Letter to the Editor
Relooking at Soul
Ben M. Carter
#20304077 North Beltline
Irving, Texas 75038
From: PSCF 53 (June 2001): 138.
I would like to thank David Siemens for his remarks (PSCF 53 [March 2001]: 69) on my paper "The Salvation of Your Souls" (PSCF 52 [December 2000]: 242ñ54). I agree that when referring to the soul, I should have used the noun psuche rather than the verb psucho. I note the error is pervasive and I regret it. Nevertheless, it seems plain enough from Siemensí own remarks that psucho as to breathe and psuche as breath are related, and he himself suggests in the fourth paragraph of his letter that psuche derives from psucho. In fact, by making that point, he seems to be making mine. Therefore, I fail to see how the detail he raises, important though it is, alters my argument in the least.
Secondly, I do not disagree with Siemensí discussion of Aristotle, but most of what Siemens says is not germane to the argument I construct. Thus I am a bit baffled by his claim that the situation with Aristotle is not quite as I present it. As to whether or not Aristotle said what I claim he said, the passage is peppered with footnotes that interested readers are welcomed to consult.
Thirdly, Siemens argues Aquinas did not originate the notion that there is only one soul in a person, instead he got it from Aristotle. I never claimed that the idea originated with Aquinas. Instead I pointed out in several places that Aquinas borrowed heavily from Augustine (Aquinas is very explicit about this) and that both men viewed the soul as a single thing. As for Aristotleís view of the soulís unity, I do not deny that. When discussing Aristotleís concept of the soul, I use the singular exclusively. However, Aristotle need not be interpreted that way, and many Scholastics imagined the forms of the soul as though they were independent powers.
Again, I thank Siemens for his comments. They were informative, and I think that I and other PSCF readers learned something from them.