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Suárez, Francisco (1548–1617)

jorge j. e. gracia

Subject Philosophy » Epistemology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631192589.1993.x


Spanish philosopher and theologian known as Doctor Eximius. Born in Granada, he joined the Society of Jesus in 1564, studied at Salamanca, and taught law, theology and philosophy there and also at Rome, Coimbra and other leading universities. Apart from his many theological works, he wrote four important philosophical treatises. De legibus (1612) deals with traditional legal problems and with issues arising from the discovery of America, De Deo uno et trino (1606) is concerned with the nature of the Trinity but has implications for philosophical theology, and De anima (1621) concentrates on psychology and epistemology. His most important work, however, is the Disputationes metaphysicae (1597), which is the first systematic and comprehensive work of metaphysics written in the West that is not a commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics. It is divided into fifty-four disputations that cover every metaphysical topic known at the time. Its influence was immediate and lasting. Within a few years of its publication, it had become the standard text in the field in continental Europe. Its impact can be seen in the thought of Descartes, Leibniz, Wolff, Schopenhauer and others. Suárez's sources are vast, ranging from antiquity to his contemporaries, but it is in aristotle and Thomas A quinas that he finds most frequent inspiration. His main contributions to philosophy occur in metaphysics ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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