• Mitchell
    The problem I have is with Feser's (Aristotle's and Aquinas's) view of causality. I'd like to think that it is not just a disagreement about the meaning of the term 'cause', but rather about what account we can give of the causal relation, viz., what makes the proposition ^A causes B^ to be true?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    3. His claim that the existence of anything is the result of the actualizing of the potential to exist by something already actualized as existent.


    #3 seems to treat existence as a property that something may have as either potentially or actually, similar to the potential for hotness. And that just as something that is actually hot "activates" the potential for hotness in another object, so to something that exists activates the potential for existence in another.

    What is meant by #3 is that the existence of things are contingent, and that they are temporal, meaning that they have a beginning and ending in time. So for example. let's say that a particular thing came into existence at some time. Prior to that time, this particular thing did not exist. But in order for that thing to have come into existence, the potential for it to exist must have been there at that time. The potential for the thing does not necessitate the thing's existence though, because when there is the potential for something, it may or may not come into existence. So we need to assume something actual which necessitates (actualizes) the thing's existence, to account for the fact that it actually did come into existence.
  • Andrew M
    Indeed, that is one of the arguments that is often given. I was trying to steer us away from that particular line of thought because it takes us pretty deep into epistemology. In scholastic terms, phoenixes do not have "subjective" existence - that is, they are not mind-independent subjects of existence. However, they do exist "objectively" - that is, mind-dependently. Qua objects of thought, phoenixes have a form all their own. Indeed, it is via such forms that we classify imaginary creatures into "this" or "that" type. When I imagine a particular phoenix, I am objectively instantiating the form "phoenix".
    Yes, all formal distinctions trace their ultimate genesis in subjective reality as appropriated by the senses. A more metaphorical way to put it is to say that all distinctions are woven from the raw materials provided by the senses. That doesn't imply that every formal distinction is a real distinction, and I believe that Aristotle recognized that distinction to some extent.
    Aaron R

    The crucial distinction that Aristotle recognized here was between perception and imagination. Mythological writings and pictures exist (and can be perceived) and so we can classify the various ideas people had about phoenixes (e.g., Ezekiel the Dramatist said the phoenix had striking yellow eyes and Lactantius said that its eyes were blue like sapphires). That is, what we're actually investigating are people's (sometimes contradictory) ideas about mythical creatures, not the nature of mythical creatures.

    "Mind-dependent objects" is really a metaphor that derives its meaning from the concrete (natural) particulars that can be investigated. But a metaphor doesn't imply anything about the literal notions of existence and nature as applied to concrete particulars.

    If a particular's form (essential nature) does not exist in its own right, then a particular's existence cannot be identical with its form (essential nature) and there must be a real distinction between a particular's essential nature and its existence. This is exactly what Aquinas is arguing for.Aaron R

    A particular's existence is itself a formal notion (a universal). We distinguish in language between existence and form, but there is no such distinction in the particular. There isn't an apple that has form but does not exist, nor an apple that exists but lacks form.
  • JupiterJess
    Are you going to make a thread for the second proof soon? I think I have more to contribute to that. I've nearly finished the book, and it has some interesting ideas.
  • darthbarracuda
    Go ahead and make one, if you want to discuss it.
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