Chapter

Circumscribing the Soul: <i>De Anima</i> 1.1 and 2.1

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/9780199658435.003.0002
Circumscribing the Soul: De Anima 1.1 and 2.1

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Aristotle opens the DA by asking how to define the soul. The answer depends on the kind of thing we take the soul to be. He therefore offers a general outline characterization of the soul in terms of his most general notions, form and matter, fulfilment (entelekheia) and potentiality (dunamis). This ‘common’ account states that the soul is a first fulfilment of an instrumental body potentially having life. Three main questions arise from this account: What does Aristotle mean by saying that the body has life only potentially, what is meant by calling the soul a fulfilment, and how is this claim related to and compatible with the claim that the soul is composed of capacities (dunameis)? The chapter develops answers which involve an interpretation also of Metaph. Θ.

Keywords: fulfilment; capacity; change; substance; form; matter

Chapter.  15119 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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