|Are we living in a machine?|
Given the weaknesses of both positions, Madden concludes that the issue in question is whether or not mechanism should be assumed. Madden says there is a better alternative and, when applied to the philosophy of mind, makes better sense than either dualism or materialism.
Aristotelian hylomorphism holds that prime matter is the fundamental principle of the world and that it has the potential to actualize any form. Because prime matter cannot exist without form and exists only in potency, all objects contain the co-principle of prime matter, pure potential, and substantial form, the –ness of any given object. Change, affecting accidental and substantial form, has four causes – material, formal, efficient and final.
For living organisms the soul is the form of the organism, the human being has an additional feature that warrants thinking of it having a from/soul that can exist eternally. The nature (being) of reason is what makes reasoning possible (act). Consequently, although the human soul and body are one substance, the soul nonetheless can exist without the body since reason is universal.
Aristotelian hylomorphism has ancient precedent and, according to Madden, deals with the philosophy of mind quite adequately. It is hard to argue against if it is true, but that is the problem – how does one justify the position? On what basis does one defend prime matter? It appears a speculation that is conceptually possible, but impossible to prove. Recall, that this is partly what led to the collapse of the Aristotelian worldview in the first place.