Relation is at the heart of any philosophy but especially of Aristotelian philosophy. It is also at the heart of theological understanding of the central Christian doctrine of the Trinity of Persons in God. Arguably the greatest, and certainly the most influential, Jesuit philosopher-theologian of all time, Francisco Suárez (1548-1617), would by any estimate qualify to explain relation. While he has treated the subject often in his published writings, his best and most systematic treatment of its myriad dimensions will be found in his famous Disputationes metaphysicae in two places.
Earlier translated into English by the translator of the present volume, Disputation 54, Section 6, gives Suárez’s teaching on mind-dependent relations. This translation now of the eighteen Sections of Disputation 47 contains his careful, broad, and deep thought on mind-independent, both categorical and transcendental, relations. While Suárez presents his teaching in a systematic way, he intentionally wraps it around a first-rate explanation of Aristotle’s enigmatic treatment of the category of relation in the Perihermeneias and the Metaphysics. For that explanation alone, the present volume is timelessly valuable. But as any serious reader will soon see, its value only begins there.
John P. Doyle for the last 38 years has taught graduate courses in Latin Scholasticism at St. Louis University. In addition to the present volume, he has published five more volumes of translation (including three from Suárez) and has produced over 50 articles, essays, and encyclopedia entries, dealing with Suárez and other figures and themes in medieval and post-medieval philosophy.