Aristotle: Soul

Edited by Caleb Cohoe (Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Colorado at Denver)
About this topic
Summary One of the most disputed recent questions on this area concerns how Aristotle's conception of the soul relates to contemporary philosophy of mind. Is Aristotle a precursor of functionalism and a committed naturalist? Does his conception of soul rest on his antiquated and indefensible physics? Is Aristotle, instead, a sort of dualist? Is his position only fully articulable in terms of his own metaphysics of potentiality and actuality, matter and form? Another area of discussion has been whether Aristotle's understanding of soul and body fits with his general account of form and matter, given that the matter of the living thing, the body, does not seem able to persist in the way that the matter of other hylomorphic compounds persists. A related debate concerns whether we should think that the soul is the form of "an organic body" because the bodies of living things have parts that serve as tools or instruments or because the body as a whole is an instrument of the soul. Further important areas of research in this category include how Aristotle's general account of the soul relates to his specific accounts of soul and whether Aristotle thinks that any kind of soul could be separable from its body.
Key works Here I provide references to some of the debates mentioned above: A number of authors have interpreted Aristotle as, in some sense, a precursor of functionalism (e.g. Barnes 1971, Nussbaum & Putnam 1992) and as a committed naturalist (e.g. Frede 1992). Burnyeat has argued that Aristotle's conception of soul rests on his antiquated and indefensible physics (Burnyeat 1992). Aristotle has also been claimed by some as a sort of dualist (Robinson 1983). Some have drawn attention to the risk of misinterpreting Aristotle by fitting him into contemporary categories. Shields has drawn attention to such misreadings in the case of the unity of soul and body by laying out the importance of Aristotle's own account of form and matter for understanding his position on body-soul unity (Shields 2007). Ackrill (Ackrill 1972) introduced the problem of the sense in which body counts as matter to the contemporary discussion and it is often referred to as Ackrill's problem. Whiting provides an influential response (Whiting 1992). Menn defends the idea that the the body as a whole is an instrument of the soul (Menn 2002). Bolton discusses Aristotle's definitions of soul and how they relate (Bolton 1978).
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  1. added 2019-01-11
    Aristotle, De Anima: Translation, Introduction, and Commentary, Christopher Shields. [REVIEW]Caleb Cohoe - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):192-193.
  2. added 2019-01-08
    Aristotle, De Anima: Translation, Introduction, and Notes.C. D. C. Reeve & Aristotle - 2017 - Indianapolis, USA: Hackett.
  3. added 2018-11-08
    Aristotle on the Intellect and Limits of Natural Science.Christopher Frey - 2018 - In John E. Sisko (ed.), Philosophy of Mind in Antiquity: The History of the Philosophy of Mind, Volume 1. New York: Routledge. pp. 160-174.
    To which science, if any, does the intellect’s study belong? Though the student of nature studies every other vital capacity, most interpreters maintain that Aristotle excludes the intellect from natural science’s domain. I survey the three main reasons that lead to this interpretation: the intellect (i) is not realized physiologically in a proprietary organ, (ii) its naturalistic study would corrupt natural science’s boundaries and leave no room for other forms of inquiry, and (iii) it is not, as all other vital (...)
  4. added 2018-10-17
    Aristotle, On the Soul and Other Psychological Works, Trans. Fred D. Miller, Jr. [REVIEW]Jason W. Carter - 2018 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 10.
    Fred D. Miller, Jr.'s stated goal for his new translation for the Oxford World's Classics series is, 'to provide a clear and accessible translation of Aristotle's psychological works while . . . conveying something of his distinctive style'. Not only does Miller achieve these goals in spades, but he also provides something more. His translation of Aristotle's De Anima and Parva Naturalia (the 'short works concerning nature'), along with twenty-three selected fragments from Aristotle's lost works and his 'Hymn to Hermias', (...)
  5. added 2018-09-11
    Why De Anima Needs III.12-13.Robert Howton - manuscript
    The soul is an explanatory principle of Aristotle’s natural science, accounting both for the fact that living things are alive as well as for the diverse natural attributes that belong to them by virtue of being alive. I argue that the explanatory role of the soul in Aristotle’s natural science must be understood in light of his view, stated in a controversial passage from Parts of Animals (645b14–20), that the soul of a living thing is a “complex activity” of its (...)
  6. added 2018-09-11
    Aristotle's Case for Perceptual Knowledge.Robert Howton - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    Sense experience, naïvely conceived, is a way of knowing perceptible properties: the colors, sounds, smells, flavors, and textures in our perceptual environment. So conceived, ordinary experience presents the perceiver with the essential nature of a property like Sky Blue or Middle C, such that how the property appears in experience is identical to how it essentially is. In antiquity, as today, it was controversial whether sense experience could meet the conditions for knowledge implicit in this naïve conception. Aristotle was a (...)
  7. added 2018-07-10
    Review of Erick Raphael Jiménez, Aristotle's Concept of Mind[REVIEW]Noell Birondo - forthcoming - Journal of the History of Philosophy.
    In this ambitious first book, Erick Raphael Jiménez argues that a good model for understanding Aristotle’s concept of mind (nous) lies in Aristotle’s account of the perception of time. This “time-perception model” of mind and its activity, thinking, bridges a gap between Jiménez’s unorthodox readings of Aristotelian mind and its objects. The book will attract the interest of specialists in Aristotle’s psychology, as well as other scholars interested in Aristotle’s concept of mind and its influence, for instance, theologians interested in (...)
  8. added 2018-04-22
    Teleology, First Principles, and Scientific Method in Aristotle's Biology, by Allan Gotthelf.B. J. Stoyles - 2014 - Mind 123 (491):909-913.
  9. added 2018-04-22
    Teleology, First Principles, and Scientific Method in Aristotle's Biology.Allan Gotthelf - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
    This volume draws together Allan Gotthelf's pioneering work on Aristotle's biology. He examines Aristotle's natural teleology, the axiomatic structure of biological explanation, and the reliance on scientifically organized data in the three great works with which Aristotle laid the foundations of biological science.
  10. added 2018-04-22
    Die aristotelische Substanz als Wendepunkt in der Ontologie der Antike.Gianluigi Segalerba - 2010 - Archiv für Begriffsgeschichte (Sonderheft 8):161-172.
    This study shows that Aristotle’s introduction of the concept of substance represents a caesura in the history of ontology. The study takes two values for substance into consideration, which are a) substance as an organism (as a biological entity) and b) substance as essence, nature, form of an organism. Substances as organisms are biological concretized properties. Substance as form is the soul directing the organism and the development of the organism; the soul is both the principle of life of the (...)
  11. added 2018-04-22
    Embodied Soul as a Form: Aristotle and Mealeau-Ponty.Yan Yan & Chun-Shen Gao - 2010 - Modern Philosophy 6:67-74.
    Reactor containment structure plays an inclusive system of radioactive substances and to protect the reactor from outside interference effect is related to the safe operation of nuclear power plants an important structure. Reactor cylinder prestressed reinforced concrete structure with steel finishing thread directly affect the safety of shell strength and toughness of life. In order to develop a new generation of ultra-high strength steel, the new air-cooled Mn series bainitic steel V on the basis of micro-alloying, and the use of (...)
  12. added 2018-04-22
    Minds, Bodies and Affections: Plato and Aristotle on the Metaphysics of the Mental.John Ferguson Heil - 1995 - Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin
    BAristotle introduces his hylomorphism in the De Anima not as a challenge to the immateriality of Platonic souls, but in response to a problem about the causal relationship between soul and body raised by Plato's theory of affections in the Philebus. Plato holds that mental states have a unique structure. They are characterized by what we would call intentionality and are thereby radically different in kind from physiological states . This sharp divide between the affections, however, leaves unexplained how mental (...)
  13. added 2018-04-22
    Expositio Et Quaestiones in Aristotelis de Anima.Nicole Oresme, Benoît Patar & Claude Gagnon - 1995
  14. added 2018-04-22
    Substance, Form, and Psyche: An Aristotelean Metaphysics.Montgomery Furth - 1988 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book is a complete re-thinking of Aristotle's metaphysical theory of material substances. The view of the author is that the 'substances' are the living things, the organisms: chiefly, the animals. There are three main parts to the book: Part I, a treatment of the concepts of substance and nonsubstance in Aristotle's Categories; Part III, which discusses some important features of biological objects as Aristotelian substances, as analysed in Aristotle's biological treatises and the de Anima; and Part V, which attempts (...)
  15. added 2018-04-22
    Aristotle on Nature and Living Things Philosophical and Historical Studies : Presented to David M. Balme on His Seventieth Birthday.William Wians - 1985
  16. added 2018-04-22
    Doctoris Subtilis Io. Duns Scoti Quætiones Super Libris Aristotelis de Anima.John Duns Scotus, Hugo Cavellus & Claude Landry - 1625 - Sumptibus Claudij Landry.
  17. added 2018-04-22
    D. Francisci Toleti E Societatis Iesu Theologo, S.R.E. Cardinalis Commentaria Unà Cum Quætionibus in Tres Libros Aristotelis de Anima. Cum Duplici Indice Copiosissimo. [REVIEW]Francisco de Toledo, Hermann Mylius & Officina Birckmannica - 1615 - In Officina Birckmannica, Sumptibus Hermanni Mylii.
  18. added 2018-04-22
    Ioannis Alexandrei Philosophi in Tres Libros de Anima Aristotelis Breues Annotationes Ex Dissertationibus Ammonii Hermei, Cum Quibusdam Proprijs Meditationibus.John Philoponus & Girolamo Scotto - 1547 - Apud Hieronymum Scotum.
  19. added 2018-04-22
    Alexandri Aphrodisei Peripateticorum Apud Græos Famosissimi de Anima Ad Me[N]Tem Aristotelis Enarratione Nouissime Recognita: Cunctisq[Ue] Mendis Expurgata.Augustinus de Alexander, Girolamo Zannis, Donato & Haeredes Octaviani Scoti - 1514 - Mandato & Impensis Heredum Nobilis Uiri Domini Octauiani Scoti Ciuis Modoeciensis & Sociorum Summa Diligentia Impræsa Venetiis Per Augustinum de Zannis de Portesio.
  20. added 2018-04-21
    Place of the Soul in the Philosophies of Aristotle and Mulla Sadra.Reza Akbabrian & Abulhassan Ghaffari - unknown - Kheradnameh Sadra Quarterly 56.
    Aristotle discusses the soul in itself in metaphysics, and as its relation to the body in physics. This issue originates in the division of sciences in Aristotle's works. The same trend continues in the works of the philosophers following him. Although Farabi presented a new classification of sciences, he maintained the main form of Aristotle's divisions and posed the related problems like him. Based on his fundamental theories, including the principiality of existence, gradation of being, and the trans-substantial motion, Mulla (...)
  21. added 2018-04-21
    On the Soul: And Other Psychological Works. Aristotle - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    Aristotle's De Anima is one of the great classics of philosophy. Aristotle examines the nature of the soul-sense-perception, imagination, cognition, emotion, and desire, including, memory, dreams, and processes such as nutrition, growth, and death.
  22. added 2018-04-21
    De Anima by Aristotle.Klaus Corcilius - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (1):155-156.
    This is the overdue replacement of D. W. Hamlyn’s somewhat dismissive 1968 translation and commentary of the first two books of Aristotle’s De Anima. Hamlyn hardly did justice to this foundational treatise of Aristotle’s science of living beings: not only did he mistake it for a treatise on “the” philosophy of mind, he also did not bother to translate the first book apart from two snippets. Shields’s replacement is entirely free from such vices. It provides a new translation and commentary (...)
  23. added 2018-04-21
    Aristotle’s Critique of Timaean Psychology.Jason W. Carter - 2017 - Rhizomata 5 (1):51-78.
    Of all the criticisms that Aristotle gives of his predecessors’ theories of soul in De anima I.3–5, none seems more unmotivated than the ones directed against the world soul of Plato’s Timaeus. Against the current scholarly consensus, I claim that the status of Aristotle’s criticisms is philosophical rather than eristical, and that they provide important philosophical reasons, independent of Phys. VIII.10 and Metaph. Λ.6, for believing that νοῦς is without spatial extension, and that its thinking is not a physical motion.
  24. added 2018-04-21
    Soul or Mind? Some Remarks on Explanation in Cognitive Science.Józef Bremer - 2017 - Scientia et Fides 5 (2):39-70.
    In the article author analyses the extent to which it is possible to regard the Aristotelian conception of the soul as actually necessary and applicable for modern neuroscience. The framework in which this objective is going to be accomplished is provided by the idea of the coexistence of the “manifest” and “scientific” images of the world and persons, as introduced by Wilfrid Sellars. In subsequent sections, author initially formulates an answer to the questions of what it is that Aristotle sought (...)
  25. added 2018-04-21
    Aristotle De Anima. [REVIEW]Liliana Carolina Sánchez Castro - 2017 - Journal of Ancient Philosophy 11 (1):144-158.
    Christopher Shields. Aristotle De Anima. Oxford University Press : Oxford, 2016, 415 p. US $ 32.00. ISBN 978-0-19-924345-7.
  26. added 2018-04-21
    Monboddo's Aristotle: An 18th Century Account of Mind, Soul and Language.Gregory Bridgman - unknown
  27. added 2018-04-21
    Mortal Imitations of Divine Life: The Nature of the Soul in Aristotle’s De Anima.Joseph Suk-Hwan Dowd - 2016 - Ancient Philosophy 36 (1):230-234.
  28. added 2018-04-21
    De Anima.Christopher Shields (ed.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Christopher Shields presents a new translation and commentary of Aristotle's De Anima, a work of interest to philosophers at all levels, as well as psychologists and students interested in the nature of life and living systems. The volume provides a full translation of the complete work, together with a comprehensive commentary. While sensitive to philological and textual matters, the commentary addresses itself to the philosophical reader who wishes to understand and assess Aristotle's accounts of the soul and body; perception; thinking; (...)
  29. added 2018-04-21
    The Powers of Aristotle's Soul. [REVIEW]Robert Howton - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (1):135-138.
  30. added 2018-04-21
    Johansen The Powers of Aristotle's Soul . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Pp. X + 302. £45/$85. 9780199658435.Corinne Gartner - 2015 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 135:292-293.
  31. added 2018-04-21
    Aquinas and Central Problems of Philosophy: Mind, Metaphysics, and Philosophical Theology.Christopher Hughes - 2015 - Routledge.
    Thomas Aquinas was the most influential philosopher of the Middle Ages, and one of the most famous Christian theologians of all time. His philosophy is a powerful synthesis of Aristotle and Plato presented within a Christian framework. His "five ways" to prove the existence of God are studied by undergraduates on many theology and philosophy of religion courses. Apart from his specifically theological works, he spent much of his time writing about metaphysics, all of which was to have important ramifications (...)
  32. added 2018-04-21
    The Powers of Aristotle’s Soul, by Thomas Kjeller Johansen.Mark A. Johnstone - 2015 - Mind 124 (496):1303-1305.
  33. added 2018-04-21
    Aristotle de Anima: With Translation, Introduction and Notes.R. D. Hicks (ed.) - 2015 - Cambridge University Press.
    Originally published in 1907, this book contains the ancient Greek text of Aristotle's De Anima, his treatise on the differing souls of living things. An English translation is provided on each facing page, and Hicks supplies a very detailed commentary on each line at the end of the book, as well as a summary of each section. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in Greek philosophy and the history of classical scholarship.
  34. added 2018-04-21
    Mortal Imitations of Divine Life: The Nature of the Soul in Aristotle's De Anima.Eli Diamond - 2015 - Northwestern University Press.
    In Mortal Imitations of Divine Life, Diamond offers an interpretation of De Anima, which explains how and why Aristotle places souls in a hierarchy of value. Aristotle’s central intention in De Anima is to discover the nature and essence of soul—the prin­ciple of living beings. He does so by identifying the common structures underlying every living activity, whether it be eating, perceiving, thinking, or moving through space. As Diamond demonstrates through close readings of De Anima, the nature of the soul (...)
  35. added 2018-04-21
    Aristotle's de Anima in Focus.Michael Durrant (ed.) - 2015 - Routledge.
    Originally published in 1993. This book presents an amended version of R.D. Hick's classic translation of Aristotle's "De Anima" Books 2 and 3, with pertinent extracts from Book 1, together with an introduction and six papers by prominent international Aristotelian scholars. The editor brings together up-to-date discussions of Aristotle's "De Anima", examining central topics such as the nature of perception, perception and thought, thinking and the intellect, the nature of the soul and the relation between body and soul. These papers (...)
  36. added 2018-04-21
    Rational and Non-Rational Perception in Aristotle's De Anima.Eve Rabinoff - 2015 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (2):297-309.
    The bulk of the account of perception that Aristotle offers in De Anima focuses on analyzing the operation of the five senses and the reception of their respective objects. On Aristotle’s own terms, this analysis is an incomplete account of perception, for it does not explain how perception operates in the life of an animal, with the aim of supporting a certain kind of life. This paper aims to supplement the account of the five senses by considering perception in the (...)
  37. added 2018-04-21
    Immortal «Part» of the Soul in Aristotle’s Teaching, in Spinoza’s Ethics, and in Peripatetic Maimonides’ Reception of the Rabbinic Doctrine of Man’s “Share in the World-to-Come”.Igor Tantlevskij - 2015 - ΣΧΟΛΗ: Ancient Philosophy and The Classical Tradition 9 (1):137-141.
    The author compares the ideas of Aristotle and Spinoza on the «immortality»/«eternity» of the wise one’s “mind”/“soul”, not excluding the Stagirite’s immediate influence on Spinoza in this aspect. The paper also deals with the possible influence of the rab­binic doctrine of one’s “share in the World-to-Come” in its Maimonides’ interpretation on Spinoza’s teaching concerning the eternal “part” of the wise one’s soul.
  38. added 2018-04-21
    Merely Living Animals in Aristotle.Refik Güremen - 2015 - Journal of Ancient Philosophy 9 (1):115.
    : In Parts of Animals II.10, 655b37-656a8, Aristotle tacitly identifies a group of animals which partake of “ living only”. This paper is an attempt to understand the nature of this group. It is argued that it is possible to make sense of this designation if we consider that some animals, which are solely endowed with the contact senses, do nothing more than mere immediate nutrition by their perceptive nature and have no other action. It is concluded that some of (...)
  39. added 2018-04-21
    The Powers of Aristotle's Soul.Thomas Kjeller Johansen - 2015 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Thomas Kjeller Johansen presents a new account of Aristotle's major work on psychology, the De Anima. He argues that Aristotle explains a variety of psychological phenomena--including perception, intellect, memory, and imagination--by reference to the soul's capacities, and considers how Aristotle adopts and adapts this theory in his later works.
  40. added 2018-04-21
    Parts in Aristotle’s Definition of Soul: De Anima Books I and II.Thomas K. Johansen - 2014 - In Dominik Perler & Klaus Corcilius (eds.), Partitioning the Soul: Debates From Plato to Leibniz. De Gruyter. pp. 39-62.
  41. added 2018-04-21
    Review of The Science of the Soul. The Commentary Tradition on Aristotle’s De Anima, C. 1260–C. 1360 by Sander W. De Boer. [REVIEW]Eric W. Hagedorn - 2014 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (1):168-169.
  42. added 2018-04-21
    The Powers of Aristotle's Soul by Thomas Kjeller Johansen (Review).Mary Katrina Krizan - 2014 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (1):162-163.
    In The Powers of Aristotle’s Soul, Thomas Kjeller Johansen offers a fresh treatment of Aristotle’s De Anima, showing that Aristotle can successfully explain the cause of life and activities of living things by appealing to a minimal number of definitionally independent capacities, in much the way that a faculty psychologist would. Johansen situates Aristotle’s account of the soul within the framework of his natural philosophy, arguing that the definitional independence of the soul’s capacities does not conflict with the internal unity (...)
  43. added 2018-04-21
    PSEUDO-SIMPLICIUS. Steel ‘Simplicius’:On Aristotle On the Soul 3.6–13. With A. Ritups. Pp. X + 230.London:Bristol Classical Press,2013. Cased, £70. ISBN:978-1-78093-208-8. [REVIEW]David Van Dusen - 2014 - The Classical Review 64 (2):436-437.
  44. added 2018-04-21
    The Powers of Aristotle's Soul.Anna Marmodoro - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (1):174-178.
  45. added 2018-04-21
    Integrating the Non‐Rational Soul.Jonathan Lear - 2014 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (1pt1):75-101.
    Aristotelian theory of virtue and of happiness assumes a moral psychology in which the parts of the soul, rational and non-rational, can communicate well with each other. But if Aristotle cannot give a robust account of what communicating well consists in, he faces Bernard Williams's charge that his moral psychology collapses into a moralizing psychology, assuming the very categories it seeks to vindicate. This paper examines the problem and proposes a way forward, namely, that Freudian psychoanalysis provides the resources for (...)
  46. added 2018-04-21
    Two Views on Intentionality, Immortality, and the Self in Brentano’s Philosophy of Mind.Sonia Kamińska - 2014 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):25-42.
    This paper is devoted to Franz Brentano’s conception of intentionality, and aims to reveal some of its lesser known aspects, like the implications of his studies for our understanding of Aristotle’s psychology. I try to show two “currents” in Brentano’s thought: beside what is widely known as Franz Brentano’s philosophy of mind, I also present the Aristotelian side of his thinking. Each of these currents, which I call A and B, makes different assumptions about the ontological status of the soul (...)
  47. added 2018-04-21
    On Aristotle On the Soul 3.6-13. [REVIEW]Barrie Fleet - 2014 - International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 8 (1):110-112.
  48. added 2018-04-21
    The Powers of Aristotle’s Soul, by Thomas Kjeller Johansen.James Stover - 2014 - Ancient Philosophy 34 (2):436-439.
  49. added 2018-04-21
    Heidegger and the Question Concerning Biology: Life, Soul, and Nature in the Early Aristotle Lecture Courses.David Storey - 2013 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 18 (1):161-186.
    While Heidegger has long been cast as hostile to or neglectful of life-philosophy, his work on Aristotle in the 1920s demonstrates a struggle to articulate an ontology of life. I argue that this is no peripheral concern in his work and should be seen in the broader context of the development of his philosophy of nature. I submit that we can triangulate Heidegger’s position on the ontological status of life by tracing the tension between the Kantian and Aristotelian strains in (...)
  50. added 2018-04-21
    Being Ensouled: Desire as an Efficient Cause in Aristotle's De Anima.Josh Michael Hayes - 2013 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 17 (2):313-335.
    Throughout the tradition of Aristotelian commentary, there is a common tendency to present a static conception of substance according to the persistence of form imposed upon matter. In this essay, I present a dynamic conception of substance beginning with an account of the striving movement of the soul in De Anima. I argue that the paradigm for Aristotle’s definition of substance as actuality is necessarily determined by his account of desire as an efficient cause of the soul. The striving movement (...)
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