Metaphysics and "Separatio" According to Thomas Aquinas

Review of Metaphysics 31 (3):431 - 470 (1978)
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Some attention has also been devoted to a particular kind of judgment or a particular form of the intellect’s second operation, sometimes named separatio by Thomas. Important editions of questions 5 and 6 of Thomas’s commentary on the De Trinitate of Boethius in 1948 and 1955 and the groundbreaking study by L. B. Geiger in 1947, all have set the stage for further emphasis on this distinctive type of intellectual operation when it comes to one’s discovery of being, or better, of that notion of being that can serve as subject of a science of being as being rather than a science of being as material or as quantified. While this new development has remained largely unnoticed in certain regions of Thomistic scholarship for a number of years, it has been pursued in depth by other writers. At the same time, investigation of the same nicely dovetails with the renewed emphasis on existence and on judgment as the process required to discover being as existing to which we have referred above. For as will be seen below, at least one passage in Thomas’s commentary reinforces the contention that one must pass beyond simple apprehension to the mind’s second operation or to judgment if one is to grasp being explicitly as existing. This particular point, however, is not our primary concern here.

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John F. Wippel
Catholic University of America


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