Francisco Suárez on Metaphysics as the Science of Real Beings

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Francisco Suárez on Metaphysics as the Science of Real Beings
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  Francisco Suárez on Metaphysics as the Science of Real Beings INTRODUCTION References to the Latin edition of the  Disputationes Metaphysicae  (=  DM  ) are to the edition in two volumes edited by Charles Berton reprinted in the Luis Vivés edition (voll. 25-26).See the pageEditions, Translations, Bibliographic Resources for complete bibliographical references and abstracts of the English translations. Perhaps the most important enterprise of the  Doctor eximius , the  Disputationes metaphysicae  is a complete résumé of his own and previous Scholastic thought on a myriad of questions, arranged in the form of fifty-four Disputations dealing with various topics systematically. (...)In format, Suárez's  Disputationes  represented a radical departure from previous metaphysical treatises. Until itsappearance, metaphysics had been explicitly treated either just incidentally in the form of  Opuscula  ( little works ),such as St. Thomas Aquinas's  De ente et essentia  ( On Being and Essence ), or in commentaries on the text of Aristotle.Both methods were clearly unsatisfactory, the one incomplete and the other shackled to the rambling obsolete order of  Aristotle. So Suárez says that he intends to give, preparatory to theology, a complete exposition of metaphysics which,instead of following the text of Aristotle, will proceed in a systematic fashion.In executing his intention, the  Doctor eximius  has divided his work into two main parts, to which correspond twotomes. After explaining in the first Disputation the object, the dignity, and the utility of metaphysics, he proceeds inthe first part to treat of being in general, its properties and causes. In the second tome, he descends to items under being, considering them from a metaphysical viewpoint.The first part studies the concept of being (Disputation 2) which, representing in some way everything that entails anorder to existence, transcends all genera, species and differences. It will encompass everything real, from extrinsicdenominations, through mere possibles, to the subsistent, purely actual, and necessary reality of God. Following this isa treatment of the essential properties of every being inasmuch as it is a being, namely, unity, truth and goodness.Under the discussion of unity, space is given to questions concerning the principle of individuation (Disputation 5),the reality of universal natures (Disputation 6), and the various kinds of distinction (Disputation 7). The discussion of truth (Disputation 8) is balanced by discussion of falsity (Disputation 9) and that of goodness (Disputation 10) by thatof evil (Disputation 11) After the essential properties, there follows a consideration of the causes of being. Disputation12 treats causes in general while Disputations 13-25 deal with various types of causes. Concluding this first part,Disputation 26 presents a comparison of causes with their effects and Disputation 27considers the mutual relationsof causes one to another.The second part opens with the division of being into infinite and finite (Disputation 28). Infinite being, or God, is thesubject of the next two Disputations. In Disputation 29, the existence and unicity of God is demonstratedmetaphysically. Disputation 30 goes on to investigate, as far as unaided human reason can, the divine perfection,simplicity, immensity, immutability, wisdom, and omnipotence. With Disputation 31 Suárez begins his treatment of finite being. It is this Disputation which is the locus of the famed Suárezian denial of the real distinction betweenessence and existence in creatures. In Disputation 32, Suárez considers the distinction of substance and accident ingeneral. Substance is treated in metaphysical detail through the next four Disputations while the different categoriesof accident are the subject matter of Disputations 37 to 53. The fifty-fourth Disputation, (...) concludes the whole work  with a discussion of beings of reason including negations, privations, and reason-dependent relations -- all of whichfall outside real being, the object of metaphysics. From: John P. Doyle  Introduction  to: On Beings of Reason. (De Entibus Rationis). Metaphysical Disputation LIV.  Milwaukee:Marquette University Press 1995, pp. 8-10 (notes omitted). It is generally agreed that modern philosophy places greater stress on the subjectivity of the knower than on theobjective reality of the known, as does medieval philosophy. Suárez, when faced witha basic problem of metaphysics, whether the concept of ''being is one or multiple, decided, without any Scholastic precedent, to make a subjectivestate of mind ( conceptus formalis entis ) the criterion for establishing the unitary sense of objective reality ( conceptusobiectivus entis ). When problems like that of being became too difficult to resolve by the usual medieval objective approach, Suárez recommended recourse to the subjective because it was better known ( notior ) to us than the objec-tive, especially as the subjective is produced by us and in us ( a nobis et in nobis ). On the basis of the principle that toone formal concept one objective concept necessarily corresponds; uni conceptui formali unus conceptus obiectivusnecessario respondet  , Suárez, as never before in Scholasticism, made extra-mental reality dependent for its truth on inintra-mental concept, thus changing the main thrust of medieval philosophy. Descartes adopted the same approach when faced with he basic problem of his system, of establishing, through the resources of the intellect, knowledge that was objectively certain. Like Suárez, he made an intra-mental concept the criterion for determining extra- mentalreality. The intra-mental concept was the thinker's cogito ; the extra-mental reality was the thinker's existence, sum ; with the certainty of the existence following as a necessary consequence, ergo , from the intra-mental conceptitself.Suárez could not have become the founder of modern philosophy before he had worked out his own system, thetechnical vocabulary of which provided the groundwork for the emerging modern systems. This vocabulary was firstneeded to systematize metaphysics. The long subjection to the unmethodical text of Aristotle had delayed theattainment of this important philosophical object, realised at last in the  Disputationes Metaphysicae .In the two volumes of that great work, the philosophy of being was given a binary structure, characterized, though not Francisco Suárez: Metaphysics as the Science of Real Beingshttp://www.ontology.co/suarez-metaphysical-disputations.htm1 di 618/02/2013 15:33   by its author, as general (vol. 1) and special (vol. 2) metaphysics. General metaphysics  has as its theme the commonconcept of being, its general attributes, and its causes; and s  pecial metaphysics , the kinds of being contained under thecommon concept, (*) classified in two dichotomies, the primary of finite and infinite, and the secondary of substanceand accident. Suárez also furnished the burgeoning modern systems with vocabulary asgroundwork for their ideas, inmany cases the vocabulary anomalously grew to be alien to the system that was its source. How was this possible?Through that system undergoing anamorphosis, a condition where something distorted occasionally appears to beregular; indeed so regular, that the distorted ideas seem to belong to the nature ofanamorphosed thing itself. Whichmay explain why the realist Suárez is made out to be a crypto-idealist, and it may be that the philosophies of realism(Scholasticism) and idealism (modern philosophies) have some hidden affinity and arecloser together than one wouldsuppose. From: José Pereira,  Suárez Between Scholasticism and Modernity,  Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2007, pp.27-28.(*) Suárez describes general   metaphysics and its propriam et adaequatam rationem, ac deinde proprietates eius etcausas. DM 2: 1, introductory paragraph [25: 64] ... de communi conceptu entis, illiusque proprietatibus, quae deilla reciproce dicuntur.' DM 28, introductory paragraph [26: 1]. He describes special   metaphysics as res omnes, quaesub ente continentur, et illius rationem includunt, et sub obiectiva ratione huius scientiae cadunt, et a materia in suoesse abstrahunt. DM 2: 1, introductory paragraph [25: 64] ... definitas rationes entium... divisiones varias ipsiusentis et membrorum eius... primam et maxime essentialem divisionem entis in finitum et infinitum secundumessentiam seu in ratione entis. DM 28, introductory paragraph [26: 1].  AN OVERVIEW OF SUÁREZ'S  METAPHYSICAL DISPUTATIONS  The two large folio volumes of the  Disputationes metaphysicae  appeared in Salamanca in 1597. In his brief foreword, Ad lectorem, Suárez indicates his reason for undertaking this project: It is impossible for anyone to become acompetent theologian unless he builds upon a solid metaphysical foundation. He develops this view in the  Prooemium or prologue to his work. The science of metaphysics, he holds, is indispensable for a mastery of theology. Moreintimately than any other human field of knowledge, it is connected with theology; it has for its object the mostuniversal and supreme principles which embrace all being and are the foundation of all knowledge. This function of metaphysics was for Suárez a compelling motive for interrupting his theological labors and producing, in onesystematic, comprehensive work, the results of his metaphysical studies and investigations, begun many years before.The prologue reads as follows : Sacred and supernatural theology relies on divine illumination and on principles revealed by God. However, it iscultivated by human reasoning and investigation, and therefore enlists the aid of truths naturally known, using themas ministers and instruments to develop its deductions and to illustrate divine truths. But of all the natural sciences,that which holds the primacy and has won the name of first philosophy is most valuable for promoting sacred andsupernatural theology. For among them all it approaches most closely to the science of divine things, and also explainsand vindicates those natural principles which embrace the universe of being and in one way or another stand at the basis of all learning.For this reason I wished to revise and expand what I have worked out for my studentsand publicly taught on variousoccasions during many years concerning this natural wisdom, so that the results of my reflections might be madeavailable to the general public. Accordingly I am forced for a time to interrupt, orrather to postpone, the more weighty commentaries and disputations on sacred theology I am so busily engaged in, as well as the taxing laborrequired for their publication. It often happened that while I was treating of divine mysteries, metaphysical problems would come up. Without aknowledge and understanding of these, the higher mysteries of Christianity can scarcely, if at all, be discussed as they deserve. Hence I had to mingle baser questions with supernatural subjects, a practice that is annoying to readers andis not very profitable for them; or else, to avoid this awkward procedure, I had briefly to propose my own opinion insuch matters, and Its demand of toy readers a blind faith in my judgment. This was embarrassing for me, and could well seem out of place to them. Metaphysical principles and truths are so closely interwoven with theologicalconclusions and deductions, that if knowledge and full understanding of the former are lacking, knowledge of thelatter must necessarily suffer. Led on by such considerations, I yielded to repeated requests and decided to write the present work. I have arrangedall the metaphysical disputations according to a method calculated to combine comprehensive treatment with brevity,and so to be of greater service to revealed wisdom. Hence it will not be necessary to divide the work into several books.For all that pertains to this doctrine and is suitable to its subject matter in the light of the method adopted, can befully handled in a limited number of disputations. What belongs to pure philosophy or dialectics has, so far aspossible, been left out as not in keeping with the scope of the work. I shall adhereto this norm, even though I amaware that other writers on metaphysics devote much space to such subjects. But before I begin to treat of the subject-matter of this doctrine I shall, God willing, discuss wisdom or metaphysics itself, its object, use, necessity and itsattributes and rewards. The work falls into two main parts, coinciding with the two volumes in which it was published. It comprises fifty-fourdisputations in all. The first volume treats of metaphysics in its broadest comprehension: being as such, and theproperties and causes of being. The first disputation deals with the object of metaphysics; the second inaugurates anexposition of the concept of being. Disputations III to XI discuss the passions and transcendental properties of being.Disputations XII to XXVII embody the author's doctrine on causes.The second volume opens with a consideration of infinite and finite being. Two disputations deal with naturalknowledge of the existence, nature, and attributes of God. The remaining disputations are devoted to the metaphysicsof finite being, distributed according to the Aristotelian categories. As the title indicates, the work is cast in the form of disputations. The discussions follow a regular pattern. First, theproblem is stated. Then the various solutions that have actually been proposed by philosophers are reviewed ( Variaeopiniones ). Thirdly, Suárez gives what he considers to be the true doctrine or, as the case may be, the most probable Francisco Suárez: Metaphysics as the Science of Real Beingshttp://www.ontology.co/suarez-metaphysical-disputations.htm2 di 618/02/2013 15:33  theory ( Vera sententia or Resolutio quaestionis ). A refutation of opposing views often brings the disputation to a close. pp. 6-7From: Cyril Vollert,  Introduction  to: On the Various Kinds of Distinctions (Disputatio VII),  Translated from the Latin with anintroduction by Cyril Vollert, Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1947  An outline of the  METAPHYSICAL DISPUTATIONS  I. The nature of metaphysics (1)II. The transcendentals: being and its attributes (2-11) A. Being (2, 3)B. One (4, 5- 7)C. True (8, 9)D. Good (10, 11)III. The causes of being (12-27) A. Causes in general (12)B. The material cause (13, 14)C. The formal cause (15, 16)D. The efficient cause (17-19, 20-22)E. The final cause (23, 24)F. The exemplar cause (25)G. Relation of the causes to their effects and to each other (26, 27)IV. The division of being into infinite and finite (28-31) A. The distinction between infinite and finite being (28)B. The existence and nature of the First Being (29, 30)C. Finite being (31) V. The division of finite being into substance and accident (32-38) A. The distinction between substance and accident (32)B. Created substance in general (33)C. Primary substance (or suppositum ) (34)D. Immaterial substance (35)E. Material substance (36)F. Accidents in general (37, 38) VI. The division of accidents into the nine categories (39-53) A. The division of accidents into the nine highest genera (39)B. Quantity (40, 41)C. Quality (42-46)D. Relation (47)E. Action (48)F. Passion (49)G. Time (5o)II. Place (51)I. Position (52)J. Having (53) VII. Real being versus being of reason (54)From: Alfred J. Freddoso, Introduction to: On Efficient Causality. Metaphysical Disputations 17, 18, and 19.  New Haven: Yale University Press 1994, pp. XVI-XVII. THE OBJECT OF METAPHYSICS IN THE FIRST THREE  DISPUTATIONS  In the twenty-seven Disputations which make up the first volume, Suárez is concerned with being in general while,symmetrically, in the twenty-seven Disputations of the second volume he descends to particular being -- in effectdividing metaphysics itself into a general and a special part.In the very first Disputation ( Opera omnia , Paris: Vivès [1856]: vol. 25, pp. 1-64), he tells us that the object of metaphysics is being insofar as it is real being. Explaining this, in Disputation 2 (pp. 64-102) he uses twodistinctions already familiar to Scholastic authors. The first is between the formalconcept as an act of the mind andthe objective concept as what is immediately the object of that act. This latter maybe an individual thing or somecommon feature (ratio) of things. It may, further, be something mind-independent, whether actual or possible, or itmay be something merely objective or mind-dependent. The second distinction is between being as a participle, whichrefers to actual existents and being as a noun, which refers to whatever is not a simple fiction but is true in itself andapt really to exist. The object of metaphysics is then identified with the common objective concept of being as anoun. This precise object, which reflects Avicenna's (980-1037) understanding of Aristotelian metaphysics, abstractsfrom existence and, as common, transcends all categories, genera, species and differences to embrace everything real.This last runs a range from extrinsic denominations (such as being right, being left, being known, or being willed ), 9 through mere possibles (which reduce to non-contradiction), to actual created substances and accidents, tothe subsistent, purely actual, necessary, untreated, and infinite reality of God. Over this range, the common concept of  being as a noun is analogous with what Suárez will call an analogy of intrinsic attribution. In this analogy, a unifiedconcept of being is shared, in an order that is intrinsic to it, by different beings(God and creatures, substance andaccidents) in such way that the being of what is posterior depends upon and indeed demands (postulat) the being of  Francisco Suárez: Metaphysics as the Science of Real Beingshttp://www.ontology.co/suarez-metaphysical-disputations.htm3 di 618/02/2013 15:33   what is prior.Disputation 3 (pp. 102-115) offers a general treatment of the transcendental properties, namely unity, truth, andgoodness, which belong to every being insofar as it is a being. pp. XI-XII (notes omitted)From: John P. Doyle,  Introduction  to: Francisco Suárez, T he Metaphysical Demonstration of the Existence of God. Metaphysical Disputations 28-29,  South Bend: St. Augustine Press, 2004 pp. IX-XXIV. To what extent Suárez, despite his token references to Thomas Aquinas, follows Scotus' approach is evident from thedefinition of the subject matter of metaphysics in the first of the 54 disputations.Here he discusses six possiblesolutions to the problem, but dismisses all of them as either too comprehensive or too restrictive. The subject matterof metaphysics is neither everything that is knowable nor the supreme real being (Suárez,  Disp. Met  . 1.1.9), i.e. God orthe immaterial being; nor is it the finite being that is the subject matter of physics. Rather, the subject matter of metaphysics is being as such ( ens inquantum ens ), i.e. a common determination (ibid. 1.1.23 and 26) that is graspedin a concept that abstracts from all categorial determinations as well as from beingfinite/infinite, beingcaused/uncaused, and being material/immaterial. Metaphysics is, therefore, the mostgeneral science (ibid. 1.5.14), because it treats of the rationes universales transcendentales (ibid. 1.2.27). That is to say, metaphysics is a scientiatranscendens  in the Scotistic sense. Because the immaterial being (God) cannot be known except through previously known transcategorial attributes of being, metaphysics as transcendental science andmetaphysics as theology coincide. According to Suárez, metaphysics deals with the formal as well as the objective concept of being. By the formalconcept of being, Suárez understands the act of knowing, which ex unica et prima impositione (ibid. 2.2.24) yields anintentional representation of the object; by the objective concept he designates that which is intentionally represented by that act. In other words, Suárez does not assume a theory of concepts characterized by a noetic-noematicparallelism of  res  and conceptus ; rather he accepts Ockham's critical approach towards a strictly realisticinterpretation of universal concepts. Since Scotus himself does not rely on that parallelism when it comes to theconcept of being, Suárez can substantially follow Scotus and apply 'being' to a first and unified formal concept which,in virtue of its imposition, represents a first and unified objective concept of absolutely simple content that grasps alldifferent beings in an indeterminate way, i.e. as being.To the formal concept of being there corresponds an appropriate and immediate objective concept, which is explicitly neither substance nor accident, neither God nor creature, but which designates thesein a unified way, i.e. inasmuchas they are similar and agree in being. (ibid. 2.2.8) What does the objective concept that corresponds to the formal concept of being mean? According to Suárez, it is adetermination that transcends the generality of the genus; this determination cannotbe defined, but only explicatedthrough its relationship to actual existence. 'Being' means that which can exist ( id quod aptum est esse seu realiterexistere : ibid. 2.4.7); the possibility of existence is grounded in an ontological disposition which (as we have seen before) appears in the non-contradiction of the internal contents constituting essences.Because entity in the sense of being(ness) -- which in a concrete being is identicalwith the entity or being(ness) of that being -- is grasped indeterminately by the concept of being, that concept has an illimitability and transcendence (ibid.2.6.10) on account of which it precedes all more determinate modes. First among those more determinatemodes, according to both Suárez and Scotus, is the classification finite/infinite ,which Suárez understands in termsof intensity ; this allows him to interpret finite being as a non-determinate mode of an intensive quantity and infinite being as the totally indivisible infinity of perfection which in itself is most real and complete (ibid. 30.2.25). pp.62-63.From: Ludger Honnefelder, Metaphysics as a Discipline: from the Transcendental Philosophy of the Ancients to Kant's Notion of Transcendental Philosophy . In The Medieval Heritage in Early Modern Metaphysics and Modal Theory,1400-1700.  Edited by Friedman Russell L. and Nielsen Lauge Olaf. Dordrecht: Kluwer 2003. pp. 53-74. EXCLUSION OF THE BEINGS OF REASON FROM THE SUBJECT OFMETAPHYSICS As every historian of philosophy knows, Aristotle thought the subject of metaphysics was being insofar as it is being and from this subject he excluded being as true . Centuries after Aristotle, Francisco Suárez, S.J., designated thesubject of metaphysics more explicitly as being insofar as it is real being .The addition of real to Aristotle's formula highlighted the inclusion of all that can as well as does exist (4). Againstthe backdrop of two already well known distinctions - (1) between formal and objective concepts, and (2) between being as a participle and being as a noun -- for Suárez the subject so conceived wasidentical with the objectiveconcept of being as a noun (5). Concurrently, while being was said to be analogous with regard to hierarchically ordered objects (God and creatures, substance and accidents) with an intrinsic attribution of the perfection itrepresented (6), such analogy presupposed a common, unitary, and all but univocal, concept (7). But from thatconcept and from the subject of metaphysics Suárez excluded beings of reason (8), which he subsumed under Aristotle's being as true (9), and of which impossible objects, in the sense of those that would be self-contradictory,furnished the paradigm case. (10) pp. 297-298(4) DM 2, 4, n. 3 (XXV, 88).(5) Cf. DM 2, s. 4, n. 3 (XXV, p. 88). For the distinction between formal and objective concepts in writings available toSuárez, cf. Thomas de Vio, Cardinalis Caietanus,  In De ente et essentia , c. 1, qu. 2, ed. P. Laurent. Taurini, Marietti,1934, pp. 25-28, and Pedro da Fonseca, S.J.,  In Metaphysicorum Aristotelis Stagiritae Libros , L. IV, c. 2, q. 2. ed. Coloniae,Sumptibus Lazari Zetzneri Bibliopolae, 1615, I, pp. 710-11. On being as a noun in contrast to being as a participle, seee.g. P. Fonseca,  In Met. Arist.,  L. IV, ch. 2, qu. 2, s. 2 (I, p. 740). Also see the texts of Duns Scotus (1265-1308) given by M. Fernandez Garcia, O.F.M.,  Lexicon Scholasticum . Quaracchi, Ex Typographia Coll. S. Bonaventurae, 1910, p. 241. Wemay note that Scotus in one of the texts cited by Fernandez Garcia refers to the distinction as antique : Soletantiquitus dici, quod ens potest esse participium, vel nomen , Opus prim. super I Periherm ., q. 8, n. 10. Before Scotus, cf. Francisco Suárez: Metaphysics as the Science of Real Beingshttp://www.ontology.co/suarez-metaphysical-disputations.htm4 di 618/02/2013 15:33
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