Suarez on Individuation: Metaphysical Disputation V: Individual Unity and Its Principle

By Francisco Suarez; Jorge J. E. Gracia | Go to book overview

Section II
WHETHER IN ALL NATURES THE INDIVIDUAL AND SINGULAR THING AS SUCH ADDS 1 SOMETHING TO THE COMMON OR SPECIFIC NATURE

1. We have shown that there is in things an individual and singular unity; now we begin to explain what it is, which cannot be better done than by explaining what it adds to the common nature, that is, to what is conceived abstractly and universally by us.2


Exposition of Several Views

2. The first view affirms generally that at least in created things the individual adds to the common nature a real mode, distinct ex natura rei from the nature, and that, together with it, it makes up the individual.3 This seems to be the opinion of Scotus, On II [of the Sentences], dist. 3, q.1, and in Quodlibet, q.2, and Metaphysics VII, q.16;4 and there also Antoninus Andrea, [Metaphysical Questions], q.17.5 This view seems to be defended by Fonseca [as well], [Commentary on the Metaphysics], Bk. V, q.3, sect. 2, q.5, throughout.6 And John Baptist Monlerius defends it very forcefully in the special work on universals, [Detailed Disputation on Universals], Ch. 6.7

The basis of this view can be perhaps what, according to Aristotle, caused Plato to posit ideas of universals separate (abstractas) from singulars, namely: That sciences and demonstrations are about universals and not about singulars; again, that there are essential and proper definitions of universals and not of singulars; again, that properties, which are essentially (per se) in things, come to them by means of universal natures, so that it is true to say that Peter has the ability to laugh because man has the ability to laugh, just as, on the contrary, contingent predicates come to common natures by reason of individuals, for man runs because Peter runs. Therefore, all these

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