Recently I watched the video of your talk to the Stanford Anscombe Society on The Meaning of the Sexual Powers. At several points during the talk, you mentioned that a human being is a “body and soul unity.” Have you written of this anywhere else? Could you explain?
The specific points about body and soul unity that I made in the talk you heard are discussed more fully in my book, On the Meaning of Sex . But the premises of body and soul unity might be put briefly as follows.
Neither body alone, nor soul alone, neither expresses the whole being of a human person. The body is a person’s material aspect, and the soul is his formal aspect -- that which makes the difference between a mere corpse and an embodied human life. Because both of these are bona fide aspects of the human person, my body is just as human and personal as my soul, and my soul just as human and personal as my body. “The real me” is both of them together.
Moreover, neither body nor soul is reducible to the other. It would be profoundly mistaken to think that the human person is really nothing but a body, and that the soul is merely one of its parts, properties, or activities. It would be equally mistaken to think that the human person is really nothing but a soul, and that the body is merely its tool or container.
I try to avoid the expressions “monism” and “dualism,” because I’ve found that they are used in overlapping senses which often given rise to confusion. If monism is taken in the common sense of claiming either that the human person is either only a soul or that it is only a body, then body and soul unity is not monist. But if dualism is taken in the equally common sense of denying that the two elements, soul and body, form a genuine composite in the human person, then body and soul unity is not dualist either.
Another term for body and soul unity is “hylomorphic” unity. This classical view of the human being is epitomized by Aristotle among the Greeks, and, with differences, by Thomas Aquinas among the Christians.