Two Fundamental Types of Specification

Joseph Pilsner

in The Specification of Human Actions in St Thomas Aquinas

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780199286058
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603808 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

 Two Fundamental Types of Specification

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In order to understand the specification of human action, it is helpful to explore the specification of two other kinds of realities: natural corporeal beings and natural motions. For Aquinas, a natural corporeal being is any creature having matter as a constituent, such as a plant or animal; a being of this kind receives its species from its form. A natural motion is any naturally occurring change, such as growing, becoming healthier, or going from one place to another. Aquinas says that any such motion receives its species from both its ‘terminus to which’ and its active principle. These two types of specification are significant for this present study not only because they reveal important information about specification, but also because Aquinas will use them as starting points from which to explain the specification of human action.

Keywords: active principle; classification; corporeal being; definition; difference; form; matter; motion; species; terminus

Chapter.  7760 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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