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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 94, Issue 4, Fall 2020

Gaston G. LeNotre
Pages 503-546

Determinate and Indeterminate Dimensions
Does Thomas Aquinas Change His Mind on Individuation?

The scholarly consensus is that Thomas Aquinas’s views about individuation changed over time. The consensus states that he wavered in his opinion about whether determinate dimensions or indeterminate dimensions serve in the individuation of corporeal substances. I argue that this consensus is mistaken. I focus on early texts of Thomas to argue that he relies on different types of dimensions to answer different problems of individuation. Determinate dimensions resolve a problem in the order of perfection, and indeterminate dimensions resolve a problem in the order of generation. I explain texts that answer the problem of individuation in the order of perfection according to questions about universals, cognition, and science. I then explain texts that answer the problem of individuation in the order of generation. My conclusion argues that, despite abandoning the language, Thomas continues later in his career to rely on indeterminate dimensions to resolve the problem of individuation in the order of generation.

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