On Aristotle's Intention in the "de Anima": An Analysis of the Definition of Soul

Dissertation, New School for Social Research (1996)

The purpose of this dissertation is to give an account of Aristotle's intention in the De Anima through an analysis of the definition of soul that is given in Book II, chapter 1. Towards this end, the study begins in the Introduction with an outline of the problems, puzzles and plans of the De Anima as a whole. In the remainder of the Introduction, I develop what I call the "problematic of soul." Soul turns out to be inseparable from that for which soul is said to be responsible, and the structure of the De Anima as a book, then, turns out to reflect and mirror the structure and the problems of the subject matter. ;After this Introduction, the dissertation divides into four chapters. In Chapter 1, I develop a fuller and more complex understanding of the problematic of soul through an explication of the six aporiai Aristotle outlines for most of Book I, chapter 1, of the De Anima. Chapter 2 of the dissertation is devoted to an analysis of Aristotle's cataloguing of the views of his predecessors. Chapter 3 gives an analysis of Aristotle's criticism of the views of his predecessors. On the basis of his cataloguing and criticism of the views of his predecessors, Aristotle in Book II, chapter 1, formulates a definition of his own which avoids the pitfalls of his predecessors' views of soul while still reflecting soul as it is ordinarily understood. ;The dissertation concludes by showing how Aristotle arrives at his new definition, how this new definition takes account of the problematic of soul, and how it serves to structure the account of soul given in the De Anima in the remainder of Book II and Book III
Keywords Philosophy
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