Chapter

Introduction

Thomas Kjeller Johansen

in The Powers of Aristotle's Soul

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199658435
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191742231 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658435.003.0001
Introduction

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Ancient Greek thinkers commonly understood the soul as a cause of life. Aristotle's notion of a capacity (dunamis) of the soul was such a cause. Aristotle plays a founding role in the history of faculty psychology. The introduction raises the question of how he thinks the soul is to be defined through its capacities and sketch their role within the composition of the soul. Two standard objections to faculty psychology are mentioned, the ‘homunculus’ and the ‘virtus dormitiva’ objections, and the Introduction indicates how Aristotle would address them. The Introduction offers a rough comparison with modern faculty psychology, suggesting that both modular and holistic approaches to the explanation of life activities can be distinguished in Aristotle. Finally, the Introduction characterizes the project of this book in the context of current literature.

Keywords: soul; faculty psychology; natural philosophy; life; modularity; four causes

Chapter.  4292 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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