American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 91, Issue 3, Summer 2017

Matthew K. Minerd
Pages 353-379

Beyond Non-Being
Thomistic Metaphysics on Second Intentions, Ens morale, and Ens artificiale

In Thomistic metaphysics, the domain of ens rationis pertains to a hazy region of “non-real” being, laying outside of the proper scientific subject of metaphysics. In addition to negations and privations, a very important domain of entia rationis pertains to that of relationes rationis, especially such relationes as play a role in human reasoning. Logic, studying these “non-real” relations, thus focuses on a unique, if hazy, realm of “non-being.” While this particular type of ens rationis receives the lion’s share of attention among Thomists, there is evidence that similar reflection should be given to two additional domains of experience, namely that of “moral being” and “artificial being” (i.e., the being of artifacts). This paper lays out the general metaphysical concerns pertaining to each of these domains, providing an outline of topics pertinent to a Thomistic discussion of the intentional existence involved in logic, moral realities, and artifacts.