Aristotle, Aquinas, And The Convertibility Of Truth And Being

Philosophical Writings 31 (1) (2006)
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Abstract

Aquinas diverges from Aristotle, in considering the truth relation, in his doctrine of the complete convertibility of truth and being. I first sketch an outline of Aristotle’s and Aquinas’s respective accounts of truth, examining the various thing each holds to be the referent of being true. I next identify two accounts of truth in Aristotle upon which Aquinas relies. I then trace how Aquinas arrives at a complete extensional identity between being and truth, a consequence absent from Aristotle. This consequence, however, results from a theological, not a philosophical, commitment. There can be, for Aquinas, no extensional difference between being and being true since it is impossible for the universe to exist without at least one Being capable of the mental act of adequation. Thus Aquinas’s doctrine of convertibility cannot properly be understood as a philosophical extension of Aristotelian theory

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