Volume 91, 2017
Philosophy, Faith, and Modernity
Understanding Hylomorphic Dualism
In this paper I will claim that the standard interpretation of Aquinas’s philosophy of mind is not satisfactory. A better reading is possible, which I will call strong hylomorphic dualism. Thus, I intend to do three things: first, I introduce strong hylomorphic dualism by highlighting the shortcomings of the standard reading, to which I will refer as weak hylomorphic dualism; second, I reconstruct two arguments provided by Aquinas to prove that his position is in fact best understood as strong hylomorphic dualism. Finally, I suggest that Aquinas thinks of the relationship between intellect and phantasms in terms of what could be called diagrammatic causality, as exemplified by his theory of abstraction and attention to the phantasms.