Evangelical Philosophical SocietyArticle Reprint

Anthropological Hylomorphism

by Bruno Niederbacher

Learn more about this Routledge Research Companion to Theological Anthropology and this chapter contribution!

This chapter attempts to present one version of anthropological hylomorphism which is inspired by the Aristotelian tradition.

Anthropological hylomorphism is the view that human beings are compounds of matter (Greek hyl?) and form (Greek morph?). According to this view, the soul of a human being is its substantial form. In the first part of the chapter this hylomorphism is presented and some difficulties pertaining to it are explored, for example: Does one human being have only one substantial form or many? Which kind of entity is a substantial form? Is it an entity at all? And can the soul, understood as substantial form, explain anything? In the second part of the chapter it is investigated how anthropological hylomorphism accounts for three central topics of Christian belief: the creation and beginning of an individual human being, the moral responsibility and moral status of human beings, and, finally, their bodily resurrection.

Questions for further study

©2020 Evangelical Philosophical Society. All rights Reserved.  

This article is made public for personal, non-commercial use only.  You must obtain prior written permission for any other use.  The Evangelical Philosophical Society  (EPS) is an organization of professional scholars devoted to pursuing philosophical excellence in both the church and the academy. Interested laypersons can join as full, associate, or student members.  The EPS journal, Philosophia Christi, is a scholarly publication containing discussion of a variety of topics that are of interest to the philosopher and to the philosopher of religion.

For membership information, please visit www.epsociety.org or you may contact us by phone or e-mail.