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On The Soul   

affection, then if mind is simple and impassible and has nothing in

common with anything else, as Anaxagoras says, how can it come to

think at all? For interaction between two factors is held to require a

precedent community of nature between the factors. Again it might be

asked, is mind a possible object of thought to itself? For if mind

is thinkable per se and what is thinkable is in kind one and the same,

then either (a) mind will belong to everything, or (b) mind will

contain some element common to it with all other realities which makes

them all thinkable.

(1) Have not we already disposed of the difficulty about interaction

involving a common element, when we said that mind is in a sense

potentially whatever is thinkable, though actually it is nothing until

it has thought? What it thinks must be in it just as characters may be

said to be on a writingtablet on which as yet nothing actually

stands written: this is exactly what happens with mind.

(Mind is itself thinkable in exactly the same way as its objects

are. For (a) in the case of objects which involve no matter, what

thinks and what is thought are identical; for speculative knowledge

and its object are identical. (Why mind is not always thinking we must

consider later.) (b) In the case of those which contain matter each of

the objects of thought is only potentially present. It follows that

while they will not have mind in them (for mind is a potentiality of

them only in so far as they are capable of being disengaged from

matter) mind may yet be thinkable.


Since in every class of things, as in nature as a whole, we find two

factors involved, (1) a matter which is potentially all the

particulars included in the class, (2) a cause which is productive

in the sense that it makes them all (the latter standing to the

former, as e.g. an art to its material), these distinct elements

must likewise be found within the soul.

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