Francisco SuárezFrancisco Suárez is widely regarded as the last great Scholastic. He tried to combine the best ideas of Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham, which spanned the range from realism to nominalism. Suárez is rightly considered a great metaphysician. He was a rare thinker who made a metaphysical advance on the ancients, particularly in his widely read Disputationes metaphysicae (Metaphysical Disputations), which very likely influenced Gottfried Leibniz's thoughts on identity. Ever since Aristotle, metaphysicians had debated about the principle of individuation. Opinions varied as to whether it was matter or form, the body or a mind/soul that contains the unique seed of an individual person. Plato and Aristotle thought all souls might be identical, so their materialization made them distinct individuals. The Stoics thought it was the pneuma or spirit that brought the peculiar qualities of an individual to an undifferentiated substance (matter). For Suárez, real beings have both an existence and an essence. Suárez wrote:
Every individual is individuated by its total entity (omne individuum sua tota indivuatur).Information philosophy shows that Suárez was correct. It is the total entity, including its concrete matter and its abstract information, that makes each living thing a unique individual. Since both matter and information change as the individual grows and eventually dies, the uniqueness that persists over an individual's lifetime is first, its evolutionary genetic inheritance (DNA), and second, the memorable experiences stored in the Experience Recorder and Reproducer (ERR), the developmental history of the organism. This is the combination that modern biology calls "Evo-Devo." At death, the matter survives, according to the conservation of matter. But second, according to the second law of thermodynamics, the entropy increases as the matter decays, destroying much of the negative entropy (information) in the process. What does not survive death, despite the speculations of the ancients and the beliefs of many religions, is the immaterial information, the closest thing to the idea of a spirit or soul of the individual, unless it has been stored externally as part of the sum of human knowledge, in which case the individual achieves a measure of information immortality.
On Free WillSuárez' aesthetic theory (De Bonitate) claimed that our judgement of goodness or badness should depend on the mode of production of an artifact. Two objects that appear identical need different standards of judgement. His example was a stone carved by a sculptor and a stone that broke away and fell off a cliff but resembled the sculpture perfectly. Suárez' moral theory similarly depends on an element of voluntarism in each act. Good or bad can be judged independently of of divine commands or prohibitions. Those divine commands are the result of free actions by God's own will, the radical view of Ockham and Scotus that led to British empiricism. We have to go out and study the world to understand God's creation. Rationalists like Descartes and Spinoza followed Aquinas in holding that God is constrained to act according to his own natural law. All is completely determined. Reason alone, study and work in the ivory tower, can explain the entire world. Wikipedia on Suárez
Stanford Encyclopedia on Suárez