Aquinas Questions On The Soul Analysis

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Focusing on Question One of Aquinas’ Questions on the Soul, explain what it means to Aquinas for the soul to be both form and entity. Present Aquinas’ argumentation for the position, and briefly indicate whether you find the arguments convincing or not, and your reasons.

From the very fact that Aquinas begins his Questions on the Soul with the question of whether the soul is both a form and entity, we are perhaps already introduced to the significance of this position for the defence of his specific notion of the human soul. Despite this, such a position does not appear an easy one to defend. Taken in its broadest sense, if the soul thought to be an entity, and hence a substantial and complete being in its own right, how may it possibly
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Whilst its operation, granted, can have no bodily organ from which is specifically operates, for reasons already granted, it presides necessary, however, for the body to have access to the material sensing capacities of the body, such that it may acquire those intelligible species necessary for any operation of the intellect, and ultimately knowledge of the immortal (Aquinas, 1984, p.48). This is so as the soul operates, and works toward knowledge of universals via “abstracting species, not only from matter but also from all individuating, material conditions, and these operations are required for knowing a universal” (Aquinas, 1984, p.46) and in this regard, the soul is “constituted on the boundary line between corporeal and separate substances” (Aquinas, 1985, p.48). This follows as, whilst it persists as an intellectual substance, it presides as the lowest of such, since “a human soul does not possess innate intelligible species by means of which it can accomplish its essential operation” (Aquinas, 1984, p.115) like the higher of these intellectual substances. It hence requires a unity with what is said to be the highest of material bodies, such that it may gain access to “intelligible species from things outside itself through the mediation of sense powers, which cannot accomplish their appropriate operation without bodily organs” (Aquinas, 1984, p.115). Hence, all immaterial knowledge of the soul, by these means, is derived from knowledge attained from the sensing of material things alone (Aquinas, 1984, p.48). So, “insofar as a soul by nature acquires its immaterial knowledge from what is material, it is clear that the fullness of it nature cannot be achieved apart from union with a body” (Aquinas, 1984,

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