Valerian Sergiu Topală: Neo-Thomistic Organicism, A Scientific-Metaphysical Perspective on Human Nature

This article offers an alternative solution to the perennial philosophical problem of human nature. The view proposed is “Neo-Thomistic Organicism”, a form of dualism, of the hylomorphist type, that does not subscribe both to the extreme characteristics of Cartesian dualism, and to complementarian non-reductionist physicalist views. Our optic integrates the scientific elements of a form of biological vitalism and both shares Aristotelian-Thomist metaphysics, and alienates from Thomas Aquinas in crucial points. In this sense, our perspective is constituted as a scientific-metaphysical understanding regarding human nature, in general, and regarding the soul-body relationship, in particular. The novelty brought by our article does not lie in a completely new perspective, but in some of the morelandian modifications made to classical Thomism and in the holistic approach to the subject that integrates the relevant scientific discoveries in the field of biology and neuroscience. In opposition to Moreland, on the question of individuation, this article is proposing a hybrid approach to how substances and bare particulars possess properties. To achieve its purpose, our analytical approach will begin by offering an exposition of Thomas Aquinas treatise on human nature as it is registered in Summa Theologica, Ia, qq. 75-89, especially to outline, on this basis, some of the fundamental points in which we differ from classical Thomism. This will be followed by a presentation of our perspective, of the morelandian type, and its compatibility with scientific research in biology and neurology. Next, in order to further clarify our position, we will turn to a comparison between the morelandian perspective and complementarian naturalist-physicalist conceptions of human nature, especially of substance. At the end of this comparison we will outline the objections to the morelandian view that distinguish us from it. Finally, we will offer a response to the causal pairing physicalist objection.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.53438/WOKN8508

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