Being Human

Brian Davies

in The Thought of Thomas Aquinas

Published in print February 1993 | ISBN: 9780198267539
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600500 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

 Being Human

Show Summary Details


Thomas Aquinas maintains that we share in the life of the Trinity as human beings, and in order to grasp the implications of that notion, this chapter examines what he thinks human beings are. First, it looks at the concepts of Dualism (Descartes’ view that people are composed of a separate mind and body) and Physicalism (which says that people are made up of one kind of matter – or body – and that this includes the mind, or mental processes), and concludes that Aquinas occupied a viewpoint between these two extremes. Next, it looks at the position that he held on people as having both soul and body, which he does not treat as distinct things, but nevertheless feels obliged to distinguish. Following on from this, Aquinas’ thinking on death and the soul is examined. The last part of the chapter looks at desire and action; here, Aquinas is shown to treat human action both as voluntary (free) and as occurring on the basis of dispositions, which are determined by past events and by choice.

Keywords: action; action by disposition; Thomas Aquinas; body; choice; death; desire; Dualism; human action; Physicalism; predermination; soul; voluntary action

Chapter.  9098 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.