It is universally acknowledged that, for St. Thomas, there is a distinction between human persons or supposits and their natures or essences. But it is usually thought that there is no parallel distinction between the angelic person or supposit and its nature. Yet, as this paper argues, Aquinas consistently puts forward just such a distinction. This paper surveys Aquinas’s arguments for the unique identity of God with his essence and the corresponding distinctions between created persons and their essences, showing in (...) the process how the distinction found in angels differs from that found in material substances. It is important to recognize the distinction between supposit and nature in angels not only for its own sake as it touches on his understanding of created persons—human or angelic—but also insofar as it sheds light on Aquinas’s understanding of divine simplicity and of other act-potency compositions in creatures. (shrink)
The German philosopher Franz Brentano develops his personal thinking by harmonising his favourite sources: Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and Leibniz. However, he also goes beyond them, introducing a determinism foreign to Thomas Aquinas and eliminating divine punishments from the future life, thus departing from the Christian position also held by Leibniz. Aristotle is credited with Brentano’s Leibnizian ideas: his God is the author of the best of all possible worlds and, within a deterministic paradigm, leads all souls to immortal happiness.