No Room at the Inn: Contemporary Philosophy of Mind Meets Thomistic Philosophical Anthropology

Alfred J. Freddoso

Summary: 1. St. Thomas on the sentient and intellective souls. 2. The contemporary problematic. 3. Conclusion: The cultural significance of Thomistic philosophical anthropology.

Abstract: Contemporary philosophy of mind looks very strange from a Thomistic perspective. First of all, it classifies any theory of mind that invokes immateriality as a form of dualism, whereas St. Thomas insisted repeatedly on the unity of the human being. Second, the main contemporary arguments against materialism focus on sensible qualia, whereas the only Thomistic arguments for the subsistence and immateriality of the human intellective soul appeal only to intellective cognition and affection. In this paper I begin to explore these differences and suggest at the end that contemporary philosophy of mind is the product of an ill-conceived problematic that has cultural significance.

Keywords: Thomas Aquinas, dualism, epistemology, human being, human intellective soul, materialism, philosophy of mind.