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Volume 18/19, 2020/2021

Ousia: Essence ou Substance?

Enrico Berti
Pages 351-368

Substance et essence, entre Aristote et Thomas d’Aquin

The article shows that Thomas Aquinas in many of his works (De ente et essentia, Summa theologiae, Sententia in Aristotelis Metaphysicam) interprets the passage Aristot. Metaph. II 1, 993 19‑31, as expounding a theory of degrees of truth and of being, which is not the true Aristotelian doctrine. This is due to the fact that he interprets ≪the eternal things≫, mentioned by Aristotle in that passage, as the heavenly bodies, and their principles as the unmoved movers, while Aristotle is speaking of the eternal truths, i.e. the truths of scientific knowledge, and of their principles, which are the axioms. The origin of Thomas’ interpretation is the commentary by Alexander of Aphrodisias, which Thomas knew via Averroes.