether or not Suarez approves of the

constant recurring position that


esse " or


exist entia "

signifies essence as actual.

It would seem difficult for him

to refuse it, since it is part and parcel of almost every

formulation, and if he cannot refuse it, it is a foregone

conclusion that there must then be only a distinction of

reason between the actual essence and actual existence.

addition, such a position has the virtue of being precisely

the exact antithesis of the Avicennism doctrine of essence

which Suarez would seem to be opposing.

doctrine of an

For, versus that

esse essentiae" indifferent to existence as

to non-existence, Suarez would be maintaining a doctrine of

essence which is wholly actual, that is a doctrine wherein

existence or actual


esse" is so intrinsic to the actual

essence and penetrates it to such a degree that it is identical

to that essence.

Versus the doctrine of a necessary, eternal,

immutable essence, impervious to existence, Suarez then would

be maintaining a doctrine of a radically contingent essence,

impervious to every distinction except a logical one.

In what

sense this is an answer to Avicenna and his followers, will

have to be seen.

Lastly, let me submit that it would seem

that the weighty tradition of these men, cited by Suarez on his own behalf, on what it means to be really distinct, as

res ", counts for more with Suarez than any specter like

Giles of Rome.



d.^ftiv Ar.rTQSP.a

-. ' v."Arrjf^










Now that we have seen a good portion of the his-

tory behind the three traditions on the distinction between

essence and existence mentioned by Suarez, there still remains

the major part of our investigation

the principles vmder-

lying his option for the distinction of reason between actual

essence and actual existence in relation to these traditions.

And Just as Suarez had placed his reader back in

the 13th century in his historical introduction to the problem
of the distinction between essence and

esse ", so v/ith the

statement of his first principle his reader again finds himself back in the 13th century, but this time embroiled in the

problem of the divine ideas.


And since this is by no means

linexplored territory by reason of this long tradition, but

a very familiar terrain and one scarred by many battles, a

little tactical reconnaissance would seem to be the order of
the day. Indeed, a history of battles long since ended, and



_1 3'7_

especially of the battleground and its appixsaches which have

seen previous successes and failures come and go, has been

knovm to be an invaluable aid for plotting: the success and

failure of an imminent straggle.

That is, granting the terrain

and the strength of the foe, if Suarez comes armed to the fray

with weapons and strategy which history has shown to result in a particular outcome, nc matter

the genius or dexterity

of their user, then Suarez, too, his genius notwithstanding,

must succujnb to that conclusion.

The problem of the divine ideas in mediaeval phil-

osophy goes back as far as John Scotus Erigena, but for our
immediate purposes we need only go back to Henry of Ghent wherein he parts company with the tradition from St. Augustine to
St, Tho.n-^s which identifies the divine Ideas with the very

substance of God, by reason of his doctrine of the



essentiae " of possible essence in the mind of God


ideas as well, for Henry, but this time really distinct



substance of God, but by no meema outside of Him.


And it is to Aviceiina that

owes this latter doctrine, for,

in a very pregnant text for the as yet unborn adherents of

this doctrine, after noting the traditional doctrine of the

divine ideas as relations of imitability in the divine


the uaual way the theologians refer to the divine

ideas, Henry notes another way of treating the divine


in so far as the essences of things are called ideas.




This is the area of the problem v;here Avlcenna holds sway in

the eyes of Henry of Ghent for, only such a doctrine as that
of Avicenna's

esse essentiae " preserves the autonomy and in'

dependence which each essence possesses in itself.^

It is

this real entity possessed by the essences of creatures as

divine ideas in the intellect of God which has caused some to

maintain that Henr:/

holds that the essences of creatures are

something outside of God from eternity, prior to any act of

the divine will or intellect. (^^
Indeed, the similarity of

the position of Duns Scotus on the divine ideas, as possessing



esse Intelligibile ", a type of entity roidway between an

existent reality and a being of reason, to this position of

Henry of Ghent is such that it remains

in the Scotist school, ^^' of Alnwick.^


une pomme de discorde"

Witness the critique of William

To be sure, because of this similarity, Scotus

will incur some of the criticisms from the Thomists, Cajetan

and Banez for example, which are not unlike those which he
himself launches against Henry of Ghent.
Further^ from what

we have seen, the Thomists themselves, beginning with Capreolus,

maintain a doctrine of the divine ideas which derives from

Henry of Ghent, as we have seen.
That is, the pi?oblem of the

divine ideas is discussed by a man like Capreolus pi^cisely

in terms of the essences of creatures as known by God, the

very way in which the formulation of the problem appears in

Henry of Ghent and Duns Scotus under the influence of Avicenna,






bc^ '"




"**ti* in^ii









^ in^eljC8










and not according to the traditional formulation from St.

Augustine to St. Thomas.

Suarez himself formulates this same

problem after the fashion of Henry of Ghent, Duns Scotus and

even Capreolus, as we shall see, and coming armed to the fray
in such a marjier can the outcome be verv different from that

of his doctrinal predecessors?

This is the background against

which Suarez* first principle finds its frame of reference,

for we must see him as caught up in this complex doctrinal

tradition on the divine ideas begotten of Avicenna, Henry of

Ghent and Duns Scotus, a doctrinal tradition

sees Duns

Scotus criticize Henry of Ghent, Capreolus seemingly avow the

doctrine of Henry of Ghent, Gajetan and Banez criticize Duns

Scotus and finally, it sees Hervaeus Natalis and Soncinas take

Henry of Ghent to task, in their turn and Vasquez go to the

defense of Henry of Ghent versus Scotus and to the defense of
Scotus versus the Thomists.
does battle.
Let us watch as Suarez himself


Formulation and Defense of the First Principle

It is extremely interesting to see where Suarez be-


For, his first step in explicating his principles bevriiere

gins in the divine intellect, the very place

we saw the

Thomists, with the exception of Giles of Rome, terminate their

discussion of the distinction of essence and "esse" in finite









> VJi-'


A V^

J-tMliA V











^ J c-il.


areat^C beings.
as we have noted.

It is the old problem or the divine ideas,

But even while laying dovm his ovm first

principle, and harking to the men cited in behalf of the

third position and to their remarks about essence as possible,

Siiarez has his eyes on the Thoraists, especisilly Capreolus, who

figures largely in this section.

His first principle is this:

"At the outset it must be established that the essence of the creature or the creature of itself, and before it comes from the hand of God, has no real, true esse in itself. And in this sense, when ' esse existentiae ' is prescinded, it must be established that essence is not some thing (rera aliquam) but is absolutely nothing. This principle is not only true but also certain according to faith." v5

This is manifestly a discussion of essence as

possible''-'' and,

lest anyone doubt that this principle is

concerned with the problem of the divine ideas, we need only

note that Suarez' next remark, following the above-cited
text, refers to Thomas of Walden's critique of Wycliff for

saying that creatures have from eternity some real



distinct from the


esse " of God.^^'

In addition to the dis-

pute between Wycliff and Thomas of Walden, it is mentioned

that the Thomists take Scotus seriously to task for having

asserted that creatures have a certain eternal

is their


esse " which

esse dimlnutum", the very entity Scotus accords to

^ '

the divine ideas.

Scotus also characterizes this "esse"


as objective, or the

esse" of an essence in a state of being

known (scilicet esse objectlvum seu essentiae in esse cognito).



i ax



















/: .1


'1-^ f




)" ileil;f






The Thoralsts Suarez has first in mind is Cajetan whom he

cites, but it is very likely he also has reference to Banez,

as well as others. of Scotus to be an of God.*"^'


These men interpret this


esse cognittun"

esse ", really distinct from the


That is to say, that Scotus seems to be here

interpreted in terms of the very old doctrine of the creation

of the divine ideas. (^)

Suarez* reaction is interesting.
We find him in

agreement with these Thomlsts in that he considers their

refutation just, in holding this position to be absolutely

false and contrary to the principles of faith.
However, he

makes it quite clear that they are unjust in their attribution

of this doctrine to Duns Scotus. Indeed, it is Suarez' con-

tention that Scotus held no such doctrine and that all this

display of charge and counter-charge is a



dissensio in modo

In fact, it cam be said that Scotus agrees

with this first principle of Suarez, in that Scotus holds

that the essences of creatures, although known by God from
eternity, are nothing and have no true real

esse" before they

receive it from the


efficiency of God,

Thus, creatures

as known by God possess some "esse" smd yet are absolutely

nothing in the sense of possessing no real actual existence,

neither in God nor outside



But, as we shall see,

the bone of contention still remains

this "esse" creatures

have in the mind of God.




3i.-'/^0wUi; A?J.U





By way of corroboration of his stand with respect

to Scotus, we find Suarez alluding to the fact that Scotus,

far from holding such a doctrine, is himself a critic of such

a position.
For, it is Suarez' imderstanding that Scotus takes

Henry of Ghent to task for affirming that the essences of

things, of themselves, have a certain

esse essentiae " which

he calls a real



eternal, unproduced, and which belongs


to creatures independently of God.^

It is Just this text

which seems to have led some of the historians of Henry of

Ghent to Interpret him as subordinating in some way God to
the divine ideas. '''
For, indeed, this

esse" is said to be

supposed in them not only prior to the efficiency of God, but

also prior to the knowledge of God, in order that, by reason

of this, they can be objects of that divine knowledge which the theologlsms call, simple intelligence.'^'
At this point Suarez very cleverly notes that Scotus
is not alone in his opposition to Henry of Ghent, for, the

Thomists also attack him in the persons of Hervaeus Natalis

and Paulus Barbus Soncinas and some more recent comraentators

on St. Thomas.'-^"'

This, then, would seem to be Suarez* way

of blunting the criticisms which Cajetan, Banez and others

make against Scotus, as well as his way of telling the Thomists

to clean up their own school before criticizing others.


in this regard, Suarez has an ace up his sleeve, one we have

already seen.

As if to silence, once and for all, these









f <i7**fc\r





^w S'l..



Thomist objectors of Henry as well as Scotus, Suarez notes

the similarity of the thought and manner of speaking of Capreolus


Princeps Thomistarum "

to that of the much

assailed Henry of Ghent,

It is a case where Suarez is

equivalently saying that it is a case of the pot calling the

kettle black, for, the Thomist school, at least in the person
of Capreolus, is not free of the influence of Henry of Ghent

on this pi^cise problem.

We have already noted that influence

For, in answer to a question

in our treatment of Capreolus.

of Aureolus asking whether, when a thing is created, that

which was altogether nothing comes to be,

that that which was nothing in respect to
is said to come to be.

^ "


Capreolus says

esse existentiae "

Sugirez even cites a text of Capreolus

contrasting the two kinds of nothing, the nothing of

existence and the nothing of essence:
"But essence in the state of esse essentiae was beyond that nothingness which is the lack of actual existence, and this essence, absolutely considered as a nature or quiddity, is able to be withdravm from the nothingness of existence and from the somethingness of existence (est substraliibllis nihileitati existentiae et aliquidditati existentiae), that is, from this esse (i.e. ' esse essentiae ') or from the non-esse of actual existence . And this essence in itself is always something in the order of essences, both in 'esse
' '




Thus, we have the "Prince of Thomlsts", citing with favor, the doctrine of Heni^ of Ghent, himself the target of Tliomist


What better way to embarrass the Thomists who







critlclze Duns Scotus?

And notice that this text of Capreolus

seems to be the very doctrine Suarez' first pirlnciple aims to

For, Capreolus, as Henry of Ghent before him, endows

the essence of a creature prior to its creation with an actiial

entity, i.e. an

esse essentiae ", which is beyond the nothing-

ness which is the lack of actual existence, and yet is not a

real, actual existence.

In short, the essence of a creature

to be has


esse " but not existence.'^'

This sundering of
Further, we

knowledge from existential being is Imjxjrtant.

are here witnessing the confluence of the three massive

metaphysical problems alluded to previously

the problem

of creation, which has lurked in the background of the three

traditions we discussed, the problem of the divine ideas and,

lest we forget, the problem of the distinction bet\*een essence

and existence.
The comments of Suarez on his citation ai^ interesting.

For, he realizes that Capreolus In so expressing himself


is far from saying that this

esse essentiae"


some true

thing apart from any causality of God and distinct from Him,
as existing absolutely outside of nothing, as we have seen

Capreolus himself state, previously.^


Siiarez also knows

this text and is quick to remark that Capreolus is not holding

this heretical position. For, he notes that, for Capreolus, this


esse essentiae" in regard to the creature merely expresses

a certain aptitude, or rather non- repugnance, to be produced




IBl 1
- .



X9 a





by God.

And in this feature^ the essences of creatures are

distinguished from fictitious and impossible things like


Accordingly, It is in this sense that creatures are

said to have real essences even though they are non-existent.

However, these creatures ar not said to have real essences
in act but potentially (potestate).
Yet, it is not by a

power or potency intrinsic to themselves.

Rather, creatures

are said to have real essences extrinsically. I.e. in relation

to the potency or pov;er of the Creator.

Thus, they Iiave real

essences not in themselves but in their cause, either material

cause, as a generable thing is said to be in the potency of

prime matter, or efficient cause, as the whole creatable being

(ens creablle) is contained in the power of God.
it is of this possible essence of the

In brief,

ens creablle" that


Suarez is now giving a general treatment.^

Suarez r-e-emphasizes his point by remarking that

such an essence is called real, not

reason of a pix)per and

true reality which it has in act in itself, but because it

can become real, by receiving true entity from its cause.

This possibility of such an essence affirms a non- repugnance
to being created.

But in regard to its extrinsic cause it

affirms the power (virtutem) to effect that essence.

ingly, the


esse" which is affirmed of the essence before


effection or divine creation, i.e.

an objective potential

esse essentlae ", is only

esse " (esse potentiale objectivum), or









nl iua























It Is by way of


extrinsic denomination from the power

(potentia) of God and non- repugnance on the part of the

creatable essence.'"'

Just how much of this is Capreolus

It is

and how much Suarez is not immediately evident.

certainly true to say that Capreolus is not holding any heretical position.
It seems that Sxiarez is glossing Capreolus'

statements in such a way that he separates him from Henry of

Ghent by interpreting him in the sense of Duns Scotus' doctrine.
For, notice that Capreolus used

esse intelligibile " to

characterize the


esse" which the essences of creatures have

in the mind of God, an expression which can easily be accepted in Scotistic frame work.
Thus, S\iarez would then be in-

terpreting Capreolus to hold that this object known by the

intellect of God possesses no

esse" proper to a known object,

not as known, but as object, which would chai^acterize the

doctrine of Henry of Ghent.'


That is, the


esse essentiae "

of Capreolus is glossed in such a way that it has no reality

in itself but only by an extrinsic denomination, i.e. creatures in God, prior to creation, are real essences in potency or
potentially, not by an intrinsic potency, mind you, but by

relation to the potency or power of the Creator.

This viould

seem to be in direct opposition to Henry of Ghent, for whom

the essences of creatures in such a state have some reality
in themselves, in God, by reason of a potency intrinsic to

Suarez thus draws the fangs of Henry in a fashion













o jnt^ri-i


that calls Scotus to mind.^ ^'

Nor does he seem to be untrue


to Capreolus himself In the final atnalysls.^

But the im-

portant point is that, even for Suarez, creatures have an

"esse" in

not a real actual



the lack of which

enables him to say that the creature is absolutely nothing

there, but a possible


in relation to which Suarez can

say they are real.

Just critic

he is, Suarez makes it clear that

no Catholic Doctor could ever think that the essence of the

creature, of itself and apart from the free efficiency of God,
is some true thing, possessing some true, real

esse" in the

sense of actual existence, distinct from the


esse " of God and

that stands for Henry of Ghent too.

Capreolus ultimately

acknowledges the same thing in Suarez* eyes, in quoting a text

of St. Thomas,
Indeed, it is the very text within whose con-

text we saw Capreolus affirm the influence of Henry of Ghent and the doctrine of the exemplary causality of and the efficient causality of


esse essentiae"

esse exi stent iae "


Suarez merely cites the text of St. Thomas:

"Prom the vevj fact that esse is attributed to the quiddity, not only the esse ' but also the quiddity is said to be created because, prior to existing, the quiddity is nothing, except perhaps in the intellect of the creator where it is not a. creature but the creative (creatrix) essence." (27)


The justification for including Capreolus within

the pale of Catholic Doctors and for maintaining no Catholic




Doctor would hold such an heretical and


contra fldem" position,

can be bolstered by arguments from the principles of faith, for

God alone is the only being necessary in itself.

Without Him

nothing is created, for without His effection nothing is.

other words, Qod alone has some real


esse" in Himself which

can be further bolstered by reference to the Fathers.

it is


de fide " certain that God has not made created essence

from eternity, for He has made them, neither of necessity,

since it is

de fide " that God causes nothing necessarily,

absolutely speaking (necessario simpliciter), nor of free will,

for it is thus

de fide" that He had begun to operate in time.

Finally, in addition, it is evident that if the essences of

things were created from all eternity, they would have been

existent from then on, since every effection is terminated' ^'

at existence.

This is confirmed, because otherwise, God

could euinihilate nothing, since something of the thing would

always remain, i.e. essence.
Likewise, God would not have

created all things



ex nihilo" but would have shifted it from


esse" to another

esse "

This compares with Scotus

critique of Henry of Ghent. ^^^'

Thus, at this point, in view of what has been said,

Suarez can say that the ansv;er of Capreolus following the

thought of others (ex sententia aliorura) viz. Henry of Ghent,

Godfrey of Fontaine and Bemaixi of Gannaco, mentioned above,

to the effect that God has created all things from the nothing





of existence but not from the nothing of essence, is useless

and in no way helps matters.

For, what has no existence is

simply and utterly nothing, or not.

If such is not the case,

then God has not created all things absolutely and sin^jly

ex nihilo"

nor has He produced all beings or all that which

Consequently, He has created no

is truly something real.

being strictly speaking, but rather. He has produced one from

another, as from a real potency, receptive and xinpj^oduced

That is. He has produced existence or the existing thing from

the real essence, which is said to be the potency receptive

of that



and unproduced.

Whence, it further happens

that the creature can, so to speak, pride itself (quasi

gloriari), because it has something of itself which it does

not liave from God.
It is Just such doctrines as these, and

ones like them which are


contra fldem" and against natural


And this brings him back

Capreolus, for Suarez

makes it clear that if anyone acknowledges that that which

has no existence (nihil existent lae) is simply and utterly

it is concluded that the distinction between the

nothing of essence (nihil essentiae) and the nothing of

existence (nihil existent iae) is trivial and groundless.

the first place, this is so because what is simply and utterly

nothing cannot be t37uly and really something in any order

(in allqua ratione) of true being, and secondly, because when

the existence and efficiency of the first cause are removed.



f- f




utterly nothing remains In the effect.

essence can remain under

Consequently, no


true, real

esse " distinct fixDm

esse" of the Creator.


But notice what is simply and

utterly nothing with respect to real actual existence, which

is at stake here, can have a possible

esse ", as we shall see.

Suarez makes a final presentation of his position

in this matter and makes a direct application of it to the

problem of the distinction of essence and


esse" which is apt

to be forgotten in all this talk of the divine ideas.


purposes of the argument his reader is asked to grant that

the essence, created and existent, is an entity distinct "ex

natura rel "^-^

from existence


separable from it.


addition, his reader is asked to conceive that entity of

essence which is vmder existence, by mentally prescinding one

from the other, as, for example, the humanity of Christ, if

that be an entity of essence only.

With these points


it can be asserted that, accordingly, no Catholic can think

that that reality of the essence of humanity (illam rem

essentiae humanitatis), according to that whole which is conceived in it after existence has been prescinded, has that

entity in act fiom eternity and only a union to the Word was
lacking to it, and to every other existence.
Otherwise, it

would be granted an eternal and uncreated entity outside of


For this reason, Suarez makes it quite clear that

it must be acknowledged of necessity, that when the entity of

OU 61 i&ttH




9 v.





j4-i.xjJXi> 'x.JiJi: 4:5















o^ noXau













existence, which is communicated to the creature by an

efficient cause, has been removed, the entity of essence is

absolutely nothing.
he began.

Thus Suarez closes on the note with which

Before treating the objections which Suarez quotes

against his first principle and his answers to them, it will
be well to assess, in summary fashion, the significance of

his stand in this instance.

the last paragraph attests.

His position is briefly this, as He regards the real distinction

between actual essence and actual existence in such a way as

to think that the created essence is a distinct entity apart

from actual existence, so much so that it can be separated from existence and still be in some way.
We have seen the

weight of tradition behind such an interpretation in the men

cited in behalf of the third position on the problem


proponents of the distinction of reason.

Further, we have

seen its basis in the men of the first two positions.

if this is what it means for actual essence and existence to

be really distinct, Suarez can only see that such a doctrine

comes dangerously close to the heretical position of conferring

on essence an eternal and tmcreated entity outside of God and

completely Independent of His causality.

Yet Suarez agrees

that Capreolus holds no such position, nor does Henry of Ghent,

as we have seen, nor could any Catholic Doctor maintain it,

and for that reason he states that the distinction between"t<fi!'f









nihll essentlae" and


nihil existent lae " Is worthless and

subject to much misunderstanding ; the doctrine of creation

being but one case in point.

Indeed, the objections noted

by Suarez on this score very closely resemble those posed by

Duns Scotus to Henry of Ghent.

This is sufficient grounds

for Suarez to reject the real distinction as so formulated, and consequently, he lays dovm as his first principle the

opposite of


he talces to be the keystone of the real


the irreducible reality which essences have

Thus, "in order to avoid the erection

apart from existence.




into an accident, one will have to Identify


with essence. "^^'''

strange thing

And in this regard we witness a very

Suarez Interpreting Capreolus in such a way

that they both agree that creatures have real essences in the

mind of God prior to their real existence.

That is they

have real essences in potency and by extrinsic denomination,

possessing no real existence in themselves except the real

existence of God Himself.
Thus, in agreement with respect

to the essences of creatures in the mind of God, Suarez can always accuse the Thomists, in the person of Capreolus, with

being untrue to the data of the problem of the distinction

of essence and existence and with concluding beyond the

evidence to a real distinction.

Suarez would seem to apply

to Capreolus the same teclinlque Scotus uses on Hen:.^ of Ghent who, with his doctrine of "esse essentlae" simdered the bond





S.a^n o&'i 1










which goes from knowledge to existential being, directing

loiowledge to a diminished being less than existential.


Suai^z Just as Scotus, unites this bond by maintaining that

God knows the essential as well as the existential being of

his creatures.

For Suarez, as for Scotus, essence and


existence are inseparable.


God knows a possible

essence with its possible existence, and an actual essence

with its actual existence. ^^'

clear as we pixsceed.

This will become even more

The important point is that both Suarez

and Capreolus seem to agree on essence but not on existence.

All this is another way of saying that Suarez does not hold

the position, so prominent in the proponents of the first

Thomistlc argiiment cited by him, that the essence of a

creature does not come to be by an efficient cause.


Suarez champions the cause of the created essence, created by

God as an efficient oause.

of the necessary

Thus, he counters the sundering

the essential, and the contingent


existential effected by Henri^ of Ghent and Capreolus after

him, by an intrinsically contingent essence which is the direct

antithesis of the Avicennian essence in any shape or form.

But, though stressing, and quite rightly, the efficient

causality of the essences of creatures and hence, its

contingency, in this section he does not seem to have plTorabed
to the metaphysical root of that contingency, for, contingency
is explained by something extrinsic to the created essence.

.Ws^r;c9SrTl ^te



c ow ca 'TBSlo




l.e. its efficient cause.

Thus, Sua3?e2 critique does not

seem to be orientated to the metaphysical demands of an


actus essendi"

So, having begun his critique of the Thoraist

position in the order of essence, Suarez fails to transcend

that order. (38)
Indeed, versus the realism of essence begotten of

Avicenna and adopted by Henry of Ghent and Duns Scotus, Suarez

is offering us another realism in the order of essence, to be

sure, but such a realism that denies that very order of

essence within being.

This is the only conclusion which does

Justice to Suarez' reaction in this section to any order of

essence within being, possessed of its own real existence, the

very order of essence which is found in the Thoraists discussed,

as well as in the proponents of the modal distinction.


with what care Suarez shields the essences of possible creatures

in the mind of God from any real existence in their own right.
'Hieir only i^al existence is that of the Creator.

Let us

leave in abeyance the question as to whether or not Suarez is

suppressing the divine ideas out of deep fear of them.


nonetheless, having formulated the problem of the divine ideas

in terms of the essences of creatures, it seems that Suaj^z

must deny it for the disintegration it visits on the unity of

a singular being in the form of a real distinction between

actual essence and actioal existence.

To be








posslble creatures possess no real existence In themselves in

the divine mind they are nonetheless there, standing stolid

before the face of God Himself and notice that any fonnal

determination or characterization of that entity, as




real ",


known " can only come about by an extrinsic

Indeed, is this not to


the essences of

xincreated creatures impervious even to the gaze of the divine

intellect itself in order to preserve the indistinguishable

unity of an individual existent?

Is this not a solution to

the problem of the realism of essence by way of a destruction

of any order of essence within being?

Further, is not this

entity which creatures have in the divine intellect a stark

and staring singular entity, radically indeterminate?

How else

explain why Suarez insists that any determination of such an

entity is only by way of extrinsic denomination?

If this is

then we are faced with a reaction against the realism of

essence by way of a "realism of non-being" or a "realism of

the unintelligible and indetenninate" in the order of essence

itself or "in the line of intelligibility itself.".

is so, whether we like it or not we are living in the

If this

metaphysical world that


built. ^^^'

And this would

more than just explain Suarez' insistance on the efficient

causality of essence which results in a radically contingent

essence, yet whose very contingency is even by way of an

extrinsic denomination from its efficient cause.


*^.:fn f










Objection and Response

Let us now look to the objections which Suarez cites

against his stand and his answers to them for whatever light

they may bring to bear on our problem. very important.

We shall find them

Suarez considers these objections against

his thesis of little weight (quae parvi raomenti sunt) but for
the benefit of his readers he cites them

five in number.

Our procedure will be to cite the objection first and discuss


answer thereafter.


First Objection

The first objection reads as follows:

"First, that the essence of the creature, before it exists, terminates the knowledge of God. But in order to terminate, it requires some * esse ."(^Q)

With this objection we are again faced with the same problem alluded to at the outset of this part and S\iarez is
cognizant of this fact at the very outset of his answer.

he remarks that this is the old theological question as to

whether or not the knowledge of


with respect to possible

esse" in creatures in order Indeed, is this

creatures posits or supposes some

that they can be known even as possibles.

not the problem of the divine ideas begotten of Avicenna?

Suarez even cites the combatants to this dispute, naming

Henry of Ghent, Duns Scotus, Capreolus and Cajetan and sends

his reader to the very section of his

Metaphysical Disputations "

au ^dJ











rtn rr''v









which detains us at present.


For the purposes of his

answer Suarez abstracts from the arijuments of these Theologians

treated in his commentar:/' on the



Having prefaced these


he concsdes that the

essence of a creature so teminates the divine knowledge as

it is the secondary object of that In-iowledge,

a torm that is
It means that

found in Henri" o- Ghent and Dune Scotus.^


God first Ijiows Hlnujelf,

aiid Hiitiself

or the Divine Essence is

the primary object of the divine knowledge, and in that same

act. God's r-jiowledge attains another term, all possible



Now the problem is whether some


esse" is

supposed in creatures as secondary objects of God's knowledge

in order that God so know them.

This is met by a distinction

to the effect that essence as a secondary object of God's

knowledge is not a moving object (objectinii raovens) in the

sense of a really existent thing which moves or causes the

divine intellect to act, as for example the divine being

itself, as the



of Kenr;/ of Ghent,


but it is a terminating object only.

Such an object as this


requires no real


esse" in act since

terminare" is neither

something in Itself nor is it something by itself (quia


neque est aliqaid in ipsa, neque est aliquid ab


Notice the erjphasls on real

esse "

Rather it is a

mere extrinsic donomination from the knowledge of God, and

this denomination posits nothing in the thing denominated nor






Joii^ ill


;> ?

!( r.-f.V' i'





does it suppose, strictly speaking some real

ample would be the denomination of a wall as
it terminates vision.

" "


An ex-

seen" because

To characterize the wall as

seen" is

not to posit any real entity in it. Just as to characterize the possible creatures known by God as

known " posits no real

entity in them.

What seems to be at work here are the first

two metaphysical moments noted by Henry of Ghent and Duns

Scotus, in God's knowledge.

In the first moment. He knows

Himself absolutely and in the second moment produces the

possible creature, in

esse intelli^ibile"

That is to say,

a possible stone is known, which qualification posits no real


esse" in the stone itself but nonetheless it posits some

ease" in the stone itself just as Henry of Ghent and Scotus


before him maintained,^

Thus, for Suarez, God's knowledge


of possible creatures presupposes such

esse" as is known by

knowledge (sed tale quale per scientiara cognoscitur), for this


esse " is necessary for the termination and truth of Icnowledge.

Thus, since

Scotus and Henry of Ghent never said any more.

God by the knowledge called by Theologians, the knowledge of

simple intelligence, wherein God knows those things which are
in His power or that of creatures and yet neither are, nor

have been nor ever will be, does not know creatures as they have some real

esse" in act, but in potency only, for this


reason some real

esse" is not required in such essences in

order to terminate knowledge of this sort.

Suarez, in a rather




ambiguous fashion puts it that potential


esse" suffices,

which as such, is In act only in its cause.

only real

That is the

esse" in act it has as the real actual existence

of its cause.

Yet it still possesses some "esse "



corroboration Suai?ez cites St. Thomas.'

This would seem to answer the difficulty with

respect to God^s knowledge called simple intelligence, but if
it is a question of His knowledge of vision by which God knows

existing things and what are not now existing but have been
and what will be,


Suarez agrees that this knowledge re-

quires existence in the object in the measure of eternity as they say.


However, the object known does not have a proper


and temporal duration except for the time in

is known to exist.

the being

Thus, for the termination of knowledge no



esse" is required in the thing known but only that which

is adequate to knowledge for its truth.

But granted there is

no real


esse " possessed by possible creatures in the divine


intellect they do possess some

esse" in themselves.


then, in confirming this point, Suarez cites an example which

goes back to Matthew of Aquasparta, indicating that we are

still dealing with the problem of the Avicennian essence in
as much as the adherents of this doctrine find corroboration

in each other's pronouncements which preserve the doctrinal

streeun intact.

For Suarez states that his point is more

evident in the knowledge which the angel has of a possible

iSXoUttuOtt jiiUu





ii 3-






j-iAiW ZMUl

ia lo




snj 10 I






2i 101













-1 So-

rose or of a future eclipse. Just as Matthew of Aquasparta

cited the same example to show that things or real exlstents

are not the necessary cause of knowledge.

Even Capreolus,

himself subject to the influence of Avicenna and Henry of

Ghent, uses the same example.

Thus, let us make no mistake.

Suarez is maintaining

that God's knowledge of possible creatures does demand an


esse" in these creatures. Just as the objection postulated.


Indeed, it is the very

esse intelligibile" postulated by

Scotus and it is Suarez' main pre -occupation to show that this

is not a real actual existence or

esse simpliciter" but it is




ease" of essence which is characterized as

real ",


possible" ,

"cognitum " or anything else, only by an extrinsic denomination

even in the divine intellect itself.

What could be the nature

of this entity of essence which is so impervious even to the

gaze of the divine intellect that any distinct characteristic

affimied of it is only present in it by extrinsic denomination?

Are not these, then, the indistinguishable singulars of Ockham?

And is not this a world which has lost its metaphysical

dimension in the war against the realism of essence?


only say that I think it is and that such is what ultimately

renders intelligible what Suarez has been telling us.
If any-

one would maintain that Suarez is rather in the tradition of

Scotus and Henry of Ghent than in the tradition of Ockham and

his doctrine, let him ponder that both Scotus and Henry of





















Ghent bear within their metaphysical doctrines "an interior

conflict between Platonic essences and implatonic singulars."


Suarez sternds at these very crossroads, one which leads back

to Platonisra, the other goes forward to Nominalism.

He has

taken this latter road.


Second Objection

The second objection reads as follows:

"Secondly, because essential predicates are predicated or can be predicated truly of the essence from. eternity. But every truth is founded on some esse ."(32)

This should at once recall the first Thomistic argument cited

by Suarez, with its emphasis on the eternity of essential

predicates and predication, and hence, their lack of any
efficient cause.
We have seen what Capreolus and the other

Thomists have had to say, as well as the adherents of the modal


Now we have the opportunity of seeing Suarez

confront them directly, as it is our contention that this whole

section of Suarez is precisely concerned with the superstructure

as well as the basic foundation of that first Thomistic

and its avowal of a realism of essence.

Indeed, Suarez, in his ajiswer to this second objection

recalls at the very outset the familiar context of that first

Thomistic argument, ^^^' noting that he will treat of this

problem later, when he solves at lerigth this first Thomistic

arg\iment for the real distinction between actual essence and
actvial existence,'^

For now, he cites a text of St, Thomas

aTttiqB^Qff 'r>o.







o as





edi lo










^1 8






hlmself against the Thomlsts, to the effect that there has

not been tiruth in these essential propositions from eternity,

except In so far as they were obJectlvely(55) i^ the divine


The reason is that, subjectively or really, they were

not, neither in themselves, nor objectively in another intellect.

That is, eternal truth is only in an eternal intellect, in the

sense that only in an eternal intellect do these essences of

creatures have an eternal objective existence.

But, again,

this objective existence must not be taken as real existence

for, in order that the knowledge by which God knew from eternity

that man is rational animal be true knowledge, it was not

necessary that the essence of man have some real


esse" in act

from eternity because that


esse" (i.e. in the above-mentioned


actual real


homo est animal rationale"


does not signify


but rather the mere intrinsic connection

of such extremes, a doctrine which recalls St. Albert, in the

text cited by Capreolus, Capreolus himself and Sylvester of

Ferrara and Soncinas.

on actual

However, this connection is not founded


esse" but on a potential

esse ", the same



propounded by Suarez in his answer to the first objection.

Nor will it do any good to object that, by this divine knowledge
it is not known that man can be a rational animal, but rather,

that he is of necessity a rational animal and that for this

reason potential or possible "esse" is not a sufficient






v3 j


foimclation for this connection.

Of course Suarez must deny


this completely because it demands that the

esse " which founds


the connection of such extremes is a real actual

escc " and

that the necessity of such ioiowledge is due to an absolute

necessity of bein (essendi) according to some




And if this were so we would be back with the problem of the

essences of possible creatures, possessing a real


esse "

Yet Suarez must grant that such predication is groxinded on

possibility only or on a possible "esse".

Nevertheless, such

possibility includes a conditional necessity, because, surely,

if man is to be produced, he will be of necessity a rational

And this necessity is nothing else than a certain

objective identity of man and animal, which identity God knows

most simply, we, however, know it by composition which the

est " signifies when we say that man, from eternity, is

a rational animal.*-''' in which




esse" belongs to that third way

esse " is said sometimes to signify the truth of a


proposition, wherein

esse " is the mere copula and is not a


real intrinsic "esse",*-^


and thus does not signify a real




It is interesting to note that Suarez, in opposing

this key to the first Thomistic argument, and found in all

the Tlriomists save Giles of Rome, harks back to the position

of the objector in Capreolus who also held that the necessity

of essential predication was a conditional necessity, that is.















if man is, man is a rational animal.

Suarez, however, transfers

this objection from the order of created truth where it found

its original strength versus Capreolus* stress on the order of

uncreated truth into the order of uncreated truth in the divine

intellect where he has tracked the origins of the first Thomistic

For, if, in the order of created truth, the necessity

per se" predication must rest on the condition that the

subject enjoy real actual existence, then Suarez reasons that

in the order of uncreated truth the necessity of essential

predication must rest on the condition that the subject enjoy

a possible or potential existence.

This is but another instance

of Siiarez follov/ing Scotus in closing the gap which Henry of

Ghent rent between knowledge and existential being by reason

of the fact that they both maintain the inseparability of

essence and existence in no matter what state. ^^^'

But in Suarez that Inseparability is a nark of the

Indistinguishability of an actual singular essence, whether
it be in the divine intellect or outside it. It is amazing to see how such a doctrine as this

opposes that realism and necessitarianism of essence presented

by Greek philosophical specjilation.

For, in order to avoid

such an 03?dr of essential necessity with some real status in

itself, Suarez maintains that there is no such order of


He, thereby, denies essence completely.

To be

sure, the essence of a possible creature is so indeterminate







TO 9







that It possesses only a conditional necessity which seems

nothing more than another extrinsic denomination.

For, Suarez

agrees that this conditional necessity is founded on what he

calls the objective identity of

and gmimal for example.

Is not the necessity of essence demolished in order to save

the identity of the possible creature and ultimately the

identity of the actual singular essence?

To the extent that

this singular indistinguishable essence is characterized by a

conditional necessity by extrinsic denomination, to that extent is it driven to be radically contingent, which determination
in its turn remains ultimately unintelligible because it is but

another extrinsic denomination.

Such is the radical in-

deterraination of being for Suarez that the intelligible being

of creatures is no more necessary in itself than their actual

being is.


Third Objection

The third objection is this:

"Thirdly, because created things according to their esse essentiae are arranged under a certain genus and species. Wnence, a rose is of the same species whether; it exists or does not exist. To be sure, the htimanity of the created Peter and of the created Peter is numerically the same essence. Consequently, in each state it retains some entity of essence." (^0)
' '

Suarez makes reply'


straightway by stating that possible

things, not yet created, are arranged under a certain genus

and species on such a basis that essential predicates are










said to belong to them, or rather, are said to be truly ascribed

to them.

And that basis is in so far as these possibles are

objectively in the divine intellect, or in any other intellect,

enjoying a possible

esse ".

Indeed, this relation to and

arrangement under certain genera

and species does not formally

exist in reality but in an intellect, which only goes to prove

that possibles are so arranged on the basis of a possible

esse" or an


esse cognltum ".

That is to say, this relation-

ship has a foundation in things either as they exist In act

or as they can exist and terminate objectively the knowledge by which they are known to be necessarily of such a nature or
essence with a conditional necessity, if they come to be (talis naturae atque essentiae esse debere si fiant).
Thus the point

is that possible creatures can be classifed according to genus

or species apart from any real actual






with its conditional necessity is a sufficient basis for such

Moreover, when the possible thing and the

created thing


said to be numerically and specifically the

same, in the above objection. If the discussion is of a real

and positive identity^


it is false in Suarez eyes, for

this kind of identity is only between positive and real ex-

tremes and thus based on that


"esse" which raises all the

problems for Suarez.

However, they are said to be one thing

or one species negatively because a producible thing and a

produced thing are not two things but one, nor do they have






no enu^&ft

J. <',


A ^-sJ





A 9i


'^Xiiauju A^-wu^ie



Dnct sflorzi





two species nor two essences but one.

What happens is that

this negative -unity or identity is apprehended by us in the

manner of a positive unity or Identity because we compare a

positive thing objectively existing in the intellect, to the
thing existing in act, as if they were two positive extremes,
while, on the contrary* In the thing itself they are only one.

This should bring Alexander of Alexandria to mind who, as we have seen, held that a possible and an actvial are one emd the
same being \mder different modes and who equivalently said

that the exponents of the real distinction thought of them as


duo entia "

Indeed, it should be clear now that the men

cited by Suarez on behalf of the third tradition unanimously

opposed any such realism of essence as found in the first two


Notice that the problem of genus and species in

this objection is answered by wiping out any real order of

essence apon which it may be foxmded in favor of that possible


esse" which has spearheaded Suarez other solutions.


also notice that this possible essence and its inseparable


esse ", or even as an actual essence, does not possess any

It can only be said to be

order of essence within it either.

the foxmdation of its arrangement under a certain genus and

species to the extent that it can only terminate such knowledge.
Is this not to say that being is impervious to any intellectual

analysis because it does not possess an intelligible dimension,

and that the intellect can only blunt itself against it?




c- ^.








Moreover, the very knowledge of such essences as possessed of

such a nature or essence cannot be an absolutely necessary

knowledge as we have seen, because there Is no absolutely

necessary order of essence in reality, but this knowledge is

characterized by a conditional necessity
that they come to be.

on the condition

That is, reality itself is only

conditionally necessary with respect to the efficient causality

of God initially and by the continuance of that causality.


this affirms nothing more than the radical contingency of that

reality, suspending it from a decree of the divine will.'^'

Such is Suarez fear of any order of essence and

intelligibility in being that it cannot even allow it to be

present in knowledge.
That is, the producible thing or the

creatable Peter cannot be anything else but the produced thing

or the created Peter.

For him to say anything else would

place an intermediary between the intellect and existent being

and make way for some autonomous entity of essence separable,

as well as separate, from real existence.
Thus, he must say

that a producible thing and a produced thing are not two things as the proponents of a realism of essence would maintain, but
one, nor is It a case of two species or two essenoBBj there is

only one essence, radically indeterminate and indistinguishable.

Hence, the destruction of any semblance of universality like

species and genus in reality, entails the destruction of any

semblance of universality in thought,

Suarez will admit that

a 96




boO lo



I9W as


"J ii^




we do compare a positive thing, objectively existing in the

intellect, to the thing existing in act as if they were two

positive extremes, but to conclude that the existent thing is

composed of these two extremes as the Thomists and the adherents
of the modal distinction have done is to go from thought to
thing, which is unjustifiable.

To do so would destroy the

\mity of the existent being and to save this Suarez can only
maintain that in the thing these two extremes of the comparison
are only one

not two things but one nor two essences but

We shall have occasion to return to this particular

argument as it Is actuallj'^ Suarez* second principle in defense

of his option for the distinction of reason which he will

discuss in section three.



Fourth Objection

The fourth objection proceeds in this way:

"Fourthly, because if the essence of the creature of Itself, as it Is an object (objicitur) of bhe simple intelligence of God, is nothing real, it will then be an ens rationls . How then, can it be said to be something creatable, since axi ens rationls is neither nor can it be an essence something (aliquid) created? Likewise, how is knowledge of real being since it is properly of essence and not existence? Next, how cam the essence have a true exemplar or exemplar cause when they have no place in ' entia rationls *? ("3)
' '



Because of the different levels of this objection the reply

more lengthy than the previous ones but it is as equally


It is at once made clear ttiat the possible essence




of the creature as the object of divine knowledge (essentlara

posslbllera creaturae objectlvam divinae sclentlae) Is not a

being confected by the Intellect, i.e. an


ens ratlonis" but

it is a being truly possible and capable of real existence.

For this reason it is not an

in some way under real being.


ens ratlonis" but is comprehended

And we have seen how this is

done in the instance of Suarez' gloss on the text of Capreolus

he cited above, whei^in such a possible essence is a real

essence by extrinsic denomination only, in relation to the

power of the Creator and non-repugnancy on its own part,*


It is interesting to see Sviarez cite a Thomist such as Cajetan

in his own behalf, wherein the latter holds that

(ens reale) has a twofold meaning, '''



It is taken in one

way as it is distinguished from being fabricated by the

intellect which is properly an

ens ratlonis "

It is under-

stood in gunother way as it is distinguished from something not

existing in act.

Thus, the essence of the creature in itself

is real being in the first way, that is to say, in potency

in as much as it differs from an


ens ratlonis" which is in

no way apt to be, but not in the second way, i.e. in act,

which Is to be properly a real being.

essence of a creature, taken precisely

Wherefore, if the


neither including

existence nor excluding it, and in itself and not yet created,

were considered as being in act, or If

attributed to it, this would follow.

esse" in act were

Either it must not be








consldered In itself but in its cause, ^' and does not have
a real

esse " other than the real



esse " of its cause, or, if

it be considered as having

esse " in Itself, then it is true

according to this consideration that it is not real being but


ens rationis" since In Itself it is not but is only

objectively in an intellect.^ ^'

Notice that Suarez will not

allow the possible essence of a creature in itself to possess

any real entity or existence other than the real
cause, in this case God.
it can only be an
" "

esse " of its

If it possesses any


esse " in itself

ens rationis " which is to say that it itself

is not, in the sense of possessing any real existence.


be aware that Suarez does not mean that this possible


of possible essences is an
a chimera or fiction is an
to real existents it is an


ens rationis" in the same way as

ens rationis " but that compared ens rationis " in the broad sense


just as Scotus maintained with respect to the same problem. ^^^'

For, Indeed, that nature is called creatable or possible in

as much as in itself it is real and apt for existing,



the same way it can have a real exemplar in God, none of which

can be present in the case of



ens rationis " in the strict


That is, there are no divine ideas of

entia rationis "

such as genus, specie etc. though they exist objectively in

the divine intellect

" "

as Ockham held.^


Thus, this possible

esse" is an


esse" separate from the

esse naturae " and the

esse rationis " and hence, indifferent to knowledge or existence


Jon LLlv



it i

'i'srf -^-'o

b^^Mtpaoi^ w^.iw

*-/ j







o ?\ rr


^Y /\1


like a Platonic idea


rediviva "


But such an entity can

have a real exemplar because a real exemplar does not always

represent actual being but also possible being.

Here Suarez

again harkens back to the tradition of Heni^' of Ghent on the

divine ideas, as vrell as Duns Scotus, wherein they are no longer

exemplars of created things, as according to the traditional

position, but rather, they are now the


exemplata " or the

ideata " which are, nonetheless, also divine ideas as well as


the things producible by God,

This, taen, is Suarez'

answer to two of the queries of the above objection asking how,

if the creature is an

ens rationis " as an object of God's

knowledge of simple intelligence, it can be said to be some-

thing creatable, and how that essence can have a true exemplar
or exemplar cause when they have no place in

entia rationis "

With the other question, as to how, if the essence of

the creature, as an object of an intellect, is an

ens rationis "

which, strictly speaking, has no essence, there is knov.'ledge

of real being, since knowledge of real being is properly of

essence and not of existence, we are again in the metaphysical

world of Scotus and Henry of Ghent.

For, both of these men

maintained that knowledge or science of real being is properly

of essence and not of existence.^

Hence, in such a world,


if essence does not possess some real

esse" apaj^ from

existence even in knowledge the possibility of a icnowledge of

real being is ruled out.
For, then, it can only be an "ens













rationis" or possess an


esse ratlonls " which does not even

have an essence and thus cannot represent an essence.


Euiswer is interesting, for, he remarks that the sciences which

consider things by abstracting from existence are not of




as the objector would have it, but of real beings

because they consider real essences not according to the status

they have objectively in an intellect, but in themselves or in

so far as they are apt for existing with such natures and


Notice that Suarez in his answer remains within

the tradition that holds that the sciences of things considers

them by abstracting from existence and yet he stays within

that tradition by precisely denying any order of essence

possessed of a real


esse "

He even divorces such a scientific

consideration fi?om viewing the possible essence as it exists

objectively in an intellect because this is too close to

viewing it as an

ens rationis"

Rather science will view

this Suarezian essence as it is In itself, \mdetermined by any real


esse " as well as by an


esse rationis ".

It is just there,

both in the intellect and in reality, one and the same

indeterminate essence as pi\)ducible and as produced and it
stands in defiance of the intellect in both places.

And is

this not to replace one realism of essence with another, but

another which denies any such order of essence within the

real in order to make an indetemiinate indistinguishable

essence the very real itself?





Fifth Objection

The fifth and last objection is this:

"Finally, there is generally distinguished in creatures one of essence (esse essentiae), a three-fold esse another of existence (esse existentiae), and finally, one of the truth of proposition (esse veritatls propositionis), as can be seen in St, Thomas. (75) Hence, when existence is removed, the essence can still retain its ' esse essentiae ', for it has this not from existence but of itself. Consequently, when all extrinsic efficiency has been removed, it has such an esse (i.e esse esseriiti^e ) and, as a consequence, hasTt from eternity. "(V^)
' ' ; ' *
' '

This is that text of St. Thomas, previously mentioned, which

gives a surface justification for interpreting it according to the doctrine of Henry of Ghent. that Capreolus has done so.
Indeed, it would seem

Thus, the tradition behind this

objection is obviously that begotten of Henry of Ghent, maintaining a realism of essence to the extent that it is subject
to no efficient cause or causality, as such.

In the face of

such an argument for some order of essence endowed with a

real "esse" Suarez offers an interpretation of

esse essentiae"

which allows him to use it and yet not with the connotation
of any intrinsic

esse " as Henry of Ghent seems to have


(77) "

At the outset of the reply, it is noted that there

is a possibility of equivocation in regard to the


essentiae" put forth by the objector, since it is attributed

to created things in two ways.

In one way it is attributed

to them in themselves and also as not yet created nor existing





V vJ



in act which would seem to be the very position of Henry of Ghent himself.
For, as we have seen in Suarez* gloss on the

text of Capreolus about the two kinds of nothing, inspired of

Henry of Ghent,


esse essentiae ", in this first way, is not

esse "

real and actual in the creature, but it is a



esse "

As such it is reduced to the



esse" of the

truth of proposition or to the

esse " of knowledge (esse

As we have seen,

veritatis propositionis seu cognitionis).

the essences of creatures, in this way, have only

esse" in

their cause or an objective

difference between these two


esse " in an intellect.



esse essentiae ",



veritatis propositionis "


is that the

esse veritatis

propositionis" not only is present in the case of real essences

but also in th3 case of

entia rationis" and iiaaiginary beings,

for, blindness is a privation and a chimera is an iraeigined

monster and both are



entia rationis ".

Thus, the objective


esse" of both the real essence and the


entia rationis" is

sufficient to ground the

esse veritatis propositionis ", as


we have seen.

However, only

esse essentiae " is properly

ascribed to created beings before they exist in order to make

it clear that truth is foxmded on potential



apt for


So it is that only what is producible is a divine


idea, for these are not

entia rationis" which, strictly

speaking, have no divine ideas or are not divine ideas and

thus not producible, but they do possess an objective existence







in the divine intellect.


Ease essentlae" then, characterizes

the existence possessed by the possible essences of creatures

v/hich is by no means

a real "e sse " as the objector would seem

to waiit.

In this there is a resemblance to the doctrines of

Henry of Ghent, Capreolus and Duns Scotus thovigh the latter

would shun the term


essentlae " because it would

introduce an order of real being within Cod and distinct from


The same feaj? of Henry of Ghent's


esse essentlae"

is also present in Suarez as can be seen from his constant

insistaiice that the possible creature possesses no real


In Itself other than the real



esse" of its cause.


esse essentlae" of Heniy of Ghent loolcs to Suarez and

Puns Scotus too much like existential bein^; for them not to

'^9' and to gloss it in such a


that any

existential reality is removed.

But in doing so they still

SMoaln in the same general tradition.

There is the second way in which

esse essentlae"

is attributed to creature auid this gives a basis for Suarez'

charge of possible equivocation on the objector's part.

this second Instance


esse essentlae " is taken to be in act,


as it belorigs to the creature





esse" is undoubtedly real and actual regardless of itfiether

it is really distinguished from existence or is distinguished


in reason.

For, it is certain that in the existing thing

the essence is being in act (in re existent e Ipsam essentiam




esse actu ens) and consequently, that the essential


esse" of

that essence Is an actual



Neither Henr-y of Ghent nor

Hoxvcvor, I

Capreolus would seem to be able to refuse this.

do not thinlc they would allow Suarez to conclude from this, as he does, that the essence does not liave this actuality

except by Ci:^ation or by the productive act of an agent and


the essence is conjoined to existence in reality, without


For men in the tradition of Henry of Ghent

and Capreolus maintain that the essence has no efficient cause

and thus is not subject to a creation directly, for the

efficient causality of God concerns itself directly with




Thus, what Suarez is doing here is setting the

stage for his destruction of any existential, dimension possessed

by the essence of a creature in the real order, as he has

destroyed it in the divine intellect.

Even if he would gramt,


which Suarez certainly would not, that the

taken in this second way is an actual
distinct from the

esse essentiae"


esse " and an


esse existentiae ", still, the principle

posited, stating that the essence of a creature does not have



esse essentiae " in act except by an efficient cause is


true and certain.^

Consequently, in itself and of itself


and as unproduced, the essence of a creature has no

act, neither an

esse " In

esse essentiae" nor an


esse existentiae "

Indeed, what confronts us here is one sind the same identicail

essence in the divine Intellect and outside it in reality, in






one as producible and In the other as produced.

It is Just

this doctrine of essence which Suarez offers as an answer to that realism of essence which has compromised the unity of

an existent being by affirming a real distinction between the

actual essence and actual existence so that either one can

exist in separation from the other, or at least actual essence


exist apart from



For an order of essence within

being Suarez offers an order of essence which is being, an

order of essence impervious to any intellectvial arialysis and
completely indeterminate, an order of essence which is the
absolute denial of essence In order to preserve the unity of
the existent being.

Needless to say, Suarez is justified in

admonishing his reader that this distinction of the two

meanings of

esse essentiae" must be kept in mind in order to

remove the equivocation and to vmderstand the validity of the

arguments usually raised in this matter.













Now that we have seen Suarez* position with respect

to any real existence possessed by the possible essence, prior
to citation, as his first principle for opting for the dis-

tinction of reason, we are confronted with his second principle.

This time it is not a question of the possible essence directly
but rather, the actxoal essence.
Thus, having liberated the

divine intellect of any order of real essences in themselves, Suarez must now remove any such entity from the existent

His second principle, succinctly put, is this:

"In created things, being In potency (ens in potentia) and being in act (ens in actu; are distinguished immediately and formally as being and non-being absolutely (simpliciter j ." \^'

We have seen something of this before in the instance of

Suarez' r*eply to the third objection to his first principle

wherein he implied that the distinction between the created

and the creatable Peter could only be one of reason since it was not a question of two real extremes.
he has in mind in his second principle.

This is exactly what

For, in created things


AiO ii&TiA ^lUTAiiiC ZHi: TO 8UTATB









Laliii til



there is no distinction as between two real extremes, one


ens in potent la " and the other called


ens in aotu "

Rather, there is what is called a real negative distinction,

30 called because one extreme is a true thing (res) and the

other is not.^

(2) '

This means that there is no order of



in potentia " present in existent creatures and possessed of a

real entity in itself apart from contingent existence.


a distinction is also called a distinction of reason because

the extremes are not


things (duae res)^~^' but onlj^ one

which is conceived by the intellect and compared as if it were

two things, Just as in the case of the created Peter and the

creatable Peter.

The same design is present here as in the

case of the first principle, namely, to remove any autonomous

order of essence,


ens in potentia"

call it what you will,

from being, finite or infinite.

With this achieved, the basis

for any real distinction of any variety between the actual

essence and the actual existence of a finite creature is
Indeed, with respect to this second principle,

Suarez is able to note

adherent within the Thomist school

itself, in much the same fashion as he glossed the text of

Capreolus on the two kinds of nothing.

For, this principle

is maintained by Paulus Barbus Soncinas.'^'

What better way

to embarrass the Thomists with respect to the real distinction

than to cite one of thera as holding a principle whose

implications would seem to call for its denial.



r '.r^-f-


d JO









In order that this crucial principle, one in-

dispensable for his future remarks, be grasped, the reader is

first presented with a bit of historical clarification, very

reminiscent of his initial remarks following the statement of

his first principle.
There, we saw him go to the defense of

Scotus versus some Thomists who thought Scotus' doctrine of


esse diminutxim" gave creatures an eternal





distinct from the

esse" of God, Just as Henry of Ghent was

taken to task on the same score.

We again see him go to the


defense of Scotus with respect to this

ens in potentia ",

mentioned in his principle.

It seems that some have thought that this

ens in

potentia " signifies some positive mode of being of that thing


is said to be in potency

a mode of being which is a


diminished being, an

esse diminutum " and an Imperfect

esse "

when compu?ed to that state in which a thing is said to be

in act, but is nonetheless, something positive.
It is Just

such a position and interpretation as this which would hold

that these two extremes


ens in potentia " and


ens in actu "


are positive and real and hence, really distinct as

duae res "

In the face of this split within a being, Suarez cites his

second principle, destroying any real positive entity possessed



ens in potentia "

But to do so he must face the fact that

this above doctrine is ascribed to Scotus because he dis-

tinguishes the potency by which "ens in potentia" is



cj ns.

a aJ






denominated, from active and passive potency.


For this


to distinguish the former from the latter two,

Scotus, as a rule, teiros the former, objective potency.'^'

As a consequence, it seems that it has been considered to be

something real and positive in the being which is said to be

in potency.
Thus, Scotus would seem to be maintaining some

kind of a realism of essence on the basis of this interpretation.

Just as he seemed to maintain it on the occasion of Suarez'

first principle if Cajetan were right in Suarez


Of this present interpretation of Scotus, Suarez

avers, as he did in the case of the

esse objectivum " of

possible creatures, that Scotus never uttered such a con.Qlusion nor is it true in itself.
For, Scotus never under-

stood a purely objective potency to be something real and

positive, for this would mean that it would be something dis-

tinct from the producing cause and presupposed, in the case

of a possible thing, for the action of such a cause.

It is

Just such a consequence which Suarez" first principle denies.

Indeed, Suarez tells such interpreters of Scotus that if they

read the text in question


with more cai^ they will see

that Scotus clearly denies such a position as a consequence

of agreeing with that first principle of Suarez.


merely called possible being (ens possibile), being in

objective potency


ens In potent la objectiva ", because it

is related as an object to a productive potency or power.



iMJlX 43'JJiiii-JnUii

no* Of

ji ccf c;



w &i





there Is only a nominal difference between what Scotus


calls being in objective potency and Suarez calls


potent iale " the only point of disagreement between the two

would seem to be Scotus* contention that Aristotle speaks of

this objective potency when he says that potency and act are
in the same genus.

Suarez would here disagree since he holds


that there is no such potency in Aristotle^

diffei*ence is of no concern here.

but such a minor

What is of concern is that now, for the second time,

Siiarez has gone to the defense of Scotus on the score of some

reality possessed by the essence of a creature apart from

existence, first in the divine intellect, and now in the created

In both instances Scotus ends up by equlvalently main-

taining Suarez* principles against any realism of essence,

either in the divine intellect with the possible essences of

creatures or in the physical order with the actual created

But in each of Suar*ez' defenses of Scotus he never

once mentioned the formal distinction of Scotus and the notion

of formal being underlying it.

Indeed, on the basis of the

texts cited in our introduction to the modal distinction, it

would seem that Suarez is in the tradition of those Scotists

who interpret the formal distinction in the sense of a dis-

tinction of reason with a foundation in reality.

It arises

from inadequate or confused concepts of one snd the same thing

which is the occasion for such conceptions by the intellect,^"'








J^ A.rJ








This would seem to transfer the metaphysical structure of

Scotus being out of the real order into the intellectual

order and reality through which the Scotist intellect ranged

with relative ease heretofore is closed to any further
intellectual incursions.

There are now only many more cr less

confused conceptions of one and the same impervious thing.

Such a Scotus can then be an ally against any realism of

essence which would violate the indistinguishability of the
existent thing.
Indeed, the same possibility of being an ally

against a realism of essence has even been indicated with respect to Henry of Ghent,



Confirmation of his Second Principle

It is interesting to note that in discussing the

actual essence of a creature we again find ourselves concerned

with the divine ideas of possible creatures.

The reason is

that any autonomous order of essence within the real implies

for Suarez an autonomous order of essence prior to the creation

of the real.

That is, it is such that it escapes the efficient

causality of the Creator and thus, is presupposed in some way

for the activity of such a cause.

Thus, it is no wonder


find ourselves back in the divine intellect for, it is Suarez

intention to subject the whole creature to the efficient

causality of the creature.

So any attempt to uphold an order

of essence within the existent creature apait frx>m its






.'. P*r-

eeae ev aael io



















exlstence must be answered from a consideration of the divine

For, the presence of such an order in the one

presupposes Its presence in the other

the absence of it

in the one entails its absence in the other.

Thus, in defense of his second principle, Suai^ez harks

back at once to his remarks explaining his first principle, for, an interpretation is placed on

ens in potent la" to the effect

that it is looked on as possessing a tenuous real, actual

Hence, we have the same problem as before, namely,

am entity presupposed for and independent of, God's creative


Accordingly, Suarez must say that such an "esse"

in potency, i.e. that objective potency, cannot be something

true and positive in the very thing which is said to be in

potency and that this is evident in the first place from what
he has said in defense of his first principle.
For, either that potency is produced or altogether

If it is unproduced, it is nothing distinct from If it is produced, it is produced either from

the Creator.

eternity and of necessity

(11) '

and this cannot be said without

or freely and in time as Suarez noted before.

Accordingly, before that real potency of the men opposing him

was produced it was in objective potency and consequently, the

whole thing without such a real potency in the thing which is

said to be in potency, was in objective potency.
For, if that

real potency was freely created and in time, it did not


t ^,i






ni ed



precede the creative causality of God as presupposed to it,

but rather Is reduced to that

esse" in objective potency

which does not signify any real, positive potency which is in


Thus, Suarez, as before, anchors any such real potency

to the efficient causality of God, thereby neutralizing any

autonomy it could possess.

Also, it is evident that that

objective potency is not something real and positive in the

thing which is said to be in potency, for, either such a

potency endures in the produced thing or does not endure.

If it does not remain, it can be nothing real and positive.
For, how would that being, whatever it may be thought to be,

be destroyed by the production of being in act, if it were

something positive and real?

But if that potency endures in

the produced thing, that potency now is not objective only

but it is also subjective or real, nor would a thing come to


ex nihilo" but from the presupposed potency, as from the

subject or matter from which a thing comes to be.

The same

difficulty with respect to creation is again charged against

this realism of essence.

There is a third way, and one we have noted before,

in which it is evident that that objective potency is not

something real and positive in the thing which is said to be

in potency, namely, the point that in the possible essence be-

fore it came to be, there was no reality (nihil rei) in the

strict sense of a positive and an actual thing.




thls possible essence cannot contain a real positive potency

since every real positive potency is some true thing or

founded on some reality and entity.

Suarez cites a text of St, Thomas^

By way of corroboration
wherein Suarez says he

noted rightly that creatures are not called possible except

by denomination from an active potency or a passive potency.

However, when this denomination is talcen from the passive or

active potency of second causes, it then supposes that such

a potency has been produced by another.


For, a second cause

real passive potency csuinot be truly unproduced.

Accordingly, returning again to the text of St. Thomas, Suarez

quotes him as saying:

"All creatures before they were, were not possible to be by some created potency or power since nothing created is eternal, but rather, they were possible to be by the divine power alone in as much as God can produce them in esse ."(13)
' *

Consequently, it is concluded that on the part of creatures,

there is supposed merely a non-repugnance to come to be in

such a manner since no reality (nihil rei) can be supposed or

required in them which is the same conclusion reached in the

defense of Suarez' first principle.
Furthermore, that potency in regard to which

creatures are said to be in objective potency, cannot be

something in them, but rather in the cause from which they

cam come to be, because

esse" in objective potency is nothing

else than to be able to be an object (objici) to a potency, or





rather to the action or causality of some potency or power. But a thing csmnot be an object (objici) to itself, just as
it cannot come to be by itself, but by another.

For this

reason, a creature is said to be in objective potency in

relation to the potency of another from which it receives a

denomination by which it is called a possible thing (res

Thus, in view of these remarks we can conclude that

ens in potentia " as such, does not signify a positive state

or mode of being but that, in addition to the denomination

from the potency of the agent, it includes a negation, namely,
that it has not yet appeared in act from such a potency.

for this reason, the creature is said to be in potency because

it has not yet issued into act.

Further, when a thing is

created it ceases to be in potency, not because it ceases to

be subject to divine power or potency and contained in it,

but because now it is not only in it but also from it and in


Hence this state, i.e. in act, is wont to exclude


that state called

ens in potentia " .^^^^

Now that we have clarified one member of Suarez'

initial distinction,

ens in potentia ", let us turn our

attention to the other member


ens aut essentia in actu"

With respect to this, it is a frequent dictian of the authors

fl*S) that essence in act adds existence to the essence,^ ^'

However, this manner of speaking, interpreted according to



the position of those who affirm that the existing essence is not distinguished

ex natura rei" from its



is to be

understood, and must be so, as an addition according to reason,

or as an addition improperly taken, in keeping with their

For, if it is a discussion of essence in act as

compared to essence in potency, it is clear that it is less

properly said that essence in act adds existence to essence

in potency because a real addition happens properly to real

being only, since it has some entity (aliquid entitatis) to

which the addition is made.

But, as we have seen, that essence

in potency has no entity (nihil entitatis).

Accordingly, if

the dictum implies such a comparison, properly speaking, no

addition can be made to essence in potency, except perhaps

according to reason, in so far as the essence in objective
potency is grasped through a mode of being, as we have seen
in the case of the creatable Peter and the created Peter.
So, it would be said more properly on the basis of this com-

parison if one were to say that the essence, as being in act

(ut actu ens) is distinguished by actual existence from it-

self, as it is in potency. ^'^'

For, it is a case of one

essence not two; one essence in two states and any addition

by actual existence is an addition of reason.

important for Suarez* ultimate position.

This will prove

However, if the discussion of this authentic dictum,

instead of being of essence in act with respect to essence in

potency, is of essence in act in Itself, it can in no way be


er ;toB





: .:sr{







sald that the dictum means that the existing essence adds
existence to essence in act according to the position of those

who affirm that the existing essence is not distinguished natura rei " from its




The reason is because the essence

which is a being in act, formally and Intrinsically includes

For, as we saw in Suarez* brief remarks at the

instauice of the third position on the distinction between

essence and


esse ",

111) '

by this existence, formal and intrinsic


to the actual essence, the actual essence is constituted in actu " and is distinguished from


ens in potent ia " and any

real addition of existence to what already possesses it is

redundant and superfluous.

Now that Suarez has justified the interpretation of

the authentic

that essence in act adds existence to

essence by the proponents of the third position, whose im-

portance is such that we return to it again, he turns to those

who think that

esse " is distinguished


ex natura rei" from

the essence of the creature.

These are the ones who more

frequently use this manner of speaking, i.e. that essence in

act adds to existence to essence, as can be seen from Suarez'

references to these men.


As representative of this

manner of speaking, Suarez cites a snippet of a text which he

says comes from Giles of Rome, to the effect that:



is impressed on the essence at the time when

it is created and comes to be existing."











Whereupon, it follows that if this Is xinderstood of essence In

potency as it was, or rather, as it was coneidered, prior to

the effectlon of God, either it is utterly false or is most
inqproper and metaphorical.

For how can an act be Impressed on

that which is nothing?

Indeed, act is not impressed except on


a receptive potency which possesses some real entity.^


essence considered as essence in potency is not in receptive

or subjective potency but merely in objective potency, as

have seen.


Thus, in order that such a Ltatomeiit as that of

Giles of Rome, and ones like it, be true in some sense, according to those who think that

esse" is distinguished


ex natura

rei" from the essence of the creature, it is necessary that

it be understood of essence in act which, compared to

esse ",

is the potency receptive of it.

Nevertheless, such a position

would still maintain

t)iat it

is not an actual essence until

it receives the act of being (actum essendi) in act.

Such a

critique calls to mind that of Alexander of Alexajidria on a

similar point where he too, ruled out any real order of essence

prior to creation.
We now embark on a procedure of drawing out the

consequences for those who think that



esse" is distinguished

ex natura rel" from the essence of the creatures, and who hold

that the existing essence is distinguished from itself in

potency by actiml existence, of admitting that when it is said

that essence in act adds existence to essence or that "esse"



B nous




.ilfllTlsm IIJt;to fcli/ow


a itL





5 Bt





is Impressed on essence when it is created and becomes

existent, the essence is taken as essence in act and is re-

lated to


esse " as its receptive potency.

Prom this it follows,

of necessity, that, although actual essence does not differ

from potential essence except when it is, or also, because it

is subject to an act of being (sub actu essendi), still,

formally and precisely the actual essence does not differ



the potential essence in the act of being


but in its essential entity or in the

(esse actualis essentiae),
(21) '

esse " of actxial essence

Intrinsic to it and not by some

accidental accretion as the proponents of the realism of essence

would say.

The necessity of this consequence for the pro"

ponents of the distinction

ex natura rei " between the actual

essence and existence, as between a real potency and its act,

is brought home when it is noted that being in objective

potency and not real potency, as we have seen, is absolutely

nothing or, in otlier words, is not

ens in actu ", and someHence,

thing added to nothing does not give us something plus.

any actual entity differs formally, immediately and precisely


ens in potent ia " by that in virtue of which an actual

entity is in its own genus and in virtue of which it ceases

to be potential.

We now see


into play Suarez' personal

interpretation of


esse essentiae" which we noted previously,


in the name of which it is stated

as is "per se nota".



} f\t\







actual essence differs from essence in potency in



essentiae" and does not differ formally and precisely from

essence in potency by existence (per existentiam) which would

leave intact a real order of essence apart from existence.
Rather, actual essence differs from essence in potency by
that actuality which it has in itself, i.e. an actual


essentiae" which is distinct from existence (ab existentia),

because the actual essence did not have that actuality, i.e.

esse essentiae ", when it was in potency.

Such a position

destroys any real order of essence apart from real existence,

and this is what Suarez wants.

Hence, actual essence does

not differ from potential essence by existence or by an


actus essendi " but i*ather, it differs in its essential entity


or in the

esse actual is essentiae" which is another way of

saying that actual essence differs fi^m potential essence in


esse essentiae "

So an actual essence and a possible essence

cannot differ by any accidental accretion such as existence.

Further, it is shown that the actual essence does not differ

from potential essence by existence or



esse " or an





the essence in act is related to existence

as its receptive potency, because according to that actual

entity, i.e.


esse essentiae ", by which the actual essence

differs immediately from the potential essence, the actual

essence is in receptive potency to existence, which was not

the case when the actual essence was considered in merely





objectlve potency.

For, to be In receptive potency Is to

really exist in some fashion, however tenuously.

To bolster

this contention Suarez makes use of a theological instauice,

namely, the Incarnation, and more exactly the humanity of
Christ, If It is supposed to exist by the \increated existence

of the Word, as the Thomlsts hold.


?or, the humanity of

Christ, precisely conceived, neither excluding existence nor

including it, is an actual created entity and for this reason

also, as precisely conceived, it differs from itself as it

was from eternity in mere objective potency.


now, as precisely conceived, and thus, as an actual created

entity, the humanity of Christ is conceived as proximately

apt to be united to the Word by reason of an actual



essentiae " which it did not have before creation.


that hiunanity as an actual entity of essence differs from itself in potency by its very own created entity of essence and

not only by the vincreated


esse " of Cod.

Suarez would then

interpi*et the Thomists to maintain some order of real essence

with respect to the humanity of Christ, as we saw with respect

to the same example used in defense of his first principle,

and as would seem to be contained in the fifth Thomlstic

argument cited by Siiarez.

And if this is not clarification enough there is

more, and confirmation as well, of tliis principle that the

actual essence immediately differs from potential essence not










in the


actus essendl" but in its essential entity or the

For, If essence and existence are

esse" of actual essence.

diverse things (res diversae)^ then Just as essence can be in

potency and act, so created existence Is in potency and in act,

as a

re^ In its ovm right.


And Just as essence cannot be

actual unless conjoined to existence, as all will admit, so

existence cannot be actual unless conjoined to essence.


actual existence does not differ formally and intrinsically

from Its potential self by essence, but by its own actual

entity which it did not have in act when it was in potency.

Therefore, it is the same case with essence, if essence,

according to the precise actuality of essence, is compared to

Itself in potency.
That is to say, that actual essence does

not differ formally and intrinsically from its potential self

by existence which would entail some positive entity of

essence, but by its own actual entity which it did not have in act when it was in potency.

Similarly, not only essence

precisely taken and existence precisely taken, but also the

whole composite of


esse " and essence can be conceived by us

as in potency and as in act.

But this


ens in actu" is not

distinguished adequately from Itself in potency because it

adds existence to essence, implying the presence of existence in one order and its absence in the other, for in each state
this whole composite includes existence proportionately,

possible essence, possible "esse", actual essence, actual "esse".




but rather It differs by its whole adequate essence because,

surely, when it is in act, it has the actuality of essence

and existence.

When it is in i>otency, it has neither in act

but bcth in potency.

Accordingly, by way of conclusion from all that has

gone before, we can say that it is universally

to Suarez* second principle, namely, that




ens in actu" and

ens in potentia" are formally and immediately distinguished


as being and non-being, that

ens" or essence in act is not


distinguished formally and immediately from

ens" or essence

in potency as adding one being (ens), i.e. existence, to

another being (ens), i.e. essence.

And consequently, we can

conclude that it is also true that essence as actual being is

distinguished immediately from the potential by its very own

actual entity, whether it requires another entity or smother

mode to have that actual entity or not.'^'

For, it is the

same argument of essence in act as of any being in act by

which Suarez means to refer to the problem of accidents which

will soon confront us.
Whence, we close on this very

interesting note, namely, that, speaking fonaally and

abstracting from every position on this question of essence


esse" and their distinction, it must not be said that

actual essence is distinguished from potential essence because

it has existence.

For, although that also can be verified

either formally and prox3jnately, or radically and remotely

r nr.







according to various opinions, yet most formally and

Immediately in every position actual essence is separ'ated

from potential essence by its very ovm actual entity which it

has in the order of real essence.
We shall see what havoc

such a principle v/111 wreak, in the ranks of the proponents of

a realism of essence.


Critical Summary
It remains to rechart this intricate and extremely

important passage.

For, its whole purpose


been to remove

any autonomous order of essence from within the order of

finite created being as a result of that same autonomous order
of essence in the divine intellect.

Suarez clearly sees this

as the cornerstone of the real distinction between actual

essence and its actual existence as between two


res " or as

between a thing and its mode.

This implies that the created

essence is not distinguished from essence as such but only by

reason of some accidental accretion like existence.'

is too much for



uarez, in whose eyes it appears as the last

vestige of Arabian necessitarianism wherein something in the

world actually escapes the direct efficient causality of


Creator and thereby enjoys some necessary, eternal entity in

Itself apart from that Creator.

Such a doctrine is the one

which leads to the sundering of the unity of the existent

being in the doctrine of the real distinction of the actual








existence and its actual existence as two


entia "

To destroy this position, Suarez has so maneuvered

his opponents



roust do

battle, not on the tenns of

an essence in act compared to an essence in potency, for Suarez

has closed the divine intellect to any such positive order of
essence, but on the tenns of an actual essence related to

esse " or existence as a receptive j>otency, enjoying some de-

gree of real entity by reason of an efficient cause.


last are the terms according to which the Thoraist and others

must do battle in the order of created essence.

And if these

men accept these terras they must then suffer the consequences
to their original position that the actxial

essence differs

immediately from the potential essence in the

actus essendi "

or by reason of existence.

For, they would leave their flank

open to Suarez' thrust that actual essence does not differ

frx>m the

potential essence by existence or


esse " or an

actus essendi" , given that essence in act is related to

existence as its receptive potency because, according to that

actual entity, i.e.

esse essentiae " by which the actual

essence differs immediately from the potential essence, the

actual essence is in receptive potency to existence.


was not the case when the actual essence was considered in

objective potency.

It remains only for Suarez to turn their


flank by playing off his

esse essentiae




esse actualis

essentiae" against the Thomistic "esse existent iae" and the




ct t

^? <*





i ^-







day iB his.

It Is this all impoii^ant comparison which shall

concern us in the next part.

2i rjBt



THE ROLE OF llT^oo-rill "ESSE






At the outset of this discussion the reader is

reminded of


has preceded and then is informed, in case

he has not noticed, that there has been a treatment of the

essence of the creature as possible and then as actual as

well as of the distinction between them.

Thus, it remains to

mention that


esse " by which the essence of a creature is most


formally constituted in act

get that the

But let us note and not for"

esse " under discussion is Sviarez'


esse essentiae"



esse actualis essentiae"

We are at once confronted by three outright pro-



The first states that the real essence, which

in itself is something in act, distinct from its cause, is

intrinsically constituted by some real and actual



This follows clearly from what has been said, for every real entity is constituted by some real "esse", since "ens" is said




to &f.
3 P.














esse " and


ens reale" from real



Hence, when a

real entity ceases to be potential and becoraes actual, it is

necessar^/ that it be constituted by sorae real,, actual


On the other hand, real, actual essence in its own genus is

true and actual real beinr (ens reale), differing already



ens in potent la" as we have also seen.

Therefore, it

is necessary that this real actual essence be formally con-

stituted in such actuality by some real, actual


esse "



to it by some efficient cause.

The second statement makes it clear that this



of real essence by some real actual "esse"


does not come about by the composition of such an

esse" with

such an entity as the men in the first two traditions would

hold, but by their total real identity (per identitatem

omnimodam secundum rem) in keeping with Suarez* avowal of the

third tradition.
A first proof of this follows from what has

gone before, namely, because actual essence differs immediately

from its potential self by its own entity.

Hence, by the very

fact that it is an actual essence or an actual entity it has

that actual


esse " intrinsically constituting it.

This can

also be made clear in the following marjier.

actual essence is distinguished

For, either the

ex natura rei " from existence


or not.

If not, it is clear that it has no distinct

esse "

by which it is constituted in such an actuality.

But if it is

distinguished, then the "esse" of the actual essence is dis-




n el


-Bib Bt






ex natura rel " from the


esse " of actual existence.

Herein we see that Suarez is being faithful to his initial r^

mark, at the instance of the third position, that the third

position must be so explained that a comparison is made between an actual existence which they call
exercito " and an actvial existing essence.

esse in actu

if the

Thomlsts want to do battle on this basis and distinguish really

the actual essence from actual existence they must also hold

a real distinction between the



esse actual is essentiae " and

esse actualls existentiae " and leave themselves open to

For, if these two are distinguished

an infinite regress.



natura rei " each is a

essence and "esse".

res ", and each is replete with its

Now each of these are distinguished "ex


natura rei " in the case of these

and so on to Infinity.


they in turn are



Therefore, one can only conclude that

esse " of the actual essence (esse actualls essentiae) Is


by no means distinguished

ex natura rei " from actual essence.^'''

In addition, it can be asserted that in every opinion -- first,

second or third



esse " by which actual essence is con"

stituted as such, cannot be distinct

actual essence.

ex natura rel" from the

This is Indeed interesting for It Indicates clearly what Suarez has done to the doctrinal positions opposing him
and malntinlng some .autonomous and necessary order of essence,

actually indifferent to the possession of a contingent "esse








3 njj





o v- ijfj a i;j






existent lae ".

This Is the order of a real


esse essentlae "

maintained by Henry of Ghent and his followers and the

doctrine which figures so largely In the later Thomistic teaching
on the real distinction between essence and existence.

as Suar-ez well Icnows, apart from the question of the distinction



esse essentlae " and


esse existentlae" within this

tradition, there is also the subtle problem of the distinction

between the essence and its very own


esse essentlae"


in this second proposition, is aware that these men hold that

they are really identical after the fashion of Henry of Ghent


In fact, Suarea records such a tradition in the

glossary of terms which inti-oduces his famous thiirty-first


What he has done to this tradition of

esse essentlae " is to reintegrate it within the order of

existential being from which it hed been excluded. Just as

Duns Scotus had restored the bond between icnowledge and
existential teing and their natural parallelism, severed by

Henry of Ghent's notion of the



esse essentlae"

For Scotus

Suarez knowledt;e, divine or human, again bears on the


totality of the essential as well as the existential being.

Thus, both men i^ould subject the total belnc to the efficient

causality of God*-^' but for Suarez this means that any

intrinsic order of essence within being is completely destroyed,
for, this indistinguisl^able essence is being itself for
Suax-ez as we sliall soon see.


Thus, against the first two




%-*.-. %^

is^alx es#"









c g a fja

W ^1

^3 aaag















.,VJJU. i-.<,



traditions, after reintegrating tlisir


case sssentiae" within

the order of existential being, as totally subject to creative

efficient causality, Suarez can still take advaiitage of their

original position wherein they maintain that the essence and


esse essentiae " arc really identical, v/hether the essence

It is in the name of this actual

is possible or actual.

indistinguishable, indifferent, indeterminate essence that

Suarez will reject any kind of real distinction between the

actual essence and its actual existence.
The third proposition asserts that that

esse" by

which the essence of a creature is formally constituted in the

actiAality of essence is the true

esse exlstentiae"

This is

clearly Suarez' third pirlnclple.


a stroke of his pen

It rexiains orJ.y to

encircled the eiabattled Thomists.

silence the sruall pockets of resistance.

For, the two pre-

ceding propositiona proposed by Suarez are cowanon to every


v;hether it is held that existence is distinguished

ex natura rei " from essence or net.

As to this third pro-

position, it is of course admitted and it is even asserted of

necessity by those who do net di3tir.guish existence from

actual essence, but it is more frequently denied by those who

hold the opposite, i.e. by the proponents of the real distinction.

Indeed, Suarez canr.ct see how these latter can admit

this third proposition if they speai: logically (consequenter) and are aware of their own position.



, .



Confirmation of his Third Principle

To prove this third proposition we must put Suarez'


esse acttialis essentlae " to the test to see whether It can


do everything that the

esse actualis existentiae" can do, if

not better, then just as well.


The first test to which

esse" is put, and wherein it is not found v/anting,


is that this

esse '', precisely taken, is sufficient for the

truth of this proposition of second adjacent

Therefore that


essentia est "

esse" is true existence.

By a proposition of

second adjacent mediaeval logic isms understood a proposition


the verb


est " is predicated according to itself by

which they meant to signify nothing more than that the subject

in rerun natura"



est" is not used


per se"

as a principal predicate but is joined to the principal

predicate in order to connect It to the subject.

Such a pro'

position is said to be
we put Suarez'


de tertio adjacente"

Thus, when

esse actualls essentiae" to the test of the

proposition of second adjacent

is meant than such an


essentia est" nothing more

esse" is sufficient to ground such an

existential predication.

That this consequence is clear is

manifested by the common signification and the conception of

men that the


est " of second adjacent is not absolved from


time but signifies

esse" in act


in rerum natura"

which all

understand by the name


existent la" or by

esse existentiae "

It may be that an objection can be offered to this wherein






someone v;ill say that


est" is always said truly of the actual

essence, yet not formally, on account of the actuality of

essence, nor on account of that


esse " by which it is formally

constituted in such actuality, but because it never has this


esse ", i.e.


esse essentiae " witiwut existence (existentia),


notwithstanding that this


existentia " is distinct from such


esse " or actuality of essence,


objector then would

seem to be one who distinguishes

exlsfcentiae " as

esse essentiae " and "esse

duae res"

and yet who will grant that actual

essence is formally constituted in such an actuality by the


esse essentiae ", which fulfills the first two propositions

above and is the very point that Suarez keeps pounding home,
oifever, the objector wants to say that the essence does not

have this


esse essentiae " apart from the


esse existent iae"

It is interesting to see this torn to shreds.

The counter-attack begins with the conf innation of

the antecedent of Suares' first argument in proof of his

third proposition, i,e.


Primo, quia hoc esse praecise

suraptam satis est ad veritatem hujus locutlonis de secundo


'Essentia est*... "

For, by this


esse" of actual

(esse essentiae actualis), formally and precisely


such an essence is

ens in actu" and distinguished Hence, by virtue of

from "ens in potentia ", as we have seen.


esse ", such an essence exists.

For, it is rightly


it is "ens actu"

Hence, it exists, because to

J on


J^9 .9"









be being in act (ens actu) does not diminish the order of

being which the verb

grants that this




Whence, even if Suarez

esse" of actual essence (esse essentiae

actualis) depends on a further terminus or act, as on a

necessary condition or on something of the sort,








esse actualis essentiae" will formally


constitute that essence as

ens actu'


and will distingviish it




ens in potentia "

Therefore, in virtue of that

esse "

it is said truly and absolutely to be a thing (res),

just as

an accident in virtue of its




is said to be


ens actu"

and to be absolutely, although that

esse" requires inherence

in a subject so that without it, it cannot exist naturally. So much for the objection and its autonomous order of essence.

By way of a second proof of his third proposition it

can be argued both

simpliciter ", or directly, and



ad hoininem"

The direct argument is to the effect that to this

actual essence belong all those characteristics

esse " of



accustomed to be ascribed to existence (existentiae).



ad homiuem" ai'guraent asserts that even all those features,


on account of

the authors of the first and second


position thinlc that existence is distinguished from essence, belong to this


ex natura rei "


of actual essence.


one must conclude tlmt it is the true

esse existentiae "


proof of the direct argument, namely, that all the characteristics usually ascribed to
" exist entia"

belong to his




esse actualls esaentlae"


it is noted, in the first place,

that this

esse " of actual est;ence is not eternal but temporal.


For, as we have seen above, creatures have had no real


from eternity, and so when


esse essentiae " in so far as it is


distinguished from


esse existentiae ", is said to be eternal,^

it cannot be true except of that

esse potentiale "




esse "



esse actualls essentiae ", just as it is

In the second place,

temporal so also is it true existence.


esse actualls essentiae " belongs to creatures contingently

and not necessarily, seeing that both before it came to be,

it did not have it and can, after it has it, be deprived of

But these are the conditions of existence on account of

which the men in the first two traditions think that existence
is to be distinguished from essence

ex natura rei "


essence is not said to belong to a thing contingently but

necessarily and inseparably by these latter,

(14) '

as we have

seen with respect to the second proposition above.

Thus, we

must conclude again that Suare2


esse actualls essentiae "

That is, it is real and

has all the conditions of existence.

actual, temporal and contingent and not eternal and necessary.

However, there can be an objection to the effect that

if his argumentation here is efficacious, it not only concludes

that this


esse" is existence
(15) '


also that it is distinct

from essence,^

and we would be back where we started.


reply, Suarez agrees that in the opinion of some others it is

JOfl CixS


so concluded but that according to his position it is rather

concluded that it is not rightly proved by these arguments

that existence is dlstingiiished

ex natura rel" from essence.


Of this he promises to treat more at length later.*

There is a third way in which it can be shown that


esse" has all the chai'acterlstics of

tliat it


existentia" by

pointing out

is a characteristic of this

esse " of

actual essence that it be granted to the creature by the

efficient causality of the Creator Just as

is conferred by an efficient cause.


esse existentiae"

Thus, in this also this

esse" agrees with


existentia "

And as a fourth and final

confirmation, it is said that no condition necessary for


esse existentiae" can be thought of which does net belong to




Unless, perchance, someone says, while begging

the question, that one of the conditions required for existing

is to be distinguished

ex natura rei" from actual essence.

And this would certainly be to speak absurdly, for the

conditions by


it can be known what existence is and why

it must be distinguished from essence are the very subject of

the present inquiry.

Hence, it would be a wilful begging of

the question to posit a distinction of this sort


a real

distinction, among the necessary conditions for



On the contrary, because a distinction is a

negation or a relation, it is not a condition essentially required for the "esse" of a thing, but rather, it is something







resulting from such an


esse" of a thing.

Thus, a distinction

must not be posited as one of the necessary conditions for the


esse" of a thing, neither for the



esse essentiae" nor for


esse existentiae "

But in what remains, no condition can


be thought of which constituted real "esse" in


existentiae" \*hich is net found in the

Consequently, this is true


esse actualis essentiae"


esse existentiae"

In addition to all these remarks in confirmation of

Suarez second proof of his third proposition, there is still

a third proof of that third proposition.

With respect to his

third assertion that that


esse" by which the essence of the

creature is formally constituted in the actuality of

essence, is true

esse existentiae" , evidence is had from the




r^tio" of existence itself.


esse existentia"

is nothing else than that

esse " by which some entity is

formally amd immediately constituted outside its causes and

by which it ceases to be nothing, as it begins to be something.

But this

esse" by which a thing is for-mally and immediately

constituted in the actuality of essence is of this sort and

for that reason this


esse actualis essentiae" is true



As to iThether or not the major proposition, namely, that


esse existentiae" is nothing else than that


esse " by

which some entity is formally and immediately constituted

outside its causes and by which it ceases to be nothing as it


beglns to be something, is true, remains to be seen but Suarez

claims that It is

per se not a" from the signification of the

It is also

term itself and by the common conception of all.

evident from the immediate and formal opposition, previously

mentioned, between

ens actu " and


ens in potentla


For, a

being in act (ens actu) is the same as an existing being (ens

existens), otherwise, there could be a medium between possible

being (ens possibile) and existing being (ens existens) which,

to be sure, is unintelligible for it would mean that there is a mediusn between being and non-being and thus some irreducible

order of real essence.

Therefore, that


esse" by which a being

is formally constituted in act, in Itself and outside its

causes is also the "esse" by which it is constituted as existing.


Consequently, that


esse actixalis essentiae" is true

esse existentiae " The implication here is that the proponents of the

realism of essence have maintained a twofold order within the

created being, one, the order of

ens actu " which is the


autonomous necessary order of the real essence or


essentiae ", and the other, the order of

is that of the


ens existens


esse existentiae"

It is Suarez puiTpose to

reintegrate the

by making the order of


ens actu" or

essence to be reality itself, namely,

ens existens "


method then is to destroy any order of essence within being

in order to maice his actual essence being itself.

Lsan lo


ssj^i a
r..v.>v -.i.^^v'





,',J --







In addition, that major is proved because an



of this sort, i.e.


esse actualis essentiae ", if,




posslblle vel impossroile"

out any other distinct

it is understood to endure with,


is sufficient to distinguish

the actual entity from the possible entity and consequently,

is sufficient to constitute it in a new and temporal state

which it does not have from eternity.

It is also sxifficient

for terminating the action of sm agent or to found a real

relation to an efficient cause as well as a real dependence

on one.
that an

Therefore, we must once more reach the conclusion

esse " of the sort that an

esse actualis essentiae "

and by which a thing is formally constituted in act out-

side its causes, is existence.

As far as the minor proposition is concerned,

namely, that that



by which, intrinsically and immediately,

the possible essence is understood to become actual also

constitutes the essence outside its causes or outside nothing,

we are again told that it is
cause by that


per se nota" from the terms be-

esse " the essence is something in act.


minor is also clear from the principles already posited because


have seen that the essence by this


esse actualis

essentiae" is formally constituted outside the possibility

which it has from eternity, as Suarez conceives it.

For, if

Suarez may be permitted to put it in such terras, to be

educed from possibility and to be constituted outside ones






causes, are Identical.

Nor does It matter if anyone says that this

of actual essence depends on another distinct
some others is called actual existence,^



esse " which by

It does not

matter first, because, although Suarez may admit this dependence, that

esse ", i.e.


actual Is existentia" cannot be

in the genus of formal cause or of formal terminus, intrinsically

constituting the essence in the oi*der of actual essence, which

is the case with the

esse actxmlis essentiae " which does

fonnally smd intrinsically constitute the actuality of essence.

Thus, it is this

esse" which has the true


ratio " of existence.

Moreover, with respect to the above assumption, namely,


...licet adraittamus hanc dependentiam, ilia esse non potest

in genere causae vel termini formalis intrinsece constituentis

essentiam in ratlone essentiae actualis... " we have seen its

validity when we were told that that


esse" by which essence

is constituted in the actuality of essence, cannot be distinct


ex natura rei " from the essence at the very outset of Suarez*
If therefore, that other

option for the third tradition.


esse" which by some other's is called existence is distinct

ex natura rei "


from the actuality of essence, it cannot


formally constitute the essence in such an actiiality.

if there is any dependence of actual essence on such an

existence, it will not be dependent on it as on an intrinsic

formal constituent (constitutive ) but it will be dependent on






^ -^





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/ f r-r-.


V -

%^a. ..








> -J'-





^ >.'v

ijjjs>a.s siiwi-;

Ji;j>'>i .sttn


it as on another cause or necessary condition.^ ^'


more, it does not matter, in the eecond place, if anyone aays

that this


esse" of the actual essence depends on another



esse " which by some others is called actual existence^

because if this argument were carefully pondered, it proves

that there is no such existence so distinct from the


aotualis essentiae "

^ ^v,., annihilated
4. .

With this stroke the Thomists are

(20) '

Thus, we can at once affirm that if, perci.ance, some

condition, terminus or necessary mode be given, in order that



actual essence exist, this cannot be, nor be called,

existence for Suarez but rather, subsistence or irJierence,

unless this whole controversy be reduced to a question of

words .


And this is such an important point that the whole

vrith its

question along

comprehension depends on it.


we shall see in the follovjing section that, even though the

dependence of Suarez' actual essence on a further condition,

terminus, or necessary node be gremted, thie mode is sub-

sistence and can in no way be called existence. (^^'

the role of Suarez*
in what follows.


esse" will be given further clarification


Critical Summary

can be no doubt that Suarez' "esse actualls



essentlae" fuli"'llls all the functions of the Thomistlc



existentiae "

It is tempoi^al and not eternal, it is contingent

and not necessary, it is subject to the efficient causality of the Creator, it is sufficient to ground the tnith of an

existential proposition of second adjacent, it is that by

which a being exists outside its causes and outside of nothing,

all of vfhich are characteristics of the Thoniistic


existentiae "

Thoiigh this be correct, let vn not forget that

in Che name of which it is correct. of Suarez*


For, the whole validity

are fouiided on a doctrine wherein being is

an indistinguishable, indetenoinate essence, iaipervious to any intellectual analysis 'oecause it is a doctrine of being
whose purpose is to root out

order of essence within

The paradox is

tiiat aii

order of essence within being

is declared an interloper in the name of a doctilne in which

being itself is an essence, an indeteimiriate unintelligible

stolid essence.










We have seen thus far the amazing success Suarez has

had with routing the exponents of the realism of essence, first

from the divine intellect, and then from the finite existing
creature, all in the rwime of his impenetrable contingent essence,
Fxirther, we nave seen that the

esse essentiae " of this actual

essence, really identical to it, possesses all the character-

istics usually reserved for


esse ex.istentiae " which only


bolsters Suarez* contention that this

is the true

esse actualis essentiae "

esse existentiae "

But for all this success, we

have seen at the end of the previous section that Suarez'

position is in danger of being reduced to that of his opponents,

the Thoraists and the adherents of the modal distinction.
It comes about by reason of Suarez' contention that,

though his actual essence is immediately and intrinsically


ens actu " or an existent by its


esse actualis

essentiae", there is still a dependence of this actual essence


- -f




X rw



on a necessary condition, really distinct from it, in order

that such an existent essence exist completely.

Suarez prefers

to call this necessary terminus or condition, subsistence.

His adversaries,




hoj.ding for some realism of

essence, would maintain that this necessary condition is

existence and that Suarez is doing nothing more than granting

their position, though he phrases it differently.
It will help if we could know what Suarez has in

mind when he uses the word,



Basically, sub-

sistence is a mode after the fashion of the modes mentioned

on the occasion of the modal distinction.

That is, it is

something positive which modifies the entitles to which it is

united by conferring on them something that is over and above

the complete essence as individual and as existing in nature.

Subsistence is just that, for it is mode of the existent nature

as it is existing (ut existens est) and for this reason it is a mode of existence itself.

We must understand that for

Suarez existence merely posits an essence or nature outside its

As such it is still apt to be

in se " or


per se ", as

he says.

It is subsistence then which actually terminates


this aptitude and formally constitutes the existent

in modo

per se essendi "

Note subsistence does not forroally con"

stitute the actual essence as an existent, Suarez'


esse " does

Rather, subsistence formally constitutes the actvial


essence as a

per se " existent, sufficient to itself for

R no






ic T









intrinslcally sustaining its own


esse" and incapable of a

union to a foreign subsistence which would sustain it in its


esse "

(2) '

In view of this we must realize that Suarez, in

disputing the question of the distinction of the actual essence

and its actual existence, is concerned with existence

absolutely taken, as well as with essence absolutely taken,

and not about essence and existence determined by a substantial
mode, such as subsistence, to be

per se" . Just as Vazquez

maintained with respect to the text of Soto cited for the

modal distinction.

For these men the latter question is

another problem altogether.

With respect to Suarez' opponents, it is not too

difficult to see why they would think Suarez actually grants

their position.

For, like themselves, Suarez holds for a


real order of essence intrinsically constituted by an


eseentiae " and, like themselves, Suarez maintains that this

real order of essence, though real and actual, still depends

upon a necessary condition for its full complete autonomous

existence as a real being.
What could be more parallel, the

only difference being that one tradition calls this necessary



existentia" and the other calls it


subsistentia "

Indeed, Suarez would even seem to maintain the twofold order

characteristic of his opponents, the order of

and the order of


ens in actu"

exlstens in actu" which would be all the

more reason to think that the dispute is merely over words.

J ,;^






JO J.-.%








However, Suarez does not see it this way as was indicated at

the close of the previous section. the concern of our present analysis.
The reason why will be


Comparison of Existence and Subsistence

The discussion can at least open on a note of

common agreement by noting that for both paj?ties to this dispute,


existentia" is that by which a thing is formally and

immediately an existent in act (est actu existens).

The Thoraists
In this

would certainly not deny this and Suarez knows it.

matter of being a formal constituent, existence is much like

a formal cause and yet Suarez realizes that properly and

strictly (In rigore) it is not a formal cause. ^^'
In this,

existence is like subsistence or personality, a particular

example of a substantial mode, which are not formal causes in
the strict sense, for, just as existence is the intrinsic

formal constituent of the existent being, so subsistence or

personality is the intrinsic formal constituent of a person

as a subsisting existent.

But on the basis of his notion of

subsistence as a termination of existence, Suarez cannot say

that personality formally constitutes the existent being, as

we have seen.

There, then, exists this parallel between

existence with respect to the existent and personality with

respect to person or subsistence with respect to the substantial





existent whether there is a composition present in each case

or not


It is interesting to note that Suarez has very

carefully chosen the word to express this iinion between an

existent or a subsistent and its intrinsic formal constituent.
He prefeis to call it a

constitutlo " rather than a


compositio ">

a word which, in the theological and philosophical sphere of his day, need not imply a composition^"^' in the sense of a

union of really distinct entities.

As we shall see. Just as

it would seem more proper to talk of St. Thomas' doctrine of

essence and existence as a real composition, so it will be more

proper to speak of Suarez* position as the real constitution

of essence and existence.

However this may be, Suarez maintains that this

intrinsic constituent of the existent being as it is signified

by the one word,


existent la" , which all grsuit, is nothing

more than existing as such (existens ut sic) or the existent

as such,

de facti' here and now existing, for they are one and

the same for Suarez.


But even as expressed by this phrase

existens ut sic " it still remains equally obscure what this

quasi formal constituent and Suarez himself is only too ready

to admit it. He is here groping for the correct character-

ization of existence within his metaphysics of actual essence.

He knows its function, namely, it intrinsically and formally

constitutes something as existent, and he is aware that it is




ow a







llke a fonnal cause and yet Is not a formal cause.

But what

existence is escapes


very likely because his is a meta-

physics of an actual essence which has lost its metaphysical

dimension. We shall see more of this later.
In any case, though whatever this constituent may

be escapes him, Suarez is still certain that the existent being

as such (existens ut sic) is formally constituted by existence

alone and depends on it alone, as on a formal cause.


this in no way means that, in other ways and in other genera

of causes, the existent thing does not depend on other things

in its actual existence.

On the


it does and the

reason for Suarez' insistance on it and his plea for its careful consideration is that some Thomists of his day seem not

to have been aware of this or to have pretended that it was

not so.

And what better way to prove this point than to

catalogue the other ways and the other genera
of causes in

which the actual essence depends on other things in its actxoal

For, this additional dependence of the actxoal

essence is at once evident in the position of the Thomists


For example, in such a position existence and


essence are distinct

ex natura rei " as two



and if an

existing being is composed of these as of act and potency,

as the Thomists would admit, it is necessary then, that that

composite intrinsically depend, in the oixler of existing being.


bna onoLa






both on the entity of essence and on the entity of existence,

on the latter formally but on the former materially.
Thus, we

see that it is necessary that the very entity of existence de-

pends on the entity of essence in the genus of material cause

Just as essence depends on existence in the genus of formal

For the life of him, Suarez cannot see how these

Thoraists can restrain themselves from holding that existence

is properly a form since in his eyes their real distinction

between essence and existence looks like the distinction between

form and matter in disguise in the same way that John of Jandxm
and Augustlnus Niphus reduced this distinction to that of

matter and form.


Indeed, these Thomists would seem to en-

dow the essence with some entitative act as we have seen in

the discussion of

ens in potentia " with respect to Suarez*

second principle. Just as for Suarez prime matter possesses

an entitative act.

But in both instances these entitative

acts are in potency to formal acts, existence and substantial



Nor is this the only way in which the actual essence

in Its existence is dependent on other things besides existence.

In every position it is necessary that the existence

of a created thing depends on the existence of another thing,

at least in the genus of efficient cause, wherein the existence

of the created thing depends on the prior existence of the


But if the existing created thing is imperfect or

incomplete in the genus of being, it is necessary that the











.i) ^



a J. A=> &;












^Ci -3v/i/l


whole actual entity, and even the existence of such a thing

depend on another, either as on a subject or as on a sustaining
force (vel tanquara a sustentarte), or as on a union with another,

or as on the ultimate term of a complete entity.

For example, the humanity of Christ and his created

existence depend on the VIord as on a support (sustentante),

on the Incarnation as on a union by which it is joined to

So also the humanity of Peter and his existence

the Word,

depend on subsistence as on

ultimate teim completing a

substsmce, just as also the line, however it may be conceived

as existing in act, can be said to depend on a point as on its

which completes it.

Yet, in case these examples will not

be granted by all of the positions on the distinction between

essence and


esse ", there is one example which is in-

controvertible, no matter what stand is taken on the distinction

of essence and



It is the case of accidental form which

carries with itself its own existence.

For this existence

naturally depends on a subject, as on a material cause, and

on a union to or inherence in a subject as on a mode through
^^' whose mediation it is supported (sustentatur) by the subject,

There is even something more certain than the above example of

accidental form in the case of the substantial material form

which carries with itself its own existence, yet, nevertheless,

this existence naturally depends on matter as on a material





Apart from these individual instances there is a

more general argument to the effect that the whole actual

entity of a creature and even its existence depend on another,

because every being which is Imperfect and Incomplete in its

own order, can depend on another being, either as on an

intrinsic cause or as on an extrinsic cause in so far as it
has been accommodated to its nature.

For this involves no

repugnance and, in any case, is proper to the imperfection of

such a being.
Thus, if it is easily admitted by all in the

case of the entity of actual essence, and without controversy,

Suarez can see no reason why it should be denied in the case

of the entity of existence, since that also can be imperfect

and too weak to sustain (ad se sustentandum) itself as is

made clear in the case of every existence of an accident.

This constitutes Suarez plea for subsistence.

By way of conclusion from these arguments and remarks

we can say that actxial essence as such, even if it includes

esse existentiae " in its intrinsic and formal



as we

have seen it does, still can naturally demand another ulterior

term, mode or union in order to exist

in rerum natura"

either simply or in a connatural way.

This obviously follows

from the previous argumentation and is confirmed by the


Herein lies the source and origin of the question

alluded to at the end of the previous section, upon whose

resolution the whole thirty-first Disputation and its teaching










on the distinction between essence



esse " depend, for some

say that, even if the essence is a true, actual being by its

own real


esse essentiae"

it still needs smother additional

distinct actuality in order to be able to exist j and this they

call existence.^

And between this


esse essentiae " and

esse existent iae " these men affirm a real distinction.



here on in it will be S\Aarez

esse essentiae " versus the




esse essentiae'


as well as Suarez'

sub si stent ia "

as opposed to the Thomistic

esse existentiae"

From what we have seen of Suarez thus far, we might

almost guess his reply to this Thomistic challenge.

the Thomists notwithstanding, it must be said that the real

and actual essence can in fact naturally demand a mode of

subsisting or inliering in order to exist, but that this mode

or additional term is by no means the existence of that real

and actual essence.
In addition, it must be said that another,

besides these modes or terms, cannot be thoiight of which is

both distinct


ex natura rei " from the actxial essence and is

its true existence.

In behalf of this contention that the mode of sub-

sisting or inhering is not the existence or


esse existentiae"

of that real and actual essence constituted as real and actual

by an


esse essentiae "

'we need only run through


singiilar essences and their modes, beginning with the more

evident examples.

First, the accidental form, in addition to




J -.

' -/s^


~>j-j'-. v'.<xJD









the actual entity essential to It, includes an actual union or

inherence in a subject, and this union or inherence, the

mystery of the Eucharist has fully revealed to be distinct


ex natura rei" from the entity of accidental form, for in this

theological instance the actual iniierence is separated and

destroyed while the entity of the accident is conserved, just

as also the same mystery shows the same actual inherence to be

outside the essence of the accident,


For Suarez, this

inb^rence is not the 'esse existent iae" of an accident and he

incredulously asks who has ever said such a thing.

But if the

Thoraists persist in saying subsistence or inherence is existence

they must hold such a position.

of the altar, a new

To be sure, in the sacrament

esse existentiae" is not created by which

the consecrated accidents exist, as almost all the Theologians of Suarez' day taught, the fifth Thomistic argument and Cajetan



Thus, Sviarez* position is that the

consecrated accidents retain the existence which they had in

the bread and wine and do not retain the inherence.


he can Justly conclude that the inherence is not the existence of an accident but a certain mode of it, by which mediant that
existence naturally depends on, and is conserved by its subject.

This dependence is sujaLied by

Moreover, it is the same case,


in the separated accident.

mutatis mutandis" in the instemce

of material form in respect to matter and in the instance of

matter in regard to form as we


already seen.^

(Ik) '

^ OB







I'^f, f




w LB



Over and above the essence of accidents and the essence of

matter and of material form there Is the question of the substantial nature or essence.
For, the substantial nature which



per se ". In addition to the actxial entity of essence.

Includes a certain ultimate terra by which the actual entity

of essence subsists positively, contrary to the opinion of

Scotus and others.

Now then, it Is such a


terra as this

which Suarez supposes to be distinct

ex natura rel " from the

actual entity of the whole nature or of the substantial

Likewise, he denies that this term is existence,

but it is rather, the subsistence of the nature or of the

supposlt, the subslstent Individual.


And though this

would seem to establish once and for all the barrier of

opposition between Suarez and these Thomists we find a rather
surprising admission on Suarez' part when he remarks that,

although there are some who speak in such a way that they call
this term or this subsistence

substantial existence, they

can only differ from him in a manner of speaking since substantial existence would seem to be nothing more than what

subsistence amounts to for Suarez.

in mind a man such as Capreolus.

It would seem that he has

However, as if sensing

he may have granted too much, Suarez adds that it still can

be a real difference and if the difference is ore/ in voce " they

do not speak correctly.

The Justification for asserting this

real difference and this incorrect formulation remains to be













3a oj















That it can be a real difference is clear, for, if

such men as Capreolus call subsistence, the existence, because

they truly think that the substantial essence, is first and formally constituted in the

esse" of


ens in actu" and dis-

tinguished from


ens possibile " by the subsistence as such,

it is plainly false, as even the Thomists more frequently

think in the family quarrel between Capreolus, at least on one

side, and at least Cajetan and Ferrara on the other. '^"'

this is obvious from what has preceded for we have


seen that that

esse " by which an essence is first and formally

constituted within the latitude of being in act and dis-

tinguished from possible essence, cannot be something



natura rei " distinct from the actual entity of essence.

Hence, this formal constitution of the essence in the order of

ens in actu " cannot be the formal effect of subsistence since,


for Suarez, subsistence is distinct

actual essence.

ex natura rei " from the

It is the same problem we met at the instance

of the third position, namely, that a thing cannot be

intrinsically and formally constituted in the order of real

and actual being by something else distinct from it, because

by the very fact that one is distinguished from the other, as

being from being (tanquam ens ab ente), each is a being as
contra-distinguished from the other, and as a consequence one
is not a being formally and intrinsically in virtue of the


Furthermore, Just as this mode of subsistence is








distlnct from the entity of essence, so the entity of essence

can be conserved when such a mode as subsistence Is destroyed,

then It retains that whole Intrinsic


esse" by v^lch it

Is constituted in such an actuality or actual entity.

On this

basis, we must conclude that the entity of essence Is not

constituted formally and Intrinsically In that actuality by

subsistence. Lest the antecedent of this last argument, namely,

slcut hie modus est dlstlnctus, ab entltate essentlae, ita

potest entitas essentlae conservarl destructo tall modo, et

tunc retlnet tbtum lllud, esse intrlnsecum, quo constituitur In tali actualltate seu entltate actuall ", go unfounded, it

can be supported by the mystery of the Incarnation as well as

by Suarez* position on nature and subsistence.^

to the antecedent, the


In addition

nexus of the argumentation is demonstrated,

first, because a constitute canrcb be conserved numerically

the same when the intrinsic


formal constituent is destroyed,

just as the same person cannot remain when personality which

we have seen to be an intrinsic and formal, is removed, even

if the same nature remains,
Is by way of an exeimple of an

A second indication of the nexus


a slmlll " argiAmentatlon from

the similarity between the substantial essence in relation to

subsistence or its substantial mode, and the accidental essence

In relation to inherence.
For, we have seen that the formal

constituent of an accident in the order cf "ens In actu" Is not




r -











inherence, because when Inherence Is removed, an accident is

conserved nvimerlcally the same in the order of


ens in actu "

It is the same case with the actual essence in respect to

subsistence and therefore, in this sense, the mode of sub-

sisting cannot be truly said to be the

the substantial nature.


esse existentiae" of

this real difference amounts to

in the case of those Thomlsts who call subsistence




make existence a substantial mode is that they maintain

that something is formally and intrinsically constituted as an

actual being by something else really distinct from it which

to Suarez* mind is an utter absurdity because a real distinction

for him means that each extreme Is an


ens" in its own right For, if

and in no way is one a being in virtue of the other.

ens " means an actual essence for him wherever there is an

essence, actual or possible, there will be an


ens " whose

structure is such that existence designates nothing more than

the fact that it exists.

This is to say nothing more than

that half-way house of essential actuality proposed by his

opponents must not be allowed to slip the bonds of an

intrinsically contingent existence.

But what of the other group of Thomists who seem to

differ only


in voce" from Suarez and yet do not speak

Indeed, if the controversial position on subsistence

and existence is interpreted in another sense, one could say

that subsistence is the "esse existentiae" of the substantial




al boM






nature because the actual entity of the substantial essence

cannot exist

in rerum natura " without such a mode and for


this reason, that

esse" by which the essence is intrinsically





is not called


esse existentiae "


esse essentiae


For, by itself, this

esse essentiae "

does not suffice for constituting the existing thing, yet it does suffice for constituting the essence of the thing.


is why in this position, the term or mode of subsistence is



esse existentiae " because it completes the entity of

the thing and when this has been posited, it suffices that the

thing exists.

It is this manner of speaking which is

diverse from Suarez' position in the use of terms only for,

unlike the first interpretation of the 'Biomistic substitution

of existence for subsistence

which held that the substantial


essence first and formally is constituted in the

esse" of

being in act and distinguished from


ens possibile" by sub-

sistence as such, the second interpretation holds that the


esse" by which the essence is intrinsically constituted




in actu " is not subsistence nor existence or

esse existentiae"

but is rather an


esse essentiae "

And well might Suarez say


that this is the very point he is upholding, for his


essentiae", as we have seen, performs the same function as

this Thomistic usage of


esse essentiae"

For, the whole

solution in a nutshell is this

that in created beings, be-

sides the actual entity of essence and the mode of existing





^ i..i\J


^J ! i^














per se " or in another, there is imagined no other




existentiae " distinct

ex natura rei " from the actual entity


of essence and from the mode of existing

per se" or inhering

in another all of which this second position of the Thomists

on existence and subsistence would seem to concede to Suarez

when explained in this second sense.


Yet, for all this

agreement Ke must insist that that manner of speaking is

especially \insatisfactory to Siiarez on four scores.

The first is the abuse of terms, since by


existentiae" no one imderstands all that without which the

actual entity^
(22) '

of the thing

cannot be conserved, but rather

they understand that by which an entity of this sort is formally

constituted in the order of

ens in actu " and outside its

Thus, though there is agreement with this second in"

terpretation on the function of

interpretation of

esse essentiae ", Suarez* own

esse essentiae" as the true existence will

not allow him to agree further.

Both agree that



essentiae" intrinsically amd formally constitutes the essence

in the order of

ens in actu" and for Suarez this actual

essence is the existing thing; for these Thomists this actual

essence is not the existing thing but its essence awaiting an

esse existentiae " to constitute with it the existing thing.

Hence, for Suarez, although the actiial entity of the substeuitial

essence cauinot be without subsistence, a statement which agrees

with, yet corrects, those who had said that "esse existentiae"



.; ^ji-a.

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jjiu^-a ..yvu.'



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juj:;jJU^_ ji-^






Is all that without which the actual entity of the thing cannot

be conserved, and If the actual entity of the substantial

essence in virtue of subsistence does not formally exist outside its causes

if all this is so, one must conclude that

the actual entity of the substantial essence cemnot be said to exist by subsistence, and consequently Suarez must conclude
that it cauinot be called existence.

Because Suarez holds that



esse essentiae" constitutes the existing thing and not

just the essence of the existing thing, as the Thoraists would

say, he cannot appreciate the position that an

esse essentiae "

formally and intrinsically constitutes the essence outside its

causes and that an

esse existentiae " formally constitutes the

existing thing outside its causes for this again would leave
intact an autonomous order of essence within being and some-

thing not subject to the efficient causality of the Creator.

Furthermore, this

of speaking is found

especially displeasing because otherwise, the subject of an

accident would have to be called the existence of an accident
since without the subject the accident cannot exist naturally,
if it is Just to interpret these men of the second interpretation
to also say that existence is that on which an actual essence

depends for its natural existence as on a necessary condition

and thus, since the actual essence of an accidental form depends for its natural existence on its subject, the subject
is its existence.

Then, on this basis, matter could even be



called the existence of the form which depends on matter to

exist and fonn could be called the existence of matter for the
same reason.

And further if these men speaJc logically

consequent er), it would seem in keeping with their position

to call the actual essence, the existence of its subsistence

because subsistence cannot exist without the nature which it

terminates and on which it depends.
Consequently, if all

these absurdities must be denied, only because that dependence

in existing is not as on a formal constituent of the actual
entity, by the same reason it must be denied that subsistence
is the existence of that nature which it terminates for the

nature does not depend on it as a fonnal constituent as we have


By holding that


esse essentiae" as the formal

constituent of the actual essence is the formal constituent

of the existing thing, Suarez cannot appreciate his adversaries
who hold that the

esse essentiae " formally constitutes the

essence of the existing thing but that the formal constitution

of the existing thing depends in its actual existence on an

esse existent iae " for this latter position entails an essence

which is but does not exist.

Thirdly, this manner of speaking is displeasing
because, at least supematurally, the existing nature is

conserved when the proper subsistence is removed, as is clear

in the mystery of the Incarnation.

But if, by way of objection,

someone will say that the nature is in fact conserved without





lo ^n9u;ti^8noo





^uf^ rtrf

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proper existence but still not without any existence which

fills in for the proper existence and this supplementary

existence can also be called


existentia naturae" , it must be


made clear that the following points are against it.

at present it is under controversy whether a created nature

can be conserved without any subsistence, proper as well as

extraneous (allena)

and Cajetan with others maintains it

can and it is probable in view of what Suarez will say elsewhere.


What else is also against it is the fact that

when the proper subsistence is removed, although another is

substituted in its place, the nature always remains numerically
the same in the order of such an existing entity, which could

not be the case if it were formally existing in virtue of subsistence, for


the formal constitutent is varied, the

constitute must be varied, as we have seen.

Fourthly, and finally, this manner of speaking is

unsatisfactory because subsistence is so related to the substantial nature as inherence is related to the accidental

nature on the basis of the previous parallelism.

se", the substantial mode smd




in alio ", the accidental mode

when taken proportionally, are mutually opposed, and have to

do in their way with the same divided genus.

Just as

actual inherence is a mode of existing nature, so actual

perselty which is proper subsistence is a mode of existing

Hence, subsistence cannot be correctly called the






9<i ttso









existence of the nature.

Nor does Suarez see by what reason

those men are motivated who say that subsistence is existence

in the second sense above, except to defend at least in words
that existence is distinguished

ex natura rel " from essence,

since in reality they are thus thinking only of subsistence.

If the first interpretation of the Thomists who say

subsistence is existence was rejected by Suarez because some-

thing cannot be intrinsically constituted as an actual being

by something really distinct from it, the second interpretation

of this position is rejected because though maintaining an

esse essentiae " which constitutes the essence as


ens in actu ",

it does not constitute it as an existent.

For these men this

actual essence is but does not exist or is not an existent

apart from an

esse existentiae "

The first interpretation

of these Thomists at least had the virtue of holding that

existence constitutes the essence as an existent even if they

did err by maintaining the real distinction between them. The second interpretation has the virtue of maintaining the
same number of principles as Suarez' position, i.e. besides

the actual entity of essence and the mode of existing


per se"

or in another both agree that there is no other


esse existentiae "

really distinct from that actual essence and its substantial

or accidental mode, but the


esse essentiae " of Suarez

opponents is not an existential principle or constituent which

is unacceptable because it leaves some essential entity






intrinsically indifferent to existential actuality in

contradiction to S\iarez' contention.

Basically, both positions

are untenable because each holds for a real distinction within the actual existent

essence of the


esse essentiae " and the

esse exlstentiae "

For Suarez, this actual existent essence


is indistinct and Indistinguishable because

esse essentiae "

is existence for hira and is really Identical to the actual


However, if it is a question of the subslstent

essence, i.e. the actual essence plus subsistence,


readily agrees there Is a real distinction in this order, be-

tween the actual essence or nature and its substantial mode

for this in no way violates the impenetrability of his

actual essence. To insure his victory, Suarez has only to show that,
in addition to his actual entity of essence and that


by which it is constituted in this entity of essence which is

not really distinct from this

esse ", and in addition to the


mode of subsistence or Inherence, there is not any other


exlstentiae " really distinct from these.


And the

sufficient proof of this truth is because every other real

entity or mode is superfluous and confected without foundation.

Why then must it be multiplied?

There can be no doubt that the above antecedent,

praeter actualem entltatem essentiae, et illud esse quo

in ea constltultur, quodque ab ipsa in re non dlstlnguitur.



nt al









et praeter modvua subslstentlae vel Inhaerentiae^non dari

allud esse exlstentlae ex natura rel dlstlnctian ab his " , is clear because the arguments which are offered to prove a distinct

existence of this sort either are valid only for subsistence in

the substantial nature

for iniierence in the accidental

nature^ or they are altogether ineffectual because they suppose,

Suarez knows not what etenml



esse essentiae " of the creatur-e,

In addition, those argiunents

is triily nothing at all.

would equally prove that the actual and teniporal

essentiae " is distinguished
of the creature.


ex natura rei " from the essence

And as we might expect, for Suarez, no one can

assert this who even slightly grasps what these words signify.

That from these arguments an entity or mode distinct


ex natura rei" from subsistence or inherence and from the

esse actualis essentiae " as well as from the actual entity


of the essence, is proven to be superfluous, is indicated first,

because if there


any necessity or utility for it, it would


be declared and supported by some probable argiment.

it is not at all clear what the formal effect of such an

entity or mode is for which it was conferred by nature or by

It cannot be in order that the essence become an actual

being and be constituted outside its causes for, as Sioarez has

shown, it has this formally by the

esse essentiae actuale ",

nor even can it be in order that the entity of the essence in

act be

per se " or


in alio" for the entity of the essence in







8i SI


act has these modes of being in virtue of subsistence or


Thus, Suarez may well ask what does another

existence confer?
At this point, however, there is a possible objection

wherein someone will answer Sua3?ez query as to what another

existence confers and reply that this other existence confers

existere " or formally constitutes the essence, not in the


order of essence which is the function of the

esse essentiae" ,

but in the order of existing in keeping with previous objections

against Suarez.

But to Suarez who has insisted time and again

that the foimal constitution of the essence in the order of

essence is its formal constitution in the order of existing

as well, this position tal<en by his adversary can only appear
as a begging of the question and a tautology.

For the very


point of the investigation here is to find out what

adds to

existere "

esse actuale " outside Its causes, already communicated

by the causality of an efficient cause and by which essence

is truly constituted in the order of

ens in actu ", since the

supposition is that it is not a discussion of subsistence or

adds to

In other words, Suarez wants to know what


existens "

ens in actu" outside its causes, on the supposition


that it does not add

esse subsistens " or


esse inhaerens "


Thus, \inlike his adversaries who distinguish between

actu", or the order of actual essence, emd

ens in

existens ", or the


order of the existent thing, which tradition is found




clearly in Giles of Rome,

^' Suarez can

only conclude that,


because no real order, distinct from the order of

actu" and the order cf
actu" and
" " "

ens in

exist ens " can be conceived,

ens in

exist ens" signify the same thing and the same formal


Since there is no distinction between these two

orders, as the opponents of the real distinction would maintain,

there cannot be imagined an



esse existentiae" distinct from

esse" by which each thing is constituted in the actuality

of its essence. Not only is such an entity superfluous but it can

also be inferred from these arguments that the entity of an

existence of this sort, distinct in the way mentioned, is

plainly impossible.

This is at once evident because this

entity is not posited as added from without (extrinsecus) by


for some greater perfection of things, but it is posited

as connatural and due as altogether necessary in oixier that

things exist outside their causes.

Hence, if it is not

necessary, as Suarez has shown, then it is not even possible

in this way because nature, for Suarez, does not desire or

demand what is superfluous.

Secondly, it is impossible "a

priori " , because where there is no foiroal effect or where a

formal effect is not possible, the form itself is not possible.

And here is an instance where there is no formal effect which

such an entity can grant, which is easily shown from what has

been said.

For, neither "ens actu" nor "esse in se" or


oys? "








esse In alio " can foiroally proceed from such an




besides these formal effects Suarez says none can be thought

of which belong to created being as it is



ens creatum et

It is in this matter of the formal effect that

Suarez discerns the obvious difference between subsistence

and that existence which is thought to be distinct from the

actual essence.
For, Suarez can easily indicate the formal

effect of subsistence and say why it is necessary since it is

not posited to constitute the substantial nature in the order

ens in actu " but rather, it is posited to so complete


terminate the entity of the substantial nature and render it

thus existing

in se " and


per se " and as sufficient to itself


for intrinsically sustaining its own

esse ", that the sub-

stantial nature is rendered incapable of an extraneous

subsistence or of a union to a foreign subsistence which would

sustain it in its


esse ".

Then too, on the other hand, the

quasi formal effect which inherence has in the case of the

essence of the accidental fona is easily shown, for its
fvinction is not to constitute the essence of the accidental

form in the order of


ens in actu" but to unite it to another

by which it is supported.
As to the foiroal effect of existence, Suarez insists

that it cannot be said what formal effect existence has on

essence except to constitute it in the order of "ens in actu"




but, still, this cannot be the formal and intrinsic effect of

an existence which is an entity distinct from the very being or essence which it constitutes in act, as we
iiave seen.


this reason Suarez can only say that the mode which is sub-

sistence or inherence, distinct


ex natura rei" from the actual

essence, is easily grasped, but that such is not the case with

that superfluous mode which is existence and which is dis-

tinguished both from subsistence or inherence as from the

act\ial essence.

Again, someone may object that this whole reasoning

process of Suarez' is seen to suppose that the total actuality

of the essence formally proceeds from existence which is

reminiscent of Suarez' charge versus the Thomists, a contention

which is false in the eyes of the objector because within the

latitude of essence and apart from any relation to existence,

an inferior grade is actviality with respect to a superior

grade ^

and form is actuality in respect to matter, not by

reason of existence but by the entity of essence, although

existence is the

conditio sine qua non " to act\iate that


And the falsity of this argument of Suarez' Is made more

manifest for

man is, is one thing (aliud est hominen esse)

man is rational, or

man is an


is another.

It has the first from existence, it has the second from the

entity of essence and in each their actuality is proportionate.

Indeed, the discerning eye of this objector sees Sioarez*





to nORJM'l


position for what it is

to this adversary Suarez is refusing

that half-way liouse of essential actuality between non-being

and the completely existent thing and Is holding that the total
actuality of essence springs from existence.
Let it be noted at once that the position of the

objector bears the marks of its lineage, for it is sprung from

two-kinds-of -nothing theory of Capreolus and Henry of Ghent,
which is confirmed for us by his recourse to a comparison between existential and essential predication, just as in
Capreolus, to make his point on essence and



Suarez' stand that the total actuality of essence comes from



this adversary proceeds to show an order of actuality


apart from any relation to distinction.


esse " in order to prove the real


It is this order of actuality apart from


esse "

is the

bte noire" as far as Suarez is concerned.

The reply begins by noting there is an error of

equivocation in the use of the

actualitas" or




device we have seen Suarez use to good effect before.

it can be tsiken either as it is opposed to objective potency

or as it regards inceptive potency.

As we should have learned

to expect from our discussion of his second principle, Suarez

speaks of actuality in the first sense, according to which it

is most true that every actuality of being intrinsically and

formally proceeds from an


esse existent iae" because


ens actu"

is formally the same as "exist ens" for him.

He thus wipes out



\j ..








the possibility of any order of actuality apart from



However, it is Suarez^ contention that the objector makes use



actualitas " or


actus" in the second sense, as it is related

to a receptive potency, which would keep intact the distinction


the order of essence and the order of existence.

And whereas the objector had stated that form is actuality

with respect to matter, not by reason of existence, but by the

entity of essence and in virtue of an

esse essentiae ", though

existence must actuate this form, Suarez insists against the

objector, whom he interprets as taking actuality as it is re-

lated to a receptive potency, that form is the actuality of

matter as an act received in it and not just as an act in

aptitude to be received in matter.
Thus, this is no argument

for a real distinction for form is not an act apart from matter

or apart from existing as the form of matter.

In answer to

the objector's stand that within the latitude of essence a

superior grade is actuality with respect to an inferior, Suarez

states that specific difference is the act of a genus only

according to reason because it is conceived as if it is received in a genus, for between a superior and inferior grade
there cannot be a real relation of act and potency since "in
re" these grades are not actually distinguished.

Thus, the

objector cannot use this to prove his real distinction.

ever, it must be explained that


actualitas " taken in the

first sense, as it is opposed to objective potency, or the








Q 0$







it .T9V3


entltative actuality as Siiarez calls it, is so compared to


actus" talcen in the second sense as related to a receptive

potency, or as Sviarez calls it, formal act, after the fashion

of Scotus and Henry of Ghent,


that at one time they are

really distinguished and at another time they are only dis-

tinguished in reason.

For, that entitative actuality is

trsuiscendent and is participated not only by the formal act

but also by the receptive potency, i.e. matter whose entitative

actuality is really distinguished from the actuality of


that Is matter and form are ideally distinct as an entitative

act is really distinct from a formal act.

But in the form

alone, to be the act of matter, even aptitudlnally, and to

be such an


ens actu" . I.e. a form, are only distinguished in

reason because by the one concept of its function as formal

act, i.e. to be the act of matter, the proper relation to a

receptive potency is explained which is not explained by the

other concept of it as an entitative act\aality, i.e. to be a


The importance of this objection and its reply is

such that we must not miss Suarez* point. He interprets his

adversaries' purpose is to show that there is an order of

actuality within the latitude of essence and apart from any

relation to


This is directly opposite to Suarez*

position that every actuality, in no matter what order, must

come from a relation to "esse"

Stiarez deftly disposes of his

a Bi



J8 r











adversaries' argument fixjm the levels of the Porphyrlan tree.

I.e. genus and species, but his opponents argument from matter

and form is more troublesome to handle, he finds.

He first

corrects his objector's statement of that relationship.


the objector had said that form is the actuality of matter in the order of essence in virtue of its entity of essence and

apart from any relation to existence, though existence was

needed to actuate this form, and thus concludes that form is

the actuality of matter aptitudinally tho\igh not in act, Suarez

corrects him and says that form is the actuality of matter not

aptitudinally, but as an act, in fact, here and now, received

in it.

This could sound like Suarez is denying a real dis-

tinction between matter and form so Suarez qualifies and makes

precise his stand by asserting that between the entitative

actuality or his


esse" and the formal act there can be a real

distinction at one time and a distinction of reason at another.

The real distinction between them is instanced by that between

matter and form for the entitative actuality of matter is

really distinguished from the entitative actuality of the
fonnal act.

For both formal act as well as the receptive

latency which is matter, participate in the entitative act

which is Suarez*


esse" and this form is not distinct from

matter apart from existence.

But now that he has saved the

real distinction between matter and foim by moving it to the

order of entitative actuality in opposition to his adversary












\ Ai'-rNrf'^in




who placed it in the order of essential actuality, Siiarez


answer his adversary's charge directly and show that there Is

no order of actuality proper to the form apart from


This he does by arguing again from the order of entltatlve

actuality which in this case is that of form, and notes that

the two concepts of that entltatlve actuality which is form
one, as it is a formal act

to be the act of matter, and the

other merely of its entltatlve actuality

to be a form,
For, denying

signify the same reality here and now existing.

that order of essence apari: f3?om existence, admitted by his

opponent Suarez can only interpret his adversaries position to

reside in the conceptual order and to be a comparison between
the two concepts

to be the act of matter and to be a form,

Thus, between

of one and the same actual entity, namely, form.

these two there csm only be a distinction of reason and no

real distinction as the objector wished to allege.

Whence, Suarez can conclude that not only is it

true that


ens in actu" as contradistinguished from


ens in

potentla " is formally and intrinsically constituted by an


esse existent lae " as he has maintained all along, but it is

also true that every formal actuality or rather actuation, if

he may say so, in so far it comes from some partially s^ctual
essence, to that extent it comes from some existence.

form does not actuate matter except as it is such an actual

entity, i.e. form, which it has in virtue of its own






V. -J


nl i>l8c









at il BB


Bad il



exlstentlae "

To confirm this point, Suarez answers the

opponents argvuaent from existential and essential predication

based on the twofold order of


esse essentlae" and




exist entiae" by denying that order of

esse essentiae " as he

has constantly done and by basing both types of predication

on the


esse existentiae "

This is consonant with his position

Thus, he

that there is an efficient cause of the essence.

replies that these are really identical




homo est" 3 and,


homo est homo ", if in each proposition the

est " signifies


act, and not an aptitude to act, and the

est " is not the


of the truth of proposition.

Likewise, Suarez asserts these

are really identical


homo est homo, homo est rationalis,

homo est animal" etc. because all these are the same in reality.
Wherefore, from the same actuality and fix>m the same thing (res)
all these predicates are taken whether that thing (res) is

called actual essence or its actual


esse" and all these are

distinguished only by the precisions and compositions of reason.

Such is the impenetrability of the Suarezian actual essence.
Consequently, in one thing there is not but one
of two by which it is constituted


esse " instead

ens in actu ", and that very

esse" is


esse existentiae ".

Suarez' principles are now established and confirmed

to the extent that he feels confident in excluding outright

both the


and modal distinctions between essence and



and even In criticizing some positions holding the distinction










of reason.

But before t2?eating of this, let us recapitulate

by way of summary the broad outlines of this previous



Critical Summary
It is Suarez intention to show that no other

esse "

than his


esse actualis essentiae " is given in order that the

actual essence exist.

To do so he must fight the proponents


of the realism of essence who hold for the twofold




esse essentiae"


esse existent iae"

whereby the

thing exists,

Suares meets this doctrine in three forms after

he has made it clear that the actual essence, thouch forroally

constituted as


ens in actu et existens ", can depend on another

for its complete autonoraous existence.

is subsistence.

For Suares, this other

Thus, his first encounter is with those who

say that this subsistence is existence which formally constitutes

the substantial essence in the

esse " of


ens in actu "


position has the initial advantage of seeming to exclude the

half-way house of essential actuality apart from

esse " but it

must be rejected because it holds that this existence-subsistence

is distinct

ex natura rei " from the substantial essence and in


so doins, reaffirms an essential actuality apart from


As we have seen, for Suarez this


only mean each is an


in its own right and thus one cannot formally constitute the



e;;i -sex


other as existent.

His next encounter is with those who also

say subsistence is existence but who explicitly maintain a

half-way house of essential actuality^ formally constituted

as an

ens in aotu" by


esse essentiae"

and yet make it

dependent on

esse existentiae " for its complete existence

much the same as Suarez* actual essence depends on subsistence.

This has the virtue of formally and intrinsically constituting
the essence as
" "

ens in aotu" by something not distinct from it


ex natura rei ", namely, by

esse essentiae" , and yet for these

men this actual essence is dependent on a further teim or mode

for its completion, namely,

esse existentiae"

It also has

the virtue of not multiplying realities beyond the two which

Sxiarez demands for perfect and complete existence,


essentiae" and subsistence.

These are the men who differ


voce " from Suarez, by his own admission, for what they call

esse existentiae "

Suares calls


subsistentia "


these men abuse the term

esse existentiae"

belying a mis-

conception of its function as Suarez shows at some length.

In addition to these two positions Susu^z has to
meet another

would affirm an


esse existentiae " in


addition to the actual essence, its

or inherence, and distinct from them

esse" and its subsistence


ex natura

3?ei "


Suarez, this position maintains one too many realities

necessary to explain the existent creature and he can only

view it as superfluous and even as impossible.






There is no denying that the Suarezian acttial

essence has achieved a remarkable nxanber of victories over
Its foes who would oppose it with an essence w*iich is some-

thing in itself apart from that contingent existence which

permeates its opposite number.

Nor does there seem to be

any doctrine maintaining an order of essence within being which can withstand its onslaughts.
Yet, for all this vaunted

success as an offensive weapon on the field of battle, what

kind of metaphysical edifice can this impervious actual essence

found to replace the ones it has annihilated?
It could be a It

case of winning a battle at the cost of losing the war.

is this point


must be kept in mind as \m see Suarez

exclude in their turn the real distinction and the modal

distinction betv;een the actual essence and its actual existence,


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Introduction The principles which lay behind Suarez' initial

option for the distinction of reason between actual essence

and its actual existence, have now been formulated and duly

defended against all its critics.

Thus, it will not be diff-

icult to say whether or not the essence as a true actual

being needs an additional distinct actuality in order to exist,

the affinnative of which Sxiarez understauids the Thomists to


Nor will it be difficult to say whether or not

there is a real distinction between this actual essence or


esse essentiae" and its


esse existentla "

Indeed, on the

basis of his principles, Suarez must conclude that the created

essence, constituted in act outside its causes is not really

distinguished from its existence so that they are two

or two distinct entities.



That this conclusion be comprehended,

we must presuppose the meaning of the terms given at the outset of this thirty-first Disputation and which we have seen used


Further, this conclusion supposes the distinction



ilb 3d ion


9 oaas"











between essence in potency and essence in act as between being

and non-being as we witnessed on the occasion of Suarez'
second principle as well as in our discussion of his first
Finally, such a conclusion presupposes that the

discussion has to do with a proper

esse existentiae" and is

not of subsistence and inherence on the basis of what we have

Just seen in the previous part.
Indeed, the Thoraist position

with its distinction between the order of

the order of

ens in actu " and

existens in actu" can only look absurd when


compared to the Suarezian actual essence constituted as

as well as


existens " by the Sxiarezian


esse essentiae ", all

subject to the direct efficient causality of its Creator.

Let us now turn to the basis for this rejection of

the real distinction, so formulated, for the additional light

it may throw on Suarez' principles, noting that its two

sources are authority and reason.


Rejection of the Real Distinction

The authority against the real distinction is an

oft quoted text of Aristotle which asserts that


ens" con-

joined to things adds nothing to them, for



ens homo " amd

homo" are identical.^


In fact, it is in the context of

this text that some Suarezians have maintained that St. Thomas

himself denies a real distinction between essence and




exlstence but as has been shown, this text of Aristotle is

not in anyway concerned with the problem of the distinction

between essence and existence and cannot justly be alleged for or against it.^

However, in the tradition of the mediaeval

cociraentaries on Aristotle, the problem of the distinction

between essence and existence finds its place in this context

and Suarez is in that tradition.
For, on the authority of

this dictiun of Aristotle, S\iarez comments

with the same

proportion, this dictum of Ax'istotle is true of a thing in

potency and a thing in act according to his ovm formulation,

namely, that

ens in potent ia " adds nothing to



essentia in

potent ia " nor does

ens in actu" add anything to

essentia in

actu " , as


saw on the occasion of his second principle.

Thus, glossing Aristotle in this way, Suarez can conclude on

the basis of this authority that


ens in actu ", which is



ens " and the same as


existens " , adds nothing to

Rather, it is the very actual

the thing or actual essence. '3'

essence for Suarez.

So Aristotle is cited against the Thomists


who would maintain that


ens in actu " does add something to


essentia in actu ", namely, that it now is


existens " or an

existent which is not the case with an

essentia in actu"

But, in addition to this argument from authority

for the above conclusion, there is a wealth of rational

argumentation in its favor.
For, as we have seen, such an

entity as existence, added to the actual essence and distinct









<. C












from it as one


res " from another, cannot formally confer on


it the first actuality, so to speak, or the first


ratio" of

ens in actu " by which it is separated and distinguished from

ens in potentia ", for each is real as contradistinguished from


each other not by reason a dependence of one on the other.

Nor, also, can this entity called existence be necessary vinder

any manner of cause, properly or reductively, in order that

essence have its actual entity of essence.
Thus Suarez must

conclude that such a distinct entity as existence can, in no

way, be imagined.

The evidence for this consequence is indicated by

the fact that Suarez has exliausted all the possible functions

which such an entity as this existence may have and that no other function of it has been conceived nor does Suarez feel
it possible to do so.
It does not exercise the first function

instanced by Suarez, i.e. it cannot confer on the actual

essence the first actuality which distinguishes it from


in potentia " as all, even the proponents of the real dis-

tinction of


esse essentia" and



esse existentiae ", admit when

they say that the


esse essentiae " renders the essence as an

ens in actu"

This is also evident from Suarez* glossary of

important terms, posited at the outset of his thirty-first

Disputation, for it is repugnant that an entity be constituted in the

esse " of entity by something contradistinguished from

itself. ^^^











nldlneocr ^1





By way of corroboration of this, it must be noted

that every form, really distinct from the potency which it
actuates, constitutes vrlth that potency one composite.

such an act can be called a formal cause either in respect to

the composite or in respect to the potency or other quasi

component part, if without such an act or form the composite

or potency cannot be.

Thus, in respect to the composite it

is most accurately and most truly said that such an act

formally and intrinsically constitutes the composite.


such an act cannot be utterly contradistinguished as thing

from thing from that composite but is necessarily included in

It and distinguished from the composite as pa3?t from the whole

because such an act cannot be the total entity of the composite

which necessarily includes another component, namely, the

However, if this act is compared to another thing

(res) or potency, of which it is the act, it cannot

intrinsically and formally constitute the proper entity of

that other thing or potency because that entity is not composite
but simple, othen^ise, if it were composite, as the Thomists

would say that essence is a composite of matter and form, it would not be a component part but the whole composite which
Suares finds obviously repugnant in the real composition of

distinct things (ex rebus distinctls), since in a real

composition neither one of components is the whole composite.

Moreover, if that entity or part which received the act were


bfta ctl





composed of that act and some other thln^ (ex illo actu et

aliqua ilia re), it must be asked of that other thing whether

it is intrinsically and forroally constituted by that act.

For, if this io affirmed there is a i-^gress into infinity,

but if it is denied Suarea' point is nade, namely, that the

potency, properly compoxmding with an act really distinct from

cannot be intrinsically and formally constituted by the

act v/ith which it composes.

herein, is comparing what the Thomists say

of their real distinction between essence and existence with

his own distinction between matter and form since he cannot
see how

Thomist position is any different from the latter

distinction and how existence is nothing more than a form, as


hiave seen.

With respect to the composite., existence just

form is the intrinsic constituent as the Thomists would

maintain and Suarez would readily agree that this must be so

for them.

And as such, neither existence nor form can be

altogether really distinct from this composite as a distinct

"res" but is necessarily included in it as a part in a whole.

But granted that existence intrinsically constitutes the

composite, when compared to the other con^onent part of this composite, either matter or essence, it must be said that it

cannot permeate this because in both cases these components

are simple entities, i.e. indistinct and indistinguishable,

and impenetrable in its entitative actuality with respect to







another component really distinct

Suarez* point.

fix)m it.

And this is



distinction is a composite of simple

entities or beings neither one of which is intrinsic to the

other but one of which intrinsically constitutes the composite.

For the Thoraists to say that one simple entity intrinsically

constitutes another is to deny equivalently the real distinction.
Thus, the existence of the Thomlsts cannot confer on the actiial

essence the first actuality which distinguishes it from

in potent la" which is all that Suarez maintains.



What is

noteworthy is the implicit characterization of the actual

essence as a simple entity, for it points up the indistinctness

and impenetrability of the Suarezian actiial essence in its

role as the scourge of the realism of essence.

Furthermore, when an ultimate analysis or resolution

is made down to the first or most simple components, that

entity which is compared to the other as potency must not be

intrinsically and formally constituted in its entity by the

other which is act, although perchance it may demand it in

order to exist, as matter demands form.
As Suarez sees it,

the same thing would hold in regard to the entity of essence

and the entity of existence, if they were distinct as two


res" , for they would compose a unit, namely, this existent

being, in respect to which existence is related as the

intrinsic and formal act.

However, in regard to the entity

of essence, existence could in no way intrinsically constitute









or compose It because one is contradistinguished



other as simple entity from simple entity.

Further, for Suarez

it camnot be said that the entity of essence so conceived and

distinct is not actual, for, if this were so, there would be

no real composition of it with another, since an entity in

objective potency does not make real composition with an act.

Consequently, Suarez can only affirm it to be clearly

established that an entity of existence distinct from the

entity of essence cannot be required to intrinsically constitute

that entity of essence in its proper actxiality.
What has Suarez done here?
real distinction between

He has measured the


esse essentiae " and

esse existentiae "

with the yard-stick of the real distinction between matter and

form, wherein each is a simple entity in its own right and yet

demands the other in order to exist.

It is simply a

conjunction without compenetration.

Thus, if some Thoraists

want to say that this simple entity of existence intrinsically

and foiroally constitutes the composite of



esse essentiae" and

esse existentiae" and is the total entity of this composite,

Suarez replies that such an entity of existence is not dis-

tinguished from the composite and thus from the


esse essentiae "

but must be included in the composite along with the entity of

essence as parts of the whole and hence is not the total entity
of the composite.
So, there is no real distinction on this














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However, if the entity of existence is compaired to the

entity of essence rather theui to the composite it cauinot

intrinsically and formally constitute that entity of essence

as it did the composite, for this essence is a simple entity

in Itself.

For Suarez a real composition is between simple

And if someone should say that the entity of essence

is composite rather than a simple entity, Si;iarez can only

interpret this to mean that this composite entity is not a

component part of another composition but rather is the whole

composite Itself.

But to his mind, this would be contrary to

the very notion of a real composition, as between two simple

entities and, as he has Just shown, the entity of existence

is not absolutely distinguished fr-om the whole composite because

it must be included in it as a part of the whole.

In addition,

if that entity of essence which received the act were conQ>osite

and not simple, Suarez insists it would be a composite of that

act and some other thing and of that other thing he must ask
if it is intrinsically and formally constituted by that act.

For here lies Suarez' point if the answer is negative

in the real composition of a potency and an act really


distinct from it, the potency cannot be intrinsically and

formally constituted by the


ver^' act

with which it composes.

say that this act does intrinsically emd formally


constitute that potency

if it is also insisted that this

entity must again be a c<Mnposite of that act and something



else, Suarez must persist in his question in regard to this

other reality and so on


ad Infinitum"

Suarez' conception of

a real distinction as to be that between two simple entities

here prevents him from comprehending a position which would hold

for a twofold composition within the existing creature


composition of matter and form comprising the essence and the

fuirther composition of this composite essence with an existence
(5) really distinct from it. ^'

Thus, he must use as his yard-

stick the real composition of matter and form as he understands

It, for essence is a simple entity for him.

What remains to be seen is whether or not the second

part of his initial charge, namely, that such a distinct entity
is not required in any other genus of cause in order that the

entity of essence be able to be



in rerum natura" can be

For this, Suarez sends his reader to his previous


remarks where we

that, in addition to the


esse essentiae

actualis" and the mode of subsiotence or ir^erence there is no

necessity for another existence.

On this score, we find Suarez

issuing a somewhat impatient challenge by asking his opponents

to show him once and for all what the causality of this entity

of existence is and to what genus it is reduced.

And if the

answer comes back from


that the entity of exlsteace is a

necessary condition without which the entity of essence cannot


in rerum natura ", this is completely unsatisfactory,

since such a response cannot be admitted till a sufficient

.0_ JiiJ






r-eason for the necessity of such an entity is given as v/ell as

the mode or causality of such a condition be made clear.

Suarez' adamant stand is Justified for, othesrwise^ anyone could

gratuitously assert many conditions of this sort tc explain an

effect in as much as no greater reason can be assigned for one

than for many.

But because Sioarez has shown that there is no

utility, much less necessity for the multiplication of this

entity, his only reply is,

gratis asserltur^ t^ratis negatur ".

In addition, again on the basis of previous remarks,

even thougli such an entity may be a necessary condition It

could not, on that account, be called the proper


exlstentiae" of tliat actual essence because it does not constitute that essence in the order of

ens in actu"

On the

contrary, if one were to call a necessary condition,


exlstentiae ", each and every other condition or thing, vrithout which the essence could not remain

in rerun natura " would

have to be called its e5d.5tence because there is no greater

reason for this tlian for the rest.


Further, even though Suarez

dato non concesso" , that that entity is a naturally

necessary condition, still, if this entity of existence- is

not the formal cause of the actual entity of essence, there is
no reason why this actual entity of essence, at least by the

absolute power of God, cannot remain and be conserved "in

rerum iiatura" so that it is truly


ens in actu" without that

entity or necessary condition which his opponents call


O ..

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( f>\ '

Por^ if God can conserve the actiml essence


without this necessary condition so that it is truly

ens in

actu", the implication to be inferred must be that the actual

entity of essence has a proper and intrinsic actual


esse" by
At this

which it is


in rerum natura " and outside its causes.


point S\iarez cannot see what else

exist ere " is if it is not

to be in such a way and consequently, he must conclude that

this entity of existence is not absolutely necessary for

Hence, it is truly not existence.

However, there is smother answer to Suarez' query

as to the causality of this entity of existence,*


for it can

be said that there is a twofold relation to a formal cause.

Just as Suarez himself has noted previously; one is to the

composite which it constitutes, and in this way it is true

that the entity of existence is not a formal cause of the

entity of the actual essence, but this entity of existence


be called an intrinsic fonnal cause because it intrinsically

composes its effect

the composite.

But a formal cause has

another relation

to the subject which it informs, because

if by informing and actuating that subject, it unites for its


esse ", then this entity of existence can rightly be called

the foiToal cause of that subject and in this way, in natural

things, form is not only the cause of the composite but also

of matter.

So, in the same way, the entity of existence can

be said to be the formal cause of the entity of essence because





by constituting an


ens exist ens " with the entity of essence,

this entity of existence actuates the entity of essence and

thus formally causes It to remain in


As well, a

proportional argument can be rendered because^ Just as matter

is pu3?e potency in relation to formal act, so the essence of

the creature is pure potency in relation to existence and for

this reason. Just as matter requires form in order to be

although it does not compose it but composes with it, so

essence requires the entity of existence in order to be although
it does not compose it but composes with it.

This formulation is less improbable than the rest for Suarez, since he can agree with what it says of formal
cause on the basis of his own remarks above, but he also admits,
it suffers from the same difficulties as the others and can

render no sufficient reason why that formal act is necessary

if it is not necessary In oilier to constitute

ens actu et

extra causas ", since in this position, essence as matter

possesses an entitative actuality in itself apart from




For, this answer notwithstanding, S\iarez still

finds it most tmie that that existence of the Thomists cannot be a formal cause intrinsically constituting the actual entity

of essence and again, in spite of the above reply, he concludes

that no constitute can be noted for which such an entity is


Suarez' inference is that, consequently, this

entity of existence cannot be necessari'- as a formal act coming

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to essence and composing with it something else.

This first inference, i.e. that no constitute can

be assigned why such an entity of existence is necessary, is

manifest from what he has previously said, for something

intrinsically constituted by existence cannot be but existing
(existens), and as he has shown

exist ens" and


ens actu"


not in potency, are absolutely identical.

Thus, if that

entity of existence is not necessary for intrinsically constituting


ens actu" , as the Thomists hold, at the same time

and on the same score it is not necessarj'- for intrinsically



ens existens"

Hence, no similar constitute

can be assigned why this entity of existence is necessary if

It is not necessary fov the constitutes of

ans actu " and

ens existens "

The second inference, i.e. this entity of existence

cannot be necessao' as a formal cause of the essence,

composing with It something else, is made clear from the fact

that fonn is, first and foremost, for the composite and hence,
as a consequence, it can be necessary for the other component

part if that part is such tliat that it cannot be outside the

Hence, Suarez can only conclude tliat, if there is

no composite for which a formal distinct act is necessary as

his previous demonstration has shown, this entity of existence cannot be necessary for the other component part.
In addition to this critique of his adversaries*




response, there was a false asstunption In the pr*oportlonal

argument stated there (et reddl potest ratio proportionalis,

quia, slcut materia est pura potentia in ordine ad actum

fonnalem, ad existendxan)

For, it is Suaroz* point that,

although the essence of a creature, prior to creation, can be

said to be in pure objective potency on Its own part, still,

for Suarez, that essence as it is now an actual entity by

the effection of its cause, is not in itself and on its own part pure potency in relation to


Rather, intrinsically

and with an absolute identity, this essence has a real, actual


esse ", and this


esse" is true existence since it formally

and intrinsically constitutes the entity of essence outside

its causes, all of which has been indicated above.

Hence, his

conclusion is that it is said without foundation that that

entity of essence depends on another foraial and distinct act
in order to be.

And it is especially without foundation in view of

Suarez* position because the arguaents by which the necessity

of this distinct existence is vront to be proved are all

foxmded on this

that to be in act is not of the essence

of the creature since that essence can be understood in

objective potency only, on its own part,

in the effective

potency of the Creator.

It is this foundation for such an

entity as the entity of existence which Sxiares sees as no

foundation at all, because if this essence is, there is already






supposed, by Suares as well as his opponents, some actual and



esse " by which tliat essence is outside objective

potency, and there remains no reason why another formal act

is needed, distinct frora the first

esse ", since that first



esse" also cannot be of the essence of the creature,

Indeed, for Suarez, this entity of existence

as we shall see.

posited by his opponents can itself be now in potency and now

in act and he draws the inference that it is not of the essence

of that entity of existence to exist in act nor even to constltute the existing thing in act.

Again, It is a case of Suarez'

esse essentlae" If they grant,

versus the


esse essentiae " of his oppoiients.


as they do, that this


esse essentiae" con stitutes the essence


ens in actu" and distinguishes it from


ens in potentla"

Suarez can see no reason for another


esse" since for him this

esse essentiae" is true existence, formally and intrinsically


constituting the essence as both

ens in actu " and


ens exist ens"

His opponents distinguish these two orders but for Suarez they
are identical.

And if the comparison of essence and existence

in this problem of their distinction must be between the entity of actual essence

the entity of existence or the



essentiae " and the

esse existentlae" , Suarez can only remark


on the redundancy and superfluity of this latter



Added to the other arguments already described.





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nso S9'Xu^






Suarez insists that the argument from the


potentla absoluta"

used before has its place here also.

For, at least by divine

power, the actual entity of essence can be conserved without

that further formal act since, although


cannot stand in

for the formal cause which is an intrinsic component. He still


can supply the dependence of one component part on the other,

even if that part is a formal act.
So tooj although God cam-

not stand in for a material cause as it is an intrinsic

component, still Suarez insists He can supply the dependence

of the form or of the accident on its material cause as he has

already mentioned.

Hence, if God conserves the actual essence

without the further act of a distinct existence, the inference

is that that entity so conserved, is truly existing.

As a

consequence, whatever can be thought of to be added to it

cannot have the true


ratio " of existence and it is said,

without foundation, to be naturally necessary for the formal

effect of existing.

For the validity of such an argument a mere precision


concepts sxiffices, for by the very fact that we londer-

stand the entity of actual essence created by God although we

do not understand that another entity is added to it, still

we sufficiently conceive that existing being, nor do we include

in this objective concept something false or repugnant to it.

From this, Suarez draws what he takes to be the correct


that no distinct and superadded entity can be












necessai*y for the formal effect of existing because a formal

effect csLxmot be mentally prescinded from the formal cause.

By this, Suarez means that something; cannot be nor be conceived

as an actual entity or

ens in actu" unless It include existence

formally and intrinsically, so much so that the intellect cannot separate one from the other by way of a precisive abstraction,

neither including nor excluding existence, but the concept


ens in actu " and existence remain one.

This all follows from

his general principle that it is impossible to conceive some effect as formally constituted by some fonn or an intrinsic
act similar tc a


unless such a form or act is included in

for a formal cause or quasi formal cause is present to its

effect intrinsically and essentially by actually constituting

that effect.

This is the reason why it is intimately included


in the concept of that effect or quasi effect.^

Thus, if

that entity of existence insisted on by the Thomists, is not

necessary for constitutir^; the formal effect of existing,

Suarez can only assert that it cannot be truly called existence

and that no probable reason


be given why it Is necessary

as a condition or second cause and in some way extrinsic to

the actual entity of essence.

Consequently, the real dis-

tinction is rejected.




What we have witnessed is a rejection of the real








dlstlnctlon between actual essence and Its actual existence

as between two
" "

res" by way of an elimination of one of the



namely, the

esse exlstentlae" of the Thomlsts.


it could be said that Siiarez eliminates or rather fuses the

order of


ens in actu" constituted by an



esse essentiae" and


the order of

existens in actu" constituted by an


existentiae" distinguished by the Thoraists,

Suarez* actual essence constituted by his

For, indeed,

esse essentiae" is

an existent and his


esse essentiae " is the time *'esse

existentiae "

And Suarez' victory seems so deceptively

simple because the Thoraists seem to furnjsh him the weapons

which ultimately destroy them.

For, they grant an




essentiae " which establishes the essence as an

ens in actu"

and which is identical to that actual essence, and this is

the weapon that Suarez takes in hand.
He need only make it

subject to the causality of a creative efficient cause to

make it his own and remove it from that kind of production,

less than creation affirmed by Capreolus and others wherein

an essence is produced by a kind of formal or exemplar


On this basis, the


esse existentiae" of the

Thoraist can only be looked on as a superfluous accretion; a

vain attempt to maintain the real distinction in words.

It is notevjoriJhy then that Siiarez* whole emphasis

is on essence and on the contingency of finite essences but

he gix>unds that contingency not on any intrinsic principle


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but rather, on the fact that it comes to be by an efficient

Its contingency is a factiial contingency for this

actual essence of Siiarez is as impervious to an order of

essence as it is to an order of existence, lacking as it does

any metaphysical dimension.







We have

a long way from our analysis of the

three traditions on the question of the distinction between

essence and existence and the formulation of the principles
in back of Suarez' option for the third tradition or the dis-

tinction of reason.

And having Just witnessed the rejection

of the real distinction, we are about to see the rejection of the modal distinction.

Nor should this surprise us since the

modal distinction is a real distinction in its own right.

Indeed, the modal distinction for Suarez is not distinguished

from a real distinction because it does not include a distinct

existence but rather it is distinguished from a real dis-

tinction in that the existence of one of the extremes is not

of such a nature or essence that it can be an entity in its

own right.

Rather, it is a mode which essentially and

Immediately depends on some other entity.

In other words,

this modal distinction is something else again from that main-

tained by Fonseca vjhercin the mode of existence is no positive

entity at all either in Itself or in dependence on another,
the kind of modal distinction which Suares says belongs in








b Bl









the third tradition doctrinally though in name it would seem

to belong to the second tradition.

This nominal identity

must not lead us astray,

Jufat as

in his rejection of the real distinction




esse essentiae " and

esse existentiae '\ we find that

Suarez begins his rejection of the modal distinction between


esse essentiae " and


esse existentlae " with a conclusion to

the effect that it must be said that existence is not dis-



the actual entity of essence as a niode dis-

tinct from it "ex natura rei"


Rejection of


Modal Distinction

As we might expect, since this modal distinction is

but a kind of a real distinction, all the points made in

Suarez' rejection of the

distinction properly speaking,

can come to play here also, for, to his mind, this initial
conclusion follows* from the preceding conclusion.

For this

reason, Suarez thinks that they who, while denying the first

distinction, as we saw in the arguments for the modal distinction,


this modal one under discussion, do not speak


For, although in common parlance this modal dis-

tinction is called a minor distinction and can be present

where the first which is a major distinction^

cannot, still,

in the present case, the arguments which prove that existence



o jS 3







Is not a distinct entity, show beyond a shadow of a doubt

that such an existence is absolutely nothing or, what amounts to the same thing for Suarez, that besides the actual entity

of essence, nothing further can be formally required for

existing as such, not even a mode, but only for subsisting

or inhering or something similar.

This last is so on the basis of Suarez previous
remarks where we have seen that that real

esse" by which the

actual essence is immediately and intrinsically constituted


ens actu ", cannot be distinguished


ex natura rei " from that

In addition, it

essence in so far as it is an entity in act.

is also clear in this way, namely, the distinction

ex natura


positive on the pai^ of each extreme,


can only come

between two extremes of which one is the mode of the other so

that the thing as prescinded from the mode is

ens in actu ",

positive and real in keeping \<ith the notion of the real distinction.
If such is not the case, the distinction will be

of reason or of the sort that can be between being and non-being'

for then one of the extremes would not be positive and real,

neither of which the proponents of the modal distinction would


Hence, if essence as it is


ens actu" v;ere distinguished

ex natura rei " from that

esse " by which it is first and

intrinsically constituted in such actuality, as a thing from

its mode, Suarez must insist that that essence, precisely

conceived and contradistinguished from that mode, would be











ens actu "

Consequently, he can only conclude that as

that essence is such an entity. It could not be intrinsically

constituted in such an actual entity by that mode or by a


esse " but rather, it would compose with it a certain

third composite.
Suarez will readily agree with the proponents of the
modal distinction that from these entities which are distinsuisheci

ex natura rei" as


ens " and mode, there will result

a true and real composition.

But his position is still that

those extremes, from


a real composition results and into

which it is analyzed, must be so related that one does not

compose nor intrinsically constitute the other.
Thus, the

inevitable conclusion that such a mode, distinct

ex natura rei ",

cannot be the first and intrinsic real "esse", constitutive of

the actual entity of that essence, so that, as a consequence,



esse" by which the actual entity of essence is so con"

stituted, whatever it may be, cannot be distinct

ex natura

rei" from that entity of the actual essence as far as Suarez

is concerned.

The entity of essence of an angel is a case in point.

As precisely conceived without any real mode, distinct "ex

natura rei" from this entity of essence, it is still conceived

as an actual entity, for it is conceived as something temporal

and outside nothing and as sufficieiit to really compose with


thing or roode added to It, which could not be the case



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except in a real entity.

Consequently, essence In its own

entity is not intrinsically constituted by a mode distinct from it


ex nat^ara rei "

If such vrere not the case, Suarez

insists that this coraposltion of an entity of essence and its

mode could be analyzed into another entity and that mode.

Thus, there will be an infinite regress until a simple actual

entity is reached, not composed of a thing and a mode, distinct


ex natura rei"

This is what Suarez calls the entity of


Hence, in the angel the entity of essence is a simple

In the case of matter zmd form, Suarez holds that the

entity of essence in each case is simple also, although partial

with respect to the integral essence or nature.

For this

reason, the integral essence of the material thing is composed

of the simple yet paii;ial entity of the form and the simple

yet partial entity of the matter.

Still, Suarez makes it

clear that the entity of this integral essence, in the same

proportion as the entity of matter and the entity of form,

does not include In its entity an

esse" distinct from this


whole or from the matter, form and their union.

Thus, the

only real composition in a material substance is that of

matter and form, which certainly places Suarez in the tradition

of John of Jandun

Augustinus Niphus, following Aristotle.

Moreover, Suarez cannot help but hark back to where

he has shown that the real


esse" by which essence is first

constituted "ens actu" is the true "esse existentiae" and





where It was sufficiently clear that such an

is not distinguished


esse existentiae "

ex natura rel " from the actual essence.


And have we not seen that no other

yond this

esse " is necessary be"

esse existentiae


which is his

esse essentiae" , in

order that the thing exist because that intrinsic



esse " suffices, and to it alone can be added the mode of subSo it is that every other entity or real

sisting or inhering?

mode ordained only for existing is obviously a confection.

Thus, not only is there no existence wiiich is an entity distinct

from the entity of essence out also there is no existence which

is a mode, distinct

ex natura rel "

And if any confirmation

of this last contention is desired, we need only recall a

previous argument.

For, us Suareis sees it, if anything would

force one to hold this laodal distinction it is especially because the essence of the creature can exist or not exist.
But, as we saw him argue against the proponents of this existence

as a


res" , even that mode which is said to be a distinct

existence can be in act and in mere objective potency because


too, cam exist and not exist.


So, even in this mode there

will be a distinction

ex natura rei " between it and its actual


But this is clearly impossible for, otherwise, the


same argument will be used against the

esse existentiae " of

the mode and it will be said that it too can be and not be and
that there will be a distinction

ex natura rei " between it and


its actual "esse" and so on in einother infinite regress.

M *1







then there can be understood in that existence what now is

and now is not without a distinction


ex natura rei ", Suarez

can only ask why the same thing could not apply in the case of
the actual essence.
As If to stifle the possible impression that he is
knoclcins dovm straw men in the position asserting a distinction

ex natura rei" within the entity of existence Itself, Suarez

(6) '

declares outright that he is acquainted with certain Thomists^

who deny that the

exists, is its own


actus essendi" by which a created essence



However, he does not see in what


sense such a position can be tnie, since the

esse " of



essendi " can only be talked about in teiros of identity or

indistinct ion.


else can one infer if it is not fe own


esse" but that it has

esse " distinct f3?om itself?

But, as

instanced before, it will be necessary to ask of that

esse "

whether it is its own

said of the initial


esse ".

If it is, why, then, is it not

If it is not, the way

actus essendi "?

is open for the familiar regress to infinity.

However, a more

likely interpretation of this statement is that perhaps they

say that the
" "

actus essendi " of the essence is neither its own


esse " nor has any

esse " but onJ.y is that by which (quo)

another is.

But for Suarez this is rather to play with words

than to solve the difficulty.

We are here witnessing the phenomenon of Suarez

telling the Thoraists what the real distinction should mean for










them because he comments on



quo " that, although existence

is not said to be or exist as a supposit v/hich is to exist

most properly, still, Suarez insists there is no doubt that,

more generally


existence exists as truly as accidents


or parts and other incomplete beings exist like a

some kind of entitatlve status.


For, if this existence is an


ens " distinct


ex natura


essence, then in that way


in which it is "ens" it has


esse ", for


ens" is said from


In addition, such an

ens" as this existence, prior


to creation was only in potency; after creation it is

ens actu ",

outside Ita causes and


in rerusa natura "

Consequently, for

Suarez, since it is an essence it must have a proportionate


esse" or in other words, it must be its own "e sse"


If some Thoriiists still demur, Suarez wiii even

concede to say of existence

tiiat it

does not exist but is that

by which (quo) essence exists, but, nonetheless, even in the

case of existence as a

quo ", these Thomists must grant him

that it is still peiiaissible to consider the above mentioned

^fference in the case of existence as a



namely, that

sometliaes such an existence is in act arid constitutes the

existin^^ thin^, aiid soruetimes it is only in objective potency.

Once this is gi-anted it is also per-missible to argue that it

is not the essence of existence in act to constitute the

existing thing, for the reason that it can be in objective

potency and thus, it is what now is and now is not, because







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In existence In potency there is conceived all that which is

of the essence of created existence, even if it is not con-

ceived in act to exercise or be the


actus essendl " or to

constitute the existing thing.

Yet, nevertheless, existence


according to its essential


ratio " is not distinguished


natura r e l " from itself as it exercises the fvmction of

existence in act in such a way as the distinction between two

members which are something in act.

Thus, Suarez must conclude as he has done before,

that it is the same case with of the essence existing or not

existing. His adversaries insist on at least a modal dis"

tinction between essence and

esse" for the reason that the


easence can exist or not exist and


esse" cannot be of its

Suarez offers them an example of something that can


be and not be and yet is not distinct

essential status.

ex natura rel " from its

For, the essence of existence can exercise

its existential function of constituting the existing thing

or not, and yet his adversaries cannot admit here a distinction


ex natura rel" unless the/ wish to challenge the infinite

Thus, Suarez has only

regress attached to such a contention.

to insist that the same thing is true of the essence

can be and not be, offered by his opponents.

However, it is

Interesting to note how Suarez qualifies his remark to the

effect that existence according to its essential
not distinguished

ratio " is

ex natura rel" from itself as it exercises

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the function of existence in act, in such a way as the dis-

tinction between two members which are something in act.

For what he is saying is, that this arg\im8nt actually does

conclude to a distinction

ex natura rei " of a sort, namely,

the kind called a real negative distinction, though it is also called a distinction of reason as we have seen because
it is a distinction between what is real in one case suid what

is not in the other.

Thus, Suarez is accusing them of dis''

tinguishing essence and

esse" as non-being from being.

That is, there argiimentation only distinguishes the essence

here and now in act from the essence as it is a possible which
Suarez has explained is not the comparison of actual essence

and its actual



esse" which is in dispute.

For, Suarez him-

just as Alexander of Alexandria, will agree that the

distinction of essence in act and essence in potency is a

distinction between being and non-being.
In light of his own

final position, Suarez' remarks here are precious for, in

fact, they explain why

esse" is not of the essence of his

actual essence.

For, the essence in potency contains all

that which is of the essence of the created essence and "esse"

is not so contained for

esse" is nothing more than that

essence in act.

Thus, there can be no real distinction on

this basis between that which exists and that by which it exists,

Fonseca's teaching and that of Alexander of Alexandria begin

to be realized.










The Achilles heel of the positions inalntainlng a



ex natura i^i " between essence and created

existence is precisely this entity of existence as his argu-

ments have shovm.


And if some reply that existence does

not need another existence by which it exists since, as it is



ratio" of existing for another, it can, as a consequence

exist by itself just as action happens by itself by the very

fact that through it a texminus comes to be, and duration of

motion endures by itself and quanx;ity is extended by itself,

it is not to the point.

For, this refutation is arguing on

the premise that the foxco of Suai'ez* argument is based on

the principle that the rorraal principle of any effect,

existence, for example, can never by itself participate that

effect, i.e. existing in some way,

Suarez insists he is not

saying this and even grants


it is not universally true

as this adversary has shown in his examples of action, motion

and quantity. ^^'


Rather, his argumentation is founded on

the fact that something now is and now is



not, the distinction

ex natura rei " between that which exists

and that by which it exists cannot be concluded.

And if it

is not concluded from this principle Suarez sees no other

whereby a distinction


ex natura rei" can be concluded.



O'XQ 9tii





Critical Suianary
As we have seen, this rejection followed much the

same pattern of the rejection of the real distinction.


again Suarez utilizes his opponent's position with inspect to an


esse essentiae" to show the superfluity of any sort of


esse existentlae " over and aliove this

esse essentlae"


Suarez' rejection of the modal distinction comes down to an

elimination of the mode,


esse existentlae" as one of the real

extremes in this real distinction.

The emphasis then, iiqplicit

in this rejection is that the essence of a creature is a

radically contingent essence, not by reason of any auton<ao\is

intrinsic principle but only by reason of its relation to a

creative efficient cause.

Indeed, the difference between

an essence in potency and that same essence in act is

certainly not an accidental accretion such as existence, for
the essence in potency contains all that v^ich is of the

essence of the actual created essence.

Rather, the

difference between them is as Kant might say, becaiise the

latter is 'mor posited



S O*









Not content with the rejection of the two opposing

claimants for the distinction between actuatl essence and its

actual existence, Suarez actually carries his critique within
the ranks of the exponents of the distinction of reason in

order to make precise once and for all what sort of distinction there is between an actual essence and its
actu exercito "


esse in

Thus is his final touch to the clarification

of the distinction of reason which has been gathering through

each successive section, at last putting in full relief the type of a distinction of reason Suarez himself is advocating.
However, prior to this critique of the exponents

of the distinction of reason, we must note the clarifying

remarks which Suarez makes in order to clear the air and re-

move any unnecessary misunderstandings.

So, as in the instance

of his rejections of the real and modal distinction, he puts

his best foot forward to the effect that in creatures,

existence and essence are distinguished either as



ens in actu "

ens in potent ia " with a real negative distinction as we

have seen, or, if each are taken in act, i.e. actual essence










and actual existence, they are distinguished In reason with


fundament um In re "

We shall soon see what this foundation

And lest anyone think that such a distinction does not

save Suarez from maintaining that it is of the essence of the

creature to exist in act, it must be stated that for Suarez

such a distinction, either the real negative variety or the

distinction of reason with a foundation


in re" , is sufficient

to say absolutely that it is not of the essence of the creature

to exist in act.

Indeed, this twofold distinction is Suarez*

two-edged sword as we have seen, for, to distinguish existence

from essence as being from non-being means nothing more than
that the essence as possible is distinguished from that same

essence as actual.

With this he liquidates the position we

have seen which holds that, fi^om the fact that an essence can be actual and possible, there must be a distinction

ex natura

rel" between that which is and that by which it is as between

two positive extremes.

i.e. actual essence suid

Further, when both are taken in act,


esse in actu exercito ", amd are said

to be distinguished in reason, Suarez means to say nothing

more than that the essence in act is


esse " in act as John of

Jandun and others.

To gainsay this latter and insist on a

real distinction between essence in act and existence in act

as between two positive entities is to pit oneself against

an infinite regress.
Again, lest there be any further question that he is

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saying existence to be of the essence of the creature and that

the creature has It of itself when both are taken In act. It
is clearly noted that for the comprehension of this distinction

of reason and the propositions founded on it, it is necessary to suppose what is beyond dispute


namely, that no being ex-

cept God has of itself its own entity "in so far as it is true entity".

This last qualification,

prout vera entltas est " is

added to prevent any equivocation in the case of entity in

potency which is truly not an entity but is nothing.

On the

part of the creatable thing it signifies non-repugnance or logical potency, as we have seen.

Suarez would here impress

upon his reader that he is speaking of true actual entity,

whether it be the entity of essence or the entity of existence,

and saying that no entity is outside of God except by the

efficiency of God.

Hence, for him, unlike the Thoraists, there

can be no such thing as an entity of essence which does not

come to be in virtue of the efficient causality of God, as we

have also seen.

Indeed, It is this fact that his actual entity of

essence comes to be through the efficient causality of the

Creator which indicates to Suarez that it is not of the essence

of his creature to have this actual entity.

For this meauns

Thus, every

it does not have it in virtue of its own nature.



esse" by which essence in act is separated from essence

in potency will not be of the essence of the creature because









it does not belong to the creature in virtue of itself alone

nor is the creature sufficient by itself to have this

but it must come from an extrinsic efficient agent.


ease "

So this

to exist in act is of the essence of God and not

of the essence of the creature, does not demand a distinction


ex natura rei " between


esse" and the thing to




esse" belongs as far as Suarez is concerned, for in his eyes,

such a statement means that essence has an efficient cause

and God does not.

Thus, this dictxim would meaui that it is


stifficient that the creature not have its own

esse" or rather

that it is not, nor can it be that entity unless it comes to

be from an efficient cause.

So this dictum signifies no more

than the condition, limitation and imperfection of such an

entity which does not have of itself the necessity to be what
it is but only has it from the influx of another.

It does not

indicate a real distinction between


esse" and the thing to

which it belongs.
Lurking in the backgroimd and against which Suarez*
remarks glance, is the Thoraistic position, as clearly set
forth in Capreolus of the two

esse ",


esse essentiae " and

esse existentiae" and the two causalities to account for

It is particularly

them, exemplary cause and efficient cause.

clear when we find Suarez saying that the creature by virtue

of its nature does not have

actu exist ere" without the

efficiency of others, and then adding that in the same sense











It is not of the essence of the creature to have the actual

entity of essence since this, too, demands the efficiency of


He is clearly telling these Thomists that their

esse essentiae " needs an extrinsic efficient cause Just as


they grant in the case of their

esse existentlae "

Thus, the

creature* s essence is not its existence because one is

per se "

and the other is


ab alio " but in as much as the essence of the

creature in order to exist must come to be by an extrinsic

efficient cause, there is no longer any basis for the real

distinction on this score for the order of essence is the order

of existence.

Moreover, lest anyone think that, because the essence

and the existence of the existing creature are distinguished

in reason, our intellect must conceive it as existing and can-

not abstract one fi?om the other or that to abstract is to

abstract the other, leaving nothing, Suarez is insistant that

our intellect which can prescind those things which in reality

are not separated, can also conceive creatures by abstracting

them from actual existence.

For, since creatures do not exist

necessarily, it is not repugnant to conceive their natures by

prescinding from their efficient cause and consequently from

actual existence.
For, a precisive abstraction does not

exclude or deny actual existence, it merely prescinds from it.

This is to conceive the actual essence as a possible, as we

shall see.^

For, at the same time they are so abstracted.

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creatures are also prescinded from the actual entity of essence

both because they neither have this of themselves nor of

necessity and also because actual entity cannot be prescinded

from existence as Suarez has shown before, because a formal

effect cannot be prescinded from its formal cause.

Suarez is telling the Thomists that if they can prescind the

creatures from

esse existentiae " because it does not exist

necessarily and comes to be by an efficient agent, there is no

reason why creatures cannot be prescinded from the actual

entity of essence for this, too, as he has shown them, is not

of itself necessary and must come to be by an efficient cause.
For, if existence were of the essence of the creature or if it

were the essence of the creature to exist, Suarez maintains

that one could not be prescinded fi^om the other for the same

reason as before, the formal effect cannot be prescinded from

the formal cause.

That is, actual entity as the formal effect cannot

be prescinded from existence as the formal cause of that actual
In a word, if the actual essence is conceived as

actually existing that concept must include existence, for in

Suarez' eyes it is impossible to conceive a formal effect,

formally constituted by some form or by an intrinsic act similar

to a form unless such a form la included in it.

Thus, the

point here is that the essence is conceived as not existing,


ens in potent ia " or as a possible, and in that concept









existence need not be included,


which is indication enough

that it is not of the essence of a creature to exist even

though it is of the essence of an actual creature to exist as

long as it is actual.
What we are witnessing now, as we shall

soon come to see, is that this actual existent essence is so

impervious and impenetrable to any intellectual analysis that

one can only have more or less obscure concepts of it.


more or less adequate concepts then form

the subject matter

for an anlysis whose results are then attributed to the

existent thing by extrinsic denomination, for it was the

occasion for the formation and comparison of more or less

Indeed, from this mode of conceiving, prescinding,

from actual entity, it happens that in the thing so conceived

something is considered as altogether intrinsic and necessary

and, so to speak, the first constituent of that thing which
is objected to such a conception.

This is what Suarez calls

the essence of the thing because without it, the thing cannot

be conceived.

Also, the predicates which are taken from that

essence are said to belong to the thing altogether necessarily

and essentially, for without them the thing can neither be nor be conceived.

But lest anyone think that he is granting the

thesis of his opponents that the essential predicates belong

to the essence of a thing from eternity because the essence is

somehow eternal, he appends a qualification to his previous



v. .



6 %f Q "j; *J -'













assertion, to the effect that these essential predicates do

not always belong


In re" to the essence but only when the

thing exists and thus essential predication is reduced to

existential predication.
The position of Capreolus* adversary,

adopted by Suarez previously, asserts Itself again.

In closing, before beginning the critique of the

distinction of reason, there is one more inslstant denial


actu existere" or


esse actualem entitatem" is of the


essence of the creature in this doctrine because

actu existere"

can be prescinded from the concept of the essence and

de facto"

it cannot belong to the creature in so far as the creature is

objected to such a concept, for by such a concept the creature

Is conceived

per modum entls potentialls "

Thus, all these

apply differently in the case of God because, since He is a

being necessary of Himself, He cannot be conceived

entis potentialls" but


per modum

per modum entls actualis" only.


this reason,


actu esse" necessarily belongs to Him, both in

the thing itself and in every true objective concept of divinity.

This closing line is the key to what Suarez has been

For, unlike in God,

actu existere" does not belong

of necessity in the thing itself nor in every true objective

concept of the creature.

Thus, the objective concept of the


creature or of essence can and does prescind from

actu existere" ,

for this is nothing more than a concept of essence as possible.


To conceive essence as actual is to do nothing more thsm conceive existence for Suarez, as he has said actiml entity cannot be prescinded from existence. And as Suarez has also said,

all that which is of the essence of the created essence is

conceived when it is conceived as essence in potency.

To con-

ceive the same essence now as essence in act is merely to conceive that same essence in potency but now as it is
nunc" outside its causes.

hie et

This sounds very much like Gerard

of Carmel saying that because existence has more of the aspect

of act thsm essence, for that reason essence, according to its

ratio ", is more verified of being not in act than


exlstere ".

The Suarezian intellect is here confronted with two

concepts of one and the same impervious and absolutely unitary
actual essence one more adequate than the other to the actual

That is, there is one concept of the actual essence

including its existence and there is a concept of that same

actual essence which Is more obscure and confused to the degree
that it Inadequately represents this actual essence.


concept is of that essence as it is possible for it does not

clearly and distinctly grasp that essence as actual.

That is,

it prescinds from the actual essence which is sufficient

evidence for S\iarez to say that existence is not of the essence

of a creature for it would not be possible to conceive it in

this fashion If it existed of necessity.

But since it is of

the essence of Suarez* actual essence to exist contingently and















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not necessarily, it can be thought of as not existing or as



Critique of the Distinction of Reason

In the belief that the whole pi^oblem is explained

In brief and a basis given whence each psirt of the initial

option for the distinction of reason can be proved/i critique

of the distinction of reason itself is needed, for, though
there is not one of the Theologians who do not admit a dis-

tinction of reason between essence and existence, all do not

explain it in the same way.

The first eiqplanation is of those who say existence
signifies the Individual nature but essence only says the
specific nature prescinded from the Individuals.

For this

reason, they say that there is a distinction of reason between


as there is between the species and the individuals.

At this place, in the margin of the Mainz edition of l605

the name of Michael de Palacios appears but this does not seem

correct as he, too, is only reporting a similar teaching.

It would seem that Niphus would be a better candidate on the

basis of his remarks to the effect that if essence is taken

for the form or nature,


esse " and essence also differ, for,


following AveiT?oes, essence is the form and

individual composite.

esse " is the

In Suarez' opinion these men do not









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come to grips with the problem nor understand the sense of the


For^ this question of the distinction of essence



esse" Is different from that concerned with the dis-

tinction of the special nature from the Individual In as much

as essence can be not only specific but also Individual, Just
as the essence of man In Christ of

It Is asked how it

Is distinguished from Its existence.

In addition, existence

likewise can be conceived In general and can be singular, for

the existence of Peter Is one thing and that of Paul another.
Thus, existence does not signify the singular thing more than

essence, nor are essence and existence distinguished as common

and particular.

Consequently, the distinction of existence

from essence is not the same as the distinction of the Individual from the specific nature.
However, for Suarez, this latter

distinction can be of service by way of example or similitude,

as making clear in what way the distinction of reason between

existence and essence can sxifflce In order that

be denied to be of the essence of the creature.


actu existere "


The second exposition of the distinction of reason


that the essence


existence of creature differs by

a mere relation to God because essence as such does not regard

God as efficient cause but as exemplar cause only.


existence adds to essence a relation to God as efficient cause

In which it participates.

This is clearly the position of

Henry of Ghent whose treatment Suarez promised in his citation

xnn^j '












of Henry for the second position.^


As we have seen, this

is also the explicit position of Capreolus and one may well

wonder if Suarez means to include him when he said that there

is not one of the Theologians who does not admit the dis-

tinction of reason between essence and existence, though all

do not explain it in the same way.
(7) ^

It is altogether

mystifying how Suarez could cite Henry for the second tradition and then include him here in the third tradition.
Suarez' critique of this is lengthy and interesting.
It seems that this exposition either does not make the matter

clear or includes many false statements.

place, what concerns

For, in the first

esse essentiae" or the essence as it

regards God as an exemplar cause, it either mentions in regard

to actual essence, i.e. what includes the true reality of

essence, or in regard to potential essence.

In short, this

position is guilty of that equivocation in regard to

essentiae" which we saw previously.





esse essentiae "

is taken in the first way as it is an actual essence or

includes the true reality of essence, it would be false to

say that that essence is not from God as from an efficient

cause, which is the very point Sxiarez has been pounding home

from the statement of his first principle onward, versus the

Thoraists who insisted that essence has no efficient cause.



esse essentiae " is tjiken in the second way, as the potential

essence, it is gratuitously asserted that the essences of









ereatures are


to God as

iiiilii' ewamm, beriie tx^iJLj^

harre no

for Suarez, essences so conceived, i.e. as potittal.


act since

tr.ev^ elves




Suarez wipes out aoy production of tbe dlTlne




But in potency or


in actu priap




not only have an

:aus tut also

efflclert cau-se

just as a real potency bas an efficient cause.

that Suarez* first and


principles take the renoa froa



esse essentlae *

his flrsi principle rfrivl nj; It as

iwff thing actual and yet not dependent on an efficient easosej

his second principle renoring it as it has an gieanlar cause, for nhcn causality or a relation or
a.".-l-:a-i:r. ^:



reno red, it is rather said for Suarez





of possible things than the ezeoplars, fcr tre



indicate speculative knowledge tut the latter acre denote

practical relation of a cause.

Indeed, tliere la an added

eriticisB of this theory of the eza^lary causality of the


esee esser.tiae '

Sjarex notes that the estencet of

are not for that reason Mieh aa they are or have soeli a

e<nectl(m of essential predicates becanae they are related

to such dlTlne

ratlones* or

iimlii-s; hut rather the

that God knoMB each poaalble thing in such an


nature is because the essence is cognoaclble and faetible and

not otherwise, i.e. and not harwiii It Is In soae ay actual.

Conaequently, Suarez oonelxidea that ei s eneg ttfoen In ttila















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as related to an exemplar cause, and even though It has a


ratio " or exemplar in God, is not called essence from that

Then, too, as if to

mere relation to an exemplar as such.

give pause to the exponents of this position. It can be noted

that existence too, created or possible, has an exemplar in

God although not distinct from the exemplar of its essence,

for nothing can have its efficient cause in God, as is the case



esse exlstentiae" for these men criticized by Suarez, which

does not liave an exemplar because God works

as an intellectual agent.



Herewith, Suarez reintegrates this

exemplary causality into the efficient causality of the Creator

and at one stroke wipes out that actiial status of



essentlae" which is a metaphysical half-way house between

absolute nothing and full blown actual existence,


in rerum

natura "

Fresh from this critique of their



esse essentiae "

we turn to their

esse exlstentiae"

As to this existence which these men say adds to

essence only


relation to God as to an efficient cause, they

either think existence consists in this relation, i.e. that

existence is a relation or that it includes this relation.
That existence is a relation, is plainly false for Suarez,
since the existence of a thing is absolutely not a relation

but something absolute, for that relation as it is in act


in rerum natura " is founded on or adheres in the existing


And indeed, if it is understood to be a real



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predicamental relation it supposes the creature already created

and existing.

But if it is a discussion of the transcendental

relation of dependence on God, Suarez makes the point that this

ie not the existence of a creature but the causality of it.

And if this is the case it is not only in reason distinguished

from the existence of the creature but


ex natura rei"

That existence includes a relation to God as an

efficient cause, is true but that actueil essence or


essentiae " implies this same relation, which cannot be except

by the efficiency of God;

Thus, the inevitable conclusion

that essence is not rightly distinguished from existence by

this relation to an efficient cause since both are so related,

as we have seen.

Purthermore, if existence has this relation

conjoined to it, then it is something distinct from that

relation and it remains to be explained in what way that

existence, as distinct from such a relation, is distinguished

in reason from essence.

This is what Henry of Ghent explains,

but rather obscurely in Suarez* opinion, when he says that

essence and existence are neither distinguished

in reason but in intention.*^'


in re" nor

What S\iarez wants to know is

is it to be distinguished in intention except in the

conception of the mind, i.e. in reason?

And then in a final

parting shot before proceeding to the next explanation, it is

observed that in that very relation of creatures to God as an
efficient cause, essence can be distinguished from existence













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as distinct in reason and not by relation, the point Suarez has been maintaining all along.
Thus, Suarez clearly removes

creation from any direct discussion of the distinction between

essence and existence.

The third explanation of the distinction between

essence and existence belongs to those who hold a distinction

of reason between


esse existent iae" and



esse essentiae " be-

cause one is conceived

per mod\jm corsreti" , and the other is

Suarez attributes this to



per nK>dum abstracti" .

I^chetus as we have seen, citing that text


to Alonso Briseno, is not that of Lychetus at all but that of

Cardinal Constantius Samanus.

Durandus a Sancto Porciano can

be another exponent tho\igh Sxiarez does not mention him.


shortcomings of this rendering of the distinction of reason,

is that it remains obscure how this distinction of concrete

and abstract has any relevance here, for if one speaks of


essentia" and


exi stent ia" as they are signified by these


nouns, each is conceived

per modum abstracti" Just as


"materia" and


forma" or as "actus" and

potent ia"


the concrete reality will be the created being consisting of


esse" and



Thus, there is no basis for any such

distinction on these grounds.


However, if we speak of

essentia" and


exlstentia " under these nouns


esse essentiae"


esse existentiae" , each has the same mode of signifying

and is subordinated to the same mode of conceiving, and again


-^ -*













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there is no basis for any distinction here of abstract from


By way of clarification, Suarez has some interesting

things to say of the vocabular-y of existence ainong the Latins.^
For, he informs us that sometimes, according to the use of the

philosophers, this word (vox)


esse" is wont to be taken with

the value of an abstract noun (in vl nomlnis abstract i) for the


actus essendi " which the philosophers also call



exist entla"


esse" is a word which Suarez says is not found among the


However, this same word


esse" is sometimes taken with

the value of an irifinltive (in vi infinitivi) which for Suarez

is the more proper use aa well as the Latin use of the word,

and thus, it is not properly concrete nor abstract yet more

approaches to the signification of the concrete because it
signifies the formal effect of that
signifies that


actus essendi"

but it

actus essendi " only as exercising that effect

In view of this the position

currere" ,

sapere" and the like.

asserting the distinction of reason to be between concrete

and abstract modes of conception, can be qualified, for, on
the basis of that

esse " taken



in vl infinitivi " someone could say


essentia " and

esse" are distinguished in reason, as


essentia " is abstract


per modum formae" and


esse " is q\iasi


per modum effectus formalls exercltl ", but "ens" is

properly concrete as constituted of such a form and formal

effect, as "cursus"



currere" (esse), and "currens"




jr*' i*













(ens) and


sapient la" ,


sapere " and


sapiens " are related.

So, according

That is, as form, formal effect and constitute. to this kind of distinction,

essentia" is properly abstract


for it is a quasi form whose f oiroal effect is "esse"

that constituted thro\ish


essentia" is




and the very

ens" which constitution is not by the composition of a thing

but by identity.

There is even a basis for this particular position

in St. Aiigustine,

Bk. 12 De Clvltate cap. I " x;here he says:


"Just as ' sapient la is called. from esse', ' essentia ' is called.""^/



' ,

so from

and in


Bk. 2 De Mo rib. Manich. cap. 2 " where he says:

"The nature (Ipsa natura) is nothing else than what is understood to be something in its genus. Accordingly we now call it by a new name for, fi?om that which is esse we call it essentia which we also commonly call substance, so the ancients who did not have these names, were using the name nature for essence." (12)
' '



There is corroboration of this by the author of a



Octolinguae" , a certain Ambrosius Calepinus^^' who in citing

the first text of St, Augustine noted by Suarez says that the



essentia" has been usurped by the philosophers for the

esse" of anything whatever.

However, according to this signification of words,



essentia " and


esse" or


existere " are distinguished

in reason in the above way, i.e. as abstract from concrete,

still Suarez says that


essentia" and


existent la" (both

abstract) are not mutually distinguished in reason, nor are







"esse" and


exlstere " (both concrete).



esse " singly

and substantively said, i.e. as a substantive verb is the same

as "exlstere" as Suarez has sald^

and is both established

from the general use of these words and because a diversity

in the things signified by these words, and in the ultimate

concepts to which these words are subordinated, cannot be

Thus, as a consequence

essentia " and



have also been the same and differ only nominally, because
just as

essentia " has been said by the Latins from the verb

sum " and

esse" because by that a thing is or because it is


that by which something is, so from the verb


existo" and

exlstere" has been taken the noun "existentia", as that by

which a thing exists.


For the same reason,


esse essentiae "

esse exlstentiae ", if both are properly taken for true,

real "esse", also do not differ In reason but only nominally,



esse essentiae " and


esse exlstentiae" are so


mutually compared,

as "essentia" and

existentia " are

mutually compared.

And harking back to the men he cited for

his option, Suarez remains that Gabriel Biel, in the place

cited, is seen to have thought of these words and concepts

in this way, where he says that


esse" ,


ens" ,


essentia" do

not differ according to the thing signified but only according

to graranatical modes, as verb, participle and noun, and



esse " and


exlstere" signify the same thing, and

for this reason "essentia" and "existentia" are the same.



K* ^-

11 W





^O v'





* t^ 1














il ii e









In addition, Suarez notes the other exponents of this doctrine

among the men he has cited, namely, Alexander Achilllnus,

Hervaeus Natal is and Durandus a Sane to Porciamo, and grants
that this fourth position Is reasonably probable.

for Suarez it is necessary to manifest a greater difference

or a distinction of reason between


essentia " and


existent la"

in as much as they are signified by many philosophers in these

words, according to which

exi stent ia" is truly denied of the


essentia creaturae " because it cannot be denied of


essentia "


That is, this nominal distinction or distinction

in the mode of signification, does not allow for even a

distinction of reason in the thing signified by



essentia "

existentia "


which Suarez insists must be present to


allow him to say that



is not of the essence of


the creature because it cannot be denied of

essentia " itself


in this last position since


existentia" and

essentia " are

identical In the modes of conception and signification and in the thing signified.

This shortcoming seems to be remedied by the fifth

and last tradition on the distinction of reason for, precisely
in order to allow for a greater difference or a distinction of
reauson between

essentia " and



existentia" than the nominal


variety, some say that

this, that

essentia " and

existentia" differ in

essentia" does not say a thing outside its causes


but rather it says it absolutely, but

existentia " says a








*., .ires








nt t


thing as It has


esse" In itself and outside its causes.

Petrus Aureolus in the text analyzed seems to hold this

position as well as Gerard of Carmel,

It is interesting to see Suarez refer to Fonseca's

disapproval of this on the groimds that it does not make clear

what it is for a thing to be outside its causes, for, either
this is to be referred to causes, emd this is not

existere "

as was proved against Henry of Ghent when it was made clear

that existence was not a relation;


or it is to have received

esse " from causes and not to have lost it.


This, indeed, is

something leading up to

esse " (praevixjm ad esse), yet it is


not properly and formally

ipsum esse"

Finally, it is that

the thing is not only objectively in an intellect or in the

power of its causes, and this truly declares what it is not

but does not declare what

existentia" is or how it is dis-

tinguished from


essentia ". ^^^^

To this critique of Ponseca, it can be ansv;ered that

for a thing to be outside its causes is nothing else than to


ens actu" in itself.

However, it is said to be outside

its causes in order that it be made clear that it does not

have that actual entity by itself but from another.

And this

is nothing more than Siiarez* own answer to Fonseca's query.

The difficulty with this fifth position is that

esse extra causas" Is common to


esse et non

essentia" and


existentia ",

for both "essentia" is outside its causes when the thing is

^^. W







created Just as is the case with

" existentia"



existent la"

was only in the potency of Its causes before the thing came
to be.
Hence, Suarez must say that in this fifth way the

difference between

essentia " and


existentia" cannot be

However, one may grant to this distinction

posited by the fifth position that it is one thing to speak





existentia" according to the propriety and

rigor of these words, but it is another thing to speak of

them by extending


essentia " and


existentia" to the same or

similar signification.

In line with this, Suarez notes that

the word "existentia" strictly, taken (in rigore) does not

signify what is called


existentia in actu signato" or

existence as conceived and in potency, as even Capreolus

as actual.

but it signifies it only


in actu exercito" or

Thus, for Suarez, it is in no way repugnant that

this state of existence be signified by some word and to this

end the vrord "existentia" was obviously discovered.


by the very fact that the thing is abstracted from existing


in actu exercito" ,


existentia" is now not conceived as it

is signified by this word.

For this reason, because this

state or this exercise of existing Is not of the concept


essentlae creaturae" as it is signified by this word

existentia" , it is rightly said that actus essendi extra causas suas" to

existentia" adds


essentia " as the fifth

position maintains.

Therefore, essence signifies a possible




and existence signifies an actual essence.

that this

Yet, Suarez insists

does not differ


in re" from the very entity

of actual essence.

So, there is something to this fifth

position if
if the noun,


existent la " is taken in the strict sense.



existentla " is extended to that which is only

in potency or to that which is only objectively then that the

difference posited by this fifth position does not have any

relevence (non habei*e


but that, with the pi*oportion

existentla " in potency is absolutely identical




essentia " in potency and

existentla " in act with

essentia" in act.

it takes


Suarez agrees that this fifth position, if

existentla" in the strict sense, is the time teach"

ing on the problem and the true way to distinguish







essentia " is only dis-

tinguished fix>m


existentla" taken in the strict sense (in


eo rigore sumpta) as

ens in potentia " from


ens in actu " and

thus is distinguished not only in reason but also really pri-

vatively (reallter privative) as

as we have seen,


ens " and


non ens" because

ens in potentia " is absolutely nonentity.

However, to some, this conclusion (consequens) seems false

because there is a distinction, at least in reason, between


essentia " and



existentla " as between two real and positive


por, in defense of this critique, and as a

clarification of it, someone will say that indeed, these
















lo n


extremes are conceived as positive smd real yet are not con-

ceived as actual, by abstracting in that latitude in which


ens" abstracts from


ens In actu " and


ens in potent ia "


But, for Suarez, the fact that we conceive

essentia " under

the p3?oper


ratio" of essence not only when we conceive it as

potential but also when we conceive it as actual, indicates

we even distinguish

in reason, essence as actual from


For, when we say that a thing has its own

essence in act and that it has its own existence, we do not

say the same thing twice.
Hence, they are not synonymous

words emd the things signified by them are at least dis-

tinguished In reason.

And to prove this last point, it is

noted that when it is supposed that there are two essences in

Christ, the question as to whether there are two existences
is still asked, and again in hi^manity there are two partial

essences, namely, soul and body, yet there is still a con-

troversy whether there are two existences, which would not be

the case if

essentia actualis " and "existentia" were


synonymous and did not differ

in ratione " or in concept.

Thus, Suarez sees that something more must be added to make

this distinction of reason more clear.

But before treating this clarification let us recapitulate what has transpired during Suarez* critique of the
various distinctions of reason offered to him in the tradition

on the question of essence and existence.

In succession.
















^be:^eB Ill^a ml






Suarez rejects the position of Nlphus and Henry of Ghent and

Lychetus for the reasons stated.

He also rejects the

variation on the abstract-concrete theory because^ though It

can explain how

essentia " and


esse " or "exlstere" are dis-

tinguished in the above way, namely, as abstract from concrete,

still there is a danger here of having

esse" be of the

"essentia " of the creature in the real order, for as Suarez

has said the formal effect of existing cannot be prescinded

from its formal cause.

Thus, Suarez seeks a greater diversity

in concept to solve his problem than the diversity of abstract

conception and concrete conception, and a diversity which will

allow him to say that

creaturae "
calls the


exlstentla " is not


de essentia

Thus, he rejects the explication of the men he


Nominal es" and founds his own explanation on the


fifth position modified to the extent that the word


is taken as it signifies the actual exercise of existing of

the thing conceived.


In this way, Suarez can say that


exlstentla" is not

de essentia creaturae " for by the concept

of the essence of the creature abstracted from existence this

exercise of existing signified by the word,
not conceived.

exlstentla" is

In this way, Suarez says it can be rightly

said that existence adds to essence the act of being outside

Its causes, but is merely an addition of reason and is

attributed to the thing by extrinsic denomination.














amounts to what we have seen previously^ namely^ that the

essence of the creature Is conceived as possible or as essence
In potency and thus is not conceived as existing; then it is

conceived as existent and existing.

According to this, Sxxarez

can say that this status, namely, existence does not differ
from the entity of actiial essence because is signifies nothing
mox^ that the essence conceived as actual.
Suarez' solution

reduces to a diversity in conception greater than that between

abstract and concrete, and is a conception of the possible

and the actiial rather than two different conceptions of what

is actual as actual.

But he will even grant a distinction of


reason between the conceptions of


actualls essentia" and

exlstentla ", which, on the face of it, seem to be synonyms

It is this distinction of

and to signify the same thing.

reason between

actualis essentia " and

existent la" which

Suarez appraises as in need of clarification since there can be no doubt

about the real negative or real privative dis"

tinction between

essentia " as


ens in potentia " and


existent la"

ens in actu "

Let us now appraise this clarification.


At the outset, it must be said that


essentia " and

existent la " are the same thing in reality but this thing is

conceived under the

ratio" of essence in as much as by the

reason of its essence the thing is constituted under a

partic\ilar (tali) genus and species.

For, as Suarez has shown



"essentia" is that by which primarily something is










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OJ MIA brs




lo aoa&aa




constltuted within the latitude of real being, as distinguished

from fictitious being, namely,

entia rationis" and further.

In each particular being its essence is called that by reason of which it is constituted in such a grade or order of beings,

after the fashion of this text of St, Augustine:

"The author of all essences gave to some to be more and to others to be less, and thus has ordered the natures of essences in grades." (21)

in this way the essence is wont to be signified by the

name of quiddity, because that is what is explained by the

definition, or by any description by which we declare

thing is, of whatsoever nature.

the aspect of

This is the creature under

essentia "

With respect to
conceived under the

exi stent ia ", this same thing is


" "

ratio" of

exist entia" in as much as


existent ia" is the

ratio" of being

in rerum natura " and

outside its causes.

For this reason, because the essence of

the creature does not have necessarily the power to be an

actual entity, and when it receives its entity, we conceive

something in the essence of the creature which is the formal

reason for its being outside its causes.

the creature under such a

And this essence of


ratio ", Suarez calls



making sure to insist that, all the same,

in re ",

existentia "

is not other than the very entity of essence, yet is conceived

by us tinder a diverse "ratio" and description which he finds

sufficient for a distinction of reason.







'^('BB 9tii



^ iT








y<i ii


The precise foundation for this distinction of the

reasoned reason^
do not have

is that the created things of themselves

esse" and can sometimes not be.

On this basis,

we conceive the essence of the creature as indifferent to





non esse" in act, which is an indifference by way

of preclsive abstraction and not by negative abstraction for

in reality the essence is not so indifferent.

For this reason,

although the


ratio" of essence is absolutely conceived by us


even when we conceive it as

ens in potentia ", still by much


more does Suarez understand this

found in

ratio" of essence to be

ens in actu"

although when it is

ens in actu* he

prescinds all that which, necessarily gmd essentially belongs

to it from that actuality of being.
It is in this way that

Suarez conceives essence under the

ratio" of essence as

potency and existence as its act.

What more co\ild be asked

to indicate that Suarez in asserting the distinction of reason

between essence and existence is in reality distinguishing

essence as possible and essence in act wherein


means nothing more than the essence here and now actual.
influence of Fonseca, and Alexander of Alexandria is here


making itself felt.

Hence, by reason of this twofold conception of

essence, this distinction of reason has some


fundamentum in re"

which is not any actual distinction which is present

in re "

but is the imperfection of the creature, which from the very




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vleonoo sw


dw neriw novs








n x"





fact that it does not have


esse" of itself and can receive

something from another, offers an occasion for this conception.

Herein, also, the last part of his above conclusion, namely,

,..aut si utraque actu sumatur, solum distlngui ratione


aliqiuo fundamento in re,

quae distinctio satis erit ut absolute

dicamus, non esse de easentia creaturae actu existere " is made

For, in this proposition, by the name,


real actual entity or an entity created in act must not be

understood, for Suarez sees the danger of a reduplication or

composition of the creature as a real actual entity, replete

with a real


esse" , with another



This, after all, is

Thus, he asserts

what he opposes in the Thoiaistic position.

that the creature essentially seeks to exist in act in order

to be a creature.

In this sense then, just as whiteness is

of the essence of the white thing as it is a white thing, so

existence is of the essence of the creature as the thing is

created in act, for, to the same extent or more formally,

existence constitutes the creature than whiteness constitutes
the v;hite thing.

Whence, Just as whiteness is inseparable

from the white thing unless the white thing is destroyed, so

existence Is inseparable from the creature unless the creature
is destroyed.

For this reason it is not rightly Inferred,

against Siiarez that, if existence is of the essence of the

creature taken as a real actual entity, the creature cannot be

deprived of existence, because, for him, it only follows that








3 od o^





It cannot be deprived of It unless the creature is destroyed

and ceases to be.

This is established from what Suarez has

said thus far and it is confirmed in his further discussions.

But again, we must be on our guard against

equivocation in the use of this word,
have seen, to have

de essentia" for as we

esse" of its essence (habere esse de


essentia sua) sometimes signifies to have "esse",

not has of

ex se" and

ab alio" , in which way no creature, even if it is in act,


esse " of its essence.

Suarez insists he is not speaking

de essentia" in this sense which applies only to God.

Rather, that which is the prime and formal constituent of the

creature is of the essence of the creature, as whiteness is

of the essence of the white thing as such although the creature
does not have it

a se" but


ab alio "

Hence, it can be

concluded that in this way existence can be truly said of the

essence of the creature constituted in act or created, as it
is such.

But, since


actu existere" is denied


de essentia

creaturae ",

creatura" must be taken as it abstracts or


prescinds from

creatura creata" and from


creatura creabilis" ,

whose essence objectively conceived, abstracts from actual


esse" or actvial entity.

In this way, to exist in act is

denied to be of its essence (et hoc modo negatur esse de

essentia ejus actu existere) because included in the essential concept of
" "

actu existere" is not

creatura ", so prescinded.

In Suarez' mind, a distinction of reason is sufficient in
















order that this be so, or a real negative distinction as between

the potential essence and the actual essence.

this then

amounts to is that




"exlstentia" are distinct in

reason because the objective concept of one is not the objective

concept of the other since they differ in their degree of

adequation to the actual entity


in rerum natura"



because such a distinction in concept has a foundation

it is attributed to the actual entity by extrinsic

in re"

denominat ion .

(24) '

Suarez then, in this distinction of reason with a

foundation In "re" or distinction of the reasoned reason, be-

tween the acttial essence and its actual existence finds the

way to deny that existence is of the essence of the creature.

Indeed, this is the shortcoming of those nominalistic positions

on the distinction of reason, i.e. the ones which distinguish

essence and existence merely on the basis of their mode of

signification, for Suarez sees clearly that they cannot help

but maintain that existence is of the essence of the creature

in as much as there is no difference between them, neither in
reality, nor in concept, nor in what is signified.
It is

precisely this danger which Suarez distinction of reason is

designed to avoid by granting some real basis for the dis-

tinction of reason in the fact that the essence does not exist
of Itself but comes to be by an efficient cause.


then, Suarez, unlike those whose distinction is on the level of




cl r








raodes of

signification with no foundation


in re"

makes his

foundation the fact that existence, though identical to the

actual essence, is not of that essence as
still related to an efficient cause.

a se ", i.e. it is

This fact then, explains

and groiinds the two different concepts Suarez possesses of

this one contingent actual essence for since it does not exist
necessarily, it can be conceived as non-existent.
One concept

differs from the other in the degree of adequation to the

actual thing, neither one exhausting everything there.


And the more confused concept is said to conceive that actual

essence not as actual but as potential or in potency, i.e.
logical potency, or as a possible which does not at all deny

that the thing conceived actually be an actual essence.

This concept and what is conceived is signified by the word


essentia ".

The more adequate and less confused concept of

the actual essence and what is conceived by it is signified

by the word


existent la" because this concept grasps that same

actual essence as actual and does not prescind from its

efficient cause.

This difference in concept is the distinction

It basically means that the

of reason maintained by Suarez.

possible essence or
actual essence or


essentia" is distingiii^hed from the

existent la " and is said to be in the thing

or founded on it by extrinsic denomination because the concepts are of this one thing and on the occasion of the

presence of this one thing to the intellect.

Existence is then.












not of the essence of the creature for Suai^z because

existence and essence are different concepts and the concept

of existence is not of the concept of essence even though

they are two concepts of one and the same thing.

In this way

then, existence is not of the essence of the creature because

the actual essence is not the possible essence, for one really
exists, the other exists only conceptually.
For, such a

concept of the actual essence as a possible would be altogether

impossible if that actual essence necessarily possessed

existence but for Suarez this possible essence is a concept,

though confused, obscure and inadeqioate, of this actual

impervious essence.

Notice that this anaJLysis is by no means

a metaphysical analysis of any internal structure possessed

by the existent actual essence but rather, it is an aniysis

and comparison of different concepts of that existent essence

and the structure arising from the comparison of the different

concepts of this existent essence is attributed to that

existent by an extrinsic denomination from those concepts.

The key to just how this conceptual analysis arises
is offered in Suarez* notion of a partial or incomplete sub-

stance as distinguished into a metaphysically incomplete substance and a physically incomplete substance. v ^7'

physically incomplete substance is a physical part like either

matter or form, a substantial mode or terminus of a substance

as complementing it.

Basically, that is physical which exists









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I.R''. ^"^'ffr^i'.rt'wrT












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really and actual apart from any operation of the intellect.

Unlike a physical substance, complete or incomplete, the metaphysical substance, complete or incomplete, is in the
Intellectual order.
It is that which is conceived as a meta-

physical part.
It is in this fashion that Juarez can agree with

those Thomists who say that existence is an incomplete substance

and a mode or act of substance.

That is, Suarez can sigree

if they concede that It is a metaphysical incomplete substance

attained by what Suarez calls a metaphysical abstraction of

reason as opposed to a physical abstraction.^ ^'

By such an

abstraction, the existent essence is taken out of the order

of existence in the sense that it is abstracted or prescinded

from the entity which it constitutes.

Understood in this way,

Suarez could well concede that existence, conceived by him to

be distinct in reason from essence, is something incomplete

and that it is conceived as the mode or act of essence.^

For, existence is looked on as an incomplete being or mode


or metaphysical act in the same sense as Suarez calls incomplete being, the differences by which genus is contracted^-"

or the haecceity by which the species is determined to the


esse" of the individual


and the modes by which being (ens)

(33) is determined to its inferiors, all of which are distinguished

in reason from the things which they contract ^-^

stitute and are not distinguished "in re"

(34) '

or con-

That is to say.







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each of these four Instances, the essence, the genus, the

species and being (ens) are conceived to be in potency to what

are conceived to be their respective acts, namely, existence,

difference, haecceity and the mode

per se" or substance etc.

But in each


every instance, the basis for such distinctions

of reason is the degree of determinateness, or Its lack, of

the conceptions in question.

Thus, the concept of genus Is

less determinate than the concept of the species, and the

difference is conceived as the mode or act contracting the

genus to the species; so too, the concept of specific nature
is more confused than the concept of the individual and thus

haecceity and the individuating differences are conceived as

the mode or act determining the species to the individual;

likewise the concept of


ens " is more confused than the concept

of substance, and consequently, the mode of perselty is con-

ceived as the determinant.

It is the same case with essence

and existence for the concept of essence in potency is less

detennlnate than the concept of essence in act and existence

is conceived as the act or mode constituting or contracting

essence In potency to be essence in act.

Thus, "existence

adds itself synthetically to essence only in our concept", '35/

It seems that many authors

cited for the second

position, say that existence is a mode of essence in the above

sense and Indeed, Fonseca has especially explained this, for

he compares the mode of existence with the modes determining






9&0BI srfw


being to the highest genera/-^


And on this score, Suarez

admits that Fonseca only differs from him In that the latter
calls a distinction of this sort, formal or

ex natvra rei"

and Sxiarez calls it a distinction of reason f ovmded

in re "

And, if there by any doubt that Fonseca differs from him only

verbally, Suarez notes that Fonseca cites a common source in

that he cites in favor of his opinion Alexander of Alexandria

in the same text cited by Suarez, where in the last question



ex jprofesso" treats the present question and expressly

teaches Suarez* own position, better and more clear than the
rest of the authors declar it, in Suarez* opinion.
We have now come about in a full circle and having

begun with Fonseca and Alexander of Alexandria, Sviarez can only

end with them.
Then, too, having aligned himself with Fonseca

and Alexander of Alexandria wherein existence is nothing more

than the actual essence, Suarez, in answer to the question of

what the existence of the creature is, must also reply actual essence.
At last, then, this intrinsic and formal constituent of the actual essence or this intrinsic and fprmal constitution


of the actual essence as existing, constantly affirroed by

Suarez is nothing more tlian a conceptual construct which is

attributed to that impenetrable actual essence by an extrinsic

denomination from these concepts.



Critical Summary

We have finally tracked Suarez' position to its

In his struggle against the proponents of a

i^aliam of essence Suarez' tactic has been to remove any

order of essence within being such as his opponents maintain.

For him, there can be no twofold order to reality, one entitled


ens in actu ", the order of essential actuality, the other



existens in actu"

the order of existential actuality.

Rather, the order of essence is the order of existence and

nothing escapes the direct causality of the creative efficient


This implies that being possesses no intelligible

structure or dimension within it since, for Suares, to propose

one would be tauitaraount to granting his opponent's position.
All that exists is an indistinct and indistinguishable

impervious essence.

Indeed, the treatment and analysis which

Suarez gives to it is the only one such a reality can have.

It is too impenetrable for any direct intellectual analysis

and thus, can only be examined in the light of more or less

obscure and confused concepts of it.
It cannot be analyzed;

its concepts can, in the sense that they can be compared and

some structural formulation derived from them.

Even the

concept of the actual essence as an existent is impervious

to any conceptual analysis.
It is not able to be resolved

into two concepts of essence and existence because these two

principles are not components of the real actual essence, and












thls concept is not a composite of two concepts.

Rather, It

is the determinate and raoi^ adequate concept of the existent

and when compared to a more obscure and confused and inadeqxiate

concept of that existent, the former seems to contract and
limit the latter so that it is compared to it as act to potency.

And if the former is called existence and the latter essence,

then one can say existence intrinsically constitutes essence

which receives and limits existence.

But notice that these

structural relationships are conceptvial and in no way imply a

metaphysical dimension within being.

In this respect It is

noteworthy that Suarez terms such conceptual constructs,

metaphysical, e.g. metajAiysical act, metaphysical contraction,

metaphysical substance for it implies that metaphysical

amalysis of an impervious indistinct being must needs be a

conceptual analysis.
Indeed, reality is only metaphysical by extrinsic


For, since these concepts are of a real entity

according to varying degrees of obscurity

and confusion,


structural formulation derived from their conceptual analysis

can be attributed to the existing thing by extrinsic de-

nomination from these concepts.

Thus, existential being, for

Suarez, is an indistinct essence which possesses metaphysical

structure only by extrinsic denomination.

Does not this

demand then that any metaphysics of such a world be a metaphysics

by extrinsic denomination?
This would seem to be a very high



oBo dao asri^













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01996 f)Xxxow


price to pay for a world free from essence and the problems
It raises.



It remains to draw up conclusions in regard to


relationship to the three historical positions on the

basis of the foregoing treatment.

With respect to the Thomlsts, Suarez is a


opponent and critic, interpj^eting as he does the real dis-

tinction to be between two


res " or two


entia " after the

fashion of the proponents he cites for the thl3?d tradition

on the question.

The major point of disagreement, at least

initially, is the question of a real essence which is and yet

somehow escapes the direct efficient causality of God and

possesses some entity by and in itself.
This reality of

essence is certainly characteristic of the Thomists we have

studied, thoiigh none are guilty of saying they possess such

an entity apart from God, in the sense of an eternal uncreated

existence other than that of God or in the sense of a

creation of the divine ideas.

But nonetheless, the reality

they afford to essence looks too much like some degree of

existential reality as far as Suarez is concerned.

Indeed, in this Sviarez compares closely to Scotus*

critique of Henry of Ghent on this same score.

And in

Capreolus we have found explicit reference to the doctrine

of Henry of Ghent with respect to the

esse essentiae " possessed

by an essence in so far as It is an essence and apart from gmy








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lo \










n^ TO tc-3



rimii "^or::??



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efficient causality.

To be sure, it is this point which

Capreolus considers well taken, even though St, Thomas holds

the contrary.
As well, we have noted the possibility of the

presence of Meister Eckhart's teaching on this point to the

thought of Capreolus,
It is this doctrine then, of an

essential actuality apart from the efficient causality of

God which is found in the Thomlsts after Capreolus

Cajetan, Sylvester of Ferrara and Javellus.


All of these

Thomists seem to hold that the essence of the creature is

something in the divine intellect

not something existent

to be sure, but a something of essence, in order to ground

the eternal truth of essential predication.

As in the case

of Henry of Ghent, we are confronted with the Avicennian

doctrine of the essences of creatures in the divine knowledge
as divine ideas.
It is precisely this position which Suarez counters

in the formulation of his first principle and yet, while

opposing it, he remains within the very same tradition.


Suarez, the essence of the creature is absolutely nothing

prior to its creation and in saying this he neutralizes any

real existence which an essence may enjoy in itself. However,

the essence of a creature prior to its creation does possess


esse " in the intellect of the Creator for Suarez, a



esse " or am intelligible





is in no

way a real existential "esse"

In this regard, Suarez does




i ill







an J









not greatly differ from Scotus and Henry of Ghent himself.

Indeed, along these lines, we are faced with the perplexing

fact that Siiarez, with some Justice, finds this doctrine of

his in Capreolus,

That is, he asserts that the latter8


distinction between

nihil essentlae" and


nihil exlstentlae "

is meajiingless if Capi^olus agrees that essence is only

potentially real in the divine intellect.

Thus, while main-

taining that the essence of the creature does have an efficient

cause, Suarez here would seem to receive aid and comfort from

the enemy on the basis of this interpretation of Capreolus.

For, he seems to be saying, implicitly at least, that Capreolus

does not hold that the essence of the creature does not come

to be by an efficient cause.
is accusing the Thomists,

In this indirect fashion Suarez

in their avowal of the real distinction,

For, if the

of not being faithful to the data of the problem.

essence in the divine intellect is merely something apt to be

and does not have amy existential reality in itself, then the Thomistlc position would seem to amount to nothing more thsm
a distinction between the essence as possible and the same

essence as actual and not between two positive realities.


In this regard we are faced with Suarez' own principle to the

effect that he grants uncontestedly, a real distinction between

the essence as possible and the same essence as actual.

as we have seen, this is a type of distinction called a real

negative distinction by some or a distinction of reason by


















ntrf:? rtl









others, because unlike the real distinction as between two

positive extremes, the


negative distinction is between

two extremes, one of which is a nonentity, i.e. the possible

essence is a nonentity in the sense of possessing no real


Briefly, this twofold status of one and the same

reality are compared as if they were


duae res "

Thus, if

this is the Thoraistic real distinction, Suarez readily grants


In fact, Suarez can and does cite Paulus Barbus Soncinas

as holding this second principle of his, maintaining the non-

entity of the possible essence and its logical distinction

from the actual essence.
So, Just as he has cited Capreolus

in favor of his first principle, Suarez cites this other


Soncinas, in behalf of his second principle, and

For, if these Thomist

the consequences are devastating.

grant that such is the data of the problem, i.e. that the real

distinction is a distinction between the possible essence and

that same essence as actual, what then becomes of the Thoraistic

duae res" if one extreme is a nonentity?


Further, what be-

comes of the Thomist notion of

esse" if it now means nothing

more than the essence as, here and now, actioally existing.
Thus, if the Thomlsts agree with Suarez on his first two

principles Suarez and the distinction of reason would seem

ultimately to carry the day.

Having stymied the Thomlsts on this score, Suarez


fcoB r




10 i^jxjaa





lo asawo


now attacks them wherein they are seen to inaintain the real
distinction between the actual essence and its actual existence
and not between an essence as possible and actual.
This is

that group of Thomists whom we have seen alluded to by Suarez

and whom we have been unable to identify.

The perplexing fact

Is that Suarez in his initial citation of the Thomists has

cited no one who lived after 1538* ten years before Suarez

himself was


It is very probable that the anonymous

Thomists are his contemporaries



recentiores "


are the men who maintain the twofold order of


ens " and

existens ", likely after the fashion of Giles of Rome, as we

have noted.

The essence is constituted in the first order by




esse essentiae" and in the second order by an




Of these men, Suarez has said that they differ


from him only

in voce" when they say that what Stiarez calls


subsistence is nothing more than their

esse existentiae "

Yet, of these men Suarez has also said that they maintain

such a contention in order to hold a


distinction between
For, Suarez himself

essence and existence, at least verbally.

grants a real distinction between the actual nature or essence

and subsistence, and it is of the latter that Suarez accuses

these Thomists of thinking when they inaintain such a real

But though Suarez admits these men differ from


him only verbally he accuses them of a misuse of the

"esse existentiae", thus belying a misconception of its nature



and function.

In fact, however much they may seem to agree

verbally with Sxiarez these men still maintain the twofold

order of

ens" and


existens " which Suarez has insisted is

but one and the same, and it is this point which remains the

primary and ultimate bone of contention with these Thomists.

That is, Suarez is a critic of that Thomistic tradition on
the real distinction between essence and existence which is

seen to attribute an actuality or a reality to the essence of

a creature apart from existence

tradition of the

in a word, the Thomistic

esse essentiae "

Suarez' relationship to the proponents he has cited

for the modal distinction follows from his attitude toward

the proponents of the real distinction, for Suarez considers

this modal distinction to be a species of real distinction. That is, here existence is not a

res" in the sense of the

first position but is such an existential reality that it

cannot exist except as dependent on another.

Rather, it is

a mode.

complicates Suarez* status in regard to this

position is that there are some who hold, for all intents

and purposes, a modal distinction or a distinction


ex natura

rei" between essence and existence, and yet who give no entity

whatsoever to this mode of existence.

Ponseca is one of these

and Suarez rightly interprets him to be holding his own

"distinctio rationis ratiocinatae" between essence


eLrfi 22






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al sd'XAirC tSl



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sa uc




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id diiO al


10 sJxus. sxxu oj 'xsv&083Biiw


3^Bnl9oi;tfii __.._-.




Thus, this second or middle position for Suarez

is clearly a species of real distinction and as such must be

rejected for the same reasons as the real distinction proposed

in the first position.

The perplexing feature of Suarez'

citation of the proponents of this second position is that in

both Scotus and Henry of Ghent, in the places cited, there is

foimd no such doctrine.
In addition, the doctrine of Soto In

the places cited is contested by Vazquez and John of St. Thomas.

It is very likely he has taken these references from someone else's catalogue.

In regard to the third position on this question,

Suarez' own, the complex of relationships is an Interesting

In explanation of Siarez' appreciation of the real dis"

tinction to be between

d\iae res"



duo entla" the names of

Alexander of Alexandria, Petrus Aureolus, Henry of Ghent, Godfrey

of Fontaine and Petrus Fonseca must be mentioned.

Each of these

nen looks on the real distinction between essence and existence

to be between

duae res" or


duo entia " and very likely this

tradition bulks larger in Suarez' mind then a few remarks of

Giles of Rome.

Ard the interesting part of Suarez' citation

of some of these men, as we have seen. Is that they seem to be

cited precisely as opponents of the real distinction, for

Suarez chooses to cite them as rendered by Capreolus who cites

them as men who oppose the real distinction.

As for the positions of I>urandus, Gabriel Biel,







Hervaeus Natalis, Alexander of Achlllinus

of the distinction between essence and

the grammarians


Suarez grants

that their stand is reasonably probable.

However, in Suarez*

mind their nominal distinction can in no way save them from

affirming Implicitly existence to be of the essence of the

In relation to these men it is Suarez* Intention

to establish a greater difference between essence and existence,

yet not a real distinction^ enabling him to say existence is not of the essence of the creature.

This is precisely Suarez'

distinctio ratlonis ratlocinatae"

The position that


esse" denotes essence as actual

is fo\ind In Alexander of Alexsmdria, Petrus Au3?eolus, Gerard

of Carmel, John of Jandun and Petrus Ponseca and likely

Influences Suarez in as much as Suarez holds that,



esse" or

exi stent ia " mesms nothing more than the actual essence, here

and now existing outside its causes.

As well, again after the

fashion of Alexander of Alexandria, Gerard of Carroel, and John

of Jandun, Suarez accepts "essentia" to mean that same reality

signified by


esse" or


exi stent ia " not as actual, to be sure,

but as it is a possible, prior to its actualization and as a

Thus, the status of

esse" In this doctrine is no

longer that of a true metaphysical act complemented by a

potential principle In the actual being itself.
In fact, it

has no reality whatsoever as such for Suarez since he terms

it to be a metaphysical act by extrinsic denomination only.




8il^aN auMiVi^

9di 1c




5/! J



lo *on







won bus

>xIA lo aoJLriBsl




on ai



from the objective concept of the actual essence.

What has

reality In such a metaphysics is the actual essence and all

metaphysical compositions, save that of nature and supposit

or subsistence, are extrinsic denominations from the degree of

adequation to this actual essence of various objective

It is this latter doctrine on metaphysical compositions

which seems to be Suarez* contribution to the respective teachings of Alexander of Alexandria and Petrus Ponseca on the dis-

tinction between essence and existence.

For it is these two

men, especially the first, who seem to bulk largest in Suarez

solution of this problem.

Suarez indebtedness to Alexander of Alexandria is
great, as Suarez himself acknowledges.

Like Alexander, he

entertains a characteristic appreciation of what it means to

be really distinct} like Alexander, Suarez maintains that the

essence prior to creation is a possible and has no reality

whatsoever in itself; like Alexander, Suarez uses

to signify this state of possibility and



esse" or

existent la"

to signify the state of actual existence; like Alexander,

Suarez holds for a distinction between the essence as possible

and essence as actual, though Suarez calls it a real negative

distinction as between being and non-being whereas Alexander
terms it a distinction of reason.
However, unlike Alexander,

Suarez maintains the principle that the essence of a creature



















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f -t -.

r r ficiT



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-orr f fp.


is Intrinsically constituted by



It is this latter point which Is foxond in Fonseca

whom we have seen assert that existence is an intrinsic mode

of the essence.

And in behalf of this he even cites a text


of Alexander of Alexandria making mention of

modus "

But, as

we have seen, Fonseca means to give no reality whatsoever to

existence as an intrinsic mode.

What it means is nothing more


than a certain intensity of essence, in this

as actual.

the essence

This is Suarez* very point, for he, too, keeps

insisting that existence is an intrinsic constituent of the

actual essence much the same as Fonseca claims for his intrinsic
And, like Fonseca, S\iarez gives no reality whatsoever

to existence as this intrinsic constituent.

just as in

Fonseca, for Suarez this means nothing more than a certain

intensity or contraction of essence, namely, essence as actual.

Indeed, the common denominator of all the men cited

by Suarez in the third tradition on behalf of the distinction

of reason between actual essence and its existence is their

denial of any reality possessed by essence In itself, apart

from existence in direct opposition to the first two traditions.

Thus, they would deny any order of essence or

esse essentiae"

within being to the extent that essence is being or the order

of essence is the order of existence.

In this they are the

direct antithesis of the first two traditions.

But over and above and implicit within this explicit













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rf^^J^o ^v<








'> I'v^T


r r'

' .-va^Fi







interplay of men and ideas found in Suaiez thijrty-first

Disputation, there is a wider historicail influence which seems

to be all pervasive and encompassing.

If I were to characterize

it by noting the philosopher's name whose doctrine bulks so

large I would have to say, Avicenna for he has captured the

highest citadel in Christendom

the divine intellect.

His presence is met first among the Thomists themselves in maintaining the real distinction between essence and
existence, as even Suarez himself attests when he explicitly

states that Avicenna is cited by these Thomists.

And, as we

have seen, the first Thomist studied herein bears witness to

this, for Capreolus cites Avicenna as one of his authorities

for the real distinction of essence and existence, as did

Petrus Aureolus before him.

Cajetan as well, in favor of the

same doctrine, cites the philosophic tradition of Alfarabi,

Avicenna and Algazel, along with Plato, Boethius, Hilary and

St. Albert.

This same tradition is again explicitly mentioned

by Sylvester of Ferrara.
In addition, the text of St. Albert which Suarez

says is also cited by the Thomists on behalf of the real dis-

tinction of essence and existence, bolsters this Avicennian

sphere of influence.

For, St. Albert, in coimnenting on the

Liber De Causis"

adopts the Avicennian position on the

relationship between essence and existence.

And this text of

St. Albert is explicitly mentioned by Capreolus and seems to


w I




be knovm to Cajetan and Sylvester of Perrara.

Indeed, is it

not Siger of Brabant, as the opponent of any Platonic realism

of essence, good Aristoelian that he is, who accuses both



St. Albert of equivocation with respect to the

causality proper to the essence of a created being, and is

this not the very point which is the bone of contention between

Capreolus and the anonymous objector he gives voice to


causality proper to the essence of a created beir^g as opposed

to the causality proper to the existence of a created being?

The feeder of this doctrinal tributary of Thoraisra

would seem to be Capreolus, at least as far as the Thomlsts

listed by Suaurez


For it is he who has set the

pattern of this approach to the real distinction between

essence and existence and its presence is manifest beyond a
doubt in each of the Thomists studied after Capreolus
Cajetan, Sylvester of Ferrara and Javellus.


And the most

far-reaching consequence of such am approach is that the notion

of essence as understood and propounded by these members of
the Thoraist school, in their endeavor to be faithful to this

fundamental doctrine of their master on the composition of

essence and

esse" , is the self-sufficient essence of an

Avicenna and his Neo-Platonic heritage and not the

existence-needy essence of St, Thomas.
That this is so can easily be ascertained by first

noting that of the four texts of St. Thomas cited by Capreolus








in his initial discussion of the real distinction between

essence and existence, only one treats of the composition of essence and

esse " in any direct way.

But it is such a text

that, when taken from its context, it assumes a certain

doctrinal neutrality, such that it can be assimilated into

the Avicennian world of essence and existence.


possibility is attested to by the fact that Capreolus has done


This eclipse of the Thomist essence can be seen in

the second place by recollecting the text previously mentioned,

wherein St. Thomas in


De Potentia q.3 a. 3 obj.2 ad. 2" is


precisely confronted with an objection based on the

Liber De

Causis " and the dictum that creation is terminated to


for the first of created things is "esse"

of a thing is other than its

For, if the quiddity

esse " it is clear that the

quiddity is not from God.

And it is this objection which

derives its intelligibiLity from the Neo-Platonic world of

Avicenna, as we have noted.
Thus, St, Thomas' answer, if his

doctrine is opposed, must be a confrontation of such an

interpretation and it is Just that.

For, to be sure, St.

Thomas' critique comes to bear precisely on this

self-8\iificient essence, impervious to any activity of an

efficient cause, and it maintains that essence as well as


esse" is created, so much so that without


esse" any essence

is a nonentity.













it iu8.

oi^J. t










B to








6A liow aB




e ei


Thus It Is, that when Capreolus cites both the above

objection and St. Thomas' reply, even paying lip service to
St. Thomas' reply as

"safer", he pledges his metaphysical

allegiance to the


esse essentiae-esse e:;istentiae " of a Henry

of Ghent in whom the presence of Avlcenna is by no mesuis a


Evidently, the common denominator throughout is



it is a clear case of the ascendancy of the re-

doubtable Avicennian essence over the relatively impoverished

essence of St. Thomas, with the necessary consequence that the

problem of the real composition of essence and

come the problem of the real distinction of


esse" has be-

esse essentiae "



esse existentlae " wherein any such thing as essential

contingency or an essentially contingent being or even a

contingent essence if I may use such a mode of expression, is

reduced to a contradiction in terras.

But if the Avicennian


essence carries the day what must become of the


esse" of St.

This is but another of the skirmishes marking the

running battle between Greek necessitarianism and Christian
speculation throughout the Middle Ages and beyond, and one
cauinot help but think that in this particular encounter the

figure of Avlcenna towers over the participants like some

colossal geni of the Arabian Nights, recently freed from the

in which St. Thomas had contained him.

The presence of Avlcenna in the second position






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clted by Suarez on the distinction between essence and


the modal distinction, is clearly manifest when


it is realized that this is the position of some

Scotistae "

And that Avicenna Influences the tho\ight of Scotus has been


The Avicennian essence is manifested by the fact

that the essence as understood by the upholders of the modal

distinction remains impervious to any penetration by an

existential accretion such as


which feature is the

keynote of the Thomistic position.

of the first two positions

That is to say, in both

esse" i^raains outside the essence

of a created being to the extent that it is not intrinsic to

that being.

Thus is it, that existence can come and go and

yet the essence will be relatively unsiffected, for the essences

of things are perpetual and inconruptible and are said to be

from eternity, so much so that essential predication is in no

way invalidated.

So, as far as the essence of the created

being is concerned and the validity of essential predication,

though the being does not exist, the first smd second positions

Thomistae " and


Scotistae " are in harmonious agreement.

They merely disagree on the entitative status of existence or



an entity in its own right which can still exist

though separated from essence or a mode of an entity which

cannot survive in separation from an essence.

But the

important factor is that the impenetrable essence of Avicenna

is making itself felt thrx>ughout.




w Ji-i;
















Si: J


3 lo



iU s^












As far as Suarez 1b concerned the first two positions

on the distinction between essence and existence are cut from

the same cloth for as he hiroself says the arguments for the

first position are those of the second position as well, i.e.

both positions would hold the first Thomistic argument that the
essence of a created being does not come to be by an efficient

Further, as Suarez notea, and as a text of Vazquez

corroborates, these first two ixjsltions complement one another

in the predicational background of their stand.
For, in each

case arguments from essential or


per se" predication are used

to substantiate their claim that the essence of a created

being is in no way touched by an efficient cause on the grounds

that what comes to be by an efficient cause can cease to be,

thus invalidating all essential predication when the subject

is non-existent and destroying science.

In this regeird, it is interesting to note a text of

Javellus and of Soncinas previously mentioned, each of which

have a bearing on the dispute between the

reales" and the

termlnistae" or


nomlnales" in 3?egard to universal affirmative

propositions having reference to the nature or essence of a


Both are in agreement that It Is a valid reasoning

process to conclude from a universal affirmative proposition

to all its singular instances when such a proposition is

concerned with a contingency, e.g. every man runs, they


all men, therefore this man runs etc. and so of all other men.


























e od^


on;t nsriw












However, they disagree on the validity of the reasoning process of concluding from a iiniversal proposition to all its singular

Instances when the universal affirmative proposition is an

Instance of essential predication as in the case of, every

man is a rational animal.



termini stae" maintain it is

an invalid procedure because it entails concluding to some-

thing contingent from something necessary, from essence to

existence, so to speak, or thought to thing, and it is their

position that in corruptible things no singular proposition

is necessary since any corruptible singular being sometimes
is and sometimes is not.




on the other hand,

maintain that singular propositions when it is a matter of

the essence or nature of a thing, i.e. this man is a rational

are necessary in as much as the predicate is always

verified of the subject even though it be granted that the

subject does not exist. The reason for this being that in

such a proposition the "is" does not say the e^iistence of the
subject but rather the relation of subject and predicate.

That is, it is a mere copula.


However, they agree with the

termini stae" that when it is the matter of a contingency

the "is" says the existence of the subject and the relation of
subject and predicate as well.

The doctrine here put forth by the


reales" seems to

be the same one at work in the case of the Thomists and proponents of the modal distinction, namely, the withdravial of












v>i 1'.'






iV <















the essence of a being and essential predication from any

reference to contingency or relation to an efficient cause,
i.e. the preservation of an essence from any existential

inroads and demands.

In this regard, Suarez, because of his position that

the essence of a creatiire comes to be by the agency of an

efficient cause csmnot maintain the position of the

reales "

because essential predication as based on his contingent essence cannot be absolutely necessary and absolved from all
Thus, Suarez* position on essential predication

is in accord with that of the

terministae" who in turn are

reacting against the slightest trace of Greek necessity in

their world view.

So it is tliat the predicational arguments

of all these men clash and recoil against the backdrxjp of a

prior optica in regard to a distinction between essence and

Hence, Suarez' created essence, though still

impenetrable and impervious to any intrinsic existential

principle as the opposing Avicennian essence of the Thomlsts

and of the proponents of the modal distinction between essence

and existence, though for a different reason, is nonetheless

contingently suspended from an efficient cause



subject to its causality, with the result that we are con-

fronted with something very un-Greek


an absolutely contingent

yet whose contingency derives not from itself but






S 1

no :f-fRo.




90-B^J 5


9d no







100 seoflw



from an extrinsic agent.

And the only manner in which Susirez

can see his way clear to establishing and maintaining such an

entity is to deny any kind of real distinction between essence and existence and to deny any order of essence within being.
Moreover, it is worth pondering whether or not the

problem of the distinction of essence and existence is reduced

to the problem of creation and the divine Ideas in the

measure that the essence in question is the Avicennian essence.

It seems that such is the case, for such an essence is Just

it is apart from any relation to an efficient cause either

in the divine intellect or outside it and in so far as a created

being contains such an element, it is an ever present temptation to reduce any real difference between essence and
existence to that between a possible essence and an actual
essence and to that of two kinds of causality seemingly demanded

by a created being harboring an Avicennian essence.

But the upshot of this whole disputation and pertiaps
the most enduring contribution of Suar^z to the problem of
the distinction between essence and existence is the realization

that Suarez is the critic, looking to the past, and prophet

and seer, looking to the future, of the incompatibility between

anything like the Avicennian essence and something like the



esse" or the Thomistic




f tentlae"

For his

whole critique and ultimate rejection of the Thomist and

Scotist positions is but a clear presentation of this







This is the lesson Suarez would teach to the

Thomists and in the measure that St. Thomas' essence is

interpreted after the fashion of its Avicennian counterpart

he Is subject to such criticism.
Thomas' essence is not

But in the measure that St,

of Avicenna to that degree St.

Thomas remains lontouched and no party to the dispute.

Yet, the interesting feature of Suarez' critique is

that, thouGh it directly confronts the redoubtable Avicennian

essence impervious and impenetrable to any penetration by a

contingent existence and subjects it to the direct efficient

ca\isality of the Creator, instead of neutralizing such an

essence and making it a co-principle with

it makes it being itself.



actus essendi ",


That is, the Avicennian



essentiae ", now directly subject to

efficient cause, instead


of becoming a constituent of being becomes being Itself.

impervious as was the Avicennian essence to contingency, the

Suarezian essence is to necessity and to amy distinct order

of essence within it.
There is no question of an essence and

an existence within the structure of an existent being.

is but a conceptual construct which we formulate on the basis

of a comparison of the more or less confused and obscure


adequate concepts of this indistinct actual essence and then

attribute to this actual essence by extrinsic denomination

from these concepts.

Thus, reality would then seem to be

metaphysical by extrinsic denomination.

Indeed, if Suarez'


^ c*r'r^t^-y






metaphysics Is an essentiallsra, it is literally an

essentiallsm to end all essentialisras.

This is

entrance to the history of the problem

of the distinction between essence and existence and Siiarez*

own doctrine in relation to that history as found in the

thirty-first Disputation of his

Disputationes Metaphysicae"

first published at Salamanca in 1597.




Archives d'hlstolre doctrlnale et litteralre du moyen


Dictionnaire de theologle cathollque.

Divus Thomas, Pribourg, Divus Thomas, Piacenza,
P. Glorieux,




Repertoire des maltres en th^ologie de Paris au XIII sifecle .



Philosophie und spekulative Theologle.


H, Hurter, Noinenclator literarlus theologiae cathollcae .

Lexikon fur Theologle und Kirche.

New Scholasticism.
J. Qu^tlf and J. Echard, Scriptores Ordinis Pi'aedlcatorum


Revue Neo-scolastlque de philosophie,

Revue Thomiste.







Cf. R. De Scorraille, S.J., Francois Suai'ez de la Compasniede Jesus d'apres ses lettres, ses autres fecrlts ln6dlts et un grand nombre de documents nouveaux , (Paris: Lethielleux, 1913J. Vol. I, Bk. I,

Chapter I.

Ibid. Chapter II, p. 53, #9 et seq. as well as Chapter III. Ibid. Bk. II, Chapters I, II, IV.

3. 4. 5.

Ibid. Chapter VI, #7, #8,

Ibid. p. 334
D.M., Ad Lectorera: "Et quoniam Judlcavi semper magnam, ad res intelligendas ac penetr'andas, in method convenienti inqulrendis et judicandis vim positam esse, quara observare, vix aut ne vix quldem possem, si, expositorum more, quaestiones oranes, prout obiter, et


velutl casu circa textura Phllosophi occurinint, pertractarem: idcirco expeditius et utilius fore censui, servato doctrlnae ordine, ea omnia inqulrere, et ante oculos Lectoris proponers, quae de toto hujus sapientiae objecto investlgari, et desiderari poterant." Cf. Jesifs Iturrioz, S.J., "Fuentes de la Metafisica de Suarez", Pensamiento , IV, 1948, pp. 31-89 for an interesting article on Siiai^ez' opinion of Aristotle's method among other things.

D.M., 2, Prooemium: "Ut enim majori compendio ac brevitate utaraur, et conveniente methodo uni versa tractemus, a textus Arlstotelici prolixa explicatione abstinendum duximus, resque ipsas, in quibus haec sapientia versatur, eo doctrinae ordine ac dicendi ratione quae ipsis magis consentanea sit, conteraplari . D.M., Ad Lectorera.













D.M., 31, I, #2
Cf. L. Mahieu, Francois Suarez, sa phllosophie et le^ rapports qu*elle a ^vec sa theologle , (Paris: liesclee, De Brouwer, 1921 j, pp. 331 et seqT; P. Descoqs, S.J., "Le Suar^zisme", Archives De Phllosophle,, II, 1924, pp. 123-154; 187-219; "Thomisme et Suar6zisme", Archives De Philosophle , IV, 1926, 4, pp. 434-544; IV, 1527, I, pp. B2-l^^: M. Del Prado, O.P., De Veritate Fundainentali Philosophiae Christlanae , (Friburgi, Helv . 1911). esp. L. II, C. XI; E. Gllson, Being and Some Philosophers , (1st ed.; Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 19^9), PP. 96-10?.











Cf, Francis Suarez, Dlsputatlones Metaphysicae j

Dlsputatio 31, Section I, #3-#12.

Note: Full bibliographical data will not be furnished in the footnotes but will be listed in the complete bibliography appended to the thesis. In regard to Suarez and his "Metaphysical Disputations", all future references will be abbreviated as follows:
D.M., 31 Ij #3* the first arable number indicating the Disputation, the roman numeral indicating the section and the second arable nviraber referring to the paragraph.


The scope of this thesis is such that we cannot go into the much discussed problem of whether or not St. Thomas held for a real distinction or a real composition between essence and " esse " . We take it as established that he dd on the basis of the textual investigations of Etienne Gilson, Le Thomisme , (5th ed.j Paris: Vrin, 19^7)* pp. 43-68; Being and Some Philosophers , {1st ed.j Toronto; Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1949), pp. 154-189 j G.M. Manser, Das Wesen des Thomismus, (Freiburg, Schweiz, 1932), pp. 491-550; Martin Grabraann, Doctrina S. Thomae De Dlstinctione Reali Inter Essentiam et Esse Ex DocujTientis Ineiitis Saeculi xiil Illustratur", Acta Hebdomadae Thomisticae , (Roma, 1924), pp. 131-190; Joseph De Finance, gtre et agir dans la phllosophie de saint Thomas , (Paris; TB"eauchesne et ses Flls, 19^5)* pp. 79-liy; Louis De Raeiinaker, Metaphysica Genera,lis , (Louvainj Wamy, 1931), PP. 255-252; 2b5-2tS7 Aim^ Forest, La structure metaphysioue du concret selon saint Thomas d'Aquin , (Paris: Vrin, 1931 K PP. 12b-lb5, with Fathers Descoqs and Chossat notwithstanding. However, we will note how faithful the Thomists listed by Suarez are to the doctrine of their master. For, the four texts of St. Thomas cited by Suarez are texts which have acquired commentaries in the course of history, e.g. Cajetan has commented on both the " Summa " and the " De Ente et Essentia ", Sylvester of Ferrara has commented on the " Summa Contra Gentiles" , and Soncinas while not actually commenting on St. Thomas* commentary on the








;ji:ij..^ :'j;





Metaphysics" of Aristotle, comments on the same text by In this way in Aristotle as his master before him. the doctrine of relating their thought to St. Thomas St. Thomas will be alluded to with the relation of his followers to that doctrine. The further question as to whether Suarez thought St. Thomas held for the real distinction is at issue in view of his use of " exlstimatur ". For he speaks of the real distinction in regard to St. Thomas as follows: "De hac igitur existentia creaturae varie sunt opiniones. Prima est, existentiam esse rem quaradam distlnctara omnino realiter ab entitate essentiae creaturae. Haec existiraatur esse opinio D. Thomae, quam in hoc sensu secuti sunt fere omnes antiqui Thomlstae." Why this " existimatur" ? Does Suarez imply by it that some think so, but he himself does not and is reluctant to come right out and say so? The answer will have to


wait upon our subsequent analyses but the contrast between this indirect mode of expression here and his very definite and direct approach when relating the same or a different doctrine to another raan is indeed interesting.

Let this be the first, but not the last indication that the V1V6S edition (Paris, 1877 ) of Suarez' Metaphysicad Disputations Is far from being a critical text. This seems to be a wrong reference and I do not know just what text of Giles* commentary on the "Sentences" Suarez had in mind. It is Interesting to note that Fonseca in 4 Metaphy. cap. 2, sect. 2, col. 751 cites the same place in Giles: "Eandem sententiam amplectitur Aegidlus Rom. In priraura Sent, dist.2 a. art.l."


The reference to Giles of Rome and his Quodlibets should read, Quodllbet I, q.7 instead of Quodlibet q.2



Let us note here that both St, Albert smd Avicenna " are cited, not so much as Antiqui Thomlstae" but as " men who have been themselves cited by some Antiqui whether What is at issue is twofold Thomlstae" Suarez thinks that these men hold for a real distinction or not and whether the Thoraists mentioned have been Influenced by the teaching of these two men on essence and "esse" and whether Suai*ez Is right in perceiving the presence of this Influence or not. Suarez alludes " to this Influence in his use of Cltatur etlam" and as we shall see Capreolus is one of the Thomlsts who does






The Paris edition of 1877 reads I Phys. quaest. 2 which is incorrect, Suarez thinks that Alexander of Hales is the author of the commentary on the " Metaphysics" of Aristotle which he has at hand. In reality, the work is that of Alexander of Alexandria (/ 1314). Cf. L^on V^uthey, Alexandre d'Algxandrle^ maltre de I'lmiversite de Paris et ministre gfreral des freres minexirs , (Paris; Soci^t^ et Lihrairie Saint-Francois D"Assise, 1932), p. 15. This first appeared in Etudes Franc iscaines , beginning in 1931 with volume #43*;; Cf. also Comelio Fabro, "Una Ponte Antitomista Delia Metafisica Suarezisma" , Divus Thomas (Piacenza), 50 (1947), pp. 52 et seq.; Ramon Ceftal, "Alejandro de Alejandria: Su Influjo en La Metafisica De Suarez", Pensamiento , 4 (1948), p. 93 et seq. This article takes into account the previous contributions made by Veuthey and Fabio, handling the latter rather roughly. Cf also Ueberweg, Grundriss de Geschlchte der Phil. , II Teil, S. #37, P. 437j G.M. Manser, Das Wesen des Thomlsmus, (Freiburg, Schweiz, 1935),


p. 522.


Note that Suarez source here is not Aureolus, Henry of Ghent, Godfrey of Fontaine, Gerard of Carmel, directlyj rather, it is Capreolus vrtio cites them in the section urtiere he treats the " Objectlones" . Cf. Johannes Capreolus Defensiones Theologiae Divl Thomae Aquinatis , ed. by Paban-P^dues, (Turin: Alfred Cattier, It 1900;, I, Distinctlo VIII q.l, a.l, p. 315 et seq. is noteworthy that Suarez lists the men cited by Capreolus under the third position though there is no such threefold division of positions in the text of Capreolus, And in doing so Simrez has Henry of Ghent incongruously residing in both the second and third positions.

These are the references where Godfrey actually takes up the problem of the distinction between essence and "esse". Cf. Les quatre premiers Quodlibets de Godefroid de Fontaine , edit. De Wulf-Pelzer, Quodl ibe 2, quaest. 2j Quodlibet 3, qq. 1 and 2.
The Vives edition carries as the reference to Durandus In I Sent, d.?, q.2. The missing numeral is #8 so that the full reference reads In I Sent, d.3, q.2. The reference to Hervaeus Natalis in the Vives edition reading Quodlibet 7 q.9 should be corrected to read Quodlibet 7 a. 8.



JtssC oi it







This is also cited incorrectly in the Vives edition where the reference reads In 2 Sent, d.6, a.l. This is another faulty reading. Instead of Liber I De elementis dubium 3 the reference should read Liber I De elementis dubium 23,



This is another faulty reference to add to our already large list. Instead of In I Sent, d,8 disputation Ij read disputation 2.
This man still remains unknown to me despite all my efforts to unearth him. The best I could do was to turn up a certain Joannes Altenstaig or Altensteig. Cf. Fabricius, Bibliotheca Mediae et Infimae Latlnitatis , Lib. IX, pp. 130-132; Hugo Hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae ^ (Oeniponte, I906 )
III, col. 555/^457.



This is another faulty reference. Instead of C.3 the fully correct citation should be 4 Metaph. q,3 instead of Chapter 3.
This, too, is a faulty reading. Whereas the Vives edition has 4 Metaph. C.3* q.4, the correct reference is 4 Metaph. C,2, q.4,
Cf. D.M., 31, I, #3.




Suarez is not alone in attributing this kind of an argument to the Thomists as the following texts attest: 1st Thomistic Argument according to Michael de Palacios, In I Sent, d.8 disput.2: "Quarto praeter haec essentiae praedicantur aeternae. Autore nanque Augustino aetema est haec Veritas, tria et duo s\int quinque. Ergo similiter haec est aeternae veritatis, homo est animal rationale, et in alias definitiones essentiales excurras, quae omnes eandem sublbunt legem. At existentiae sunt temporales, ut quod homo existat, aut equus temporales est. Caeterum aeteruum et temporale, re ipsa secemiintur." 1st Thomistic Argument according to Petrus Fonseca, In 4 Metaph. cap. II, q.4, col. 752: "Quintum. Id, quod convenit alicui non per ullam caussam effectlvara, distinguitur re ipsa ab eo, quod non convenit eidera, nisi per aliquam: atqui praedicata essentialia conveniunt creaturis non per ullam caussam effectivam (siquidem hujusmodi propositiones. Homo est animal. Homo est substantia, et similes semper fuerunt verae, etiam

,Sii alia







antequara Deus quicquam efficeret) praedicatum autera, quo de rebus creatis affirmatur existentla, non convenlt creaturis nisi per caussam efficientem, ut patet: non est igitur dubiuiu, quln essentia, et existentla ci^aturarum re ipsa distinguantur." 1st Thoiaistic Argument according to Niphus, In h Metaph. disp. 5: "Sexto omne citra prlinum est conrpositum ex actu et potent ia. Sola enim prima intelligent ia est liberata a potentia, Averroes. 3, De Anima, Essentia competit rei ex se: esse vero ab efficiente, igitur essentia differt ab esse. Antecedens patet, quia orani agente circurascripto homo est animal et homo, et tamen homo non potest esse illis omnibus circurascriptis, ut patet 8 (?;. Omne lllud cujus esse non differt ab essentia, non est plus uno in specie, secundum peripatetlcos. Sed omne quod est citra primum est plus \.ino in specie, quod saltern est de generabilibus nemo dubitat, igitur in nullo citr^ primum esse et essentia sunt idem." 1st Thomistic Argiiment according to Alexander Achillinus, Bk. I De Elementis Dublum 23 fol. 104B: "Quarto. Omne habitum a causa effective est re distinctum a non habito per causam effectivam, sed essentia non habetur per causam effectivam, et esse sic, ergo etc." 1st Thomistic Argument according to John of Jauidun, In 4 Metaph. q.3: "Item ilia non sunt eadem realiter: quorum unum potest corrumpi alio remanente: quia ilia quae sunt eadem siraul generantur et corrumpuntur. Alioquin esset idem et non esset: sed essentia potest manere corrupto esse: quia rosa in hyeme manet quoad essentiam: et tamen ejus esse est corruptum. Et quod essentia rosae maneat in hyeme, probatur: quia nisi reraaneret rosa in hyeme et nix in aestate: et similiter meteorologica ut grando: t\jnc scientia libri meteorarum periret: sed hoc est falsum quia philosophla secTindura omnes partes ejus est perfecta vel in raajori ejus parte, ut dicit Commentator, 3. De Anima. Consequentia patet quod de non ente non est scientia, primo posteriorum," 1st Thomistic Argument according to Aureolus, I Sent. d.8, q.21, a.l, p. 257A: "Praeterea: Quandocuraque aliqua realis actio terminatur ad aliquid, et non terminatur ad aliud, ilia non possunt poni eadem res. Si enim sunt eadem res, quandocumque actione reali unum attingitur, et reliquum; sed creatlo realis productlo est. Non attlngit autem essentiam, quia Deus non faclt hominem esse hominem, sed homlnera esse, et essentiam esse, secundum quod dicit Auctor de causis in quarta propositione, quod prima rerura creatorum est esse. Ergo non sunt idem realiter essentia, et esse."




Note further that Descartes also uses the terms " essence" and " eternal truths" as synonymous. "Vous me demandei: in quo genere causae Deus disposult aetemas veritates. le vous repons que cest in eodem genere causae qu'il a cvei toutes choses, cest k dire ut efflciens et totalis causa. Car il est certain qu'il est aussi blen Autheur de 1* essence conme de 1 existence des creatures, or cette essence n*est autre chose que cesj veritez entemelles, lesquelles ie ne concoy point ^raaner de Dieu, comme les rayons du Soleil; raais ie scay que Dieu est Autheur de toutes choses, et que ces viritez sont quelque chose, et par consequent qu'il en est Autheur." Cf. A.T. I, p. 151-152, 2? Mai I63O. Cf . also Correspondance edited by Adam and Mllhaud I*>P. 139j Cf. alsoPGarin, Theses cartesiennes et theses thomiste , p. 11? et seq., Cf . ^also E. Gilson, La doctrine cart^ienne de la liberte e t la th^oloKie, p. 37-3y n.3.

20. 21.

Cf . Suai^z op. cit .

Cf. St. Thomas, In I Post. Analy ., Lectio X, edit. Leonine, p. I76: "Primus ergo modus dicendi per se est, q\iando id, quod attribuitur alicui, pertinet ad formam ejus. Et quia defInitio significat formara et essentiara rei, primus modus ejus quod est per se est, quaundo praedlcatur de aliquo definitio vel aliquid in definitione positura et hoc est quod dicit quod per se sunt quaecumque insunt in eo, quod quid est, idest in definitione indicante quid est sive ponatur in recto sive in obliquo." Cf. Capreolus, Defensiones Theologiae , In III Sent., d.IV, q.l. Vol. 5* p. 50a et seq.


Cf. D.M., 31, XII, #38 et seq. where Suarez discusses this 1st Thomistic argument exactly in the context of the eternal truth of "^per se" propositions.
Cf. Paul Wyser, O.P., Per Thomlsmus, vol. 15/16 of Bibliographische Einfuhrungen in das Studium der Philosophie, ed. I.M. Bochenski, p. 24-25 #33.32-#33.351 for bio-bibliographical references to Capreolus. Of interest for our needs are T. Pegues, KH 7, I899, 317-334, esp. 317. 319-21, 324j M. Grabraann, DTP 22, 1944, 85-109, 145-170; A. Krempel, La doctrine de la relation chez saint Thomas , (Paris: Vrin, 1952), PP. 29-30.



It is noteworthy that a change in the stnicture of the traditional " quaestio" has taken place. Instead of a

Respondeo " wherein the resolution of the question

^J* ^ ^.






takes place, the conclusion is posited initially and argximents are then marshalled in its defense. This would seem to indicate that Capreolus is not so much establishing his positions as defending positions which are to him a philosophical heritage. And that this should alter tlie basic stmacture of the " ciuaestio " is

only natural.

Cf, Capreolus, Defensiones Theolociae , I, d.l, q.l, a.l. Vol. I, p. la. Pertiaps this approach is the one which has incurred for its practitioners " Thomatistae " Cf, R. Villoslada, La uniyersidad de Paris durante los estudiosde Francisco de Vitoria O.F ., (1307-1522), (Rome, 193^^ P. 255: "La palabra tpraista para designar, en el sentido hodiemo, a los sequidores de Santo Tomas, la vemos por primera vez empleada por el franciscguio Pedrjo de Aquila (Scotellus 41361); si bien ya antes la habia usado en esta otra forma "Thomatista" . Amaldo de Villanova (fl31l), quien di rigid hacia 1304 a su amigo Jaime Blanch (Albi) un opusculo que empieza y se titula asi: 'Gladius jugulans Thomatistas' , en el cual, acusa a estos de preferir la suma de Ssuato Tomas a la Biblia. Ehrle, Amaldo de Villanova e i 'Thomatiste', Gregorianura, 1920, 475-U90. Menendez Pelayo, Historia de los heterodoxos t. Ill p, 208. La forma Thomatista reaparece in el documento de los norainales par-isienses aducido en el capitulo III, n.8."



Capreolus, op. cit ., I d.8, q.l, a.l. Vol,


p, 301b,

Cf, Capreolus op. cit ., I Sent., d,8, q.l, a.l. Vol. I, p, 301b: "Et aj?guitur quod non nam Doctores antiqui

negant illud concorditerj igitur illud est simpliclter Tenet consequentia per locum ab auctoritate. negeindum. ABSuii5>tvun probatur. Nam Philosophus, seciindo Poster. (t.c. 7> 92b 9-11) dlcit quod esse non est substantia -- Et Avicenna, quinto suae Metaphysicae, cap. 1, rei. (1508 edit. fol. 86va-87rb) et prime Physicorura, cap. ultimo, et ubique, est istius sententiae, quod esse accidit enti in omnl alio, praeterquam in necesse esse. Huic concordat Algazel in sua Logica, ubi multipliciter probat quod esse nostrum sit accidens, Huic consent it Boetius, de Hebdomadibus (PL 64, 1311 dicens: 'Diversun est esse, et quod est; ipsum vero esse nondum est; at vero quod est accepta forma essendi est atquG subsistit'." For Algazel Cf. Algazel's Metaphysics .A Mediaeval Translation , editT J, T. Muckle, p. 29-30. A striking similarity in the citation


of authorities on this question is found in Petrua Aureolus, In Quatuor Libros Sententiarura , (Romae: Ex Typographia Vaticana, 139bj, Liber I. Distinctio VIII q.l, p. 256. He writes as follows: "Et videtur quod in omnl alio esse, et essentia realiter distin^^uantur. Illud enim videtur esse communis animi conceptio, et per consequens verura, quod Philosophi et sapfentes enunciant, secundiun quod Boethus dicit Libro suo de Hebdonadibus . Sed cranes Philosophi, et sancti concordant quod esse sit accidens essentiae, et distincuatur realiter ab ea. Hinc quidem Philosophus concordat, qui dicit 2 posteriorum quod essentia (esse) non est substantia rei; huic concordat Avlcenna 5 Metaphysicorum et ubique est istius sententiae, quod esse accidit enti in rmni alio, praeterquam in necesse esse; hiilc concordat Algazel in Logica nostrum sit accidens; huic concordat Hilarius quinto de Trinitate (PL 10, 208) qui dicit quod esse in Deo non est accidens, sicut in CMnni creato; huic concordat Boetius de hebdomadibus dicens quod diversum est esse, et illud quod estj ipsum vero esse nondum est, aut vero quod est accepta forma essendi est, atque consistit." That Capreolus has the coranientary of Aiireolus at his hand as he writes his Defensiones Theologiae. . there can be no doubt, as we shall have occasion also to see in Capreolus' citation of the a3?guments of Godfrey of Fontaine. Tliey are almost word for word the recapitulation of Aureolus. Nor has this escaped the editors of Capreolus. Cf . Defensiones Theologiae. p. XXII "Hoc tamen notatu dignum est: non semper ex libris auctorura argioraenta deprompsit Capreolus, sed prout in praecipuo adversario, Aureolo scilicet, exposita invenerat. In arguiaentis ergo e Scoto v. gr. assumptis, hujus Doctoris utique sententiam liabes formam vero sub qua praesentatur, apud Aureolura invenies."


Cf. Capreolus, op. cit ., I Sent., d.8, q.l. Vol. I, Quia quandocumque p. 301b: "In oppositum arguitur.

aliqua sunt realiter distincta, uniim potest per divinam potentiam ab alio separarl. Sed esse non potest separari ab essentia; alias si separaretur, esse esset sine essentia, et essentia esset sine esse. Ergo non distinguuntur realiter." Soncinas, Ponseca and Dominicus Soto bear witness to the same appreciation of what it means to be really distinct, for Soncinas in setting down one of the many positions on this question says: Alii dicunt quod esse et essentia non distinguuntur realiter quid isti habent hoc principium quod distinctio realis non potest esse nisi inter ea quorum unum potest

J--V e.ek




esse altero non exlstente. Essentia autem non potest esse sine esse. Dicunt tainen quod dlstlnguiintur ex natura rei quia de eis verificantiir praedicata contraditoria. Nam esse accidit essentiae, essentia vero non accidit essentiae. Item, essentia potest esse in potentia objectiva, esse non potest esse in potentla objectiva. Dicunt praeterea quod distinguimtur etiam modal iter quia esse est modus intrinsecus ipsius essentiae. Dicimt tamen quod esse et essentia non distinguiintur formallter quia homo in potentia non dicit aliara formalltatem ab homine in actu." Cf. Soncinas, Quaestiones Metaphyslcales , (Venetiis, 1498), Bk. 4, q.l2, fol. B5ra, Dominicus Soto in Super Oc to Libros Physicorum Quaestiones Bk, 2, q.2, fol. 32 va makes it clear that this is what the real distinction means to him, for he states: "Eodem arg\iraento convincor dicere quod esse existentiae non est res alia seciinda distincta ab essentia, ut discipuli raulti Sanct. Tho. (nescio an S. Tho.) habent pro comperto. Nam certe si existentla realiter distingue re tur a me, illam Deus posset corrumpere me salvo, et per consequens tunc ego existerem sine re ilia, atqueo adeo vanum est ponere allud praeter me et rael partes quo ego sim. Sed dicitur esse distingui ab essentia sicut sedere ab homine quia non est de essentia hominus, ut sit quippe cum ante mundi creationem homo erat animal rationale. Sed de hoc alias." Fonseca also aligns himself with this stand on the question: "Verum hujusmodi sententia (the real distinction) non videtur probanda. Primixm, quia si existentla creaturarum dlstlngueretur ab essentia, ut res a re, posset ab ilia separari divina potestate, praesertim cum neutra qulcquam includat alterius. At nullo modo videtur fieri posse ut existentla v.g. hujus lapldis permaneat in rerum natura pere\mte essentia ejusdem lapldis, aut conservata separatim sub alia existentla, quenadmodiun 1111 conservarl posse arbltrantur, argxamento surapto ab existentla naturae assumptae a verbo dlvlno." Cf. Fonseca, Commentariorum in Libros Metaphysicorum Aristotelis , tFrancofurtl, 1599"lb05j/Bk. 4, cap. 2, q.4, sect. 2, col. 753. But the immediate source for Capreolus in all likelihood is the man he has at his Petrus Aureolus Cf. op. cit .. In I Sent., elbow d.8, q. XXXI, a.l, p. 258b: "Praeterea, Quando aliqua sunt distincta realiter, iinum potest per Divinvun potentlam ab alio separari. Sed esse ab essentia separari non potest, alloquln si separaretur essentia erlt esse absque essentia, et essentia absque esse. Ergo non potest ponl quod realiter dlstinguantur." That Suarez is of the same opinion may be learned from


D.M., XXXI, VI, #8 Cf. P. Descoq's reference to both texts of Soto and Suarez in his Praelectiones Theologiae Naturalis , Tome 2, p. 701. For another appreciation of the text of Soto, one may consult L. De Raeymaeker, Metaphysica Generalis , Pars II, Sect. I, p. 130. That Giles of Rome is at the bottom of this business about sepai^ability is very likely Cf, Theoreroata De Esse et Essentia , edit, Hocedez, p, 67-68 and in the Introduction p. l52)-(63) but it is by no means evident that he has dravm it out to the personal conclusions of Soto, Fonseca and Suarez,


These are the headings of each of the five conclusions: " (1) no subsisting creature is its ovm esse" , which is the act by which it (the subsisting creature) exists in " reality. esse" of a creature is not re(2) That the " lated to the quod-est" or quiddity of a creature in the way in which substantial form is related to matter. " (3) That the esse exlstentiae" is not related to the substance or essence of a creature in the way in which an accident is related to substance, provided that " accidens " is taken in the predicaxaental sense. " esse " of a creature by which it actually C^n That the exists is not God, nor is it properly a creature, nor is it properly a creature, nor is it strictly speaking " an " ens" or " quod-est" . (5) That a certain esse" is the very essence of the creature and a certain " esse " is the actuality of that essence and there is a certain " esse" that has neither characteristic.
Cf, Def enslones Theologiae. . I., D.8, q.l, a.l. Vol, I, 301b and a. 2, p. 31pa et seq. "In secundo p. (articulo) vero, adversariorum objectiones." As a rule


Capreolus divides the " Objectiones " of his adversaries and his own " Solutipnes " according as they concern each of his conclusions . Sut in this instance Capreolus cites only the argvunents against the first conclusion. For example, in regard to his first conclusion Capreolus examines the objections of Henry of Ghent, Godfrey of Fontaine, Gerard of Carrael and Petrus Aureolus, The reference to Henry of Ghent in " primo Quodlibeto q.7 " is incorrect and should read " primo Quodlibeto, q^g Cf , Henry of Ghent, Quodlibeta (Paris; Jacobus Badius Ascensius, 15l8)j I* q.9* fol. 6v-7r. Note also that the argvunents of Godfrey of Fontaine are not taken directly from his own texts but rather are cited almost verbatvim from Aureolus' recapitulation, Cf , Petrus Aureolus, In I Sent., d,8, q,l, (Romae: Ex Typographia Vaticana, 1595), p. 258a et. seq. Just for comparison.






let me cite the first argument of Godfrey as summarized by Aureolus: "Ulterius videtur, quod solumraodo dlstlnguantur modls g3?ainmatlcalibus. Abstractiua enim, et concretum solum gramraaticallter distinguuntur. Sed essentia et esse distinguuntur, sicut abstractum et concretum, essentia namque est nomen abstractum ab esse, sicut htunanitas ab homine. Ergo videtur quod solummodo graramaticaliter distinguantur. Compare this to Capreolus, opcit ., I. Sent., d.8, q.l, a. 2, Vol. I, p. 317a: "Arguit etiam Godofridus, in Quodlibetis , Primo sic. Abstractum enim et concretum, solum graramaticaliter distinguuntur. Sed esse et essentia distinguuntur sicut abstractum et concretijm: essentia namque est nomen abstractum, sicut hvimanitas ab homine. Ergo videtur quod soliim graramaticaliter distingueintur."

Capreolus* treatment of this first conclusion is a composite of seven separate arguments interspersed with counter-arguments and his answers to them, with each argu33ient Jtmiping off from an authoritative text usually St. Thomas. So it is that his finished product is much like a mosaic, consisting of Aristotle, Averroes, Robert Grosseteste and St. Augustine, as a sampling from only the first argument attests. From a remark of Fr. Pegues, Revue Thomiste , 7, I899, p. 330, I gather that I am not the first to make the cliarge, nor need it be taken in a derogatory sense, for a mosaic can be and often is a work of art. Indeed, Capreolus' synthesis is all of a piece rather than being an artificial juxtaposition of texts, for these citations are quickened from within by that very personal existence which the intelligibility of such texts has in mind of Capreolus. The difficulty that such a mosaic offers to any analysis goes without saying. But when Capreolus literally hides behind his authorities and gives but sparingly of his commentary, the difficulties of analysis are appreciably enhanced. Still, to grasp in some way tliat personal existence which these texts have in the mind of Capreolus, we must lift each piece out of its setting, scrutinize it carefully and replace it again within the complete design of the whole. Added to these obstacles is the fact that we are probing into three massive metaphysical problems whose overtones mingle and blend throughout this one particular they are the " ex professo problem of the argument distinction between essence atnd " ess e" , the problem of the divine ideas, and the problem of creation. The presence of the latter two will become clear as we proceed. The difficulty is to do justice to the first



and allude to the others without letting them dwarf and dominate the main point of discussion.

Cf. St. Thoroas, Svmgna Contra Gentiles Bk. II, Cap. 52. The difficulty in analyzing this terse and cryptic text is to say no more nor less than 3t, Thomas himself is actually expressing here. It is one argxoment within the larger context of other arguments, all purporting to show that " esse" and " quod-'est " are not identical in the angels (in substantiis Intellectualibus creatis). Clearly, the first point to be made is that " substantia" here stamds for " essentia " as the conclusion itself attests (nullius igitur substantiae creatae suura esse est sua essentia) and the sense of the passage requires. The second characteristic to notice is the contrast between the essence and " esse" of a creature, indicating that " esse" is not the essence itself nor an essential attribute . If such were the case, namely, if " esse" were the very essence of a ci^ature or an essential attribute, it no longer v/ould be a creature, i.e. Its " esse " would no longer be " per aliud " but " per se " and it could never come to be because it would be always. The third noteworthy feature is St, Thomas* use of " per se" to characterize the essence of a creature and " per aliud " to characterize " esse " to set off the contrast of these two metaphysical principles. It is important to realize that the stress and major emphasis is laid on " esse " and its " per aliud " 'characterization. The preposition present in each case, namely, " P^^" > obviously indicates a causal relationship, Cf. St. Thomas In I Post. Anal., Lectio X, edit. Leonine, Cf. also Capreolus, op. cit ., II Sent., p, 175-l7t>. d.19, q.3, ad. 5* Vol. 2, p. 163b --and consequently the contrast is one of causal relationships. The pressing question which will not be suppressed is Does the oer se" as applied to essence mean that there Is no efficient cause of the essence but only of " esse" ? or Does this to ask the same question in another way mean that " esse" alone is properly cieated and that essence is not? This question is an intriguing one in view of a remark of E. Brehier, Histoire de la philo Sophie , Tome II, Fasc. 1, p. bb-57 as follows: ^Lon connait les vues platoniciennes que nous avons, rencontrees si souvent et qui otit traverse le moyen a!ge et la Renaissance; 1 'essence d'une chose cr^e est une participation a 1 essence divine, si bien qu'il n'y a pas d' autre connaissance que celle de 1 essence divine, connaissance qui, d^grad^e, effac^e, inadequate en s'appliquant aux choses crees,ne se perfectionnera.




autant qu'il eat possible a ime creature, que dans la II s'ensuit aussi que Dieu est le createur des existences, raais non celui des essences qui ne sont que des participations k son essence etemelle." and in view of Suarez' summation it is the important question. It is not unlikely that St, Thomas is using " per se " to indicate an intrinsic foxroal cause and not necessarily the total lack of an efficient cause after the fashion of this text which, however, explicitly refers to " esse " . Cf. St. Thomas, In I Sent., d.o, q.l, a.l, ad. 2: "Ad secundum dicendtan, quod esse creatum non est per aliquid allud, si ly " per" dicat causara formalem intrinsecvira; immo ipso formaliter est creatura; si autem dicat causam foiroalera extra rem vel causam effectlvam, sic est per divintun esse et non per se." The following text from the first redactions of the second book of the Contra GerHles found in the Vatican autograph helps to bolster our Interpretation, for it reads: "Amplius. Orane quod est per se inquantura hujus modi non est per aliud, potest autem id quod est per se secund\ara \mum, esse per aliud secundum aliud, sicut homo est quidem rationalis per se, sensibilis autem inquantum est animal, et aer est quidem subtilis per se, lucidus autem actu per allud. Unuraquodque autem separatum est per se secundum quod separatiun est, haec est enim sua substantia, quae est per se uniculque. Illud igitur quod est separatum in unoquoque separate inest el per se et non per aliud. Si ergo esset aliquid in quo natura h\itnana esset separata, sicut plato ponebat ydeam hominis, non esset homo per aliud quasi aliud participans, esset autem animal per aliud et ens per allud, quia natura aniraalls et entis in eo non esset separata. Si igitur aliquid est quod est ipsuia suum esse separatiira, hoc nullo modo est per aliud. Non ei^o est causatum, hoc enim causatum dlclmus quod est per aliud. Nulla igitur substantia causata est suum esse." Cf. Summa Contra Gentiles , edit. Leonine, Appendix p. 56b. Let us note however, that this text does offer difficulties. Be that as it may, to ray mind the initial text of St. Thomas from II C.G., cap. 52 is saying no more than this other text from the " De Ente et Essentia" which, oddly enough is in the same context of the " Intel ligent laef "Omne autem quod convenit alicui vel est causatum ex ptlncipils naturae suae, sicut risibile in homine, vel advenit ab aliquo prlnclpio extrlnseco sicut lumen in aere ex influentia soils. Non autem potest esse quod ipstun esse sit causatum ab ipsa forma vel quidditate rei causatum dico sicut a causa efficlente; quia sic aliqua res esset
vision, illuminative.




causa sul ipsius et allqua res selpsam in esse produceret, quod est impossibile. Ergo oportet quod omnis talis res cujus esse est aliud quam natura sua habeat esse ab alio." Cf . St. Thomas Aquinas, De Ente et Essentia , edit. Rolauid-Gosselin, cap. 4, p. 35. Note that the very example of air and light is used as is the case in II C.G. It would be an interesting study to see how many of the various commentators on the "De Ente et Essentia" read this in the light of the text from the Contra Gentiles or vice versa. Interpreting "perse" as applied to essence to meem without an efficient cause. Cf. also the remarks of J. Bittremiexjx, D.T.P., 1929 from II C.G. cap. 52, pp. 403-405 on this fifth argument. We shall have occasion to return to them when treating Sylvester of Ferrara, Indeed, even the words of E. Cilson In Being and Some Philosojphers , p. 102 C2U1 be interpreted in the sense that essence is per se" , meaning without an efficient cause. For there he says: "Here is a possible essence, then God creates it; what has God created? Obviously, God has created that essence. And as we already taiow, for that essence to be actualized by God and to exist are one and the same thing. What Suarez fails to see, unless, perhaps, his adversary is himself suffering from double vision, is that, when God creates an essence. He does not give it its actuality of essence, which an^" possible essence enjoys in its own right; what God gives it is another actuality, which is that of existence. Taken in itself, the essence of man is fully actual qua essence.... Creation thus does not actualize the essentiality of the essence, but it actualizes that essence in another order tlrian that of essence, by "granting it existence"."


Cf. E, Gilson, Being and Some Philosophers, p. 62-63. Cf. also A. D. Sertillange, "ti'idee de creation et ses retentissement en philosophic", (Paris, 1925), P. 44, n.l.: "That all beings, except God, need to be created because they have not in themselves the cause which make them to be, is the meaning of the famous distinction between essence and existence.


Cf. St. Albert, De Causis et Processu Universitatis, I, 1, 8, ed. A. Borgnet, (Paris, 18^0-185$), X, p. 377. Let us say initially that the presence of Av^icenna in this text has not gone imnoticed as witnessed by A. Maurer, "Esse et Essentia in the Metaphysics of Siger of Brabant", Mediaeval Studies , 8, 19^6, p. 75; de Fineince, op. pit ., p. 93; Roland-Gosselln, op. cit ., And thus his presence to the thought of p. 178.

G^ RITil




Capreolus must be evalioated in the final analysis. We shall do well not to forget this first meeting with Avicenna in the light of what is to come. Also, we must recall that this text of St. Albeit is complementary, at least for Capreolus, to the text cited from St. Thomas and in that sense almost a commentary on St. Thomas* argument, for it helps us to clarify just how Capreolus is understsuiding that short cryptic argument of St. Thomas. But note that in the text of St. Albert more emphasis is given to the " per se" character of essence than the text of St. Thomas contains. Thus, we may well ask if the presence of Avicenna intrudes in this way into the text of St. Thomas. Linguistically speaking, St. iSbert is here wedding the metaphysical thought of an Avicenna to the philosophical terminology of a Boethius (cf . M.D. Roland-Gosselin, O.P., Le "De Snte et Essentia" de St . Thomas . . , p. I78) to point out that " esse" is other than essence (illud-quod-est) which was the burden of the text of St. Thomas and whose context also made use of the Boethian terras " esse" and " quod-est " . But the question to be asked is whether or not the metaphysical thought of Avicenna is also present in St. Thomas' text. In short, it is not too difficult to see how Capreolus might have interpreted both texts in the same identical way. But to get back to St. Albert. Thus, every creature is something composite, consisting of " esse" and "illud-quod-3st" (Hoc igitur quod est ab alio, habet esse illud-quod-est) and we can say that " esse" , coming as it does from a first cause, happens or is accidental (accidit ei) to the essence. And yet, the essence is not in virtue of anything else which flows in upon or is superadded to it (St sic est id quod est non per siliquid aliud quod influat super ipsumj. Hence, the essence is what it is whether it exists or not (homo est homo... homine existente et horaine non existente secundum actum). And whereas St. Thomas sets off the comparison of essence and its " esse" by contrasting the " per se " characteristics of the one with the " per aliud " characteristics of the other, St. Albert makes use of " a seipso " in regard to the essence " and " ab alio " in reference to esse " (ab alio ergo habet essej a seipso autem quod sit hoc quod est;...) to point out first, that a thing is what it is in virtue of itself, and secondly that, the fact that it is, is due to an extrinsic agent. But the question is whether, here in the commentary of St. Albert, the contrast is between am intrinsic formal cause and an efficient cause, extrinsic to its subsequent effect, as is likely the case with St. Thomas' text. In short.


does St. Albert clearly distinguish these two orders of cause in this text? It is by no means certain that he has as the witness of Siger of Brabant will attest. For Siger' s point is that Avicenna and St. Albert equivocate in their use of "ex", and "per", Cf. Siger de Brabant, Questions sur la metaphysique , edit. C.A. Graiff, Introduction q.7, p. 14-15. Cr. also A. Maurer, "Esse et Essentia in the Metaphysics of Siger of Brabant", Mediaeval Studies 8, 1946, pp. 68-86, esp. And thus we may well ask if this text of St. p. 76. Albert means that there is no efficient cause of the essence but only of " esse " or that the essence is uncreated and only " esse " is created? And if this is the case, is it the basis for that otherness between " esse " and essence in creatures? Such would seem to be the case. But whatever St. Albert's personal position may have been in regard to this text, the same doctrinal Immunity cannot be valid, for Capreolus, Cf. St. Albert, OP. cit ., II, 5* 24, p. 619 as well as M. Choasat, AP, lA, p. 159. That is, if Albert is merely the coratnentator on Aristotle and not coraraiting himself personally in regard to the truth or falsity of this fonaulation, the same consideration cannot be tendered to Capreolus, as we have no evidence that he is merely a commentator, in the manner of St, Albert, Rather, is a defender. Note for a text similar to St, Albert's interpretation of predication in view of the non-existence of the subject one may consult M, Grabmann, Acta Hebdomadae Thomisticae , (Rome, 1924), p. 143.

Note the similarity of this objection to Siger of Brabant's positions in " Utrum Esse in Causatis Pertlneat Ad EssentjLam Causatorum " in Siger de Brabant, Questions sur la metaphysique, edit. C. A. Grairr, O.S.B., Introductlo, q.7, p. 15 and in " Quaestio utrum haec sit vera: Homo est animal nullo homine existente? " in Siger de BiTabant et I'averroisme latin au Xll me si^cle , edit. Mandonnet, 2nd part, p. bb and p. b7-btt whei^ the Cf, also A, Maurer, position of St. Albert is opposed Med, Studies 3, 1946, p, 83-84. But let it be noted that the reason for his opposition is that the possibility of no man existing in an eternal world is ui absurdity. (Cf. Mamdonnet op. cit ., 1st part. Chapter VI, p. II8; \rtiich is not the case with the objector in Capreolus. Yet, the common denominator between Siger and this they both assert an anonymous objector is this existentialized essence and thus both affina an order of created or existential truth. Also, Cf . A. Forest, La structure metaphysique . , Ch. V, pp. 145-146. Let


U3 also note that Thierry of Fribourg contains an echo of this objection: "Sed terminus posltus ex parte praedicati designat raodum actus et propter hoc homine non existente ista est falsa: homo est; et non solum lata: homo est, sed etiara ista: homo est homo, sicut est falsa: homo ratiocinatur, homine non existente. Sicut etiam ista, si sic diceret hanc, scilicet: homo est homo, resolvere in istam: homo horainat, esset falsa homine non existente." Cf. E. Krebs, "Le traite "De Esse et Essentia" de Thierry de Fribourg", RNP, 1911, p. 533.


Here is one jwssible interpretation of the texts from St. Albert and St. Thomas. To the questions: Do these texts mean that there is no efficient cause of the essence but only of " esse" ? or Do they mean that the essence is not created whereas " esse" is? the objector would unquestionably reply. Yes! both texts affirm that there is no efficient cause of the essence and inasmuch as it is vmcaused, it is uncreated. It is this premise he explicitly denies. And notice that the burden of this whole objection bears on the existential order of efficient cause and how the requirements of this existential order assert themselves within, and have repercussions on, the essential order of " per se" predication


Capreolus chides his adversary for not knowing of such texts as (sed qui sic dlclt non advert it quod dicit Aristoteles) those he cites from Grosseteste and Aristotle. Actually all the texts come from Grosseteste, for the text of Aristotle is the lemma cited by Grosseteste prior to his commentary. Cf . Robert Grosseteste, In Arist o tells Posteriorum Analecticorum Libros, (Venetiis, 1537;, Bk. I, Cap. b, rol. bva et

The text from Aristotle reads as follows: (a) "Demonstrative knowledge must rest on necessarj'^ basic truths j for the object of scientific knowledge cannot be other than it is. Now attributes attaching essentially to their subjects attach necessarily to them; for essential attributes are either elements in the essential nature of their subjects, or contain their subjects as elements in their own essential nature." A little farther on, Aristotle also states: (b) "It is also clear that if the premises from which the syllogism proceeds are coramensurately \miversal the conclusion of such demonstration demonstration i.e. must also be eternal. in the \mq\ialified sense


-1^ Ji^im'^i






^ v>



Therefore, no attributes can be demonstrated nor Imovm by strictly scl9ntlflc knowledge to inhere in perishable things," And Grosseteste's commentary reads thus: (c) "Aristotle in Chapter 6 demonstrates to us the conclusion of this knowledge, namely this demonstration is a syllogism made up of what inheres per se in a subject. And this conclusion follows from tne conclusion of this knowledge shown above in Chapter 4, namely this demonstration is a syllogism made up of necessary propositions. And this sixth conclusion is explained in this way: every demonstration is a syllogism consisting of wliat is necessary. But each and every (omnia et sola) per se * inherent is necessary. Hence, every demonstration is a syllogism consisting of ' per se inherents." In commento 7 Grosseteste continues: (d) "The ninth conclusion is as follows: It is necessary that the conclusion of a demonstration be absolutely perpetual. But this follows from the seventh conclusion of this book. For it was explained above that demonstration is a syllogism consisting of what is \iniversal. But every universal is perpetual. Hence, demonstration must be a syllogism consisting of vihat is perpetual."






Cf, Capreolus, op. cit ., I Sent., d.8, q.l, a,l. Vol, I, p. 303a: "Ex quious patet quod omnis propositio de primo modo dicendi per se, et de secundo est necessaria et perpetTJiae veritatis." The first text (a) in the preceding note is on the plane of the deriionstrative

syllogism and necessary premises, consisting of subjects, and the predicates, which are essential attributes of these subjects or vice versa. The second text (b) adds to the characteristic "necessary", the notes of universality and eternity. Grosseteste in the third text (c) completes the comprehension of the first text (a) by stating that a syllogism consists of propositions, the predicates of which inhere essentially or necessarily (per se) in their subjects since this is the characteristic mark of necessary propositions and because " per se" inherents are themselves necessary. The fourth text (d), again Grosseteste's commentary, reiterates the content of the second text (b) in regard to the universality and perpetuity of demonstr'ative premises. Notice that Capreolus, in lieu of a frontal attack, has come at his foe obliquely; instead of meeting him on the existential level of efficient causality, he meets him on the essential level of " per se " predication. For the objector, in keeping with his rejection of " per se" as signifying the absence of an efficient cause.



had stated as a corollai'-/ to his stand that the proposition man is man, is false if no man exists. It is this corollary which Capreolus confronts, no doubt taking his cue from the previously cited text of St, Albert, wherein Albert remarks that there is no cause of this man is man, or animal is animal, each of which is true whether man or animal is existing or not, for its truth arises, not from the prior existence of man or animal, but rather from the fact that " illud-quod-est " is said of " illud-quod-est " . However, Capreolus does not refer his opponent back to St. Albert; instead, he bolsters this text with four others from two other authorities, each text of which has to do with necessary, eternal, universal propositions wherein " per se " means "essentially" or "necessarily" (quae autem per se s\int, necessarlo insunt rebus). Explicitly in these four texts there is no mention or Inference to efficient causality or its absence in regard to the essence or the essential attributes,


Capreolus here for the first time, is making a direct and explicit comment, though he does not elaborate at length, before citing more textual authorities. And let us note that this text contains two phases; it continues the oblique attack on the objection and then suddenly shifts to a direct frontal assault. In its first phase, Capreolus draws out the implications which "per se" predication has, as an answer to his opponent. Since the first and second modes of " per se" predication predicate " per se inherent " or essential attributes, on the basis of the foregoing authorities, Capreolus can say such propositions are necessary, i.e. cannot be otherwise then they are, and that they are perpet\ially true. Thus, since in this proposition a rose is a rose, we have an example of the first mode of " per se" predication, we can say that the quiddity of a rose necessarily belongs to the rose. Riglit here, the first phase shifts and blends into the second when Capreolus says that, as for an efficient cause of the quiddity, Grosseteste shows that there is no such thing. Now the frontal attack begins. For, having made his initial asaault on the essential level, he must still co\inter the existential portion of his adversary's argument in regu:'d to efficient causality. Thus, in Capreolus' rebuttal we have the complete reverse of the adversary's approach. With the latter, the essential order of " per se " predication v;as subject to and dependent upon the demands and requirements of the



existentlal order. Thus, he could say that man Is manj is not true because the existential pre-requlslte for such a proposition and for its truth is lacking, viz., there is no man existing, Capreolus comes the other way around, that is, he begins in the essential order of per se" predication and what he finds there act as pre-requisites for the existential order. Hence, Capreolus can say that since a rose is a rose necessarily, and because it is perpetually true, then these facts demand the conclusion that there is no efficient cause of the essence. In short, he is arguing from essence to existence, i.e. if this Is what essence is then existence must be such and such. His adversary reverses this, for he is saying if this is what existence is then essence can only be such and so. Lest we seen to be

getting out of touch with the overall argumentation, let us reintegrate these last points into what we have seen thus far, before going on to treat the texts of Grosseteste on essence and efficient cause. The whole focus of the argumentation at this point is upon the objection and its consequent rebuttail. Capreolus is clearly accepting the " per se" as used in the text of St. Thomas and echoed by the a seip so" used by St, Albert, as meaning without an el'ricient cause, the very point irtiich the objector refuses to grant. The adversary also refuses to grant that man is man, is true if there is no man existing. Consequently, he rejects the absolute necessity and perpetuity of such " per se" predication in favor of a conditional necessity, as we shall see. This strong negation is met by an equally strong affirmation or Capreolus* part. In order that man be man for the objector, a man miist first exist, i.e. that man be man, an efficient cause is demanded^ just as one is reqviired in order that man be. For Capreolus also, in order that man be, an efficient cause is needed but that man be man or that a rose be a rose, does not necessitate an exercise of such causality. In this latter case each is what it is aind thus eternally true, for there is no efficient cause of the necessity nor of this eternal truth. In short, for Capreolus, " per se" has a positive and negative aspect; positively Iz denotes the characteristics of necessity and perpetuity or eternity i negatively it designates the absence of any relation to an efficient cause, Capreolus cites first a text from Grosseteste 's commentary wherein on the first book of the "Posterior Analytics" he distinguishes the modes of perselty as follows: (a) "What I call per se * excludes a co-participating



(compartlclpem) cause." A little later,he adds: (b) "But something is per se * of somethine else (de altero) and one thing Is said per se * of another when the quiddity of the one essentially, and not accidentally derives or proceeds (egreditur) from the quiddity of the other. But that whose quiddity essentially, and not accidentally, derives or proceeds (egreditur) from the quiddity of another, has its esse * from that vrtience it derives or proceeds, as from an efficient, or material, or formal or final cause. But that whence esse* is had must be received in the definition which says ^ quid est or ' quid est esse Therefore, one thing is said * per se * of another when one receives the other in its definition." In commento 7, he states: (c) "The seventh conclusion of this book is as follows: the first inheres in the middle Inheres in the third on account of the first (propter ipsura). And it follows immediately from this: demonstration is a syllogism consisting of * per se inherents. The meaning of the seventh conclusion is as follows: the major extremity of the demonstrative syllogism inheres In the middle term, and the middle term inheres in the minor extremity, so that in each proposition, the subject is the precise (praecisa) cause of the predicate or e converso * . And by precise (praecisa) cause I understand what is not dimlrlshed, just as figure is the diminished cause of the condition or state (habitus) or three right anjes equal to two right amgles. Nor is It something which has in Itself a condition which is not a cause, just as isosceles has in Itself a condition which is not a cause in respect to the condition of three angles equal to two right angles. And this pronoim * lpsum * notes this precision of the cause ivhen it is said: the first, inheres in the middle ' propter Ipsum * And this pronoxin ipsian' is referred to this word or expression(dictlonera) ' the first is cause of the prlmum * when it is said middle; and to this expression medium * when it is said the middle is cause of the first; and similarly the middle is in the third on account when it is said of Itself (propter ipsiun)." Let us not forget that in these texts Capreolus finds Grosseteste saying tliat there is no efficient cause of the essence (quod etlan quidditas rosae non conveniat ipsi rosae per aliquam causam agentem extrinsecara, ita quod aliquam efficients sit causa q<Aod rosa sit rosa, ostendit Llnconlensis )
' ' ' ' * * . *




The first text (a) is another example of a surface neutrality, doctrlnally speaking, which was mentioned in regard to the text cited from St. Tliomas. It merely states that " per se signifies the exclusion of a co-participating (comparticipan) cause, and no more nor no less. Just what this means in itself is by no means clear. However, when one goes to the context in Grosseteste himself, it is clear what has happened. Capreolus has cited the first sentence of Grosseteste 's coimnentary, suppressed a section of it with the words " Et allqulbus interpositis subdlt . . " and picked up the same text aigain farther on. The suppressed section reads as follows: "But that is said to be * per se which is not effected by an efficient cause {per efficientera causam non est) and thus only the first cause in ' per se . Secondly, that is said ' per se ' which is not effected by a material cause, and thus the intelligences are called ' per se * beings or ' per se * substances (stantes). That, too xs called per se^ which is caused by no subject and thus each and every substance is said to be ' per se . ..." Cf. In Aristotelis Post. Anal . Bk. I, Ch. 4, fol. Wa. Now at least we can see wiiat the text means. For it is time that " per se" does denote the exclusion of a co-participating cause and it is true that that " cogq>artlcipem causam" is in this case, an efficient cause >o per se" does signify the exclusion of an efficient cause but, and here is the rub, it has meaning only in regard to the first cause, and does not apply to the creature, nor to the essence of the creatvire. Capreolus, to make his point, iias tailored his texts to fit his solution, since, in siting the short text he did, he wished to have Gi*os3eteste say that there is no efficient cause of the essence. Note, however, that the deleted section is quoted in full when Capreolus replies to the first objection of Henry of Ghent. Cf . Defensiones Theologiae , I, d,3, q.l, a. 2, Vol. I, p. 32la. The second text (b) is Just as disconcerting as far as Its intelligibility for Capreolus is concerned, when it is taken, as it is, out of its original context. Grosseteste determines that " per se " denotes an essential relationship between quiddities, such that one quiddity is related to the other quiddity as effect to cause. And the " esse " that this one quiddity has, it has from Its causal source, viz., another essence, as from an efficient, or material, or fonaal or final cause. But the question is, what does this " esse" mean here in the














context of definition and qnldditative relationships? Has it an existential connotation?, is it the Boethian " esse " denoting the specific essence?, or is " it the Aristotelean quod quid erat esse" ? It seems clear that it is either of the latter two, for the text tells us that what is received in the definition of something else is said " per se" of it. It goes on to say that the source of tnat esse" must be included in the definition of that quiddity since the definition answers the question " quid est" or " quid est esse If one goes again to the text of Grosseteste, he will see that in the large section of the text left out, Grosseteste goes on to talk of genus, difference, and species indicating that this is what he had in mind initially, in the first part of the ieference actually cited by Capreolus, For the text continues: "Hence, since genus or subaltemated difference from vrtiich subaltemately, and not accidentally, the quiddity of the species proceeds, is predicated of the species, it is the fii*st mode of being or predicating per se something of something else, for the species proceeds from the quiddity of the genus and difference, and the difference is the formal cause of the species and the genvis is that cause of the species, as a material form (forma material is) or as formal matter (materia . Cf. Grosseteste, In Aristotle Post. f orraalis ) . . , " Anal . Bk. I, Ch. 4, fol. 4va. Thus, it seems certain that Grosseteste is talking in the formal order or in the order of formal causality. " " For the " esse " in question is a quidditatlve esse as we have seen. But in order not to interpret this in the sense of a formal cause ultimately dependent on an efficient cause, Capreolus must in some way hold that this is an instance of efficient causality and thus self-sufficient to itself. In the third text (c), Grosseteste again mentions " per se" inherence in regard to the major, minor, and middle terms of a demonstrative syllogism. This is explained by the fact that the subject is the "precise" " (praecisa) cause of the predicate or e converso ", a qualification which would seem to denote the proper ca\ise of the quauLity of possessing three angles eqiial to two right auigles, i.e. it is triangle leather than figure which is the precise, proper cause or adequate explanation. As we shall see, Capreolus holds that by " praecisa causa" , Grosseteste means an efficient cause





On Abelard and the " Roses ", Cf. Beit rage. Band xxi. Heft I, pp. 1-32. Cr. also St. Anselm, De Veritate, 13; PL 153 j 485b.
Note that Instead of a helpful explanatory comment on the above texts mentioned in the notes preceding, Capreolus proceeds to outline a possible twofold refutation of what has gone before: "But to this it vrill be answered on two counts (dupliciter). First, that such propositions in the first and second mode of 'perse' predication ajce not necessary" except conditionallyj in as much as this is necessary man is an animal in this sense, that if man is, man is an cuiimal, but not absolutely. Secondly, it vjill be said that when Grosseteste says that in propositions concerned with ' per se ' predication, the predicate is the precise (praecisa) cause of the subject or 'e converso* , he speaks of formal cuase, not of effTcient cause, 3?or, although man by himjelf is formally animal yet he is not so by himself efficiently. On the contrary in order that man be einimal, an efficient cause is required, just as in order that man exist, a producing cause is required." The objector has developed the implications of his first objection on the plane of predication stating tl'^at essential predication, vrtierein the predicate is included in the essence of the subject or vice-versa, is only conditionally necessary on the condition that the subject exists. In the second point made by the objection an interpretation is given to the last text of Grosseteste cited above. For the objector understands " praecisa causa" to mean formal cause and not efficient cause and thus, though man is animal by himself in the order of formal cause, still he is not so in virtue of himself in the order of efficient cause. That is, the order of formal causality is ultimately dependent on an efficient cause. Just as an efficient cause is demanded if man is to exist. {Cf. J. Paulus, Henri de Gand , p. 309n., "Tous deux (Henry and Siger; enseignent que I'etre cree est ex seipso forraaliter, ex alio efficienter." ). Again let us notice how the objection sets the pattern of Capreolus' reply. Capreolus has to choose the interpretation he wants of these authors is it a conditional necessity that Aristotle and Grosseteste refer to? and does Grosseteste refer to formal cause in his use of " praecisa causa" or does he mean efficient cause? In his reply Capreolus notes that the conclusion of the first attempt to v/eaken his position



(solutio) Is contrary to an authority in this case, St, Augustine. But before quoting the author, he sets the stage by

contrasting necessary and contingent propositions, with his choice of necessary propositions tending to the mathematical. For, if what the first " solutio" says is true, this proposition two and three are five, or this seven and three are ten, would no more be necessary than this the earth is, or this heaven is, nor would one of them be more immutably true than the other. And such would be the case with the other propositions which are the principles of the sciences, and which are " per se" in the first way. Such a conclusion is contrary to St. Augustine in 2 De LlbexK) Arbltrio , cap. 8 wherein he says: (a) "Whatever I sense bjr the sense of the body, as for example, this heaven and this earth, and whatever other bodies I may sense in them, I still do not know how long it will last. But I Imow that seven and three are ten, and not only now, but always; nor in any way nor at any time in the past have seven and three not been ten, nor will they at any time in the future not be ten. Hence, I have said that this incorruptible is common to me and to any reasoning being." Augustine is also quoted as asking: (b) "V/hence do we perceive that which we perceive to be immobile, stable, incorrupt, in all numbers? For no one attains all numbers by any bodily sense, because they are innumerable. Thus, whence have we known this to be in by v/hat phantasy or by what apparition so all cases certain? Is the truth of number throughout innumerable instances so unerringly (fidenter) grasped except that it is seen in an interior light?" Capreolus here interjects himself to remark that after noting many other propositions which Augustine states wisdom is to to be immutably true, as for example, be so\ight; one must live Justly; the worse is to be subordinated to the better; equals must be compared to equals; things proper to something are attributed to eqvials; the incorrupt is better than the corruptible, the eternal than the temporal, the immobile than the violable; incorruption is to be sought, corruption to be avoided, in Chapter 10, Augustine adds: (c) "I will not now ask more questions of this sort, for it is sufficient that you see as I do and that you concede that it is very certain that these, as it were, rules and ceii;ain lights of virtue are true and immutable and are present in common each or all to be contemplated by those who are able to conceive them each by his own


reason and mind." And a little later on he continues: (d) "Just as, therefore, there are true and iramutable rules of numbers, the reason and the truth of which you said are present iBsnutably and in common to all who see them, so there are true and immutable nales of wisdom, ^ich, you replied a moment ago when you were questioned concerning a few of them one by one, are time and manifest," The common denominator of the above four texts is precisely the affirmation of the necessity, immutability and eternity of some propositions, with no qxialification stressing that the necessity mentioned as a conditional one, i.e. on the supposition that the subject exists. And this is the very interpretation made by Capreolus himaolf in the form of a three-stage critique of the first refutation: (a) "Whence it is clear that such propositions, formed of niombers are immutably and eternally true. For Augustine in the same book says: nothing is more eternal than the definition (ratio) of the circle and two and three are fi^re. Nor can it be said that he intends that such propositions are necessary suppositionally or conditionally, i.e. when the constancy of the subject of such propositions has been posited. In this case then this would be equally necessary Socrates exists, for I will say that it is conditionally necessary, viz., that if Socrates is, Socrates exists or something of the sort, which is ridiculous," (Note St. Thomas* opinion on this point in De Veritate , q.l,

a, 5, obj. 8, ad. 3). (b) "Likewise it follows (if what the atten5>ted

refutation says is true) that the words of Augustine are more false tlian true. For any of these propositions would have been false strictly speaking (sirapliciter) two and three are five, seven and three are ten although this would always be conditionally true if seven and three are ten, seven aiid three are ten." (c) "Also, it is established that not every specific definition (ratio) of a nioaber is posited in actual existence. Hence the definition of one-hundred may be (sit ergo ilia ratio centenari)." Let us see if we csui diagnose Just what is happening here. The objection had stated that " per se " propositions in the first mode, e.g. man is an animal are necessary on the condition that a man, Socrates, for It does not state that, granted example, first exist. the existence of Socrates, then this proposition " Socrates existit" is necessary in the first mode of predicating per"se ". Hence, Capreolus " reductio ad absurdum" on thfe point does not do Justice to his



adversary's position. And also it is not clear that he is meeting his adversary's argument when he counters with examples of mathematical propositions to prove his point about necessary and limnutable propositions. It is true that Aiigustine says nothing about a conditional necessity in their regard but the adversary has never said that raathematical propositions are conditionally necessary such as Capreolus interprets (si septum et tria sunt J septen et tria sunt decern). Capreolus also infers from his adversaiy's position that not every specific definition (ratio) of a number actually exists. So on the supposition that the definition of one-hundred does not actually exist Capreolus counterattacks as follows: "If such is the case (sit ergo ilia ratio centenarii. Tunc arguo) this proposition onehundred is ton times ten (centum sunt decern denarii) is not true pioperly speaking (proprie) unless onehundred (centerarius) exists in act, according to that refutation. But one-himdred (centenarius) on the basis of the above-mentioned supposition (ex supposlto) does not exist. Hence, that proposition (centum svmt decern denarii) is not true. And this is versus what St, Augustine says, najnely, that it is at one time and at another time is not; but one-h\indred is always ten times ten. Thus, it is evident, that that refutation is flighty (non est nisi fuga). And for this reason, I reiterate that man always is man and this is immutably time man is a rational animal, and its truth is eternally in the divine intellect, as St. Thomas holds, in I S.Th. q.lO a. 3 ad. 3 and in De Veritate q.l a. 5 ad. 7."


This last sentence is the key to Capreolus' whole position. For what has he done but trai^slated the whole argument of his adversary into the domain of uncreated truth where he cannot lose. For if truth is eternal anywhere, it is surely so in the eternal intellect of Ctod. But again we must ask if the adversary's position has been justly handled. The correct interpretation of the adversary's point must conclude that he Is not talking in the order of uncreated truths, as they exist in the divine intellect, rather his point is made on the level of created truth since the v/hole point of all argumentation thus far has been to show that " nulla creatura subsistens est suum esse quo actu exsistlt in rerum natura" and let us not lose sight of it. Thus, we at least began on the created level of reality and lo and behold we fiiid ourselves exploring the divine intellect. The objector has remained on the created or


exlBtential " level by reason of his insistant demand that in order that man be man, man must first be (Unde, aleut ante mundi creationen homo non exsistebat, Ita nee erat homo: et ista erat falsa: homo est homo); and he is on the created level when he remarks that man by himself is formally animal yet he is not so by himself efficiently, for this intrinsic fox^aal cause is created, i.e. comes to be by an extrinsic efficient agent. But Capreolus, denying as he does an efficient cause of the essence, can only posit essential propositions and their truth in the divine intellect, if they are to be eternal, iiBBiutable and necessary. He has io end in the divine intellect because he can end no where else, havinc cut himself off from any created essential order. Let us see if the texts cited by Capreolus bear out this contention. Capreolus has sent us to St, Thomas in two different places (a) I S.Th., q.lO, a. 3, ad. 3, and (b) De Veritate, q.l, a. 5, ad. 7. Let us begin with the position that St. Thomas is answering in ad. 3. It reads thus: (a) "Everything necessary is eternal. But many things are necessau?y as all principles of demonstration and all demonstrative propositions. Hence not only God is eternal." St, Thomas replies: "It must be said that 'necessary* signifies a certain mode of truth. But the true according to Aristotle VI Metaph., is * in intellectu Thus, according to this, true and necessazy propositions or principles are eternal because they are in an eternal intellect which is the divine intellect alone. Whence it does not follow that something outside God is eternal." The second text (b) reiterates the same point, asserting that only the first truth is eternal, or in other words, that eternal truth exists only in am eternal intellect. And this is exactly what Capreolus wants to say.



In Capreolus' mind this concurs with the texts of St. he has just cited (cui concordat Albei*tus in Post praedicamentis, 9 cap.). It will be interesting to see what Albert has to contribute this time: "According to Avicenna, Algazel, Alfarabi and truth, when the predicate is conceived in the definition of the subject, such a proposition is ti*ue whether the thing exists or does not exist. For whether man is, and animal is, or man is not, nor animal is, this is man is an animal amd animal is a always true a living thing is a substance, hence living being man is a substance. But if the inference is drawn out substance is being, hence man is a being further

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rf '^











they say It does not follow because ' ens ' or to be beings' happens (accldlt) to man and "SiTmal and is not essentially contained in their definition. For when it is said man is an animal, the essential (substantialis) ordination of predicate to subject suffices for the truth of the proposition. But when it is added animal is bein<^ (ens), there is no essential (substantialis) ordination of one to the other because ' ens ' is not of the definition of animal or of man. And for this reason if man is being (ens) or if animal is being (ens), it is necessary that they be being in act, and this is contrary to the hypothesis, for we have posited that man docs not exist. But the ordinability of things into predicate and subject belongs to things existing and to things non-existent, provided that it is not impossible for them to exist. And, hence, b^re the world this proposition (man is an animal) has been true in the very ordinability of things, and if it is asked where this ordinability of things has been present, when there were no things, the answer mast be that it has been present in the very definitions of things. But if further, the same question is asked of these definitions, one must say that they have been in the wisdom of the one creating and ordering. But if it is inferred further that in the wisdom of the first intellect they have been as one, and not as related (ordinata) one to the other, it must be said that a thing, in the wisdom of the first cause can be viewed from two different standpoints, viz., as a thing considered and to be prodviced (ut res considerates et producendae) or as the conception (intellectus) by which they are understood. In the first way, to be sure, they are possibles in relation to plurality and order (possibiles ad pluralitatem et ordinera), not, to be sure, in the very act of the one ordering (in actu ordinantis) but because this first consideration looks at them as ordinable. In this way it is possible that truth be applied to them (esse de ipsis) and they are enunciations in potency to truth (entmtiabiles ad veritaten) although an enuntiable has never been uttered (fiat) and as enuntiables they reduce themselves to the thing itself (et sic enuntiabile ad rem reducent). Thus, too, a proposition can be from eternity and yet there be only one reality in act from eternity. And if it is asked whether such (a thing in the wisdom of the first cause) is created or uncreated, the smswer must be given that it is creatable, not created, according to the order of things; and this, though it is the Creator, still


diffei*s in reason from the Creator becaiise the Creator

is not creatable nor created. But if v/hat are in the intellect of the one creating are taicen as conceptions, (ut intellectus) since the Creator does not imderstand except by Hinself, then it is true that things (res) in the Creator are there after the fasliion of the Creator and are neither one nor many, neither ordinated nor inordinated, but they are the same as Himself. And this is the doctrine of Avicenna, which is in agreement with Porphyry vhen the latter says that though no species of animal exists, an animated sensible substance can be imderstood. And it is definite (constat) that he does not spesdc of the conception (intellectu) of the knower because he would say nothing since if thei*e is no species of animal he will be understanding nothing. But he speaks of the understanding of the intelligible object since according to the order of natur-e, while no species of animal exists, still, in as much as it is in itself, it remains intellectually an animated sensible substsuice." Cf. J, Paul us, Henri de Gand , p. Ill for the doctrinal tradition behind this text with inspect to Henry of Ghent 44.

Note this same text appears again in Capreolus in the context of creation. Cf. In II Sent., d.l, q.2. Vol. Ill, p. 74b-75a; and note that these t\K> texts read differently in sections. Cf . Analysis in J. Paulus, Henri de Gand , p. Ill et seq. Cf . also M. Grabmann, Acta Hebdomadae Thomisticae , (Rome, 1924), p. 143 for a similar interpretation of Avicenna and Algazel. In the absence of amy immediate comment by Capreolus, we must ourselves comment on this commentary of St. Albert \^03e subject matter is very reminiscent of his other quotation and on some point supplements it. First to be noted is the fact that St. Albert reiterates what man Capreolus has been stressing before, viz., that is an animal, is a true proposition even if no man man exists nor any animal exists. But one cannot say is a being (ens), for ens is not included in the definition of the subject rather, being is what happens to it (accidit). In the one case there is an essential relationship between the subject suid predicate, in the other case there is no such an oixiination. And, again in keeping with the point that Capreolus has made before, Albert maintains that this truth and ordinability ultimately exists in the divine intellect. Thus, we again are exploring the divine intellect and following the divine gaze we see the divine ideas as interrelated possibles in the one case and as the very Creator








Hlmself , -when considered in another way. Here is the basis for Capreolus* assertion of the truth imrautability, necessity and eternity of certain propositions, because the ordinability of the divine ideas, one to the other, ^pounds the truth of such a proposition as man is an Ihimal. Note M.D. Roland-Gosselin, O.P., op. cit ., p. 15^ where he remsirks on the doctrine of Avicenna; Supposons par consequent 1 'existence de l'\me de substances. II y a quelque chose en elle qui est delle-m$rae (a savoir sa nature) et quelque chose en elle qui n'est pas d'elle-ra#me,mais qui lui vient de letre n^cessaire {k savoir I'esse).


Without comment Capreolus adds more weight of authority to his point by complementing this lengthy text of St, Albert with a pertinent quotation from St. Augustine and an equally pertinent comment on it by St. Thomas himself. For Augustine in " 4 Super Genesim ad lltteram cap. 7" states: (a) "It is easier for heaven and earth which have been made according to the number six, to pass away than that it come to pass that the number six be lacking its parts. Wherefore we cannot say that the reason the member six is perfect, is because God completed his work in six days, but rather the x*eason God finished his work on the sixth day is because six is a perfect number. Hence, if these works never existed, that rnanber would still be perfect, but \mless it were a perfect niunber these works would never have become perfect according to it." Capreolus then couples St. Thomas' coraotentary on this in Quodlibet 8 (a.l, art,, ad. 3) wherein he comments that: "Augustine's intention is not to say that if heaven and earth pass away and the rest of creatures also, that the number six will remain in some state of created existence. Rather, he is saying that if all creatures cease to be, such, as the nature of the number six is, will remain so that perfection belongs to it as it abstracts from any esse ' of this sort, i.e. created, which this number may possess (remanebit adhuc talis natura senarii, prout abstrahit a quolibet esse hujus, quod ei jjerfectio competat:) jtist as human nature will remain such that rationality will belong

to it." Note that Capreolus uses this again in the context of creation though it reads somewhat differently. Cf In II Sent., d.l, q.2. Vol. 3> P. 74b. In Capreolus' estimation, this whole article is noteworthy because it contains many remarks appropos of the point at issue. Again Capreolus has transported his reader to the

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uncreated level, for Augustine is saying that the nvuaber six is perfecr though no creatures exist, or as St. Thomas remarks, Augustine does not say tliat the number six will remain in some state of created existence. Rather, it is the absolute consideration of the number six as it abstracts from existence in things and from existence in an intellect but such that it is considered without the universality consequent upon its existence in an intellect. And this Intellect can only be the divine intellect if the number six is to have the notes of eternity, immutability and necessity which Capreolus >^as emphasized heretofore, (Cf. C3rard Smith, S.J., Natural Theology, pp. 42-45, and Cf. Capreolus In II Sent., d.l, q.27 p. 73a). Without delay, Capreolus returns to his adversary, again talces up the cudgels and again says that the first attempt at a refutation is flighty argument (fuga). He remarks as follows: "Hence it is thus clear that the first refutation is but a flighty argument (prima responsio non est nisi fuga) when it says that this a rose is a rose, is as contingent as this a rose exists. And this results because there is no distinction made betv/een the 'est* as it is a second adjacent and as it is a third adjacent . In the first way, it signifies the actual existence of the subject. Such is not the case in the second way where the 'est' signifies the truth of subject and predicate. And this is obvious for sometimes some copula is true as affirmative of Inherence (inesse), in v/hich the same thing is predicated of itself and yet the subject is not existing in reality, nor on the contrary is it a substance (sdiquid). The this is true, negation is negation; proof is this privation is privation, non-being is non-being. And this is clear for it vrould seem that this is more to blindness is being, than this blindness be denied is blindness. But. the first of these (blindness is being) is conceded in 4 Metaph., 2nd particle where Aristotle says that, 'Somethings are called beings because they axe substances and others, because they are attributes and some are accidents and still others are ways to substance or to relation, either because they are non-being or because they deny one of the accidents of substance', on which the commentator, Averroes, coramento 2, comments, 'Even a privation of being is called being' . Later, he continues, 'Being is said to be l11 that which exists in a substance, and this is common to the other predicaments, for in some way being is said of all of them as it is even said of affirmation and negation because this name (nomen) esse * is said of first and second intentions (intellect is) which are logical realitiee. ."



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At the outset let us note that adversary has never said that this proposition a rose is a rose, is as contingent as this a rose is. Rather, he lias insisted that this proposition a rose is a rose, is true and necessary only if and when a rose exists. Since Capreolus understands the objector to say that there is an efficient cause of the essence as well as an efficient cause of " esse " he cannot help but think that the objector has reduced the necessary essential order to the contingent existential order. For what comes to be can also not be and what then of science, necessity, \iniversality and truth? This is what is haunting Capreolus, especially since he himself is talking on the level of uncreated truth and has failed to realize that his adversary s point is made on the level of created truth. But still failing to see his adversary's point, Capreolus continues his monologue by noting that his adversary has failed to note the important distinction of " est" as it is a second adjacent, e.g. man is, and " est" as it is a third adjacent, e.g. man is an suiimal. The one notes actual existence, the other denotes the truth of subject and. predicate. Capreolus now takes his reader out of the existential order of contingency and proceeds to talk of the second, non-existential use of the copula, for here the same thing can be predicated of itself and yet the subject is not existing, e.g. negation is negation, privation is privation, nor is the subject a substance. Clearly, we are in the domain of logic, which is by no means the divine intellect as previously, but herein also lies Capreolus* solution, for if he can show that something can be predicated of a non-existent subject, he feels his case is made. And he does Just that, for

both Aristotle and Averroes agree that even a privation of being is called being, e.g. blindness is being. Again the adversary makes his point in the existential order, in this sense that once man exists man is an animal, is a true proposition and again Capreolus answers from the non-existential order this time of logic. And again, never the twain shall meet. That this is Capreolus* point and, that he thinks he has made his point, is clear fr"om his very brief comment following after the above citations, for he says: "Hence it is clear that of that which is nothing in reality, something is predicated, viz., being (ens). So all the moreso is the same thing predicated of itself whether it is existing or not." Thus, to completely rout his opponent, Capreolus adds one more authority to his already long list. So, by



way of corroboration cf his point Just made, he cites the team of Aristotle and Averroes again; "Whence in 7 Metaph^ 3ics, c,39* Aristotle says that to ask why man is man is to ask nothing, by what cause whereupon the Commentator remarks: To ask the question per a\;iare * of one s.Lraple being (in xina re) is imjpossible; e.g. it is impossible that an^,^one ask why man is man unless one says because all are simple, and because each of them is a self-sufficient unit (unum per se) and because a unit is not divided into predicate and subject, is by what cause and thus the question per quare asked of them even though the essence of unity is indivisible. Thus, in that place Aristotle says: To the question why man is man smd why a musician is a musician the answer (seiroo) in these things and the because cause is one in all cases, unless one says each thing is inseparable from itself, and its being one Just meant this; but this is common to all things and is said of all." What is Aristotle doing here? He is clarifying the circumstances surro\inding the question "why , i.e. when And the "why" is a valid and meaningful question. question "why" is meaningful when the fact or existence of something is already evident. But in this case what is evident is that man is man and so it is meaningless to ask why man is man since that is already the evident fact. Yet, to be sure, some answer can be given to this question if one wishes, as Averroes and Aristotle each indicate. But the cause that Aristotle seeks is the formal cause as he says further on in the same text: "Therefore what we seek is the cause, i.e. the form." In view of this, it is not hard to see what is going on in the mind of Capreolus. For him, Aristotle is denying that there is an efficient cause of the essence since Capreolus understands the "why" as a search for an efficient cause, for to ask why a thing is what it is, is meciningless. Or if an answer is given to this because it is not divided into question, one can say subject and predicate, and thus it is inseparable from or as Capreolus itself. In short, it is what it is himself says in one of his short commentaries: "These remarks make it clear that according to him (secundum exm. - Aristotle) there is no other cause vrtiy man is man because subject and predicate except this common reason are undivided and the subject is one and the same as the predicate." So, we have the essence explained by itself since it is predicate relationship what it is, and any subject the predicated of it is an essential rdationship




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essence of the subject is the same as the essence of the predicate as in the first two modes of " per se" predication and whose eternal truth resides in the divine intellect,
h6, 47,

Cf . Note #41 above.

The objector had interpreted Grosseteste to mean formal cause in his use of " praecisa causa" , i.e. that the predicate is the formal cause of the subject. And he will grant that man is an animal in virtue of himself in the formal order or in the order of formal causality, but man is not an animal by himself in the sense that he is the efficient cause of this. Rather, what is independent, self-explanatory and intrinsic to the thing on the level of a created formal order is subordinated to an extrinsic agent which is its ultimate explanation, since it is a creature. So, this extrinsic agent is the efficient cause that man is an animal. And thus the essence as well as the " esse" is created. To Capreolus, this is a fallacious argument for if this efficient cause is required over and above a formal cause, it (the efficient cause) effects something after it already is and thus such a thing is its effect and is not its effect. Capreolus understands the objection to say that man is an animal, is the fact, i.e. that this is what already is and somehow this has escaped any form of efficient causality, yet nonetheless is and is a fact. Now, for an efficient cause to cause what already is, i.e. the fact that man is an animal, is for it to cause what already is an obvious absurdity. So Capreolus can say that such a fact is and is not its effect. What Capreolus has failed to see is that his opponent is arguing on two levels of cause, one of which is subordinated to the other. So, he will grant his opponent that man is an animal, yet Capreolus holding as he does that there is something in reality irreducible to an efficient cause and thus uncreated, will look upon this statement of his adversary as an affirmation of this very irreducible uncreated element. Thus, he colors his adversary's position with his own view. And seeing his adversary in this light and yet hearing him still talk of the relation of this irreducible, uncreated element to an efficient cause Hence, it is understandable is too much for Capreolus. how he can say that his adversary is saying that a cause is causing something that already is and thus what is its effect is not its effect since the predicate still belongs to its subject though the cause has not


acted and the subject does not exist. To the last Capreolus has consistently misread his adversary's position. In each and every case^ he answers in tez^s of vrt:iat is uncreated, i.e. essence or the divine ideas, inspite of the fact that his opponent is talking in terms of what is created. And how could we expect it otherwise since he is metaphysically blinded, by reason of a prior metaphysical commitment, to any such thing as a created essential order or an order of intrinsic formal causality. How else explain his recourse to the divine intellect and the ideas there? This is the uncreated order, reducible to no efficient cause, which proves Capreolus' point. That man be identical to man, and immutably so, arises from the very divine idea of man. Just as that same idea immutably contains the definition (ratio) of animal. But for a cause to effect that animal belong to man as the objector would have it, is tantamount in Capreolus' eyes to saying that something is an efficient cause of the divine ideas. Yet, for Capreolus, this cannot be done by any creature nor even by God Himself. Hence, what else can Capreolus " conclude but that man is an animal per se" , in the sense that man is an animal by no extrinsic cause (Et sic patet quod sic per se homo est animal quod per nullara causam extrinsecam efficlentem homo est animal). Who would dare say that there is an efficient cause of the divine ideas? To be sure, this position on the Are they divine ideas is open to many questions somehow distinct from God by more than a distinction of reason and is there somehow an ideal priority in relation to God's knowledge? Could it be that he is succumbing to an Avicenna christianized by a Henry of Ghent for as we shall see, Henry of Ghent is present to the thought of Capreolus. To be sure, these questions are outside the scope of this dissertation but offer a fertile field for future investigations. Indeed, Capreolus is following in the footsteps of Avicenna and Henry of Ghent in making the essences of creatures in the divine intellect to be the divine ideas. Cf. J. Paulus, Henri de Gand , p. 91* n.l.


This problem of the creation of the divine ideas is an Cf . J. Paulus, old one, harking back to Scotus Erigena Henri de Gand , p. 107 .et seq., esp. p. 108, n.4. Cf. also A. Combes, Un inedit de saint Anselme? , (Paris: Vrin, 1944), esp. p. 320-321* n.2 v/here the author cites a text of Suarez which we shall have occasion to analyze. Cf. also E. Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages , pp. 117-119.




Let us note however this very interesting text from Quaestiones Disputatae De Esse et Essentia j (Venice, 1303}, q.9, i"ol. 20ra; "Quodlibet ergo ens creatura et est ens per essentiam et ens per participationera, nee potest dici quod sit ens per partlcipationera effective tantura. Sed oportet quod formallter dicatur ens participative quod patet, utrumque eniin verum est fonnaliter quod ens creatxiin est ens per essentiam et ens per participationem." Herein Giles seems to explicitly deny that the essence of a creature does not have an efficient cause, i.e. that by its essence also a creature is " ens pe r art Ic ipat ionem" . But note the Interesting remarks on fhe fainous example of the "rose" as the text continues. In addition, the text cited by E. Hocedez, Theoremata De Esse et Essentia , (Louvain, 1930), Introd., p. {bl), from Giles of Rome, Quaest. disp. q.l2, fol. 27v , offers an interesting parallel with dapreolus' position and Suarez' critique in D.M., 31, II.


Cf. Suarez, D.M.,


II, #1.

Cf. Capreolus op. git .. In II Sent., d.l, q.2. Ad Argumenta Aureoli Contra Quartara Conclusionem, Vol. Ill, Let us note that these two contexts, that of p. 76a.

creation and that of the distinction between essence and existence are really one, for Capreolus, like the two sides of the same coin, as even the very citations will attest, for Capreolus uses a nuiaber of the same texts in each context.

That this text should quote the Liber de Causis in defense of its position offers an interesting parallel with Capreolus citation of St. Albert's commentary on this same work. In each case the doctrine of an uncreated essence is concluded. Also, it is interesting that this argument finds its proper context in the Cf . G. Smith, S.J,, NS, world of Avicennian thoiiglit Vol. 17, 19^3, pp. 3^0-357 esp. p. 3^, and B. Zedler, "St. Thomas and Avicenna in the 'De Potent ia Dei'", Traditio, VI, (19^8), pp. 105-159.


Cf. Henry of Ghent, I QuodlilDet, q.9, fol. 6v-7r; "Et est hie distinguendum de esse secundum quod distinguit Avicenna in quinto in fine Hetaphysicae suae, quod quoddam est esse rei quod habet essentialiter de se quod appellatur esse essentiae: quoddam vero quod recipit ab alio quod appellatur esse actualis



existentlae. Priraum esse habet essentia creaturae essentiallter, secvindura tanttim participative inquantum habet formale exemplar in Deo. Et per hoc cadit sub ente quod est commune essentiale ad decern praedicamente quod a tall esse in comrnunl accept inponltur. Et est illud esse rel deflnitivum quod de ipsa ante esse actuale solum habet existere in mentis conceptus de quo dlcltur quod dlfinltlo est oratio Indlcans quid est esse. Secundum esse non habet creatura ex sua essentia sed a Deo inquantiun est effectus voluntatis divinae juxta exemplar ejus In raente divina. Unde quia istud esse non habet ex sua essentia sed quadam extrinseca participatlone, Ideo illud esse modum accidentis habet quasi superv-eniens essentlae. Propter quod commentator super quinto Metaphysicae expcnens differentiae utriusque esse, dicit quod quaestio de esse uno modo ad praedicatura de accidente." Cf. J. Paulus, Henri de Oemd , pp. 293-295, and especially his enligiitening chapter otPthe Possibles pp. 32-103. On the basis of Capreolus* liaison with Henry of Ghent, one may well ask, if In holding the real distinction as he does, should not Capreolus, in Justice to the data of the problem, conclude to the intentional distinction of Henry? That he is not far from this position is manifest. Thus, it would be a fruitful field of investigation to see how Capreolus can avoid such a conclusion. It is interesting to note the remarks of M. Gratrnann in Acta Hebdomadae Thomlsticae , (Rome, 1924), p. 150 on this very difficulty of the possible intrusion of Henry of Ghent into the Thomistic tradition on essence and " esse " and their distinction, for he says: "Prustra a nonnullis philosophis, qui S. Thomam in sensu distinct ionis virtualis interpretatur (sic). Scholia SToramara Contra Gentiles , quae ab Uccelli sub nomine Godofredi edita sunt, allegantur. Quod in Scholio ad.l II, C.54, de distinctione essentiae et existentlae notatur, nihil aliud est qioan sententia Henrici de Gandavo. Svifficit hanc unicam propositiones afferre; Ideo oportet quod alia sit ratio esse et essentiae in creatura, ut dicitur essentia inquantum est natura quaedam alicujus pradicati absolute non implicans esse vel non esse, esse vero, inquantum est effectus Creatoris, ab eo ipso illud participans in effectu, ut sic ipsa creatura, inquantum est effectus Creatoris, habeat esse a sua essentia formal iter, sed a Iteo effective quia esse est actus ejus..' For a historical witness to this text of Henry of Ghent and its possible relation with St. Albert, one may consult Dionysius the Carthusian, In I Sent., d.8, q.T j








also Johannes Theutonikus makes use of a similar argxment: "Ad id vero, quod praeterea objicitur, dicendxim, quod essentia est esse possibile et ideo non exist it, inqusmtvmi essentia abstracte sed ut est effectus creationis. Non est autem effectus creationis ut essentia, quia sic non habet causam effectlvam sed soliom exemplarera." Cf, M. Grabmann, "Die lehre des Johannes Theutonikus 0. Pr. uber den unterscheid von wesenhsit und dasein", JPST, 17, (1903), P. 50-51 I have changed Grabmann 's reading of extra rem" , an obvious misreading, to read " exemplar em* . In addition to this explicit influence of Henry of Ghent, there is a possible presence of Meister Eckhart to the thought of Capreolus on the very point that " esse" is " ab alio" and essence is " non ab alio" and consequently really distinct. For one of the propositions which Meister Eckhart has to explain before his inquisitors in 1326 is the following: "Isti sunt articuli de quodam libro extract i magistrl Ekardi videlicet de scripto quod fecit super Genesim... #11. Item, in omni create aliud est esse et ab alio, aliud essentia et non ab alio." Cf A. Daniels, Beitrage, t. XXIII fasc. 5, P. 2? and p. 30. Meister Eckhart *s defense is as follows and very reminiscent of Capreolus' presentation, even to the quotation of the familiar texts of Avicenna and St. Albert: "Ad undecimum cian dicitur: in omni create aliud est esse ab alio, aliud essentia et non ab alio, dlcendum quod hoc verum est et est verbura Avicennae (Metaphysica, tract. 5, cap. l) et Alberti in De Causis (De Causis, trac. 1, cap. o. Opera Omnia 10, 377, Borgnet), Et ratio et necessitas veritatis est turn quia cum dicitur li enim 'est' non 'homo est animal' non praedico esse est tertiura adjacens copula praedicati est praedicatum sed non dicens existentiam sed solam inherentiam praedicati, tiam quod est animal, cvaa subjecto, quod est homo sit, causam habet, ab alio est, etlara quia quod homo a deo scilicet, primo esse; quod autera homo sit animal, a nullo est, nam quocvimque alio nolente aut non faciente haec est vera 'homo est animal', etiam homine non

p. 401 -4o8,


Ibid ., p.'ll. Cf. M. Chossat, AP, Vol. IX, p. 159. Note also Suarez, D.M., 25, II, #7 where he says that Henricus in Quodlib. 9, q.2 does not thinlc that the exemplar is reduced to the genus of intrinsic formal " cause, but to be per se" and directly a new genus of extrinsic formal cause.... "Ergo si exemplar est causa fomalis extrinseca, tam constitult novum genus causae sicut forma ef f iciens Cf. #8 for iuarez' own view.



The extent of the Influence which Capreolus and his " Defensiones Theologiae. . ." have had may be gathered from the remarks of M. Grabiaann, DTF, 19^4, pp. 145-170. For a comparison between Avicenna and St. Thomas on their respective doctrines of the distinction between essence and " esse ", see M.-D. Roland-Gosselin, "De distinctione inter essentiam et esse apud Avlcennam et D. Thomara", Xenia Thomistica , III, (1925), 231-288.
Cf. Paul Wyser, O.P., Per Thomismus , Vol. 15/16 of Bibliographische Einftlhrungen in das Studium der Philosophie, ed.j I.M, Bochenski, (21 Vol; Vemj A. Francks A.G. Verlag 1943-1930), p. 23 #33.191 where one will find the references to QE I, o79 and H II, 997 helpful. Cf. also DTC, II, 387 and A. Krempel, La doctrine de la relation chez saint Thoinas, (Paris:


Vrin, 1552), p. 34-35.


Cf . Paulus Barbus Soncinas, Quaestiones Metaphysicales , (Venetiis, 1498), Bk. 4, q.l2, fol. b3 ra: "Secunda conclusio. Esse in omnibus citra primam causam est intitas secundum rem distinctajn ab essentia."
Ibid ., fol. B^ rb. It is noteworthy how this compares to the fifth argument of St, Thomas In II C.G., cap. 52 " and to Capreolus' interpretation of per se " to mean without an efficient cause.



Ibid ., fol. b5 rb.

fol. b5 rb. Note these arguments: "And it is first. Those things which are equally necessary argued are equally related to having or not to having an God man is an animal, and efficient cause. But are equally necessary. Hence, if one does not is one, have a cause, neither does the other. But there is no efficient cause which makes God to be one, otherwiu-e it would be prior to God. Hence, there is no efficient cause which makes man to be animal. The major is clear from the terais. The minor is proved: those are equally necessary v;hose opposites are equally impossible. But the opposites of these propositions are equally impossible. Hence etc. The major is clear. The minor is proved: those propositions are equally impossible whose impossibility arises precisely from an implication of contradiction, for example, because the predicate removes the subject. But the above propositions are of man is not a rational this sort, for when it is said the subject is removed by a removal of the animal,




predicate, because by a negation of the definition the defined Is removed. Secondly, it is argued that that which belongs to being and non-being does not iiave an efficient cause since non-being does not have a cause. But the requirements (ratio) of such a necessity belongs equally to being and non-being. For this non being is non-being, is as man is an animal." Op. clt .> necessaiy as this fol. iP va. Cf. Capreolus, op. cit ., I Sent., d.o, q.l. Vol. I, p. 303a for an argument almost identical to the second one laid down by Sonoinas.


Cf, also Capreolus, Cf. Soncinas, op. cit. , fol. B^ va. op. cit ., I Sent., d.3, q.l. Vol. I, p. 305b. Cf. P. Wyser, O.P., Per Thomismus , p. 28. Note especially the article by iV.. j. Congar in RT 39, 193^-35


for all the necessary bio-bibliographical information.


Cf. Cajetan, Commentarla in De Ente et Essentia D. Thomae Aqulnatis , edit., Laurent, cap. V, p. i;?b, #1 00 Note the remarks of Z, Gllson on this text and what follows in, "Cajetan et 1 existence", Tijdachrift Voor Philosophie, (2 June 1953), P. 2o8, n.l.


Cajetan, ibid., p. 157. Let u:i say tiiat this text seems to lend volume to E. Gilson's extended query If (Cf. previous note) into Cajetan's "Tliomisticity" . this is what Cajetaui holds, can he have understood St. Thomas?
Cf. I Sent., d.8, q.l. Vol. I, p. 301 where these authorities are cited and p. 304 where the citation " from St. Albert refers to Avicennam, et Algazelem', et Alpharabum et veritatem" .



What, in effect, Cajetan is maintaining is that Plato is In some way holding for a real distinction. To be sure, the argument as stated by Cajetan could justly be called Platonic by reason of its emphasis on the necessary as opposed to the contingent, but just what text of Plato Cajetan may have in mind is not clear. Could it be that he regards Plato's position much the same as Michael de Palacios In I Sent., d.8, disput.2 , fol, 80rb? "Plato igitur quem denarrat disclpulus suus Arist. 7 Meta. text com. 5 essentias rerum tradidit esse idaeas, abstractas ve forraas ab individius, Juxta cujus placitura pervia est nostra quaestio, essentiara esse re diversam a rebus. Etenim idaea hominis non erat







Petrus, vel Paulus^ at potlus Istl homlnura essentiam partlcipabant, et illius participlo fruebantur individua."

Cf, Paul Wyser, O.P., Der Thomlsmus, p. 31 where reference is had to QE II, 59f and H II, 1212f . Cf . also DTC, 14, 2083-2087; A. Krempel, op. cit ., p. 35-36 as well as Summa Contra Gsntlles , edit. Leonine p. XLI. Note that here also we can expect to find a man obviously acquainted with the thought of Capreolus for at the conclusion of his commentary on the position of St. Thomas in II C.G, cap. 52, he tells us: Alia quae circa hanc conclusionera difficultatem faciunt, vide in Capreolo, vili distinctione I Sent; et in aliis Thomlstis." We shall see that included among " aliis Thomistis" are at least Soncinas

and Cajetan.
67. Cf. In SiMPna Conti^ Gentiles , edit. Leonine, (Rome, 1930), Tome 13, p. 3y9a, V. For anyone who may think that all of this discussion about the perseity of essence smd its lack of an efficient cause is pure mental archaeology, treating philosophical opinions long since dead and gone, never to be revived, let him consult J, Bittremieux, DTP, 1929, pp. 403-405 for his interesting exegesis of this argument. When he says: "Quod enim alicui convenlt per causam product 1 vara distinguitur real iter ab eo quod ipsi convenit non per causam productlvam: negata enim distinctione reali, sequeretur aliquid idem posse convenire alicui siraul per causam productivam et non per causam productivam, quod esset aperta contradictio" he sums up the very point of Suarez* original recapitulation. Throughout, Bittremieiix follows Sylvester and any of our i*emarks applied to the latter may also apply to the former without any extensive qualification. One may also note the exegesis of this same fifth argument by Franc iscus Petronius, In Summam Catholicae Fidel Co ntra Gentiles Divi Thomae Aquinatis Elucidationes, (Maples, 18yc>), Bk. II, Lect. 52, P? lb?.



Ibid., p. 389b #2.

Cf. note #41 above.

70. 71.


Ibid ., cf. also Capreolus, op. cit ., II Sent., d.l, q.2. Vol. Ill, p. 73b et seq., where he cites and comments on a text of St. Thomas, One may also consult Capreolus* reference to a text of St. Albert in I Sent., d.8, q.l.



Vol. I, p. 304a-b which is used again in II Sent,, d.l, q.2. Vol. Ill, p. 74b-75.

Cf. P. Wyser, O.P., Per Thomisnius , the reference to M. D. Chenu, DTC, 535-537 Is very informative. Note LTK, V, (1933), 290-291. Cf. also p. 36.

p. 32, #36,12 where

VIII, (1924), also R. Angennair, A. Krempel, op. cit .,


Chrysostoraus Javellus, Totius Philosophiae Compendium, (Lagdiini, 1568), Vol. I, Tractatus De Transcenaentibus, cap. IV, p. 46ob.

74. 75.

Ibid ., p. 466b-467a.

Another striking resemblance to Cajetan is instanced by Javellus when he adds: "Praeterea, si praedicata quidditativa non conveniunt subjecto, seclusa omni causa effectiva, ergo dlffinitio non semper conveniret Ibid., p. 467a. suo diffinito, quod est absurdum," Further indebtedness to Capreolus (Cf. note #45) also seems clear when he refers to Aristotle and Averroes: "Praeterea hujus propositionis, hoc est homo, nulla est causa: ergo nee hujus, homo est animal rationale, et haec est sententia Aristot. in septimo Metaphsi. textu quinquagesimonono, ubi tenet, quod hujus propositionis, homo est homo, nulla est causa, nisi forte, ut inquit illic Commentator aliquis dicat, quoniam quodlibet eorum est unum per se, et unum non dividitur in praedicatiim Et intendit Commentat. quod non potest et subjectum. assignari alia causa, nisi identitatis praedicati cum subjecto, manifest-urn est ergo: quod, si praedicata quidditativa non habent causam effectivam, nee essentia sxjnpta in cone ret o includens hujus modi praedicata, habet causam effectivam. Sx his ergo patet, quod essentia et esse in quolibet create distinguuntur realiter, et huic sententiae videtur assentire Aristoteles in secimdo posterior, ubi, tenet, quod quid est honinis et esse hominis non sunt idem (Cf . Capreolus note #27). Et secundum doctrinan Avicennae esse in omnibus, excepta prima caxisa, omnibus accidit, essentia autem nulli suicidit: ergo non sunt idem (Cf. Capreolus note #27)." Ibid . In this note I should also like to cite two texts taken from another work of Javellus, (Venetiis, viz.. " Logicae Compendium Peripateticae " 1541), which seems to allude to the predicational The first reads: baclcground of the featured arguments. "Secunda est. Ab universali affirmativa ad omnes suas singulares tam collective quam divisive est bona consequentia. Collective quidem, ut hie. Oranis homo





cvuTlt, et isti sunt omnes homines, ergo et Istae homo currlt, et este, et sic de omnibus aliis. Divisive autem sic. Oranis homo currit ergo tu curris.,.." The second is: "Sed adverte quod reales et terministae in hac regula conveniunt et disconveniunt, Conveniunt quidem in hoc quod quando sit laiiversalis affirmativa in materia contingenti, regula valet cum debito medio, ut hie Omnis homo currit, et isti sunt homines, ergo iste currit, et iste, et sic de singulis. Nam sicut antecedens est contingens, sic et consequens. Disconvenivmt autem quando sit universal! affirraativa in materia r^turali ut omnis homo est animal. Dicunt enira terministae regulam non valei?e nisi gratia aliqtiando materiae, quoniam antecedens esset necessarium scilicet omnis homo est animal, et consequens contingens scilicet iste homo, et iste est animal. Nolunt enim aliquam singularem in rebus corruptibilibus esse necessaudum, quoniam quodlibet singulare corruptibile aliquando est et aliouando non est, Reales autem dicunt Bingulares in materia natural! esse necessarias, eo quod praedicatvmi semper verificatur de subjecto, posito qxiod subjectum non existat quoniam in tali propositione li est non dicit exlstentiam subjecti, sed habitudinem praedicat! ad subjectum. In materia vero contingent!, 1! *est dicit exlstentiam et habitudinem, quare non est simile. Tenet ergo regula universal iter, et non solum gratia materiae, et lianc viam sequimur in doctrina peripatetica," Op. pit .. Pars secunda, fol. 2l6r - fol. 2l6v. Note that he reitexates the same thing in his exollcation of the third rule Cf. Ibid ., fol. 217rv*.


A good appreciation of the method of Suarez and the difficulties it entails for his readers is given by " Hlstoria de la compania de Jesus en la A. Astrain, Asistencla de 5spanal^l--lol" , (Madrid, 1913), p b4 which is marred by this rather unlilstorical remark, to say th^ least "Hubiera sido de desear que , . no se emi)enaFe tanto en x^sponder a razones y autores, que hoy nos parecen no tan dignos de etenclon. His appreciation reads as follows: "Hubiera sido de desear que el P. Suarez fuese algo ms met<^dico en su modo de escribir, que jpresindiese de algunas menimdencias que n^Jor estarian olvidadas y que no se empenase tanto en i^sponder a razones y autores, que hoy nos oarecen no tan dignos de attenclon. Algvinas veces redact sus tomos en la forma de coramentarios a santo'Toraas, presentado el texto del santo y anadiendo en forma de disputa, las aclEiraciones


y explicariones propias; pero, por i^Cla reneral, presclndio de esta, forma y escriblo tratados completes enteramente por si. Su laodo de preceder es de ordinarlo el sigulente. Despues de enimciada la cuestlsn, presenta las opiniones de otros autores que dlt'^ei-en poco y mucho, de la siiya. Nos jobliga a saludar aqui a Escoto, all^ a Durando, aculla a Capreoio, al otro lado a Gregorlo De Rimini o a Gabi^iel De Biel, etc. Establece despues la doctrina que el sostiene, la expllca, la prueba, la apova con los argumentos de escrltura, samtos padres y raztfn, y cuando ha beiininado estas explloacionec r^ite la vislta a los autores anl^is citados y va dando solueioa a cada \ma de sus razones. Tal vez los doctor-es refutados no se satisfacen a la primera y vnelven a replicar y viielve Suare^ a insistir, hasta que queda agotada la materia. Este modo de proceder produce, como ve el lector, prolijidjades, y engendra en los principiantes alguna confusion, sobre todo cuando sucede, lo que no es raro, que et mismo Sviar^z urge los argianentos ajeaips como si fueran propios, y ann cuando nadie objete, el por su propia cuenta suscita objeciones que le parecen oportunas, y las refuta con toda detencion. Por eso es necesarlo tener \m ppco de paciencla y praetica en la lectura de Suar^, para sacar pronto la verdadera raente del autor, Se ha dicho de ^1 que, hablando con su lector, le dice las palabras de aquel deudor del evangelio: Patientiam habe in me et omnia reddam tibi. Effectlvamente: si et lector tiene paciencia, el padj?e Suarez le dara reunida en sus libros toda la teologZa que pueda desear sobr-e cada uno de los puntos."

D.M., 31, I, #5.

Ibid ., this argument also appears in the catalogue of arguments for the real distinction in the following men: Fonseca, op. cit .. In 4 Metaph . Cap. II, q.4, Sect. 2, col, 732: Quart ^jm. Si exxstentia creaturae non distingueretur re ab essentia, non reciperetur in ilia. Consequens est falsi^i et absurdura. Ergo et antecedens. Major patet, quia nulla res dicitur rccipere se ipsam minor probatur dupliciter. Bairauin. . . Deinde, quia si existentia substantiae creatae non reciperetur in essentia, illud absurdum adraittendum foret, esse earn Infinitam. Nulla enira forma est limitata, et finita, nisi aut propter differentiara, qxia conti*alilt\ir, quo pacto color est finitus in albedine aut pix)pter subjectum in quo recipltur, quo pacto albedo limitatur ad certos gradus, quia recipltur liniltate in subjecto.


i fc.^'




ergo exist entia creaturae non sit limitata, et finita per differentias (existentia enim, cum sit ultimus actus, non potest limitari per alios actus, cujusraodl sunt differentiae) efficitur ut, nisi sit limitata propter receptionem in essentia, necessario sit limitata (? illimitata) et infinita." Alexander Achillinus, op. cit. , fol. 104b: "Secvmdo. Omne recipiens est aliud a recepto sed essentia est recipiens esse a Deo dsmte esse essentiae. Tertio. Omne esse non receptura est Deus, quia ipsum est infinitum, punom esse, nihil potentialitatis habens, et per se subsistens, sed esse intelligentiae dependentis non est Deus, ergo esse intelligentiae dependentis est receptura, et non nisi in essentia." Durandus, In I Sent ., d.o, q.2: "6 Item solus Deus est esse subsistens et illimitatum. Sed si in creaturis esse et essentia essent idem re, creatura esset suum existens (quia quaedam creaturae per se subsistunt) haberent etiam esse illimitatum, quia esse secundum se niillam limitationem, habet. Tunc autem creatura esset purum esse nihil habens praeter esse admixtum, hoc autera est inconveniens . Ergo etc." Hervaeus, Quodlibet 7 , q.8, fol. 139rb: "Respondeo circa hoc sunt res opiniones. Prima est quae dicit quod esse et essentia differunt re absoluta, sicut subjectum substratum et actus sibi inherens et mo vent ur ad hoc rationibus suprapositis et c^uibusdam aliis, Qioarum prima talis est quia esse non receptum Sed si in et non participatura est esse in infinitvun. creaturis esse non differet ab essentia, esse creaturae esset esse non receptum praecise quantxira ad esse substantiale, et per consequens non participatum et infinitum. Sed hoc inconveniens. Ergo etc." Aureolus, In I Sent., d.8, q.l, a. 2, p. 257a: "Praeter^a. Omne illud in quo non differunt essentia et esse est necessario infinitxan, tale naraque est purum esse subsistens. Esse autera non est quid illimitatum, in conceptu enim esse non est aliquid determinatum nisi per essentiara aliquam deterrainetur, puta per humanitatem vel aliquid aliud. Restat ergo ut omne quod est pure esse, non habens aliquid aliud Sed omne creatum ab esse omnino sit illimitatxim. Ergo In orani creato liraitatum est, et nullvmi infinitum. est aliquid aliud realiter ab esse."


Cf. GR, II, p. 293-308; A Krempel, op. cit ., p. 27; E. Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy ... , p. 735, n. 87.




Giles of Rome, Quaestiones De Esse et Essentia , (Venice, One of the " maeni" TTIles has 1503), q.IX, fol. lra. in mind is Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet I , q.9, fol. 6v: "In generall autem erat quaestio utrum creatura ipsa sit suum esse. Et arguebatur quod non. Primo, quia cum ipsa creatura sit quid subsistens, si ipsa esset suTjm esse^ ipsa esset subsistens esse. Subsistens esse est purura, quod non est nisi Deus. Creatura ergo esset Deus. Hoc autera falsur. est. Ergo etc, Secundo, quia si creatura non esset aliud re a suo esse, cum ipslim esse inquantum hujusmodi non est limitatum, et ita infinitum esset quaelibet creatura in natura sua infinita. Quod falsum est, ergo et priraum similiter."

81. 82.

Ibid .
Cf. Ibid ., col. l8vb: "Ubicumque enira esse est aliquid receptiua in alio, oportet quod sit re differens a

recipiente. . ." Ibid ., fol. 19ra: "Intelligiraus ergo quod ipsura esse divinura sit quoddam esse purum per se existens. Ipsura vero esse creaturae sit quoddam esse non purum in alio receptum. Et quod esse divinum secundum se consideratum est esse purura. Esse vero creaturae secundum se consideratura est esse participatxam. Ideo esse creaturae dicitur esse participatio divini esse quod Deus habet p\ire et essentialiter, creatura habet raodo receptivo et participative. Propter quod si tollatur quod esse creaturae non sit esse in alio receptum nee sit esse ab alio participatvnn tollitur quod esse creaturae sit participatii divini esse." One may also consult a lengthy text In q.x, fol, 23vb-24ra,

Giles of Rome, op. cit ., q.XI, fol. 25ra.

Cf. a short text in q. XII, fol. 27va.


Cf, Capreolus op. cit ., p. 305b.

I Sent .,

d.8, q.l, a.l. Vol. I,

Ibid .,- "Sed instatur forte contra hanc rationemj quia non apparet raagis evidentia in ilia propositione, esse subsistens oportet esse infinitum, accipiendo esse subsistens pro esse quod non recipitur in aliquo distincto a se, sicut argument\jm piocedit. Si enlm accipiatur esse subsistens pro esse nullo modo contracto ad specialera gradvjn essendi, vera est dicta proposltio. Sed ille qui poneret angelum esse suum esse, licet






poneret esse smgell subsistere primo modo, non tamen poneret illud secundo laodo subsistere. Et sic argumentuia nihol penitus valere videtur." Let us note that this is an objection from a man vrtio does not distinguish really between the essence and " esse " of an angel.

^88. 89.

Ibid ., p. 305b-306a.
Cf. Soncinas, In 4 Metaph ., q.l2, fol. B^rb.

Cf . Cajetan, In De Ente et Essentia, cap. V, #100, edit. Laurent, p. l5b.

Cf. Sylvester of Ferrara, In 2 Contra Gentiles, cap. 52 , Leonine, Tome 13, (Rome, 1930), p. 3iWb III, #1.



Ibid ., #2.

92. 93.

Ibid .
Cf. Javellus, Tractatus de Transcendent ibus , cap. 4, p. 466b.


Cf. Capreolus, op. cit .. In I Sent ,, d.8, q.l, a.l. Vol. I, p. 30Da : " Quod autem esse non possit habere forraales differentias, patetj quia nee ens potest iilas habere, ut patet 3 Metapliysicae, t.c. 10; ergo niulto minus potest illas habere esse, cum concretum raagis sit divisibile quam abstraction, sicut homo quam hvinianitasj quia minoi^m puritatem et elevationem importat ab omni quod est extra rationem s\iara, cujusmodi est differentia." Cf. D.M., 31, I, #6.


Cf. Chauvinus, " Lexicon Philosophicum" , (Leovardiae, ITI3)* p. 597a: "Sequela: idem est quod consequent ia', est de qua alibi." Note p. 134b-135a: " Consequent ia: habitudo unius ad aliud, vi cujus infertur ex alio; vel oratio, in qua ex uno infertur aliud: ut, est animal, " Logicae Compendixim Cf. also Javellus, ergo sentit." Peripateticae" , (Venetiis, 1541), fol. 209v-210r: "Formal iter autem sic definitur. Consequentia est habitudo vera vel existiraata subsequentis propositionis 2ui praecedentem designata per notam lllationis, illative tentam. Primo dicitur habitudo, quoniam sequentia, et sequella, et consequentia dicunt formaliter respectum. . .

ftaa'j J


.T8 .88


.-f *'







Slc et consequentia est habltudo subsequentls propositlonis ad praecedentem, ut hie. Homo currit, ergo homo raovetur..."
97. 98. Cf. D.M., 31, I, #6. Cf. Gabriel Vazquez, In III S. Th. q.l7, a.l , Dlsp. 72, cap. 1, p. 481-485. Cf. D.M., 31, I, #7.


This argioraent also does not appear Thomistic texts cited but its likely source in any of the is St. Thomas in 2 Contra Gentiles , cap. i?4,



Ibid., #8-#9.
Cf. D.M., 7, II, #2, #3, #6, #9.


note for a parallel of the text of a distinction " ex natura rei" of Vazquez on behalf between essence' and " esse in note #24 below in Pai^t II. For a collection of texts on this problem of the oneness of " esse " in Christ. Cf , E. docedeL, Quaestio de unico esseTrPChrlsto a doctoribus saecull X!il disputata , ^extus et Documenta, Series Theolofciea , (Rome, 1^33),
Cf. D.M.,
31, I, #10


Cf Giles of Rome, Theoremata de Esse et Essentia , edit. E. Hocedez, (Louvain, 1930;, Theoreraa 12, p. 67-68. Suarez would Cf. also Ibid., Introduction, p. (63). in mind when he writes seem to have this work of Giles in D.M., 31, XII, #35: "Sed quaeret aliquis, qui possit separari hoc modo esse ab essentia, si in re sunt oranino In idem, cum plane rep\Agnet idem a seipso separari. essentiara hoc enim magnam vim faciunt, qui contendunt debere distingul saltern ex natura rei ab essentia creaturae, et praesertira Aegidius, locis supra citatis, et maxirae in suo opusculo de ente et essentia, contendens nee posse fieri creaturam, neque destrui, nisi essentia ejus sit aliquid distinctxim ab enus esse, cui possit et esse imprimi, et ab ea separari.


Note also D.M., 31, HI, Cf. D.M., 31, I, #3 and #4. #7: "...nam si essentia et existentia sunt res diversae..." and D.M., 31, VI, #1: "Dicendum est enim priiao, essentiara C3?eatam in actu extra causas constitutaia non distingui realiter ab existentia, ita ut slnt duae res seu entitates




Cf . E. Hocedez, Theoreraata De Esse et Essentia, Introduction, p, [b4} that is/ he is the Innovator in the sense maintained by Hocedez that he has orientated minds towards such a conception. Indeed, though using the tenninology of "duae res", Giles of Rome does not seem to have held it in its strict sense. Cf. Ibid ., Introduction, p. (55)-(56).


Cf . D.M.. 7, I, #19 where Suarez refers to Giles of Rome in De Composltione Angelorum. q.5" . He refers to this same place again in D.M., 7* II/ #2,


The arguments of Aureolus aj?e found in Capreolus, oj; cit.. In I Sent ., d.9, q.l, a. 2, Vol. I, p. 317b-p. 321b.
Ibid ., p. 327a-b.
Cf. Ibid ., et seq. Cf. Thomas of Sutton, ftuaest iones de Real f Distinct lone inter Sssentlam et Esse , edit.~ J*. Pelster, (Opuscula et textus, fasc. V), Munich, 1929 XXVT, p. 35: "Ad. 6 dicendiom quod unumquodque dicitur existens per aliquid forraaliter, si large accipiaraus formam pro quolibet actuali. Si tamen accipiaraus formam stricte, non est hoc verura. Et ideo non sequitur quod esse, quo res dicitur existens, sit forma aliqua stricte loquendo. Si tamen quaracunque actual itatem voceraus formam, concedendum est quod esse sit forma; est enim actualitas rei. Unde cum voltonus significare aliquam rem esse in actu, dicimus quod ipsa est. Ad. 7 dicendiim similiter quod hoc nomen res* potest accipi proprie vel large sive coramuniter. Si accipiatur proprie, sic esse non est res, sed actualitas rei, sicut non est essencia, sed actualitas essenciae. Si autem res accipiatur comrauniter pro quocuraque reali, sic potest concedi quod esse sit res; est enim realis actualitas essenciae. Et ideo non sequitur quod esse sit aliqua essencia."
Cf. Soncinas, In 4 Metaph ., q.l2, fol. B^r. Cf. Cajetan, In I S. Th ., q.3, a. 4.



111. 112.


Ibid .
That this is the interpretation placed on the use of " res " in this discussion is evident in Suarez, D.M., 3T7~1, #13; III, #8 and in D.M., 7 passim.


A e




Cf. Cajetan, In De Ente et Essentia , cap. 5j edit. Laurent, p. 154, l^tJ the objection is as follows: "Praeterea. Quaecumque distinguimtur reallter se habent sicut res et res; sed essentia et existentia non se habent sicut res et res: ergo, etc. Patet ista, quia res proprie loquendo convertitur ovum ente in actu actualitate existent iae . And Cajetan replies: "Ad tertiura negatur major ad intellectian arguentisj non enim requiritur ad distinctionem realem quod utruraque eorum habeat propriam existentiam." Cf. also Cajetan* s reply to the fourth objection.

116. 117.

Cf. Soncinas, In 4 Metaph ., q.l3 fol. B^b-B'^ra.

Cf. E, Gilson, Being and Soiae Philosophers , p. 91-92, where the text of Anthony of Brindisi is analyzed and partially quoted.
" La vie de S. Thomas d'Aquin" Cf. Antoine Touron, O.P., (Paris, 1740), Bk. 4, Ch. 7, P. -^ilS.






1. 2.

Cf. D.M., 31, I, #11.

Cf. Francis Suarez On the Various Kinds of Distinctions ^ trans. C. Vollert, S.J., p. 2tt.
Cf. D.M., 1, I, #17.
Cf. D.M., 7, Ij #^, "...a distinction of the reason, because actually and formally it is not found in reality, but has its origin in the mind: a distinction of the reasoned reason, because it arises not entirely from the sheer operation of the intellect, but from the occasion offered by the thing itself on which the mind is reflecting." Cf. D.M., 8, I, #13. This second position Is also alluded to by a number of other men cited by Suarez. Soncinas in the place cited (fol. B^ra) notes this: "Alii dicunt quod esse et essentia non distinguuntur realiter quia isti habent hoc principiura quod dlstlnctlo



realis non potest esse nisi inter ea quorum unum potest esse altero non existente. Essentia autem non potest esse sine esse. Dicunt tamen quod distinguuntur ex natura rei quia de els verlficantur praedicata contraditoria. Nam esse accidlt essentiae, essentia vero non accidlt essentiae. Item essentia potest esse in potentla objectlva; esse non potest esse in potentla objectlva. Dicunt praeterea quod distinguimtur etiam modaliter quia esse est modus intrlnsecus ipsius essentiae. Dicunt tamen quod esse et essentia non distingtmntixr foraiallter quia homo in potentla non dlcit allara formalitatem ab homlne in actu." Javellus, In the place cited (p. 466a) designates Scotus in the very place referred to by Suarez as the proponent of the second position: "Secunda opinio est Scoti in tertio sententiarum, distlnctione sexta, et conslstlt in duobus. Priiao, quod sunt idem realiter, et sic probat. Duo abinvlcem Inseparabilia stmt Idem realiter. Hoc est velut principi\an in doctrlna sua. Sed esse non separatur ab essentia. Tvinc enim exlsteret essentia sine esse, quod est impossiblle et Implicans contradict ionem. Ergo sunt idem realiter. Secundo, quod distinguuntur ex natura rei, et probat sic. De quibuscianque praedlcantur et verlficantur praedicata contradictoria, distinguuntur ex natura rei, haec patet


secimclum se ipsum ex dlfflnltlonis dlstlnctionis ex natura rei. Sed de esse et essentia verificantur praedicata contradictorla, nam haeo duo sunt vera; esse accidit essentiae, et non accldlt essentlae. Similiter haec duo, essentia potest esse in potentia objectlva, esse non potest esse in potentia objectiva. Ergo esse et essentia distinguuntur ex natura rei," Ponseca in the place cited (col. 74?) reports the second position this way: "Alii dicunt exlstentiam creatam dlstingui quidem aliquo modo ab essentia, atque adeo distinctione inventa in ipsis rebus, sed tainen non ut rem unain a re alia." Cf . col. 75^: "Alii denique dicunt existentlam creaturae distingui fonaaliter ab essentia, quo pacto similltudo distinguitur ab albedine poslta idemitate reali relationum cum siiis fundaraentis, Verum haec explicatio quae Scoto a qulbusdam tribuitur, nee Scoto tribuenda est, ut ejus quoque sectatores asserunt, nee videtur vera." Col. 755: "Aliter probant sectatores Scoti essentlam, et exlstentiam non distingui formaliter. Quia eadem, inquiant, est definltic hominis actu existentis, et horinis absolute..." " Q,v.o igitur pacto media sententia vera sit, trlbus conclusionlbus expllcandum. Prima conclusio. Existentia crea^uramam non est idem omnino quod essentia lllsirum, Qua-e conclusll ex irapugnatione prlmae sententlae perspicua est. Secunda conclusio. Existentia creaturarum non distinguitur ab essentia lllarum realiter, slve ut res a re, Haec Item patet ex Impugnatione secundae sententlae. Tertia conclusio. Existentia creaturarum dlstinguitiir ab lllarum essentia ex natura rei, non tamen formaliter, sed tanquam ultlraus ejus modus Intrinsecus." Nlphus notes op. cit . , p. Il8a: "Tertia conclusio existentia differt ab essentia slcut modus a quiddltate, declaratur, quia est indifferens ad existentlam et ad oppositum. Igitur differt ab existentia. Secundo quia essentia competit rei per se prirao modo, at esse existentiae per accidens. Ex his igitur sequitur quarta quod, videlicet, differunt ex natura rei, Haec ille." Note Alonso Brisefto, Controverslarura Scoti, Tome 1, Essentia et existentia p, 14, #13.' "Assertio secunda. distinguiantur forroaliter ex natura rei ea dlscretionis ratione, quam Scotus constltult inter gradus, qui ab eadem physlca entltae petit! in metaphyslcam conveniunt const itutlonem. Ita Basolius in 3 Sent. dlst. 6 quaest. unica, Martinus Meurisseus lib. I suae raetaph. quaest. 21 conclus. 4. Posnaniensls in I dlst. 2 art. 3 dub. 2








conclus. 1. Theodoras Smising. tract. 1 disp. 2 de essentia Del, quaest. 1 num. marg. 43 et 44 vldetur expressa sententla Scotl in 2 Sent. dlst. 3 quaest. 3 in fine. Per hoc patet ad arguiaentura."

Cf. D.M., 7, I, #16; C. Vollert, op. clt .. p. 2?: "Nlhlloralnus censeo, slmpllclter verum esse darl in rebus creatls allquam dlstlnctlonem actualem, et ex natura rei, ante operatlonera Intellectus, quae non sit tanta, quanta est inter duas res, seu entitates omnino distlnctas, quamvls senerall vocabulo i)ossit vocari realls, quia vere est a parte rel, et non est per denomlnationem extrinsecam ab Intel lectu, tamen ad dlstlnguendum 111am ab alia majori dlstinctlone reall, possuraus illani appellare, vel dlstlnctlonem ex natura rel, appllcando 1111 tanq\;iam imperfection generale nomen (quod usltatum est J, vel proprlus vocari potest dlstinctio modalisj quia, ut expllcabo, versatur semper inter rem allquara, et modian ejus. Nomen autem distlnctionls forraalis non Ita nihl placet, quia est valde aequlvocumj saepe enlm convenit rebus reallter dlstlnctls, quatenus inter se dlstinguiintur essentialiter, si specie differant; habent enlm diversas unitates fonnales, et ita etiam foiroaliter dlfferunt." Note also D.M., 31. XI, #30-31. Cf. Vazquez, Disp. 115, cap. V, #25; "...sed oranem dlstlnctlonem esse realera, aut rationis. Non negaraus* esse latltudinem in ipsa real! dlstinctlone: nam quaedam reallter dlfferunt, ut duae res, quarura quaellbet esse potest per se sine alia; quaedam ut res et modus, quorum alterura, scilicet sine alio esse nequit; sed el novlter advenire potest... Porro autem dlstlnctlonem realem, non solum eorum, quae Invicem simul separari possunt sed eomim etiam quorum unum saltern sine altero esse potest, licet non contra..."

6. 7.

Ibid . Ibid ., #15.

Suarez cites others besides Scotus: "Haec opinio trlbuitur Scot., in Z dlst. 6, qiiaest. 1; et Henrlc, Quodl, 1 q.9 et 10 j de quorum sententla postea dicam. Eamdem opinlonem tenult Soto, 2 Phys., quaest. 2, et in 4 Sent., dlst. 10, quaest. 2j et nonnulll raodeml earn sequuntur."
D.M., 31, VI, #19.





Cf. John Duns Scotus, Opus Oxonlense , edit. Vives, Tome IX, p. 304, et seq.


Cf . Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet I , q.9, fol. 7rv. Cf also J. Paxilus, Henri de Gand , pp. 220-237. Suarez himself knows that Henry holds for an intentional distinction as can be seen in D.M., 31, VI, #18 which makes one wonder still more why Suarez cites him for a proponent of the modal distinction.
It would Cf. Soto, In 4 Sen t., d.lO, q.2, a. 2, p. 274a. seem than that he is holding a modal distinction as he takes " esse existent iae" to be a mode. But Suarez him-


self has warned us of the inconstancy of Soto in asserting this position. Cf . D.M., 7, I, #9: "Si ergo dicti authores priori tantum sensu negant distinctionem raediam inter realem et rationis, solis terminis differunt ab his qui illam admlttunt, non tamen constanti modo loquuntur, qui nunc illara negant nunc vero ilia utuntur: quod maxime in Soto videre licet cltatis locis et in Cf . critique of the first cap. de Relatione, et aliis." text of Soto in Vazquez, In III S. Th ., q.l7, a.l, disp. Yet in another place while 72, cap. 1, p. 482a-b. attributing this doctrine again to Soto, Suarez makes no mention of this text from In 4 Sent ., d.lO, q.2, a. 2; Cf. D.M., 3^ rv, #32: "Dico secundo: id, quod supposit\am creatum addit supra naturam, distinguitur quidem in re ab ipsa natura, non tamen oranino realiter, tanquara res a re, sed raodaliter, ut modus, rei a Posteriorum partem sequuntur multi ex recentloribus re . . . disclpuli Divi Thomae, illi praesertim qui existimant existentiam substantialem esse modum ex natura rei distinctum ab essentia separabilem ab ilia, quo sensu videtur lianc sententiam tenere Soto, in Dialect ica q.3 univers., et cap. de Substant. quaest. 1, et 2 Phys. q.2." Cf. also Donat, " Ontologia", (oeniponte, 19^0), p. 60: "Dominicus Soto O.P. (li^bo) vir celeberrimus, scribit: De distlnctione inter essentiam et exsistentiam nihil certi apud Aristotelem habemus: sed S. Thomas saepe hanc const ituit differentiam inter Deum et creaturas, quod in solo Deo esse et exsistere sit de quidditate et essentia sua, quia, cum sit prima causa, si de se non haberet esse, nullo modo posset ab alio habere. Sed tamen in creaturis esse non est de essentia, quia essentiae sunt perpetuae, sed tamen esse Id solum addiderim, quod recipi\int ex tempore a Deo... non est res tanti nramenti hanc distinctionem aut concedere aut negare, duramodo non negetur differentia inter nos et Deum, quod esse sit de essentia Dei et non





slt de essentia creattirae; slcut qui negaverit, sesslonera dlstlngui a sedente, nihil macnum negatlt, dumraodo non concedat, sedere esse de essentia hominls; hanc enira antiqui appellabant distinctionem realera et This text is from I, Praedic, q.l. foirbe docte."
13. Cf. Soto, In_2_Phys., q.2,fol. 34vb. This could also be taken as an arfimiatlon of the modal distinction as Suarez in D.M., 7, II, #6 uses the same example of the comparison of sitting with the sitter on behalf of the modal distinction. Cf the critique of r,he modal distinction. Cf . the critique of this text of Soto in Vazquez, In III S. Th ., q.lT, a.l, Disp. 72, cap. 1, p. 482a-b"^::'^^ Note John of St. Thomas* critique of this argument of Soto in Phllosophia Naturalls , I, p. q.7, a. 4, Tome 2, p. 122b-l23.


D.M., 7, I, #19.

Cf. C. Vollert, op. clt ., p. 30.


Cf . Garbiel Vazquez, In III S. Th. , q.l7, a.l, Disp. 72, cap. 1, p. 482a-b: "Caeterura Recentiores quidam inter hanc opinionera, et earn quam sequnti capite ut probabiliorera subjiciraus, median allam excogitarunt, nempe essentiam, et existentiara distingui ex natura rei, non sicut praedicit Doctores pro praecedenti sententia commemorati dicebamt, sed alio modo: putant enim, Autores citatos pro praedicta sententia exist iraasse essentiam, et existent iam distingui inter se ex natura rei, sicut distinguitur res a re, non autera sicut res, et modus rei distinguuntur, de quibus distinctionibus satis superque dictum est a nobis 1. part, disputatione eadera: Recentiores igitur praedicti mediam sententian secuti dicunt, essentiam, et existent iam distingui ex natura rei, non autem sola ratione, ut sequens opinio asserit t\m etiam non distingvii ex natura rei, sicut res et res distinguuntur, ut Doctores praecedentis sententiae affirmant, sed sicut res, et modus rei. Hanc vero sententlam tribimt Scoto in (p. 482b) 3 distinct ione 6 quaestione prima, Henrico quodlibeto primo, quaestione 9 et 10 et Dominico Soto secundo Ph;:,'^slcorum q\iaestione secimda et in qxiarta distinctione 10. quaestione secunda, convictl autem videntur primiun Recentiores, qui hanc sententiam docuerunt rationibus superius allatis, ut assererent, inter essentiam et existentiam constltuendam esse distinctionem ex natura rei, deinde ne raajorem distinctionem const ituerent, quam earn, quae modalls a Recentioribus vocari consuevit, inde existimarunt, quia cum hac sola distinctione recte omnia constant et






/ii 1

slu u


ratlones superlus allatae facile, dissolvl possunt.

Verura Inutlliter haec rnedla sententia excogltata est,

atque infidel iter pro ea praedicta Autores allegantur. Priraum, quia qui in priori sententia docuerunt, essentiam dlstlngul ab exlstentia ex natura rei, non dixerunt distingui ab ea sicut rem a re, sed solum in universum docuerunt distingul ex natura rei, aut real iter, quod quldem recte constare posset cum distinctione solum rei, et modi rei, deinde quia nullus hactenus ex citatls Auctoribus docuit, neque ulla specie probabilitatis, docere potuit, exlstentiara ita dlstlngul ab essentia, ut ab ea separari, et sine ilia perinanere posset, hoc autem necessarium erat, ut dlceremus essentiam, et exlstentlain dlstlngul ex natura rei, sicut res dlstlnguitur a re, ut constat ex doctrlna tradita prima par. dispT'tatio, 116. caplt. 5. quod enlm Recentlores allqui asseruenuit, hoc tempore manere exlstentiara substantlalem panls in accldentibus altaris separatam ab essentia panls, ex quo sequltur dlstlnctlo realls inter essentiam et exlstentiara, taraquam inter rem, et rem, neque probablle est, neque ex allegatis Doctoribus ullus asservit. Postrerao ex citatls Autorlbus pro hac secunda sententia Scotus nihil Henrlcus veix) quodllbeto lllo primo oranlno dixit. quaestione 9. potius docet essentiam, et exlstentiara non dlstlngul ex natura rei, sed sola ratlone, et ita pro sequent! opinione Ipsum allegabimus. Sotus. vero in 2 Physlcorura quaestione ilia 2. solxim dlcit, esse existentlae non esse rem distlnctam ab essentia, ut disclpuli (inquit) S. Thoraae exist imant, eo quod si hoc raodo distingueretur, posset Deus corrumpere meam exlstentiara salva mea essentia, quod ipse putat imposslbile, subdlt vero postea haec verba, 'Sed dicitur esse dlstlngul ab essentia, sicut sedere ab homlne, quia non est de essentia homlnls, ut sit, qulppe cum suite nuradl creationera homo erat animal rationale, sed de hoc alibi*, quibus verbis non contendlt ipse constltuere dlstinctlonera ex natura rei inter essentiara, et exlstentiara quails est inter rem, et modura rei, quia hujus distinctionis, quae esset ex natura rei, et non ratlonis, nunquara ipse In 4. vero raeralnit, sed aliquam dlstlnctlonem i^tlonis sententianim d.lO q. ilia 2 art. 1 ft 2. nihil etiara pro media sententia docet, si recte inspiciatur in artlculo 1. solum dlcit esse per se, esse modura convenlentem quldditatl substantlae, esse autem In alio esse modura convenlentem accldentibus: idem docet in acticulo seciindo de modo existendi in alio, qui convenit accldentibus, et inquit non esse rem distlnctam a subjecto, an vero ex natura rei distinguatur, non deflnit: praeterea ipse non agit de exlstentia absolute.




et de essentia, sed de exlstentia cvaa modo per se, nos autem hie disputaraus de exlstentia absolxite, non autera de modo lllo per se." As we *iall see, Suarez himself disputes this question in the same manner, i.e. " de exlstentia absolute" .
16. 17.

Ibid .
Cf. D.M., 31, I, #11.

Ibid ., that is to aay, that some real distinction between essence and existence is demanded but not of that type as between two " res" .


Cf , text of Vazquez quoted in note #5 above as well as the text of Suarez from D.M., 7, I, #l6. Cf. also D.M., 7 1 #20. For the problem of how this modal distinction can be considered as intermediate between the real distinction and the distinction of reason, let us cite this text from D.M., 7, Ij #27^ "Etemim, si ens reale in sua amplissima conceptione sumatur pro omni eo quod non est omnino nihil, quodque potest esse in rebus sine fictione intellectus, sic verum est non dari medium inter ens reale, et rationis, et in eodem sensu concedo non dari medium inter distinctlonera realem et rationis; nam omnis distinctio ex natura rei potest in hac araplitudine dici realis; et ita locuti fere sunt antiqui scriptores. Alio tamen modo potest suml ens reale pro eo quod ex proprio conceptu, seu ex vi suae rationis formalis potest propriam entitatem afferre seu constituere, et hoc sensu falsura est non posse dari medium inter ens reale et rationis: datur enim modus entis, qui neque est merum ens rationis, ut perse constat, neque est ens reale in eo rigore et proprietate sun^itina, ut a nobis declaratura est; et ita etiara datur distinctio modalis media inter distinctioneia rationis, et realem rigorose sumptam."
Cf. also D.M., 1, I, #15: Cf. D.M., 31, I, #11. "Ratione solet potissiraum haac sententia suaderi; nam, quidquid est extra definitionera essentialem rei, est aliquo modo in re distinctum ab ilia; sed multa simt extra essentiam rei, quae non sunt res distinctae ab ipsa re; ergo datur distinctio in re minor distinctione reall. Vel alitor, quae distinguimtur definitione et conceptLi objectivo, distinguuntur ex natura rei, et amte intellectum; sed raulta distinguuntur hoc modo, quae non distinguuntur ut res a re; ergo. His et


similibus rationibus utuntur Scotistae, quia his fere





nodls vldetiir Scotus dlstinctlonem fomialem declarare; tamen si quis recte consideret, vel in eis petitur principixiin, vol in eis petitur principivim, vel sumitur distinctio formalis pro distinctione rationis ratiocinatae per conceptus inadaequatos, quae virtualiter tax\t\m seu fundamental iter dici potest esse ex natura

Ibid .
Cf . text from D.M., 7, I, #15 cited in note #20 above. Thus, in both the real and modal distinctions existence is outside the essence.


Suarez discusses the problem of Cf. D.M,, 31, I, #11. mutual separation of essence and existence in D.M., 7 His discussion of the non-mutual separation II, #9. as characteristic of the modal distinction is treated in D.M., 7, II, #6. Cf. also ,f3 in the same place: "Si autem duo ita separantur in re, ut unum existens maneat, et non aliud, necesse est ut saltern modaliter dist inguantvir .
Cf. D.M., 31, I, #11 as well as the further references in note #23 above, Vazquez gives a very clear sumnation of the arg\jment involved here. Cf . In III S. Th ., q.l7, a.l, Disp. 72, cap. 1, p. 482a: "Secundo (potest suaderi) quia essentia separari potest ab existent ia, nen^?>e cum res corrurapitur, et nisi ita esset, nunquam res corrunq)! posset, ergo esse et essentia aliquo modo dlstinguuntur ex natura rei, quae enim aliquo raodo separantur, licet utrumque seorsim separatum manere, non possit, sed alterum tantum dlstinguuntur ex natiira rei, saltern ut res et modus sicut diximus I p. disputatione 116 cap. (?) porro autem licet existent ia rei non maneat corrupta re ipsa, manet tamen essentia, quia essentiae rerura perpetuae sunt, et incorruptibiles, cum ab aetemo esse dicantur."
Cf. D.M., 7, II, #6: "Dico secundo: separatio unius ab alio, quae solum est non mutvia (ut v\ilgo appellatur), id est, in qua unum extreraum potest manere sine alio, non tamen e converse, est sufficiens argumentum dis-



tinctionis modalis, non tamen raajoris, seu realls proprie sumptae. Prior pars satis probata est in praecedente assertione. Posterior probatur, quia ex hujusmodi separatione non mutua recte convincitur, earn rem, quae potest manere destructio alio extrerao, habere per se suam realitatem independenter intrinsece et



entltative, seu essentiallter ab lllo extremo, quod destrui potest, ipsa manente; non vero potest Inde concludi, aliud extreinura, quod destrul potest, habere ex se propriara entilatem, quia, ut supponitur, illud extreramn tale est, ut manere non posslt sine altero; sed ad hoc sufflclt ut sit modus ejus; imo hoc est intrinsecura, ut diximus, entitatl modali, ut per se manere non possit, nee separari actu ab eo cujus est modus; ergo ex praedlcta separatlone non potest concludi major distinctio quain modalis."





Cf. D.M., 31, 1, #12.


This is a very technical word for Suarez. It notes a precisive abstraction at work which is characterized as follows in D.M., 2, IV, #9: "...ens enim in vi nominis suraptun significat id quod habet essentiam realera, praescindendo ab actuali existentia, non quidera excludendo illam, seu negando, sed praecisive tantura abstrahendo. . ." Cf. also Ibid ., #11, In addition, one may note a similar technical value in Scotus. Cf. E. Gilson, Jean Duns Scot , p. 325, n.l: "II est h. peine besoin de noter que praecise a ici valeur technique; il signifie: concevoir 'humaniti' precision faite de toute determination accidentelle k 1 essence." Note p. 109 also.


Ibid., #13. Hence, Suarez will agree with any Thomist who assert that essence and existence are really distinct in the sense that the essence as possible is really distinct from the essence as actual. But as we shall see in D.M., 31, III, #1 it is a real negative distinction for Suarez since one of the extremes, the essence as possible, is nothing. Suarez will fight the Thoraists on this score if they insist that the essence as possible has some reality. This vjill be precisely the point of Siiarez' second section of his thirty-fli*st disputation, as we shall soon see,


That is, Suarez is not comparing essence in an intellect to essence as it is " in rerum natura* although he will grant that in this comparison one is really distinguished from the other by a real negative distinction, Cf D.M., 31, III, #1.


Cf. D.M., 31, I, #13. Because Suarez conceives the real distinction to be between two " entia" he must refuse it for the reasons stated,


Ibid ,

Michael de Palacio, In I Sent ,, d.8, disput, 8, reports the arguments for the real distinction in precisely








these terras. Cf. fol. 80ra: "Vldetur autem esse creatvun essentiae creata non esse intrinsecum, imo accidentiarluin llli." And his " sed contra " confronts these arguments on exactly these terms: "Contra vero est, nam substantia habet substantlale esse, ergo est sibl intrinsecum." Cf. also fol. 81 va: "Caeterura Arabes Isti et Avlcenna, et Algatzellus ejusdera Avicennae collectarlus lllo tendunt suls assertlonlbus (quas audlsti) ut Indlcent esse creatum quidera, non esse intrinsecum creatls rebus." Thus, it is important to notice that the tradition against x^/hich he reacts is precisely that of Avlcenna, since Suarez seems to be In the same tradition as Michael de Palacios.
8. 9.

Cf. D.M., 31, I, #13.

Jesus Itiirrioz, S.J.,"Blbliografi^a Suareclana", Pensamiento, IV, (1948), p. d06.

Cf. F. Suarez, In III S. Th ., Disp. 36, I, #3. We shall have occasion to come back to Suarez' critique of this position found In the same place,
Cf. St. Thomas, In I Sent ., d.33, q.l, a.l, ad.l, edit. Parma, Tome VI, p. 2bba. Compare this to Henry of Ghent in J. Paulus, Henri de Gand , p. 83-84 n. For an example of this linking of St. Thomas to Henry of Ghent
" in the tradition of the " esse essentiae" esse exlstentiae" formulation of the real distinction, see Peter Tartaretus, Lucldlssima Commentaria in Quatuor Llbros Sententiarum et Quodllbeta Joannls Duns Scot , tVenetiis, 1007;, In I Sent., d.3b, q.l. Tome I, p. 338 quarto argultur ; In II Sent., d.l, q,2. Tome II, p. 20 et seq; esp. In III Sent., d.6, q.l. Tome III, p. 51 et seq. where, on page 32 we read: "Ex quo sequltur contra fundamentum de Malronls, qui tenet quod ab aetemo fult esse essentiae et tamen non habebat esse exlstentiae. Secundo slcut nulla exlstentla fult ab aeterno, unde Iraaginatur Bea. Th. et Franc 1 sous et de Gandavo quod essentia est ab aetemo et exlstentla est in tempore sic, quod cum Deus creat creaturam, Deus solum dat exlstere." In the words of E.^ Gllson, Jean Duns Scot , p. 437, n.l: "II ^talt assurement plus dirriclle, au d^but du XIV si^cle, de dlstlnguer entre la position d'Avicenne et celle de saint Thomas sur la composition d essence et d*acte d'^^tre, que ce ne I'est aujo\irdhul pour nous. On salt desormals que I'acte existentiel de la forme est, dans le thomlsme





ot ,10


,10 9


uc .8



^ i>.'


a .3











authentique, tout autre chose qu'un accident."


D.M., 31* I* #12 as well as note


above in Part I.

14. 15.

Cf, L. Veuthey, op. cit .j p. 7 et seq.

Cf, note #7 in Part I above.

That is, Suarez does not cite the place in the fourth Book of Aristotle's " Metaphysics " where Suarez says in "Index Locupletissimus " to ^ Disputationes Metaphysicae" , Vol. 25, p. xivb: "Q.20. Hie etiam tractari potest, an existentia creaturae distinguatur ab ejus essentia, de qua re est copiosa disp. 31, quae plures contlnet quaestiones, quae txira ibi, turn etiam in indie disputationura disp. 31, vlderi possunt." For Alexander's treatment of this problem in its usual place Cf , L. Veuthey, op. cit ., p. 137-138.
Cf. Alexander of Alexandria, p. 207rb.


In 7 Metaph. tex. 22 ",


Cf . Giles of Rome, " Quaestiones Pi sput at ae De Esse et Essentia ;, q.9, f ol 20vb-rol . 21. Cf. Henry of Ghent, Quodllbet 10 , q.7, fol. 153v-159v where he discusses the question: Utrum xxanens essentiam creaturae esse idem cvim suo esse potest salvare creationem? " Note the analysis of this by J. Paulus, " Les disputes d' Henri de Gaud et de Gilles de Rome sur la distinction de 1 essence et de 1 existence" , AHDL, 13* P. 334 et seq.
. '


Cf, Alexander of Alexandria, op. cit ,, p. 207vaEF and

p. 207va-vb.


Ibid., p. 207vaF. Ibid., "Imaginabiraur ergo sic aliter, scilicet quod tota natura rei prirao fuit tota sub natura potentiali, et tota postea fuit in aetu, non quod nos imagineraur, quod tota res praecesserit et fuerit sub natura potentiali, quae postea suscipiat actum; sed quod tota res, quae praecessit, et fuit sub rem, ut praecedit, vocant aliqui, et bene, esse non prohibitiam; hoc est esse possibile, cui non repugnat esse in actu..."



Ibid ., note this text carefully for it figures largely in Fonseca's affirmation of the modal distinction,







Cf. Henry of Ghent, Quodllbet I, q.9 s fol. 7v-7r: "Alius vero est raodus intelligendl creaturajm particlpare

esse intelligendo Ipsara eseentiam creaturae ut allquid abstractum per intellectum, Indifferens ad esse et non esse, q\iod de se est quoddam non ens, habens taiaen forraalera Ideam In Deo per quam in Deo est ens quoddam amteqtiam fiat ens in propria natura ad modura quo quaellbet res habet esse ens in Deo seciindum illud Joan. I: Quod facttun est in ipso vita erat. Et tunc fit ens in actu quando Deus ipsum sua potentia facit ad similltudinem sviae ideae foiroalls quam habet in se ipso; et ex hoc dlcitur particlpare esse, quod est ejus similitudo expressa in effectu ab illo esse puro quod Deus est. Q^iae quidem similitudo cadit in ipsa essentia rei quia ipsa essentia rei inquemtura est quidam effectus Dei est quaedara similitudo esse Dei. Non autem est ipsa similitudo Deo qua esse participat creatura aliquid praeter essentiara ipsius creaturae differens re ab ipsa et ei impressa."
24. Cf. DTC, Vol. 12, col. l8ll et seq.; E. Gilson, History... , p. 476 et seq,; F. Copleston, A History of PhilosopF^F, p. 29 et seq.
Cf. Petrus Aureolus, In Quatuor Libros Sententiarum , (Romae: Ex Typographia Vatlcana, l'j9b), Bk. I, d.a, q.l, p. 256 et seq.



Cf. Aureolus, op. cit ., I, d.8, q.l, a. 3, wherein on p. 264b he cites the first of three propositions stating his position: "Quod esse addit ad essentiam conceptum af firraationis secxmdian Philosophum, et Conanentatorera. His second proposition on p. 265b reads as follows:

"Quod essentia significat totum conceptum entis per modum actus, et operationis immanentis, et per consequens sub certa duratione." And Aureolus explains this as follows: "Secunda vero propositio est, quod ens, et esse, sive lapis, et esse ejus, et sic de aliis differunt quidem conceptibiliter, unde habent duos conceptus, non quidem differentes per aliud, et aliud conceptiblle, aed per alium modian concipiendi." The third proposition on p. 267b: "Completa etiam differentia constituitur inter conceptum essentiae,
et esse." He explains this: "Tertia propositio constituitur ex praemissis. Est enim completa differentia inter conceptum essentia, et entis, quod sunt duo conceptus




ejusdem rel, et sub eadem ratione, modi tcunen conclpiendl differunt in duobus, vel trlbus."

Cf. Aureolus, op. cit ., I, d,8, q.l, a. 3, p. 264b.

Ibid ., a. 2, p. 26la where in explanation of this proposition: "Quod esse non addat ab essentiam rem absolutam" says: "Prima quidem propositio, quod esse et essentia non svint duae realitates," What follows is the text cited by Gapreolus in op. cit ., II Sent,, d.8, q.l, a. 2, Vol. I, p. SlTb-SlSa!^


Tha Latin of this difficult text is as follows: "Nulla res est alia ab eo quod formal iter est extra nihil; quia, dato opposito, sequitur quod, in quantum alia, est extra nihil, et in quantum alia, non est extra nihil; non enim est alia in q\iantum nihil, iramo si alia est extra nihil, non tamen est extra nihil in quantum aJ.iaj alloquin, non per illam erit extra nihil," Here Aureolus interprets the real distinction to mean that, of the two " res", one is and one is not, i.e. the essence as really other from existence and is not, and existence is, or that essence is and existence is notj thus, one cannot be in virtue of the other because this other is nothing.
Cf, Gapreolus, op. cit ., I Sent., d.8, q.l, a. 2,
p. 317b-3l8a.



Cf. J. Paulus, Henri de Gand , p. XIII__XIVi E. Gilson, History... , p. 44? et seq.


That is, Suarez does not refer to Henry's intentional distinction. However, Suarez is not \maware of it as we shall see in our analysis of D.M., 31* VT, #l8. So, he is content in his irtfcial citation to refer to Henry of Ghent as he is an opponent of the real distinction.
In this citation, Capr*eolus erroneously cites, " Henri cus, primo Quodllbeto, q.7
Cf. Gapreolus, op. cit., I Sent ., d.8, q.l, a. 2, Vol. I, p. 315a.




Cf . M, De Wulf, "Un th^ologien-philosophe du XIII si^cle. Etude sur la vie. les oeuvres, et 1' influence de Godefroid de Fontaines , Meraolres, Academie Royale de Belgique, (Bruxelles, 190b;, Tome I, Chap. II, pp. i3-5li GR I, pp. 396-399* E. Gilson, History,..,





" til



p. 739a, n.95.

For the reference to M. Grabmann, consult "Doctrlna S. Thomae de distinctlone reall inter essentiara et esse ex doctanentis ineditls saeculi XIII lllustratur" , Acta Hebdomadae Thomlstlcae^ (Roma, 1924),

p. 150.

Cf. Aureolus, op. clt ., I Sent., d.8, q.l, a.l, p. 258b.


This is not a work of Boethius but belongs to Alfarabi. Cf Beitrage, Band XIX, Heft 3t ed. Bauemker, (Munster,

I9I6), p. 17.
38. Cf. Capreolus, op. cit ., I Sent., d.8, q.l, a. 2, Vol, I^ Godfrey's position maintains a granmiatical p. 317b.

distinction between essence and existence as can be seen in Quodlibet 3, a.l (Longa) "Ad declarandum sciendum est enira quod omnia Ista, ens, entitas, essentia idem significant realiter differentia solum in modo slgnificamdi in abstractione vel concretione vel hujusmodi, et hoc apparet per simile in omnibus aliis sic acceptls, puta currens, cursus, cur re re." Cf. Les quatre premiers quodlibets de Godefroid de Fontaines , edit. De Wuir-Pelzer, Tome II, p. 154. In Quodlibet 3, q.l (Brevis) we also read: "Noraen concretum et nomen abstractum et verbum non dicunt diversas res, sicut patet de istis: currens, cursus et currere. Ergo a simili nee ista: essentia, ens et esse, quae se habent sicut nomen abstractum et nomen concretum et verbum." Ibid., p. 303-304. Cf, E. Gilson, History..., p. 745, n. #118-120. Conqpare the use of "currens, cursus, currere" to Suarez in D.M., 31, VI, #20.

Cf . nrc, VI, 1963-1964; GR II, 339-343; E. Gilson, History,., , p. 484.

Cf. Capreolus, op, cit ., I Sent., d.8, q.l, a. 2, Vol. I,
p. 3l6b-317a.
J, Koch, "Durandus de S. Porciano O.P., Porschvmgen zura Streit urn Thomas von Aquin zu Begin des 14, Jahrhujidertsj I Teil, Literargeschichtliche Grundlegung"


Beitr&ge zur Geschichte de Philosophie und Theologie deg Mirtelalters, Band XXVI, Heft 1, ed, BauemkerT ^Munster i W, 1927), PP. 389-394, 395-436; DTC IV, 1964-1966; E. Gilson, History..., p. 473 et seq.

Cf, Durandus, In Petri Lombardi Sent ent las Theologicas CommentariorunfXlbri Quatuor , (Venetlis, 1571 J, l7 d,a q,5, fol. 35rb #11, Versus those who posit an eternal







esse essentiae" , Durandus in #13 makes the same accusation we shall see Suarez make versus Henry of Ghent in D.M., 31* IIj #2: "Ratio autem prima eorura per quam probant aetemltatem essentiarum (quod est praeter propositum) est contra eos. Si enim oporteret illud quod a Deo est intellectura ab aetemo, habere veram entitatem ab aetemo, cum Deus ab aetemo cognoverit res non soliun quoad essentiam, sed quoad earum existentiam consequens est quod creaturae fuerint ab aetemo, non solum quoid esse essentiae, sed etiam quoad esse exlstentiae quod est contra eos, Dicendum est ergo ad majorem quod cognitio Dei qua cognoscit res ab aetemo, teiroinatur ad veram non qxiae sit ab aetemo in actu, sed tantum in potent ia, non rel nisi objective sed Dei, ex hoc enim solum creatura potuit esse, quia potuit esse objectum vel terminus operationis divinae." This coupled with Durandus* doctrine on the divine idea as beirig the created thing as secondary object of the divine intellect according to I Sent., d.35, q.3, n, 10-13 and in I Sent., d.36, q.4, n. 4-6 as cited by Gilson, History . . . p. 775a n. 82 will compare very close to Suarez' ultimate position.


Ibid ., fol. 35va, #15.

Cf . E. Gilson, History... ,

prT74-775 n.82.
44. 45.
Cf. D.M., 31, VI, #19 as well as Part X, p. 303.

Cf. J. 0. Riedl, A Catalogue of Renaissance Philo sophers (1350-1650) , (Milwaukee, T540), p. !>%] DTC II, 814-825; K. Copleston, A History of Philosophy , p. 150; E. Gilson, History..., p. 792b, n. 3t>.


Cf . Gabriel Biel, Collectorium Circa Quatuor Sententiarum Libros , 3 Sent., d.b, q.2, a.l. fol. 253vb.
Ibid., fol. 253vb-fol. 253ra.



GR I, 199-206; DTC VI, 2315 et seq.j E. Gilson, History... ,

p. 747, n. 124.


Cf . Hervaeus Natalis, Quodlibet 1, q.8, p. 139rb-p.l39va.

(Venice, 1513),

50. 51.

Ibid ., p. 139va-139vb.
Cf. J. Riedl, op. clt ., p. 42 j P. Copleston, A History. p. 221 j Giuseppe Saitta, II pensiero italiano nell' umanesimo e nel rinascimento, (Bologna, 1930 )i Vol. II, p. 32b-334.





Cf . Alexander Achllllnus, Opera Omnia In Unum Collecta (Venice, 1345), "De Element! s", Sk. 3, dub. 23, fol. 103vb,

53. 54.

Ibid .
Cf. D.M., 31, VI, #20.

Ibid .
Cf. DTC VI, 1852-1854; E. Gilson, History... and p. 794, n.44.


p. 502


Cf. Gregory of Rimini, In Secundo Sententiarum , 1503), d.l, q.6, a. 2, fol. 22rb.



Cf . DTC I, 1180 H. Hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae . Tome 2, p. 455, et seq.^ E. Gilson, History... , p. 7bi5, n.73.
Cf . E. Gilson, Jean Duns Scot , p. 674



Suarez refers to Antonius Andreas as follows: ",.,ut patet ex Anton. Andrea, 4 Metaph., quaest. 3..." And this place is the usvial context for the discussion of the distinction between essence and existence as can be seen from the text cited above in note #15 in this Part.
Cf. J. Riedl, op. cit ., p. 39; Hurter, Nomenclator...,






Cf. Lychetus, Opus Oxoniense, Bk. 3, d.o, q.l (J. Duns Scoti, Opera, ed. Viv6s, T. XIV, Parisiis, p. 306, I893).

63. 64.

Ibid ., p. 307.
Cf. D.M., 31, VI, #19.


Cf . Alonso Briseno, Controversiarum Scoti, Tome I, Appendix Metaphysica, p. 9-10. Unlike Suarez, Gabriel Vazquez does not mention Lychetus though he, Vazquez, maintains a " distinctio rationls ratiocinata" between essence and eistence, which is what Alonso Briseno means when he says, "Hanc tamen sententiam tuentur Soarez 2 tomo suae Metaph. disp. 31 sect. 6 et Vazquez tom. I 3 part. disp. 72 cap. 2 quam modemi communiter reciplunt; et comprobari potest." Cf. Hurter, Nomenclator... , Vol. II, col. 10, Ab Anno 1664-1763 "Alphonsus Briceno O.S. Franc, americanus, chilensis ob ingenii acumen alter Duns Scotus dictus, Liraae theologiam docuit, dein





eplscopus Nicaraguae provinciae et urbis 14, Nov. 1644 fuit renunciatus; gmno vero 1559 ad sedeci Venezuelae provinciae sive de Caracas translatus (fl667). Rellquit' celebrloruin controversiarura' in I sent, Scoti 1, admixtis potissimis dissertationibus raetaphysicls, Matriti I638. 1639 in f ."

Cf . M. Grabraann, "Die Disputationes Metaphyslcae des Franz Suarez in Ihrer Methodischen Eigenwart und Portwirloing", Mittel^alterliches Gelstesleben , I, p. 534-535.
Cf. Hujrter, Nomenclator llterarlus . Tome III, col. 143. Cf . also Nicolaus Antonlus, feibfTotheca Scriptorum Hispaniae , Tome II, Nova 2, p. 143a-b.



Cf. Michael de Palacios, In Prlmum Llbrum Maglstrl Sententiarun Disputationes^ (Salinanticae, 157^)* d.8, dlsp. 2, rol. 79vb-fol. ttOra.

69. 70.

Ibid ., fol. 80ra-fol. BOrb. Ibid ., fol. Blra.

Cf. ETC VIII, 764-765. Cajetan, In De Ente et Essentia also refers to John of Jandun as John of Ghent. CT\ E. Gil son. History... , p. 522-524 and esp. 797 n. 62 and n. 63.
Cf. D.M., 31, I, #12.



John of Jandun, Q^laestiones in XII Libros Metaphysicorum , . (Venetiis, 1554), Bk. 4, q.3, fol. 47vb-fol. 4bra. For his references to St. Thomas, Cf. fol. 48ra: "Et ista opinio est antiqui expositoris in tractatu suo de ente et essentia, et in 8. phy..." Cf. M. Grabrasuin, "Circa historiam distinctionis essentlae et existentiae" Acta Pontlf iciae Academiae Romanae S. Thomae Aquinatis , (Rome, 1534), p. 74, n.l for the justification of interpreting " expositor" to mean St. Thomas. Cf
Ibid: "Tertia est opinio, quae iterum raagiE restringlt quaesltum. St est opinio, quod non in omni causato, ut dixit prima opinio, nee in omni ente subsistente, ut dixit sec\inda opinio esse differi; ab essentia, sed in omni substantia generabili et corTTuptibili esse differt ab essentia. Et ilia videt\ir esse probabilior diiabus opionibus aliis."



Ibid., fol. 48rb,





76. 77.

Ibid .
Cf. J. Riedl, Catalogue of Renaissance Philosophers. p. 41 F. Copleston, A History...! p. 1^0. g2IT Cf. A. Niphus, Metaphysicorum pisputationum In Arlstotells Decern eh Quatuor Llbros Metaphysicorum. (Venetiis, 1^5$) , Bk.\, Sap. ^, p. 118a-p.llBb.



Ibid ., p. 119a.
Ibid ., p. 119b. Ibid . Ibid ., p. 120a.



Ibid ., p. 120b.
Ibid., p. 121b.

85. 86.

Ibid .
Cf. J. Riedl, op. cit ., p. 105; "Pedro da Fonseca o

Aristoteles Portogues I528-1599", Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia , Tome IX, fasc. 4, 1953.


Cf. D.M., 31, I, #12.


Cf. Fonseca, Commentariorum in Llbros Metaphysicorum Arlstotelis , (Francofurti, 1599-lbQ5J Bk. 4. cap. 2. q,4, col. 746 et seq. Just as S\iarez, Fonseca cites Hervaeus Natalis in "Quodlib. 7 q.9" whereas it should be "q.8". Also Fonseca refers to Giles of Rome "In prlmum Sent, dist. 2 q.4 art.l" which is one of tHe references Suarez makes to Giles of Rome and which I have been unable to find. It is very possible that Suarez may have cited this as one of the catalogues of

arguments and their exponents.


Ibid ., col. 746. Ibid ., col. 747.


Ibid .
In Fonseca. this erroneously reads: " Scot. 3. Physi. q.2 et in 4 Sent. d.lO quaest. 2..."
Ibid., col. 753-col. 754.



94. 95.

Ibid., col. 755.

Note that Ponseca refers to Alexander of Alexandria as Alexander of Hales. Cf. col. 756 " Alexandri Alensis "
Ibid., col. 755-col. 756.

Cf page 87 above as well as footnote #21 above in this same Part III.

98. 99.

Ponseca, op. cit ., col. 756,

Cf, Scotus, Quodlibet I q.l . Vol. I, p. 9b.


Cf. D.M., 31, If #12. For an introduction to the history of this problem one must first consult E. Hocedex, S.J,, "Quaestio de Unico Esse in Christo", Textus et Documenta , Series Theologica, (Rome, 1933)* #14.






Cf. J. Paulus^ Henri de Gand, p. 91, n.l, p. 98-99; A. Pegis, "Dllenona of Being and Unity", Essays in Thomlsm edit. R. Brennan, (New York, 19^12;, p. 175-176; E. Gllson, History..., p. 450-451, p. 761, n. 43. For a background of this whole controversy, one may consult A. Combes, Un iin'^dlt de saint Anselme? , (Paris, 1944), p. 320 wherein pairtsof this section of Suarez are cited; A, Pegis, "The Dilemna of Being and Unity", Essays in Thomlsm, edit. R. Brennan, (New York, 1942 j, p. l51-ltJ3 especially p. 175; J. Paulus, Henri de Gand, pp. 82-103; E. Gllson, Jean Duns Scot , p.279-306; Gerard Smith, S.J., Natural Theology , pp. 22?^248.


Cf. J. Paulus, op. cit ., pp. XXI, XXII, 117 n.2, 121, 122, 381.
E. Gilson, Jean Duns Scot , p. 291, n,3.

3. 4.

Ibid., p. 284, n.2, p. 292, n.l, p. 294,n.l, p. 295, n.2.

S\iarez is here taking a very Cf, D.M., 31, II, #1. definite stand on one of the contrxjversial questions of his day. For, in a later work which is a veritable gold mine of infonaatlon, names, problems and texts, called "Celebriorura Controversiarum in Prlraum Sententiarum Joannis Scoti ", (Matriti, ibS^j, authored by lldei^onsus Brizenus tfl667), (Cf. Hurter, T.2 col. 10), we find the following remarks in an " Appendix Metaphysica" to the twelfth controversy "De Idels Diyinls '''"~entitled " De Objectivo Esse Creaturarum ai> aeterno, cui Scotus exemplarem causalitatem adscribit ", pp. 4*33-555: "Quia Scotus opinatus est creaturam possibilem obire munus ideale in mente divina; jure pro doctrinae complemento attexitur disputatio de tall esse creaturarum, quldam illud sit an positivum, vel negativum. Caeterum, quia possibilitas entis ad existendura vel taliter spectari potest ut sonet denominationera extrinsecam petitam a potent la creatorisj vel intrinsecam non repugnant lam ex parte rei, antequam expendatur, an possibilitatis conceptus in positive vel negative consistat ? in trutlnam vocabitur, utrum i)ossibilitas entis ab extrinseco principio accedat rei, scilicet a potentia, aut intellectu


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dlvino. Deinde an possibilltas entis sit posito, vel mera negatlo? Circa priravmi ergo Henricus Quodl. 6 q.3 quem citat Scotus in I diQ q.l n, marg. 2 assrruit possibilitatem entis peti a potentia Dei.... Siinilia habet interpres Henrici Vi talis, Zuccolius. Henrico siiffragatur Petrus de Lorca I, 2 torn. 2 disp. 10. Sed hanc doctrinam ubi oppositan sententiara nee veram, nee ab inconvenientibus, et absurditate liberam censet. Consentit etiam Basilius Legionensis professor Salmanticensis Note also p. 508: "In qua re (Utrum creat\ira in quantum est fundamentxrai relationis aeternae ad Deum ut cognoscentem, habeat vere esse essentiae, ex hoc quod est sub tall respectu Scotus I d.35 q.l) Henricus in pluribus suae doctrlnae locis, quae citantur a raarginatore Scoti in hunc locum, assemerat, ens possibile ab aetemo verum esse reale positivum essentiae nancisci." Also cited for this position along with Henry of Ghent are the following: Martinus Meurisse, Basilius Pontius Legionensis, Pranciscus Albertinus, Jacobus Granadus and Petrus Hurtadus. In his solution to this controversy, Alonso Briseno notes the following and refers explicitly to Siiarez in this place on p. 5l4b: "Quara sententiam (no real potency or that this * esse essentiae Is not a true and positive real esse'H sustinuit' uni versa theologorum auatiquitas; eamque ex modemls defendit Pranciscus Soarius in sua Metaphysica disp. 31 de ente finito sect. 2 praeclpue sub num. 3 ubi oppositura placitiim, 'in raentem alicujus Catholici Doctoris venire non posse, Judicat*. Quod a sit abs re dictiim viderint alii; cum ego ab orani censura abstined\Ara consultius aestime." Another contemporary, Bartholomaeus Mastrius cites this same section of Suarez In the context of the divine ideas. Cf. " Disputationes Theologicae In Prlmiun Librum SentenETarum , Disp. 3> q.2, De Divinls Ideis, #52, p. liab: "Hie autera nota quod exam Scotus ponit creaturas in esse cognito, quod habuerunt ab aetemo ab intellectu divino, esse ipsius ideas, per tale esse cognitum non intelligit esse quoddam diminutxim medium inter ens reale, et rationis, ut ei tribuit Bannes loc. cit. (Cf. p. Il6b Bannes p. I qu. 15 art. 1) ubi proinde appellat hoc raerum Scoti figmentum parvan fidei catholicae consentaneum, coincidens cum errore Wiclef lib de ideis, a qua calumnia piisslmum Doctorem satis vindicavi disp. 8 rael. q.l art. 2 non Inquara, per tale esse cognitum intelligit Doctor aliquod esse reale actuale, diminutum tamen, et secvmdum quid medixom inter esse reale, et rationis, ut Bannes inteirpretatur, et Zumel cum ipso.
. . . .



et Penottas lib, 3 c.l. Scotum non Intel ligentes, esto clarissime loquentem, sed per tale esse aliud non intelligit, qiiara ipsian esse possibile creatiirarumj quod ab aetemo creaturae habent ex se ipsls quldem formaliter non tamen a seipsis, sed principiative ab Intellectu divlno, quod appellat Doctor esse dirainutiira, et secundina quid, et ab intellectu dlvino productum, ut illud distingueret ab esse reali siinpliciter, quod postea in tempore reclpiunt per veram, et physicam productionemj et appellat esse cognitura, non quia sit solvua ens rationis raateriale et derelictura, aut sola extrlnseca denominatio ex tenninatione divlnae cognitionis in creaturis derelicta, sed quia est illud ipsum esse possibile creaturarura non simpliciter, et absolute suraptum; sed quatenus substant divinae intelligentiae, et ex ejus terminatione denoniinatur a passiva cognitione cognit\im, sicut paries ex terminatione visionis denominatur visus; quae omni concedere in Deo ab aetemo tenetur q-LvLlibet catholicus, et Theologus, nam de fide est res ab aetemo habuisse esse possibile, seu in potentia logica, quale non habuerunt chimerae, et figmenta; item fuisse in potentia objectiva id est in virtute omnipotentiae Dei, et secundvun tale esse fuisse ab aetemo cognitas a Deo, qui ab aetemo cognovit esse reale actiiale in tempore eis non repiignare, unde ut bene inquit Suai^z disp. 31 Met, sec. 2 n,2 eadem necessitate fatendum est esse cognittun sic explicattira creaturis ab aetemo convenlre, qua convenit ipsi Deo ab aetemo scire creaturas esse possibiles, et hoc eodem modo Scotum intelligit Aversa q.l4 sec. 9." Compare this to the text of John of St. Thomas cited by J. Maritain, The Dream of Descartes , p. 142 et seq. " Siiarez himself notes the following in his Commentaria Partem D, Thomae"T>e Deo Uno ac Disputationes in Primam et Trlno" , Bk. Ill, cap. 5, #^1, p. ^^02a: "Supererat hoc loco dlcendum, quomodo creaturae possibiles terminent cognitionem Dei, vel quod esse iiabere Intel ligantur, ut illam scientiam terminare possint. Sed haec quaestio Metaphysica est, quam attigi, disp. 30 Metaphysicae sect, 15s n. 27, et late tractavi, disp. 31 sect. 2, Ideo breviter dicitur, nullum esse reale, verum et actuale poni in creaturis sic cognitis, sed tantiira esse possibile, quod ab aetemo non est actu, nisi in potentia Dei: esse autem in tempore in se ipso per actionem ejusdera potentiae Dei. Et hoc est satis, ut per ipsam scientiam ita cognoscatur, ut in se objective tenainet cognitionem Dei, et hoc modo declu*at hanc sententiam D. Thomas, diet, quaest. 15 (14) q,9 ubi vocat scientiam non entium, de. qiia appellatione aliquid.


capite sequent! adderaus," Suarez is here reacting to an eternal " ease essentiae" in the same fashion as Dui-andus did in note f^42 in Part III.

Cf. D.M., 31, IV, #1: "Dixinius de essentia creaturae, ut possibili et ut in actu, et de distinctione eorura qualis sit; superest dicendiam de esse, quo essentia in actu formalissime constituitur . " Cf. also M. Rast, S.J., "Die Possibilienlehre Des Pr, Suarez", Scholastik , X, (1935), pp. 340-368.


(Natter), Doctrinale Antiquitatum Cathollcae Bcclesiae , (Venetiis, 1357J> Bk. I, cap. ti, Tom. I, p. 32a et seq. Chapter eight bears the following title: " Res in Esse Intelligibili vel in esse potentiale in causis secundis antequjMi sit In proprio genere, sit slmpliciter non esse" . The following remiarks are noteworthy: "Supponit fides ecclesiae cum beato Aiagustino quinto super Geneslm ad lltteram c.l4. triplex esse creaturae. Esse ejus intslligibili in Deo, esse ejus potentiale in causis ejus secundis, et tertio esse ejus existentiae in genere proprio extra Devua. Hac distinctione abusus Witcleff ampliavit esse slmpliciter per haec tria, non praevldens forte quoraodo triplex non esse comitatur haec tria: qualiter tamen Aristotles et Commentator praeviderunt 11. Metaphysicae comraento 10. non esse, scilicet in conceptu, non esse in secimdis causis, et non esse existentiae.... Ubi plane confundltur Aemulus (Wlcleffus) dicens in libello * de Ideis esse loicam August Ini, quod res aetemaliter fuerunt, prinsquam esse coeporunt. Nam Augustinus hie dicit (De Civit. Del lib. XII cap. XVII): et hoc eglsse Divinam voluntatem, ut prius aetemaliter non essent, quamdlu non fuerunt: et hoc (p. 33a) prius non esse, et posterius esse non in Deo dicit, sed in rebus prime non existentibus, et post existentibus fuit." Gabriel Vazquez has a long treatment of Wycliff amd the problem of the divine ideas In " In I S.Th. q.l53 a.l" , Disp. 70, Also he cites: "Waldensis I to,, 11, I, cap. I and II. ar,I, c.l usque ad 9 asserebat in proposi. 217 et 219 has duas propositiones veras esse: 'Ctamis creatura est Ref eruntur autem hae duae Deus-: et quodlibet est Deus . propositiones in Consil. Cost. sess.l5 inter errores Hus dlsclpull Joan. Wlcleffi, quae schedula quadam Joa. oblata Concilio contlnebatur." Indeed, though he seems to think Thomas of Walden* s critique is justified in this place, Suarez elsewhere does not think Wycliff said any such thing nor does he think such a position ever entered anyone's head. Cf. In I S. Th., Bk. Ill,
Cf Thomas of Walden,
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cap. 5* #5! "Per hanc etiain resolutlonem inqpro^atur facile error trlbutus Vuicleffo et Impugnatus a Viialdense, torn. 1, c.5 et 8, qiiaetenus dicebat creaturas secundum esse ideale esse aliquid aetemum et distinctum ab esse Dei. Hie enira error intellectus in hoc sensu, quod extra Deura habeant ideae aliquod esse reale verum et aetemum, contra fidem est, et ilium suffi