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On The Soul   




Turning now to the part of the soul with which the soul knows and

thinks (whether this is separable from the others in definition

only, or spatially as well) we have to inquire (1) what differentiates

this part, and (2) how thinking can take place.

If thinking is like perceiving, it must be either a process in which

the soul is acted upon by what is capable of being thought, or a

process different from but analogous to that. The thinking part of the

soul must therefore be, while impassible, capable of receiving the

form of an object; that is, must be potentially identical in character

with its object without being the object. Mind must be related to what

is thinkable, as sense is to what is sensible.

Therefore, since everything is a possible object of thought, mind in

order, as Anaxagoras says, to dominate, that is, to know, must be pure

from all admixture; for the co-presence of what is alien to its nature

is a hindrance and a block: it follows that it too, like the sensitive

part, can have no nature of its own, other than that of having a

certain capacity. Thus that in the soul which is called mind (by

mind I mean that whereby the soul thinks and judges) is, before it

thinks, not actually any real thing. For this reason it cannot

reasonably be regarded as blended with the body: if so, it would

acquire some quality, e.g. warmth or cold, or even have an organ

like the sensitive faculty: as it is, it has none. It was a good

idea to call the soul 'the place of forms', though (1) this

description holds only of the intellective soul, and (2) even this

is the forms only potentially, not actually.

Observation of the sense-organs and their employment reveals a

distinction between the impassibility of the sensitive and that of the

intellective faculty. After strong stimulation of a sense we are

less able to exercise it than before, as e.g. in the case of a loud

sound we cannot hear easily immediately after, or in the case of a

bright colour or a powerful odour we cannot see or smell, but in the

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