A Brief History of the Soul by Stewart Goetz

By Stewart Goetz

Content material:
Chapter 1 The Soul in Greek idea (pages 6–29):
Chapter 2 The Soul in Medieval Christian inspiration (pages 30–64):
Chapter three The Soul in Continental concept (pages 65–104):
Chapter four The Soul in Locke, Butler, Reid, Hume, and Kant (pages 105–130):
Chapter five the matter of Soul–Body Causal interplay (pages 131–151):
Chapter 6 The Soul and modern technology (pages 152–181):
Chapter 7 modern demanding situations to the Soul (pages 182–201):
Chapter eight recommendations at the way forward for the Soul (pages 202–215):

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As we will see, Aquinas advocates a largely Aristotelian view of the soul, and this ultimately generates some particularly difficult questions for his Christian belief in the resurrection of the body and life in the world to come. Aquinas embraces Aristotle’s view that there are different kinds of souls. First and foremost, the soul is the root principle of life (Aquinas 1970: Summa theologiae, Ia. 1). Plants are alive and thus have a nutritive soul, but beasts are not only alive, they can also sense things, and human beings are alive, sense things, and engage in reasoning.

G. g. the leg of a table can become the leg of a chair). Thus a table, unlike a soul, is a complex entity or thing in virtue of the fact that it is made up of parts that are themselves substances (substantive parts). Contemporary physical scientists inform us that a table is actually a lattice structure of molecules bound together by attractive powers affecting appropriate capacities, and, when this lattice structure is broken by a sufficient force, the table breaks. A soul–body dualist like Augustine maintains that a soul, unlike a table or physical objects in general, is not a complex entity, because it has no substantive parts.

Although Aquinas affirms that a soul has and exercises its power to move its body, he rejects Plato’s appeal to this kind of unifying contact to explain the unqualified unity of the soul–body composite. One problem with a mere unity of contact by power is that a soul and its body end up being separate substances. “On the Platonic theory that the soul [as a substance] is united to the body as its motor only [. ] it inevitably follows that there is some other substantial formative principle constituting the body as something the soul can move” (Summa theologiae, Ia.

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