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Full Access Aquinas’s Natural Heart

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Aquinas’s Natural Heart

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Thomas Aquinas significantly revised Aristotelian cardiocentrism on the origin and act of the passions of the soul. His Summa theologiae and other writings asserted the primacy of the soul over the body to argue for the cause of the passions as an alteration of the soul, which affected cardiac movements. Aquinas revised the Aristotelian tradition that the soul existed in the body as domiciled in the heart, the primary organ, as its vital principle. Aquinas argued that the soul informed the body and cohered with every organ. His decisive analysis in his late, neglected De motu cordis reinforced the movements of the heart as instantiating the soul as the form of the body. Aquinas maintained that the heart was indeed the natural mover of the body, even though the heart 
was moved by the soul, yet insofar as the soul informed the body, not as resident in the heart.

Affiliations: 1: Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto

Thomas Aquinas significantly revised Aristotelian cardiocentrism on the origin and act of the passions of the soul. His Summa theologiae and other writings asserted the primacy of the soul over the body to argue for the cause of the passions as an alteration of the soul, which affected cardiac movements. Aquinas revised the Aristotelian tradition that the soul existed in the body as domiciled in the heart, the primary organ, as its vital principle. Aquinas argued that the soul informed the body and cohered with every organ. His decisive analysis in his late, neglected De motu cordis reinforced the movements of the heart as instantiating the soul as the form of the body. Aquinas maintained that the heart was indeed the natural mover of the body, even though the heart 
was moved by the soul, yet insofar as the soul informed the body, not as resident in the heart.

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/content/journals/10.1163/15733823-0010a0002
2013-01-01
2016-12-03

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