Hi, everyone. On another thread I posted this in response to Greg27 (hi, Greg27):
Originally Posted by Greg27
. I think the CC needs to dump scholasticism once and for all; St Thomas was a great philosopher, but notions like the ‘soul being the form of the body’ are very widely rejected by the mainstream of science and philosophy.
I agreed with most of your post; I wanted to respond to this, and yes I realize it is WAY off the thread. Just one quick post and then I’ll be quiet.
There are some current philosophers (I think of Wolfgang Smith in a 1999 issue of The Thomist and Simon Oliver in his recent book Philosophy, God and Motion) who are arguing for a return to “substantial form” language (soul being the form of the body). I think it’s still valid even for biological animation, for a lot of reasons, but these two look at quantum-level behavior of particles. They argue that the idea of a substantial form taking on corporeality out of a non-corporeal physical phenomenon is one way to make sense of why “super-position” and “bi-location” happen at a particle level, but not at a macro-level—the particle level has no substantial form, but has the “potential” for substantial form-ness. When it takes on a form / becomes corporeal, its behavior and motion become stable and it no longer exhibits bi-location when measured. It loses that potential when its “form” becomes the first “act” of its corporeal “body.”
You are right in one sense; neither in quantum theory nor in biology is this the mainstream view. But it does explain some observations of quantum behavior, and I think it is also the only good explanation of how corporeal bodies can come alive and begin to develop. It is also, in my opinion, the best way to argue on social issues (see Robert P. George, for example).
[This post was sort of off topic on the other thread, so I thought I’d start a new thread to see if anyone is interested in talking this over. Best, cpayne]