Metaphysica est scientia entis, ut ens est. Ens est id, cuius actus est esse. Deus est ipsum esse subsistens.
Suppose you were interested in topology. Would you study it with someone who regarded topology as a legitimate branch of mathematics, with solid results, building upon centuries of prior intelligent investigation, or rather with someone who denied, actually, that was any such thing as topology, or who said (perhaps ironically, but still, he said it) that books in topology should be selected out of libraries and burned, or who thought that topology was a matter of various clever people fashioning their own individualistic doctrines (each incompatible with everyone else’s) about topology?
Well, maybe those later sorts of people are the ones you would need to study with eventually. (Although I would say that, if that turned out to be so, then life is too short, and one would much better spend one’s time studying something that really was knowledge, such as electrical engineering, or …. well, topology.)
But it seems sensible–before adopting one of those desperate and unhappy positions–that one ought first to attempt, at least, the study of metaphysics under the guidance of those who believed that, although its study is difficult and even perhaps has special difficulties, etc. etc. etc., still, some kind of constructive knowledge of metaphysics within a tradition of constructive knowledge is possible.
To make such an attempt is why I am simply delighted this semester to be teaching a course on Metaphysics in Latin, that is, for students are sufficiently comfortable in Latin that we can read and study solely texts in Latin– because what I understand to be one of the best “textbooks” for beginners, if not the best, for metaphysics as developed by those who have regarded it as a branch of knowledge, can be read solely in Latin, namely, Joseph Gredt, Elementa Philosophiae Aristotelico-Thomisticae.
Now, we using this textbook to provide the framework and structure of the course, but many of our readings will be drawn from Thomas Aquinas as well, mainly his Summa Theologiae, but also his Quaestiones disputatae de Veritate. In fact, our reading for this week will be on the very first question of the latter, which is, appropriately enough, Quid est veritas?
The syllabus fyi is here:Metaphysics in Latin, Spring 2014.