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Last year, we went through Book IV of St. Thomas’ Summa Contra Gentiles. We learned a couple new philosophical terms, including supposit. That is, a particular instance of a type of thing. This is what we mean when we use the article “a” in front of a noun.
“Pencil” is a concept, existing only in thought. The particular pencil lying on the desk is a supposit, an instance of “pencil,” made of a unique conglomeration of atoms. Those unique atoms form a pencil.