ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf

297. The Activities of the Soul (53). -- The faculties with which these are connected, acquire, by repeated exercise of their actions, growing facility for acting, and this permanent disposition to act in a given groove is called by the name of habitus. For a solution of the question whether the faculties have a reality other than that of the soul, or whether they are merely different modes of applying the same energy to various objects, we must consult the metaphysical discussions that determine the relations of the contingent substance to its operative power (285). St. Thomas reaches the conclusion that there is a real distinction between the soul and its faculties, and between the faculties themselves; adding to certain arguments of the metaphysical order this other consideration: that the adequate distinction between the various vital operations argues a similar distinction between the immediate subjects (faculties) from which they spring. The Angelic Doctor differs here both from Aristotle, whose view is not clear,{1} and from the Augustinians who regard the soul and its faculties as one and the same reality. The scholastics distinguish in man three groups of vital functions: the lower functions of the vegetative life, such as nutrition and reproduction; the cognitive functions; the appetitive functions. They were chiefly concerned with the two latter groups, which sum up the whole psychic life proper. And as all the scholastics, by reason of their common spiritualism, distinguish psychic phenomena into two irreducible orders, the sensible and the supra-sensible, we must apply this division to the study both of knowledge and of appetite. Let us, therefore, briefly outline these departments.

{1} PIAT, Aristote, pp. 156 and 157.

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