Survivalism, Suitably Modified

The Thomist 85 (3):349-376 (2021)
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A well-known problem seems to beset views on which humans are essentially material, but where I can survive my death: they seem incoherent or reducible to substance dualism. Thomas Aquinas held a unique hylomorphic view of the human person as essentially composed of body and soul, but where the human soul can survive the death of the body. ‘Survivalists’ have argued that, post mortem, a human person comes to be composed of their soul alone. ‘Corruptionists’ point to Thomas’ texts, where he claims that the human person ceases to exist at death and only a part of one – albeit a special part – persists. With some help from Elizabeth Anscombe, I show that a denial of the semantic and metaphysical assumptions made by both parties on that point gives us a much better solution to the controversy over the personality of the separated soul.

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James Dominic Rooney
Hong Kong Baptist University


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