Existence and God: On Aquinas–Kerr’s Metaphysical Argument

Keywords: the theistic argument from De Ente et Essentia, existence, the essence-esse composition, God as esse tantum, participation


In this paper, I discuss, as carried out by Gaven Kerr, a reconstruction of Aquinas’s argument for the existence of God from his work De Ente et Essentia. My analysis leads to complementing Kerr’s proposal with the following elements: (i) a summarization of the presented argument in a more formal manner; (ii) a specification of the main presuppositions of the Thomistic conception of existence; (iii) a drawing of attention to the fact that the essence–esse composition is a borderline case of the array of potency–act compositions; (iv) a distinguishing of the empirical (connected with the problem of the regress) and speculative (deprived of such a problem) interpretations or versions of Aquinas’s argument; (v) a clarification of what is the Divine exception from the essence–esse composition; (vi) a distinguishing of the three models of participation and a defence of the moderate model. I regard the following two issues to be of key importance for the argument under discussion: the relation between the Aristotelian compositional model and the Platonic model of participation as well as the defence of the Thomistic conception of the essence–esse composition.

Author Biography

Jacek Wojtysiak, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Faculty of Philosophy

Prof. Jacek Wojtysiak —John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Theory of Knowledge


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