ARISTOTLE AND AQUINAS ON SOUL
Université de Rennes 1
Institut de Philosophie
Avenue du Général Leclerc
F-35042 Rennes (France)
Averroes said that "[Aristotle] was a rule in nature, a pattern that nature itself invented to show us the supreme degree of perfection accessible in the material world"(1). In a world where nature does nothing in vain, Aristotle was created for good reasons: by listening, reading, and commenting upon him, we avoid a lot of philosophical errors. Another way to express the same thought would consist in referring to Aristotle as "The Philosopher", as Aquinas often does. At least on the question of soul, Aristotle is certainly the Philosopher.
Some medieval theologians found it perfectly unacceptable for a Christian to be addicted to Aristotle. Among the 219 propositions condemned in 1277 by the Bishop of Paris, the famous Étienne Tempier(2), some of them represented Aquinas as taking positions dangerously close to those of Averroes and Aristotle. In his book on Siger de Brabant, Mandonnet said that, among the 219 propositions, sixteen Thomistic propositions had been condemned by Bishop Tempier.(3) Among these, I will quote the ninety-sixth in Tempier's list:
Quod Deus non potest multiplicare indiuidua sub una specie sine materia.
God cannot multiply individuals under the same species without matter.
The condemned thesis asserts that matter is the basic principle of individuation and multiplicity in a species. The kind of hylomorphism attributed to Aristotle is here attacked.
Eleven days after the Parisian condemnation, on March 18th, Richard Kilwardby condemned further propositions, recognizably similar to Thomistic propositions concerning the nature of the soul, in particular the impossibility of many substantial forms inhering in a unique composed thing. The problem was to know if the body of the Christ in his tomb, separated from his soul, was divine or not. It was said that Thomas' thesis implied, against Faith, that Christ's body was not divine. However, as could have been read by censors in Summa Theologiae (IIIa, 50, 2), the dead body of Christ cannot decompose, according to Thomas, due to the hypostatic union of His soul and His body before death.
The interpretation of the Condemnations is a complicated matter, because doctrinal, epistemological and ethical matters are intertwined throughout. One of the main debates concerned the question of the nature of the soul and its relation--if such a term is adequate--to the body. Through the critique of Averroism, the problem was to know what could be done with the newly rediscovered Aristotelian anthropology, which differed substantially from the Augustinian doctrine. Influenced by Plato and Plotinus, Augustine had (in De moribus ecclesiae, I, 27, 52) defended the idea that:
homo igitur, ut homini apperet, anima rationalis est mortali atque terreno utens corpore
man, as at least he appears to himself, is a rational soul that uses an earthly and mortal body.
Of course, Augustine adds (In Joan. Evang., XIX, 5, 15) that:
anima rationalis habens corpus non facit dua persona sed unum hominem
rational soul having body does not make two distinct persons, but one unique man.
But this means that man is his soul.(4) Plato would have no problem accepting such a thesis, because for him the union of soul and body was a violence done to the nature of soul in the body. The body is in fact a sort of tomb (soma sema) within which the soul is imprisoned. As is clear in the Phaedo, philosophy can deliver us, as souls, from such imprisonment. I suppose that Aquinas saw very clearly that this badly understood Augustinian thesis was not really compatible with the idea that the natural state of man could be the result of the fall. "Et vidit quod erant valde bona", says Genesis, I, 31. What must be saved is the complete person, not simply soul.(5) Man is not an accidental juxtaposition of soul and body, like two harnessed horses. Augustine knew this very well, as is clear in his severe critique of Origen in De Civitate Dei (XI, 23, 1-2)(6). But he was more interested in moral questions than in the construction of an anthropology. Augustine insists on the transcendance of the soul because what interests him is determining the conditions of our salvation.
Gilson thought that the Medievals inherited all the problems of the Plotinian account that Augustine had followed, and that Thomas, inspired by Aristotle, hit upon a better point of view.(7) For Augustine, man was a strange creature, not completely understandable: for he was soul and body, and soul and body together cannot be a genuine substance. In a sense, it was impossible for Augustine to avoid what we now call "the mind-body" problem. If Plato invented this problem, Augustine propagated it. Aquinas wanted to avoid it, and he thought a good anthropology could allow us to do so. Such an anthropology was to be found in Aristotle's De Anima and in other Aristotelian texts. And the critique of Averroes' philosophy, and even of Averroes errors concerning Intellect(8), could serve to promote the both old, Aristotelian, and the newly rediscovered, Thomistic, anthropology.
The Parisian and Oxonian condemnations were Augustinian in character. Some theologians were afraid of the new idea of man that was emerging in Thomistic anthropology, and that could be understood as supporting morally licence. Of the propositions condemned in Paris, the 181st says:
Quod castitas non est maius bonum quam perfecta abstinientia
Chastity is not a greater good than abstinence
Of course, such a proposition cannot be and has never been attributed to Saint Thomas. It could perhaps be attributed to Boethius of Dacia, the author of the De aeternitate mundi and De summo Bono, who seems to have considered virginity to be a condition of a type of hedonistic rationalism which was completely devoted to the speculative power of human reason. He likely was, with Siger de Brabant, one of the main representatives of what has been (falsely) called "The Two Truths Doctrine" condemned by Bishop Tempier: the doctrine that there is both philosophical truth and theological or religious truth. At the beginning of the Parisian condemnation, the very austere doctrine of Boethius is condemned along with André Le Chapelain's (Andreas Campellanus) De Amore, purportedly a very licentious treatrise of libertinage.(9) The 219 propositions must fuse together many very different things, if Thomas Aquinas, Boethius of Dacia and André Le Chapelain are all to be attacked at once. Evidently, the new way to understand the relation between soul and body, inspired by Aristotle, was--intentionally or not--confused with two things. The first is the autonomisation of philosophy in the reassertion by the Masters of Arts of their own intellectual value against the Theologians: in short, the emancipation of philosophy from theological domination that seemed so unacceptable to Saint Bonaventure. Saint Thomas himself tried to reconcile philosophy and theology; he sought a solution in which both would be winners. Secondly, Bishop Tempier associated the Aristotelian view with a libertine sexual morality, making some deliberatly provocative affirmations that are, however, unsubstantialted by any philosophical texts of the period that we know of, although some such texts may have circulated among the students of the University of Paris (and are perhaps still circulating in the same place).
2. FROM MIND TO SELF
In recalling the Parisian and Oxonian condemnations, I try to make a philosophical point by recalling an old story. This story has a strange analog in our own time. Not of course, that the present Bishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Lustiger, is about to condemn a list of propositions. But I wonder if we cannot consider what Anglo-American philosophers call "Philosophy of Mind" in the light of this 13th-century story. As you know, for many contemporary philosophers of mind, the main problem is to give an account of the status of mental properties. Strong materialists reduce them to physical properties; weak materialists consider that even if ontologically there are no mental properties, we need them to describe human behaviour; functionalists think that mental properties are functions and can be materially realized in a variety of ways (or even perhaps not materially realized at all(10)). Against these psycho-physical identity and functionalist theories, you find dualists, strongly or weakly Cartesian; they think that there are two substances, material and spiritual. This presentation is of course a caricature. We can find in the philosophy of mind very subtle theories in which one tries to reconcile materialism with the irreducibility of mental properties to material ones, especially through a renewal of interest in the notion of intention: I have in mind not only philosophers like Davidson and Searle, but also some of the phenomenogical conceptions that were developed after Brentano and Husserl in an analytic way by Chisholm, and within the Continental hermeneutic tradition by Merleau-Ponty and his French followers.(11) All these different approaches begin with an Augustinian or Cartesian question: How are we to reconcile mind and body?
We may recall here the discussion between Descartes and Gassendi in the Fifth Objections about the Second Meditation. Descartes wrote: "Sum igitur præcise tantum res cogitans, id est, mens, sive animus, sive intellectus, sive ratio, voces mihi prius significationis ignotæ" (AT, VII, 27)(12). The French text does not translate sive animus; it only says "un esprit, un entendement ou une raison". And Descartes answers to Gassendi that the entire nature of the soul (anima) is constituted by thought, and that there is no other soul (anima) than mind (mens). The Cartesian notion of mind must be considered not only through the Meditations, but also through the Treatrise on the Passions and the Letters to Princess Elisabeth, in which Descartes elaborates, (sucessfully or not) a new way to explain the union between mind and body. Even if you take into account the extent to which Descartes is re-elaborating scholastic vocabulary and doctrine(13), I think that Maritain and Gilson were right: Descartes is breaking with the tradition in a fundamental way. He is inventing "modernism" by re-defining the soul as mind. Of course, his perspective is basically Augustinian, but he makes this Augustinian position more radical. For that tradition, the problem was that an immortal soul is not completely compatible with the biological conception of soul that can be find in Aristotle's De Anima. In current vocabulary, if you consider the soul as immortal, you cannot consider mental properties as supervenient on biological properties.(14) Without entering into detailed discussion, I would say briefly that the main difference between Augustine's point of view and Descartes' is that the first insists on the irreducibility of mind and the second on the specificity of the self. This is the new perspective, and the post-Cartesian philosophy, empirist or rationalist, will focalize on the notion of self. The phenomenologist trend, even though strongly influenced by Aristotelian psychology through Brentano, is thoroughly Cartesian in its insistence that we must understand ourselves as selves, or as is now said, as subjectivities. Many French philosophers today consider the thinking substance is nothing else than the "phenomenological evidence of subjectivity", which can also be found in Husserl as "the absolute field of presence of the self, the 'pure ego', obtained under reduction, by the suspension of all things in the world, things at which the whole position of existence is retired".(15) I only quote this obscure passage to show how it is possible to pass from the soul to the mind, and to the self, by a sort of Husserlian fertilization of Cartesian philosophy (the main occupation of a large part of contemporary French philosophers).
In my Après Wittgenstein, saint Thomas (After Wittgenstein, Saint Thomas)(16), I tried to explain, following what I consider to be one of the main lessons taught by philosophers like Ryle, Anscombe, Geach and Kenny,(17) that Wittgenstein, without any connection with the Neo-Thomist movement, rediscovered the main points of the Aristotelico-Thomistic perspective on the mind. In Philosophical Investigations and Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology, Wittgenstein passes from the self to the mind, through the so-called "private language argument"; and then he passes from the mind to the soul, by the rediscovering of the dispositional nature of the intelligence and of the will.
To the Platonic conception of a soul separable from the body, Aristotle opposed his own, biological account of the soul. Aquinas proposed a new anthropology, influenced by Aristotle: one that was not only compatible with Christian faith, but was more compatible with Christian faith than the Platonic-inspired conception of the mind. For the Platonic view is in the end unable to give a strong justification of the bodily nature of man. Descartes broke with Thomistic account and radicalized some trends inherent in the Platonic and Augustinian conception. Much later, Wittgenstein rejected the Cartesian perspective. But his lesson has not been so well understood, and much of the present philosophy of mind, in both the analytic and phenomenological traditions, is clearly bound to the Cartesian point of view, even in the work of strong materialists; for in fact to say that there is one substance and not two is mainly to reduce the Cartesian pattern, not to reject it.
In his Norman Malcolm Memorial Address, Von Wright said:
In conversation with me, Norman often expressed astonishment and even disappointment at the fact that many things were coming back again which, after the breakthrough of the later Wittgensteinian ideas in the 1950s and early 1960s, had seemed for us for ever superseded and cleared away from the table of serious philosophical debate. The reaction grew in strength. A new discipline emerged, known as cognitive science, which indulges in speculation and theorizing of a kind utterly opposed to the commonsense 'nothing is hidden' approach which Norman forcefully championed against what seemed to him a new tribes of philosophical savages.(18)
What is supposed to be hidden is the self. In a Cartesian mood, the only way to discover it is to enter into your own mind. The other popular solution is to adopt psycho-physical identity theory, and to throw out the baby (I mean the specificity of the human soul) with the bathwater (I mean the irreducibility of the mind). What strikes me is the analogy between these two points of view from the standpoint of the history of philosophy. Even if there are important differences between them, both have a Cartesian flavor. Cognitive science is simply the new orthodoxy.
3. HOW NOT TO BE CARTESIAN
I have supposed until now that there is an Aristotelian account of the soul, but not of the mind. In fact, for the past forty years, there has been a lot of discusion of just this topic. My ambition is not to reopen the question formulated by Myles Burnyeat, "Is an Aristotelian Philosophy of Mind still Credible?". According to Burnyeat:
If we want get away from Cartesian dualism, we cannot do it by travelling backwards to Aristotle, because although Aristotle has a non-Cartesian conception of the soul, we are stuck with a more or less Cartesian conception of the physical. To be truly Aristotelian, we would have to stop believing that the emergence of life or mind requires explanation.(19)
About this affirmation, I want to make three remarks.
(i) For my part, I am not sure that we have anything to do like moving backwards to Aristotle. For I have suggested that Wittgenstein rediscovered the dispositional account of psychological concepts. In his philosophical style, like a cat playing with a mouse, "teasing it, leaving it, pouncing again"(20), Wittgenstein indicated a way out Cartesian-cum-materialistic conception of the mind. As Kenny remarks:
One side effect of Wittgenstein's liberation of philosophy from Cartesian prejudices is that it enables those who accept it to give a sympathetic welcome to the writings of pre-Cartesian philosophers, and in particular to medieval scholastics.(21)
What Kenny says about the relation between Wittgenstein and the scholastics, especially Aquinas, could also be said about Wittgenstein and Aristotle. Even though Norman Malcolm was surprised by the extent to which the Cartesian view about mind was still accepted, as if Wittgenstein had never said anything on the subject, I am convinced that philosophers like Anscombe, Geach and Kenny, have not to travel backwards to Aristole, but forward from Wittgenstein.
(ii) That "we are stuck with a more or less Cartesian conception of the physical", as Burnyeat claims, is not so obvious. It depends who "we" are. Contemporary physical sciences are hardly Cartesian, for Cartesian physics, at least, is evidently false. Who still teaches that matter is extension in motion? What is true is that a Cartesian account of causality, even if it does not play a main role in physics, is still dominant in cognitive science, for example. It is not our conception of the physical that is Cartesian, but our conception of the mind-body relation. And those who think that the thesis that man is a thinking substance is as false as the Cartesian account of matter are simply not at stuck in a Cartesian conception of anything, whether mind or matter. I think that Kenny is right to say that:
Descartes' view of the nature of the mind endured much longer than his view of matter. Indeed among educated people in the West who are not professional philosophers it is still the most widespread view of mind. Most contemporary philosophers would disown Cartesian dualism but even those who explicitly renounce it are often profoundly influenced by it.(22)
(iii) I am more sympathetic with the last bit of Burnyeat's remark; but much depends what is meant by "explanation". What Burnyeat wanted to do in his paper was to show that functionalism of the kind defended some years ago by Hilary Putnam--the thesis that a mental state is defined by its causal role and not by its physical nature--did not capture what Aristotle had to say about the mind. Well, of course it didn't. But those who Burnyeat attacked were only claiming that Aristotle's functionalism "has certain similarities with contemporary functionalism"(23), at least far more than Cartesianism or psycho-physical identity theory have. But, what is true in Burnyeat's affirmation is mainly that human matter for Aristotle is not just any matter. The multiple realizability of the mental does not fit with an Aristotelian or Thomistic account of the mind, because anger, for example, is a certain material process that has a certain function and not a mental function that can be materially realised by many ways. As Aristotle says:
The student of nature and the dialectician would define each of these differently, e.g. what anger is. For the latter would define it as a desire for retaliation or something of the sort, the former as the boiling of the blood and hot stuff round the heart. Of these, the one gives the matter, the other the form and principle. For this is the principle of the thing, but it must be in a matter of such and such a kind if it is to be. Thus the principle of a house is, say, that it is a covering to prevent destruction by winds, rain, and heat, but someone else will say that a house is stones, bricks, and timber, and another again that it is the form in them for the sake of these other things.(24)
In a sense, Aristotle and Aquinas are even more thoroughgoing materalists than is often claimed. But they are not saying that mental states could be reduced to physical states, like the house to the bricks, but rather that what feels, imagines, or thinks is a certain type of being, a human being, as the house is a shelter of a certain type. So, an equivalent functional process cannot be instantiated by something that would be materially different from a man, just as not every shelter would be a house. In his commentary on the abovementioned passage, Aquinas(25) remarks that there are three sorts of definition. The definition that considers only matter is imperfect; the one that considers only form without matter is logical in character; while the one that considers both form and matter is more natural and perfect. The point is clear if we remember that the naturalist knows form and matter and the form as the end of matter.(26)
4. IMMORTALITY OF SOUL
Such a doctrine is the reason why Aquinas was not completely comfortable about the immortality of soul. How can be possible for the soul to subsist after the death if we accept the idea that soul is form and matter? Here, Aquinas is still following Aristotle and not what I have presented as the broad tradition coming from Plato and leading to Descartes and some present materialists, strangely enough through Augustine.
It is reasonable that [the intellect] should not be mixed with the body; for in that case it would come to be of a certain kind, either cold or hot, or it would have an organ like the faculty of perception; but as things are it has none.(27)
There are many different interpretations of this passage. I understand it this way: The intellect, which is properly human, does not suppose the use of a corporal organ, as perception does. The faculties that are related to an organ are limited by what this organ is materially. You cannot perceive well without your organs of perception functioning well. But intellect has no organ of its own. Thought appears when such abilities as perception and memory are developed, and when experience is developed. And so, thought supposes the global exercise of mental functions and not of a determined organ. What is thought? What we, human beings, do with our abilities, and thus nothing very mysterious. It means that human thought cannot attributed to anything that does not have a human body, but also that it is not absurd to think that the human soul could survive bodily death, as Aquinas says in Contra Gentiles (II, 80, 6). However, Aquinas must say that the way the soul can know after death is a specific one. Even if soul has its own operation in the act of intellect, and even if the simple idea of such an act without the body is intelligible, this act will consist in the turning of the intellect to the intelligibles, as with the angels. But Aquinas says, at least in Summa Theologiae (Ia, 89, 1), that this kind of knowledge is not really better than that which the human soul can obtain during embodied life. The pure ideas that the separated human soul receives from God will be known in the manner of the human soul, not in some higher way. And such knowledge will be simply general and confused; for, among the intellectual substances in the order of nature, human souls are by no means of the highest degree.
Aquinas wants to adapt the Aristotelian doctrine to Christian thought. He does not seem to be interested by the kind of argument it is possible to find in an Augustinian account of the immortality of soul. In De immortalitate animae, Augustine explains that the soul cannot be without life, for soul gives life; so, the soul never dies (IX, 16)(28) Error can be harmful to the soul, but to make a mistake, one must live. So, even error cannot destroy the soul. In the evidence which justifies our being certain of our own existence--the kind of cogito argument advanced by Augustine--we have evidence for the immortality of the soul. Aquinas, however, does not reflect upon the relation between the soul and the cogito by which the thought apprehends itself as immortal. He belongs to quite another tradition, one that came from Aristotle and has in our time been renewed by Wittgenstein. In this tradition, soul is not mind, and even less is it self-awareness or self-consciousness, but is rather that which makes a certain kind of being what it is. For Aristotle and Aquinas, thought, perception and, for example, walking are grouped together, because they all belong to humans, not to plants. Human soul manifests human life, not consciousness. For Aquinas, the immortality of soul is not a way for a thinking substance to continue its life after the death, but the possibility for a the human soul to receive the influence of separated substances, i.e. of things incorporeal, according to Contra Gentiles (II, 80, 6, i. f.). So, Aristotle and the Christian thought are compatible. We have not to adopt a Cartesian account of the soul, and it would surely be better to avoid such an account.
With Charles Kahn, it could be said that Aristotle was no more dualist than materialist monist, but "quaternist": "he treats the issues of thought and perception not within dual categories of mind and matter but within the fourfold scheme of natural bodies, living things, sentient animals, and rational animals (i.e. humans)"(29). Aquinas also is a quaternist; or even he is a sexternist, for he adds angels and God. The main difference within the philosophy of mind is not between dualists and materialists, but between both of them together, on the one hand, and quaternists like Aristotle (or sexternists like Aquinas) on the other. Both Aristotle and Aquinas understand the human being as occupying a certain level on an ascending scale, as a special kind of animal. An animal is a special kind of living thing, and a living thing is a special kind of physical body. If the level below always constitutes a conditio sine qua non, each level is nevertheless qualitatively irreducible. No bottom-up explanation will work. Soul is not something that is added, or which falls inside, or is united to a physical thing. Soul is what makes you the kind of thing you are, and a human soul makes you human being. It could be said that there is no philosophy of mind in Aristotle and Aquinas, but rather an attempt to explain what life is for sentient animals and human beings, as in the De Anima, or an anthropology, that is, an attempt to explain what kind of life a human being lives.
5. CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY AND THE SOUL
If what I have said is right, the category of "Christian philosophy" is quite tenuous, especially when what is in question is soul. The controversy about Christian philosophy during the thirties focuses clearly on the relation between faith and reason.(30) The problem was to know whether Christian philosophy was "like a square circle", as a German philosopher put it. But another difficulty is related to our problem: Concerning the status of soul, Christanity has two sources, one is Neo-platonic, and envisages soul as a spiritual entity trapped within a body, while the other is Aristotelian, and takes the soul to be what makes certain things what they are.
Perhaps also, it would be possible to understand the thirteenth-century controversy that conducted to the Parisian and Oxonian condemnations as partly related to this problem. Franciscans like Bonaventure could not accept the type of anthropology Aquinas developed. For Bonaventure, there are three regards (aspectus) that the spirit (mens) exercises: one is related to external bodies (sensibility); one is related to itself, it is intra se et in se, i.e. internal; the last one is related to the Transcendant, which is the reason why we call it spirit.(31) It is clear that the notion of self-consciousness lies at the center of such an account. The term spiritus refers to the internal consideration of the spirit by itself. Here, the term anima does not even appear.
It seems to me that Aquinas had completely different preoccupations. We have seen that it gives to the intellect a special role in the characterisation of the human soul. The human being is a kind of intellectual being, able to understand intelligible species, and not limited to sensibility, like animals. What is meant by the separation of intellect in Aristotle is not internal spirituality, the dialogue of the spirit with itself, but the irreducibility of thought and language, of the logos, to physical things. It means the development of human culture as a common culture.
"The mind itself can be defined as the capacity for behaviour of the complicated and symbolic kinds which constitute the linguistic, social, moral, economic, scientific, cultural, and other characteristic activities of human beings in society"(32), says Anthony Kenny. Intellect is not self-awareness in the sense that has been developed by Descartes and strongly criticized by Wittgenstein as the supposed use of a private language--which is, in Wittgenstein's view, a contradiction in adjecto. Human intelligence is the human ability to develop public symbolic structures that permit human autonomous activity. For a human being, to have a soul is to belong to the human community through language and moral behaviour, a very special kind of relation to others. The incorporeality of nous and of intellect means that we, human beings, are of a very special sort, irreducible to physical things or sentient animals, not that we are spirits trapped in a material world who must look into ourselves for a transcendant voice that can only be heard by turning away from the physical.
Aquinas discovered in Aristotle a new anthropology that was able to give a fundamental role to the body without ignoring what make us human beings: speaking rational creatures. This new anthropology made it possible to understand why salvation was not only the salvation of souls, but of the whole of humanity: of each individual human being, with his body, and as a concrete creature. Probably Aquinas thought that Aristotle's account of the soul was fundamentally better than Plato's because it fitted better with Christian theology.(33) The immortality of soul was evident to philosophers in the thirteenth century. What was difficult to understand was that soul is not a separable entity, something internal imprisoned in a corporeal entity. But Aquinas did it perfectly.
Today, some philosophers seem to think that soul is simply an out-dated concept, something that deserves only an historical treatment but which cannot be taken seriously in the wake of modern psychoanalysis, cognitive science and the new philosophy of mind. It is true that neuro-surgeons do far better today than formerly in repairing damaged brains, and that we have very efficient medicine for nervous breakdowns and depression. But, I think that Thomistic account of the soul is a better theory of the mind than any other. It is a sound and thoroughly modern vision in its fundamentals, and one from which we have much to learn.(34)
1. Averroes, Commentary of the Third Book of Aristotle's De Anima, translated into French by A. de Libéra, GF Flammarion, Paris, 1998, p. 101.
2. There is a recent very good book on the subject : La condamnation parisienne de 1277, Texte latin, traduction, introduction et commentaire par D. Piché, Vrin, Paris, 1999.
3. P. Mandonnet, Siger de Brabant et l'Averroïsme latin au XIIIe siècle, Institut Supérieur de Philosophie, Louvain, 1908-1911 (2 t.).
4. I am here very close to É. Gilson, L'Esprit de la philosophie médiévale, Vrin, Paris, 1989, chap. IX (L'Anthropologie chrétienne).
5. "Fiaciamus Hominem" (Gen., I, 26; see also Gen., II, 7).
6. See also De moribus ecclesiae, I, 4, 6. The problem of an Augustinian anthropology appears clearly in De Trinitate, XV, VII, 11 : "Quod si etiam sic definiatione hominem, ut dicamus, Homo est substantia rationalis costans ex anima et corpore ; non est dubium hominem habere animam quae non est corpus, habere corpus quod non est anima. Ac per hoc illa tria non homo sunt, sed hominis sunt, vel in homine sunt". I would say that it is exactly this kind of unclear affirmation that Saint Thomas wanted to clarify through a better anthropology than Augustin's.
7. See for example, É. Gilson, Introduction à l'étude de saint Augustin, Vrin, Paris, 1943, p. 62-63.
8. See Thomas Aquinas, De unitate intellectus contra Auerroistas, ed. and tr. A. de Libéra, GF Flammarion, Paris, 1994.
9. That this treatrise is licentious is not completely clear, as it is shown by D. Piché in his edition of the Parisian condamnation, p. 232, n. 2.
10. For J. Kim, who develops a materialist account of the mind, "it seems that [in a functionalist theory] we cannot set aside the possibility of immaterial realization of mentality as a matter of a priori conceptual fact" (Philosophy of Mind, Westview Press, Boulder, 1996, p. 74); Kim refers explicitly to angels.
11. French contemporary philosophy is well known for post-modernism and deconstructionism. But, in fact, in academic milieux, what has been far more influent in the last years, has been described as "the theological turn of French phenomenology"--with philosophers lika E. Levinas, J.-L. Marion and M. Henry, all mainly inspired by Husserl and Heidegger.
12. I quote the "official" Adam & Tannery edition.
13. This has been shown, as is well known, by É. Gilson, Index scolastico-cartésien, but it is still one of the main preoccupations of current sholarly work on Descartes in France.
14. This is the main point in the famous text by Augustine in De Trinitate, X, 10, 15-16. For Augutine, what shows that it is false is that "mentem nosse se etiam cum quærit se" [the mind as it is searching for itself knows itself].
15. J. Benoist, "La subjectivité", in D. Kamboucher (ed.), Notions de philosophie, t. II, Gallimard (Folio), 1995, p. 511.
16. R. Pouivet, Après Wittgenstein, saint Thomas, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 1997.
17. Of course, these philosophers differ considerably from one another. In particular, Ryle has behaviouristic tendancies which are completely rejected by Geach, as is clear in Geach's Mental Acts.
18. G.H. Von Wright, "Norman Malcolm Memorial address", in N. Malcolm, ed. by G.H. Von Wright, Wittgensteinian Themes, Essays 1978-1989, Cornell University Press, 1995, pp. 212-213.
19. M. Burnyeat, "Is an Aristotelian Philosophy of Mind still Credible?", in M. C. Nussbaum and A. O. Rorty, Essays on Aristotle's De Anima, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1992, p. 26.
20. N. Goodman, Of Mind and other Matters, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1984, p. 191.
21. A. Kenny, The Legacy of Wittgenstein, Blackwell, London, 1984, p. xi.
22. A. Kenny, The Metaphysics of Mind, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1989, p. 2.
23. M. C. Nussbaum and H. Putnam, "Changing Aristotle's Mind", in M. C. Nussbaum and A. O. Rorty, op. cit., p. 27.
24. Aristotle, De Anima, 403a 23-b 17.
25. Aquinas, Commentary on Aristotle's De Anima, I, ii.
26. Aristotle, Physics, II, 2, 194a 21-194b 9-13.
27. Aristotle, De Anima, I, 4, 429a 22-25.
28. Quoted in latin by É. Gilson, in Intoduction à l'étude de saint Augustin, op. cit., p. 70, n. 2.
29. C. H. Kahn, "Aristotle on Thinking", in M. C. Nussbaum and A. O. Rorty (eds), p. 359.
30. See R. McInerny, "Reflections on Christian Philosophy", in L. Zagzebski, Rational Faith, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1993.
31. Saint Bonaventure, Itinerarium mentis in Deum, ed. H. Duméry, Vrin, Paris, 1986, I, 4.
32. A. Kenny, The Metaphysics of Mind, p. 7.
33. Peter Van Inwagen says that "almost without exception, the Fathers [of the Church] were dualists" ("Dualism and Materialism : Athens and Jerusalem ?", in The Possibility Ressurection and Other Essays in Christian Apologetics, Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1998, p. 56). It is a good thing that Van Inwagen says "almost" here! He adds that "the anthropology of the Fathers is the result of an unfortunate marriage of Athens and Jerusalem". Such a marriage may be quite successful if celebrated by Brother Thomas Aquinas. Van Inwagen's paper treats of the Ressurection of the Dead. On such a topic, Saint Thomas can even say that the bodies of the ressurected people will be thirty two or thirty three, that is the perfect age (In symbolum apostolorum scilicet "Credo in Deum" expositio, § 164).
34. In this paper, I have been influenced by a yet-unpublished piece by Mikael M. Karlsson, "Aristotle's Woolen Axe: Some Thoughts About the Embodiment of Life and Mind". Professor Karlsson says there that "the soul [in Aristotle's account] is not (…) an independant being of a mysterious sort, but simply the (analytically distinguishable) make-up of a body which can do certain things precisely because of the way in which it is made up".