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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 85, Issue 2, Spring 2011

Victor M. Salas, Jr.
Pages 323-340

Edith Stein and Medieval Metaphysics

This essay considers Edith Stein’s account of “essential being” and finds therein a point of continuity with medieval metaphysics. Scholarly attention has already been given to this feature of Stein’s metaphysics; it has been argued that “essential being,” while serving as a crucial point of distinction between Stein and Thomas Aquinas’s own metaphysics, functions as a point of similarity between Stein and Duns Scotus. However, I argue that, while there are certainly many points of congruence between Stein and Scotus on the topic of essential being, the position that Stein advances comes much closer to Henry of Ghent’s doctrine of esse essentiae. Finally, I show that the consequence of her adopting a position so similar to Henry of Ghent is that it opens Stein to a number of criticisms raised by Scotus himself against esse essentiae.

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