Varieties of Dualism

Thomas Aquinas argues that matter is informed by a rational soul to compose a human person. But a person may survive her body’s death since a rational soul is able to exist and function without matter. This leads to the typical characterization of Aquinas as a dualist. Thomistic dualism, however, is distinct from both Platonic dualism and various accounts of substance dualism offered by philosophers such as Richard Swinburne. For both Plato and Swinburne, a person is identical to an immaterial soul that is contingently related to a human body. For Aquinas, a human person is composed of her soul and the matter it informs, but is not identical to either metaphysical component. I explicate Thomistic dualism while critically analyzing Swinburne’s account. I conclude that Aquinas’s account has theresources to address a central issue that arises for substance dualism
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0019-0365
DOI 10.5840/ipq20105014
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