Source: p 175, Introducing Philosophy for Canadians: A Text with Integrated Readings (2011 1 ed).

[...]  "essentia involvit existentiam" [essence entails existence].

Wiktionary (and the Lewis & Charles Short entry cited thereunder) do not list 'entail'. I understand not the semantic shift, because decomposing 'involvō' into 'in' + ' 'volvō' reveals that

A involves B.

⟹ A rolls around/into/to/on B.

But for A to be able to roll about B in some manner, B must have existed before A.
So how can A be thought to entail B? If anything, B should entail A, because B precedes A.


I don't think involvo necessitates a temporal order: for essence to involve or entail existence, it isn't necessary for existence to exist before essence existed. The order is not temporal, nor causal, but merely rational: one thinks of existence when one thinks of essence.

The image involved in the word involvo is that of a cloud encircling and touching a mountaintop, or a snake entwining a tree: the snake is very close to the tree, and it would be difficult to separate them. That is what involvo should mean in this sense: one thing is close to another and hard to separate from it. The metaphor is obvious from there.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy