A Brief History of the Soul by Stewart Goetz

By Stewart Goetz

This booklet is a transparent and concise historical past of the soul in western philosophy, from Plato to state of the art modern paintings in philosophy of brain.

  • Packed with arguments for and opposed to a number varied, traditionally major philosophies of the soul
  • Addresses the basic matters, together with mind-body interplay, the causal closure of the actual global, and the philosophical implications of the mind sciences for the soul's life
  • Includes assurance of theories from key figures, corresponding to Plato, Aquinas, Locke, Hume, and Descartes
  • Unique in combining the heritage of principles and the improvement of a strong case for a non-reductionist, non-materialist account of the soul

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Pope Pius V pronounced him the “Angelic Doctor” in 1567. Aquinas regularly refers to Aristotle as “the Philosopher,” and his high regard for and use of Aristotle’s philosophy in explicating issues that are integrally related to his Christian belief makes apt either the description that he Aristotelianizes Christianity or the description that he Christianizes Aristotle. As we will see, Aquinas advocates a largely Aristotelian view of the soul, and this ultimately generates some particularly difficult questions for his Christian belief in the resurrection of the body and life in the world to come.

20), there are other places where he seems to believe that the soul is directly aware of its non-bodily nature. 6), Augustine maintains it is clear from a first-person perspective that the whole soul knows whatever it knows. Given that this is the case, when the soul knows that it knows, it knows all of itself. Because the whole soul knows the whole of itself, there is nothing of or about itself that is hidden to itself. The famous medievalist scholar Etienne Gilson summarizes Augustine’s view in the following way: [T]he mind [soul] knows its own existence with immediate evidence.

72). With this claim, that the soul is a substance in its own right, we have an affirmation of Plato’s and a renunciation of Aristotle’s position on the soul. 61). If we are our souls, however, then what is a human being? 11; cf. 8). It is in Augustine’s reflections about the substantial soul of a human being (which is the only kind of soul that will concern us in the next several chapters) that we discover some of the most important and original of his ideas. As Matthews points out, in Augustine’s writings “we find, for the first time, an argument for dualism that is 34 The Soul in Medieval Christian Thought essentially internalist.

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