Monday, September 22, 2014

Review of Jaworski


My review of William Jaworski’s Philosophy of Mind: A Comprehensive Introduction appears in the latest issue (Vol. 88, No. 3) of the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly.  You can find a preview of the review here, though unfortunately most of the article is behind a paywall.  (I also say a bit about Jaworski’s approach to hylemorphism, and related contemporary approaches, in Scholastic Metaphysics.  See especially pp. 187-89.)

40 comments:

Greg said...

Ah! Paywalls. I was looking forward to this review.

Daniel said...

Wonderful! I am actually planing to subscribe to the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly but their webpage gives the odd impression that subscriptions are handled per calender year rather than per four copies. Either way it will be a Christmas present to myself the end of this year.

I intensely dislike Jaworski's book (I think someone else here had to bear the brunt of my explanation why). 'Locke is a Hylemorphist, Dewey is a Hylemorphist, Wittgenstein is a Hylemorphist, Ryle is a Hylemorphist et cetera et cetera'. Essentially Hylemorphism is a broader variation on Behaviorism tailor-made to appeal to disenchanted Functionalists and certainly not implying anything disturbing like 'the ghost in the machine'.

An entity's Form is something far more radical than its physical structure, namely, its immanent intelligible structure, its determining identity.. This is also ties in with how a Form differs from a Universal, something Russell and many others could never grasp. The Nominalist scholastics rejected Universals but could still maintain that beings were composites of Form and Matter: they would claim that each entity still had a Form qua intelligible structure/determining identity only that two Forms never shared a common nature as they only 'resembled' one another (this maintains Essentialism in that every entity has its own essence). Not that I think the latter is coherent mind only that it highlights an important difference.

Greg said...

I don't mind the recourse to Wittgenstein and Ryle. David Braine, in The Human Person, appeals to them quite a bit (along with Austin), although more as "suggestions" of the hylemorphic view within analytic philosophy than as card-carrying hylemorphists themselves.

But Jaworski's book certainly cites an odd cross-section of philosophers as hylemorphists. I don't have it on-hand at the moment, but it is strange.

Daniel said...

A quick message:

No hostility intended but I am familiar with that book of Braine's and I have very mixed opinions of him due such issues. I recall once rather disparagingly referring to him as 'Ryle's love-child' in lieu of all the rubbish about 'the anti-dualistic wisdom of Ryle and Austin' and 'a concept of the soul which is critical and Post-Wittgenstenian’.

I don't think the comparison with Wittgenstein or at least the ideas he seemed to be feeling towards, 'the body is the best image of the soul', is entirely unfruitful, but then again I don't think Wittgenstein was a full on Behaviourist in the way Ryle and probably Austin were.

Overall though the influence of Wittgenstein on modern Thomism and the importance attributed to him by modern philosophy as a whole is unfortunate.

Bobcat said...

I'm not sure I understand Ed's first criticism of Jaworski. Ed points out that the notions of error and illusion do a lot of work in eliminativists' arguments, and that this is a problem for eliminativism because "error" and "illusion" are intentional notions. But why couldn't an eliminativist simply say that his theory is true, whereas other theories aren't? Is the thought that the eliminativist needs an explanation for why people don't avow eliminativism, and that this explanation must involve recourse to notions like "illusion" and "error", which are irremediably intentional notions?

While I see how illusion is an intentional notion, I'm not sure why error is. Here's an attempt at why error might be an intentional notion: from what I recall, eliminativists admit that goal-directed behavior exists, so error could be cashed out in terms of aiming a non-existent goal. Is the thought supposed to be that, if someone aims at a non-existent goal, then this can be only because they have a representation of that non-existent goal, and representations are intentional notions?

Glenn said...

Greg,

But Jaworski's book certainly cites an odd cross-section of philosophers as hylemorphists. I don't have it on-hand at the moment, but it is strange.

The following, from the last page of the review by Dr. Feser, appears to shed some light on the basis of that strangeness:

"[Jaworski] almost entirely avoids using the traditional terminology of hylomorphism at all, and largely refrains from citing well-known hylomorphists like Aristotle and Aquinas. Instead he uses terminology that contemporary analytic philosophers will be familiar with, and cites contemporary emergentist and other non-reductive naturalist thinkers, rather than actual hylomorphists, when illustrating how hylomorphism would interpret various phenomena. His aim, no doubt, is to make hylomorphism as accessible as possible to contemporary readers to whom it will otherwise seem very foreign. That is a laudable goal, but the danger is that what is distinctive about hylomorphism will be obscured. Rather than clarifying hylomorphism by comparison with other views which superficially resemble it, Jaworski's discussion sometimes makes hylomorphism seem a mere riff on these merely approximate views."

Glenn said...

Btw, while the review itself is accessible online for $20, the entire issue in which the review appears is available in print for $25 (see here).

So, there is a choice: pay approx. five dollars per page for immediately access to a single review, or approx. nine cents per page for delayed access to an entire volume of articles and reviews.

(There is, of course, a third choice. But it'll be left to the reader to work out for himself what that third choice might be.)

Kantian Naturalist said...

I think that the criticism of eliminativism is quite good, but there's a slightly deeper way of seeing what is wrong with it.

Suppose one takes eliminativism as the view that there is no original intentionality. Why might one think that? The standard argument is that it's because the brain does not represent the world in sentential or propositional terms. But wait -- why should this empirical fact entail that there's no original intentionality?

Three further assumptions are required: (i) that the bearer of original intentionality is the individual cognitive agent ("individualism"); (ii) that original intentionality must be propositional or sentential ("propositionalism"); (iii) that psychological and biological properties strongly metaphysically supervene on properties characterized by fundamental physics (Rosenberg's "disenchanted naturalism")

Putting these all together, one gets:

(1) that the bearer of original intentionality is the individual cognitive agent;
(2) that original intentionality must be propositional or sentential;
(3) so, there must be proposition-like or sentence-like structures in the mind of the cognitive agent (by 1 & 2);
(4) and all cognitive activity is to explained in terms of brain function alone (1 & disenchanted naturalism);
(5) but the brain, to the extent that it represents the world at all, does not represent the world in sentential or propositional terms (by empirical generalization);
(6) since the brain's representations are non-sentential, then by (2) it is non-intentional;
(7) but since there is nowhere else besides the brain for intentionality to be (by 4), then there is no intentionality at all.

A few points worth noting: firstly, it's only (5) that's supported by any empirical evidence; the rest is all a priori.

Secondly, contra Rosenberg, disenchanted naturalism and empirical neuroscience are also not enough to generate eliminativism. One could accept the neuroscience for what it is, and also accept disenchanted naturalism, and yet avoid the elimininativist conclusion by rejecting the individualist or propositionalist assumptions.

Since we have (I think) extremely good reasons for rejecting both intellectualism and propositionalism, Rosenberg is simply wrong to say that eliminativism is entailed by disenchanted naturalism, and Feser is wrong to endorse that.

Thirdly, Rosenberg's conclusion hinges on the further assumption that there are non-intentional normative criteria for assessing the adequacy of neural representations. His key metaphor is that of a map. (Churchland also helps himself to this notion.) Just as maps can represent their territories more or less adequately, depending on the purpose of the map and other constraints, so brains can represent their environments more or less adequately. (Here I'm using "purpose" in "the purpose of brains" in the Millikan sense of "purpose".)

One might wonder if neurocognitive representing-by-mapping counts as intentional content. Rosenberg thinks it doesn't -- but only because he's committed a priori to propositionalism about intentionality! Without that assumption, he would be able to accept that neural representations are intentional content, and so would not be forced to decouple intentionality from normativity.

Kantian Naturalist said...


I mentioned above that there are compelling reasons to reject individualism and propositionalism. I also think there are compelling reasons to reject disenchanted naturalism, because I understand the claim to strong metaphysical supervention as logically dependent on successful intertheoretic reduction -- if theory A reduces to theory B, then (and only then) are we entitled to assert that the facts described by theory A supervene on the facts described by theory B. Without intertheoretic reduction, supervention can't get off the ground. And there's no reason to believe that psychology can be reduced to biology or biology to physics.

The moral of this story: disenchanted naturalism is false, and wouldn't entail eliminativism even if were true.

21st Century Scholastic said...

Jaworski states briefly his views also in the article "Hylomorphism and the Metaphysics of Structure", which is available online. Nothing particularly wrong transpired from it. I'll have to read the book (and the review).

Glenn said...

(I thought I had posted the following comment prior to my earlier "Btw..." comment, but it hasn't shown up; I may have been distracted, and only thought I did.)

Greg,

But Jaworski's book certainly cites an odd cross-section of philosophers as hylemorphists. I don't have it on-hand at the moment, but it is strange.

The following from the last page of the review by Dr. Feser appears to shed some light on the basis of that strangeness:

"[Jaworski] almost entirely avoids using the traditional terminology of hylomorphism at all, and largely refrains from citing well-known hylomorphists like Aristotle and Aquinas. Instead he uses terminology that contemporary analytic philosophers will be familiar with, and cites contemporary emergentist and other non-reductive naturalist thinkers, rather than actual hylomorphists, when illustrating how hylomorphism would interpret various phenomena. His aim, no doubt, is to make hylomorphism as accessible as possible to contemporary readers to whom it will otherwise seem very foreign. That is a laudable goal, but the danger is that what is distinctive about hylomorphism will be obscured. Rather than clarifying hylomorphism by comparison with other views which super?cially resemble it, Jaworski's discussion sometimes makes hylomorphism seem a mere riff on these merely approximate views.

"Jaworski also claims (e.g., at 272) that for the hylomorphist, the difference between human beings on the one hand and other animals, plants, and inorganic phenomena on the other is merely a difference in structure. This would be news to paradigmatic hylomorphists like Aristotle and Aquinas, who held that though the mental capacities of non-human animals are entirely corporeal, the distinctively intellectual capacities of human beings involve an incorporeal faculty--indeed, one which, in Aquinas's view, can survive the destruction of the body. Here as elsewhere it seems Jaworski's commendable eagerness to make hylomorphism palatable to contemporary readers has led him to characterize the view in a misleading way.

"Of course, Jaworski is free to defend any view he likes, including a revisionist brand of hylomorphism. But he should make it clear that that is what he is doing, rather than presenting what is a sometimes idiosyncratic formulation as 'the hylomorphic worldview,' full stop."

Greg said...

@ Daniel

No hostility intended but I am familiar with that book of Braine's and I have very mixed opinions of him due such issues. I recall once rather disparagingly referring to him as 'Ryle's love-child' in lieu of all the rubbish about 'the anti-dualistic wisdom of Ryle and Austin' and 'a concept of the soul which is critical and Post-Wittgenstenian’.

Hmm, perhaps. I am not familiar enough with the writings of Ryle or Austin to really assess. But I what I appreciated was Braine's acknowledging that a lot of analytic philosophy of mind, even materialist philosophy of mind, is tacitly dualist. If the ordinary language philosophers avoid that tendency, then they may have insights for hylemorphists. I do recall Braine claiming that the support of his position had to be drawn out of their work, but given that there are far more paradigmatic behaviorists, I don't think that commits him to an overly behavioristic conception of hylemorphism.

Greg said...

@ Glenn

The following from the last page of the review by Dr. Feser appears to shed some light on the basis of that strangeness...

Thanks for that. That does get to the root of my thoughts on the matter.

Jaworski definitely shies away from the more controversial elements of a robust hylemorphism. He also presents the fundamental argument for hylemorphism as an inference to the best explanation, whereas philosophers like Feser and Oderberg have made stronger claims about why we should be hylemorphists. It definitely would have been nice if Jaworski had noted that his characterization was much more "bare-bones" than just about every other hylemorphist on offer today.

Kantian Naturalist said...

It seems quite odd to hear Wittgenstein and Ryle described as even "suggesting" a hylemorphic view. Hylemorphism, as I understand it, is a metaphysical view about what it is for something to be an object.

Wittgenstein adjured from metaphysics, and Ryle did not present any metaphysical views in The Concept of Mind. Instead, Wittgenstein and Ryle articulate truths about linguistic behavior with regard to concepts such as "game," "language", "thinking", "rule", and so on.

Ryle, for example, points out that most of our mental concepts are dispositional concepts -- which is a far cry from having any metaphysical view about how to explain the phenomena picked out by those concepts!

The most one could say is that if Wittgenstein or Ryle were right about the logical behavior of our concepts, then a correct metaphysics of mind would explain why their descriptions of our use of the concepts referring to mental activity are correct.



Kantian Naturalist said...

I understand the claim to strong metaphysical supervention as logically dependent on successful intertheoretic reduction -- if theory A reduces to theory B, then (and only then) are we entitled to assert that the facts described by theory A supervene on the facts described by theory B. Without intertheoretic reduction, supervention can't get off the ground. And there's no reason to believe that psychology can be reduced to biology or biology to physics.

I realize now that I put this incorrectly. The correct version would be say that if Theory A does not reduce to Theory B, then we have good reasons for believing that the facts described by Theory A do not strongly metaphysically supervene on the facts described by Theory B.

In other words, it's a negative inference, not a positive one.

Greg said...

@KN

It seems quite odd to hear Wittgenstein and Ryle described as even "suggesting" a hylemorphic view. Hylemorphism, as I understand it, is a metaphysical view about what it is for something to be an object.

Well, I am not skilled enough to defend the position. But interpretations of Wittgenstein are vast, and folks like Anscombe (in her Intention) and Geach (in his Mental Acts) certainly found implicit in Wittgenstein theories of intention and concept acquisition that were consonant with Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophical anthropology. To be sure, such philosophers would not refrain from metaphysics to the extent that Wittgenstein did, but then, who does?

Fergus Kerr has done some work on the subject more recently. His article "Aquinas After Wittgenstein" is a fairly broad approach to the topic. Then there is John Cahalan's "Wittgenstein as a Gateway to Analytical Thomism". There are others who have blended the Aristotelian-Thomistic approach with Wittgenstein's insights (Anthony Kenny, Roger Pouivet).

Though perhaps I'm interpreting the question a bit more broadly than it was intended, since Kenny was fairly anti-metaphysical himself. But I think it is adequate to say that one doesn't have to stretch too far to find Wittgensteinian insights congenial to hylemorphism, at least as a philosophy of mind, granting that there could not be too much metaphysical affinity.

Kantian Naturalist said...

I hadn't heard of that Kerr article, but it seems interesting -- thank you.

I might have mentioned this before, but some of you might be interested in "Nonlinear brain dynamics and intention according to Aquinas" (PDF) by Walter Freeman (in Mind and Matter 6 (2):207-234 (2008).)

Freeman is an experimental neuroscientist who uses Aquinas's conceptual framework to explain what he sees going on in the large-scale brain activation patterns he studies. I've seen his name come up in a lot of the stuff in "enactivist" philosophy of mind (Evan Thompson, Alva Noe, Teed Rockwell, and Anthony Chemero).

Greg said...

Thanks, I will take a look--but the link appears to be broken.

I skimmed David Braine's book. What he likes about Ryle is what he regards as a not-quite-behaviorism where we can apply mental concepts to others based on their external behavior, not because mental concepts are behavior or are simply external, but because they are characteristically manifested in behavior.

Hylemorphists, because the soul/mind of man is just man's form, likewise believe that mental concepts are "visible" in behavior, even if they aren't reducible to behavior. Braine also appreciate Ryle's presumption in favor of normal situations.

Greg said...

Here is that Freeman article.

Christian said...

Hey Dr. Feser,

I was wondering if either you or your readers could point me in the direction of a introductory level book on analytic metaphysics?

Thanks!!

Scott said...

@Christian:

"I was wondering if either you or your readers could point me in the direction of a introductory level book on analytic metaphysics?"

"Analytic metaphysics" is a broad term (and at one time would have been almost an oxymoron), but I'd recommend this. (I wouldn't call it strictly "introductory," but it's "introductory-level.")

Christian said...

@ Scott

I appreciate the link, and the clarification. Thanks!

Daniel said...

@Christian,

If you are looking for an introductory overview of Analytical metaphysics, and thus assumable are familiar with classic metaphysical issues like the debate over Universals and the nature of Causation, I would recommend E.J. Lowe's A Survey of Metaphysics:

http://www.amazon.com/Survey-Metaphysics-E-J-Lowe/dp/0198752539/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411550842&sr=1-1&keywords=A+Survey+of+Metaphysics

If you find you get on well with this Michael Loux's Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction make a nice, more advanced follow-up:

http://www.amazon.com/Metaphysics-Contemporary-Introduction-Introductions-Philosophy/dp/0415401348/ref=pd_ybh_3

Scott said...

@Christian:

Both of Daniel's suggestions are excellent, and I particularly second his recommendation of Loux.

Christian said...

@ Daniel and Scott

Thank you both very much for the links. The books look very interesting and I cannot wait to jump in! I appreciate the help!

MookVanguard said...

Just a thought, is a Von Neumann replicator (a machine that builds more versions of itself, ad infinitum) an example of immanent teleology?

I would think so, although that might not be conventional thought.

Daniel said...

I'd say only in a quasi-sense in that the 'physical intentionality' in question is 'as-if-intentionality' to use a term of John Searle's. The parts have no intrinsic orientation to function for the whole so it still doesn't fulfill that sense of immanent teleology.

Kantian Naturalist said...

I'd say only in a quasi-sense in that the 'physical intentionality' in question is 'as-if-intentionality' to use a term of John Searle's. The parts have no intrinsic orientation to function for the whole so it still doesn't fulfill that sense of immanent teleology.

That seems right to me. Though notice that Searle does think that the brain does have original intentionality, and that it's up to neuroscience to explain how the original intentionality of the mind arises from the causal powers of the brain.

As a bit of a lark, I'm trying to figure out the exact point of contention between Searle and Rosenberg, since they agree on so much -- and yet Rosenberg denies that there's any original intentionality and Searle insists on it.


MookVanguard said...

How does it matter whether or not a self-replicating organism is made of parts or not? The water molecules in a cell aren't intrinsically pointed toward the good of an animal.

I don't know, I just don't see how building a machine is different from artificially creating a cell, and I don't see how artificially creating a cell is different from giving birth to one if the final function is the same.

MookVanguard said...

*By parts in the first sentence I meant 'metal' parts, or whatever a Von Neumann replicator would be made from. Some carbon-based molecule, perhaps.

Matt Sheean said...

I think that the important difference, that has been mentioned already, is that the machine parts don't have the tendency to get themselves arranged Von Neumann-wise. There is nothing about any of the parts of the Von-Neumann machine that are that way except that an agent has given it to them to be that way.

MookVanguard said...

Thanks for answering.

But the machine does perform actions which lead to more machines being built. I'm not sure if the parts themselves need to be oriented toward the whole, as lipids do not intrinsically tend toward forming cells either. The form is imposed on them by the cell which first either forms the lipids from raw materials, then integrates them into its own substantial form.

(I'm not hostile to A-T thought, I'm just legitimately curious. If I'm being annoying, just say so.)

Daniel said...

@Kantian Naturalist,

After posting that I realised the comparison with Searle might not have been the most felicitous since presumably he does not admit Dispositional Properties and thus Physical Intentionality (what Aristotelianism understands as Teleology), one of the consequences being that a lot of what he would class as As-If-Intentionality would in fact stand as examples of real intentionality qua Physical Intentionality. Of course if one is endorses such a view of dispositions and intentionality it becomes, at least on the surface, a lot easier to account for the intentionality of the mental as developing out of non-mental but still intentional physical processes. Presumably a number of the New Essentialist Naturalists do just this.

(I have to confess though I am not familiar with Searle’s specific view soon metaphysical issues or even if he has any so I may be doing him an injustice here).

'As a bit of a lark, I'm trying to figure out the exact point of contention between Searle and Rosenberg, since they agree on so much -- and yet Rosenberg denies that there's any original intentionality and Searle insists on it.'

I’d hazard a guess that the difference is something like this: Searle asserts that neuroscience can at least in part (say, in conjunction with his theory of ‘biological dualism’) explain the origin of intentionality from brain processes whilst Rosenberg claims it can’t and thus in the interests of preserving Naturalism, or at least his preferred understanding of it, we should reject the notion that our cognitive activity does display such intentionality. Rosenberg's 'Disenchanted Naturalism' thus commits him to a far stricter framework of what is acceptable than Searle's.

Daniel said...

@MookVanguard,

No worries - it’s an interesting question to ask. Apologies in advance though if I rehash stuff you have already heard though.

What you ask about the cell touches on Mereology, the question of the nature of Wholes and their relation to Parts. On the A-T approach the component parts which make up a substance, be it a living body or, say, Water, do not have the same degree of ontological priority as the substance itself. Thus the water manifesting its properties - freezing and boiling at X temperatures - is present in a sense the hydrogen atoms, and descending degrees of sub-atomic particles which make it up are not. Ed touches up this in a recent post (see the Oderberg quote):

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/symington-on-scholastic-metaphysics.html

For A-T metaphysics a body -in the biological sense - is always a living body (the Germanophone distinction between Leib and Körper might be a good way of expressing this) - when a living entity dies it loses its substantial form at which its body ceases to be that body at all and becomes merely an aggregate of component molecules. The first two posts in Ed’s long going controversy with the Intelligent Design movement help illustrate this:

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/nature-versus-art.html

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/reply-to-torley-and-cudworth.html

Kantian Naturalist said...

Searle asserts that neuroscience can at least in part (say, in conjunction with his theory of ‘biological dualism’) explain the origin of intentionality from brain processes whilst Rosenberg claims it can’t and thus in the interests of preserving Naturalism, or at least his preferred understanding of it, we should reject the notion that our cognitive activity does display such intentionality.

That's perfectly correct with regard to their conclusions, but I'm interested in where their assumptions differ in order to generate those conclusions.

Here's the big premise they share: that if there were any original intentionality in rerum natura at all, it could only lie in the cognitive activities of individual brains. Searle affirms this, and Rosenberg denies this, but they are affirming and denying the same proposition.

Whereas my view is that the identification of original intentionality in rerum natura with the activity of the individual brain is deeply problematic, because it basically just leaves intact the Cartesian model of intentionality and simply identifies the res cogitans with the brain. All the conceptual flaws of Cartesianism are dressed up in neuroscientific drag.

Once we see this, however, and we see that the interpretation of neuroscience results can be disentangled from the Cartesian hang-over, then we will see that eliminativism about intentionality simply does not follow.

MookVanguard said...

@Daniel

But how do we find out these things about particles and objects? It can't be a matter of origin, surely, because a pile of rocks at the bottom of a hill is an artifact even though it is completely natural.

From what I understand, intentionality is in the function of an object, and stuff like cloning or breeding animals still results in substantial forms because the results are very similar to the natural thing.

Daniel said...


'But how do we find out these things about particles and objects? It can't be a matter of origin, surely, because a pile of rocks at the bottom of a hill is an artifact even though it is completely natural.'

A pile of rocks is not an artifact but an aggregate (this is not to say some aggregates might not also be artifacts).

An artifact is de facto a substance or aggregate of substances with an Accidental Form imposed upon them by the artificer with the purpose of achieving some goal (say organizing more substances thus ways)

I will leave the question of scientific praxis to one more up on that than I. A basic answer would likely be that we attempt to study these molecules as far as we possibly can in isolation and by employing a fair amount of theoretical abstraction.

'From what I understand, intentionality is in the function of an object, and stuff like cloning or breeding animals still results in substantial forms because the results are very similar to the natural thing.'

They do but it is at least highly debatable as to whether they produce anything more than a modification of the Accidents which flow from the being's Substantial Form. The exact way in which shifts in substantial specific form occur on a large scale in nature is still up for question

Mr. Green said...

Bobcat: While I see how illusion is an intentional notion, I'm not sure why error is. […] error could be cashed out in terms of aiming a non-existent goal.

Surely it has to be cashed out in terms like that — if you weren’t falling short of some goal, then what’s erroneous about the outcome? It’s just whatever you got. And being directed at some goal is intentionality (whether extrinsic or intrinsic).

Scott said...

@Mr. Green:

"Surely it has to be cashed out in terms like that — if you weren’t falling short of some goal, then what’s erroneous about the outcome?"

I think this is right, but your point here is subtly different from Bobcat's: falling short of a[n existent] goal isn't quite the same thing as aiming at a non-existent one. Thus…

@Bobcat:

"Is the thought supposed to be that, if someone aims at a non-existent goal, then this can be only because they have a representation of that non-existent goal, and representations are intentional notions?"

I think I have to say no this suggestion as it stands. As Mr. Green says, in the present context it's the being directed at a goal that qualifies as "intentionality," not the having of a representation.

Representations may well be intentional, but (a) I don't think that's the important point here and (b) I have grave objections to characterizing knowledge and other mental/intellectual phenomena as "representational" if that means what e.g. Locke meant by it.

Daniel said...

A though on the question of Hylemorphism in the OP and in Brainë: I think it’s important that we do not lose sight of the fact that though the soul is the form of the body it is not just the form of the body; it, or at least the immortal part of it as Aristotle remarks, is also Nous, the imago dei. This would be incomprehensible if one were to understand by the term 'form' merely physical structure. Thomists should not lose sight of the Neo-platonic elements in their psychology (I say ‘Neo-platonic’ but of course these elements where present in the thought of Aristotle himself too).

Since it’s probably the only philosophical stance vis-à-vis Soul/Body relationship on which the notion of the Resurrection of the Body sounds remotely plausible it’s understandable why Christians should stress the ‘unity of man’; however I think it’s ultimately dangerous to portray the disembodied soul as living an ‘impoverished existence’ or ‘limping along’. The soul may not be the ‘person’ in the strict sense but it is the core of the person hence why it is often referred to by that term albeit in a lose manner.