Mind and Hylomorphism

Robert Pasnau

in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195379488
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Mind and Hylomorphism

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  • History of Western Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Mind



For later medieval philosophers, writing under the influence of Aristotle's natural philosophy and metaphysics, the human soul plays two quite different roles, serving as both a substantial form and a mind. This article examines these roles, and then turns to whether one should suppose that one and the same thing—a soul—is both substantial form and mind. This dual-function thesis is the most distinctive feature of later medieval psychology and is one reason that work from this era remains well worth reading today. Philosophers since Descartes have rarely considered that it might be one thing, the soul, which accounts for both thought and substantial unity.

Keywords: natural philosophy; metaphysics; soul as form; medieval philosophy; soul as mind; Aristotle

Article.  10309 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mind

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