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Is the Soul the Form of the Body?

ACPQLogoAmerican Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 87, Issue 3, Summer 2013

Abstract: The idea of the soul, though once common in discussions of human nature, is rarely considered in contemporary philosophy. This reflects a general physicalist turn; but besides commitment to various forms of materialism there is the objection that the very idea of the soul is incoherent. The notion of soul considered here is a broadly Aristotelian-Thomistic one according to which it is both the form of a living human being and something subsistent on its own account. Having discussed the conceptual issues of how the soul may be conceived of, and set aside certain neo-Cartesian lines of response to materialism, an argument to the existence of a non-material principle is presented. Certain implications are then explored leading to the conclusion that it is possible for the intellectual soul to survive the death of the body.

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