Beings of reason: A study in scholasticism of the Baroque era
Novotny, Daniel D.
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Francisco Suárez's direct or indirect influence on the seventeenth century can hardly be underestimated. The study concerns one of the most discussed and controversial elements of his philosophy: "beings of reason." Beings of reason are impossible intentional objects, such as (on the usual account) blindness, genus-relation, or square-circle. The first part of the study is structured around a close reading of Suárez's main text on the subject, namely Disputation 54. The second part centers on other texts of the outstanding philosophers of the time. Two theses are defended: First, that Suárez's theory of beings of reason is incoherent and, second, that Suárez stands at the beginning and not at the end of a series of first-rate scholastic philosophers of the Baroque era. These theses are supported by showing that the scholastic philosophers who followed Suárez attempted to improve upon the standard Suarezian account of beings of reason either by (1) modifying it, working out further details, and resolving the objections against it, or (2) coming up with an altogether different theories.