Dominik Perler, "Ockham über die Seele und ihre Teile", in: Recherches de théologie et philosophie médiévales, 77/2 (2010), 313–350


Ockham affirms that a human being consists of three really distinct forms that exist in matter, thus defending a “pluralist” position in the debate about the soul. However, he takes a “unitarist” position with regard to the rational soul, claiming that intellect and will are not really distinct. Why does he not admit a plurality of forms in the rational soul as well? And why does he think that the rational soul as a whole is really distinct from the sensory soul? This paper examines these questions, thus analyzing Ockham’s metaphysics of the soul. It pays close attention to his arguments both for a plurality of forms and for the unity of the rational soul. It argues that Ockham carefully distinguishes between forms that are metaphysical parts of a human being, and faculties that are ways of acting of a specific form. This distinction enables him to reject both a radical unitarism that accepts one single form in a human being, and an excessive pluralism that posits as many forms as there are faculties.

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