One Division of “What Is”, and How It Gives Rise to To Another Division of “What Is”

“What is” can be taken in two ways:

1.) What is, as opposed to what is not. We indicate in this way existence as opposed to non-existence.

2.) The thing which is: a man, white, etc. This can be taken in two ways:

a.) What is in itself, or per se. This is substance.
b.) What is in another, or per accidens.

Either of these things can likewise be considered as substance or accident, or as what is constituted into the substance or the accident: humanity, whiteness: taken in this sense, we call “what is” by the name “essence”.

In both these senses, being has the sense of determination, and therefore of separating the thing called being from indetermination. The negations and privations of both senses of being are infinite and indeterminate, and in themselves unintelligible. A sign of this is that we must account for the negation or privation by the thing it negates or falls short of: e.g. a flat tire is one lacking air. This ability to understand what is not through what is allows us to use the word “what is” in another way, sc. to indicate the correctness of an understanding.

Now there is nothing to stop us from having a correct understanding of things which are, and so the sense of “what is” which connotes correctness of understand applies indifferently to what is and what is not. It is for this reason that it is absolutely impossible to conclude from the mere correctness of the understanding to a being taken in the first or the second sense.

And so the double division of “what is” leads to another double division in what is:

1a.) being in the mind, or what is taken according to the correctness of the understanding, and

2b.) being taken in either of the first two ways given.

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