Francisco Suárez on the Addition of the One to Being and the Priority of the One over the Many

Studia Neoaristotelica 4 (2):158-172 (2007)
Abstract
Franciscus Suarez de additione Unitatis ad Ens et prioritate Unitatis respectu MultitudinisSolutio quaestionis de natura additionis conceptuali Unius ad Ens, quam Suarez proponit, traditionem Aristotelico-Averroisticam (per Aquinatum mediatam) primo sequitur. Secundum hanc traditionem, Unum non superaddit Enti nisi determinationem negativam. Suárez similiter negat Unum dicere perfectionem positivam ab Ente ut sic distinctam, sive ex natura rei, sive ratione tantum. Sententiam suam exponens, Suarez multas alias conceptiones critice pertractat, praecipue autem doctrinam auctorum quorundam (plerumque Franciscanorum) impugnat, qui docent Unum superaddere ad Ens perfectionem quandam positivam, quae tamen ratione tantum ab Ente ut sic distinguitur. Argumentum principale pro ista sententia assumit, indivisionem ut negationem negationis intelligendam esse, quae dicit affirmationem. Secundum Suarezium istam notionem indivisionis etiam D. Thomas defendit, qui negationem, quam Unum dicit, divisionem unius entis ab altero negare tenet. Istam solutionem Suarez reicit, sententiam propriam proponens, secundum quam Unum non negativam divisionem unius entis ab alio, sed intrinsecam et essentialem divisionem unius entis in semetipso negat, quae est divisio realis et positiva. Hac explicatione innitens Suarez consequenter doctrinam Aquinatis et Thomistarum de prioritate concpetuali Unius prae Multitudine, quem ut solutionem difficultatis in doctrina Aristotelis de oppositione privativa Unius ad Multum repertae confecerunt, reicit. Suárez prioritatem realem indivisionis prae divisione, itemque et realem et conceptualem prioritatem Unius prae Multo defendit. Haec Suarezii sententia cum doctrina eius de additione mere negativa Unius ad Ens bene consona esse videtur. Translatio: L. NovákFrancisco Suárez on the Addition of the One to Being and the Priority of the One over the ManySuárez’s solution to the problem of the conceptual Addition of the One to being follows firstly the Aristotelian-Averroistic tradition mediated by Aquinas. According to this tradition, the One adds to being only a negative determination. Suárez claims that the One does not signify any positive perfection either really or conceptually distinct from being as such. Suárez’s own solution to the problem is presented in a critical discussion with many different conceptions, but Suárez pays most attention to the theory of certain, mainly Franciscan, authors who hold that the One adds to being a positive perfection which is only conceptually distinct from being as such. The main argument for this thesis is based on the assumption that indivision is to be taken as a double negation, by which an affirmation is expressed. This concept of indivision was, according to Suárez, also defended by Aquinas, who holds that the negation which is expressed by the One negates the division of one being from another. Suárez rejects this solution and proposes his own conception, according to which the One does not negate the negative moment of the division of one being from another, but the positive moment of an essential division of a being in itself. The One thus negates a real positive division of being in itself. On the basis of this theory, Suárez further rejected Aquinas’s (and the Thomistic) conception of a conceptual priority of the One over the Many, which was put forth as an answer to the old Aristotelian problem of a privative opposition between the One and the Many. Suárez defends the real priority of an indivision over a division as well as a real and conceptual priority of the One over the Many. Suárez’s conception seems to us to be compatible with his concept of a negative Addition of the One to being
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