What Cannot Be Said in Saint Thomas's Essence-Existence Doctrine

W. Norris Clarke, SJ

in The Creative Retrieval of Saint Thomas Aquinas

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780823229284
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236671 | DOI:
What Cannot Be Said in Saint Thomas's Essence-Existence Doctrine

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This chapter explores the limits of Saint Thomas's essence-existence doctrine. In the Thomistic sense of drawing back to a ground, many metaphysicians explain the bond of unity by reducing the multiplicity to modes of some one central perfection, which all beings participate in diversely, such as unity, goodness, consciousness, and matter. For Saint Thomas, the central perfection of the universe is the very act of existence itself. This is a participation doctrine, following the same general structure of participation worked out by the Neoplatonic school, with its four basic elements.

Keywords: Saint Thomas; essence-existence doctrine; metaphysicians; unity bond; goodness; consciousness; matter

Chapter.  6627 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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