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In Defense of the Soul

Ric Machuga (Brazos Press, April 2002) 208 pages.

The claims of evolution and, more recently, the proponents of artificial intelligence have brought into question what it means to be human. Denying the existence of the soul apart from the body, many contemporary scientists are devout materialists — putting the traditional Aristotelian and Thomistic conception of the human being far out of fashion. However, Ric Machuga argues convincingly that our nature "is an essential unity of both the material and the immaterial," that we not only have a soul but that we are a soul. The body is a necessary — but not sufficient — condition for human existence. In Defense of the Soul is an accessible and timely treatment of a timeless topic: what it means to be human. Not only will it attract readers interested in artificial intelligence, evolution, and the intelligent design debate, it¹s ideal for introductory college and seminary courses in philosophy. It includes an appendix that specifically assesses intelligent design, as well as a thick bibliography that provides an excellent guide to other sources on the topic.

Table of Contents

    • Preface 9
    • 1. Humans as Rational Animals: Why Aristotle Still Matters 13
    • 2. Getting It Right From the Start: Form, Shape, and the Nature of Things 24
    • 3. Dividing Nature at Its Joints: The Difference between Plants, Animals, and Humans 33
    • 4. Objective Differences in Perspective: Form Versus Shape 44
    • 5. The Hows of Science and the Whys of Philosophy: Why Final Causes Are Still Necessary 57
    • 6. How Aristotelians Think About What They Know: Perceiving Versus Conceiving 64
    • 7. The Challenge of Evolutionary Biology: Why Aristotelians Don’t Fear Darwin 80
    • 8. The Challenge of Artificial Intelligence: Calling the Materialist’s Bluff 100
    • 9. The Inadequacy of Materialism: No Soul, No Words 111
    • 10. The Bogy of Mechanism: Why Our Actions Will Always Be Unpredictable 132
    • 11. Freedom and Rationality: Can’t Have One Without the Other 148
    • Epilogue 159
    • Appendix Assessing “Intelligent Design” 161
    • Notes 167
    • Glossary 197
    • Sources 200