From Existence to Essence: Re-gaining the Aristotelian-Thomistic Doctrine in Front of Modern problems


Horst Seidl


Espíritu: ISSN 0014-0716, Year 59, Issue 140 (jul-dec), 2010, pages 379-397




The present paper re-examines the traditional concepts of existence and essence which have been reflected also by modern philosophers, but only as problematic or even opposite terms. From Descartes until Kant, Hegel, Gilson and Heidegger, they are involved in the opposition of concrete reality and ideal abstract thinking, together with the connected problems, as the first part of my article shows. The second part of my re-examination explains that the two concepts, in their original meaning from Plato and Aristotle until Thomas Aquinas, are not opposed but coordinated, even complementary, thanks to the underlying meta phy sics which avoids the opposition between the concrete individuals and abstract universal thinking, referring properly to the essence in the individuals.

Key words:

Existence, Essence, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas.



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