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On The Soul   


spheres or of large units, or, quite simply, of units in movement? One

way or another, the movements of the animal must be due to their

movements. Hence those who combine movement and number in the same

subject lay themselves open to these and many other similar

absurdities. It is impossible not only that these characters should

give the definition of soul-it is impossible that they should even

be attributes of it. The point is clear if the attempt be made to

start from this as the account of soul and explain from it the

affections and actions of the soul, e.g. reasoning, sensation,

pleasure, pain, &c. For, to repeat what we have said earlier, movement

and number do not facilitate even conjecture about the derivative

properties of soul.

Such are the three ways in which soul has traditionally been

defined; one group of thinkers declared it to be that which is most

originative of movement because it moves itself, another group to be

the subtlest and most nearly incorporeal of all kinds of body. We have

now sufficiently set forth the difficulties and inconsistencies to

which these theories are exposed. It remains now to examine the

doctrine that soul is composed of the elements.

The reason assigned for this doctrine is that thus the soul may

perceive or come to know everything that is, but the theory

necessarily involves itself in many impossibilities. Its upholders

assume that like is known only by like, and imagine that by

declaring the soul to be composed of the elements they succeed in

identifying the soul with all the things it is capable of

apprehending. But the elements are not the only things it knows; there

are many others, or, more exactly, an infinite number of others,

formed out of the elements. Let us admit that the soul knows or

perceives the elements out of which each of these composites is made

up; but by what means will it know or perceive the composite whole,

e.g. what God, man, flesh, bone (or any other compound) is? For each

is, not merely the elements of which it is composed, but those

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