Journal of the History of Philosophy 59 (3):399-427 (2021)

Matthew D. Walker
Yale-NUS College
By scholarly consensus, extant fragments from, and testimony about, Aristotle’s lost dialogue Eudemus provide strong evidence for thinking that Aristotle at some point defended the human soul’s unqualified immortality (either in whole or in part). I reject this consensus and develop an alternative, deflationary, speculative, but textually supported proposal to explain why Aristotle might have written a dialogue featuring arguments for the soul’s unqualified immortality. Instead of defending unqualified immortality as a doctrine, I argue, the Eudemus was most likely offering a dramatically engaging propaedeutic to the sort of philosophical inquiry about the soul and its prospects that Aristotle pursues more scientifically in the De anima and Parva naturalia.
Keywords Aristotle  Eudemus  Dialogue  Immortality  De Anima  Cicero  Dialectic  Parva Naturalia  Exoteric works
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DOI 10.1353/hph.2021.0047
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