A Bite in de Lubac’s theory on Nature and Grace? Part 5

The kinds of debita naturae are twofold: Definitional and dynamical.

Definitional debita naturae are those that pertain to its essence. If there is to be a man, then there must be an animal, a rational thing, a rational animal. That there is such a thing as definitional debita naturae rests on the principle of non-contradiction. You cannot assert X and not-X at the same time, in the same respect. If you say, “There exists a man,” you cannot simultaneously say, “There is not a rational thing”. The statement “There is a man” yields also these: “There is an animal”; “There is a rational thing”; and “There is a rational animal”. These requirements are definitional; hence, they are definitional debita naturae.

(To the sophistical, albeit interesting while at the same time distracting, objection that this requirement is tautological, my response is that it (the objection) is based on a failure to understand logic and the nature of human predication and for that matter human understanding itself. If I were a computer or an angel, the objection would stand. Computers only correlate without understanding. For a computer, the requirement would look as follows: Every XY is an X. [More precisely, Everything that is X and Y is X.] The statement is tautological. And a computer would waste its time with such a line-item. But the proposition is deeper than the stupid statement XY is X. Humans think under aspects and relate them to one another in judgments. This requires reaching universals with insight. Computers may “class” items under items, but they do not reach universals with insight. Men join (X is Y) and separate (X is not Y) these insights in judgment. The angel, however, does not think in discursive chunks; hence, it would waste its “time” with any human sentence at all. I however, am neither angel nor computer, but a man. But let’s save such philosophical ramblings for another post. For a summary response, buy and study Peter Kreeft, Socratic Logic. For a sophisticated response, see Henry P. Veatch, Two Logics and just about everything else he ever wrote on logic.)