By Anthony (ed) Kenny
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Additional resources for Aquinas: A Collection of Critical Essays
I am here leaving myself open to the charge of developing a new doctrine of form and departing from Aquinas' own doctrine. But if we will not impute to Aquinas a slight and natural inexactness of language at this point, then his doctrine of form becomes mere inconsistency and nonsense. For 'the wisdom of Socrates' must designate something individual, something that is no more multipliable or expressible by a predicate than Socrates himself is; so if this is taken to be a typical designation of a form, the whole distinction between form and individual is undone.
Now this marks an unbridgeable distinction between esse and any form F -ness whatsoever. And the distinction between the references of the expressions 'that by which-is' and 'that by which 50 AQUINAS: -is F' will not vanish even if the esse of God and (say) the wisdom of God are identical; no more than 'the square of' and 'the cube of' have the same reference because 1 is both the square and the cube of 1. A modem philosopher will often challenge philosophical assertions with the question: As opposed to what?
Q. 2 art. 5 ad 3 urn). All the same, I think there are good reasons for accepting the real distinction between an individualised form and the corresponding esse. The most important and most general reason is stated succinctly but clearly by Aquinas himself. If x is F and y is F, then in respect of F-ness x and yare so far alike; the F-ness of x will indeed be a different individualised form from the F-ness of y, but they will be, as F-nesses, alike. But when x is and y also is, the esse of x and the esse of yare in general different as such.