Saturday, August 19, 2006

Summary: Suarez's Understanding of Beings of Reason

A brief summary of Francisco Suarez's (1548-1617) understanding of beings of reason. Derived from his 54th Metaphysical Disputation:

1. Beings of reason are not really beings. They are only "beings" by analogy. Further, they can only be understood by comparison to true and real features of true and real beings. Beings of reason do not in themselves have any real and positive being besides being an object for the intellect or for the reason thinking of it. Beings of reason are thought by reason as being, even though they have no being in themselves.

2. Beings of reason are not scientifically knowable (Because only real beings can be known, according to Suarez).

3. Relations and chimeras are beings of reason.

4. We have three reasons for contriving beings of reason:

a. Negation/Privation The pursuance of knowledge concerning negation and privation, which, to be considered, must be considered as though they were beings, even though in reality there are no such things.

b. Imperfection of Intellect In trying to know some things which cannot be known in themselves, the intellct conceives them by comparison with one another.

c. Fecundity of Intellect The intellect can construct figments from true beings (e.g. golden mountains, round squares, chimera, goat-stags, etc)

5. Beings of reason come to be through an act of the intellect by which something that in reality has no entity is conceived in the manner of a being.


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