Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Aristotle
Pages of On The Soul

Previous | Next

On The Soul   

another), opinion the number of the plane, sensation the number of the

solid; the numbers are by him expressly identified with the Forms

themselves or principles, and are formed out of the elements; now

things are apprehended either by mind or science or opinion or

sensation, and these same numbers are the Forms of things.

Some thinkers, accepting both premisses, viz. that the soul is

both originative of movement and cognitive, have compounded it of both

and declared the soul to be a self-moving number.

As to the nature and number of the first principles opinions differ.

The difference is greatest between those who regard them as

corporeal and those who regard them as incorporeal, and from both

dissent those who make a blend and draw their principles from both

sources. The number of principles is also in dispute; some admit one

only, others assert several. There is a consequent diversity in

their several accounts of soul; they assume, naturally enough, that

what is in its own nature originative of movement must be among what

is primordial. That has led some to regard it as fire, for fire is the

subtlest of the elements and nearest to incorporeality; further, in

the most primary sense, fire both is moved and originates movement

in all the others.

Democritus has expressed himself more ingeniously than the rest on

the grounds for ascribing each of these two characters to soul; soul

and mind are, he says, one and the same thing, and this thing must

be one of the primary and indivisible bodies, and its power of

originating movement must be due to its fineness of grain and the

shape of its atoms; he says that of all the shapes the spherical is

the most mobile, and that this is the shape of the particles of fire

and mind.

Anaxagoras, as we said above, seems to distinguish between soul

and mind, but in practice he treats them as a single substance, except

that it is mind that he specially posits as the principle of all

things; at any rate what he says is that mind alone of all that is

Previous | Next
Site Search