Ideas from 'Quodlibeta' by Thomas Aquinas [1267], by Theme Structure

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8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 8. Properties as Modes
Whiteness does not exist, but by it something can exist-as-white
                        Full Idea: Whiteness is said to exist not because it subsists in itself, but because by it something has existence-as-white.
                        From: Thomas Aquinas (Quodlibeta [1267], IX.2.2), quoted by Robert Pasnau - Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671 10.2
                        A reaction: It seems unavoidable to refer to the whiteness as 'it'. It might be called the 'adverbial' theory of properties, as ways of doing something.
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 2. Understanding
Senses grasp external properties, but the understanding grasps the essential natures of things
                        Full Idea: Our imagination and senses grasp only the outer properties of things, not their natures. ...Understanding, however, grasps the very substance and nature of things, so that what is represented in understanding is a likeness of thing's very essence.
                        From: Thomas Aquinas (Quodlibeta [1267], 8.2.2)
                        A reaction: This is exactly the picture I endorse for modern science. Explanation is the path to understanding, and that must venture beyond immediate experience.
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 3. Innate Knowledge / a. Innate knowledge
Initial universal truths are present within us as potential, to be drawn out by reason
                        Full Idea: For present in us by nature are certain initial truths everyone knows, in which lie potentially known conclusions our reasons can draw out and make actually known.
                        From: Thomas Aquinas (Quodlibeta [1267], 8.2.2)
                        A reaction: Note that these are truths rather than concepts, but that they have to be 'drawn out' by reason. This is Descartes' view of the matter, where the 'natural light' of reason is needed to articulate what is innate, such as geometry.
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 3. Representation
Minds take in a likeness of things, which activates an awaiting potential
                        Full Idea: What the mind takes in is not some material element of the agent, but a likeness of the agent actualising some potential the patient already has. This, for example, is the way our seeing takes in the colour of a coloured body.
                        From: Thomas Aquinas (Quodlibeta [1267], 8.2.1)
                        A reaction: This is exactly right. Descartes agreed. It works for colour, but not (obviously) for cheese graters.