Summa Theologica
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Whether besides the intellectual soul there are in man other souls essentially different from one another?

Objection 1: It would seem that besides the intellectual soul there are in man other souls essentially different from one another, such as the sensitive soul and the nutritive soul. For corruptible and incorruptible are not of the same substance. But the intellectual soul is incorruptible; whereas the other souls, as the sensitive and the nutritive, are corruptible, as was shown above (Q[75], A[6]). Therefore in man the essence of the intellectual soul, the sensitive soul, and the nutritive soul, cannot be the same.

Objection 2: Further, if it be said that the sensitive soul in man is incorruptible; on the contrary, "corruptible and incorruptible differ generically," says the Philosopher, Metaph. x (Did. ix, 10). But the sensitive soul in the horse, the lion, and other brute animals, is corruptible. If, therefore, in man it be incorruptible, the sensitive soul in man and brute animals will not be of the same "genus." Now an animal is so called from its having a sensitive soul; and, therefore, "animal" will not be one genus common to man and other animals, which is absurd.

Objection 3: Further, the Philosopher says, Metaph. viii (Did. vii, 2), that the genus is taken from the matter, and difference from the form. But "rational," which is the difference constituting man, is taken from the intellectual soul; while he is called "animal" by reason of his having a body animated by a sensitive soul. Therefore the intellectual soul may be compared to the body animated by a sensitive soul, as form to matter. Therefore in man the intellectual soul is not essentially the same as the sensitive soul, but presupposes it as a material subject.

On the contrary, It is said in the book De Ecclesiasticis Dogmatibus xv: "Nor do we say that there are two souls in one man, as James and other Syrians write; one, animal, by which the body is animated, and which is mingled with the blood; the other, spiritual, which obeys the reason; but we say that it is one and the same soul in man, that both gives life to the body by being united to it, and orders itself by its own reasoning."

I answer that, Plato held that there were several souls in one body, distinct even as to organs, to which souls he referred the different vital actions, saying that the nutritive power is in the liver, the concupiscible in the heart, and the power of knowledge in the brain. Which opinion is rejected by Aristotle (De Anima ii, 2), with regard to those parts of the soul which use corporeal organs; for this reason, that in those animals which continue to live when they have been divided in each part are observed the operations of the soul, as sense and appetite. Now this would not be the case if the various principles of the soul's operations were essentially different, and distributed in the various parts of the body. But with regard to the intellectual part, he seems to leave it in doubt whether it be "only logically" distinct from the other parts of the soul, "or also locally."

The opinion of Plato might be maintained if, as he held, the soul was supposed to be united to the body, not as its form, but as its motor. For it involves nothing unreasonable that the same movable thing be moved by several motors; and still less if it be moved according to its various parts. If we suppose, however, that the soul is united to the body as its form, it is quite impossible for several essentially different souls to be in one body. This can be made clear by three different reasons.

In the first place, an animal would not be absolutely one, in which there were several souls. For nothing is absolutely one except by one form, by which a thing has existence: because a thing has from the same source both existence and unity; and therefore things which are denominated by various forms are not absolutely one; as, for instance, "a white man." If, therefore, man were 'living' by one form, the vegetative soul, and 'animal' by another form, the sensitive soul, and "man" by another form, the intellectual soul, it would follow that man is not absolutely one. Thus Aristotle argues, Metaph. viii (Did. vii, 6), against Plato, that if the idea of an animal is distinct from the idea of a biped, then a biped animal is not absolutely one. For this reason, against those who hold that there are several souls in the body, he asks (De Anima i, 5), "what contains them?"---that is, what makes them one? It cannot be said that they are united by the one body; because rather does the soul contain the body and make it one, than the reverse.

Secondly, this is proved to be impossible by the manner in which one thing is predicated of another. Those things which are derived from various forms are predicated of one another, either accidentally, (if the forms are not ordered to one another, as when we say that something white is sweet), or essentially, in the second manner of essential predication, (if the forms are ordered one to another, the subject belonging to the definition of the predicate; as a surface is presupposed to color; so that if we say that a body with a surface is colored, we have the second manner of essential predication.) Therefore, if we have one form by which a thing is an animal, and another form by which it is a man, it follows either that one of these two things could not be predicated of the other, except accidentally, supposing these two forms not to be ordered to one another---or that one would be predicated of the other according to the second manner of essential predication, if one soul be presupposed to the other. But both of these consequences are clearly false: because "animal" is predicated of man essentially and not accidentally; and man is not part of the definition of an animal, but the other way about. Therefore of necessity by the same form a thing is animal and man; otherwise man would not really be the thing which is an animal, so that animal can be essentially predicated of man.

Thirdly, this is shown to be impossible by the fact that when one operation of the soul is intense it impedes another, which could never be the case unless the principle of action were essentially one.

We must therefore conclude that in man the sensitive soul, the intellectual soul, and the nutritive soul are numerically one soul. This can easily be explained, if we consider the differences of species and forms. For we observe that the species and forms of things differ from one another, as the perfect and imperfect; as in the order of things, the animate are more perfect than the inanimate, and animals more perfect than plants, and man than brute animals; and in each of these genera there are various degrees. For this reason Aristotle, Metaph. viii (Did. vii, 3), compares the species of things to numbers, which differ in species by the addition or subtraction of unity. And (De Anima ii, 3) he compares the various souls to the species of figures, one of which contains another; as a pentagon contains and exceeds a tetragon. Thus the intellectual soul contains virtually whatever belongs to the sensitive soul of brute animals, and to the nutritive souls of plants. Therefore, as a surface which is of a pentagonal shape, is not tetragonal by one shape, and pentagonal by another---since a tetragonal shape would be superfluous as contained in the pentagonal---so neither is Socrates a man by one soul, and animal by another; but by one and the same soul he is both animal and man.

Reply to Objection 1: The sensitive soul is incorruptible, not by reason of its being sensitive, but by reason of its being intellectual. When, therefore, a soul is sensitive only, it is corruptible; but when with sensibility it has also intellectuality, it is incorruptible. For although sensibility does not give incorruptibility, yet it cannot deprive intellectuality of its incorruptibility.

Reply to Objection 2: Not forms, but composites, are classified either generically or specifically. Now man is corruptible like other animals. And so the difference of corruptible and incorruptible which is on the part of the forms does not involve a generic difference between man and the other animals.

Reply to Objection 3: The embryo has first of all a soul which is merely sensitive, and when this is removed, it is supplanted by a more perfect soul, which is both sensitive and intellectual: as will be shown further on (Q[118], A[2], ad 2).

Reply to Objection 4: We must not consider the diversity of natural things as proceeding from the various logical notions or intentions, which flow from our manner of understanding, because reason can apprehend one and the same thing in various ways. Therefore since, as we have said, the intellectual soul contains virtually what belongs to the sensitive soul, and something more, reason can consider separately what belongs to the power of the sensitive soul, as something imperfect and material. And because it observes that this is something common to man and to other animals, it forms thence the notion of the "genus"; while that wherein the intellectual soul exceeds the sensitive soul, it takes as formal and perfecting; thence it gathers the "difference" of man.

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