Reshaping the neo-Aristotelian doctrines about the humansoul was Descartes’s most spectacular enterprise, which gave birth to some of the sharpest debates in the Republic of Letters. Neverthe- less, it was certainly Descartes’s intention, as already expressed in the Discours de la méthode, to show that his new metaphysics could be supplemented with experimental research in the field of medicine and the conservation of life. It is no surprise then that several natural philosophers and doctors, such as Henricus (...) Regius from Utrecht, who had studied in Padua with William Harvey, rallied in support, in order to gain a more substantial theoretical basis for their research. Taking as his ground some general metaphysical assumptions, such as the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, and perhaps the separability of the pure understanding, Regius intended to secure a new philosophy of man, which was able to reflect his medical interests and complement his account of human nature. This is the story that is now gaining currency, and it is surely accurate, at least in part. Desmond Clarke has recently defended the same view1, based on the remarkable studies of the Utrecht scholars Theo Verbeek and Erik-Jan Bos. Here I would like to challenge some aspects of this view and ask how Regius, who was perceived as the philosopher most closely associated with Descartes, became a betrayer of his mentor. (shrink)
With his original reflection—deeply influenced by many important Arabic thinkers—Gundissalinus wanted to renovate the Latin debate concerning crucial aspects of the philosophical tradition. Among the innovative doctrines he elaborated, one appears to be particularly problematic, for it touches a very delicate point of Christian theology: the divine creation of the humansoul, and thus, the most intimate bond connecting the human being and his Creator. Notwithstanding the relevance of this point, Gundissalinus ascribed the creation of the (...) class='Hi'>humansoul to the angels rather than God. He also stated that the angels create the souls from prime matter, and through a kind of causality which cannot be operated by God. What are the sources of this unusual and perilous doctrine? And what are the reasons which led Gundissalinus to hold such a problematic position? This article thoroughly examines the theoretical development and sources of Gundissalinus’s position, focusing on the correlations between this doctrine, the overall cosmological descriptions expounded by Gundissalinus in his original works, and the main sources upon which this unlikely doctrine is grounded: Avicenna and Ibn Gabirol. (shrink)
As for Avicenna the humansoul is a complete substance which does not inhere in the body nor is imprinted in it, asserting its survival after the death of the body seems easy. Yet, he needs the body to explain its individuation. The paper analyzes Avicenna's arguments in the De anima sections, V, 3 & 4, of the Shifā ' in order to explore the exact causal relation there is between the humansoul and its body (...) and confronts these arguments with relevant passages in the Metaphysics. It argues that the causal relation between body and soul remains obscure and that, though Avicenna claims that there is a personal immortality and that the disembodied soul remains individuated, he does not provide a satisfactory ontological account for it. (shrink)
This paper argues that Aquinas's conception of the humansoul and intellect offers a consistent alternative to the dilemma of materialism and post-Cartesian dualism. It also argues that in their own theoretical context, Aquinas' arguments for the materiality of the humansoul and immateriality of the intellect provide a strong justification of his position. However, that theoretical context is rather "alien" to ours in contemporary philosophy. The conclusion of the paper will point in the direction of (...) what can be done to render Aquinas's position more palatable to contemporary philosophers. (shrink)
In _Ecological Ethics and the HumanSoul: Aquinas, Whitehead, and the Metaphysics of Value_, Francisco J. Benzoni addresses the pervasive and destructive view that there is a moral gulf between human beings and other creatures. Thomas Aquinas, whose metaphysics entails such a moral gulf, holds that human beings are ultimately separate from nature. Alfred North Whitehead, in contrast, maintains that human beings are continuous with the rest of nature. These different metaphysical systems demand different ethical (...) stances toward creation. Benzoni analyzes and challenges Thomas's understanding of the humansoul, his primary justification for the moral separation, arguing that it is finally philosophically untenable. The author finds promising the alternative metaphysics of Whitehead, for whom human beings are a part of nature—even if the highest part; all creatures have a degree of subjectivity and creativity, and thus all have intrinsic value and moral worth, independent of subjective human valuation. Further, though there is difference, there is no moral gulf between God and the world. God is truly affected by the experience of creatures. Benzoni argues that if this vision of moral worth is articulated with sufficient force and clarity, it could help heal the human relation to our planet. “Eminently clear in concept and analysis, profound in insight, and precise in reasoning, this book not only contributes a distinguished study of Aquinas but also reshapes contemporary ecological ethics by relating it to basic issues of metaphysics. Both subsequent moral theory attentive to Aquinas and subsequent formulations of ecological ethics will be incomplete without taking account of Benzoni's argument.” —_Franklin I. Gamwell, Shailer Mathews Distinguished Service Professor of Religious Ethics, the Philosophy of Religion, and Theology, The University of Chicago Divinity School_ “In the introduction and conclusion, Francisco Benzoni makes clear the broader significance of this work for the field of ecological ethics and the future well-being of the human species on this earth. One can learn a great deal about the philosophy of both Aquinas and Whitehead in working through these pages.” —_Joseph Bracken, Xavier University _. (shrink)
Pope St. John Paul II’s work on the Theology of the Body is well known among his many followers. Less well known is his conception of the humansoul. Karol Wojtyla’s intricate philosophy of the soul fully endorses Aristotelian Thomistic psychology. Wojtyla’s main contribution is a phenomenological description of human action, which provides a credible basis for inferring the soul’s necessity. In the papal writings, John Paul II develops other resourceful doctrines, especially about the timing (...) of ensoulment. His unelaborated notion of the genealogy of the person has implications for ethics. Following in the tradition of St. Thomas Aquinas, John Paul II presents an integrated wisdom about the soul that weaves together Christian revelation, modern science, and different modes of philosophical reflection. (shrink)
Descartes's conception of matter changed the account of physical nature in terms of extension and related quantitative terms. Plants and animals were turned into species of machines, whose natural functions can be explained mechanistically. This article reflects on the consequences of this transformation for the psychology of humansoul. In so far the soul is rational it lacks extension, yet it is also united with the body and affected by it, and so it is able to act (...) on extended matter. The article examines Descartes's concept of scientia and his different uses of nature, and argues that there is much more continuity between Aristotelian and Cartesian psychology than is usually recognized when it comes to an explanation of the functions of the embodied humansoul. If this makes psychology unfit for inclusion in the new science of nature, its object is still a natural phenomenon and has an important place within scientia as Descartes conceived of it. (shrink)
Dietrich von Hildebrand is often seen as being at odds with the scholastics in his anthropology. I argue that he in fact uses scholastic principles when distinguishing the powers of the humansoul, but he uses these principles to distinguish many more powers in our souls than the scholastics do. His expansion of the list of human powers both is supported by and safeguards his expanded metaphysics of given reality. I first consider the principles that the scholastics (...) use in reasoning about powers. I then show how von Hildebrand’s account of the human person is hylomorphic. Finally, I present von Hildebrand’s account of human powers, in light of the scholastic principles, considering his accounts first of bodily powers and then of powers in the soul. (shrink)
St. Thomas’s argument for the immortality of the humansoul in question 75, article 6 of his Summa Theologica has historically been rejected, most famously perhaps by Duns Scotus, who said that it was inconclusive at best and question begging at worst. This article argues that Scotus’s critique may be unfair because it rests on a mistaken understanding of what St. Thomas means by the phrase “natural desire,” and that if one unpacks the ontological assumptions that underlie St. (...) Thomas’s reasoning about the difference between sensible and intellective awareness, an argument emerges that does not suffer from the shortcomings that Scotus alleges. (shrink)
This paper focuses on Aristotle’s methodology of science and its application to the study of the humansoul. My aim is to contrast two significantly different methodological approaches and to formulate two pairs of premises that Aristotle employs in two clearly differentiated and independent fields of study, namely in his zoological works and in the works of practical philosophy. Acknowledging these principles, as I suggest, may shed a new light on the methodological difficulties that Aristotle indicates in the (...) introductory chapters of his De anima. (shrink)
Epicurean physics elaborates on a system of universal kinetics as regards the creation of the world. One of the main principles is that there is no genesis without motion. The human being, as all other beings, is the product of the motion of atoms within the cosmic void. Due to a sudden swerve in the motion of some atoms, it can be upheld, according to the Epicureans and Lucretius, that there is no determinism in the universe and the (...) class='Hi'>human being is capable of free will. The atomic motions and the swerves also take place in the space of the humansoul. Lucretius, in the De Rerum Natura, follows with precision the content of the Epicurean dogmas, and divides the soul into an irrational part, which he calls anima, and a rational one, animus, according to the distinction between ψυχή and διάνοια. (shrink)
This paper explores the extreme but well-argued-for thesis that the indirect object of an aesthetic experience of serious art is the humansoul of the person having the experience. The author of the thesis was Fr. Arthur Little S.J. a mid twentieth-century Irishman, professional philosopher and philosophical popularizer. The paper treats Little’s thesis seriously: comparisons are drawn with Kant, which may be of interest even to those hostile to Little’s central assertion. Little makes a brilliant analysis of a (...) ‘free-beauty’, making the sharpest contrast between this and the most serious art, tragedy. Tragedy, Little holds Kant not able to cope with. One agrees. (shrink)
«A genuine literary treatment of the soul» is what Eugenio Massa called the brief section of Egidio of Viterbo’s Sentences Commentary that he published in 1954. What Massa published is Egidio’s discussion of part of Peter Lombard’s third distinction in Book I, which bears the title «De imagine et similitudine Trinitatis in anima humana». The main topic at so early a place in the Sentences is not, strictly speaking, the humansoul but the divine Trinity. The point (...) of departure is Lombard’s consideration of the soul as analogous to the Trinity; and behind that connection lies Augustine, who presented the soul as an image of the Trinity because he saw in the soul a unity and simplicity of substance but also Platonism’s tripartite divisions. These include, for example, the appetitive, emotional, and rational functions, from the Republic, and Augustine’s subdivision of the rational functions into memory, understanding, and will. This connection between Trinity and humansoul, however, gave commentators excellent opportunities not only for theology, discourse about God, but also for psychology, the study of the soul. Descriptions of the humansoul initially offered in the theological context became important in their own right. According to Massa, in light of the soul’s being created in God’s image, Egidio was able to make human dignity the major theme even at this early point in the commentary. (shrink)
The humansoul is for pre-modern philosophers the cause of both thinking and life. This double aspect of the soul, which makes man a rational animal, expresses itself above all in human action. Deadly Thought: 'Hamlet' and the HumanSoul traces Hamlet's famous inability to act to his inability to hold together these twin aspects of the soul.
Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws (1748) illuminates the many factors that affect human behaviour and hence constrain the capacity for self-guided action, but his work also contains a defence of this capacity in his treatment of the soul. Yet Montesquieu also thought it important to establish reliable limits on human action so as to protect political liberty, and he looked to the constitutional traditions of particular peoples for standards of right that would provide effective checks on (...) individuals and political powers without fundamentally eroding the animating power of the soul. Together Montesquieu's concept of the soul and use of history point to a nascent form of limited human agency, one that balances the elements of determinism present in his new scientific approach to politics and society. (shrink)
Among the various approaches to the question of the nature of the mind , Augustine’s philosophical arguments for the existence of an incorporeal and spiritual substance in man and against materialism are here thoroughly examined on their merits as a source of insight for contemporary discussion. This book, originally published in 1986, employs Augustine’s method of introspection, and argues that, as a philosopher, Augustine can teach the modern mind how to detect the reality of such a spiritual subject in and (...) through basic human acts and faculties, such as imagination, memory, knowledge, free-will and self-knowledge. It presents a critical dialogue with various materialistic anthropologies directly addressed by Augustine himself, or those which have arisen at later periods, including epiphenomenalism, mind-brain identity theory, Marxism and others. (shrink)
In modern moral philosophy, virtue ethics has developed into one of the major approaches to ethical inquiry. As it seems, however, it is faced with a kind of perplexity similar to the one that Elisabeth Anscombe has described in Modern moral philosophy with regard to ethics in general. For if we assume that Anscombe is right in claiming that virtue ethics ought to be grounded in a sound philosophy of psychology, modern virtue ethics seems to be baseless since it lacks (...) or even avoids reflections on the humansoul. To overcome this difficulty, the paper explores the conceptual connections between virtue and soul in Aristotle's ethics. It claims that the humansoul is the principle of virtue since reflections on the soul help us to define the nature of virtue, to understand the different kinds of virtues, and to answer the question why human beings need the virtues at all. (shrink)
The human is a microcosm, a child of Natura naturans; and so the human is primordially not only a creature but also a creative being: Homo creans. The predestination of philosophy consists in co-clarifying and co-creating the essence (logos) of being. One of the main purposes of philosophical education is to affirm and develop an original thinking of a personality. -/- .
A alma é, sem dúvida, um dos problemas que mais interessou a Santo Agostinho; ele a define como uma substância partícipe da razão adequada ao governo de um corpo. A alma não tem quantidade corporal, contudo, é uma coisa grande. Este estudo pretende refletir sobre os sete graus de atividade da alma, os quais o autor apresenta na sua obra De quantitate animae. São eles: a animação, a sensação, a arte, a virtude, a tranquilidade, o ingresso e a contemplação. The (...)soul is undoubtedly one of the problems that most interested St. Augustine. He defines it as a substance participating of reason, adequate for the government of a body. The soul has no corporal quantity, but is nevertheless a great thing. This study aims to reflect on the seven degrees of activity of the soul, which the author presents in his work De quantitate animae. The are: animation, sensation, art, virtue, tranquility, ingress and contemplation. (shrink)
Through the analysis of Conrad-Martius Metaphysical Dialogues, our aim is show the relevance of the concept of spirit (Geist) and soul (Seele) to clarify the constitution of the human being. In order to understand Conrad-Martius’ phenomenological description, it is necessary to explain Husserl’s and Stein’s approaches to the same argument. Briefly their position is described at the beginning of the essay and then the main points of Conrad-Martius’ book are pinpointed. Human being is understandable in the complex (...) of the degrees of nature, that is, with reference to the organic life—plants and animals. Mental-spirit life is the distinguishing element regarding the human being. (shrink)
A relação entre o corpo e a alma do ser humano na teologia cristã: uma aproximação histórica e contemporânea. (The relation between body and soul of human being in Christian Theology: A historical and contemporary approach) - DOI: 10.5752/P.2175-5841.2013v11n31p1081 O objetivo deste artigo é apresentar como se deu, no plano histórico, e se dá, atualmente, na contemporaneidade, as relações entre o corpo e a alma, no âmbito da antropologia cristã. Historicamente, primeiro se constatou a existência do corpo e (...) da alma para depois se ocupar do tipo de relação que há entre ambos os princípios. Do ponto de vista histórico, houve um primado e uma supremacia da alma sobre o corpo. Entre ambos os princípios metafísicos, ora vigorava uma unidade acidental (provisória e dualista), ora uma unidade substancial (permanente e recíproca). Atualmente, a reflexão teológica defende uma unidade mútua e recíproca entre o corpo e a alma, de modo que cada princípio está ordenado para o outro. O ser humano é uma unitotalidade psicofísica e anímico-corpórea. Atualmente, há autores filósofos (X. Zubiri, M. Bunge) e teológos (J. Moltmann, Flick-Alszechy), que defendem como alternativa ao hilemorfismo aristótelico-tomista, novas formas de compreender a relação entre o corpo/matéria e alma/espírito. Também, nos dias de hoje, a relação corpo-alma está presente nas novas antropologias, mas com um novo verniz: a relação mente-cérebro. Palavras-chave : Antropologia. Corpo. Alma. Mente. Cérebro.The scope of this paper is to present how occurred in historical level, and occurs in the contemporary world, the relation between body and soul in the context of Christian anthropology. Historically, in a first moment, it was identified the existence of the body and the soul, and afterwards, the type of relation between these two ontological principles. From a historical point of view, there was a primacy and supremacy of the soul over the body. Between these principles, sometimes prevailed an accidental unity (provisional and dualistic), sometimes a substantial unity (permanent and reciprocal). Nowadays, the theological reflection defends a mutual and reciprocal unity between body and soul, so that each principle is ordained one to the other. Human being is a psychophysical “unit-totality” constituted of body and soul. Currently, there are philosophers (X. Zubiri, M. Bunge) and theologians (J. Moltmann, Flick-Alszeghy), who defend, as alternative to the Aristotelian-Thomistic hylemorphism, new forms of understanding the relation between body/matter and soul/spirit. Also, nowadays, the relation body-soul is present in new anthropologies, but with a new varnish through relation between mind-brain. Key-words : Anthropology. Body. Soul. Mind. Brain. (shrink)
Among the various approaches to the question of the nature of the mind, Augustine’s philosophical arguments for the existence of an incorporeal and spiritual substance in man and against materialism are here thoroughly examined on their merits as a source of insight for contemporary discussion. This book, originally published in 1986, employs Augustine’s method of introspection, and argues that, as a philosopher, Augustine can teach the modern mind how to detect the reality of such a spiritual subject in and through (...) basic human acts and faculties, such as imagination, memory, knowledge, free-will and self-knowledge. It presents a critical dialogue with various materialistic anthropologies directly addressed by Augustine himself, or those which have arisen at later periods, including epiphenomenalism, mind-brain identity theory, Marxism and others. (shrink)
In the Arena Chapel in Padua, Giotto painted seven allegorical representations of virtues and seven allegorical representations of vices. This article probes the sources for the list of virtues and the list of vices. The ensemble of virtues can be located in St. Thomas Aquinas; the ensemble of the vices, however, is original. The result is a new account of vices that displaces the odler account of the “seven deadly sins.”.