Mapping Metaphysical Distinctions: Aristotelian, Thomist, Scotist, Peircean & Palamitic

If we 1) follow the hermeneutical rubric of presupposing not heretical but orthodox interpretations of our ecumenical coreligionists; 2) prescind from the rigorously defined entities & highly specified relationalities of any given meta-physic to the vague categories of a commonsensical meta-heuristic; 3) avoid the temptation to create canons within the Canons by imagining we can prove, systematically & philosophically, more than we can already know, liturgically & doctrinally; and 4) recognize that theological aporiae are best celebrated, liturgically & devotionally, for the horizons they open, humility they inculcate & wonder they inspire, as creative, prayerful tensions, and much less so lamented just because they intractably elude our sylly syllogisms, then … hmm … I forgot where that was supposed to be heading.


Theologically, bridge it this way:

BENEDICT XVI, GENERAL AUDIENCE, Paul VI Hall, Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Epistemologically, like this:

Ontologically, no bridge required!
While Scotus’ semantical approach certainly has metaphysical implications, it was not an ontology.


A distinction may be real vs conceptual (re logical or virtual).

Real distinctions can include modal distinctions (re temporality or adequacy)

Modal temporality can include a formal or metaphysically real distinction.

Modal temporality applied to Peircean categories as mapped to causes:

2ns or actualities
act – efficient
potency – material

3ns or regularities
act – formal
potency – final

1ns or possibilities
act – connaturality
potency – indeterminacy

Other real distinctions:

act – existence
potency – essence

modal adequacy
whole/part or mereological

1/Mapping: Distinction = real vs conceptual (re logical or virtual). Real distinctions include modal distinctions re temporality or adequacy (in/finite or whole/part = mereological). Modal temporality includes a formal or metaphysically real distinction (PNC holds, PEM folds).

2/I guess it could map like this: Modal temporality can be applied to Peircean categories as mapped to causes, where for actualities, act –> efficient; potency –> material; for regularities, act -> formal; potency –> final. Existentially, act -> existence; potency -> essence.

Finally, we cross the bridge between Scotist & Palamitic categories.


Divine Simplicity affirms an imparticipable, incommunicable, inaccessible esse naturale & rules out – not plurality in, but – multiplicity of God.

We can, however, affirm via a trans-formal distinction, the infinity of inseparably united formalities that present in the plurality of participable, communicable, accessible energies of the esse intentionale as it manifests the infinite choices of the infinitely free divine gratuities of creation & grace.

Human cooperation with & participation in the divine gratuities of creation & grace must necessarily cross epistemic & axiological distances (as human acts
determine otherwise indeterminate potencies) in order to realize divine ends, both temporal & eternal, thereby growing in love & freedom. However otherwise similar may be human & divine agencies, we should remember that divine agency is radically dissimilar in that God needn’t thusly appropriate or grow in love & freedom!

Much more detail re G-d Talk here.

5 thoughts on “Mapping Metaphysical Distinctions: Aristotelian, Thomist, Scotist, Peircean & Palamitic

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