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

Previous | Next

On The Soul   

appear to be certain animals which stationary, and yet local

movement is the only one, so it seems, which the soul originates in

animals. And (2) the same object-on holds against all those who

construct mind and the perceptive faculty out of the elements; for

it appears that plants live, and yet are not endowed with locomotion

or perception, while a large number of animals are without discourse

of reason. Even if these points were waived and mind admitted to be

a part of the soul (and so too the perceptive faculty), still, even

so, there would be kinds and parts of soul of which they had failed to

give any account.

The same objection lies against the view expressed in the 'Orphic'

poems: there it is said that the soul comes in from the whole when

breathing takes place, being borne in upon the winds. Now this

cannot take place in the case of plants, nor indeed in the case of

certain classes of animal, for not all classes of animal breathe. This

fact has escaped the notice of the holders of this view.

If we must construct the soul out of the elements, there is no

necessity to suppose that all the elements enter into its

construction; one element in each pair of contraries will suffice to

enable it to know both that element itself and its contrary. By

means of the straight line we know both itself and the curved-the

carpenter's rule enables us to test both-but what is curved does not

enable us to distinguish either itself or the straight. Certain

thinkers say that soul is intermingled in the whole universe, and it

is perhaps for that reason that Thales came to the opinion that all

things are full of gods. This presents some difficulties: Why does the

soul when it resides in air or fire not form an animal, while it

does so when it resides in mixtures of the elements, and that although

it is held to be of higher quality when contained in the former?

(One might add the question, why the soul in air is maintained to be

higher and more immortal than that in animals.) Both possible ways

of replying to the former question lead to absurdity or paradox; for

Previous | Next
Site Search