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The Ground of the Universal in the Singular According to Thomas Aquinas: Common Nature, Similitude, and/or Idea?

Luiz Marcos da Silva Filho


In this article, I aim to analyze, in Thomas Aquinas’s philosophy, (i) whether the “essence absolutely considered” (or “common nature”) can play a role of ground for the universal in the singular thing or in the individual and (ii) whether it is simultaneously obtained through the intelligible abstraction of the essence with the intention of universality or through a “double abstraction”. Additionally, I will investigate whether the “essence absolutely considered” requires, from Aquinas, an appropriation of a certain theory of ideas, and whether the association between this essence and the ideas is something required to justify the “similitude” among universals and individuals. Finally, I will approach some different receptions of Thomas Aquinas in the 20th and 21st centuries, most of them used to frame his thought under so distinct perspectives, such as of a direct realist, an essentialist, an indirect realist, a representationalist etc.


Abstraction, Essence, Universal, Singular, Representation, Idea.

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