DE&E: Chapter 6:2

In the previous paragraph, Thomas refers to accidents having an essence; and I suggested that he must be using the term “essence” analogically. Turns out I was right:

But this is the case only with substantial and accidental forms because, just as the substantial form has no absolute existence per se without that to which the form comes, so too does that to which the form comes, namely matter, have no absolute per se existence. Thus, from the conjunction of both there results that existence in which the thing per se subsists, and from these two there is made one thing per se; for, from the conjunction of these there results a certain essence.

This is review. A material substance is composed of form and matter; if either is lacking there is no substance. Taken together, you get a single being, and this being has an essence.

Hence, although considered in itself the form does not have the complete aspect of an essence, nevertheless it is part of a complete essence.

For material substances, the substantial form is not the essence, or quiddity; but it is certainly part of the essence.

But that to which an accident comes is in itself a complete being subsisting in its own existence, and this existence naturally precedes the accident that supervenes.

Socrates is a substance. If Socrates catches cold, that’s an accidental condition; and Socrates cannot catch cold unless Socrates already exists.

Therefore, the supervening accident, from its conjunction with the thing to which it comes, does not cause that existence in which the thing subsists, the existence through which the thing is a being per se;

And catching the cold doesn’t bring Socrates into existence.

…it causes, rather, a certain secondary existence without which the subsisting being can be understood to exist, as what is first can be understood without what is second.

The cold exists in Socrates, and cannot exist without Socrates, but Socrates can be understood to exist without having a cold.

Hence, from the accident and the subject there is made something that is one accidentally, not essentially; and so from the conjunction of these two there does not result an essence, as there does from the conjunction of form and matter.

And in short, composition of a subject and accident does not create a new substance, and so does not result in an essence.

And so an accident has neither the aspect of a complete essence nor is it a part of an essence; rather, just as an accident is a being only in a certain sense, so too does it have an essence only in a certain sense.

That is to say, analogically.

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