Volume 12, Issue 4, October 1995
Christian Philosophy and the Mind-Body Problem
Non-Cartesian Substance Dualism and Materialism Without Reductionism
The major Western monotheisms, and Christianity in particular, are often supposed to be committed to a substance dualism of a Cartesian sort. Aquinas, however, has an account of the soul which is non-Cartesian in character. He takes the soul to be something essentially immaterial or configurational but nonetheless realized in material components. In this paper, I argue that Aquinas’s account is coherent and philosophically interesting; in my view, it suggests not only that Cartesian dualism isn’t essential to Christianity but also that the battle lines between dualism and materialism are misdrawn.