Aristotle: Philosophy of Mind

Edited by Caleb Cohoe (Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Colorado Denver)
About this topic
Summary In his On the Soul, Aristotle offers one of the first systematic accounts of the soul and of its role in explaining living activities. In book one he criticizes the views of his predecessors, Plato and the Pre-Socratics. In books two and three, Aristotle develops his own account of the soul, characterizing it as the fulfillment or actuality of an organic body. The soul is the principle that makes the bodies of living things actually be alive. Thus, on his account, living things are composites of matter and form: they are hylomorphic (the technical term for Aristotle's view, based on the Greek words for matter and form). After laying out this general account, Aristotle discusses three fundamentally different kinds of soul power: a nutritive or vegetative power that allows living things to grow, nourish themselves and reproduce; a perceptual power that allows animals to perceive and respond to the world around them; and an intellectual power that allows human beings to understand the natures of things. Aristotle characterizes the powers these souls have by analyzing their activities and the objects these activities involve (e.g. in order to define the power of perception, he gives an account of the activity of perception and an account of perceptible objects). Aristotle's text was the key reference point for much of ancient and medieval psychology and philosophy of mind and has continued to have a significant influence up to the present day. There has been continuing debate on the extent to which Aristotle's hylomorphism represents a distinct or viable position when seen from the vantage point of contemporary philosophy of mind (see Aristotle:Soul for further details). Both the overall orientation of Aristotle's philosophy of mind (e.g. is it naturalistic or not?) and the details are highly controversial, as the articles in this category and its subcategories make clear.
Key works Aristotle's most important work in this area is his De Anima (the work is usually referred to by its Latin name) or On the Soul (editions include Aristotle 2002, and Aristotle & Reeve 1956). There are two excellent recent translations into English by Christopher Shields (Shields 2016) and C.D.C. Reeve (Reeve & Aristotle 2017). Important commentaries on the work include Hicks (Hicks & Aristotle 1907), Ross (Aristotle & Reeve 1956), Rodier (Aristotle & Rodier 1900), and Polansky (Polansky 2007). Aristotle's other psychological works are found in the Parva Naturalia, including De Sensu or On Sense and the Sensible and De Memoria or On Memory and Recollection (ARISTOTLE 1955). He also discusses claims that are relevant to his philosophy of mind in a number of other works. His discussion of animal motion in De Motu Animalium sheds light on his discussion of locomotion in On the Soul while his biological works offer further information on how Aristotle thinks the soul and body interact (e.g. Balme 1992). Other relevant texts in other works include his treatment of different kinds of knowledge in book six of the Nicomachean Ethics and his discussion of the the nature of form and substance in the Metaphysics (Aristotle 1994; Aristotle 1994).
Introductions Chapter four of Jonathan Lear's Aristotle: The Desire to Understand provides a helpful and very readable introduction to Aristotle's views on the soul and on cognition (Lear 1988). Christopher Shields' Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Aristotle's Psychology gives an excellent overview of Aristotle's philosophy of mind and of the main interpretative disputes currently going on in the literature (Shields 2008). 
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  1. Aristotle on Motion in Incomplete Animals.Daniel Coren - forthcoming - Apeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science.
    I explain what Aristotle means when, after puzzling about the matter of motion in incomplete animals (those without sight, smell, hearing), he suggests in De Anima III 11.433b31-434a5 that just as incomplete animals are moved indeterminately, desire and phantasia are present in those animals, but present indeterminately. I argue that self-motion and its directing faculties in incomplete animals differ in degree but not in kind from those of complete animals. I examine how an object of desire differs for an incomplete (...)
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  2. Review of Erick Raphael Jiménez, Aristotle's Concept of Mind. [REVIEW]Matthew D. Walker - 2018 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  3. Another Dissimilarity Between Moral Virtue and Skills: An Interpretation of Nicomachean Ethics II 4.Javier Echenique - 2018 - In Marcelo Boeri, Y. Kanayama & Jorge Mittelmann (eds.), Soul and Mind in Greek Thought. Psychologial Issues in Plato and Aristotle. Springer. pp. 199-215.
  4. Alexander of Aphrodisias on Pleasure and Pain in Aristotle.Wei Cheng - 2018 - In William Harris (ed.), Pleasure and Pain in Classical Times. Leiden: pp. 174-200..
  5. Aristotle's Anthropology.Nora Kreft & Geert Keil (eds.) - 2019 - Cambridge University Press.
    This is the first collection of essays devoted specifically to the nature and significance of Aristotle's anthropological philosophy, covering the full range of his ethical, metaphysical and biological works. The book is organised into four parts, two of which deal with the metaphysics and biology of human nature and two of which discuss the anthropological foundations and implications of Aristotle's ethico-political works. The essay topics range from human nature and morality to friendship and politics, including original discussion and fresh perspectives (...)
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  6. Aristotle on Memory - Richard Sorabji: Aristotle on Memory. Pp. X+122. London: Duckworth, 1972. Cloth, £3·25.Pamela M. Huby - 1975 - The Classical Review 25 (2):196-197.
  7. Aristotle's De Anima - Michael Durrant : Aristotle's De Anima in Focus. Pp. Xiii+225. London, New York: Routledge, 1993. £35. [REVIEW]J. D. G. Evans - 1995 - The Classical Review 45 (1):60-61.
  8. Soul and Mind in Greek Thought. Psychologial Issues in Plato and Aristotle.Marcelo D. Boeri, Yasuhira Y. Kanayama & Jorge Mittelmann (eds.) - 2018 - Springer.
  9. The Causal Structure of Emotions in Aristotle: Hylomorphism, Causal Interaction Between Mind and Body, and Intentionality.Gabriela Rossi - 2018 - In Marcelo Boeri, Yasuhira Y. Kanayama & Jorge Mittelmann (eds.), Soul and Mind in Greek Thought. Psychologial Issues in Plato and Aristotle. Springer. pp. 177-198.
    Recently, a strong hylomorphic reading of Aristotelian emotions has been put forward, one that allegedly eliminates the problem of causal interaction between soul and body. Taking the presentation of emotions in de An. I 1 as a starting point and basic thread, but relying also on the discussion of Rh. II, I will argue that this reading only takes into account two of the four causes of emotions, and that, if all four of them are included into the picture, then (...)
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  10. Rational Pleasures. J. Warren the Pleasures of Reason in Plato, Aristotle, and the Hellenistic Hedonists. Pp. XII + 234. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Cased, £60, Us$95. Isbn: 978-1-107-02544-8. [REVIEW]Kelly E. Arenson - 2016 - The Classical Review 66 (1):60-62.
  11. Φanta∑Ia In Aristotle, De Anima 3. 3.Gerard Watson - 1982 - Classical Quarterly 32 (1):100-113.
    There is no general agreement among scholars that Aristotle had a unified concept of phantasia. That is evident from the most cursory glance through the literature. Freudenthal speaks of the contradictions into which Aristotle seems to fall in his remarks about phantasia, and explains the contradictions as due to the border position which phantasia occupies between Wahrnehmung and thinking. Ross, in Aristotle , p. 143, talks of passages on phantasia in De Anima 3. 3 which constitute ‘a reversal of his (...)
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  12. On Human Nature.Thomas S. Hibbs (ed.) - 1999 - Hackett Publishing Company.
    This volume begins with excerpts from Aquinas' commentary on De Anima, excerpts that proceed from a general consideration of soul as common to all living things to a consideration of the animal soul and, finally, to what is peculiar to the human soul. These are followed by the Treatise on Man, Aquinas' most famous discussion of human nature, but one whose organization is dictated by theological concerns and whose philosophical importance is thus best appreciated when seen as presented here: within (...)
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  13. Giovanni di Napoli, "L'immortalità Dell'anima Nel Rinascimento". [REVIEW]Charles B. Schmitt - 1966 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 4 (4):344.
  14. Giancarlo Movia, "Anima E Intelletto: Richerche Sulla Psicologia Peripatetica da Teofrasto a Cratippo" and "Alessandro di Afrodisia: Tra Naturalismo E Misticismo". [REVIEW]Edward P. Mahoney - 1975 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 13 (3):402.
  15. De Anima.David Ross (ed.) - 1961 - Clarendon Press.
    Please note, this is the original Greek text.
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  16. A Note On Aristotle, De Anima, A. 3, 406b1–3.H. De Ley - 1970 - Classical Quarterly 20 (1):92-94.
    Ever since the first edition of the De anima by Trendelenburg, modern scholars have been in trouble as to the exact interpretation of this phrase and especially of the expression Although the right one, as we think, was suggested a long time ago by Shorey, a restatement of it seems justified, because the later treatment of the problem in the edition of Sir David Ross has apparently established a different communis opinio. The first detailed examination of the whole passage was (...)
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  17. Los elementos del proceso del conocimiento en el "De Anima".Agustín Rodríguez Sánchez - 1968 - Logos. Anales Del Seminario de Metafísica [Universidad Complutense de Madrid, España] 3:27.
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  18. Tertullian's De Anima. [REVIEW]G. W. H. Lampe - 1950 - The Classical Review 64 (3-4):123-124.
  19. Eiskrisis, or the Presence of Soul in the Body: A Plotinian Conundrum.Paul Kalligas - 2012 - Ancient Philosophy 32 (1):147-166.
  20. Aristotle on the Common Sense: A Reply to Kahn and Others.Irving L. Block - 1988 - Ancient Philosophy 8 (2):235-249.
  21. Processes as Pleasures in EN Vii 11-14: A New Approach.Joachim Aufderheide - 2013 - Ancient Philosophy 33 (1):135-157.
  22. Gundissalinus’ De Anima and the Problem of Substantial Form.D. A. Callus - 1939 - New Scholasticism 13 (4):338-355.
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  23. Aristotelian Moral Psychology and the Situationist Challenge.Adam M. Croom - 2015 - Polish Psychological Bulletin 46:262-277.
    For some time now moral psychologists and philosophers have ganged up on Aristotelians, arguing that results from psychological studies on the role of character-based and situation-based influences on human behavior have convincingly shown that situations rather than personal characteristics determine human behavior. In the literature on moral psychology and philosophy this challenge is commonly called the “situationist challenge,” and as Prinz has previously explained, it has largely been based on results from four salient studies in social psychology, including the studies (...)
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  24. Anima Christiana.Burkhard Reis & Dorothea Frede - 2009 - In Burkhard Reis & Dorothea Frede (eds.), Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy. Walter de Gruyter.
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  25. Aristotle De Anima.Wm A. Hammond & R. D. Hicks - 1909 - Philosophical Review 18 (2):234.
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  26. Aristotle and Neoplatonism in Late Antiquity: Interpretations of the De Anima.Eyjolfur Kjalar Emilsson & H. J. Blumenthal - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (3):486.
    The late ancient commentators on Aristotle, most of them Platonists, have been gradually re-emerging on the philosophical and scholarly horizon during the last two or three decades. Their reappearance is not likely to cause any major transformations of the scene, but they are interesting enough in themselves to deserve careful study and they have been influential in the past to the extent that proper understanding of their work sheds light on the subsequent history of the interpretation of Aristotle. This and (...)
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  27. Ears Are Not the Subject of Hearing in Aristotle’s On the Soul II 8, 420a3–12.Abraham P. Bos - 2010 - Philologus: Zeitschrift für Antike Literatur Und Ihre Rezeption 154 (2).
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  28. Lectura in Librum de Anima a Quodam Discipulo Reportata. René A. Gauthier.Steven Marrone - 1988 - Speculum 63 (4):924-925.
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  29. A Plea for Soul-Substance. II: 'De Natura Anima'.W. P. Montague - 1899 - Psychological Review 6 (6):606-638.
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  30. Aristotle on Perceiving Objects.Pavel Gregoric - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (2):375-377.
  31. Toward a New Edition of Themistius' Paraphrase of Aristotle's "De Anima".Stephen M. Bay - unknown
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  32. Aristotle on Perceiving Objects.Julie K. Ward - 2015 - Ancient Philosophy 35 (2):467-471.
  33. Pleasure and the Two Happinesses in Aristotle.Martin A. Bertman - 1972 - Apeiron 6 (2):30 - 36.
  34. Touching the Bronze Sphere at a Point A Note on De Anima I, 1, 403a10-16.Robert McKay - 1979 - Apeiron 13 (2):86.
  35. Aristotle on Perceptual Truth and Falsity.Aaron Ben-Zeev - 1984 - Apeiron 18 (2):118 - 125.
  36. Telos and the Unity of Psychology: Aristotle's de Anima II 3-4.Wendy Lee-Lampshire - 1992 - Apeiron 25 (1):27.
  37. Buraselis, Karamanolakis and Katakis Eds. H Μνήμη Της Κοινότητας Και Η Διαχείρισή Της: Μελέτες Από Μια Ημερίδα Αφιερωμένη Στη Μνήμη Του Τίτου Παπαμαστοράκη [= Communal Memory and its Handling: Studies Arising From a One-Day Colloquium in Memory of Titos Papamastorakis]. Athens: Kardamitsa, 2011. Pp. 364. €21.30. 9789603543015. [REVIEW]Maria Fragoulaki - 2015 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 135:253-254.
  38. Aristotle and Alexander on Perceptual Error.Mark A. Johnstone - 2015 - Phronesis 60 (3):310-338.
    Aristotle sometimes claims that the perception of special perceptibles by their proper sense is unerring. This claim is striking, since it might seem that we quite often misperceive things like colours, sounds and smells. Aristotle also claims that the perception of common perceptibles is more prone to error than the perception of special perceptibles. This is puzzling in its own right, and also places constraints on the interpretation of. I argue that reading Alexander of Aphrodisias on perceptual error can help (...)
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  39. De Anima: Books Ii and Iii.D. W. Hamlyn (ed.) - 1993 - Clarendon Press.
    BL A close translation of the most important parts of Aristotle's De Anima BL The reissue contains a review of the recent lively debate on Aristotle's philosophy of mind, plus a new bibliography Aristotle's De Anima has a claim to be the first systematic treatment of issues in the philosophy of mind, and also to be one of the greatest works on the subject. This volume provides an accurate translation of Books II and III, together with some sections of Book (...)
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  40. Aristotle and the Hippocratic De Victu on Innate Heat and the Kindled Soul.Hynek Bartoš - 2014 - Ancient Philosophy 34 (2):289-315.
  41. An Alternative Reading of De Anima 413a8–9.Mary Elizabeth Tetzlaff - 2013 - Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 87:115-125.
    This paper presents three interpretations of the infamous “sailor / ship” sentence that concludes Aristotle’s De Anima II.1. The first two interpretations represent the ones most popular in contemporary scholarship; the final is the author’s original. The interpretations are then evaluated with respect to grammatical plausibility and explanatory strength. The paper makes a case that the new reading answers to both points of evaluation and contributes to an interpretive approach to Aristotle that values the coherence and cogency of his De (...)
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  42. De Anima: Books Ii and Iii.Aristotle . (ed.) - 1993 - Oxford University Press UK.
    This revised edition contains a substantial review of recent work on Aristotle's philosophy of mind, together with a new bibliography.
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  43. §4 De anima.Maria Marcinkowska-Rosol - 2014 - In Die Prinzipienlehre der Milesier: Kommentar Zu den Textzeugnissen Bei Aristoteles Und Seinen Kommentatoren. De Gruyter. pp. 403-446.
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  44. Lectura in Librum de Anima a Quodam Discipulo Reportata.René Antoine Anonymus, Aristotle & Gauthier - 1985
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  45. O Dusi.Antonín Aristotle & Kríz - 1995
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  46. La Recepci'on 'Arabe Del "de Anima" de Aristoteles Al-Kindi y Al-Farabi'.Rafael Ramâon Guerrero - 1992
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  47. If Aristotle Ran General Motors the New Soul of Business.Thomas V. Morris - 1997
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  48. Ibn Bajjah's Paraphrase of Aristotle's de Anima.M. Saghir Hasan Avempace & Ma Sumi - 1952
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  49. De Rebus Naturalibus in Aristotelis Libros de Anima.Giacomo Zabarella - 1966
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  50. Sense as Receptive of Sensible Forms Without the Matter in Aristotle's De Anima Ii 12.R. Polansky - unknown - Skepsis: A Journal for Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Research 13.
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