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Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy, Volume 2$
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Robert Pasnau

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198718468

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198718468.001.0001

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Aquinas on Spiritual Change

Aquinas on Spiritual Change

(p.98) Aquinas on Spiritual Change
Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy, Volume 2

Paul Hoffman

Oxford University Press

This chapter is a brief discussion of Thomas Aquinas’s views on spiritual change. Much of the chapter is spent clarifying the interpretive positions staked out by Myles Burnyeat and Sheldon Cohen. The chapter argues that although there is nominal agreement between Burnyeat and Cohen on these matters due to Burnyeat’s broad definition of “physical,” there is substantive disagreement as to whether the reception of sensible forms is a wholly corporeal event. And where there is substantive agreement—namely, in the contention that changes in or of the body are wholly corporeal—both Burnyeat and Cohen are mistaken. The chapter contends that, according to Aquinas, the sensible reception of sensible forms ‘is partly material and corporeal because it takes place in the body, but it is partly immaterial and incorporeal because it is not a natural change but rather a spiritual change.’

Keywords:   spiritual change, Aquinas, physical, material, immaterial

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