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1. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 67 > Issue: 4
Gyula Klima Gyula Klima
Aquinas’s Real Distinction and Its Role in a Causal Proof of God’s Existence
Realna Różnica Akwinaty i Jej Rola w Kauzalnym Dowodzie na Istnienie Boga

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This paper is not going to offer any criticism of the way Gaven Kerr treats Aquinas’ argument. Instead, it offers an alternative way of reconstructing Aquinas’ argument, intending to strengthen especially those controversial aspects of it that Kerr’s reconstruction left untreated or in relative obscurity. Accordingly, although the paper’s treatment will have to have some overlaps with Kerr’s (such as the critique of Kenny’s critique of Aquinas), it will deal with issues essential to adequate replies to certain competent criticisms of his argument untreated by Kerr (such as Buridan’s critique). For the sake of the “formally inclined” reader, the paper’s treatment will also include an Appendix offering a formal reconstruction of both the main argument and its subarguments to demonstrate the formal rigor of Aquinas’ original.
2. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 67 > Issue: 4
Andrzej Maryniarczyk Andrzej Maryniarczyk
“Parvus error in principio magnus est in fine”: Thomas Aquinas’s Reinterpretation of the Understanding of Being and Essence as the Basis for the Discovery of the First Cause as Ipsum Esse
„Mały Błąd na Początku Wielkim Jest ma Końcu”

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In this article, the author notes that Thomas Aquinas, in his brief work entitled De Ente et Essentia, proved that at the base of understanding the world, the human being, and God in particular, there is our understanding of being and its essence. When we make a small mistake at the beginning (parvus error in principio) in our understanding of being and its essence, it will turn to be a big one in the end (magnus in fine). And what is “at the end” of our knowledge is the discovery of the First and Ultimate Cause of all things, known as: Ipsum Esse, God, the Absolute, The Most Perfect Substance, on whom everything depends, and who depends not on anything else. These present inquiries about the proper understanding of being and its essence are aimed at formulating proof of the necessity of existence of a Being that is the First Cause, and which, existing as Ipsum Esse, is the source and reason of existence of all beings. Without these inquiries, the proof itself would be incomprehensible, and more importantly it would be a purely a priori one (i.e., ontological). Furthermore, without the existential conception of being, which Thomas first formulated, one could not discover the First Cause which, as Ipsum Esse, is the source of the existence of every being. This issue seems to have escaped the attention of the author of the book Aquinas’s Way to God. The Proof in “De Ente et Essentia.”
3. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 67 > Issue: 4
Krzysztof Ośko Krzysztof Ośko
The Metaphysical Argument for God’s Existence
Argument Metafizyczny na Istnienie Boga

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In this paper, I present main theses of Aquinas Way to God: The Proof in the De Ente et Essentia by Gaven Kerr. The book in question is a contemporary interpretation and defence of Thomas Aquinas’s argument for the existence of God, based on the real distinction between the essence of the thing and its act of being. I stress the fact that Kerr underlines the metaphysical character of Thomas’s argument and the role of participation in Aquinas’s understanding of the act of being. In the last part of the article, I discuss Kerr’s interpretation of Aquinas’s argument for the real distinction between essence and an act of being, as well as Kerr’s own argument. These arguments are of particular importance since they provide metaphysical presuppositions for the argument for God’s existence considered in Kerr’s book. As for the first argument, I argue that the first part of Aquinas’s argumentation (the so-called Intellectus Essentiae Argument) pertains to the real order rather than conceptual. Concerning the second argument, I attempt to highlight the difficulties of Kerr’s understanding of Thomist esse as a principle of the existence of a thing.
4. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 67 > Issue: 4
John F.X. Knasas John F.X. Knasas
The Analytical Thomist and the Paradoxical Aquinas: Some Reflections on Kerr’s Aquinas’s Way to God
Analityczny Tomista i Paradoksalny Akwinata

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My article critically evaluates five key claims in Kerr’s interpretation of Aquinas’s De Ente et Essentia, ch. 4, proof for God. The claims are: (1) the absolutely considered essence is a second intention, or cognitional being; (2) à la John Wippel, the real distinction between essence and existence is known before the proof; (3) contra David Twetten, Aristotelian form is not self-actuating and so requires actus essendi; (4) the De Ente proof for God uses the Principle of Sufficient Reason; (5) an infinite regress must be eliminated before concluding to God. This author wonders if these questionable claims are traceable to the mindset of analytic philosophy which values precision and discreteness and so can fail to appreciate crucial paradoxes in Aquinas’s metaphysics.
5. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 67 > Issue: 4
Jacek Wojtysiak Jacek Wojtysiak
Existence and God: On Aquinas–Kerr’s Metaphysical Argument
Istnienie i Bóg

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In this paper, I discuss, as carried out by Gaven Kerr, a reconstruction of Aquinas’s argument for the existence of God from his work De Ente et Essentia. My analysis leads to complementing Kerr’s proposal with the following elements: (i) a summarization of the presented argument in a more formal manner; (ii) a specification of the main presuppositions of the Thomistic conception of existence; (iii) a drawing of attention to the fact that the essence–esse composition is a borderline case of the array of potency–act compositions; (iv) a distinguishing of the empirical (connected with the problem of the regress) and speculative (deprived of such a problem) interpretations or versions of Aquinas’s argument; (v) a clarification of what is the Divine exception from the essence–esse composition; (vi) a distinguishing of the three models of participation and a defence of the moderate model. I regard the following two issues to be of key importance for the argument under discussion: the relation between the Aristotelian compositional model and the Platonic model of participation as well as the defence of the Thomistic conception of the essence–esse composition.
6. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 67 > Issue: 4
Paul O’Grady Paul O’Grady
Existence and Wisdom
Istnienie i Mądrość

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In this paper, I examine the debate about existence between deflationist analytic accounts and the ‘thicker’ conception used by Aquinas when speaking of esse. I argue that the way one evaluates the debate will depend on background philosophical assumptions and that reflection on those assumptions could constitute an account of theoretical wisdom.
7. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 67 > Issue: 4
Marek Piwowarczyk Marek Piwowarczyk
Problems with the Inseparability of Esse
Problemy z Niesamodzielnością Istnienia

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One of the most important theses of Existential Thomism is that contingent things are composed of essence and existence. The thesis is immediately supplemented by a proviso that these components are not parts in the regular sense of the word. Essence and existence are not extended pieces of the thing which can be detached from it. They are inseparable aspects of the thing wherein inseparability is understood as a sort of dependence. In my paper I analyze the thesis of the inseparability of existence. For me this is untenable. I argue that this inseparability blocks up the essential function ascribed by Thomists to existence: the function of making the thing real. Thus to save this function we are forced to export existence to outside the thing. It contradicts our deep belief that existence is the most intimate aspect of the thing. Therefore the Thomistic analysis of existence seems to be invalid.
8. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 67 > Issue: 4
David Twetten David Twetten
How Save Aquinas’ “Intellectus essentiae Argument” for the Real Distinction between Essence and Esse?
Jak Ocalić Akwinaty „Argument Intellectus Essentiae” za Realną Różnicą Między Istotą i Esse?

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Aquinas’ so-called “Intellectus essentiae Argument” for the distinction between being and essence is notoriously suspect, including among defenders of Aquinas’ distinction. For the paper in this volume, I take as my starting point the recent defense of the argument by Fr. Lawrence Dewan, O.P. Fr. Dewan’s project is unsuccessful. Pointing out some shortcomings in his readings allows me to take up his call to highlight the “formal” or “quidditative side” of Aquinas’ metaphysics, in this case in regards to the proofs of the “real distinction.” Accordingly, the second half of this paper sets forth a way in which the famous “Intellectus essentiae Argument” of De Ente et Essentia 4 can succeed as a proof of the real distinction. Aquinas’ argument presupposes the prior real distinction between essence and supposit or individual substance. Esse is the ontological component that makes true our judgments that substances actually are: Obama exists. By contrast, this “truth-maker” cannot be predicated of humanity, although it is in Obama as really distinct from him. If Aquinas’ reasoning in this most contentious of his proofs can be saved, so, perhaps, can most of his other proofs.
9. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 67 > Issue: 4
David Burrell David Burrell
Gaven Kerr, O.P., On Creation with Its Philosophical Corollaries
Gaven Kerr OP o Stworzeniu i Jego Konsekwencjach Filozoficznych

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Author endorses the study by Gaven Kerr, O.P., for the way it shows the centrality of Aquinas’ metaphysics of creation: showcasing the ‘real distinction’ between esse and essentia, followed by Aquinas’ unique treatment of each, as well as a deep consideration of esse tantum. At the end he states the ‘proof’ which Gaven Kerr has articulated so deftly reflects the manner in which the Creator ‘appears’ in creation, thereby ‘showing’ what cannot be ‘said’ (Wittgenstein).
10. Roczniki Filozoficzne: Volume > 67 > Issue: 4
Gaven Kerr Gaven Kerr
Author’s Response to Contributors
Odpowiedzi Autora

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The text represents the author’s responses to the contributors who have addressed issues in my 2015 book, Aquinas’s Way to God: The Proof in De Ente et Essentia, published by Oxford University Press.