The 54th Disputation was important in Suárez’s own mind inasmuch as it set limits for the science of metaphysics and even confronted the limits of what is thinkable and sayable. In this Disputation, Suárez passed from “being insofar as it is real being” or “being insofar as it is actual or possible” (which he identified as the subject or object of metaphysics) to consider “beings” which do not or even cannot exist despite the fact that we can think and speak of them with truth and meaning. While William Shakespeare (d. 1617) was responsible for, among other things, Much Ado About Nothing, his Spanish contemporary, Francisco Suárez. S.J., (d. 1616), in his 54th Disputation of his Disputationes Metaphysicae (Salamanca, 1597), was preoccupied with ’much to do about non-beings,’ such as negations, privations, relations of reason and sundry chimerae (the likes of ’goat-stags, centaurs, ghosts and goulies and things that go bump in the night’).
“In a finely wrought and philosophically intelligible translation of this 54th Disputation of Suárez, John P. Doyle has documented with care the ancient Greek and Medieval sources of Suárez discussion, its influence upon many hitherto unknown late Scholastic writers and the relevance of Suárez intentionality theory to such prominent figures in early, middle and late Modern though as Descartes, Berkeley, Leibniz, Kant, Brentano, Husserl, Meinong, B. Russell, Heidegger, and others. On these and other counts, this is a must read for any contemporary student of metaphysics and epistemology in the Western tradition.” — Norman J. Wells, Boston College
After 40 years teaching graduate courses in Latin Scholasticism at St. Louis University, John P. Doyle retired as Professor Emeritus of Philosophy. He is now Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in Shrewsbury, Missouri. In addition to the present volumes, he has published six more volumes of translations and has produced over 50 articles, essays, and encyclopedia entries, all dealing with figures and themes in medieval and post-medieval philosophy.