Personal mode of subsistence as a substantial reflection, according Thomas Aquinas


Martín Federico Echavarría


Espíritu: SSN 0014-0716, Year 62, Issue 146 (july-december), 2013, pages 277-310




When introducing the definition of person given by Boethius, Aquinas says that the name “person” is proper to the first substance of a rational nature, for individual subsistence occurs in it in a more perfect way. He supports this assertion by the fact that persons have dominion over their own actions. Having dominion over one´s actions entails spiritual powers’ capability to return upon themselves. Spiritual substances’ return upon themselves is complete since they are able to know their own essence. Supported by Proclus and by the De causis, Aquinas states that the basis for this operative reflection is a substantial reflection, which is nothing but the intimate mode of subsistence of spiritual beings. This reflective mode of subsistence is a kind of formal infinity. Therefore, being a person implies an infinite perfection. Ultimately, the paper shows that Aquinas sometimes calls “memory” this reflective mode of subsistence, hence being a person entails the constitutive self-presence of the mind, by which persons recall themselves

Key words:

Person, netaphysics, subsistence, reditio, self memory,Thomas Aquinas



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