Rationality should not be seen as a ghostly process exclusive of the world of matter, but rather as a transcendent process within matter itself by virtue of a participated power. A Thomistic metaphysics of embodied participation in being effectively answers Robert Pasnau’s objection that the standard hylomorphic account confuses ontological and representational immateriality, and is more satisfying than nonreductive physicalist accounts of rationality, and the Anglo-American hylomorphic accounts reliant on formal causality. When the active intellect is understood as a participated power and not as a formal or constitutive principle of rationality, the transcendent basis of rationality is clarified; all embodied rational operations are seen to utilize, without being reduced to, a substrate of neurophysiological systems, processes and structures. I utilise an allegory of alien abduction, to illustrate participation as a key to understanding the intrinsic relationship between transcendent, immaterial thought and embodiment.


metaphysics, Robert Pasnau, hylomorphism

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