Objection 1: It would seem that the intellectual soul is united to the body through the medium of accidental dispositions. For every form exists in its proper disposed matter. But dispositions to a form are accidents. Therefore we must presuppose accidents to be in matter before the substantial form; and therefore before the soul, since the soul is a substantial form.
Objection 2: Further, various forms of one species require various parts of matter. But various parts of matter are unintelligible without division in measurable quantities. Therefore we must suppose dimensions in matter before the substantial forms, which are many belonging to one species.
Objection 3: Further, what is spiritual is connected with what is corporeal by virtual contact. But the virtue of the soul is its power. Therefore it seems that the soul is united to the body by means of a power, which is an accident.
On the contrary, Accident is posterior to substance, both in the order of time and in the order of reason, as the Philosopher says, Metaph. vii (Did. vi, 1). Therefore it is unintelligible that any accidental form exist in matter before the soul, which is the substantial form.
I answer that, If the soul were united to the body, merely as a motor, there would be nothing to prevent the existence of certain dispositions mediating between the soul and the body; on the contrary, they would be necessary, for on the part of the soul would be required the power to move the body; and on the part of the body, a certain aptitude to be moved by the soul.
If, however, the intellectual soul is united to the body as the substantial form, as we have already said above (A), it is impossible for any accidental disposition to come between the body and the soul, or between any substantial form whatever and its matter. The reason is because since matter is in potentiality to all manner of acts in a certain order, what is absolutely first among the acts must be understood as being first in matter. Now the first among all acts is existence. Therefore, it is impossible for matter to be apprehended as hot, or as having quantity, before it is actual. But matter has actual existence by the substantial form, which makes it to exist absolutely, as we have said above (A). Wherefore it is impossible for any accidental dispositions to pre-exist in matter before the substantial form, and consequently before the soul.
Reply to Objection 1: As appears from what has been already said (A), the more perfect form virtually contains whatever belongs to the inferior forms; therefore while remaining one and the same, it perfects matter according to the various degrees of perfection. For the same essential form makes man an actual being, a body, a living being, an animal, and a man. Now it is clear that to every |genus| follow its own proper accidents. Therefore as matter is apprehended as perfected in its existence, before it is understood as corporeal, and so on; so those accidents which belong to existence are understood to exist before corporeity; and thus dispositions are understood in matter before the form, not as regards all its effects, but as regards the subsequent effect.
Reply to Objection 2: Dimensions of quantity are accidents consequent to the corporeity which belongs to the whole matter. Wherefore matter, once understood as corporeal and measurable, can be understood as distinct in its various parts, and as receptive of different forms according to the further degrees of perfection. For although it is essentially the same form which gives matter the various degrees of perfection, as we have said (ad 1), yet it is considered as different when brought under the observation of reason.
Reply to Objection 3: A spiritual substance which is united to a body as its motor only, is united thereto by power or virtue. But the intellectual soul is united by its very being to the body as a form; and yet it guides and moves the body by its power and virtue.