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St. Thomas Aquinass Concept Of The Human Soul And The Influence Of Platonism

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Chapter Summary

What has often gone unnoticed or at least is not commented on is the way in which St. Thomas Aquinas used Platonic insights in order to explain what the soul is and how it functions in extraordinary situations before and after death. Such Platonism typically occurs when Aquinas sets out to explain why and how it is that the human soul needs to function independently of the senses. The reason for such independence is that the mind can see God unhindered by any sensory input when God is seen face to face. Aquinas insists in a number of places that the human being "is made up of body and soul as two things that constitute a third thing which is neither one of them, for (the human being) is neither soul nor body". This is the Aristotelian viewpoint, although Thomas's description of soul and body as "things" should be noted.

Keywords: Aristotle; God; human soul; Platonism; St. Thomas Aquinas



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