Publication details

Je aristotelsko-tomistický hylemorfismus schopný života?

Title in English Is Aristotelian-Thomist hylomorphism viable?


Year of publication 2013
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Filosofický časopis
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Medicine

Keywords philosophy; hylomorphism
Description A "strong" form of hylomorphism, according to which a living being is the metaphysical composition of a substantial form and of totally indeterminate first matter, is incompatible with modern natural science: the ability to have experiences, subjectivity, to differing degrees the basic property of the living, encounters not an indeterminate matter, but a matter already independently structured. A "soul" cannot function as the source of the macro-structure of an organism, which source is represented, instead, by the interaction of atoms and molecules that behave according to the same (deterministic) laws to which they are subjected outside the living body. Even less can the substantial form be responsible for the configuration at the level of atomic nuclei which do not take part, as such, in living functions and which, in terms of energy, vastly exceed such functions. For these and similar reasons, the idea of hylomorphism has been replaced by the polarity of subjectivity (mind) and body. The contemporary "organic" school (Varela, Jonas, Thompson, Spahn, and others) attempts, in the Aristotelean way, to bring mind closer to nature by pointing to the structural (formal) unity of a living being. This school is, however, conscious of the fact that a form can point to the specific unity of a living organism only if it is seen from "within" beings such as us - i.e. embodied subjectivities, with their qualia and moralia, which cannot be expressed by means of a "form". Form, in the end, belongs to a category that is describable only in the third person, and therefore, as such, does not resolve today's "hard problem" of the relation between mind and body.

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