This paper explores the Aristotelian context of the real distinction between existence and essence thought to be posited in Thomas Aquinas’ early work De Ente Et Essentia. In doing so, the paper situates its own position in the context of contemporary scholarship and in relation to the contemporary trend to downplay Aristotle’s influence in Thomas Aquinas’ philosophy. The paper argues that re-reading De Ente Et Essentia in this way sheds new light on some of the crucial debates in contemporary Thomist scholarship, particularly with respect to the analogous relation between potency and act: essence and existence, the distinction between conceptual and causal explanation, and the relationship between philosophy and theology in the thought of Thomas Aquinas.


Thomas Aquinas, the real distinction, essence, existence, potency and act, principle and cause

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