Galina Vdovina. Ens rationis in the metaphysics of Francisco Suárez. Vol. 4. No. 2. 2019

Publication Details

Ens rationis in the metaphysics of Francisco Suárez
Title in the language of publication: Ens rationis в метафизике Франсиско Суареса
Galina Vdovina
Doctor of Philosophy, Leading Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Address: 12/1 Goncharnaya Str., Moscow 109240, Russia.
P. 137–144.
Language: Russian
Document type: Research Article (introdaction)
Acknowledgments:  The present study is a part of the project No. 18-011-00162, “Ens rationis: Non-existent objects, mental fictions and negations in the logical and metaphysical discourse of the 17th century scholasticism”, implemented with a financial support of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research.


The article is devoted to the conception of mental being (ens rationis) in the “Metaphysical Disputations” of Francisco Suárez. From the viewpoint of Suárez, an adequate subject of metaphysics as a science is real being taken in its two modes — as existing actual and possible. It is the real being that Suárez calls the being as such. Since the mental being is not real in either the first or the second sense, it cannot constitute an adequate subject of metaphysics at all and is examined at the very end of Suarez’s treatise, within a kind of application to it. However, the Spanish Jesuit found it useful to add a description of ens rationis to the analysis of real being, as it helps better understand the nature and properties of the real. Suarez divides the mental being into three varieties: negationes, privationes and relationes rationis. The first two groups, informally combined under the common name of carentiae, are similar in that they both express the absence of some form in things and are therefore negative. The difference is that the negations express the absence of form in things which by their nature are not capable of having it, and the privations express the absence of form in things which by their nature have it. The carentiae form the main, nuclear area of mental being, which also includes fictitious and impossible things (centaurs, chimeras, etc.). The third type of ens rationis are mental relations. It includes positive and quite real things (the foundations of the relationship), to which a fictitious relation to other things (terms of relationship) is added. The post-Suarezian scholasticism has largely departed from this conception of Suarez and put fictitious objects in the center of the realm of mental being.


Scholasticism, Francisco Suárez, metaphysics, mental being, ens rationis, negations, privations, mental relations.


Compton Carleton Th. (1649) Philosophia universa. Antverpiae: Apud Iacovum Mevrsium.

Francisco Suárez (1960–1966) Francisco Suárez SJ Disputationes MetaphysicaeDisputacione metafísicas. Vol. I–VII (ed., tr. S. Rábade Romeo, S. Caballero Sánchez, A. Puigcerver Zanón). Madrid: Gredos.

Sebastián Izquierdo (1659) Pharus scientiarum. Ubi quidquid ad cognitionem humanatn humanitatis acquisibilem pertinent, ubertim iuxtà, atque succinctè pertractaur. Lugduni: Sumptibus Claudii Bourgeat, et Michel Lietard.

© Galina Vdovina, 2019

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