Are there any universal entities? Or is the world populated only by particular things? The problem of universals is one of the most fascinating and enduring topics in the history of metaphysics, with roots in ancient and medieval philosophy. This collection of new essays provides an innovative overview of the contemporary debate on universals. Rather than focusing exclusively on the traditional opposition between realism and nominalism, the contributors explore the complexity of the debate and illustrate a broad range of positions (...) within both the realist and the nominalist camps. Realism is viewed through the lens of the distinction between constituent and relational ontologies, while nominalism is reconstructed in light of the controversy over the notion of trope. The result is a fresh picture of contemporary metaphysics, in which traditional strategies of dealing with the problem of universals are both reaffirmed and called into question. (shrink)
The paper examines Aquinas’s understanding of purely mental objects, i.e. things that have no existence outside the mind but only therein. According to the traditional story, Aquinas’s treatment of purely mental objects is mainly driven by semantic concerns and in particular by the need to explain the reference of terms denoting inexistent objects. The paper tries to counterbalance the traditional picture by showing how inexistent objects can be accommodated within Aquinas’s ontology. More particularly, Aquinas distinguishes different kinds of inexistent objects (...) on the basis of their different extra-mental ground: privations and negations, possible objects and impossible ones. (shrink)
Few philosophical books have been so influential in the development of Western thought as Aristotle’s Metaphysics. In fourteen substantial essays this volume reconstructs the late medieval reception of this work, by focusing on the main medieval commentators and a common set of metaphysical topics.
Lo studio presenta il commento tommasiano centrato sul problema dell'oggetto della definizione. L'A. tiene presenti due principali prospettive: da una parte il confronto fra l'interpretazione di Tommaso e i principali modelli interpretativi dei commentatori moderni; dall'altra rivolge particolare attenzione alle motivazioni dell'interpretazione dell'Aquinate, allo scopo di inquadrare lo stile esegetico tommasiano nel contesto della sua dottrina. È dato ampio spazio al problema aristotelico della distinzione fra oggetto della fisica e oggetto delle scienze matematiche, al rapporto fra il tutto e le (...) parti, alle definizioni del composto e della forma. (shrink)
The paper analyses Averroes's and Aquinas's different reconstructions of Aristotle's ontology in the central books of the Metaphysics. The main claim the paper argues for is that Averroes endorses an explanatory criterion of substantiality, while Aquinas favours an independent existence criterion. The result of these different choices is that the Arabic commentator believes that the forms of sensible objects are more substances than the objects of which they are the forms, while the Dominican Master sticks to the traditional picture that (...) sensible objects hold some kind of priority over their ontological constituents in general and over form in particular. For Averroes, therefore, the central books of the Metaphysics mark a major departure from the Categories ontology, where particular sensible objects are regarded as fundamental entities and so primary substances. On Aquinas's reconstruction, by contrast, sensible objects are still thought of in the Metaphysics as primary substances in spite of their being analysable into matter and form. (shrink)
The paper presents a general reconstruction of Aquinas’s interpretation of Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Book Z, the book devoted to the notion of substance. The aim of the study is to evaluate Aquinas’s reading in the light of a series of exegetical and philosophical issues debated in the contemporary literature on Book Z. Therefore, the paper focuses on four main issues: the relation between Book Z’s ontology and the one outlined by Aristotle in the Categories; the problem of the definition of sensible (...) substances; the question as to whether a thing is identical with its own essence; the ontological status of the forms of sensible substances. The paper presents Aquinas’s position on each of the aforementioned topics. The main thesis defended throughout is that Aquinas’s interpretation of Book Z is guided by the intuition that sensible substances are ontologically prior to their substantial components, matter and form. (shrink)