When I intentionally type these words into my computer, there is the material cause of the action, which is the associated neural and other physiological activity, and the efficient cause of the motion of my fingers, which includes this physiological activity; but there is also thefinal cause of the action, which is the end or goal of conveying some philosophical ideas, and the formal cause, which is the human soul -- “human soul” here understood, not in the popular sense of a wispy, ghostly thing that enters into a body in order to animate it and exits it at death, and not in the Cartesian sense of an immaterial substance, but rather in the technical Aristotelian sense of the substantial form of a rational animal. And the efficient cause of the action includes the intellectual activity distinctive of something with that sort of substantial form (as contrasted with the merely sensory or imaginative powers that a non-rational animal possesses) -- where the intellectual element and the neural element are not two things (as they are for the Cartesian dualist) but rather two irreducible aspects of one thing (just as a sentence is one thing with two aspects, material and semantic).
Sunday, March 25, 2012
… Edward Feser: Scruton on “neuroenvy”. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)