Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 91, 2017

Philosophy, Faith, and Modernity

Jeremy W. Skrzypek
Pages 185-199

Complex Survivalism, or: How to Lose Your Essence and Live to Tell About It

Of those who defend a Thomistic hylomorphic account of human persons, “survivalists” hold that the persistence of the human person’s rational soul between death and the resurrection is sufficient to maintain the persistence of the human person herself throughout that interim. (“Corruptionists” deny this.) According to survivalists, at death, and until the resurrection, a human person comes to be temporarily composed of, but not identical to, her rational soul. One of the major objections to survivalism is that it is committed to a rejection of a widely accepted mereological principle called the weak-supplementation principle, according to which any composite whole must, at any moment of its existence, possess more than one proper part. In this paper, I argue that by recognizing the existence of certain other metaphysical parts of a human person beyond her prime matter and her rational soul, hylomorphists can adhere to survivalism without violating the weak-supplementation principle.