American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 91, Issue 4, Fall 2017

Dietrich von Hildebrand

Mark K. Spencer
Pages 719-753

The Many Powers of the Human Soul
Von Hildebrand’s Contributions to Scholastic Philosophical Anthropology

Dietrich von Hildebrand is often seen as being at odds with the scholastics in his anthropology. I argue that he in fact uses scholastic principles when distinguishing the powers of the human soul, but he uses these principles to distinguish many more powers in our souls than the scholastics do. His expansion of the list of human powers both is supported by and safeguards his expanded metaphysics of given reality. I first consider the principles that the scholastics use in reasoning about powers. I then show how von Hildebrand’s account of the human person is hylomorphic. Finally, I present von Hildebrand’s account of human powers, in light of the scholastic principles, considering his accounts first of bodily powers and then of powers in the soul.