DE&E: Chapter 5:8

At last, at long last, we’ve gotten to the third way in which essence is found in substances:

In a third way, essence is found in substances composed of matter and form, in which existence is both received and limited because such substances have existence from another, and again because the nature or quiddity of such substances is received in signate matter. And thus such substances are finite in both a superior way and an inferior way, and among such substances, because of the division of signate matter, there can be a multiplication of individuals in one species. The ways in which the essence in such substances is related to the logical intentions we have explained above.

Most of this is review, but I’m puzzled about the highlighted statement. I suppose what he is saying is that material substances are finite because they receive their existence from another (the superior way) and finite because of their material component, which is bounded in a variety of ways (the inferior way). But why it matters, I dunno.

Anyway, at least now we can complete that bit of outline:

  • Ways in which substances may have an essence
    • As God has His essence, His existence
    • As intellectual substances have essence, while receiving existence from another
    • As material substances have essence, receiving existence from another, and receiving their essence in signate matter

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