Sunday, 25 November 2012

Thomism And Mythology

"The background here is Catholic, but the religion does not conform to the theology of St Thomas Aquinas. Rather, it is the naive, half-pagan mythology of peasants and seafarers in the early fourteenth century..." (Poul Anderson, The Merman's Children, London, 1981), p. viii).

Right. In the Thomist religious instruction/indoctrination that I received, we were taught, in accordance with Platonic-Cartesian mind-body dualism, that intellect and will were faculties of an immaterial soul and were impossible for a merely material brain.

If we met a Martian or merman and found that such a being was capable of thought, speech and volition, then we would infer from this alone that he possessed a soul. A merman with intellect and will but without a soul would have been regarded as contradictory yet such as these are characters in The Merman's Children where a soul is necessary neither for humanity nor for rationality but is merely a supernatural extra. The mermen who, lacking a soul, cease to exist at death are in no worse a condition than a secularist human being believes himself to be.

1 comment:

Paul Shackley said...

This and 3 previous posts will be illustrated when I am back on my own computer.