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Form and Being

Studies in Thomistic Metaphysics (Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy, Volume 45)

Lawrence Dewan, O.P.

Publication Year: 2011

Contains thirteen essays by Lawrence Dewan on metaphysics, the vision of reality from the viewpoint of being.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Series: Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

Chapter 1, “What Is Metaphysics?” appeared in Études Maritainiennes/ Maritain Studies 9 (1993), 145–60; chapter 2, “What Does It Mean to Study Being ‘as Being’?” in International Journal of Philosophy [Taipei] (July 2004), 63–86; chapter 3, “St. Thomas and the Ground of Metaphysics,” ...

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pp. ix-xvi

The present collection of papers, the earliest of which originally appeared in 1980, has been selected from more than a hundred published over the years. If there is a dominant theme in these thirteen, it is the centrality of form in metaphysics. I hope to publish subsequently collections on the doctrine of the act of being, and on natural theology. ...


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pp. xv-xvi

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1. What Is Metaphysics?

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pp. 1-12

If the question is the straight “what is metaphysics?” one, then I would reply that it is the “science of being as being.” In order to explain this, I would refer first of all to Plato. In the Theaetetus,1 distinguishing knowledge from sense perception, Plato presents the soul as comparing things from the viewpoint of being. ...

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2. What Does It Mean to Study Being “as Being”?

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pp. 13-34

What does it mean to study being “as being”? Anyone at all familiar with Aristotelian discussion of metaphysics has heard the expression: “the science (or study) of being as being.”2 Sometimes, in the mouths of oldsters recalling their student days, it symbolizes a certain gobbledygook or double talk. ...

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3. St. Thomas and the Seed of Metaphysics

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pp. 35-46

An interpreter of St. Thomas’s doctrines concerning knowledge, metaphysics, and being itself can hardly avoid discussing the knowledge of ens, which St. Thomas often declares to be the principle of all intellectual knowledge.1 However, among the interpreters prominent in the last forty years, one can certainly find a considerable variety of opinion in this matter. ...

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4. St. Thomas, Physics, and the Principle of Metaphysics

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pp. 47-60

One twentieth-century school of interpretation of St. Thomas’s philosophical doctrines, the “River Forest” School, holds that physics precedes metaphysics, not merely in the order of learning, but also as providing for metaphysics its proper subject of study, being as being.1 This it does by proving the existence of immaterial reality. ...

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5. St. Thomas and the Principle of Causality

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pp. 61-80

Jacques Maritain, looking back over half a century of philosophizing by Thomists, singled out as particularly remarkable Étienne Gilson’s Esprit de la philosophie médiévale and Fr. Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange’s La philosophie de l’être et le sens commun.1 His interest in this latter work is not surprising ...

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6. St. Thomas and Analogy: The Logician and the Metaphysician

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pp. 81-95

The late Charles De Koninck, certainly someone to be revered,1 said that “analogy is primarily a logical problem, to be used eventually in analogical naming by the metaphysician......”2 Ralph McInerny, in many works over the years, and most recently in Aquinas and Analogy, has undertaken to spell this out. 3

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7. The Importance of Substance

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pp. 96-130

Our reason for speaking about science, philosophy, and theology, here at this Summer Institute,2 is surely to provide ourselves with as high quality access to the being of things as is possible. All three, science, philosophy, and theology, aim to say something about reality, and the clearer the task assigned to each, the better off we are. ...

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8. St. Thomas, Metaphysics, and Formal Causality

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pp. 131-166

As I have elsewhere had occasion to remark, St. Thomas Aquinas’s Commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle can, if carefully controlled, provide precious indications of how a Thomistic metaphysics ought to be constructed.1 In the present paper I wish to expose and to some degree explore one such indication. ...

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9. St. Thomas, Metaphysical Procedure, and the Formal Cause

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pp. 167-174

St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Commentary on Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics, often showed his interest in the way the doctrine of the Analytics applies to the science of metaphysics.1 Fr. Joseph Owens in his interpretations of St. Thomas’s metaphysical thought has refl ected this interest of Thomas.2 ...

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10. St. Thomas, Form, and Incorruptibility

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pp. 175-187

Anyone reading the later writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, for example the Disputed Questions on the Soul, can have no doubt as to the importance accorded, in the argument for the incorruptibility of the human soul, to the doctrine that existence is the inseparable associate of form. ...

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11. St. Thomas and the Distinction between Form and Esse in Caused Things

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pp. 188-204

The present paper concerns the oft-stated doctrine of Thomas Aquinas that the act of being attends upon form, just because of the sort of thing form is: “Esse...... per se consequitur ad formam”;1esse secundum se competit formae”;2esse...... per se convenit formae, quae est actus. 3 ...

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12. Nature as a Metaphysical Object

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pp. 205-228

A paper on nature as a metaphysical object1 is, as we shall see, a paper on essence. 2 Is there anything more to say about essence? Essence had a difficult time in the twentieth century, when the insistence was decidedly on existence. It might be wise to begin with a reminder of essence’s right to “equal time.”…

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13. The Individual as a Mode of Being according to Thomas Aquinas

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pp. 229-248

Recently Timothy Noone1 and Kevin White2 have published papers touching in different ways on individuation in Thomas Aquinas. Both express a degree of approval of the position of Joseph Owens, 3 who holds that for St. Thomas the “global” 4 explanation of individuation is to be found in the doctrine of esse, the act of being. …


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pp. 249-254

Index of Names

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pp. 255-256

Index of Topics

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pp. 257-265

E-ISBN-13: 9780813216027
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813214610

Page Count: 283
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy