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

Previous | Next

On The Soul   

clothed upon with any body-an absurd view, for each body seems to have

a form and shape of its own. It is as absurd as to say that the art of

carpentry could embody itself in flutes; each art must use its

tools, each soul its body.


There is yet another theory about soul, which has commended itself

to many as no less probable than any of those we have hitherto

mentioned, and has rendered public account of itself in the court of

popular discussion. Its supporters say that the soul is a kind of

harmony, for (a) harmony is a blend or composition of contraries,

and (b) the body is compounded out of contraries. Harmony, however, is

a certain proportion or composition of the constituents blended, and

soul can be neither the one nor the other of these. Further, the power

of originating movement cannot belong to a harmony, while almost all

concur in regarding this as a principal attribute of soul. It is

more appropriate to call health (or generally one of the good states

of the body) a harmony than to predicate it of the soul. The absurdity

becomes most apparent when we try to attribute the active and

passive affections of the soul to a harmony; the necessary

readjustment of their conceptions is difficult. Further, in using

the word 'harmony' we have one or other of two cases in our mind;

the most proper sense is in relation to spatial magnitudes which

have motion and position, where harmony means the disposition and

cohesion of their parts in such a manner as to prevent the

introduction into the whole of anything homogeneous with it, and the

secondary sense, derived from the former, is that in which it means

the ratio between the constituents so blended; in neither of these

senses is it plausible to predicate it of soul. That soul is a harmony

in the sense of the mode of composition of the parts of the body is

a view easily refutable; for there are many composite parts and

Previous | Next
Site Search