This chapter explores Aquinas’s thought on esse, and in particular details how, for Aquinas, esse is the act of all acts. Accordingly, this chapter shows how Aquinas advanced the metaphysical discussion about actuality beyond that of his predecessors. In particular it is shown how, having introduced esse as a metaphysical principle, Aquinas, in accord with Aristotle, can conceive of things as composites of act and potency, whilst at the same time maintaining, in accord with more Platonic ways of thinking, that things that exist participate in the esse that they have. The chapter then turns to a treatment of contemporary analytic accounts of existence. It is argued that none of them can offer illumination of Thomist esse.
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