Suárez (and later scholasticism)
- Suárez (and later scholasticism) Jorge Gracia THE SILVER AGE OF SCHOLASTICISM The golden age of scholasticism covered a period of roughly one hundred years, from around 1250 to 1350. There were important scholastic developments before 1250 and after 1350, but it is generally thought that they cannot compare with the achievements of the years in between. The sheer number of productive authors during this period and the extraordinary originality and intellectual rigour of their thought makes this one of the periods of highest achievement in the history of ideas. The silver age of scholasticism came roughly one hundred and seventyfive years later and also lasted for a period of about one hundred years, from about 1525 to 1625. Again, there was an extraordinary level of intellectual productivity in terms of both quantity and quality, but as a whole the silver age cannot rival the golden age either philosophically or historically. First, philosophically, because it depended to a great extent on the achievements of the earlier period; thus the silver age cannot be regarded as original as the golden age. Second, historically, because the philosophy that followed it largely moved in a different direction; while many of the thinkers who came after the golden age looked back on it for inspiration, most thinkers who followed the silver age looked away from it, rejecting much that characterized it.1 There are, however, remarkable similarities between the golden and silver ages. Both ages were guided by the scholastic aim of understanding the Christian faith. They exerted considerable effort in the defence of that faith and of orthodox doctrine against actual or perceived threats. Scholastics of both ages were heavily Aristotelian, giving ‘the Philosopher’ a prominent place in matters philosophical, but relying on authoritative patristic and scriptural sources for their theological doctrines. Both ages followed or were concurrent with periods of translation during which newly discovered works written in other languages were rendered into Latin. The centre of activity in both cases was the university, and the literary forms of expression used were largely a result of curricular activity. Finally, most scholastics were members of religious orders and, thus, had a strong commitment to the goals of those orders. In spite of these points of similarity, there are profound differences between the two periods. Although both periods had the same aim of understanding the Christian faith, the overall theological emphasis that inspired most activities of the earlier scholastics had decreased in the sixteenth century. In theory and in some aspects of practice, philosophy remained the servant of theology, but a progressive independence of reason, as demonstrated by its increasing use apart from faith, developed in the later period. The traditional scholastic format of argument, in which both theologically authoritative sources and arguments based on reason were given in support of the positions to be defended, ceased to be the norm in non-theological works, and a greater emphasis was put upon reason. Moreover, the political structure and ideological situation of Europe during the silver age—and, in particular, the discovery of the New World—raised new important philosophical and legal issues of a secular nature that encouraged speculation independent of theology. For example, matters that had to do with the rights of conquered peoples produced a body of literature largely purged of theological considerations. There were, of course, many issues discussed by masters of arts and others in the earlier period that had nothing or little to do with theology, and in the discussion of which theological authorities were largely ignored. But the number of these secular issues increased substantially in the later period. With respect to the apologetic spirit of both periods, again there are substantial differences. In the golden age the defence of Christian doctrine was primarily directed against infidels, as illustrated by Thomas’s Summa contra Gentiles, or against those who were thought to have accepted too much of the thought of pagan philosophers, as is evident from the list of doctrines officially condemned in Paris in 1277. Yet there was no overall sense of urgency in the Church, nor was there a unified and institutional effort to deal with the challenges to orthodoxy. During the silver age, however, the situation was different. The challenges to the Church came from two different sources within the Christian community and one of them had considerable political power. The first source was humanism. The discovery of new literary, philosophical and artistic works from the ancient world had given rise not only to a renewed interest in pagan ideas, but to a change of attitude in the intellectual community that seemed to many to pose a threat to the integrity of the Christian faith. The second source was the Reformation, a movement of rebellion against institutionalized Christianity that gained considerable political support. As a result, a sense of urgency among members of the hierarchy and an organized Church-wide effort to meet these challenges developed, culminating in the Council of Trent (1545–63). There was, therefore, much apologetic literature written during this time, and its tone appears more urgent and compelling than that produced in the golden age. Medieval scholastics were fighting ideas, but scholastics from the silver age were fighting not only ideas, but also worldly power. There is, as noted, remarkable agreement in the sources of both periods, with the later period depending heavily on the first as well. By the sixteenth century, scholasticism had become parcelled out into three traditions according to the author followed by each of them: Thomism, Scotism and Ockhamism. Moreover, these traditions had become identified with certain religious orders that looked upon the founders of these traditions with proprietary interests. For example, Dominicans were generally Thomistic, while Franciscans tended to follow Scotus or Ockham. This sort of ideological alignment had already begun in the thirteenth century, but it was not as rigid as it eventually became during the silver age. Moreover, the influence of Thomas Aquinas became increasingly pervasive in the silver age, particularly in the Iberian peninsula, a fact which has led some scholars to speak of a school of Spanish Thomism. The heavy use of Aristotelian and medieval scholastic sources by scholastics of the silver age points to another interesting difference between the silver age and the golden age. While both ages coincided with or followed periods of intense translation activity, in the golden age the resulting translations helped shape the thought of the period and were the immediate source of much of that thought.2 By contrast, scholastics of the silver age largely ignored the new translations. There may be many reasons for this relative neglect, but surely one of them was the heavily Aristotelian character of scholasticism, which must have found distasteful the overwhelmingly Platonic material being translated. The activity in both periods was concentrated in the university, but again there is an important difference. In the golden age, Paris was the unchallenged centre of both scholasticism and the intellectual life of Europe; it was the ‘new Athens’. There were other important universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Bologna and Naples, but none rivalled Paris. Moreover, an intellectual axis developed along a line which went from Rome to Oxford, passing through Paris. By contrast, the scholasticism of the silver age was most concentrated in the universities of the Iberian peninsula: Coimbra, Alcalá, and, above all, Salamanca. There were significant places of learning in Italy too, but they were much less influential than the Iberian universities. Intellectual communication now extended from Coimbra, through Salamanca, and ultimately to Rome. These are two other important points to note. First, as in the earlier period, these strongholds of silver-age scholasticism were not alone in promoting great intellectual ferment. Paris, Oxford and Cambridge, for example, were also important, and there was considerable work done in the Netherlands and Germany. Second, these centres of silver-age scholasticism did not hold a monopoly on the intellectual life of Europe. By the sixteenth century scholasticism had become a regional, albeit powerful intellectual force—perhaps the most powerful at the time—but it had ceased to be the only intellectual force in Europe, as it had been during the golden age. The scholastic literary genres favoured in the golden age, namely, the summa, the quaestio, and the commentary, were also used in the silver age, but with an important new development in this later period. Iberian scholastics, particularly Fonseca and Suárez, helped develop a new genre that became the standard form of expression among scholastics after the sixteenth century: the systematic and comprehensive treatise. There are plenty of examples of systematic and comprehensive treatises produced in the Middle Ages. Indeed, medieval summae are both systematic and comprehensive. But there are some important differences between medieval summae and the treatises produced during the silver age and thereafter. First, medieval summae tended to follow the established arrangement of the discourse in whatever subject-matter they explored. These patterns were derived from textual traditions going back to original paradigmatic works or particular doctrines. Thus, for example, the pattern of theological summae generally reflected an order of progression from God to creatures and back to God, the Neoplatonic exitus–reditus theme. Second, the new type of literature differed from the medieval summae in that it abandoned the quaestio format, which had been used very frequently by earlier scholastics, in favour of an unbroken exposition of topics. Finally, these treatises were put together and organized into complete courses (cursus) of study that extended beyond particular disciplines, and included logic, natural philosophy and other philosophical disciplines. Sometimes these ‘courses’ were the result of co-operative efforts, as was the case with the well-known Cursus Conimbricensis, the main author of which was Fonseca. At other times, they were the result of a single author’s effort (or that of his editors), as was the case with John of St Thomas’s Cursus philosophicus. The didactic advantages of the new genre should be obvious, for it organized materials in a continuous, comprehensive and logical way which facilitated teaching and made these works ideal textbooks. On the other hand, it introduced an element of dogmatism that was lacking in most of the earlier literature, for it veered toward the expository and away from the polemical, losing the sense of the controversial character of the topics discussed. This was not the case with all the philosophical treatises of the period; some still presented the status questionis of the issues they discussed in a polemical or quasi-polemical manner, but it certainly applied to a considerable portion of the philosophical literature produced at the time. Moreover, the adoption of the systematic and comprehensive format contributed to the neglect of the commentary and, therefore, the further estrangement of scholasticism from humanism. Primary sources were read in conjunction with these secondary sources, resulting in the neglect of the original authors and the frequent misunderstanding of their views (cf. [19.40] 835–7). Finally, although the most prominent members of both periods belonged to religious orders, the leading order during the silver age was the Society of Jesus, which had been founded by Ignacio de Loyola in 1540 in response, first, to the challenges that the Reformation posed to the Catholic Church and, second, to the need to convert the heathen. The mission of the Jesuit order, then, was from the start an apologetic one; and the order was organized like an army—a clear indication of its aim. By contrast, the Franciscan and Dominican orders, which had dominated the golden age, had less defined and militant missions. The aim of the Franciscans was one of service, and the aim of the Dominicans was instruction through preaching. The latter was in part a response to the need to defend the faith against infidels and heretics—Domingo de Guzmán was a Spaniard and was quite aware of the needs of a frontier church—but the Dominican order was never intended to be an army for the Church. Understanding the similarities and differences between the golden and silver ages of scholasticism should help us understand Suárez, for he eminently displayed most of the characteristics of the scholasticism of the silver age we have discussed. He pursued the medieval aim of understanding faith, but granted philosophy a sphere of operation separate from and largely independent of theology. As a theologian, he was at the forefront of the defence of Catholic doctrine and the Catholic Church against the attacks of the Reformation. He was aware of the rigid conceptual traditions associated with the medieval religious orders and moved easily within their frameworks, although he frequently tried to break down the barriers among them. His thought was strongly Aristotelian, ignoring to a great extent the recently produced translations of non-Aristotelian works, but he showed extensive and firsthand acquaintance with traditional Christian sources. Suárez spent his professional life almost entirely within the confines of the leading Iberian universities of the period. He never taught at Paris, and most of his exchanges took place with either Iberian or Italian authors. He was the first to apply a systematic approach to metaphysics, and finally, as a member of the Jesuit order, Suárez displayed some of the combative traits associated with that order in several of his more polemical works. In short, it would be hard to find among scholastics of his time one that displayed more clearly the traits that characterized the silver age. SUÁREZ’S LIFE, WORKS, AND INFLUENCE Suárez was born in Granada, Spain, on 5 January 1548, at the height of Spanish imperial power. Under Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, known as los Reyes Católicos (the Catholic Kings), a large part of the Iberian peninsula had become unified (1479) and power consolidated after the final defeat of the Moors at Granada (1492). Also in 1492 America was discovered, opening up unheard-of resources to the newly united kingdom. In a matter of fifty years, Spain became the pre-eminent political and economic power in Europe. As a result, artists and intellectuals flocked to Madrid, stimulating the development of arts and letters. Indeed, the period that goes roughly from 1500 to 1650 is generally known as the Siglo de Oro of Spanish letters because of the abundance and extraordinary quality of the literature produced. Spain became an intellectual leader in Europe and the undisputed leader of the Counter-Reformation. The Spanish mystics of the time, Teresa of Avila, Juan de la Cruz and Fray Luis de León, were among the most renowned anywhere. Antonio de Nebrija composed the first grammar of any romance language in 1492. The music of Victoria, Cabezón and other Spanish composers was played all over Europe. The theatre flourished under the pens of Lope de Vega and Calderón de la Barca. The novel reached new heights in the work of Cervantes. And Spanish painting achieved international acclaim with Ribera, Zurbarán and Velázquez. Philosophy, of course, could not be left behind, and so we find a score of Iberian figures of high rank. Among the most celebrated are Juan Luis Vives (1492–1540), Francisco de Vitoria (1492/3–1546), Domingo de Soto (1494–1560), Alonso de Castro (1495–1558), Melchior Cano (1509–60), Pedro Fonseca (1528–99), Domingo Bañez (1528–1604), Francisco Toletus (1532–96), Luis de Molina (1535– 1600), Juan de Mariana (1536–1624), Gabriel Vázquez (1549–1604) and Juan de Santo Tomás (1589–1644). The greatest of the philosophers, however, is Francisco Suárez (1548–1617). Indeed, his work surpasses in depth, originality and comprehensiveness that of any other of these, and his influence, both in modern philosophy and in subsequent scholastic thought, has been substantial. Suárez decided early in life that he would pursue an ecclesiastical career. Accordingly, he went to Salamanca to study canon law. While engaged in his studies there, he requested admission into the Society of Jesus. At first he was refused admission for reasons of health and what was perceived as a lack of proper intellectual capacity. Insistence paid off, however, and he was allowed to join the order in 1564. After completing his studies, he began a teaching career that would last for over fifty years, taking him to some of the most renowned institutions of his time: Segovia, Valladolid, Rome, Alcalá, Salamanca and Coimbra. Suárez died in Lisbon, at the age of 70, on 25 September 1617. Suárez did not publish early in his life. His first work, De incarnatione verbi, appeared in 1590 when he was 42. After this initial publication, however, a steady stream of works followed. Suárez’s contributions are important in three areas in particular: philosophy, law and theology. From a philosophical standpoint his most important works are De anima (On the Soul, 1621), which contains his psychology, epistemology and philosophy of mind; De gratia (On Grace, 1619– 51), which deals with issues of philosophical theology involving free will and determinism; and the monumental Disputationes metaphysicae (Metaphysical Disputations, 1597). The last is undoubtedly one of the great works of Western philosophy: the first systematic and comprehensive treatise on metaphysics composed in the West that is not a commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics. Furthermore, it summarizes and evaluates medieval metaphysical thought and remains the most complete exposition of Aristotelian metaphysics ever produced. De legibus (1612) is Suárez’s most important work dealing with legal and political theory. In it he explores in detail the nature of law and of civil society. His views on ius gentium make him, together with Vitoria and other Spanish authors of the time, a founder of international law. Suárez’s contributions to theology are contained in his numerous books on the subject. He touched upon almost every aspect of sacred doctrine, from the Trinity to questions pertaining to the spiritual life. This has made his theological writings a standard source of Catholic theology. Moreover, his role in helping to shape the response of the Catholic Counter-Reformation to the rise of Protestantism guarantees him a place in history. Suárez’s position in the history of philosophy is frequently disputed. Some historians locate him firmly in the medieval tradition, claiming that he should be seen as perhaps the last world-class figure of that tradition, before modern philosophy changed the philosophical direction of the West. Others, however, see Suárez as providing the foundation for some of the views that came to form the core of subsequent developments, and thus as a precursor of modern philosophy. There are bases for defending both of these interpretations. Indeed, if one looks at Suárez carefully, it becomes evident that he is both the last major medieval theologian and the first major modern philosopher. This can be best illustrated, perhaps, with reference to the stated intention and method of the Disputationes metaphysicae. With respect to the intention of the work, we need to look no further than the Preface to see that Suárez follows the theological emphasis of the Middle Ages. His purpose is the same as that expressed by the Anselmian saying: Fides quaerens intellectum (Faith seeking understanding). Suárez tells us, first, that he deals with metaphysics precisely because his aim is theological, for the good theologian will set down the foundations of metaphysics before he goes on to theology. Accordingly, he postponed his theological commentaries on Aquinas until after he had finished the Disputationes in order to provide a proper foundation for theology. Moreover, like Aquinas and other medieval theologians before him, Suárez points out that he never loses sight of Christian doctrine while he philosophizes and, indeed, that he intends his philosophy to be both Christian and an instrument of theology. This end is what guides not only the way he deals with the issues he discusses, but also the very opinions and views he presents, leading him to favour those that appear to him more useful for piety and revealed doctrine. Finally, in strict medieval fashion, he closes the Preface by hoping that the work will lead to God’s greater glory and be of use to the Catholic Church. From this, it appears quite conclusively that Suárez’s aim in the Disputationes metaphysicae is theological rather than philosophical, and that he fits squarely within the main medieval scholastic view in which philosophy is seen as a handmaiden of theology. However, in the very Preface to which reference has been made there are indications of a different attitude at play as well. First, Suárez speaks of giving back to metaphysics the place and position that rightly belongs to it, and that place and position are interpreted as being separate from and anterior to theology. Second, he states that his role as author of the Disputationes is not that of the theologian, but of the philosopher. And, third, he apologizes for the occasional digressions into theological matters found in the work, even though he does not discuss theological issues in depth, since that would certainly be beyond the bounds of the subject-matter of the book. Indeed, even a superficial perusal of the Disputationes reveals that, when theological topics come up, Suárez generally suggests to the reader that they do not pertain to the subjectmatter and should be discussed, or are, in fact, discussed, elsewhere. All this indicates Suárez’s rigorous view of the distinction between metaphysics and theology and of his role as philosopher and theologian. The fact that he calls himself a philosopher, that in philosophy he avoids arguments based on faith, and that he apologizes for dealing, even incidentally, with theological matters in a work of philosophy should be sufficient to make the point. Although many of the masters who taught liberal arts in the Middle Ages were not theologians and taught subjects independently of theology, the most famous scholastics of the age considered themselves theologians and their philosophical views were generally presented within theological works. Moreover, even though many scholastics distinguished between theology and philosophy, none of them would have apologized for the introduction of theological matter in a philosophical context, and most of them used both faith and reason to argue for both philosophical and theological views. But such a procedure is abandoned in Suárez’s Disputationes.3 Occasionally, he does bring up a theological point, but in such cases the aim is to show the reader how to apply metaphysical principles to theology rather than to use theology to prove philosophy. This secular emphasis in metaphysics both sets Suárez apart from his medieval predecessors and situates him at the beginning of the modern tradition. Another point that sets him apart from medieval scholasticism is the very structure and procedure he follows in the Disputationes. The work does not adopt the standard medieval scholastic literary genres used in works of metaphysics. Medieval authors generally presented their metaphysical views in commentaries on Aristotle, which were sometimes internally organized in quaestiones; or they presented them in the course of theological works, such as theological summae or commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. Occasionally, short didactic or polemical tracts (opuscula) such as Thomas’s De ente et essentia or De unitate intellectus contra Averroistas were also composed. But no systematic and comprehensive metaphysical treatises were produced. Suárez, however, adopted precisely this format. Nor did he follow the popular custom of structuring works as quaestiones reflecting current controversies and polemics. Rather, he adopted a logical procedure in which metaphysical issues are discussed according to their relation to overall topics. Suárez is the first to apply this procedure to metaphysics. His originality in this is what distinguishes him from his predecessors and points to modern philosophy. In short, Suárez cannot be considered exclusively a medieval scholastic or a modern philosopher. He has to be seen in context, as restating the past and anticipating the future. His overall aims and views go back to the Middle Ages, but some of his procedures point toward the modern period. He should be seen as both a medieval scholastic and a modern philosopher. Before concluding this section I should say something about Suárez’s influence on the Catholic tradition, modern thought and Latin American scholasticism. Along with Augustine, Aquinas and other figures of similar stature, Suárez is one of the most influential figures in Catholicism. He played a major role in the response to the growing challenge of Protestantism and the secularizing impact of humanism. Many of his theological ideas were considered highly original at the time and have become part of the common stock of Catholic theology. His analogical understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity, his position concerning the motivation for the Incarnation, and his views on morality have all played important roles in Catholic teaching. But perhaps it is his doctrine of the relation between divine grace, merit and human freedom that has most firmly established his influence and most evidently contrasts him with the Protestant ideas of the time. Suárez’s influence, however, is not confined to the Catholic tradition. Most early modern philosophers learned metaphysics from his Disputationes, and many of their ideas can be traced to that work. Among those most clearly influenced by Suárez are Jungius, Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Wolff, Berkeley, Schopenhauer and Vico, but echoes of his language and views can be seen in many others, including Locke.4 Indeed, Suárez is often blamed for contributing to the development of the mentalistic metaphysics characteristic of modern philosophy. Whether this attribution is correct is a matter of debate, but what is clear is that his terminology seeped into early modern philosophy and became a part of the common philosophical way of speaking. In addition to his metaphysics, moreover, his legal and political views had considerable impact on modern legal theorists such as Holdsworth and Grotius. Indeed, some consider Suárez’s thought in these areas to be as influential and valuable as, if not more so than, his metaphysical views. Finally, there is Suárez’s impact on Latin American thought. The New World was discovered in 1492, and by the middle of the next century, schools and universities teaching scholastic thought were already functioning in Mexico and elsewhere. Thus, by the time Suárez’s Disputationes metaphysicae was published in 1597, there was a ready audience available for them. The result was to be expected: his metaphysical and theological views established themselves as alternatives to the already popular views of Aquinas, Scotus and Ockham. SUÁREZ’S METAPHYSICS The core of Suárez’s philosophical, theological and legal thought is his metaphysics. The rest of this essay will therefore be devoted to the exploration of two key elements of Suárez’s metaphysical thought, which illustrate both the transitional role it played between medieval scholasticism and modern philosophy and the innovation within traditional parameters that is so characteristic of it. These elements are his conception of metaphysics and the doctrine of the transcendentals. Suárez’s Conception of Metaphysics Most conceptions of metaphysics fall into one of two categories: views that regard metaphysics as concerned with the real as opposed to the mental, and views that conceive it as concerned with the mental rather than the real. Aristotle (Metaphysics 1, 1–3) and his medieval commentators are usually identified as proponents of the first view. Metaphysics in this context is conceived as a science not very different from other sciences, except for some peculiarities of the object it studies and the method it employs. Like other sciences its aim is to describe the world, noting its characteristics and the causal relationships that hold among the entities that are part of it. There is, then, nothing mental about the object that metaphysics studies; its object of study is extramental reality, not concepts or other mental entities. In contrast, the mentalistic conception of metaphysics is a favourite in contemporary philosophical circles.5 According to it, metaphysics is not concerned with the description of the extramental world or the way it functions; it is concerned with our concepts about the world, rather than the world itself. In that sense, metaphysics is not realistic but mentalistic. The mentalistic conception of metaphysics did not come about as a result of a single drastic change in the history of philosophy. Descartes, Hume, Kant and many others figure prominently in the slow process that produced a change from realism to mentalism. Among the figures that are often cited as having contributed to that process is Suárez.6 Suárez conceives metaphysics as a perfect and a priori science. Something is perfect if it is complete, that is, if it lacks nothing for it to be the sort of thing it is (Disputationes metaphysicae 10, 1, 15; [19.1] 25:333). Thus a perfect science is a science that lacks none of the conditions required of sciences. Such conditions stipulate that sciences provide certain and evident knowledge of the objects they study through knowledge of the properties, principles, and causes of those objects (1, 3, 2, and 1, 1, 27; 25, 22 and 11). Moreover, since metaphysics is an a priori science, such knowledge is not based on experience. A property, in the Aristotelian context within which Suárez works, is a feature of a thing which necessarily characterizes the members of the species to which the thing belongs but is not part of the essence of the thing in question and thus does not appear in its definition (3, 1, 1; 25, 103). The capacity to laugh, for example, is a property of human beings because it necessarily characterizes human beings, although it is not part of the definition of human being. A property, in contrast with an accident, always accompanies each member of a species. The task of science, and therefore of metaphysics, is twofold: first, to identify the properties of the object it studies and, second, to demonstrate the necessary connection of those properties to the object in question through an analysis of the principles and causes of that object. The object of metaphysics was a matter of intense discussion in the Middle Ages. The origin of the debate can be traced back to Aristotle’s Metaphysics, where he presents four different understandings of its object: being qua being, substance, divine entities, and primary causes and principles (Metaphysics 4, 1; 7, 1; 6, 1; 3, 2). Settling the issue was important, for most medievals believed that the unity of a science is derived from the unity of its object. Yet, the four objects that Aristotle identified as objects of metaphysics were not easily collapsed into one. By the time Suárez was addressing this issue, the possible objects of metaphysics had grown in number and certain precisions had been introduced. Suárez considers and rejects six different opinions on the object of metaphysics: (1) being taken most abstractly and generally so that it includes not only all real beings, whether substantial or accidental, but also mental beings; (2) only real being, leaving out mental beings, so that its object includes both substantial and accidental beings; (3) the supreme, real being, namely God; (4) immaterial being or substance; (5) categorical being, namely, being as divided into the ten Aristotelian categories; and (6) substance qua substance, that is substance considered apart from whether it is material or immaterial, finite or infinite (1, 1, 2–18; 25, 2–8). Suárez’s view is that the object of metaphysics is ‘being insofar as it is real being’ (ens in quantum ens reale). As such, metaphysics includes the study of God, immaterial substances, and the real accidents of immaterial substances. It excludes, however, the study of purely mental beings (entia rationis) and the study of beings which are completely accidental, and abstracts from all matter (1, 1, 26; 25, 11). If Suárez had said nothing else about the nature of metaphysics and its object than what I have presented in summary so far, he could have been interpreted only as having a realistic conception of metaphysics, albeit a somewhat different one from those of his predecessors. Moreover, it would have been very difficult to accuse him of having moved in the direction of mentalistic metaphysics. After all, he clearly states that metaphysics deals with real being and only real being, and argues against it having to do with mental being. However, Suárez did not stop there. He went on to discuss the nature of the object metaphysics studies. It is what he says on this matter in particular, coupled with how his views were used by later philosophers, that has given rise to speculation about his role in the history of metaphysics and its development toward mentalism. The view that Suárez contributed substantially to the mentalization of metaphysics is based, first, on his conception of real being and, second, on his statement that the object of metaphysics is the objective concept of being. Real being for Suárez is not the same as actual being. Actual being is the kind of being existing things have. Real being need not be actual; it can be possible. Thus, real being encompasses both actual being (e.g. my existing cat Minina and the colour of her fur) and possible being (e.g. my non-existing cat Misifus and the colour of his fur). The difference between non-real beings and possible beings is that possible beings have an aptitude for existence, even though they do not exist, whereas non-real beings do not. A possible being like Misifus, has an aptitude such that it could exist even if it does not; but a non-real being like a goatstag, lacks such an aptitude and neither exists nor can exist (31, 2, 10; 26, 232). Real being, then, includes possible, unactualized essences in addition to actualized ones. This means that the object of science, and thus of metaphysics, is not restricted to actually existing being, but extends to and includes possible being (31, 2, 10; 26, 232). This conception of metaphysics, as the study of not only actual essences but also possible essences, has been identified as one of the sources of the mentalism of modern philosophy; for possible being, so the argument goes, can be nothing but mental, and thus the door is open to a conception of metaphysics as a science of the mental. This interpretation is disputable, however, for Suárez does not identify possible being with mental being. He understands mental being as ‘what has objective being only in the intellect or as what is thought by the mind as a being, although it has no being in itself’, that is, what has no being outside the mind (54, 1, 5; 26, 1016). Blindness is a good example of a mental being, for blindness is a lack of something rather than having something and, as such, has no reality outside the mind.7 From this it follows that possible beings for Suárez are not the same as mental beings. For possible beings, even though they do not exist, have an aptitude for existence. But it is impossible for mental beings ever to exist, so they cannot have an aptitude for existence. Consequently, that metaphysics includes the study of possible beings does not mean that it is concerned with mental entities. The second source of the charge that Suárez’s conception of metaphysics contributed substantially to the mentalization of the discipline is his claim that the object studied by metaphysics is the objective concept of being (2, 1, 1; 25, 65). This claim may be interpreted as implying mentalism because objective concepts, qua concepts, presumably cannot be anything but mental; therefore, it turns out that metaphysics studies something mental rather than something real. The notion of objective concept is one of two members of a distinction widely used by later scholastics. The other member of the distinction is the formal concept. The formal concept, according to Suárez, is an act of our minds whereby we conceive something. As an act of the mind, it is a quality and thus an accident of the mind. The formal concept is called ‘formal’ because it informs the mind in the way any form informs its subject, and it is the end of the process of conception. Moreover, it is by means of the formal concept that the mind knows an object, for the formal concept represents the thing known to the mind (2, 1, 1; 25, 65). The objective concept, on the other hand, is what is represented in the act, or quality, which is the formal concept. The objective concept is not a concept in the way a formal concept is, namely as a form that modifies the mind, determining its conception. Indeed, it is called a concept only derivatively because of the relation it has to the formal concept. It is objective in so far as it is the object with which the formal concept is concerned; it is not objective in the sense of being an image or representation of something else ([19.42] 41). On the contrary, the objective concept is what is represented by the formal concept and, as Suárez states elsewhere, ‘the thing signified’ by it (29, 3, 34; 26, 59). In short, we might say that the distinction between the objective concept and the formal concept is the distinction between what I think about (objective) and that through which I think it (formal). So, whereas ‘the formal concept cat’, for example, is the mental act whereby someone thinks of ‘cat’, ‘the objective concept cat’ is whatever one thinks about when one thinks of ‘cat’, namely cat. Put this way, it does not look as if objective concepts are mental in any way. As Suárez states, they are not concepts strictly speaking; they are not representations or images; and they are not mental acts or qualities. Instead, they are the objects of the (formal) concepts the mind forms. This would seem to indicate that they are not mental at all. This inference is corroborated by the fact that the being and unity of objective concepts turn out to be the same being and unity of their objects and, thus, that objective concepts can be mental or real depending on those objects. Suárez makes quite clear that whereas the formal concept is real, always ‘a true and positive thing’, the objective concept need not always be something real; it can be mental or real, depending on the objective concept in question. If, for example, the objective concept in question is ‘blindness’, what we have is a mental being because blindness is not a real entity. If, on the other hand, the objective concept in question is ‘humanity’, what we have is a real being, namely an actual or possible substance (i.e. a human being). Indeed, Suárez says that this is the case with the objective concept of being (2, 3, 7; 25; 83). From these considerations we must conclude that not all objective concepts have only a mental status; some objective concepts exist in reality. This entails, then, that to be an objective concept does not necessarily imply mental existence alone. Whether that is the case depends not on the nature of objective concepts as such, but on the particular objective concept involved. In the case of ‘blindness’, it does imply mental existence alone because blindness does not and cannot exist outside the mind; but in the case of ‘humanity’, it does not because human beings can and do exist outside the mind. This same point is corroborated when we look at the unity of objective concepts. Do objective concepts, qua objective concepts, have universal or individual unity? Suárez’s answer is unequivocal. The formal concept is always present in some mind that produces it and is, therefore, individual. With respect to the objective concept, however, the case is different, for an objective concept is universal or individual depending on the particular objective concept involved (2,1,1; 25, 65). If the objective concept in question is ‘man’ or ‘substance’, the objective concept is universal. If, on the other hand, the objective concept in question is something determinate, like ‘Socrates’, then the objective concept is individual. From this it also follows that only those objective concepts that are individual can exist extramentally and therefore be real, since for Suárez universals have no such existence (5, 1, 4; 25, 146). The situation with respect to the unity of objective concepts, then, is quite similar to the one with respect to their being. Objective concepts can be individual or universal; therefore, they cannot, qua objective concepts, be one of these to the exclusion of the other. In cases where there is an exclusion, as it happens with ‘blindness’, the exclusion arises from the nature of the objective concept in question, not from the fact that it is an objective concept. The implication of what Suárez says concerning the being and unity of objective concepts is that objective concepts have the ontological status, that is, the being and unity, of their objects. We know, for example, that the objective concept ‘blindness’ has the same ontological status as blindness, and that the same applies to the objective concepts ‘humanity’ and ‘Minina’. The being and unity of the objective concept of Minina is the being (real) and unity (individual) of Minina; the being and unity of the objective concept of tree is the being (real) and unity (universal) of tree; and the being and unity of the objective concept of blindness is the being (mental) and unity (universal) of blindness. This seems quite clear. Now, since the objective concept that metaphysics studies is ‘real being’, the object of metaphysics cannot be anything but real, and Suárez’s conception of metaphysics cannot be anything but realistic. The Transcendentals Suárez’s conception of metaphysics prompts an interesting objection. The function of science, as already noted, is to identity the properties of its object, demonstrating their necessary connection with it through an analysis of principles and causes. It follows, then, that metaphysics, as a science of being qua being, must be concerned with identifying the properties of being and demonstrating how those properties are necessarily tied to being through an examination of the principles and causes of being. The difficulty posed by this view is that being qua being does not have any properties, for considered this abstractly, being is common to every being and its properties. Thus it does not appear that being qua being can have any properties which are peculiarly its own. Suárez is aware of this difficulty and gives an explicit answer to it (1, 1, 28; 25, 11). The answer is important both philosophically and historically. It is philosophically important because it makes clear that, even though Suárez never explicitly says so, metaphysics for him turns out to be the science of the transcendentals; it is historically important because this conception of metaphysics may have served to prepare the way for the growth of transcendentalism in later European Continental philosophy.8 Suárez’s solution to the difficulty is to propose that, although being qua being has no properties that are really distinct from it, it does have properties that are conceptually distinct from it (1, 1, 28; 25, 11). These properties are unity, truth and goodness. They are coextensional with being because whatever is a being is also one, good and true, and whatever is one, good or true is also a being. It is the coextension of these properties with being that makes them transcendental, for they are common to the ten categories into which being is divided. These properties are not cointensional with being, however, because their conceptual analyses do not coincide with that of being or with those of each other. In short, although whatever is a being is also one, good and true, to be and to be one, to be good, and to be true are not the same. Metaphysics can be conceived as the study of being qua real being so long as it is understood that it deals with properties of being that are only intensionally distinct from it. Moreover, since what is coextensional but not cointensional with being are precisely its transcendental attributes (unity, truth, goodness), it turns out that what metaphysics studies as principles and what it studies as properties of being are the same. Under these circumstances, metaphysics turns out to be the science of the transcendentals. Suárez’s answer to the difficulty posed by the fact that being does not appear to have any properties is to argue that indeed being has properties even though they are not the same sort of property other things have. According to Suárez, properties must fulfil several conditions: they must be real, and really distinct from their subjects, and they must be coextensional with their subjects but not included in their essences (3, 1, 1; 25, 103). The capacity to laugh, for example, fulfils all these conditions with respect to human beings and thus is a property of them. But it is obvious that none of the transcendental properties of being Suárez accepts, namely, one, true, and good, fulfil all these conditions. Suárez grants this conclusion (3, 1, 8; 25, 105), but he argues that being can still have properties because it has some ‘attributes which are not mere products of the mind, but are truly and really predicated of it’ (3, 1, 10; 25, 106). But how, then, are these attributes related to being? What kind of properties are they if they cannot be properties in the usual way? Suárez’s answer is that these attributes add to being negations, privations, or real extrinsic denominations taken from real relations; unity adds a negation or privation, and truth and goodness add real extrinsic denominations (3, 1, 11; 25, 106). For Suárez, both negations and privations are lacks, but there is an important difference between the two. Privations are lacks of what things ought to have by virtue of their natures. Thus, a privation is a lack or absence in a thing of what naturally belongs to it, such as blindness in a human being. A negation, by contrast, is an absence of what is not natural to a subject, such as the absence of wings in a human being. The issue of what is or is not natural to a thing is determined by a definition which specifies those features that make the thing what it is (54, 5, 7; 26, 1036). Strictly speaking, therefore, negations and privations are not real if by real one means, as Suárez often does, actual or possible being, for negations and privations are not beings at all, but lacks of being (31, 2, 10; 26, 232). Their only ontological status is as mental beings (entia rationis). Still, this does not entail that negations and privations are fictitious constructs of the mind. The mind may arrive at truth or falsity regarding reality through negations and privations, for ‘negations and privations can be truly and absolutely predicated of a thing without involving any kind of intellectual fictions’ (54, 5, 5; 26, 1032). A person X who concludes that another person Y is blind has understood something true about Y if Y is in fact blind and something false about Y if Y is not blind, even though blindness is not something in the world. In either case, the truth or falsity arrived at by X is not dependent on X’s understanding, but on Y, that is, on reality, even if the truth is that Y lacks sight. From this we may gather that ‘one’, which is predicated of being as a negation of privation, is not real in the sense of being either an actual or possible entity. Its reality lies only in that it is not a fictitious product of the mind and thus can be truly predicated of being. Suárez is using two senses of ‘real’, then, which allow him to say that unity is both real (i.e. non-fictitious) and not real (i.e. neither actual nor possible) without contradiction. The other properties of being, namely truth and goodness, are not conceived as negations and privations. Rather, they express real extrinsic denominations based on real relations. For Suárez, real extrinsic denominations have four terms: denomination, thing denominated, denominating form, and relation founding the denomination (54, 2, 14; 26, 1021). In the case of a wall, for example, which is extrinsically denominated as ‘seen’, the terms of the denomination break down as follows: denomination: seen thing denominated: a wall denominating form: the act of seeing founding relation: relation of seeing the wall Relations for Suárez also have four elements: relation, subject, term and foundation. Consider the case of the relation of similarity of S, a white “3×5” card, to T, another white “3×5” card. In this example, S is what Suárez calls the subject; T is the term of the relation, the white colour of S is the foundation of the relation; and the similarity of S to T is the relation (47, 6, 1; 26, 809). In a real relation, the subject, the term, and the foundation of the relation must be, according to Suárez, real, and the term must also be actual and really—or at least modally—distinct from the foundation (47, 6–9; 26, 809–19). (It must be remembered that for Suárez real being includes not only actual, but also possible being.) Thus, for the relation of similarity of S to T to be real, S and the white colour of S must be real, and T must actually exist. That does not entail, however, that the relation is something really distinct from its foundation; the relation and its foundation are only conceptually distinct (47, 8, 14; 26, 818). In the example given above, the white colour of S, a form in S which is the foundation of the relation, is not really distinct from the similarity of S to T. If any of these conditions is not met, that is, if some of the elements of a relation are not real, or if the term is not actual, or if the distinction between the term and the foundation is not at least modal, then the relation is mental (54, 6, 2 and 47, 6–8; 26, 1039 and 808–18). The reason is that in none of these cases would the relation describe accurately the way things are, and thus would have to be considered, at least in part, a mental construct. A key difference between a real extrinsic denomination founded on a relation and a real relation is that the real extrinsic denomination applies to the term of the real relation on which the denomination is founded and not to the subject of that relation. It could not be otherwise, for if it were, a real extrinsic denomination would posit in the thing it denominates, namely, in the subject of the relation, a form really distinct from it, which is impossible according to Suárez (54, 2, 9; 26, 1020). That the real extrinsic denomination applies to the term and not the subject of the real relation becomes clear if we use the real relation of similarity of S to T as the basis for a real extrinsic denomination. In this case, the thing denominated is not S, the subject of the relation, but T, its term. Thus: denomination similar thing denominated: T (the term of the relation) denominating form: the whiteness of S founding relation: similarity of S to T subject of founding relation: S term of relation: T Now let us apply what has been established concerning real extrinsic denomination to being and its transcendental attributes true and good: denomination: true good thing denominated: being being denominating form: act of intellect act of will founding relation: understanding of desiring of being being by intellect by will subject of founding relation: intellect will term of relation: being being Thus, we see what Suárez means when he says that being, true and good are convertible in reality but not conceptually, for whatever is a being is capable also of being the term of a real relation between an intellect or a will and being itself. Such a relation does not affect being, nor do the transcendental attributes true and good refer to a form in being really distinct from it. True and good express extrinsic denominations of being founded on real relations between an intellect or a will and being. The subjects of the relations are intellects and wills, and the forms on which the relations are founded are the acts which modify those intellects and wills. As such, therefore, true and good are neither real properties of being, strictly speaking, nor real or mental relations of being to something else. If they were real properties or real relations, it would imply a kind of distinction between being and them, or their foundation (in the case of real relations), which would be impossible. If they were mental relations, it would imply that true and good are the result of mental activity and, therefore, fictitious. CONCLUSION Suárez is, without a doubt, one of the key figures in the transition from medieval thought to modern philosophy. He played a substantial role in this transition in so far as he worked within a scholastic tradition that went back to the thirteenth century and beyond but introduced modifications in it that anticipated and prepared the way for modern thought. Nowhere else is this more evident perhaps than in his metaphysics. Indeed, his conception of both metaphysics and the transcendentals illustrate well how he was able to introduce innovations within the strict parameters of the tradition within which he worked, thus serving to move Western thought out of the Middle Ages and into the modern period. This is evident in his conception of metaphysics in so far as he still substantially adheres to the realistic conception of the discipline defended by such medieval scholastics as Aquinas. But the extension of the object of study of metaphysics to possible being and some of the mentalistic language he uses to refer to such an object anticipates and prepares the way for the mentalism so characteristic of modern philosophy. In the doctrine of the transcendentals, Suárez again works within the parameters he inherits, but he introduces modifications in the doctrine by understanding two of the transcendental properties of being—true and good—as expressions of real extrinsic denominations of being rather than as mental relations, the popular view among scholastics. This understanding of the transcendentals opens the way to interpretations that, again, pave the way for future developments. In short, Suárez is a figure in whom both the scholastic past and the modern future of philosophy meet and interact in interesting and peculiar ways. From studying his works, one can learn much about both the Middle Ages and modern philosophy. NOTES 1 There is wide disagreement as to how to refer to the scholasticism of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Carlo Giacon has proposed the term ‘second scholastic’ [19.26]. But this expression seems to suggest a break between the scholasticism of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and that of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, while, in fact, there is no such break. For a challenge to the general view about the decline of scholasticism after 1350, see Chapter 18 above. 2 Cf. Bernard G.Dod, ‘Aristoteles latinus’ and C.H.Lohr, ‘The medieval interpretations of Aristotle’, in CHLMP, pp. 45–98. 3 J.Marenbon, ‘The theoretical and practical autonomy of philosophy as a discipline in the Middle Ages’, in Monika Asztalos et al. (eds) Knowledge and the Sciences in Medieval Philosophy, Helsinki, Yliopistopaino, 1990, pp. 262–74, and JorgeJ. E.Gracia, ‘Philosophy in the Middle Ages’, Diálogos 9 (1977):233–43. 4 See Cronin [19.18], Ferrater Mora [19.25], Iriarte [19.33], and others in the bibliography. 5 Cf. P.F.Strawson, Individuals, London, Methuen, 1959, p. 9. 6 Cf. R.P.D.Dubarle, ‘Intervention’, Archives de Philosophie 42 (1979):274; Courtine [19.16]; and Cronin [19.18], ch. 3. 7 For the details of Suárez’s doctrine of mental beings, see Doyle [19.23] (1). 8 This transcendentalism was given an epistemic turn in later thinkers that was not intended by or present in Suárez. See Doyle [19.24]. BIBLIOGRAPHY Original Language Editions of Suárez 19.1 Berton, C. (ed.) Opera omnia, 28 vols, Paris, Vivès, 1856–61. (Disputationes metaphysicae, reprint of vols 25 and 26, Hildesheim, G.Olms, 1965.) 19.2 Castellote, Salvador (ed.) De anima, Madrid, Sociedad de Estudios y Publicaciones, 1978–. 19.3 Pereña, L. et al. (eds) De legibus, 8 vols, Madrid, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1971–81. 19.4 Vicente, L.P. (ed.) De hello (De triplice virtute theologica, treatise 3, disputation 13), Madrid, Institute Francisco de Vitoria, 1954. 19.5 Elorduy, E. and Pereña, L. (eds) Defensio fidei III, Madrid, Consejo de Investigaciones Científicas, 1965. English Translations with Commentaries 19.6 Metaphysical Disputations X and XI and Selected Passages from Disputation XXIII and Other Works, trans. Jorge J.E.Gracia and Douglas Davis, in The Metaphysics of Good and Evil According to Suárez, Munich and Vienna, Philosophia Verlag, 1989. 19.7 On the Essence of Finite Being as Such, trans. Norman Wells, Milwaukee, Wis., Marquette University Press, 1983. 19.8 Metaphysical Disputation V: Individual Unity and its Principle, trans. Jorge J. E.Gracia, in Suárez on Individuation, Milwaukee, Wis., Marquette University Press, 1982. 19.9 On Formal and Universal Unity, trans. James F.Ross, Milwaukee, Wis., Marquette University Press, 1964. 19.10 On the Various Kinds of Distinctions, trans. Cyril Vollert, Milwaukee, Wis., Marquette University Press, 1947. 19.11 On Efficient Causality: Metaphysical Disputations 17–19, trans. Alfred J Freddoso, New Haven, Conn., Yale University Press, 1994. 19.12 Selections from Three Works (De legibus, Defensio fidei catholicae, De triplici virtute theologica), 2 vols, trans. G.W.Williams and James Brown Scott, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1944. Studies 19.13 Adams, Robert M. ‘Middle knowledge and the problem of evil’, American Philosophical Quarterly 14 (1977): 109–17. 19.14 Alejandro, J.M. La gnoseología del Doctor Eximio y la acusación nominalista, Comillas, Universidad Pontificia, 1948. 19.15 Ashworth, E.J. ‘Traditional logic’, in CHRP, pp. 143–72. 19.16 Courtine, Jean-François ‘Le project suarécien de la métaphysique’, Archives de Philosophie 42 (1979): 235–74. 19.17 ——Suárez et le système de la métaphysique, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1990. 19.18 Cronin, Timothy Objective Being in Descartes and Suárez, Rome, Gregorian University Press, 1966; repr. New York and London, Garland Publishing, 1987. 19.19 Daniel, William The Purely Penal Law Theory in the Spanish Theologians from Vittoria to Suárez, Rome, Gregorian University Press, 1968. 19.20 Doyle, John P. ‘Suárez and the reality of the possibles’, The Modern Schoolman 45 (1967): 29–48. 19.21 ——‘Suárez on the analogy of being’, (1) and (2), The Modern Schoolman 46 (1969): 219–49 and 323–41. 19.22 ——‘Prolegomena to a study of extrinsic denomination in the work of Francis Suárez, SJ’, Vivarium 22 (1984): 121–60. 19.23 ——‘Suárez on beings of reason and truth’, (1) and (2), Vivarium 25 (1987): 47–75 and 26 (1988): 51–72. 19.24 ——‘“Extrinsic cognoscibility”: a seventeenth-century supertranscendental notion’, The Modern Schoolman 68 (1990): 57–80. 19.25 Ferrater Mora, José ‘Suárez and modern philosophy’, Journal of the History of Ideas 14 (1953): 528–47. 19.26 Giacon, Carol La seconda scolastica, 2 vols, Milan, Fratelli Bocca, 1946. 19.27 Gnemi, Angelo Ilfondamento metafisico: Analisi di struttura sulle ‘Disputationes metaphysicae’ di F.Suárez, Milan, Società Editrice Vita e Pensiero, 1969. 19.28 Gracia, Jorge J.E. ‘Evil and the transcendentality of goodness: Suárez’s solution to the problem of positive evils’, in Scott MacDonald (ed.) Being and Goodness: the Concept of the Good in Metaphysics and Philosophical Theology, Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press, 1991, pp. 151–78. 19.29 ——(ed.) Francisco Suárez, issue of American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 64, 1 (1991). (Articles by Douglas P.Davis, John P.Doyle, Jorge J.E. Gracia, John Kronen, Carlos Noreña, Thomas Sullivan and Jeremiah Reedy, and John L.Treloar.) 19.30 ——‘Suárez on the transcendentals’, in Jorge, J.E.Gracia (ed.) The Transcendentals in the Middle Ages, issue of Topoi 10 (1992): 121–33. 19.31 Hamilton, Bernice Political Thought in Sixteenth-century Spain, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1963. 19.32 Hellin, J. La analogía del ser y el conocimiento de Dios en Suárez, Madrid, Editora Nacional, 1947. 19.33 Iriarte, J. ‘La proyección sobre Europa de una gran metafísica’, Razón y Fe (1948): 229–65. 19.34 Iturrioz, J. Estudios sobre la metafísica de Francisco Suárez, SJ, Madrid, Fax, 1949. 19.35 Kronen, John D. ‘Essentialism old and new: Suárez and Brody’, The Modern Schoolman (1991): 123–51. 19.36 Lohr, Charles H. ‘Metaphysics’, in CHRP, pp. 537–638. 19.37 Owens, Joseph ‘The number of terms in the Suárezian discussion on essence and being’, The Modern Schoolman 34 (1957): 147–91. 19.38 Scorraille, R. de François Suárez de la Compagnie de Jésus, 2 vols, Paris, Lethiellieux, 1912–13. 19.39 Scott, J.B. The Catholic Conception of International Law, Washington, DC, Georgetown University Press, 1934. 19.40 Trentman, John A. ‘Scholasticism in the seventeenth century’, in CHLMP, pp. 818–37. 19.41 Wells, Norman ‘Suárez on the Eternal Truths’, (1) and (2), The Modern Schoolman 58 (1981): 73–104 and 159–74. 19.42 ——‘Objective reality of ideas in Descartes, Caterus, and Suárez’, Journal of the History of Philosophy 28 (1990): 33–61. 19.43 Wilenius, Reijo The Social and Political Theory of Francisco Suárez, Helsinki, Akateeminen Kirjakauppa, 1963.
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