JMC : The Metaphysics of the School / by Thomas Harper, S.J.

Chapter IV. Possible and Existing Essence Contrasted.

NOTE. Again, in this Chapter, the inquiry is limited to finite Essence. Possible Essence is assumed as equivalent to merely Possible Essence.


Possible Essence, formally regarded, is distinguished from existing Essence by real negative distinction, which is properly conceptual.

THE FIRST MEMBER of this Thesis is sufficiently established by simply defining the term, real negative distinction. Such a distinction is said to exist between two members, one of which is real, the other purely conceptual; as e.g. between Being and not-Being, Something and nothing. As, therefore, Existing Essence is real, and Possible Essence formally considered is, (as has been shown in the third Chapter), purely logical; the distinction between the two is one of real negative distinction.

THE SECOND MEMBER is equally plain. For, as distinction from nothing is no distinction; so, distinction from nothing real, is no real distinction. It must, consequently, be logical or conceptual merely.

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