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Monday, November 10, 2014


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That's the best short essay on the subject that I've read.
The question of 'incommunicable thisness' is one I hope you address at some time, as the principle of 'communicable' and 'incommunicable' attributes of God plays a large part in certain dogmas.

It’s helpful (adds clarity) to think of a supposit as something like a bare particular. By the way, according to the SEP, Henry of Ghent distinguished between a suppositum (concrete individual entity) and its nature. This understanding of supposit sounds a bit like a bare particular.


But the terms supposit and hypostasis seem to be used in other senses, such as ultimate ground, subsistent principle, essential nature, or personhood.


'Hypostasis' and 'supposit' are terms whose home is Aristotelian ontology. So what these terms refer to is nothing like a bare particular. To accept bare particulars is to reject Aristotelian substances and with them the distinction between essence and accident. That was one of the main pointsd I was making above.

Thanks, Bill. Just trying to get clear on how the terms are used by different people at different times. I understand the meaning of bare particular, but 'supposit' and 'hypostasis' seem to have several meanings.

A bare particular has accidental properties but no nature (essence). An Aristotelian substance has a nature. They are fundamentally different.

And if a bare particular were identical to a supposit (hypostasis), and a bare particular has no nature, then a supposit would have no nature.

But some supposits are understood to have a nature (rational, human, divine, etc.). So a supposit can’t be a bare particular; that is, if we understand a bare particular to have no nature.

Exactly right, Elliot. I would only add that philosophical and ordinary dictionaries, though useful for orientation, are not that helpful in the end.

You've heard the joke about medieval philosophy as substance abuse. To which I add: modern philosophy is self abuse!

Bill, I like the joke! By the way, my copy of the Angeles dictionary is so old that the pages are falling out and the book-binging glue makes my eyes sting when I read the book. It's almost substance abuse. I dislike the sting, but I find the dictionary helpful for orientation. So I remind myself "abusus non tollit usum"!

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