Summa Theologiae by St Thomas Aquinas
FP: Treatise On Man
Q76 Of The Union Of Body And Soul
< previous   Article 4   next >

Prologue   A1   A2   A3   A4   A5   A6   A7   A8  

A4 Whether in man there is another form besides the intellectual soul?

[a] Objection 1:
It would seem that in man there is another form besides the intellectual soul. For the Philosopher says (De Anima ii, 1), that "the soul is the act of a physical body which has life potentially." Therefore the soul is to the body as a form of matter. But the body has a substantial form by which it is a body. Therefore some other substantial form in the body precedes the soul.

[b] Objection 2:
Further, man moves himself as every animal does. Now everything that moves itself is divided into two parts, of which one moves, and the other is moved, as the Philosopher proves (Phys. viii, 5). But the part which moves is the soul. Therefore the other part must be such that it can be moved. But primary matter cannot be moved (Phys. v, 1), since it is a being only potentially; indeed everything that is moved is a body. Therefore in man and in every animal there must be another substantial form, by which the body is constituted.

[c] Objection 3:
Further, the order of forms depends on their relation to primary matter; for "before" and "after" apply by comparison to some beginning. Therefore if there were not in man some other substantial form besides the rational soul, and if this were to inhere immediately to primary matter; it would follow that it ranks among the most imperfect forms which inhere to matter immediately.

[d] Objection 4:
Further, the human body is a mixed body. Now mingling does not result from matter alone; for then we should have mere corruption. Therefore the forms of the elements must remain in a mixed body; and these are substantial forms. Therefore in the human body there are other substantial forms besides the intellectual soul.

[e] On the contrary,
Of one thing there is but one substantial being. But the substantial form gives substantial being. Therefore of one thing there is but one substantial form. But the soul is the substantial form of man. Therefore it is impossible for there to be in man another substantial form besides the intellectual soul.

[f] I answer that,
If we suppose that the intellectual soul is not united to the body as its form, but only as its motor, as the Platonists maintain, it would necessarily follow that in man there is another substantial form, by which the body is established in its being as movable by the soul. If, however, the intellectual soul be united to the body as its substantial form, as we have said above [616] (A [1]), it is impossible for another substantial form besides the intellectual soul to be found in man.

[g] In order to make this evident, we must consider that the substantial form differs from the accidental form in this, that the accidental form does not make a thing to be "simply," but to be "such," as heat does not make a thing to be simply, but only to be hot. Therefore by the coming of the accidental form a thing is not said to be made or generated simply, but to be made such, or to be in some particular condition; and in like manner, when an accidental form is removed, a thing is said to be corrupted, not simply, but relatively. Now the substantial form gives being simply; therefore by its coming a thing is said to be generated simply; and by its removal to be corrupted simply. For this reason, the old natural philosophers, who held that primary matter was some actual being -- for instance, fire or air, or something of that sort -- maintained that nothing is generated simply, or corrupted simply; and stated that "every becoming is nothing but an alteration," as we read, Phys. i, 4. Therefore, if besides the intellectual soul there pre-existed in matter another substantial form by which the subject of the soul were made an actual being, it would follow that the soul does not give being simply; and consequently that it is not the substantial form: and so at the advent of the soul there would not be simple generation; nor at its removal simple corruption, all of which is clearly false.

[h] Whence we must conclude, that there is no other substantial form in man besides the intellectual soul; and that the soul, as it virtually contains the sensitive and nutritive souls, so does it virtually contain all inferior forms, and itself alone does whatever the imperfect forms do in other things. The same is to be said of the sensitive soul in brute animals, and of the nutritive soul in plants, and universally of all more perfect forms with regard to the imperfect.

[i] Reply to Objection 1:
Aristotle does not say that the soul is the act of a body only, but "the act of a physical organic body which has life potentially"; and that this potentiality "does not reject the soul." Whence it is clear that when the soul is called the act, the soul itself is included; as when we say that heat is the act of what is hot, and light of what is lucid; not as though lucid and light were two separate things, but because a thing is made lucid by the light. In like manner, the soul is said to be the "act of a body," etc., because by the soul it is a body, and is organic, and has life potentially. Yet the first act is said to be in potentiality to the second act, which is operation; for such a potentiality "does not reject" -- that is, does not exclude -- the soul.

[j] Reply to Objection 2:
The soul does not move the body by its essence, as the form of the body, but by the motive power, the act of which presupposes the body to be already actualized by the soul: so that the soul by its motive power is the part which moves; and the animate body is the part moved.

[k] Reply to Objection 3:
We observe in matter various degrees of perfection, as existence, living, sensing, and understanding. Now what is added is always more perfect. Therefore that form which gives matter only the first degree of perfection is the most imperfect; while that form which gives the first, second, and third degree, and so on, is the most perfect: and yet it inheres to matter immediately.

[l] Reply to Objection 4:
Avicenna held that the substantial forms of the elements remain entire in the mixed body; and that the mixture is made by the contrary qualities of the elements being reduced to an average. But this is impossible, because the various forms of the elements must necessarily be in various parts of matter; for the distinction of which we must suppose dimensions, without which matter cannot be divisible. Now matter subject to dimension is not to be found except in a body. But various bodies cannot be in the same place. Whence it follows that elements in the mixed body would be distinct as to situation. And then there would not be a real mixture which is in respect of the whole; but only a mixture apparent to sense, by the juxtaposition of particles.

[m] Averroes maintained that the forms of elements, by reason of their imperfection, are a medium between accidental and substantial forms, and so can be "more" or "less"; and therefore in the mixture they are modified and reduced to an average, so that one form emerges from them. But this is even still more impossible. For the substantial being of each thing consists in something indivisible, and every addition and subtraction varies the species, as in numbers, as stated in Metaph. viii (Did. vii, 3); and consequently it is impossible for any substantial form to receive "more" or "less." Nor is it less impossible for anything to be a medium between substance and accident.

[n] Therefore we must say, in accordance with the Philosopher (De Gener. i, 10), that the forms of the elements remain in the mixed body, not actually but virtually. For the proper qualities of the elements remain, though modified; and in them is the power of the elementary forms. This quality of the mixture is the proper disposition for the substantial form of the mixed body; for instance, the form of a stone, or of any sort of soul.