A Mereological Construal of the Primary Notions Being and Thing in Avicenna and Aquinas

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 88 (2):335-360 (2014)
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Abstract

This study has two goals: first, to show that Avicenna’s account of being and thing significantly influenced Aquinas’s doctrine of the primary notions; second, to establish the value of adopting a mereological construal of these primary notions in the metaphysics of Avicenna and Aquinas. I begin with an explication of the mereological construal of the primary notions that casts these notions in terms of wholes and parts. Being and thing refer to the same entitative whole and have the same extension, but they are distinct in intension according to the different entitative parts they signify. Existence and essence constitute the two most fundamental entitative parts of every entitative whole. Being is taken to mean that which has existence, and thing signifies that which has essence. I then show how this mereological construal of the primary notions clarifies a number of texts in Avicenna and Aquinas. Finally, I address a few arguments against employing this mereological interpretation of the primary notions

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Daniel D. De Haan
Oxford University

Citations of this work

Where does avicenna demonstrate the existence of God?Daniel D. De Haan - 2016 - Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 26 (1):97-128.
Thomas Aquinas and the complex simplicity of the rational soul.Jeremy W. Skrzypek - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 29 (4):900-917.
Avicenna on Syllogisms Composed of Opposite Premises.Behnam Zolghadr - 2021 - In Mojtaba Mojtahedi, Shahid Rahman & MohammadSaleh Zarepour (eds.), Mathematics, Logic, and their Philosophies: Essays in Honour of Mohammad Ardeshir. Springer. pp. 433-442.

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