By Anthony (ed) Kenny
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Extra info for Aquinas: A Collection of Critical Essays
To keep our heads clear, we must distinguish two senses of 'form' in Aquinas-the form that is the reference of the predi- A Collection of Critical Essays 39 cate '. . is wise' or of the phrase 'the wisdom of. , and the form that is the reference of a phrase like 'the wisdom of Socrates'. In the latter case I shall speak of individualized forms; individualized forms will then not be forms simpliciter (just as a number that is a certain function of another number is not a function simpliciter) and will always be referred to by the full style 'individualized forms'.
If a personal judgment may be allowed in conclusion, it would be that the more and the longer the history of the thirteenth century is studied, the more does the thought of St Thomas, even considered merely as a historical phenomenon, appear as something more than just one tree, even if the biggest, in a row. Others, indeed, cannot be despised; they may even touch upon points that he omits and supplement or even correct him. But if one is looking for a complete system of thought in the Middle Ages, it is St Thomas or nothing.
As a result I may get, for example, 'The kitten was playing with a piece of string' (which has a new meaning) or perhaps 'The window was playing with a piece of string' (which is nonsense but is still a perfectly good sentence). But if I substitute a word which differs not merely in meaning but in grammatical function, too, for example 'occasionally', I shall get 'The occasionally was playing with a piece of string' (which is not just nonsense, it is not a sentence at all). It is most important to recognize that there is a great difference between an expression which is a sentence but nonsense and one which is not a sentence at all.