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Though strictly speaking self-contradictory, the phrase expresses in a convenient form the abiding reciprocity of relation between these two "principles of substantial being". In Greek and in modern philosophy, as well as during the Patristic and Scholastic periods, another celebrated theory laid claim to pre-eminence. It is in a non-natural state of union, and longs to be freed from its bodily prison (cf. Plato has recourse to a theory of a triple soul to explain the union—a theory that would seem to make personality altogether impossible (see MATTER). Augustine, following him (except as to the triple-soul theory) makes the "body" and " soul " two substances; and man "a rational soul using a mortal and earthly body" (De Moribus, I, xxvii).Man is an individual, a single substance resultant from the determination of matter by a human form. But he is careful to note that by union with the body it constitutes the human being. Augustine's psychological doctrine was current in the Middle Ages up to the time and during the perfecting of the Thomistic synthesis. As further instances of Augustinian influence may be cited Alanus ab Insulis (but the soul is united by a spiritus physicus to the body); Alexander of Hales (union ad modum formæ cum materia ); St.Being capable of reasoning, he verifies the philosophical definition of a person : "the individual substance of a rational nature ". It is expressed in the "Liber de Spiritu et Anima" of Alcher of Clairvaux (? In this work "the soul rules the body; its union with the body is a friendly union, though the latter impedes the full and free exercise of its activity; it is devoted to its prison " (cf. Bonaventure (the body united to a soul consisting of "form" and "spiritual matter"— forma completiva ).Many of the Franciscan doctors seem, by inference if not explicitly, to lean to the Platonic Augustinian view; Scotus, who, however, by the subtlety of his "formal distinction a parte rei ", saves the unity of the individual while admitting the forma corporeitatis; his opponent John Peter Olivi's "mode of union" of soul and body was condemned at the Council of Vienne (1311-12).By these texts the special creation of man is established, his high dignity and his spiritual nature.As to his material part, the Scripture declares that it is formed by God from the "slime of the earth".
To be exact we should have to write: "Man's animality is rational"; for his "rationality" is certainly not something superadded to his "animality". In the Scholastic synthesis, it is a manifest illogism to hypostasize the abstract conceptions that are necessary for the intelligent apprehension of complete phenomena.This signifies no more than that, in the system of classification and definition shown in the Arbor Porphyriana , man is a substance, corporeal, living, sentient, and rational.It is a logical definition, having reference to a metaphysical entity.The theories of the nature of man so far noticed are purely philosophical.
No one of them has been explicitly condemned by the Church.
A similar confusion of expression may be noticed in the statement that man is a "compound of body and soul ". Man is not a body plus a soul — which would make of him two individuals ; but a body that is what it is (namely, a human body) by reason of its union with the soul.