Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-ms7nj Total loading time: 0.544 Render date: 2022-08-09T21:07:56.413Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

Body and Soul in Aristotle

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 February 2009

Richard Sorabji
Kings's College, London
Rights & Permissions[Opens in a new window]


HTML view is not available for this content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the ‘Save PDF’ action button.

Interpretations of Aristotle's account of the relation between body and soul have been widely divergent. At one extreme, Thomas Slakey has said that in the De Anima ‘Aristotle tries to explain perception simply as an event in the sense-organs’. Wallace Matson has generalized the point. Of the Greeks in general he says, ‘Mind–body identity was taken for granted.… Indeed, in the whole classical corpus there exists no denial of the view that sensing is a bodily process throughout’. At the opposite extreme, Friedrich Solmsen has said of Aristotle's theory, ‘it is doubtful whether the movement or the actualization occurring when the eye sees or the ear hears has any physical or physiological aspect.’ Similarly, Jonathan Barnes has described Aristotle as leaning hesitantly towards the view that desire and thought are wholly non-physical. But on the emotions and sense-perception, Barnes takes an intermediate position. Aristotle treats these, he says, as including physical and non-physical components. Other writers too have sought a position somewhere in the middle. Thus G. R. T. Ross concedes that we find in Aristotle ‘what looks like the crudest materialism’. It appears that objects produce changes in an organism, ‘and the reception of these changes in the sense organ is perception’. But, he maintains, this gives us only half the picture. The complete theory ‘may in a way be designated as a doctrine of psychophysical parallelism’. W. D. Ross also seeks a middle position. He thinks that Aristotle sometimes brings out ‘the distinctively mental, non-corporeal nature of the act [of sensation].… But Aristotle cannot be said to hold successfully to the notion of sensation as a purely mental activity having nothing in common with anything physical. He is still under the influence of earlier materialism’.

Copyright © The Royal Institute of Philosophy 1974


1 Slakey, Thomas, ‘Aristotle on Sense Perception’, The Philosophical Review (1961), p. 470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

2 Matson, Wallace I., ‘Why Isn't The Mind-Body Problem Ancient?’, in Mind, Matter and Method, ed. Feyerabend, and Maxwell, (University of Minnesota, 1966), p. 93.Google Scholar

3 Solmsen, Friedrich, ‘Greek Philosophy and the Discovery of the Nerves’, Museum Helveticum (1961), p. 170.Google Scholar He continues, ‘Nor does the “common sense” which receives, collects and synthesizes depend for its functioning on any physiological process’. He does, however, find (and write illuminatingly about) a physiological process that occurs at a different stage in perception.

4 Barnes, Jonathan, ‘Aristotle's Concept of Mind’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (19711972).Google Scholar

5 Ross, G. R. T., De Sensu et De Memoria (Cambridge, 1906), Introduction, pp. 57.Google Scholar

6 Ross, W. D., Aristotle (Methuen, 1923; Meridian Books edition, 1959), p. 135.Google Scholar

7 DA 4121517–41333. Willie Charlton and Professor Wiggins have pointed out that Aristotle sometimes thinks of the soul as that which has capacities, i.e. the person (Charlton, , Aristotle's Physics Books I and II (Oxford, 1970), pp. 7073Google Scholar; Wiggins, , Identity and Spatio-Temporal Continuity (Blackwell, 1967)Google Scholar, part 4, sec. 2). This observation is illuminating, especially for the study of Metaphysics, Book VII. But it must be insisted that sometimes, and in the De Anima often, Aristotle thinks of the soul as being the capacities themselves. He is not thinking of the soul as that which has capacities, when he says that a person is angry with his soul (408b1–15), or that the soul is the cause of living, and the efficient cause of perception and growth, and that only what partakes of soul perceives (415b8–28

8 It is easy to understand Aristotle's idea that our capacity for desire explains our moving from place to place (DA III.9–10). But it is harder to see how the capacity to perceive can explain our perceiving, or how the capacity to retain a certain distinctive organization while we grow can explain our retaining this organization while we grow (DA 415b23–28; 416a8–9; b21–22).

9 Reply to objections brought against the 2nd Meditation, §4, in the 5th Objections, translated Haldane, and Ross, , vol. II, p. 210.Google Scholar

10 Plato Timaeus 77A-B. Empedocles believed he had in a previous incarnation been a bush (fragment 117 in Diels, Die Fragmente Der Vorsokratiker). It may have been because of his belief that souls could be reincarnated in plants that Empedocles forbade the eating of beans (fr. 141). But members of the Orphic sect allowed that some or all vegetable food lacked a soul (Euripides, Hippolytus 952).

11 Plato, Timaeus 77A–B.Google Scholar Put into the mouth of Protagoras by Plato, , Theaetetus 167B.Google Scholar Asserted, if we can believe our late sources, by Empedocles, Democritus and Anaxagoras (see pseudo-Aristotle, De Plantis 815a16Google Scholar; b16; Sextus Empiricus, Adv. Math. VIII, 286Google Scholar, using as evidence Empedocles, fr. 110. Cf. fr. 103).

12 See, e.g. DA 416a6–9. A plant also produces seed for the next generation. And this must be done by converting the nutriment it draws from the soil (see G. & C. 1.5; DA II.4).

An excellent account of Aristotle's biological extension of the concept of soul is given by Solmsen in the American Journal of Philology, loc. cit., note 69 below.

13 A major function of the soul, among early Greek philosophers, was to cause motion (DA 403b26; 405b11; 409b19). Did the soul always cause motion by means of some mental activity? Aristotle implies not in the case of Democritus (DA 406b24–25), though in this particular instance Aristotle's testimony is suspect. According to another conception, the function of the soul was not connected with consciousness in this life, but was simply to survive, perhaps with a very low level of consciousness, when a man died (see Onians, R. B., The Origins of European Thought (Cambridge 1951), for such a conception in Homer).Google Scholar

For Plato, one function of the soul was to cause motion, but it caused motion by means of some mental activity (Laws 896E–897A). I do not believe that Timaeus 36E says otherwise.

14 Aristotle would have had some precedent, if he had attributed the motion of the elements to desire or to a soul. For Empedocles spoke of the four elements moving on account of desire or love for each other (frr. 21.8; 22.5; 62.6). Plato's Timaeus (52D–53A) allowed movement of the four elements, without the presence of soul, his Laws (897A) was ambiguous on the point, but his Phaedrus (245E) declared that whatever has an internal source of motion is ensouled. In a later age, Descartes was to complain that the scholastic tradition had created in the concept of gravity a sort of pseudo-soul (Reply to 6th set of Objections, sec. 10, HR. vol. II, pp. 253257.Google Scholar For Descartes' own view, see Principles of Philosophy III. 56 and IV. 2027).Google Scholar But this was neither the fault of Aristotle, nor of St. Thomas Aquinas. For though St. Thomas speaks of the four elements moving on account of desire (desiderium, appetitus) for their preservation (Commentary on Aristotle's Physics 208b9, and Summa Theologiae Ia IIae, q. 94, a. 2), he carefully explains away a similar way of talking about the desire (appetitus) of matter for form (Commentary on Aristotle's Physics 192322).

15 The Physics hints at analogies (192322; 250b14). But it fails completely when it tries to spell out the disanalogies (255a5–20; b29–31). A good account of this failure is again given by Solmsen in Aristotle's System of the Physical World, loc. cit., note 69 below.

According to later writings, desire in animals differs from the nature of a stone, in that it involves a physiological process in virtue of which desire is a cause of motion (DA I.1; Mot. 6–10). It also differs in being intimately linked with other soul capacities, with nutrition, which maintains the organs in the right state, and with perceiving, imagining, conceiving and judging. For (Mot 6–8; 11; DA III.9–11) an animal must perceive, imagine, or conceive the end desired, and, in some cases, the means to its realization. A human being may also make a judgment that the end or means conceived is to be pursued, or not. Desire differs again, in that desires have varying ends (Metaph. IX.5; Cael. II.12), some of them conflicting (NE VII.3, Bekker's numbering), some changeable by training (NE II.1), some being only apparent goods, not real goods (NE III.4).

16 In Aristotle, pleasure and pain (PA 666a12), awareness of memory-images (DM 450b14; 16; 18; 28); awareness of one's own acts of sense-perception (Som. 455a17; DA 425b12; NE 1170a29–01); awareness of being asleep (Insom. 462a3). In other authors, desire, fear, 3nd intellectual discernment. For the reference to Kahn's article (which is basic reading for this subject), see note 69.

17 Aristotle does not list this as a distinct sense of ‘is’, when he talks about the different senses of the verb to be. But he still treates this use of ‘is’ in a distinctive way. He notes that ordinary speakers prefer to say that a thing is composed of wood (Metaph. 1033a16–19), or better (1033a19–22) is wooden, rather than that it is wood. And he has reasons of his own, to be discussed on p. 78, for doing like wise, and refusing to say that a thing is its matter (Metaph. 1035a7–10; 1O41b12–16).

18 Other examples of pathē of the soul are envy, emulation, longing, shame and shamelessness, kindness and unkindness, and indignation at unmerited prosperity (NE 1105b19–28; 1128b9–15; Rhet. II. 2–11; EE 1220b10–20). The semiphysiological analysis is mentioned also at DS 436a6–10; b1–8; DM 450a27–30; Som. 454a7–11, and is connected with yet other mental states, desire in general, pleasure and pain, memory and memory images.

For the claim that anger is a bodily process, see DA 403a26. In making all pathē of the soul physiological, Aristotle is rejecting the claims of Plato Philebus 34B; 35C; 47E.

19 See 403a3 for the name pathē. But Aristotle sometimes prefers to tslk of them as things the soul does (poiein 403a7), or as functions of the soul (erga 403a10).

20 Eventuslly it emerges that all human, as opposed to divine, thinking involves imsgery, 3nd hence a physiological process (DA 431a16; b2; 432a8; a13; DM 449b31).

21 For the distinction see NE 1105b19–28; 1106a3; a5; 1157b28–31; EE 1220b13–14; Rhet. 1378a20; Cat. 8b26–9a13; 9b33–10a10. Pathē of the soul (e.g. 3nger) are accompanied by pleasure or pain, and affect one's judgment. We are said to undergo change (kineisthai) when we have them. They are not the result of deliberate choice. They are comparatively short-lived and easily removed. A hexis of the soul (e.g. good temper) is something in accordance with which we are well or ill disposed in relation to pathē. A dunamis of the soul (e.g. the ability to be angry) is that in accordance with which we are capsble of suffering pathē.

22 For examples, see Tracy, Theodore, Physiological Theory and the Doctrine of the Mean in Plato and Aristotle (Mouton, 1969)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, passim; Sorabji, , Aristotle on Memory (Duckworth, 1972), notes on 449b6 and 453a19.Google Scholar

23 A pathos of the soul is an enmattered form (403a25), just as a house is a form (403b6). Again, anger is a movement of a faculty (desire?), as well as being a physiological movement (403a26–27).

24 Rorty, Richard, ‘Incorrigibility as the Mark of the Mental’, The Journal of Philosophy (1970), esp. pp. 399406.Google Scholar

25 Reply to objection on the 2nd Meditation, in the 3rd set of Objections, HR II, p. 64.Google Scholar

26 6th Meditation, HR I, pp. 190 and 196Google Scholar, and Passions of the Soul, article 30, HR I, p. 345.Google Scholar

27 Reply to 2nd Objections, Definition I, see HR II, p. 52.Google Scholar

28 Processes (kinēseis) in the sense-organs, and images (phantasmata) can after all pass unnoticed, according to Insom. 460b28–461a8; 461a19–22, and according to an argument (whose conclusion, however, Aristotle rejects) at DS 447a12–06.

Moreover, DM 451a2–5 admits that a man may be remembering, in spite of being in doubt whether he is.

29 2nd Meditation, HR I, p. 153Google Scholar; Principles of Philosophy I.9, HR I, p. 222Google Scholar; Reply to objections on the 2nd Meditation, §§ 1 and 9, in the Replies to the 5th Objections, HR II, pp. 207 and 213.Google Scholar

30 For the view that the organ takes on colour when we see, v. DA 424a7–10; 425b22–24; 427a8–9; 435a22–24; 417a20; 418a3; 422a7; 422a34; 423b30; 424a18; 424b2; 429a15; 434a29. The first four pass3ges suggest a literal taking on of colour. The theory has been misunderstood by modern commentators. It is the korē, which takes on colour (DA 431a17–18; HA 491b21; PA 653b25), not the eye as a whole, which would indeed be an absurd theory, as Professor Hamlyn and Jonathan Barnes say it is (Hamlyn, ‘Aristotle's account of Aesthēsis in the De Anima,’ Classical Quarterly (1959), pp. 9 and 11Google Scholar; Aristotle's De Anima, Books II and III (Oxford, 1968), pp. 104 and 113Google Scholar; Barnes, , op. cit., p. 109Google Scholar). Aristotle's theory would still be absurd, if the korē were the pupil, 3S all recent English translators of the psychological works suggest (Beare, Hamlyn, Hammond, Hett, Hicks, G. R. T. Ross, Smith). But the korē is in fact the eye-jelly inside the eye (DS 438a16; 438b5–16; HA 491b21; DA 425a4; GA 780b23). And it would not have been obvious, with the instruments available to Aristotle, that this eye-jelly did not in fact become coloured during the process of vision.

One advantage of assuming a literal taking on of colour is that this explains how shapes and sizes can be received in the organ. The coloured pstches in the eye-jelly have simpes and (smsll-scale) sizes.

31 This is part of a two-pronged answer to a puzzle set in Plato's Charmides 168D-E. Sight can't see itself, for only what is coloured can be seen. Aristotle replies (i) sight is not seen, but only perceived with the aid of sight, (ii) What is perceived on these occasions (the organ) is coloured, so on this score there would have been no barrier to its being seen.

For further references to the idea that, when seeing, one not only receives, but also perceives, processes in one's eye-jelly, v. GA 780b32, and (in the course of an argument whose conclusion Aristotle rejects) DS 447323–27.

32 The De Anima suggests that sight plays an indirect role in our awsreness of our own seeing, just as it does in our awareness of darkness. We don't see dsrkness, but are aware of it through trying (and failing) to see other things. The De Somno—supplementing, but not, I think contradicting the De Anima—says that we are aware of our own seeing through the central sense-faculty (455a15–25).

33 Strawson, , Individuals, Methuen 1959, ch. III, esp. §§(5)–(6).Google Scholar

34 The exceptions seem to be cases where Aristotle has misleadingly borrowed the terminology of form without matter, to express the quite different doctrine that the act of sensing is identical with the actualized object of sense.

35 Having declined to regard the reception of form without matter as a physiological process, Barnes finds it difficult to attach any very precise meaning to the idea. In fact, the idea is connected with the organ's becoming like the object perceived (DA 429a15–16), and with the taking on of colours or temperatures (see DA 424a7–10; 425b22–24.; 427a8–9; 435a22–24). So it seems easier, and it is also appropriate in the historical context, to interpret the reception of form without matter in our way. This physiological interpretation has the added advantage of enabling us to understand what Slakey could not understand, the second of two explanations at 424b1–3 of why plants cannot perceive. Plants cannot receive form without matter, i.e. they can only take on colour and warmth by admitting coloured or warm matter. Barnes' reason for refusing to regard the reception of form as a physiological process of the organ changing colour or temperature is that the resulting theory would have been ‘open to devastatingly obvious empirical refutation' (p. 109). But the refutation would not have been obvious, if the organ of sight is the eye-jelly (as is argued in note 30 above), and if the organ of touch is the heart. Such organs would not have been readily open to inspection.

36 Perhaps the actualized object of sense is something that we would characterize as mental. And this would support Barnes, provided he does not say that Aristotle himself would conceive the actualized object as mental. It does not support Brentano, however, for Brentano believes that only the sense is mental; its object is physical.

37 Subsequent authors have offered new criteria of intentional inexistence, in order to defend Brentano's idea that mental phenomena are distinguished by having intentionally inexistent objects. ‘Most of us knew in 1944 that Eisenhower was the one in command…; but although he was (identical with) the man who was to succeed Truman …, it is not true that we knew in 1944 that the man who was to succeed Truman was the one in command …’, i.e. We can't substitute ‘the man who was to succeed Truman’ for ‘Eisenhower’, and Chisholm uses this non-substitutability as a criterion of intentionality (Perceiving (Cornell, 1957), p. 171). But Aristotle would not agree that such non-substitutability was con fined to psychological contexts. He discusses non-substitutability in a variety of contexts, only some of them psychological. (See Soph, El. 179a26–b6; NE 1135a29 on objects of knowledge; Poet. ch. 4 on enjoying a picture quā splash of colour, while not enjoying it quā representation; Phys. 195a27–30 on incidental causes; Phys. 202a19–20; bio–16 on the notions of uphill and downhill.)

38 Either aisthēsis refers to the organ here, or, if it refers to sense, the sense is called a midpoint only derivatively, because the organ is one. The sense does seem to be called a blend (logos) later at 424a27; 426a29; b3; by, but the point being made there is a different one which applies to senses other than touch.

39 See Metaph. 1009b11 ff; DA 427a26, on Empedocles and Democritus. Also Parmenides fr. 6, lines 5–6, and fr. 16. Empedocles fr. 105. Anaxagoras, according to Theophrastus, De Sensibus §31. Democritus, according to Aetius, A. 30 in Diels. Some of Plato's Timaeus also lends itself to this interpretation. On Homer, see R. B. Onians, op. cit. For Aristotle's interpretation of some earlier views on pleasure, see NE 1173b7–9.

40 For these four statements, see (i) DA 424a1; 427a9; (ii) Phys. 244b11–12; (iii) Insom. 459b4–5; Mot. 701b18; (iv) G A 780a3.

41 DM 450a25–451a17; Insom. ch.3. For the word phantasma, see DM 450b10; b24; 451a15; etc.; Insom. 461a18; 462a16; a29–31. For ‘in the soul’, see DM 450a28; bio–11; 451a3. (The expression ‘a process of the soul’ would have been less significant, since it could have been applied to plant growth, as well as to a mental entity.) For reference to contemplating and perceiving the image, to taking it as resembling, or as identical with, familiar objects, to its appearing and being noticed, see DM 450b15–18; 450b24–451a2; Insom. 460b10–11; b23–29; 460b31–46138; 461a19–22; 462a8–12. The significance of the last point, however, the observability of the image, will be reduced, when we recall that Aristotle sometimes speaks of our observing physiologicsl processes within ourselves (see pp. 71–72).

42 Insom. 460031–46138; 461319–22. A physical interpretation suggests itself also when Aristotle says that the changes left behind in us by earlier sense- images are located in the blood in our sense-organs (461b12; b16–19; 462a9; a12). They can travel down with the blood towards the heart (461a5–7; 461a28–b1; 461b12). They may collide with each other (461a10–11), and change their shape (461a10–11; b19–21) like the eddies in rivers, or like figures in clouds (461a8–9; b19–21).

43 Metaph. 1041b12–16. Cf. also 1035a7–10, ‘the form, or the thing insofar as it has form, should be said to be the thing, but the material by itself should never be said to be so’. Presumably, in the case of anger, the physiological process can occur in sleep, without anger occurring, just as bricks can exist, when a house does not.

44 Wiggins, David, Identity and Spatio-Temporal Continuity (Blackwells, 1967), pp. 1025.Google Scholar

45 Descartes says in the 2nd Meditation that he is a mind, and in the 6th that he has a body. But he also says in the 6th Meditation, and elsewhere, that he is composed of (compositus, composé) mind and body.

46 See Rorty, Richard, ‘Mind-Body Identity, Privacy, and Categories’, The Review of Metaphysics (1965).Google Scholar

47 Hardie, W. F. R., ‘Aristotle's Treatment of the Relation Between the Soul and the Body’, The Philosophical Quarterly (1964), pp. 6466Google Scholar; Barnes, Jonathan, op. cit., p. 107.Google Scholar

48 For a modern version of this analysis, see Nowell-Smith, , Ethics (Pelican, 1954).Google Scholar

49 Thus he is described as having deliberated, and as having formed a desire (prohaeresis) based on this deliberation, but as not abiding by his deliberation and his desire (NE 1145b11; 1148a9; 1150b19–22; b30–31; 1151a2; a7; a26; 330–35; b26; 1152a17; a18–19; a26; a28). The chicken example is derived from 1141b16–21. For the meaning of prohaeresis see NE 1112a18–1 113a14, where it is described as a desire for something in one's power (and having a chicken diet is presumably in one's power), which one has calculated to be the best means for achieving one's end. Desire (boulēsis) for the end is attributed to the weak-willed man at 1136b7; 1166b8.

One should not be put off by the statement that the weak-willed man acts without exercising prohaeresis (1111b14; 1148a17). This only means that when he incontinently seizes beef-steak, he has no prohaeresis for beef-steak. He still has his prohaeresis for chicken.

50 It would be anachronistic to ask whether the necessity is logical or physical, for Aristotle does not regard these as distinct kinds of necessity (Sorabji, , ‘Aristotle and Oxford Philosophy’, American Philosophical Quarterly (1969)).Google Scholar The De Motu Animalium provides physiological grounds for postulating a necessity, while Metaphysics IX. 5Google Scholar provides conceptual grounds, grounds, however, which relate to the concept of ability, rather than to the concept of desire.

51 The efficient cause of animal motion is the soul (DA 415b10; b21–22). It becomes clear that it is in particular one capacity of the soul, the capacity for desire (DA III 9–10). The De Motu Animalium 6–10 explains the physical mechanism by which desire leads to action.

52 It is a commonplace to contrast Aristotelian explanations as teleological with Galilean explanations as causal (see e.g. von Wright, Georg Henrik, Explanation and Understanding (Routledge, 1971), ch. 1Google Scholar; Taylor, Charles, The Explanation of Behaviour (Routledge, 1964), ch.1).Google Scholar Certainly, Aristotle favoured teleological explanations, but we should not forget (von Wright, , p. 92Google Scholar; Taylor, , pp. 4, 2025Google Scholar) that he thought teleological explanations compatible with explanations by reference to efficient cause. An action, for example, has some end as its final cause, and some desire as its efficient cause. Efficient causes, unlike Humean causes, can be logically related to their effects; it is best to specify the efficient cause of a building as ‘the art of building’, or failing that, at least as ‘a builder’, rather than as ‘Mr Smith’ (Phys. 195a32–b3; b21–25).

53 Similarly, kindness (Rhet. 1385a16) is defined by reference to action, as that in accordance with which a person is said to render a kindness.

54 Courage, Liberality, Magnificence, Great-Souledness, Friendliness, Truth fulness, Ready wit, Justice, and the corresponding vices. Also Self-indulgence, Hot temper, Friendship, Technical skill, Practical wisdom.

There is a class of virtues (friendliness, truthfulness, ready wit) in connexion with which Aristotle deliberately plays down the role of emotion and emphasizes the role of action. See NE 1108a9–31; 1126b11–1118b9 (esp. 1126b22–23), and Fortenbaugh, William, ‘Aristotle and the Questionable Mean-Dispositions’, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association (1968).Google Scholar

55 See e.g. Phys. 195a5–11; b23–24; Metaph. 1019a15–1020a6; NE 1129a6–21; 1143b26; GA 726b21; Rhet. 1366b9; DA 415b10; b21–22.

56 This is not to deny that the notions of having an end, or of acting towards an end, might turn out to involve some indirect reference to pathē of the soul. And we have not made a positive suggestion as to how these further pathē might be analysed. But we have said enough to show how Aristotle could analyse desire without making it, or its formal cause, into a Cartesian act of mind, and without making its formal cause into a component.

57 Armstrong, D. M. (A Materialist Theory of the Mind (Routledge, 1968), pp. 1112)Google Scholar and Barnes (op. cit.) ascribe to Aristotle the view that, insofar as man has a soul, he has some non-physical attributes. Is desire, as here defined, a nonphysical attribute? Once we observe that it is at any rate not a mental attribute, by Cartesian criteria, the question loses much of its interest.

58 See White, A. R., The Philosophy of Mind (Random House, 1967), pp. 4649Google Scholar, ‘… to possess some knowledge is to have a tendency or an ability to behave in certain ways’.

59 Phys. III.2, 202a6–9; VII.1, 242b24–27; b59–63; VII.2; G. & C. 1.6. For the history of this variously interpreted principle, see Hesse, Mary B., Forces and Fields, The Concept of Action at a Distance in the History of Physics (Nelson, 1961).Google Scholar

60 See Lucretius, De Rerum Natura III. 161167.Google Scholar Cleanthes (Nemesius, , De Nat. Hom., p. 33Google Scholar, in von Arnim's Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta 1. 518). lamblichus (quoted in Simplicius' commentary on Aristotle's Categories, ed. Kalb fleisch, pp. 302, 28 ff).

61 For a different improvised attempt to weaken the principle, by reference to a special kind of touching, see Phys. 258a20, with further explanation at G. & C. 323a25–33.

62 In a weak sense of ‘in’, for the soul does not meet Aristotle's requirements for ‘being in a place’ (DA 406a12–16). And this is presumably why reference to being in a place is dropped from the modified principle.

63 Cf. the attempt to distinguish animal motion from elemental motion Phys. 255a5–20; b30–31, referred to above, note 15.

64 On the different view, according to which the soul is the person who has capacities (see note 7), to say that the soul moves the body is to say that the person moves his body.

65 Similarly, heating and cooling (even if they lead to action) do not lead to an efficient cause of action, but are merely necessary for the realization of that cause

66 The formal cause of seeing will be awareness of colour, if seeing is to be treated in the same way as smelling (see p. 70). But the awareness is again not a Cartesian act of mind.

67 See GA 726b22–24; 734b25–27; 735a8; Metaph. 1035b16–17; b24–25; 1036b30–32; DA 412b20–25; PA 640b34–641a7; Meteor. 389b31–390b2; Pol. 1253a20–22.

Aristotle thus gives to the heart or eye a treatment that would be more appropriate for a scrap of paper used as a bookmarker. The scrap becomes a bookmarker, when so used, and ceases to be a bookmarker, when discarded. When it lies in the wastepaper basket, there is nothing distinctive to connect it, rather than thousands of other objects, with bookmarking; its use alone made it 3 bookmarker. Contrast the severed hand or eye. This still has a distinctive structure to connect it with its former activities, and so it should still (pace Aristotle) qualify as a hand or eye in the primary sense. This is not to say that structure alone, unconnected with function, can make something an eye in the primary sense. The eye of a peacock's tail is not. For an alternstive trestment of Aristotle, see Ackrill, ‘Aristotle's Definitions of Psuche', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (19721973), pp. 127128.Google Scholar

68 Long, ‘The Philosophical Concept of a Human Body’, The Philosophical Review (1964).Google ScholarCook, ‘Human Beings’, in Studies in the Philosophy of Wittgenstein, ed. Winch, (Routledge, 1969).Google Scholar

You have Access
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Body and Soul in Aristotle
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Body and Soul in Aristotle
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Body and Soul in Aristotle
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *