Persons, Souls, and Life After Death

In William Simpson, Robert C. Koons & James Orr (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Metaphysics and the Theology of Nature. New York, NY, USA: pp. 245-266 (2021)
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Thomistic Hylomorphists claim that we human persons have rational or intellective souls which can continue to exist separately from our bodies after we die. Much of the recent scholarly discussion of Thomistic Hylomorphism has centered on this thesis and the question of whether human persons can survive death along with their souls or whether only their souls can survive in this separated, disembodied, post-mortem state. As a result, two rival versions of Thomistic Hyomorphism have been formulated: Survivalism and Corruptionism. This chapter makes a new contribution to the debate between Survivalists and Corruptionists by identifying a heretofore undiscussed problem for Corruptionist Thomistic Hylomorphism. In particular, it is argued that if Corruptionists were right that human persons cannot survive their deaths along with their souls, this would undermine the grounds on which all Thomistic Hylomorphists, including Corruptionists, rely to justify their belief that our souls can continue to exist after our deaths. Given this, it is argued that Thomistic Hylomorphists have grounds for thinking that our souls can continue to exist after our deaths only if they allow, as Survivalists do and Corruptionists do not, that we human persons can continue to exist after our deaths, with souls but no bodies.

Author's Profile

Christopher Hauser
University of Scranton


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