Dr. Feser's purpose was to point out that many modern philosophers don't think much of Plato's case, but ought to. He's probably right.
Once I got there, it turned out that - though I like reassurance - I'm pretty well convinced of the soul's immortality, and instead of examining Plato's soundness (responding, in other words, to the post's actual subject) I got distracted by other thoughts. I think it's called threadjacking. But not before some other guy beat me to it. Said he:
What comes to mind is Francis of Assisi, who no doubt observed the following in nature, as I certainly do in dogs, but not so intensely in people..."Love is patient, love is kind, etc..."
I submit it is just these noble qualities in the essence - the soul – of dogs which has made them man's best friend. I am inclined to think that what Aquinas so scholastically asserts to be the high moral value setting humans apart and superior to the other creatures – knowledge, or intellect – subordinates the sublime to the clever.
To love someone, in the deepest sense, is to will what is good for him. But will is something only beings with intellects have. Furthermore, the fulfilled intellect is one which is wise, not one which is merely clever. (Lots of intelligent people are clever; very very few are wise.) So, it seems to me you're selling Aquinas short.To another commenter he points out that Aquinas says
that "the souls of brutes are corrupted." What he means is that though forms per se don't perish, nevertheless the particular instantiation of the form or soul in this particular brute disappears when the animal does (while the human soul, by contrast, does not).The original doglover responds:
I think, like Hartshorne, the anthropomorphic bias inherent in Aquinas' system as well as that of plain humanism "does not do justice to the creatures."
Could you give a succinct definition of this will and intellect?
Is this a necessary conclusion of A-T metaphysics, or might there be some attributes in the sentience of certain creatures that would allow us to entertain at least the possibility of immortality, and which would not be incompatible with that metaphysics if certain knowledge of the attributes were available to the A-T'er.Says Dr. Feser to the first guy:
Intellect is the power to grasp abstract concepts and reason on the basis of them. Will is appetite moved by intellect, by what the intellect grasps. Non-human animals cannot grasp abstract concepts -- the most they can manage are something like general mental images (but a general image of a man, say, is not the same as the concept "man"). And since they cannot, their appetites are mere appetites, not governed by reason. This is why they cannot love in the strict sense. They can manage affection and the like, but that is not the same thing.Oh. And then to me:
William, Yes, I'm inclined to say that it is a necessary consequence, at least given that brutes carry out no activities that involve an immaterial power. Unlike intellectual activities, sensation and imagination (which animals do have) are from an A-T point of view entirely dependent on matter. So lower animals have nothing which might carry on beyond the deaths of their bodies."Brutes", huh? My feeble response was to note that I didn't know how to break this to my daughter. She has a chihuahua...