De veritate EN 161



On this question there have been two Opinions. For some have said that children in the state of innocence would have been perfect, just as Adam, will reference to everything belonging to the soul, that is, as regards both virtues and knowledge. They would not, however, have been perfect as regards the body. This was due to the exigencies of their motherís womb, for they had to be born.

Others, however, following Hugh, say that, just as they would not immediately have received perfect stature of body, but in time would have reached it, so, too, they would in time have reached perfect knowledge.

However, in order to know which of these opinions contains more truth, we must remember that the same reasons do not hold for Adam and for his Sons immediately upon birth. For, since Adam was ordained to be the source of the whole human race, as soon as he was created he had to have not only what belonged to the beginning of natural perfection but also that which belonged to its term. But his sons, who were not constituted the source of the human race, but as having existence from its source, did not have to be set at the term of natural perfection. It was enough for them to have at birth only as much as the initial state of natural perfection demands.

However, according to two opinions, the initial stage of the natural perfection of knowledge is placed at different levels. For some, as the Platonists, have held that the soul comes to the body filled will all the sciences, but it is clouded over by the body and thus its capacity for free use of the knowledge which it has is inhibited except will reference to some universals. But afterwards, through the exercise of study and of the senses, these obstacles are removed, so that it can use its knowledge freely. Thus, they say that learning is the same as remembering. But, if this opinion were true, we would have to say that in the state of innocence, as soon as children were born, they would have had knowledge of all things because the body in that state of innocence was altogether subject to the soul, and, so, the weight of the body would not have been able so to oppress the soul that it would lose its perfection in any way.

But this opinion seems to proceed from the position that the nature of the angels and of the soul is the same, so that the soul would have full knowledge as soon as it is created, just as an intelligence is said to be created full of forms. For this reason, the Platonists said that souls existed before being united to bodies and, after leaving bodies, return as intelligences to stars of rank equal to theirs. But this opinion is out of harmony will Catholic truth.

Therefore, others according to the opinion of Aristotle say that human understanding is last in the order of intelligible things, just as first matter is last in the order of sensible things. And as matter, considered in its essence, has no form, so the human understanding, in the beginning, is "like a tablet, on which nothing is written," but, later, acquires knowledge through the senses by virtue of the agent intellect. Thus, the beginning of natural human knowledge is, indeed, to be in potency to all things knowable, but to know from the beginning only those things which are known immediately through the light of the agent intellect, that is to say, universal first principles.

Hence, it was not necessary for Adamís sons to have knowledge of all things immediately at birth, but they would have reached it as they advanced in age. Nevertheless, it is necessary to ascribe to them some perfect knowledge, namely, the knowledge of things which must be chosen or avoided, a knowledge which pertains to prudence. For, as is proved in the Ethics, without prudence the other virtues cannot exist. And Adamís children must have had these virtues because of original justice.

To me this opinion seems to contain more truth, if we look to what was required by the integrity of nature. But, if by divine grace any thing else had been given them beyond that which integrity of nature required, this could not be asserted, since there is no express authority font.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. Adam would have begotten sons like himself in those things which were due to him by his specihe nature. But it was not necessary for his sons to be born like him in those things which were due to him as the source of the whole human race.

2. For the perfect union will God, which the state of innocence demands, all the virtues are needed, but not all the sciences.

3. Although the children would not have all knowledge as soon as they were born, they would not have had the ignorance which follows from sin, which is a lack of knowledge of things which ought to be known. For they would have been ignorant of those things which their state did not require them to know.

4. In the bodies of these children there would have been no defect by which they would be deprived of a good which then was their due. Nevertheless, their bodies did lack a good which would accrue to them later, such as fullness of stature and the gifts of glory. The same must be said of the soul.

5. Angels are on a higher level of nature than souls, although souls can be equal to them in the gifts of grace. Consequently, it is not necessary to concede to the soul as something natural that which is naturally due to angels. However, in the state of innocence, man is said to be as another angel because of the fullness of grace.

6. Although the soul of Adam and the souls of his Sons had the same nature, they did not have the same office. For Adamís soul was made a source from which all teaching would come to posterity. Therefore, it had to be perfect immediately, which was not necessary for the souls of his children.

7. At the beginning, brute animals receive natural [instinctive] judgment in order to know what is harmful and what is helpful, because they cannot reach this through their own investigation. Man, however, can reach this and many other things through the investigation of reason. Hence, it is not necessary for all knowledge to exist in him naturally. Nevertheless, the knowledge of practical matters, which pertains to prudence, is more natural to man than the knowledge of speculative matters. For this reason we find that some are naturally prudent but do not naturally possess learning, as is said in the Ethics. For this reason men do not forget prudence as easily as they forget science. Therefore, at that time the children would have been more perfect in the matters which pertain to prudence than in those which pertain to speculative science, as has been said.


Parallel readings: II Sentences 20, 2, 2; Summa Theol., I, 101, sol, 2.


It seems that they would, for

1. If they were restricted in its use, this would have resulted only from some bodily defect. But in that state there was nothing in which the body resisted the soul. Therefore, the use of reason could not be restricted.

2. A virtue or power which does not use an organ is not restricted in its activity because of a defect of an organ. But the understanding is a power which does not use an organ, as is said in The Soul. There fore, the act of the understanding could not then be impeded because of the defect of a bodily organ.

3. If it be said that the act of understanding was restricted because of a defect of body in so far as the understanding received something from the senses, the answer is that the understanding is higher than any sense power. But it seems to be out of order for the higher to receive from the lower. Therefore, since there was nothing out of order in manís nature in that state, it seems that it would not have been necessary for the understanding to receive from the senses.

4. The understanding needs the senses to acquire knowledge through them. But, once it has acquired knowledge, it does not need them, just as a man does not need a horse once he has finished his journey, as Avicenna says. But, according to one opinion, a children in the state of innocence had the fullness of all knowledge. Therefore, they could not be kept from using the knowledge they had because of imperfection in the sense organs.

5. Defect of bodily organs hinders sense more than understanding. But children do not suffer so great a bodily defect that they cannot see and hear. Therefore, neither is their understanding hindered because of bodily defect, but seemingly because of the punishment for the first sin. But this would not have existed before the fall. Therefore, children at that time would have had the full use of understanding as soon as they were born.

6. Manís relation to the knowledge which he has naturally is the same as that which brute animals have to natural [instinctive] judgment. But brute animals can make use of this natural judgment immediately at birth. Therefore, in the state of innocence children were able to make use of natural knowledge, at least of first principles immediately at birth.

7. Wisdom (9:15) says: "For the corruptible body is a load upon the soul..."But in the state of innocence the body was not corruptible. Therefore, the soul was not weighed down by it, and so kept from having free use of reason.

To the Contrary:

1'. Every activity which is common to soul and body is hindered because of a defect of the body. But understanding is an activity common to soul and body, as is clear from The Soul. Therefore, the use of reason could be hindered by a bodily defect or imperfection which the children suffered.

2'. According to the Philosopher: "The soul in no way understands without a phantasm." But the use of the imagination can be hindered by a defect of a bodily organ. Therefore, so can the use of under standing. We conclude as before.



There are two opinions on this question. For some say that children in the state of innocence would have had the full use of all their bodily members and that the clumsiness which we now see in children, that they are notable w use their feet to walk, their hands to carve, and so on, comes entirely from the first sin.

Others, thinking that this type of clumsiness has its cause in natural principles, as moistness, which must abound in children, say that in the state of innocence the members of children would not have been altogether suitable for their acts, although they would not be so com pietely deficient as they now are, since now what is due to corruption has been added to that which is due to nature. And this opinion seems more probable.

Hence, since it is necessary that moistness, especially in the brain, abound in children, and it is the brain in which imagination, natural judgment, memory, and common sense have their organs, the acts of these powers must be particularly hindered, and, consequently, under standing, which receives something immediately from these powers, and turns to them when ever it is in act, must be hindered, too. Nevertheless, the use of understanding was not fettered in children to the extent that it is now. However, if the other opinion were true, the use of understanding in children at that time would not have been fettered in any way.

Answers to Difficulties:

1. The soul can be restricted by the body in two ways. One is by way of opposition, as happens when the body resists the soul and obscures it. This, however, would not have happened in the state of innocence. The other is by way of incapacity and defect, namely, in so far as the body is unable to execute all that the soul would be capable of considered in itself. And there was nothing to keep the soul from being restricted by the body in this way in the state of innocence. For it is thus evident that by reason of the body the soul is hindered from passing through things thrust in its path and from changing its location will as much case as it does when separated from the body. In this way, also, it is kept from being able to have perfect use of its powers still, there would have been no pain in this, Since the soul, by reason of its orderly disposition, would have given only those commands which the body could carry out.

2. Although the understanding does not use an organ, nevertheless, it receives something from faculties which use an organ. Therefore, its act can be restricted because of an impediment or defect of the bodily organs.

3. The intelligible species has that which is formal in it, through which it is actually intelligible, from the agent intellect, which is a higher power than the possible intellect, although that which is material in it is abstracted from phantasms. Therefore, more properly, the possible intellect receives from what is higher than from what is lower, since that which is from the lower can be received by the possible intellect only in so far as it receives the form of intelligibility- from the agent intellect.

Or we should say that the lower powers are higher in some respect, especially in the ability to act and w cause. This is due to their greater proximity w external things, which are the cause and measure of our knowledge. It is for this reason that the sense serves imagination, not of itself, but in so far as it is informed by the species of a sensible thing, and so for the rest.

4. According to the Philosopher,8 the intellective soul is related to phantasms as to its objects. Consequently, our understanding needs conversion to phantasms not only in acquiring knowledge but also in using knowledge once it is acquired. This is evident from the fact that, as long as the soul is in the body, a man cannot use even previously acquired knowledge if the organ of the power of imagination is injured, as happens in the insane. What Avicenna says should be taken of the soul separated from the body, which has a different mode of understanding.

5. The organ of the power of imagination, of memory, and of the cogitative sense is in the brain itself, which is the place of greatest moistness in the human body. Therefore, because of the large measure of moistness which is in children, the acts of these powers are hindered more than the acts of the external senses. But understanding receives immediately from the interior and not the exterior senses.

6. Some other animals naturally have a dry disposition; hence, at their birth there is not so great a profusion of moistness which greatly impedes the acts of the interior senses. But man naturally has a moderate disposition, and therefore he must have a high degree of warmth and moistness. So, at the beginning of his existence there has to be proportionately more moistness in him. For all animal and plant generations begin from moistness.

7. The body which corrupts weighs down the soul not only because it is powerless but also because it resists and obscures the soul. How ever, the human body in the state of innocence hindered the acts of the soul only because of the imperfection of a power or disposition.

QUESTION 19: the Knowledge of the Soul after Death.


Parallel readings: III Sentences 31, 2, 4; IV Sentences 50, I, I; Quolibet III, 9, 21; XII, 9, 12; Contra Gentiles II, 81; III, 2 Cor., c. 13, lectura 3; Summa Theol., I, 89, 1-3 Q. D. de anima, aa. 15, 17, 18.


It seems that it cannot, for

1. No activity common to soul and body can remain in the soul after death. But understanding is an activity commo to soul and body. For the Philosopher says: "To say that the soul understands is like saying that it weaves or builds." Therefore, after death the soul cannot understand.

2. It was said that the Philosopher is speaking of the act of under standing which befits the soul in its lower aspect, but not about the act which befits it in its higher aspect.óOn the contrary, the higher aspect of the soul is that according to which it turns to the things of God. However, even when man understands something by reason of divine revelation, his understanding depends on the body, because he must understand through conversion to phantasms, which are in a bodily organ. For, as Dionysius says: "It is impossible for the divine radiance to shine on us unless it is shrouded will a variety of sacred veils." For him, veils are the bodily forms under which spiritual things are revealed. Therefore, the act of understanding which belongs to the soul according to its higher aspect depends on the body. Consequently, understanding in no way remains in the soul after death.

3. In Ecclesiastes (9:5) it is said: "For the living know that they shah die, but the dead know nothing more." The Gloss reads: "For they make no more progress." Therefore, it seems that after death the soul either knows nothing, if we take "more" in a temporal sense, or at least that it can understand nothing it did not understand before. For it thus would make more progress, which is contrary to the Gloss.

4. According to the Philosopher, the understanding is related to phantasms as the senses are to sensible things. But sense can have sensation only when sensible things are presented to it. Therefore, neither can the human soul understand anything unless phantasms are presented to it. But they are not presented to it after death, because they are presented only in a bodily organ. Therefore, after death the soul cannot understand.

5. It was said that the Philosopher is speaking of the soul according to the state in which it is in the body. On the contrary, the object of a power is determined by the nature of the power itself. But the nature of the intellective soul is the same before and after death. Therefore, if the intellective soul has an ordination to phantasms as objects before death, it seems that it will likewise have it after death. We conclude as before.

6. The soul cannot understand if the intellective power is taken away from it. But, after death, the intellective powers, agent and possible intellect, do not remain in the soul, for these powers belong to it by reason of its union will the body. For, if it were not united to the body, it would not have these powers, just as an angel does not have them. Therefore, after death the soul cannot understand.

7. The Philosopher says: "Understanding is destroyed when some thing within us is destroyed." But that thing within us, about which the Philosopher is speaking, is destroyed in death. Therefore, there will be no understanding after death.

8. If the soul understands after death, it must understand through some power, because everything which acts, acts through some active power, and everything which is acted upon is acted upon through some passive power. Therefore, it will understand either through the same power which it had in this life or through another. If through another, it seems that new powers are produced in it when it is separated from the body. But this does not seem probable. However, if it understands through the same power, this does not seem correct either, since the powers which it has are in it by reason of its union will the body. And this union ceases will death. Therefore, the soul cannot understand after death.

9. If the intellective power remains in the soul, it remains only in so far as it is grounded in the substance of the soul, or in so far as it has reference to act. But it does not remain in so far as it is grounded in the substance of the soul, since, if it remained only in this way, after death it would be able to understand nothing but itself. Nor does it remain in so far as it has reference to act, for, in so far as it has reference to act, it is brought to completion through the habits which it has acquired in the body, and these habits depend on the body. There fore, it seems that the intellective power does not remain after death; hence, the soul will not understand after death.

10. Everything which is understood is understood through the essence of the thing understanding, through the essence of the thing understood, or through a likeness of the thing understood which exists in the one understanding. But it cannot be said that the soul under stands things only through the essence of the thing understood, for thus it would understand only itself, its habits, and other things the essences of which are present in the soul. Likewise, it cannot be said to understand only through the essence of itself as understanding for, if it understood things beside itself in this way, its essence would have to be the exemplar of other things, just as the divine essence is the exemplar of all things, for which reason God understands all other things by understanding His essence. But this cannot be said of the soul. Again, it cannot be said to understand through likenesses of the things understood which exist in the soul, since it would seem that above all it understands through the species which it has acquired in the body. And it cannot be said to understand only through them, because the souls of children, which have received nothing from the senses, would thus understand nothing after death. Therefore, it seems that the soul cannot understand in any way after death.

11. If it be said that it knows through species will which it is created, the answer is that whatever is created along will the soul belongs to it just as much when it is existing in the body as when it is separated from the body. Therefore, if species through which it can know are created along will the human soul, to know through these species befits the soul not only after it is separated from the body but also while it is in the body. Thus, it seems that the species which it receives from things would be superfluous.

12. If it be said that the body makes it impossible for the soul to use these while it is joined to the body, the answer is that if the body keeps the soul from using these species, this will be either because of the bodyís nature, or because of corruption. But it is not because of the bodyís nature, since that is not directly opposed to understanding. And nothing is naturally impeded except by its opposite. Likewise, it is not because of corruption, since, if it were, in the state of innocence, when there was none of this corruption, man would have been able to use these species, and so would not have needed his senses in order that through them the soul might receive species from things. But this seems to be false. Therefore, it does not seem that the separated soul understands through innate species.

13. If it be said that the soul understands through infused species, the answer is that such species were infused either by God or by an angel. But not by an angel, because, if they were, these species would have to be created in the soul by the angel. Similarly, they are not in fused by God, because it is not probable that God would infuse His gifts into souls existing in hell. Hence, it would follow that the souls in hell would not understand. Therefore, it does not seem that the separated soul understands through infused species.

14. Augustine gives the mode in which the soul knows when he says: "Since the soul cannot bring bodies themselves into itself, as though it brought them within the limits of incorporeal nature, it fashions likenesses of bodies and seizes upon these likenesses which are made in the soul by itself. For, in forming them, it gives them something of its own substance. However, it saves something will which freely to judge of the species of such images. This is mind, that is, the rational intelligence, which is kept to judge. For we perceive that we have in common will beasts those parts of the soul which are informed by bodily likenesses." In these words he says that the judgment of the rational soul deals will the images will which the sensitive powers are informed. But these images do not remain after death, since they are received in a bodily organ. Therefore, neither does the judgment of the rational soul, which is its under standing, remain in the soul after death.

To the Contrary:

1'. According to Damascene, no substance is deprived of its proper activity. But the proper activity of the rational soul is to understand. Therefore, the soul understands after death.

2í. Just as something is made passive by its union will a material body, so it is made active by its separation from the same body. For something hot acts and is acted upon because of the union of heat will matter. But, if there were heat without matter, it would act and not be acted upon. Therefore, the soul is made completely active by its separation from the body. But it is due to the passivity of the powers of the soul that they cannot know of themselves without exterior objects, as the Philosopher says of the senses. Therefore, after the separation from the body, the soul will be able to understand of itself without reception from any objects.

3í. Augustine says: "Just as the mind itself obtains knowledge of bodily things through the senses of the body, so it obtains knowledge of incorporeal things through itself." But it will always be present to itself. Therefore, it will be able to have understanding at least of in corporeal things.

4í. As is clear from the passage quoted above from Augustine, the soul knows bodily things in so far as it fashions likenesses of these things and draws them within itself. But it can do this more freely after its separation from the body, especially since Augustine there says that it does this by itself. Therefore, the soul can understand better when separated from the body.

5í. In Spirit and Soul it is said that the soul takes its powers along will it when it is separated from the body. But it is called cognoscitive because of its powers. Therefore, it will be able to know after death.



As the Philosopher says, if none of the activities of the soul is proper to it, that is to say, in such a way that it would not be able to have it without the body, it is impossible for the soul to be separated from the body. For the activity of anything is its end, in a sense, since it is what is best in it. Hence, just as we firmly maintain according to the Catholic faith that the soul continues to exist after being separated from the body, so must we maintain that it can understand when it exists without the body. But it is hard to see the way in which it under stands, because we have to say that it has a different mode of under standing than it has now, since it is quite clear that it can understand now only if it turns to phantasms, and these will not remain in any way after death.

Accordingly, some say that, just as the soul now receives species from sensible things through the mediation of the senses, so, then, it will be able to receive them without the intervention of any sense. But this seems to be impossible, because a thing cannot pass from one extreme to the other except through the intermediate things. But in the sensible thing the species has an extremely material existence, but, in the understanding, a very highly spiritual existence. Hence, it has to pass to this spirituality through certain intermediate levels, inasmuch as it has a more spiritual existence in sense than in the sensible thing, and a still more spiritual existence in imagination than in sense, and so on as it goes higher.

Hence, others, therefore, say that the soul understands after death through the species which were received from the senses while it was in the body, and which are retained within the soul itself. But this opinion is attacked by some who follow Avicennaís opinion. For, since the intellective soul does not use a bodily organ in order to understand, there cannot be anything in the intellective part of the soul except in so far as it is intelligible. In powers which use a physical organ, however, something can be retained, not in so far as it is knowable, but as in some kind of physical subject. It is because of this that there are certain sensitive powers which do not always actually apprehend the species or intentions which are retained in them. This is clearly the case will imagination and memory. Thus, it seems that only what is actually perceived is retained in the intellective part of the soul. Accordingly, after death the soul can in no way understand through the species which it previously received from things.

But this does not seem to be true, because everything which is received in a thing is received in it according to the mode of the recipient. However, since an immaterial substance has a more stable existence than a physical substance, the species will be received will greater firmness and immobility in the intellective part than in any material thing. And, although they are received in it in so far as they have the character of an intelligible, it is not necessary for the soul actually to understand them at all times, because they are not always in the soul in perfect act. Nor are they there in pure potency, but in incomplete act, which is intermediate between potency and act, which is to say that something exists habitually in the understanding. For this reason, also, the Philosopher wants to make the intellective soul "the place of the species," inasmuch as it retains and preserves them in itself. However, such species, previously received and preserved, do not suffice for the knowledge which we must ascribe to the separated soul because of the souls of children and because of the fact that there are many things now not known to us, such as the punishments of hell and so forth, which will be known by the separated souls.

Therefore, others say that, although the separated soul does not receive anything from things, still, in their presence it has the power to confirm itself to the things it is to know. We see that the imagination of itself makes up forms in this way which it has never received through the senses. But this cannot stand either, for it is impossible to have something which reduces itself from potency into act. And our soul is in potency to the likenesses of the things by which it knows. Consequently, they have to be made actual, not through the soul, but through something which has these likenesses actually, either through the things themselves or through God, in whom all forms are in actuality. Thus, neither imagination nor understanding constructs a new form except from those already in existence, as it fashions the form of a golden mountain from the pre-existing likenesses of gold and mountain.

Therefore, others say that the forms by which the separated soul knows are imprinted on it by God from its very creation, and according to some we now understand through these forms in such a way that no new species are acquired for the soul through the senses, but the soul is only aroused to look at the species which it has within itself. And the Platonists, who wanted learning to be nothing but remembering, have spoken in this way. But experience contradicts this opinion, for we see that one who lacks one sense lacks one type of knowledge, so that one who does not have sight cannot have knowledge of colors. But this would not be so if the soul did not need to receive from the senses the species by which it knows.

However, according to others, while the soul is joined to the body and is hindered by the body, it understands nothing through these concreated species. But it does understand through them once it is separated from the body. But, again, it seems difficult to admit that species which are naturally implanted in the soul should be hindered completely by the body, even though the union of body and soul is natural to the soul and not adventitious. For we do not find that one of two elements which are natural to a given thing hinders the other in every respect. Otherwise, the second element would be to no purpose. This position also disagrees will that of the Philosopher, who compares the understanding of the human soul to "a tablet on which nothing is written."

Therefore, we must give a different answer, namely, that each thing is influenced by that which is above it according to the mode of its own being. But the rational soul receives its being in a mode midway between separated forms and material forms. For immaterial forms, that is to say, angels, receive from God a being which does not depend on matter and is not in any matter. But material forms receive from God a being which is in matter and depends on matter, since they can not be conserved without matter. The soul, however, receives from God a being which is in matter, for it exists in matter in so far as it is the form of the body, and through this it is united to the body in its being, but it is not dependent on matter, since the being of the soul can be maintained without the body. Therefore, the rational soul receives Godís influence in a manner midway between that of angels and that of material things.

For it receives intellectual light in such way that its intellective knowledge has an ordination to the body, in so far as it receives some thing from the powers of the body and has to refer to them in the act of consideration. In this it is lower than the angels. Nevertheless, this light is not so confined to the body that its activity is performed by means of a bodily organ. In this it is above every material form, which performs only the activity in which matter has a share. But, when the soul will be separated from the body, just as it will have its being neither dependent on the body nor existing in the body, so, too, it will receive an influx of intellectual knowledge in such a way that it will neither be confined to the body, as though it had to be exercised through the body, nor will it have any ordination to the body at all.

Therefore, when at its creation the soul is infused in the body, the only intellectual knowledge that is given it is ordained to the powers of the body. Thus, through the agent intellect it can make potentially intelligible phantasms actually intelligible, and through the possible intellect it can receive the intelligible species thus abstracted. Hence it is, too, that, as long as it has being united to the body in the state of this life, it does not know even those things whose species are pre served in it except by insight into phantasms. And for this reason, also, God does not make any revelations to it except under the species of phantasms, nor is it able to understand separated substances, inasmuch as these cannot be sufficiently known through the species of sensible things.

But, when it will have its being free of the body, then it will receive the influx of intellectual knowledge in the way in which angels receive it, without any ordination to the body. Thus, it will receive species of things from God himself, in order not to have to turn to any phantasms actually to know through these species or through those which it acquired previously. Nevertheless, it will be able to see separated substances, as the angels and demons, will natural knowledge, although it will not be able to see God in this way, for, without grace this is not given to any creature.

From all this we can conclude that the soul understands in three ways after death. In one, it understands through species which it received from things while it was in the body. In the second, through species which God infuses in it at the time of its separation from the body. In the third, by seeing separated substances and looking at the species of things which are in them. But this last mode does not lie within their free choice but within that of the separated substance, which opens its intelligence when it speaks and closes it when it is silent. We have said before what sort of speech this is.

Answers to Difficulties:

1.The activity of understanding which is common to soul and body is that activity which now belongs to the intellective soul in its relation to the powers of the body, whether we take this will reference to the higher part of the soul or to the lower part. But, after death, the soul, separated from the body, will have an activity which will not take place through a bodily organ and will have no ordination to the body.

2. The solution to the second difficulty is clear from the first response.

3. This authoritative citation is speaking of progress in merit, as it is clear from another gloss on the same passage which says: "Some assert that merit increases and decreases after death, so that it be under stood that there is no further advance in knowledge,"23 which is to say, that they have more merit or reward, or that they deserve clearer knowledge, but it does not mean that they will not then know anything which was previously unknown. For it is clear that they will then know the punishments of hell, which they do not know now.

4. The Philosopher is here speaking only of the understanding united to the body. Otherwise, the consideration of understanding would not belong to natural science.

5. Although the nature of the soul is specifically the same before and after death, its mode of being is not the same. Consequently, its mode of activity is not the same.

6. The power of understanding and the agent and possible intellects will remain in the separated soul. For the existence of these powers is not caused in the soul by the body, although, while they exist in the soul united to the body, they do have an ordination to the body which they will not have in the separated soul.

7. The Philosopher is speaking of the act of understanding which is now proper for us will our dependence on phantasms. For this is hindered when the bodily organ is inhibited and it is completely destroyed when the organ is destroyed.

8. The same intellective powers which are now in the soul will be in the separated soul because they are natural. And things which are natural have to remain, although they now have an ordination to the body which they will not have then, as has been said.

9. The intellective powers remain in the separated soul both in their radication in the essence of the soul and in their relation w act. Nor is it necessary that the habits which were acquired in the body be destroyed, except, perhaps, according to the opinion mentioned above, which says that no species remains in the understanding, unless actual intellection continues. But, even granting that those habits would not remain, the intellective power will an ordination to acts of a different type would remain.

10. After death, the soul understands through certain species. li can, indeed, understand through the species which it has acquired in the body, although these are not entirely adequate, as the difficulty points out.

11-12. We concede these two difficulties.

13. The infusion of the gifts of grace does not reach those who are in hell, but these souls are not deprived of the things which belong to the state of nature. "For nothing is completely deprived of a share in the good," as Dionysius says. But the infusion of species mentioned above, which is given when the soul is separated from the body, be longs to the natural state of separated substances. Therefore, the souls of the damned are not deprived of this infusion.

14. Augustine is here trying to show how the soul clothes itself will likenesses of physical things, so that it sometimes thinks it is itself a body, as appears in the opinion of the ancient philosophers. He says that this happens because the soul will its attention focused on bodies is attracted to them through the external senses. For this reason, it strives to bring these bodies into itself in so far as possible. However, since the soul is incorporeal, it cannot bring the bodies themselves into itself, but it does bring likenesses of bodies into the domain of in corporeal nature, as it were, in so far as the forms existing in imagination are without matter; however, they do not yet reach the limits of incorporeal nature, because they are still not free of the conditions of matter.

The soul is said to seize upon these likenesses in so far as it immediately abstracts them from sensible things. And it is said to fashion them to the extent that it simplifies them, or in so far as it joins and divides them. It constructs them in itself in so far as it receives them in a power of the soul, the imagination. It constructs them by itself because the soul itself is that which fashions imaginations of this sort in itself, so that the word by denotes the efficient principle. Therefore, he adds that the soul gives these species something of its substance when it forms them, since a part of the soul, rooted in its substance, is given this role of forming images.

But, since everything which passes judgment on a thing has to be free from that thing, understanding has been made pure and unmixed in order to judge of all things, according to the Phiiosopher.28 There fore, for the soul to judge of these images, which are not things themselves, but likenesses of things, there has to be something higher in the soul which is not occupied by these images. This is the mind, which can judge of such images. However, it is not necessary that the mind judge only of these images, but at times it also judges of things which are neither bodies nor the likeness of bodies.


Parallel readings: IV Sentences 50, I, 3; Summa Theol., I, 89, 4; Q. D. de anima, 20.


It seems that it does not, for

1. If it knows singulars, it knows them either through species created will the soul, or through species it has acquired. But it does not know them through species which it has acquired, because the species received in the intellective part of the soul are not singular but universal. And it is only this part of the soul which is separated from the body, "as the perpetual from the corruptible," according to the Philosopher.1 Similarly, it does not know them through species created will the soul, for, since singulars are countless, there would have to be an infinite number of species created will the soul. But this is impossible. Therefore, the separated soul does not know singulars.

2. It was said that it knows singulars through a universal species.ó On the contrary, an indistinct species cannot be the source of distinct knowledge. But the universal species is indistinct, and knowledge of singulars is distinct. Therefore, separated souls cannot know singulars through universal species.

3. It was said that the separated soul confirms itself to the singular when the singular is present to it and thus knows the singular.óOn the contrary, when the singular thing is present to the soul, either some thing passes over from the singular into the soul, or nothing passes over. If something passes over, the separated soul receives something from singulars, which seems unfitting, but, if nothing passes over, the species existing in the soul remain general, and, so, nothing singular can be known through them.

4. Nothing which is in potency reduces itself from potency to act. But the cognoscitive soul is in potency to things which can be known. Therefore, it cannot reduce itself to act, and so confirm itself to them. Consequently, it seems that the separated soul does not know singulars when they are present to it.

To the Contrary:

1'. In Luke (16:23) we read that Dives in hell knew Abraham and Lazarus, and retained the knowledge of his brothers still living. Therefore, the separated soul knows singulars.

2í. There is not pain without knowledge. But the soul will undergo pain from the fire and the other punishments of hell. Therefore, it will know singulars.

De veritate EN 161