How can the soul leave the body if it is the form of it?

The soul is the form of the body. Therefore, the soul is in the place that the body is.

The body decomposes. The intellect does not. The intellect is what persists, it being a power of the soul, and it retains the form/soul.


You’re taking “form” to mean something that has physical extension. The soul does not. Therefore, the soul doesn’t have the attribute of “place”.


My question might be splitting hairs but can we also say, if it’s not already already implied in saying the intellect persists, that the will persists along with the intellect, the soul being intellect and will?

The human soul is immaterial and the human body is material.

The soul is contained within the body, or the body is contained within the soul. Either way, the soul will separate from the body at death and remain so until the resurrection of us all.

Have you ever been present when a person dies? It is stunning how they instantly change in appearance. My husband went from looking like my best friend of decades to a body that resembled him, as if someone replaced him with a wax figure (this was right there at the deathbed, not after any funeral home prep). As if a switch is shut off. There is no doubt that the soul is gone and the body reflects that.


I don’t think that what you said is an answer to my objection.

Physical extension is an attribute of matter together with shape/form.

Form is attribute of matter. Matter has a location. Therefore, form is where matter is.

Is the soul the form of the body?

That doesn’t mean anything to me.

Form means the nature or essence of a thing. A human soul is related to the human body as form to subject (S.T. 1-2,50,1). A human being is not something that has a body, but rather, it is a body.

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When a human body dies, the soul leaves the body and a new set of substantial forms instantly replaces the former soul. Of course, I do not know the exact moment when the soul leaves the body, but at that moment the body ceases to be a human body and it simply becomes an aggregate of various substances and chemicals. Each of these various substances that comprise the corpse will have its own substantial form.

The same thing happens when a part of a living body is cut off or amputated. The human body has many parts, but it has only one indivisible substantial form, called the soul. The soul is, whole and entire, in each and every part of a living body. But when an arm is cut off, the arm removed will no longer have the substantial form that once animated it. The separated arm will now be just an aggregate of substances, each having its own substantial form. Now, if the technology is available that can restore the separated arm back to the living body, then the soul can animate that arm again.

In philosophy the sudden loss of an old form or the sudden acquisition of new forms is technically not called motion, but mutation.

I will be coming off and on in this thread, but if you have any question or comment, just post it and I will respond as quickly as I can.

Angels have form but no matter. The form or essence in humans is distinguished by different matter for each individual human. In angels by species, each individual angel being a distinct species.

There are two primary ways of looking at this. The first way is the Platonic view. Plato believed that forms are separable from their bodies. Forms exist in the intangible realm as opposed to the material realm of the bodies. So when the body died, the soul (form) would leave the body and actualize another one. The notion that the forms are not separable comes primarily from Aristotle. So for the Platonist, it wouldn’t even make sense that the form of something is tied inextricably to the thing itself.

The second way of viewing this problem is the Aristotelian way. For Aristotle, the soul is the principle of animation. The soul animates a body. As such, it is the form. He believed that since it is the principle of animation, it is tied to the body. So when the body died, the soul died as well. He did outline an exception: a rational soul. The rational soul allows for rationality (nous) in the body. So all rational animals possess a rational soul. Upon a rational animals death, since rationality is a sign of actuality (which comes from God/Pure Actuality), the rational soul shares in this actuality upon death. It may be helpful to return to thinking in Platonic terms. All of the forms come from The Good (God) and all things return to The Good. So once the body dies, the form that was given by God returns to God.

Form to me is the configuration of matter. Nature and essence are different things.

I would say not. The body is an energy field designed to take on the appearance of physical matter. The consciousness, soul if we prefer, resides with that temporarily. Our soul does not look like our body but could take on that or any other form at any time. Just my thoughts. No obligation. :slight_smile:

Good solution. I have another question: Is soul immaterial? If yes, how could it have a location, the position of the alive person?

How do you relate soul to the body if they reside in two different realms?

What do you mean with “the rationality is a sign of actuality”? How something which is actual could survive upon death?

It only has to mean something to your creator, God. He has charge of your body and soul in the end at the judgement.

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