A doctrine within scholasticism inspired by the Metaphysical Disputations of F. suÁrez. Existing within the broad area of thomism, it has special features resulting from the personal way in which Suárez rethought earlier problems and their historical solutions. This article sketches the origins of the system, details its characteristic teachings, and concludes with a brief summary of its influence and a critique.
Historical Origins. Suarezianism originated in Spain in the time of the late humanistic and Renaissance culture of early baroque and the Counter Reformation. It presents a wealth of detail respecting the historical sources of Catholic philosophy and theology, and a positive and critical analysis of previous thinkers, from Aristotle and his commentators through the Fathers of the Church, the scholastics of the golden age, the nominalists of the 14th and 15th centuries, and the Spanish revivers of scholasticism in the 16th century. [See R. De Scorraille, François Suarez (Paris 1912); J. Iturrioz, Estudios sobre la Metafísica de Francisco Suárez (Madrid 1949)].
Characteristic Teaching. The main points of Suarezian doctrine may best be summarized under headings that present its teaching on analogy, essence and existence, matter and form, modes, quantity, ubication, predicamental relations, and obediential active potency.
Analogy. That beings are extremely numerous and diverse is explicable by the analogous nature of being. The primary case of being is that which exists by right of its very nature; this being is God. God is essentially existent (ens per essentiam ), while His imitability by secondary and dependent beings (entia per participationem ) is the explanation of the possibility of creatures, and His omnipotent free choice explains their actuality.
Formal similarity in a common note possessed, essential diversity in the manner in which the note is possessed, and the relationship of priority and dependence (per prius—per posterius ) in the possession of the note by the diverse subjects constitute the analogousness of the notes common to God and creature and of being with respect to substance and accident. Suárez (Disp. meta. 2;28) calls this the analogy of intrinsic attribution. (See J. Hellín, La Analogía del Ser y el Conocimiento de Dios en Suárez, Madrid 1947). see analogy.
Essence and Existence. Nothing can be real by something really distinct from itself; and whatever is real is, as such, existent. The contingency of an actual creature gives man the foundation for conceiving a distinction between its essence and its existence, but the actual essence of a creature is not really distinct from the existence. To account for a creature's limited perfection, it suffices that the creature's existence be caused by God. As to the intrinsic principle of this limitation, Suárez says (Disp. meta. 31.13.18): "Just as actual essence is formally limited by itself or by its own intrinsic principles, so also created existence is limited by the essence, not that the essence is a potency into which existence is received, but because existence is really nothing else but the actual essence itself."[ See J. Hellín, "Sobre el ser esencial y existencial en el ser creado," Actas of the Congreso Internacional de Filosofía (Barcelona 1948) 2. 519–561; "Sobre la raíz de la limitación del ser según el P. Suárez," XIII Congresso Luso-Espanhol para o Progresso das Ciências (Lisbon 1950) 7.69–110]. see essence and existence.
Matter and Form. Corporeal substances are composed of really distinct potency and act: primary matter and substantial form. Primary matter is pure potency in the order of form, but it is not altogether pure potency in the order of being since, as real, it has its own act of existence. Absolutely speaking, God could miraculously preserve matter in existence without any form. Still, matter and form are transcendentally related to each other and have an actual exigency for each other. The actual communication of form to matter is accounted for by a substantial union, a modal being, distinct from the two components.
Suárez holds the unicity of substantial form in any given being (Disp. meta. 15.10); but a leading Suarezian, L. Fütscher, points out [Akt und Potenz (Innsbruck, 1933) 283–284] that the pluralism of substantial forms, at least as a possibility, cannot be ruled out by Suarezian principles. Suárez also denies (Disp. meta. 5.6.17) that primary matter is the principle of individuation. [See J. Hellín, "Nociones de la potencia y del acto, y sus mutuas relaciones, según Suárez," Las Ciencias 17 (1952) 91–118; "Naturaleza de la Materia Prima en Suárez," La Materia: Tercera Reunián de Aproximación Filosófico-Científica (Saragossa 1961) 2.154–182]. see matter and form.
Modes. The fact that a being exists does not, of itself, account for the fact that it is something subsistent, or an accident, or an actual component of some composite being. The final determination in these respects is contributed by the mode of subsistence, of inhesion and, in the case of components, of union. A physical mode is really distinct with a real, minor distinction, from its subject. It is utterly inseparable from its subject, but the subject is not inseparable from it.
A supposit is a whole, made up of the mode of subsistence united to a complete nature. The nature is conceived after the manner of a form received in the supposit and inadequately distinct from it as a form is from a whole. For Suárez this inadequate distinction is real, since subsistence is really distinct from the complete nature. For some Suarezians (e.g., J. B. franzelin) the distinction is only conceptual, since for them subsistence and nature are only conceptually distinct. [See J. Alcorta, La Teoría de los Modos en Suárez (Madrid 1949); Iturrioz, op. cit. ch. 5].
Quantity. According to Suarezians (appealing to Disp. meta. 40.3–4, and to De Euch. 48.1.20–21) the primary formal effect of quantity does not give a substance actual extension, whether this is considered as actually occupying place or not; rather, it gives a material substance "aptitudinal extension," or the exigency for having parts outside of parts. This aptitudinal extension has integrating parts that are actually gathered in a point of space, but have a proximate exigency for being outside one another. Christ is present in the Eucharist with actual quantity, but not with actual extension. [See J. Hellín, Cosmologia, Philosophiae Scholasticae Summa (Madrid 1955) 2.58–69]. That this view is that of Suárez himself is challenged by P. Hoenen [Cosmologia (4th ed. Rome 1949) 48–50].
Ubication. For Suárez, everything whatsoever has an absolute ubication, or absolute presence. In creatures this is an intrinsic modal entity existing prior to and furnishing the foundation for relative presence to or distance from another being. In God ubication, or absolute presence, is the divine immensity and is not a modal accident, but a substantial perfection, viz, the exigency of God's substance for being present, by omnipresence or relative presence, to all nondivine realities if and when such realities exist, even in the absurd hypothesis that these exist without God's creating them or operating on them. [See J. Hellín, "Sobre la inmensidad de Dios en Suárez," Estudios Eclesiásticos, 22 (1948) 227–263.]
Predicamental Relations. Suarezians hold that predicamental relations are not really distinct from their foundation. Some of them say that this foundation is exclusively in the subject and that the term of the relation is required, not as a constituent of the relation, but as something extrinsically connoted. Other Suarezians claim that the relation is identical with the foundation adequately taken and that this is both in the subject (aptitudinally related) and in the term (whose presence actuates the aptitudinal relation of the subject). [See J. Iturrioz, Metaphysica Generalis, Philosophiae Scholasticae Summa, (Madrid 1953) 1.797–807; J. Hellín, "Essencia de la relación predicamental según Suárez," Las Ciencias, 23 (1958) 648–696]. see relation.
Obediential Active Potency. Suárez holds that any creature can, by reason of an obediential active potency, be instrumentally elevated by God to exercise any efficient causality on another creature. There seems to be no reason why a creature cannot contribute to the production of something supernatural, e.g., grace or supernatural acts of the virtues. The Sacraments thus do not cause a mere disposition for grace but the grace itself. [See F. Basabe, "Exposición Suareciana de la causa instrumental," Pensamiento 16 (1960) 189–223]. see instrumental cau sality; potency.
Historical Influence. Suarezianism spread very rapidly during the 17th century and became the accepted teaching of many Catholic and Protestant universities. It was studied a little by R. descartes and a great deal by G. W. leibniz. B. spinoza, C. Wolff, G. berkeley and A. schopenhauer read Suárez. Giambattista vico steeped himself in the Disputations to get a sense of the history of metaphysical thought.
Suarezianism is not, and never has been, the official doctrine of the Jesuits, but its influence has naturally been prominent in Jesuit philosophers and theologians, particularly among the Spanish (see De Scorraille, op. cit. ). Among the more prominent Suarezians one can list, for Italy: Domenico palmieri, Salvatore tongiorgi, Camillo mazzella, Santo Schiffini, Nicola Monaco; for France: Théodore de Regnon, Charles Delmas, Gabriel Picard, Pedro Descoqs, and Paul Dumont; for Germany and Austria: J. B. Franzelin, Josef Müller, Christian and Tilmann pesch, Josef Donat, and Lorenz Fütscher; for Spain and Latin America: Luis de Lossada, J. J. urrÁ buru, Jesús Iturrioz, José Alejandro, Eleuterio Elorduy, José Hellín, and Ismael Quiles.
The 1948 celebration of the quadricentennial of Suárez's birth witnessed to the interest in and lasting value of Suarezianism. (See the publications officially sponsored that year by the Spanish government; also the proceedings of the International Philosophical Congress at Barcelona, and the great number of important studies written, especially in Spain, for the leading philosophical and ecclesiastical periodicals of that year.)
Critique. For the first time and on a large scale, Suárez presented metaphysics as an organic and systematic whole and not mainly as a commentary and digression on Aristotle. He did not, however, write for beginning students of philosophy, but for theologians who needed to refresh their memories with a synthetic exposition of philosophical presuppositions. He did not mean his manner of presentation to be the pedagogical norm for the teaching of philosophy. The popularity of his work, however, quickly led others to go beyond his own intentions. They stressed a deductive and synthetic approach to all philosophy at the very outset of a pupil's philosophical education and consequently underestimated the importance of Aristotle's Physics as propaedeutic to metaphysics [See P. Descoqs, Institutiones Metaphysicae Generalis (Paris 1925) 1.34–35].
The stricter Thomists think that most of Suárez's original contributions and interpretations are erroneous, both as doctrines and as interpretations of St. Thomas Aquinas [See N. Del Prado, De Veritate Fundamentali Philosophiae Christianae (Fribourg 1911) 165–209; R. Garrigou-Lagrange, Reality, a Synthesis of Thomistic Thought, tr. P. Cummins (St. Louis 1950) 37–57]. Seeking for the underlying causes of what they consider defective in Suarezianism, certain critics focus upon the influence they believe nominalism exerted upon Suárez (See L. Mahieu, François Suarez, sa philosophie et les rapports qu’elle a avec sa théologie (Paris 1921); C. Giacon, Guglielmo di Occam (Milan 1941) 2.679–689]. For reflections upon this criticism, See P. Descoqs, in Archives de Philosophie, 2.2:123–154, and 4.4:82–192; J. Iturrioz, Estudios, 199–277; and J. Alejandro, La Gnoseología del Doctor Eximio y la Acusación Nominalista (Comillas 1948).
It is sometimes claimed that Suárez's greatest and most lasting value lies in the realm of his political and legal philosophy.
See Also: neoscholasticism and neothomism; scholasticism, 2.
Bibliography: r. f. harvanek, "Suarezianism," Catholic University of America, Workshop on Teaching Thomism Today, Teaching Thomism Today, ed. g. f. mclean (Washington 1964) 81–96. p. dumont, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. va cant et al., (Paris 1903–50) 14.2:2649–91. f. c. copleston, History of Philosophy (Westminster, Md. 1946–) 3:353–379. m. colpo, Enciclopedia filosofica (Venice-Rome 1957) 2:686–691. c. c. riedl, "A Suarez Bibliography," Jesuit Thinkers of the Renaissance, ed. g. smith (Milwaukee 1939) 227–238. p. mÚgica, Bibliografía suareciana (Granada 1948). "Bibliografía suareziana (desde 1917 a 1947)," Estudios Eclesiásticos 22 (1948) 603–671. j. itur rioz, "Bibliografía suareciana," Pensamiento 4 (1948) 603–638, special issue.
[a. j. benedetto]