We continue in our survey of philosophy with a discussion regarding the Human Person in Lesson Four. This discipline in philosophy comes down to one question: “What is man?” We see the effects of a poor understanding of the human person in the disordered world around us. How we understand ourselves, and how we understand others, ultimately decides how we treat them. If we decide that the human person is no different than the rest of the animal kingdom, then we will not give other humans any more rights, privileges, or respect than those of animals.Preview This Lesson
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After looking at some general concepts in the Philosophical Study of the Human Person, we can now study more systematic and foundational principles.
Three Types of Souls
Take a few moments to analyze the following diagram:
Ask yourself the following questions:
St. Thomas Aquinas follows the lead of Aristotle in distinguishing three types of souls. There are three types of souls because the soul is the substantial form of the body. Recall in our lesson about knowledge the concept of form and matter. Form gives matter the power to do what it can do. In a similar fashion, the soul gives the body the ability to perform certain kinds of actions; it is the root of activities and the principle of life.
Although there are three types of souls, there is only one type of immortal soul and that is the rational soul — the soul that each human person possesses. This is because only the human person has “spiritual faculties” (abilities). Plants and animals do not have immortal souls because they are only material.
These are the three types of souls and what they can do:
Vegetative Soul (Plants)
Sensitive Soul (Animals)
Rational Soul (Humans)
These three souls represent a hierarchy in nature. The lowest type of soul is the vegetative, and the highest is the rational. While the lower souls can do only what is in their nature to do, the higher souls can perform what is in their nature and everything included in the nature of the lower souls (i.e., the rational soul does everything that the sensitive and vegetative souls also do).
“Hylomorphic” comes from the Greek words “hyle,” meaning “matter,” and “morphe,” meaning “form.” This theory encapsulates what we have been studying about the soul: man is composed of a spiritual (rational) soul and a material body. The s... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
Philosophy #4 is part of the following course(s):