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



Previous | Next
                  

On The Soul   


it is beyond paradox to say that fire or air is an animal, and it is

absurd to refuse the name of animal to what has soul in it. The

opinion that the elements have soul in them seems to have arisen

from the doctrine that a whole must be homogeneous with its parts.

If it is true that animals become animate by drawing into themselves a

portion of what surrounds them, the partisans of this view are bound

to say that the soul of the Whole too is homogeneous with all its

parts. If the air sucked in is homogeneous, but soul heterogeneous,

clearly while some part of soul will exist in the inbreathed air, some

other part will not. The soul must either be homogeneous, or such that

there are some parts of the Whole in which it is not to be found.

From what has been said it is now clear that knowing as an attribute

of soul cannot be explained by soul's being composed of the

elements, and that it is neither sound nor true to speak of soul as

moved. But since (a) knowing, perceiving, opining, and further (b)

desiring, wishing, and generally all other modes of appetition, belong

to soul, and (c) the local movements of animals, and (d) growth,

maturity, and decay are produced by the soul, we must ask whether each

of these is an attribute of the soul as a whole, i.e. whether it is

with the whole soul we think, perceive, move ourselves, act or are

acted upon, or whether each of them requires a different part of the

soul? So too with regard to life. Does it depend on one of the parts

of soul? Or is it dependent on more than one? Or on all? Or has it

some quite other cause?

Some hold that the soul is divisible, and that one part thinks,

another desires. If, then, its nature admits of its being divided,

what can it be that holds the parts together? Surely not the body;

on the contrary it seems rather to be the soul that holds the body

together; at any rate when the soul departs the body disintegrates and

decays. If, then, there is something else which makes the soul one,

this unifying agency would have the best right to the name of soul,

and we shall have to repeat for it the question: Is it one or

Previous | Next
Site Search