CT 89: Radication of All Faculties in the Essence of the Soul

At last, we have a blessedly short chapter, though that’s an interesting word at the head: “radication”. I think it means “the rooting”. Anyway, Thomas says,

Not only the agent intellect and the possible intellect, but also all the other powers that are principles of the soul’s operations, are united in the essence of the soul. All such powers are somehow rooted in the soul. Some of them, indeed, such as the powers of the vegetative and sensitive parts, are in the soul as in their principle, but in the composite as in their subject, because their activities pertain to the composite, not to the soul alone; for power and action belong to the same subject. Some of them, on the other hand, are in the soul both as principle and as subject, for their operations pertain to the soul apart from any bodily organ. These are the powers of the intellectual part. But a man cannot have several souls. Accordingly all the powers must pertain to the same soul.

Remember that plants and animals have souls as well, that is, they are alive, they have “breath”, which is what the Greek word for “soul” means. A plant’s faculties of growth and ingestion are rooted in the plant’s life, in its soul. An animal adds the faculties of movement and sense. But these faculties, though rooted in the plant’s or animal’s soul, involve the body as well. It is the body that grows, and the body that senses. Man has a rational soul: he has the faculties of the plants and animals, but adds intellect, which is not only rooted in the soul but is wholly contained with it.

But a man cannot have several souls, so all of these powers must be rooted in one and the same soul, the only one he’s got. Why? That’s the next chapter.

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