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a personal journey to natural theology

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De ente et essentia

On being and essence


Quia parvus error in principio magnus est in fine, secundum Philosophum in I Celi et mundi, ens autem et essentia sunt que primo intellectu concipiuntur, ut dicit Avicenna in principio sue Metaphysice, ideo ne ex eorum ignorantia errare contingat, ad horum difficultatem aperiendam dicendum est quid nomine essentie et entis significetur et quomodo in diversis inveniatur et quomodo se habeat ad intentiones logicas, scilicet genus, speciem et differentiam.

The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold, as Aristotle notes in book I of On the Heavens. McKeon, p 404, 271b8. Being and essence are the first concepts formed in the mind, as Avicenna says in his Metaphysics (I, 6), and so, lest error arise from ignornance of them, we must take up the difficult task of explaining what the names being and essence mean, how they are used in different contexts, and how they fit in with the logical concepts genus, species and difference. Morewedge.

Quia vero ex compositis simplicium cognitionem accipere debemus et ex posterioribus in priora devenire, ut, a facilioribus incipientes, convenientior fiat disciplina, ideo ex significatione entis ad significationem essentiae procedendum est.

In order to make this work easier for beginners, (since we must learn about simple things from complex ones, and move from consequences to causes) we must start with the meaning of being and proceed to the meaning of essence.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Further reading


Click on the "Amazon" link to see details of a book (and possibly buy it!)

McKeon, Richard, and (editor), The Basic Works of Aristotle, Random 1941 Introduction: 'The influence of Aristotle, in the ... sense of initiating a tradition, has been continuous from his day to the present, for his philosophy contains the first statement, explicit or by opposition, of many of the technical distinctions, definitions, and convictions on which later science and philosophy have been based...' (xi) 
Morewedge, Parviz, The Metaphysica of Avicenna (ibn Sina); a critical translation-commentary and analysis of the fundamental arguments in Avicenna's Metaphysica in the Danish Nama-i 'ala'i (The book of scientific knowledge)., Global Publications 2001 Book Description: 'Parviz Morewedge's translation of Avicenna's Metaphysics is a significant contribution to the scholarship in Islamic philosophy...'. Paul Oskar Kristeller  


Thomas Aqiinas De Ente et Essentia Latin text. back


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