Boethius (480-524)

Course Description

Since the term Psychology is derived from two Greek words: Psych, meaning soul, and Logos meaning study or research,this course will be an in-depth ‘study of the soul.’ After studying the philosophy of nature, where we looked at the material world insofar as it is inanimate, in this course we turn our attention to the material world insofar as it is living. This course is divided into four distinct parts. In the first we will look at what distinguishes living material beings from the non-living. Once we have established this essential difference we can explore living material beings more specifically.

In the second part of this course we look at what constitutes the most fundamental acts of life for any living material organism: growth, nutrition and reproduction or generation. For a living body to be alive it must be able to do these three activities. Once this is established, in the third part of this course, we will explore what constitutes a living material being as sensitive (i.e., the brute animals). It is here that we will see the distinction between plant and animal life. While looking at sensitive life we will see what is essential to the act of knowledge. Our investigation of sensitive life will include an analysis of sensitive affectivity: the passions of love, desire, anger etc. In this third part of the course we will also look at what distinguishes the human person from the lower animals.

The final part of this course will look at the human person as he is distinctively human, climaxing in an investigation of the spirituality and therefore immortality of the human soul and the proof of the freedom of the human will.

Join us for this most interesting course in the philosophy of living beings and the human person!

Course Objectives

  1. To obtain a firm grasp of the nature of Philosophical Psychology.
  2. To know the nature of a soul, and to know the difference between the vegetative, sensitive and intellective souls.
  3. To understand the difference between sensitive and intellective knowledge; and sensitive and intellective appetite.
  4. To see the proof for the spirituality and therefore immortality of the human soul.
  5. To grasp the proof for the freedom of the human will.

Course Duration

6 Weeks: 12 Hours (i.e., two hours, one night a week).

Recommended Reading

Popular Level Reading:

Gardeil, H.D. Introduction to the Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas (vol. 3: Psychology). Eugene, OR:Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2009.

Brennan, Robert Edward. Thomistic Psychology: A Philosophic Analysis of the Nature of Man. London: Macmillan Company, 1967.

Garrigou-Lagrange, Reginald. Reality: A Synthesis of Thomistic Thought. Translated by Patrick Cummins. London: B. Herder Book Co., 1950.

Geisler, Norman L. and Paul D. Feinberg. Introduction to Philosophy: A Christian Perspective. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1980.

Glenn, Paul. Apologetics. Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1980.

_________. Introduction to Philosophy. London: B. Herder Book Co., 1966.

Maritain, Jacques. Introduction to Philosophy. Translated by E.I. Watkin. Merryland: Sheed and Ward, 2005.

Scholarly Level Reading:

Aristotle. The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation. Edited by Jonathan Barnes. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1984.

Dales, Richard. The Problem of the Rational Soul in the Thirteenth Century. Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 1997.

Hackett, Jeremiah, ed. Aquinas on Mind and Intellect: New Essays. Oakdale, NY: Dowling College Press, 1996.

Kenny, Anthony. Aquinas on Mind. New York: Routledge, 1993.

Lambert, Richard Thomas. Self Knowledge in Thomas Aquinas: The Angelic Doctor on the Soul’s Knowledge of Itself. Bloomington, IN: Arthur House, 2007.

Maritain, Jacques. The Degrees of Knowledge (The Collected Works of Jacques Maritain, vol. 7). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1999.

Oguejiofor, J. Obi. The Philosophical Significance of Immortality in Thomas Aquinas. Merryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001.

Woodbury, Austin. Natural Philosophy: Philosophical Psychology. Sydney: Aquinas Academy (unpublished text), 1950-51.

Scholarly Journal Articles:

Abel, Donald C. “Intellectual Substance as Form of the Body in Aquinas.” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 69, Supplement (1995): 227-236.

Adler, Mortimer J. “Sense Cognition: Aristotle vs. Aquinas.” New Scholasticism 42 (1968): 579-591.

Brennan, Sheila O’Flynn. “Sensing and the Sensitive Mean in Aristotle.” New Scholasticism 47 (1973): 270-310.

Cohen, Sheldon M. “St. Thomas Aquinas on the Immaterial Reception of Sensible Forms.” The Philosophical Review 91 (1982): 193-209.

Foster, David Ruel. “Aquinas on the Immateriality of the Intellect.” Thomist 55 (1991).

_________. “Aquinas’ Arguments for Spirit.” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 65, Supplement (1991).

Haldane, John. “Aquinas and the Active Intellect.” Philosophy (UK) 67 (1992).

_________. “Aquinas on Sense Perception.” The Philosophical Review 92 (1983): 233-239.

Martin, James T. “Aquinas as a Commentator on De Anima 3.5.” Thomist 57 (1993).

Novak, Joseph. “Aquinas and the Incorruptibility of the Soul.” History of Philosophy Quarterly 4 (1987): 405-421