American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 96, Issue 4, Fall 2022

Daniel Heider
Pages 619-652

The Metaphysics of Perfect Vital Acts in Second Scholasticism

In this paper I deal with the issues in Second Scholasticism of the nature, genesis and creatability of perfect vital acts of cognition and appetition in vital powers. I present the theories of Francisco Suárez (1548–1617), Raffaele Aversa (1589–1657), and Bartolomeo Mastri (1602–1673) together with Bonaventura Belluto (1603–1676). I show that while for Aversa these acts are action-like items merely emanating from the soul and vital powers and as such cannot be produced from the outside, even by God, for Mastri and Belluto they are absolute qualities proceeding from their principles by efficient causation proper, which is a kind of procession that can be replaced by God. I argue that Suárez’s position attempts to steer a middle ground between these two theories.