On the Necessity of Being

Latin Grammar: Translation and Comprehension

Cum autem non-esse privatio sit essendi, non cadit in intellectum nisi per esse; esse autem non cadit per aliud, quia omne, quod intelligitur, aut intelligitur ut non ens, aut ut ens in potentia, aut ut ens in actu.

Translation and Comprehension

The following passage is rather difficult, due to the nature of the discussion of Being and Non-Being. One is reminded of Hamlet's famous soliquy ("To be, or not to be...").

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esse: sum, esse, fui, futurus (a, um): to be, to exist

While the above parts of the verb "to be" are familiar, note the following:

  • ens, entis, n.: a thing -- being, in this case (as a noun), this is also the present participle
  • essendi: being (gerund/genitive form)
  • esse: being (infinitive as subject or object: as a verbal noun)

Translate the forms of esse in italics, using the key above as a guide. Remember to translate for case!

Since, however, (non-esse) is the privation (essendi) , it cannot enter the intellect except through (esse) ;
(esse) however cannot enter through anything other than itself.  For everything which is thought of is either thought of as (non-ens) , or as (ens) -in-potency or as (ens) -in-actuality.

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