Abstract detail

Title Aristotle on Mind and the Science of Nature

Aristotle appears to endorse premises implying that an animal’s soul constitutes an important part of its nature and thus is to be studied by the natural scientist. The premises are: 1. Natural things have formal and material natures. 2. For living things, soul is form. Which implies: 3. Souls are the formal natures of living things. It would seem, then, as many have concluded, that Aristotle is a naturalist regarding the study of the soul. Life with Aristotle is, however, rarely so simple. In Parts of Animals I. 1, Aristotle argues that the natural scientist should not speak of all soul, since reason is not a source of natural change (641b8-9). This claim raises important questions about the status of a theoretical investigation of the soul and about the scientific investigation of the mind. If distinct parts of the soul are examined by different sciences, does that call into question the unity of the investigation of soul? These questions will be explored by noting similarities between the concerns Aristotle raises about the unity of natural science in Physics II. 2 and the unity of the investigation of the soul in the above texts.

Primary author
James Lennox