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The Human Soul as Hoc Aliquid and as Substance in Thomas Aquinas

Pedro Thyago dos Santos Ferreira


Thomas Aquinas defines the human soul with the same words of Aristotle: it is the substantial form of a human body potentially alive. However, one of the problems of the Thomistic psychology, according to D. Abel, consists in classifying the human soul by means of terms that are commonly used to name hylomorphic compounds, namely, substance and hoc aliquid. If the human soul is part of a hylomorphic compound, how could it be named as substance and hoc aliquid? The aim of this paper is to show the strategy that underlies this classification used by Aquinas. We suggest that it dates back to Aristotle when he attributes different meanings to the words substance and hoc aliquid. Aquinas’ novelty consists in expanding this semantic field by introducing a meaning that refers exclusively to the human soul, that is, the peculiar sense.


Human Soul, Substantial Form, Hoc Aliquid, Substance, Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle.

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