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Certitudo thus expresses the objective content by which every thing is identical to itself and is distinguished from other things; in other words, certitudo expresses the essence or quidditas of a thing
Medieval metaphysics in particular Thomas Aquinas focused on the whatness or quidditas as the subject of ontology, but this is already a significant narrowing of the horizon of the original Aristotelean definition which leaves open many ways of thinking to proceed INCLUDING the possibility of not giving Whatness the priority, let alone the exclusive signification, among the various possible meanings of being.
I remember thinking I was the only one who got esse of Carrot Top's uniquely redheaded comedy in a previous column, and explored the quidditas of evil in my book Hitler Was a Jerk.
(“entity”), hecceitas (“this-ness”) and quidditas (“quidity”) for grammatical reasons: these terms do not conform to the rules of word formation in Latin.
As a consequence ” Paul adds ” an idea is not the notion of something (cognitio rei), but the essence of a thing (quidditas rei) considered according to its intelligible being in a mind (In Metaph., book VII, tr. 3, chap. 2, fol. 298vb; see also
Given that "mode" can be taken to mean an essential, underlying quality of something, we can also interpret "modality" as quidditas - a slightly younger Stephen describes this in the fifth chapter of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as "the whatness of a thing," and, as it originated with Aristotle, it no doubt has its roots in Plato's eidos, that underlying form shared by all things of one kind, continually sought by Socrates in his dialogues.
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