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Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 80, 2006

Intelligence and the Philosophy of Mind

Gloria Wasserman
Pages 101-113

Thomas Aquinas on Truths About Nonbeings

In De veritate I.2, Thomas Aquinas claims that “to every true act of understanding there must correspond some being and likewise to every being there corresponds a true act of understanding.” For Aquinas, the ratio of truth consists in a conformity between intellect and being. This account of truth, however, does not appear to allow for a certain class of truths, namely those that are about nonbeings. Many think that it is true that ‘no chimeras exist,’ that ‘blindness can be caused by exposure to bright lights,’ and that ‘evil should be avoided.’ Yet, in each of these cases of truth, there does not appear to be a being to which the intellect conforms. In this paper, I will explore the ways in which Aquinas’s notion of truth as “conformity to being” is able to accommodate truths about nonbeings.

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