DE&E: Chapter 2:14

Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, we are finally about to conclude Chapter 2 of De Ente et Essentia. And in this paragraph we learn that I really need to start reading ahead, because pretty much verifies what I conjectured Thomas meant by the last paragraph:

Therefore, the term man and the term humanity both signify the essence of man, though in diverse ways, as said above. The term man signifies the essence as a whole, in other words, insofar as the essence does not exclude designation of matter but implicitly and indistinctly contains it, in the way in which we said that the genus contains the difference. Hence, the term man is predicated of individuals. But the term humanity signifies the essence of man as a part because it contains in its signification only what belongs to man insofar as he is man, and it excludes all designation, and so it is not predicated of individual men. And for this reason the term essence is sometimes found predicated of the thing, as when we say that Socrates is a certain essence; and sometimes the term essence is denied of the thing, as when we say that the essence of Socrates is not Socrates.

So “humanity” is the form of Socrates, excluding even non-signate matter, and is Socrates’ essence in one sense, while “man” is “humanity” plus non-signate matter, and is Socrates’ essence in a second sense; and we’re going to see both senses used in practice. And it matters, because a part cannot be predicated of a whole: that is, we can’t say “X is a part-of-X”.*

Honestly, I think that last sentence is the payoff that Thomas has been driving at for a good bit of this chapter.

* “You are Number 2.” “I am not a number! I am a free man!”

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