Form and Existence
In this paper I shall discuss what Aquinas meant by his term esse, or actus essendi, ‘act of existing’. Another synonym that he uses—quo aliquid est, ‘that by which a thing is (or: exists)’—suggests a convenient division of the subject: we can first discuss Aquinas’ philosophical use of quo, ‘that by which’, and then consider which sense of est, which sort of existential proposition, may be relevant to Aquinas’ doctrine of esse. But we shall see that, having got thus far, we cannot arrive at the meaning of the whole phrase, quo aliquid est, or the reasons for the way Aquinas uses it, simply by combining our separate considerations about quo and est.
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