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By Anthony John Patrick Kenny
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Extra resources for Aquinas on being
On Being and Essence: II there were something that was not the colour of anything, it would be an entity distinct from any individual colours belonging to individual things. It is not altogether clear what St Thomas has in mind. Most probably he did not believe that, short of a miracle, there could be a colour that was not the colour of anything,19 and by ‘a separate colour’ he means a Platonic Idea. 20 Nowadays we are in a position to offer an example, unknown to St Thomas, of a colour that is not the colour of anything, namely the colour of the sky.
But surely two different species of animal—cats and dogs for instance—do differ in nature and not just in esse. 18–20). On Being and Essence: II The rest of Aquinas’ fifth chapter is taken up with setting out, in the footsteps of the Liber de Causis, a hierarchy of forms reaching down from the topmost intelligences to the lowly souls of human beings. Pure intelligences are individuated by their place in this hierarchy; souls are individuated by the matter of their bodies. 31 Aquinas seems to be tacitly appealing to the notion that the effects of a cause may remain after the cause has disappeared.
Plato’s answer is yes: in each case in which such an expression occurs it stands for the same thing, namely that which makes Socrates, Pericles, and Alcibiades all men. Plato gives this various designations in Greek which correspond more or less to the English word ‘humanity’, but his favourite designation is ‘The Idea (or Form) of Human’. This Idea was something quite distinct and separate from any individual human being, and indeed belonged to a different, more stable, and more important world than the world of our everyday existence.
Aquinas on being by Anthony John Patrick Kenny