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The Thought of Thomas Aquinas$
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Brian Davies

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198267539

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198267533.001.0001

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Being Human

Being Human

Chapter:
(p.207) 11 Being Human
Source:
The Thought of Thomas Aquinas
Author(s):

Brian Davies (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198267533.003.0011

Thomas Aquinas maintains that we share in the life of the Trinity as human beings, and in order to grasp the implications of that notion, this chapter examines what he thinks human beings are. First, it looks at the concepts of Dualism (Descartes’ view that people are composed of a separate mind and body) and Physicalism (which says that people are made up of one kind of matter – or body – and that this includes the mind, or mental processes), and concludes that Aquinas occupied a viewpoint between these two extremes. Next, it looks at the position that he held on people as having both soul and body, which he does not treat as distinct things, but nevertheless feels obliged to distinguish. Following on from this, Aquinas’ thinking on death and the soul is examined. The last part of the chapter looks at desire and action; here, Aquinas is shown to treat human action both as voluntary (free) and as occurring on the basis of dispositions, which are determined by past events and by choice.

Keywords:   action, action by disposition, Thomas Aquinas, body, choice, death, desire, Dualism, human action, Physicalism, predermination, soul, voluntary action

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