Esse, essentia, ordo. Towards a metaphysics of operational participation


Alain Contat


Espíritu: ISSN 0014-0716, Year 61, Issue 143 (January-june), 2012, pages 9-71




Finite ens, in the metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas, is characterized by two immanent compositions: that of the act of being with the essence and that of the substance and its accidents, which are ordered or “finalized” to operation. Subsequently, the transcendent foundation of ens shows that esse, essence and operation manifest respectively the efficient, exemplary and final causal action of God the Creator on his creatures. This investigation seeks to explain why and how the act of being that is received by the essence necessarily requires operation as its ultimate expansion. The result is that the participation of created ens in Esse per essentiam is ultimately operative, and not merely static, and is properly expressed by means of the triad esse, essentia, operatio, where the last word means the tendency to act

Key words:

Metaphysics, Thomas Aquinas, Operational participation, Esse



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