THIRD LECTURE
THE TRUE SUBJECT OF METAPHYSICS

I. The Intuition of Being as Such.

1. IN my last lesson I began to deal with the subject matter of metaphysics namely being as such, ens secundum quod est ens. And the better to distinguish it and its distinctive characteristics I found it profitable to consider first a number of aspects under which being may be presented to our intellect but which are not the aspect we are looking for. So I pointed out cursorily four kinds of "Being" which are not the genuine object of the metaphysician.

I have now to deal with being insofar as being, ens in quantum ens. This is the ultimate object to be attained by the intellect, which it attains at the summit of its natural knowledge. It boxes the compass. For it sets out from being, but from being as it is immediately apprehended when the mind first awakes in the sensible world. That is its starting point. And at the end of its course it arrives at being, but being envisaged in itself, disengaged from its matrix, viewed in its own light and in accordance with its own type of intelligibility. The last lecture will have shown you that it is an intellectual disaster to confound this "Being" which is the subject matter of metaphysics with any one of those kinds of being I then pointed out to you. Otherwise we should find ourselves obliged -- particularly if we stopped short at the being

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