Tag Archives: Accident and essence

Criticizing Aristotle on “substance”

Here’s a simplified criticism of the Aristotelian theory of substance. For Aristotle, a substance has three components: matter, form, and accidents, each playing a different explanatory role. Consider a tree. It’s one thing, but also a member of a particular natural … Continue reading

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Berkeley and Aquinas on Matter and Epistemological Realism

Does matter exist? Bishop Berkeley famously said, No, a thesis which has earned him a reputation as a brilliant crank (emphasis on “crank”). Here’s his argument: Wood, stones, fire, water, flesh, iron, and the like things, which I name and … Continue reading

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Substance and Persons

“C’est pourquoi nous posons en principe que tout ce qui se dit de la nature, s’affirme de la substance même de Dieu, et que tout ce qui se dit des relations, ne tombe que sur la personne, et non sur … Continue reading

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Linguistic confusion

Another way of stating the same basic point: the Arians, in arguing that “unbegotten” was a predicate of God the Father according to substance, were confused about a basic point of grammar: to predicate “not-X” of Y is not in … Continue reading

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Apophatic theology in De Trin.

At the end of that section (V.6.7), Augustine makes an important point: the Arians speak of “unbegotten” as though it were a positive attribute, but that isn’t the case: to call the Father “unbegotten” is simply to deny a relation … Continue reading

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Arian chicanery

That’s Augustine’s term for the following argument: Granted that there’s no absolute opposition between the Father/Son pairing, that still doesn’t resolve the tension between the Father’s un-begottenness and the Son’s begottenness; one could be un-begotten and not be a Father, … Continue reading

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Substance, Accident, Relation

Typically, we think of two modes of predication regarding being: X might be predicated of Y as to substance, or as to accident. Augustine revises this formulation: “Mais en Dieu il n’y a rien d’accidentel, parce qu’il est souverainement immuable, … Continue reading

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