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Aquinas vs. Buridan on the Substance and Powers of the Soul

  • Adam WoodEmail author
Chapter
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Part of the Historical-Analytical Studies on Nature, Mind and Action book series (HSNA, volume 3)

Abstract

Wood’s chapter contrasts Aquinas and Buridan on the question of the relationships between souls and their powers. Both thinkers considered the question of whether the soul’s powers are distinct from the soul itself, and both gave an affirmative answer, but differed in that Aquinas insisted on a real distinction whereas Buridan was satisfied with a merely nominal or conceptual distinction, at least as far as principal powers are concerned; Buridan also distinguished instrumental powers, which he took to be really distinct from the substance of the soul. The chapter argues that anyone interested in allowing Aristotelian souls and psychological powers into their ontology at all—as both Aquinas and Buridan were—should draw a real, rather than merely nominal or conceptual, distinction between souls and powers (and between the powers themselves). Because Aquinas did so, and Buridan did not, Wood concludes that Aquinas has the better side of this debate.

Keywords

Nature Principal vs. instrumental powers Real vs. conceptual distinction 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wheaton CollegeWheatonUSA

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