After Corruptionism and Survivalism: Separated Souls as Incomplete Persons
Dr Daniel de Haan, Research Fellow at the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, University of Oxford.
There is a substantive disagreement among readers of Thomas Aquinas over the status of the human soul after death: is it a human person? Corruptionist hold the human person corrupts at death and only a non-person separated soul persists. Survivalists hold that the human person survives the death of the rational animal and persists as a separated soul. I shall argue corruptionism and survivalism both provide substantive arguments for rejecting the other position, and that we should articulate a third way that avoids the problems of corruptionism and survivalism. I shall articulate and defend a third position called "incomplete persons." I argue that Aquinas’s metaphysics of the human person is committed in principle to the doctrine that the separated rational soul of the human person after death is an incomplete person, because he holds that the separated rational soul is an incomplete "this something" (hoc aliquid) that performs rational operations.